The camp store, which we never saw, is a few miles
from the campground; here, you can rent
canoes and tubes to float the river.
There is a visitor center, with some big bass
in a tank but otherwise unremarkable.
There is also Fisher cave
which you can tour for a fee; I would skip this one, although it is located
right in the campground, and go for Meramec Caverns which is a few
miles drive, but spectacular.
We were interested in Meramec State Park in part for the
supposedly picturesque dining lodge, which is open with "seasonal hours". Beware;
"seasonal" apparantly does not mean summer, because it was
still closed, open only on weekends.
If you are interested in cabin camping,
the cabins in the park look very nice
with stone fireplaces, and even air conditioning!
No where does it list the prices, though.
Part of the problem is that all of the amenities
are farmed out to a secondary agency
and the state has no part in their operations;
so they are unreliable, and no information can be
gained about them from the state park website.
The campsites themselves are very crowded and at odd angles
to each other, leaving little space for tent campers;
Our site in particular had another site at right angles to it
which was 36 inches from our pad.
There are actually a few water/sewer/electric sites
which are unusual for a state park.
The showerhouses are nice and you'll get a good hot shower here.
Minimally maintained; it was a good
thing the park was practically empty, as there was little toilet paper
in the flush toilet area.
Do not be fooled by the park map; yes the river
runs alongside the campground, but it is
obscured by dense trees and shrubs;
there is only one area where the foliage has been cleared
to reveal a view of the river.
Overall, not worth the trip; you'll have a better experience at one of the
other parks nearby. (Yogi Bear's, or possibly Onondaga.)
We rate this park the worst of the ten Missouri state park campgrounds we've visited.
For more information on camping at Meramec State Park, click here For more information about Crazy Horse Campground, click here For more information on Countryside Resort Campground,
Crazy Horse Campground
A large and beautiful campground surrounded by flowing
mountain streams and woods, situated at the foot of
the Great Smoky Mountains. There are plenty of
activities for everyone including a nice playground,
large, clean pool, gameroom, waterslide, and trout fishing in a pond.
A few days a week there are plays for the children
in the Jack Tales theater.
The bathhouses have private showers, but the
bathrooms are not always kept clean, and are closed
at unusual hours, not always at the posted times.
(Like 10 a.m.)! The campsites include full hookups, but there are also
areas for tents, and water/electric sites as well.
Reasonable space between sites.
Choose streamside or "inland" campsites.
Staff is responsive and knowledgable about questions on area activities,
but could be friendlier.
This campground is a good 20-30 minute drive to local attractions.
Countryside Resort Campground
A good place to stop along the highway, or
if you don't mind driving a bit if Nashville is your destination.
A nice pool, golf course, and free fishing pond are the main amenities.
Sites are closely but carefully placed, and there is ample "green space"
within the grounds. Beautiful views of the distant mountains and nearby farm.
The abspolutely cleanest bathrooms we've found!
Also, meticulously maintained. The campground is on a well,
so be prepared to have your water usage well monitored.
Fire rings are too closely placed to the camping "pad",
so are unusable.
Overall, a pleasant and quiet place to set up camp.
Lake Wappapello, Missouri
Another Army Corps of Engineer park, and thus reservable under the
Reserveamerica website, this campground is actually divided by a highway road.
The side we camped on did not have access
to the lake; however on the other side,
the showerhouses were closed.
Lake Wappapello is, of course,
the main draw to this area,
and it is a very pretty lake, much like
Mark Twain Lake.
Redman Creek offers a decent (sand-covered) playground and
very nice, private showers. The sites are sufficiently large,
and there are lots of trees for shade.
A very clean and well patrolled park.
A pleasant place to stay if you're in the area,
but don't go out of your way.
For more information about Redman Creek, click here
Sam A. Baker State Park
Situated in the St. Francis mountains, this campground is
a bit out of the way; it is
near the Shut-ins and Taum Sauk mountain, and there is no easy way
to get here without driving on
curvy, hilly roads.
