Wednesday, July 22, 2015

7/22 Some of My Favorite Places

I am often asked what my favorite campground is.  Wow!  That is a big question, considering that I have spent well over 1,000 nights in campgrounds and have done three loops of the country over the last three years.  I’ve been thinking about this and have decided that is impossible to select even a handful of places, let alone a single place, as my “favorite.” 

One thing different about me compared to most RVers is that I am not vacationing in my RV, I live and work in it. While I enjoy traveling and seeing new places, I don’t always need a place with a lot of activities.  Sometimes, I just want a place where I can relax and do little but read and watch TV.  I also teach online, so I often need to just catch up on work for a couple of days.  What I DO like while I am working or vegetating is a view!  I worked in mostly windowless offices for so much of my life that I want to be able to look outside and see mountains, a lake or river, or maybe a desert vista.  I get a little claustrophobic in deep woods because it makes me feel hemmed in.  I much prefer those long vistas in more open areas.  (Open areas also make it easier to get a satellite signal, and I do like my television!)    

I also like to have birds and animals around. Sometimes I like to people watch, but I really prefer not to have too many of them too close to my home on wheels. Most commercial campgrounds are way too crowded with RVs packed into a small space, so I much prefer the larger spaces and more privacy of state or national parks. 

Anyway, enough rambling.  I am going to try to list about ten of my favorite places to camp, in no particular order:

  • Usery Mountain Regional Park, Mesa, AZ.  – Situated on a mountain slope just north of Mesa, this place has widely separated campsites in a gorgeous patch of Sonoran desert with big cactuses and tons of birds, bunnies, coyotes, and wild burros.  Great view of desert during the day and of lights of Mesa at night.  There is a mountain behind the campground and lots of hiking and bike trails.
  • Fort Clinch State Park, Amelia Island, FL. This is one of two Florida state parks that are directly on the Atlantic Ocean. It is on the north end of Amelia Island, overlooking Georgia on the other side of the St. Mary’s River.  The campground is only about 250 feet from over a mile of pristine beach so you can hear the surf at night.  There is also a long fishing pier and the surrounding area is dunes and scrub, so you can face your rig so you also have a view of the dunes and the river in the distance. Sometimes you can see naval supply vessels from the submarine base on the other side in Georgia. Other positives are the two-mile entrance drive under the live oak trees and the nearby civil war fort.
  • Old Federal Campground, Lake Lanier, GA. – This is my favorite of several Corps of Engineering Campground around this lake, mostly because each site is along the lake and has a great view.  Lots of things happening on the lake and sites are nicely separated. 

  • Myakka State Park, Sarasota, FL. – I really like the newer full-hookup campground here because the spots are large, widely spread out, and have shrubbery in between for privacy.  Myakka itself is a wildlife haven.  There is the Myakka River, several lakes, swampy and drier scrub, an area of live oaks dripping with ferns and Spanish moss, and palms.  It is Florida’s largest state park and offers an airboat tour of the lake, tram rides through the drier portions, nature boardwalk, and a canopy walk through the tree tops. You can almost always see multiple alligators and lots of birds where the river goes under the entrance road.

  • Fort Robinson State Park, NE. – This place is out of the way in northeastern Nebraska in hilly country.  It is an old Army base that was an Indian agency, cavalry training center during several wars, K-9 training center, prisoner of war camp during WWII, and more.  It has a hotel in old barracks buildings, restaurant, café, rental officers’ quarters, an indoor pool, tennis courts, summer playhouse, large full-service campground, stable space for your horse, a U of Nebraska museum containing two Colombian mammoths that died locked in combat, plus a military museum.  What more could you want? 

  • Watchman Campground, Zion National Park, UT.  – Incredible scenery in every direction, and a unique 1.5 miles entrance through the Zion Mt. Carmel tunnel.  This campground has a natural feel and is very close to the Visitor Center where you can catch a shuttle.  One trick, which I have not yet tried is to put your bike on the shuttle and take it to the end of the canyon and then coast back downhill!  No vehicles are allowed past the hotel, so all you have to worry about is the shuttles.

  • Grizzly RV Park, West Yellowstone, WY. – This is one of the very few commercial campgrounds that I really like.  West Yellowstone is very much a tourist town, but everything is bike riding or walking distance, and it has the best huckleberry chocolate chip ice cream I have every had!  The campground is on the edge of town, right across from the post office and two banks.  Roads are paved, large sites are gravel with a paved patio, and there is lots of well-kept grass and landscaping between.  Good cell service and they let you wash your RV at your site, which is very unusual.  A bit expensive, but well worth it.  Last time I was here, I rented a car to tour Yellowstone.  Impressive that they remembered what site I liked and gave it to me without my asking! 

Need to do more thinking, but that at least is a good start to a list of favorite campgrounds. 


  1. Nebraska = NE
    good descriptions here.

  2. Great list. Would you mind adding campground rates for these sites?

    1. These are places that meet my personal needs, so I really don't want to rate them. Best site to view more detailed comments on various campgrounds is I use that site constantly to select campgrounds. The important thing is to decide what YOU like and read the comments carefully. For example, a lot of people comment that the owner or camp hosts were friendly, which is something I could care less about!

  3. I meant the dollar rates for camping overnight, and whether that includes hookups or not. Sorry for the confusion. :)

  4. Sorry. The state parks were all about $26-30 per night and most have water & electric hookups. That is pretty much the standard for all state parks. The Corps of Engineering parks are about $30 for non-seniors and half of that for seniors having a national parks senior pass. Grizzly RV park is about $50 to $68 for full hookups, depending on if you have a discount.