Campground Reviews

The good, the bad, and the ugly. Not all campgrounds are created equal. A great campground can really enhance your trip, or even be a destination in itself. A bad one might lead you to question if you even really like camping to begin with. As we travel, we review the campgrounds where we stay, so look below to find out which ones we think you shouldn’t miss, and which ones to avoid.

Alamogordo NM/White Sands National Monument

I had never heard of White Sands National Monument before we started planning our trip through New Mexico. Maybe it’s because I’m from the East Coast and I had never heard anyone talking about going there, but this gem of a park was not on our radar until we started looking for a stop-over to break up the trip between Albuquerque and El Paso, TX. Our visit to the park began at the visitor’s center Continue Reading →

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Petrified Forest National Park and the Holbrook/Petrified Forest KOA

Petrified Forest National Park was another of those stops that was never on our original itinerary. Our next planned stop was Albuquerque, but the drive there was longer than we wanted to do in a single day. As I sat in the little room at the Grand Canyon Community Library and searched the web for a good place to stop between Grand Canyon and Albuquerque, I stumbled upon Petrified Forest National Park. Only about 20 Continue Reading →

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Camping in Grand Canyon National Park

There are a number of campgrounds and RV parks along the road as you approach Grand Canyon National Park. I’m sure they all have their advantages, but we loved the idea of being able to just park the car for a few days and get around on foot and using the shuttle bus system. There are several campground options within the national park itself, but only Trailer Village has hook-ups. So we chose Trailer Village Continue Reading →

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Blake Ranch RV Park – Kingman

Our next destination was the Grand Canyon. But the drive from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon was a little longer than our typical day’s drive (Google maps predicted 4 hrs and 40 min). Adding in our stop at the Hoover Dam, we decided to stop for a night in between and chose the Blake Ranch RV Park in Kingman, AZ. Their rates were really reasonable, even after they charged us extra for the kids. Continue Reading →

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Viva Las Vegas

A little known fact about Las Vegas: there is a campground on “the Strip”. There’s a wall around most of it for security and sound-dampening, so if you’re not looking for it, you probably wouldn’t see it. But nevertheless, there is a large parking lot behind Circus Circus, and it’s run by KOA. Really there’s very little about camping on the Strip that would usually be described as camping, outside of the fact that we Continue Reading →

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Hits and Misses in the California High Desert

Calico Ghost Town

(Fear not, loyal reader… after a brief hiatus when celebrating Christmas and the New Year with our families took priority over blogging, we’re back. We WILL continue sharing our trip and we’ll hopefully finish before memories start to fade. Thanks for sticking with us and for your patience!) Our last night spent in California was a stop at the KOA in Barstow, in the high desert enroute to Nevada. The scenery was beautiful and despite Continue Reading →

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Camping in San Diego

Welcome back! My apologies for the recent blogging hiatus. I realize it wasn’t clear whether the blog would continue to recount the rest of our adventures even after we have returned home. I will continue writing it for myself even if no one continues to read. But I hope you will, because there’s still about a third of our trip left to share. Now that our kiddos are semi-recovered from jet lag, it may be Continue Reading →

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Oceano Washout

Travel Route

One more night on our way to Santa Barbara. We stayed at the Oceano Campground in Pismo Beach, which is a San Luis Obispo State Park. We weren’t far from Santa Barbara, but we were waiting for our friends to get home. We picked Oceano because it was easy walking distance to a beach, a duck pond and a large playground. The plan was to stay the night then spend as much time there as Continue Reading →

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Pinnacles National Monument

We worked our way slowly south through California for many reasons. The weather was amazing and there was so much to see and do. We also felt like California is so far away from where we usually are when we’re in the US that we’re unlikely to get back there again any time soon. And at this particular point in our trip through California, we were trying to time it right to see our friends Continue Reading →

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Monterey

Our next stop in California was along the coast between Santa Cruz and Monterey, at the Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay KOA (creative name, I know). At over $50 per night (before our member discount) for the most basic campsite, this was by far the most expensive campground we’d stayed in yet. In fact, we chose to stay an extra night in San Francisco because the weekend rate for the same site was over $70. On the Continue Reading →