A good portion of campground 2 where we
stayed was still in ruins from a previous flood
and there was no longer a
playground due to this. There is lots of sun in the
center sites, so if you
are camping in summer, choose a site along the outskirts.
There is ample room between sites; most have lots of sand
on and around the driveway.
Once again, the dining lodge,
which is listed on their website as
being "open daily during summer months"
was closed during the week!
The bathrooms and showerhouse, although quaint, was dark
and not kept in good repair.
There are several trails accessible from the campground
which we did not explore due to the heat.
A nice, although small, nature center
is on the grounds. A mid-size creek runs alongside
campground 2, good for a dip when it's hot;
shallow, crystal clear water just cool enough to refresh.
Other than the creek, there is no real "draw"
to this campground
(unless you need equestrian trails); it's a pleasant place to stop
if you're in the area
or on your way to the shut-ins.
We rate this park seventh out of the ten
Missouri state park campgrounds we visited.
For more information about camping at
Sam A. Baker State Park, click here
Roaring River State Park
Probably the best trout park Missouri has, Roaring River also has
more things to do than most.
For trout fishing, there is much more space
to fish off the banks here than in any other of
Missouri's trout parks. Also, we have seen
many more trout taken here than anywhere else.
A dry creek bed runs through Campground 1 where we stayed; I think
this is the nicest part of the park, but if you
are a fisherman, Campground 2 or 3 would probably
suit your fancy more, as Roaring River runs through it.
There is a swimming pool and a very nice nature center
which provides many organized activities throught the day.
Of coarse ther is also the rearing pools to visit
and trout to feed; also, many trails
are within the park to enjoy.
On selected Saturday nights (we were lucky to be there on one)
a very good, informal bluegrass band plays in the amphitheater.
That alone is worth the trip!
The dining lodge was beautiful (it is inside a newly built lodge)
but just a tad bit fancy for campers, in our opinon.
Fairly good food, but you won't miss much if you skip it.
We rate this park the third best
out of the nine Missouri State Park Campgrounds we've visited.
For more information about camping at
Roaring River State Park,
A pleasant place to stop just off I-70,
this KOA is a wonderful example for other campgrounds
to aspire to be.
Very freindly staff, exceptionally clean grounds
and restrooms, and well though out camping areas.
The pool is clean; but the spa was cloudy and off-color.
Most campsites have a strategically placed tree
which aligns right with a camper window, so you don't
just see your neighbor's camper.
Bathrooms have a nice added touch of sunflowers
on the vanities.
You can't beat the $1.99 all you can eat pancakes
and sausage each morning, which are delicious.
All in all, a great choice for a stop if you're in the area.
For more information about camping at WaKeeney KOA,
Elk Meadow RV Park
Estes Park, Colorado
Formerly Blue Arrow Adult-only park,
this is owned by the same people who own Spruce Lake.
Charming Lodge and office building (although we could do
without the practically nude picture in the lodge).
They boast 360 degree views; they don't say, though,
views of what. One would assume
mountains...but it is actually views of
other campers! They do stagger the campsites
down the hill, but you are really packed in on all sides.
I honestly do not see how any elk could
wander into this place, it is so full of campers.
Staff are curt and not very freindly.
We were given 3 different campsites before
we even left the office! They assigned us
a pull-through site which apparantly we shouln't have had;
then, it took two staff members to try
to figure out which site we should have.
(We made reservations 3 months ahead).
The pool looked clean enough, as did the spa,
but it was much too cold (end of June)
to make use of them, even if heated.
There is enough space between campers for awnings,
but there are no fire rings.
The weeds between spaces and throughout
the campground were knee high, not mowed.
As a former adult-only park, there are still a number of
former customers who obviously don't like
the presence of children.
There is a nice little playground, though, and the laundry room
is very clean and very nice.
You'll need a code to enter the bathrooms and laundry,
as the national park campers have neither, and
I guess it has been a problem in the past with
non-customers using the facilities.
