Of the eight National Parks I visited on my month long roadtrip, Grand Teton was my favorite. Gros Ventre is a great location to explore the park, particularly the southern half (Moose and Jackson, WY).
There is next to no privacy - the campground is in the middle of a few cottonwood trees and lots of scrub brush. Bathrooms were clean, staff was incredibly friendly.
Mormon Row is less than five minutes away by car if you want a great place to watch the sunrise! Craft beer could be found in Moose where there's a roof top bar.
Sinkhole Campground is relatively small compared to most of the campgrounds in this area. There are a total of 26 sites, and 13 of them can be reserved online in advance. These sites are spread over 2 loops, and each loop has 1 bathroom building with a men’s and women’s side. There is a campground host at the entrance, as well as an above ground water source (it does not claim to be drinking water but the info on Recreation.gov says it is drinking water). There are also dumpsters, but they have a sign saying it costs $3 per bag of trash to use them.
The bathrooms are nothing fancy, but they were clean, had toilet paper, working locks, air freshener, and they were regularly maintained. The vault toilets have the smallest seats I’ve ever seen, but again… they were clean. There was a “sewage” smell for about 10 feet around the bathroom building, but absolutely no smell inside other than the air freshener.
The campground was laid out in a different way than I’ve seen in any other campground, but it seems to work. Each site from 1-13 (as far as I noticed) was designed to be passenger side facing in a circular design that means you are not walking out to face your neighbor doing the same. We stayed in site 5, which is considered a group site with site 4. Thankfully, we were there with 2 other families, and we had both site 4 and site 5. Honestly, if we had been in either site without being there with the other family it would have been awkward. I’ve posted pictures because it will be very hard to explain. Basically, it’s 2 parking spaces that are extra-long, and one has an extra 10 feet at the back so the idea is that both RVs will open about 5 feet apart.
The campground is roughly a half-mile walk from the Willow Springs Lake. We ventured to the lake a few times and I swear each attempt to get to or from the lake resulted in a different path taken. It was odd to think, but I do not believe that these are highly traveled paths since there are multiple places you can drive right up to the lake and many of the trails looked overgrown. If you stay at Sinkhole, I strongly suggest you check out the lake. It was very pretty even with the water being roughly 5 or 6 feet low. We went fishing a few times and caught a few small trout, hiked about a quarter way around the lake, found a geocache, and just enjoyed the scenery.
As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time. On this trip, I tested the Women’s OOriginal Sandal. The OOFOS sandals (or flip flops as I can’t help but call them) are kind of amazing. They claim to be recovery shoes. I had NO idea what that meant until I had them. Basically, these are meant to be worn after any type of high impact activity such as running, hiking or anything else that keeps you on your feet for an extended period of time. I’ve been wearing them daily for the last week. I’ve worn other shoes to work and then come home to my OOFOS… amazing. I’ve worn my OOFOS to work.,.,. amazing. I’ve gone hiking for a few miles then come back to camp and put on my OOFOS… amazing.
These sandals claim to float and be washing machine safe. I did actually put them in the lake, and, thankfully, they do float. They aren’t so buoyant that you can’t walk in the water with them but they aren’t like trying to step on a boogey board. Bottom line is if they end up in the water they will float. I think this adds to the “perfect” checklist for any boater because who loves being out in the lake and losing their stuff!? I’ve also put them through my washing machine and they have come out the other side much better than when they went in. I have a High Efficiency set which often means “really” dirty stuff like these shoes won’t come out clean on the first wash but these look pretty good! Also, there is no degradation of the material or the structural integrity of the sandal.
I can’t truly tell you what the sandals are made of… but it’s a high density foam of some sort. They are soft enough that you would want to believe they are memory foam, but they don’t hold your shape when you take them off. The shoes are very supportive and when you take them off they instantly retain their original shape. They have arch support, which for me is often a bad thing. I generally have flat feet but the arch support on these is comforting and actually worth wearing. There is a pattern on the inside of the sandal which gives you grip when your feet are wet or slippery. They also have tread on the bottom of the sandal that will prevent you from slipping in slick conditions. I wore them around camp for a few days and had no issues with the dirt, asphalt, pine needles, etc.
Overall, I have fallen in love with my OOFOS. They are great for day-to-day wear and amazing for recovery wear. The wide range of color choices means you can easily find a pair that will fit in with your style. The foam is supportive and easily beats out any general flip flop for comfort in daily wear. I’ve used them after 8 hours of standing on hard wood… I’ve used them after 8 hours at the office… I’ve used them after 4 hours of hiking… and I’ve used them just because… and all of these are amazing.