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Redwood Area Campgrounds

We stayed in three different campgrounds as we made our way south through the northern California/Redwood area: Hiouchi RV Park, Sounds of the Sea, and Albion River Campground. Here are reviews of all three: Hiouchi RV Park Price: $31/night Location: Just outside the entrance to Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park, a 10 mile drive from Crescent City Site description: gravel and grass; some sites had a concrete slab Facilities: adequate bathroom/shower facilities. Showers were not Continue Reading →

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Crater Lake

Sparkling and radiant blue and surrounded by rugged cliffs, Crater Lake is instantly captivating and breathtakingly beautiful. We visited Crater Lake National Park on a sunny Saturday and spent the day exploring the park and once again marveling at God’s amazing handiwork. We drove the loop around the lake, which seems to be very popular with cyclists, and stopped at various overlooks and view points. The lake appears so different from different perspectives, including an Continue Reading →

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Mt. Rainier

As we headed south from Seattle toward Portland, we realized that Mt. Rainier wasn’t far off of our route. Since we needed a stop somewhere to break up the drive anyway, we decided to make Mt. Rainier that stop. We found a campground online called Mineral Lake Resort, and from the website it looked like a great place. And that just proves how easy it is to misrepresent yourself on the internet. It wasn’t terrible, Continue Reading →

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Sleeping in Seattle: Seattle KOA Campground Review

Often when we visit friends, we are able to set up the camper in their driveway or yard. But since our friends in Seattle live in an apartment, we needed to find a campground. There weren’t a lot of options available, and because the Seattle KOA is actually located in Kent where our friends live, we chose the KOA. It worked, but it certainly wasn’t our favorite campground. Here’s our review: Price: $42/night, after KOA Continue Reading →

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Learning to pronounce “Butte”

After Yellowstone, our next real destination was to visit our friends in the Seattle area. But it was much too far for us to drive straight there, so we broke the trip up into three legs with two “en route” nights in between. Our long day-trip to the Tetons turned into a late night, which meant a sluggish morning getting packed up to leave Yellowstone. But with no specific destination in mind for that night, Continue Reading →

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Yellowstone Campground Review: Hideaway RV Park

While we explored Yellowstone and the Tetons, we stayed at Hideaway RV Park in West Yellowstone, Montana. Here’s our review of this small but charming campground. Price: $31.50 per night Location: Easy access from West Yellowstone to the west entrance of Yellowstone NP. We found Hideaway to be central enough to have easy access, but outside of the downtown enough to be relatively quiet. Facilities: Simple bathrooms and shower, but hot water supply was good. Continue Reading →

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Weekend in Billings, Montana

Why Billings? Because with just a short detour off of our planned route, we were able to visit with friends that we hadn’t seen for years. We met their kids, introduced them to ours, and had a really nice time catching up. We met Julia when we were all working at Kirkwood together in 2000. The next year, when she married Justin, we drove out to Kansas to be a part of their wedding. But Continue Reading →

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The Devil and a Crazy Woman

Leaving South Dakota, we continued west into Wyoming. The plan was to drive to Devil’s Tower, spend a little time exploring there, then continue on to Gillette to camp for the night. We had plans to meet friends in Billings, MT for the weekend. Native Americans and other early settlers developed many legends and folk tales around the Devil’s Tower landmark. And it’s not hard to understand why. When all the surrounding area is rolling Continue Reading →

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Black Hills Campground Review: Spokane Creek

Our home in the Black Hills was at the Spokane Creek campground. It’s definitely a place we’d recommend! Here’s our review: Price: $22/night, off-season rate. Location: A bit difficult to find, so believe what they say on their website. It’s easier to call and get directions from them or get it straight from the website than it is to find it with a gps. But otherwise a great location, right on Iron Mountain Road, which Continue Reading →

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There is this Silence in the Badlands…

Any Rich Mullins fans out there that recognize this title as a line from his song “Calling out your Name”? I must confess that other than this song lyric, I’d never even really heard of the Badlands. They weren’t along our original planned route, mostly because we didn’t know they were there. But we’re so glad we changed our route to include this beautiful area! After days and days of driving through seemingly endless prairies, Continue Reading →

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