The same goes for the pool and spa,
however you'll need a $5.00 deposit for a key
to enter this area, a real inconvenience.
There is only one activity each day,
such as pot-luck or a movie.
Clean bathrooms and showers, although
the water pressure is low, not only
in the showers but also to the campsites.
The showers are also narrow and small.
Located near the Moraine entrance to the national park,
Elk Meadow is a short drive to Trail Ridge Road.
Close to town also, if you're so inclined to go there.
Not a great campground, but not the worst, either.
For more information on camping at Elk Meadow, click here.
Hawn State Park
St Genevieve, Missouri
The Missouri state parks system labels Hawn
as "the loveliest of all Missouri state parks".
If you love small, quiet campgrounds,
interesting and fun hiking trails, and pine trees,
this is the place for you.
Campsites are well spaced and laid out;
there is ample shade. The bathrooms are
large and very clean; the individual showers are
private rooms, with a good range of temperature
and strong water pressure.
Beautiful trees line the road, and
lovely Pickle Creek is a good place
to catch crawdads. Get a site that backs up to the creek;
there is a trail to it behind each campsite.
The campground host was very freindly, and
they even deliver firewood right to your campsite
(from a golf cart).
One major flaw here is the lack of a dumpster
anywhere in the main part of the campground.
You have to walk quite a distance to the entrance
of the campground to find one.
There are several state parks in this area
to choose from, but Hawn is a good choice;
a pleasant stop not far from Farmington (and Wal Mart).
We rate Hawn fifth best of the ten Missouri state parks we've visited.
For more information about camping at Hawn State Park, click here.
Mark Twain State Park
The second oldest state park in the system,
you'd think it would have more amenities.
This campground is laid out as 3 separate areas
with no check-in booth or gate to officially mark
the entrance to the camping area off the road.
The one and only dumpster for the entire park
is at the "entrance", or miles away from
where you're camping. This is also where
the dump station is.
The Puma campground has a few sites that have unofficial trails
which you can take to the water; otherwise you must drive.
Basic and electric only sites here. The amphitheater is also
located along the main road, not within
walking distance to any campsite.
Some buddy sites, but also some sites share driveways
and SHOULD be labeled as buddy sites, but are not.
Lots of trees, but that means the stars are hidden
and it is dark and cool even in summer.
There are other campgrounds on this lake which offer
full hookups; the state park system should
keep up with the Joneses in this regard.
The Mark Twain State Historic Site is nearby with
a museum dedicated to the author including
his birthplace cabin moved inside the museum.
We rate Mark Twain ninth out of the ten Missouri State Parks
we've camped at.
For more information on camping
at Mark Twain State Park, click here
The Wilderness at Silver Dollar City
Formerly Silver Dollar City Campground, this was a last-minute choice
as Acorn Acres changed hands. Not exactly wilderness, you're still close
to all the Branson stuff, and they have FREE shuttles to SDC parks.
The main selling point for me was the FREE cable
at each site; also, they do not charge extra
for children until they are 12 or over.
This campground, like several others nearby, adjoin a major highway.
It was hard to sleep with all the road noise if the a/c was off;
even though our site wasn't ON the highway, like may others.
Gravel and odd-shaped campsites, you'll likely
park your vehicle NEXT to your camper.
Forget the fire, unless you want to torch your car or camper.
A nice store and game room, bathrooms
looked kept up OK, not super clean. An OK pool.
Laundry room was "OK" as well, not as clean as it could be.
A nice touch is a lamplight at each site which
gives it a homey feel.
New cabins are on the far end, which
from the website look very nice.
For more information about
camping at The Wilderness at Silver Dollar City, click here
Hidden Vally RV Resort & Campground
Right off I-90 is a wonderfull overnight spot
or seasonal campground. There are many Park Model homes in this
campground, but the folks are friendly to visitors.
The park is very clean and the pool very nice
with a little waterfall. The spa is also very clean.