From Civil War prison camp to one of Maryland’s most diverse and popular natural areas, Point Lookout State Park is located at the confluence of the Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River in St. Mary’s County. We chose Point Lookout State Park to spend Memorial Day Weekend, and were thrilled with everything but the weather, which flip-flopped from stormy to super hot and muggy.
This is just one of those parks where there are a million things to do. We were last minute campers on Memorial Day Weekend, so we didn’t have many sites to choose from. We also brought a dog with us, and while the park is mostly dog-friendly, there are definitely some restrictions. Dogs are not allowed in Loop C or D of the campground, and are prohibited from some of the beaches and day areas as well. While we didn’t score a waterfront site, or even one with a view of the water, we did get a nice shady site with lots of privacy (in the Tulip Loop).
All of the sites are plenty big, and the loop we were in came with water and electric hook-ups. We were originally hoping for something in the B Loop, but we ended up being really happy in our spot because while the B Loop was beautiful with waterfront campsites, the bugs were awful and there was no shade anywhere. I think it would make for pretty miserable camping, at least in the summer.
As for activities, fishing is probably the biggest draw here. There are piers for fishing, separate piers for crabbing, and a fishing beach. There is also a full-service boat launch with a fish-cleaning station and a park store with provisions, including bait.
The swimming beach was busy, but the water was clean with a sandy bottom. There is a separate beach for dogs. Other attractions include the original Point Lookout Lighthouse, which was built in 1830 (currently closed for renovations), a Civil War and nature museum, kayak and canoe rentals, and a nature trail.
What We Loved:
What We Didn’t Love:
As a Ranger for the Dyrt, I am occasionally offered products to test and review while camping. On this trip, I tested the Ethnotek Premji Travel Daypack, which I used at this campground, and on a 2,000-mile road trip exploring the Blue Ridge Parkway and Shenandoah National Park.
First, a bit of background info about the Premji Daypack:
This is a 20-liter pack. It is roomy enough for all your day-hiking essentials, including extra layers, lunch, water bottles, and your 10 essentials. When I ordered my pack, I was able to choose the outer fabric from a collection of 14 different fabrics from around the world. The ethically sourced fabrics are handmade in villages across five countries (Ghana, Guatemala, India, Vietnam, and Indonesia). I fell in love with almost all of the designs, but settled on a blue and white pattern created using a batik dyeing method in Indonesia.
The pack features a very roomy main compartment, is lightly padded, and opens from the top or the side for easy access. There is a separate partition for a small laptop in the main compartment, but if you’re looking for a designated laptop bag, I would definitely go with the Setia Laptop Backpack, which is a bit slimmer and more padded.
There are a bunch of things to love about the Premji Daypack, and I only have two small complaints. Let’s start with the awesome:
My minor complaints:
All in all, I’m thrilled to have discovered Ethnotek. The bags are beautifully and sustainably made, the price is reasonable, and there are so many cool designs to choose from. A great product from a great company!
To be fair I'd like to preface this review with a word of caution. We went in the middle of Summer. High bug season. Take a look at other reviews as they come in and see what time of year they visited. Maybe they'll have a similar experience, maybe not. The fun thing about this state park is that all the sites are hike in. No drive up camping. It has a couple camper cabins as well. But everyone is spread out along a few trails so it's a little quieter than your typical campground.
When we pulled up to the parking lot we knew we were in trouble. The black flies were dive bombing the car like a scene from Armageddon. We prepared the kiddos for a quick grab and run and jumped out of the car. Our campsite was about a mile from the car so we started at a quick walk onto the trail. First step onto the grassy trail exploded in a cloud of mosquitos. Walking along the kids all looked like Pig-Pen from Peanuts. Even though we'd sprayed everyone down the bugs must have felt safety in numbers because we were covered in welts in no time flat. That's when the jogging began. Soon we were running and also planning out how to set up camp the quickest. Little tent first, throw the kids in, big tent second and then everyone in there while dinner was being made. Luckily at our actual campsite the bugs weren't quite as horrendous so we were able to get out a bit after applying a few more layers of repellant. Our site was on a short private trail off the main loop and opened up to a decent space. We had a picnic table and fire pit and plenty of space for our two tents and an area to play. We were all entertained by the plethora of mushroom varieties that surrounded the camp. We spent a bit of time outside and then played in the tent the rest of the night. Unfortunately the bugs were bad enough that the next morning we just packed up and headed back to the car. I would like to come back to this park in late fall and try out a camper cabin. There are three of them all on lakes so if you can get past buggy season it has the potential to be a great experience. Have you ever been to Lake Maria? Stayed in one of their camper cabins? Let me know, I'd love to hear how it went!