Locals in golf carts make the rounds frequently.
The sounds of the highway are always failtly audible, but there's
lots of grass and trees around. Fire rings are somewhat close
to campers but can be useable, carefully. Recommended for a short stay.
For more information about camping at Hidden Vally,
Fort Wilkins Historic State Park
Copper Harbor, Michigan
On the tip of the Keweenaw peninsula lies Fort Wilkins.
An old military outpost, this is now a living museum
with live reinactors. The state park sits between Lake Fanny Hooe
and Lake Superior. There are several campsites right across from
Lake Fanny Hooe. This is a quiet campground with oddly laid-out
campsites, some can be very difficult to back into,
so be very mindful of the state park's maps and site descriptions.
You will be camping on a dirt surface. Be sure to
take along a long extention cord, as you will be sharing
the electrical hookup with your neighbor and this can be in an unconventional area!
This is not a heavily trafficked campground, so bikes would be OK.
This campground is divided in 2 areas: east and west.
There is actually a laundry facility inside the East campground.
Also, the east campground is closest to a nice playground, while
the west campground has some old metal play equipment.
A short walk to the shores of Lake Superior by lake trail.
For more information on camping at
Fort Wilkins, click here.
Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park
A very beautiful expanse of land bordering Lake Superior,
this state park is truly beautiful, with numerous hiking trails
and an abundance of nature programs offered throughout the day, both at the
visitors center and at the campground. Bears frequent the area,
so there is caution with respect to trash disposal,
but the closest we came to them was at a local restaurant dumpster.
The sites are fairly well laid out and separated, but be aware that the
lakefront sites do allow vehicle parking lengthwise across the sites.
You will be camping on grass. The fire rings are well away from
the camping areas in most instances. You will be sharing the
electrical hookup with your neighbor so be sure to take a long
extention cord. There is a laundry in the campground, but both dryers
were broken while we were there and we had to
drive to town to use the laundromat dryers (where the bears were).
The roads here are very narrow and busy;
keep the bikes at home for this trip.
Be sure to make your reservations 6 months in advance, as certainly the
lakefront sites go within hours of being available.
I logged in mid-morning 6 months to the date of arrival
and had to get a site across the road from the lake.
As luck would have it, a jumbo-sized motorhome
was parked lengthwise along the lakefromt in front of us,
so we had no view of the lake unless he pulled out for the afternoon.
There are many waterfalls located within the park,
but they are almost all small. Take the car and
drive to the western part of the park for a really nice one.
For more information on camping at "the Porkies", click here
Indiana Dunes State Park
Upon entering the park you will see large towers looming
to either side of the road. Past the check-in booth (where you will pay
7 to 10 bucks to enter for out of state vehicles) is the entrance
to the campground. You see glimpses of the beach on the way in.
The campgound has been re-done in the last few years.
Spacious and shady sites, nice playground (there are 2)
and very nice showerhouse. No alcohol is allowed so the whole place
is eerily quiet at night, which is NICE! You can actually hear the crickets.
Nice shady dump station. Easy to get in and out of the park
from the interstate. There is a visitor center which was closed
when we were there (stopped as overnighter). The beach yielded a beautiful sunset
marred only by the refinery to the left and nuclear power plant
on the right. Sand was clean. Many rules posted on the
lifeguard chairs, beach closes at 6pm nightly.
Another camper we met said every 15 minutes or so
a loudspeaker blares the rules and regulations and threatens fines
for noncompliance. Real relaxing. They left early.
For more information on Indiana Dunes State Park, click here
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park
Platte River Campground
If seclusion and peace and quiet are what you're looking for,
this is it. Very spacious, private campsites which include electricity
only at the Platte River campground. Showers are pay by the token. Here there is
only one loop that is reservable and you better be quick
with the keyboard, as they are snatched up withing 5 minutes of becoming available.
I had to go with another date as my first choice filled up instantly.
I it about a 15-20 min drive to the visitor center and another
15 minutes beyond that to the beach.
Worth the drive, gorgeous white and and not crowded, blue blue water
and serenity mix with fun for the kids. Safe swimming throughout the shoreline at Glen Haven.
Park progams spread thoughout the vast property; life saving demonstration daily was fun.
Awesome buildings to explore. The one night program we attended was
only OK, but the amphitheater was huge for a campground.
We lost electricity for half of our 4 day stay after a storm. It was out for miles around,
so nothing was open, so be prepared.
For more information at camping at Platte River Campground, click here.
Tahquamenon Falls State Park
Lower Falls Campground
This campground is one of 2 within Tahquamenon State Park.
The other is the Rivermouth campground which is
some 20 miles to the south.
The lower falls themselves are walking distance to the
campground, and it is a pretty hike.
You can also walk all the way to the upper falls if you desire,
but it is about 4 miles or so. There is an ice cream and gift shop
at the entrance to the lower falls trail, but the one at the upper falls
is much nicer, especially the resturant.You can rent a boat
at the lower falls to get to the island, where
the scenery is beautiful and you can
get closer to the falls. You want to go early in the day
before the bathers spoil it; even though there are signs
everywhere warning of danger, lots of people park lawnchairs
and risk bathing in the falls. I even saw one set of parents
tie their small children to ropes around the waist so the kids
could swim in the rapidly flowing water.
The daily park programs are offered throughout the day and
vary from different locations and are excellent.
Showerhouses are clean and modern with private showers.
As with most Michigan state parks, you will be camping on dirt.
Shared hookups, so bring a long extension cord.
But, you only share with one other site. I believe alcohol is
prohibited here as well, it is very quiet at night. We could hear the lower falls
from our campsite. We had a "river view" campsite but although
you could vaguely see the river from the campground,
it is merely a technicality.
This is a very remote part of the state and there were no
diesel stations for some 30 miles to the south so be sure
you have plenty to fuel before you get up toward Paradise.
For more information on camping at Tahquamenon Falls State Parks, click here.
PJ Hoffmaster State Park
This campground is what camping is truly all about.
This is why we go out camping with our families!
There is everything provided here. Beautiful white sand beach,
lovely surroundings, and a family atmosphere.
There is only one playground, but it is very nice and accessible
to both sides of the campground. The trail to the beach
is beautiful and not a very long walk. Showerhouses were clean with
private showers. You will be camping on dirt again, but
each site has its own electric hookup, which is
rare in Michigan state parks. The sites are very big by Michigan standards
and for the most part shady. We had a streamside site which was nice
but the woods around the campground are LOADED with poison ivy!
There is a visitor center a short drive from the campground
which is highly over-rated. The boardwalk to the dunes is a disappointment.
The ranger programs are rather shoddy, as the naturalists
are not very knowledgable and tend to talk down to everyone
and even ignore the questions of youngsters, making everyone uncomfortable.
We arrived on a Sunday which was a very busy day;
it thins out during the week. Lots of people walking
in the street when we arrived.
For more information on camping at Hoffmaster State Park, click here.
An overnighter spot on the side of I-70, this KOA is convenient
if anything else. Very easy on and off the freeway.
The hosts greet you at the entrance and escort you to your site,
which we don't particularly like. Even though it is situated
in the middle of a cornfield, it is surprisingly
secluded-feeling. The pool is clean and very nice, no spa.
The playground is very nice. Roomy spaces and lots of grass
between spaces, and each site has a tree for shade.
There is a small lake for private fishing without a license.
Each picnic table was adorned with a potted flower, a nice touch.
The game room was not air-conditioned and hot, and had a
pool table, a computer for games, and TV; you can rent
movies inexpensively. Lots of reading areas. There is a fireplaced
reading room in the office but you are right there at the
reception desk, kinda awkward and not very relaxing.
The host came up to us as we were flushing our tank preparing to leave
and asked us not to, said the sewer was overflowing.
For more information on camping at the Casey KOA, click here.
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