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Elkhorn, WISCONSIN

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Wonderful

We did our first (family of 5) camping trip at Thomas Woods. We were at site 4 which is electric hookup and it was a huge area! The kids had so much space to run around and explore. They loved the well pump. We explored the campground both tent and rv. Both areas were well spaced out with enough privacy. There was another 3 groups there but didn’t noticed everyone was quiet. We also went on walks within the conservation, the trails were very easy and was a nice walk. We will definitely be going back to Thomas Woods

Great in the off season

This park has a fair amount of trees throughout which gives a greater sense of privacy than most state parks. As usual, the facilities were well maintained and the park was clean. The beach was great for morning walks but that draw makes it seem that this park is probably packed in the summer. Location of hiking trails from campsite isn't super clear but head south for the longest trails. If it's been raining a lot I'd be wary as many of the sites were completely underwater when we went. It's a great place to take your dog with you! (Beware if they have long hair though, the pine trees meant I had to cut sap out of my dog's hair in several places.)

Amazing hiking and beautifully kept but a bit pricey

This campground is in a populated area but the nature preserve is big. We rarely saw traffic once here. A train goes by a couple times but it was always during the day. 

It’s pricey if you are from out of the county. We were hoping to camp at the primitive sites but they are walk-in only. Our teardrop wasn’t allowed. We settled at site 37 and enjoyed our stay. There are vault toilets but the large number of big RVs meant they were not used often leaving them almost like our private restrooms. Each site has water and electric. Trees are around the outside with few on the inside sites. All the sites have paved pads. 

The highlight of our experience is the hiking. There are miles of trails. On one hike we were on paved, sifted gravel, grass and single trek trails. There are a lot of loops giving you options. When we left we still hadn’t hiked all of them. 

If the price was more reasonable we would certainly be back. If you need the water/electric then this is a great choice.

Family Friendly Camping

Hickory Hills is a quiet but activity filled campground 30 minutes from Madison. There are many permanent campers but they are all friendly and welcoming. The lake has a nice beach. The pool is not too large but works on a hot day. Most people have golf carts as there is no place to park by the pool or the club house. The bathrooms are clean and well maintained. Every weekend there are activities planned from wine tasting to Halloween trick or treating. The sites are large and you can choose from shady or sunny sites. Great place to spend a few days or the whole summer.

Family fun!!

Great place to take the fam, big sites not to close to other campers. Lots of trees to hang a hammock and relax, great beach, good hiking. Going back for a weekend to check out the walk ins.

Always a great choice

We visited this fall and were happy. I always forget that the sites in the 340’s are awesome. There was some flooding but it didn’t effect our trip.

This is not an camp ground it a RV condo ass

Nice place though

So much to do here! Friendly people!

Overall great place! Would definitely go again. A bit pricey to camp but you definitely get your money’s worth.

Beautiful park

The park is clean, lots of shade, host on site and very well maintained. The almost 100 sites are all gravel with electric and water for a great price. Reservations can be made thru Real Racine but half of the sites are available for walkins. There is a shooting range close and RR to the west and Mitchell Airport to the north but they aren't bad.

The people who work there are great!

The people who work there are wonderful and even most of the seasonal campers we met were very nice people. We did have a few run ins with some not so good people however and the cops visit there often. The owners do their part to make things right however and immediately made the people causing trouble to leave. We were there for about a month and overall it was a good place to stay. Our tent site was right next to the playground, pool and bathrooms which made it convenient for our children, however kids run all over at night on the weekends until 2 am so the noise at that hour can be annoying. We also went through several storms while there and were offered parts for one of our canopies that blew away and the security guy who was always nice to us tied our other canopy to a tree when it also blew away to prevent it from going farther and being more damaged. Bathrooms I would give a 2 star rating alone.

Very nice friendly people

Bathrooms and outhouses were very clean! Not a lot to do but quiet and friendly atmosphere.

Best summer!!

We are seasonal sat crazyhorse campground , this is our first year and we have had the best summer ! ! The people are great from Jim the owner to Barb and Wayne. We have made some great new friends. There are always activities going on , bands , Dj’s, bags contest. The sugar river is so much fun kayaking and tubing which is all part of you stay at crazy horse. Tons of fun for kids and adults , I highly recommend .

Laid back

Nice park pretty laid back. Had some cool amenities like the off road park and multiple fishing spots. Has a winery and cool dive bars all within 10 min. Only downside is all the noise from the road and the drag strip near by.

Large sites, nice showers and beautiful Lake Michigan!

The sites are large and nice. There are some sites that aren't very level so you do need to check that out if you're in a larger rv. We had the beach mostly to ourselves. We camped from Monday to Thursday after school had started back. We will be returning to this campground. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay there. The only down side we found was the limited shower and toilet facilities for such a large campground. We didn't have any trouble because of the time we were camping but it would be a problem if the campground was pretty full.

Pride of Ownership

Wonderful campground within 10 minutes of  major freeway access. New owners Allison and Chris are very friendly, helpful and exhibit the pride of Ownership in every aspect of the campground. Cleanest restroom/showers I can ever recall at a campground. Very family and pet friendly with activities, lake and bar. Really enjoyed our overnight stay on a cross-country trip - highly recommend!

Quiet and Clean

Went on our maiden voyage with a new trailer and loved this place. Flat sites, some shade in the center sections. Outer sites backed to woods for most sites. The campground takes reservations 7 days out or drive up. We saw a lot of bigger rigs but so much space between sites it didn't feel like we were crowded. Even the Saturday night it was full still felt quiet and peaceful. Bathrooms were clean. About a mile hike to Lake Michigan but easy flat route-goes along community park thru a small neighborhood. Amazing view! Racine is only a 15 min drive away. No camp store or office. Camp Hosts helpful. Stores nearby. Great place to go for space, flat sites and trees.

No privacy

I enjoy Illinois beach state park for a quick getaway. It’s a great spot to cook out and have a beer. However it is generally loud, with no vegetation between you and your neighbor. It’s not an ideal spot to connect with nature. The beach is pretty but it’s more interesting to look at the derelict old buildings and nearby out of use nuclear power plant.

First to Review
Clean & Safe Urban Campground On County Preserve

This campground is very well maintained with all the amenities you could need: a small camping store, communal kitchen, firepits, and clean bathrooms. Check out the office for fun seasonal events like group hikes and geocaching contests. 

Located in the Norwest suburb of Palatine, this campground is super accessible from Chicago and a fun getaway for suburban camping. Grocery stores and modern conveniences are minutes away. From the campground you have access to the entire Deer Park preserve and it's paved cycling and walking trails.

Cook County residents get a nice discount, as do veterans. Rates go up on the weekends. A one week limit for all stays unless you get approval from higher-ups. 

RV spots are concrete, flat, and easy to get into. 

Overall, a very clean and well-loved sem-urban camping experience.

It might be the timing

We had a wooded site in the Sunset campground, mid-week.

The sites are rustic but nicely groomed with a tree line between most campsites, although almost none of the spots had occupants. The camp hosts were very nice and very communicative about all the happenings. Picnic table and fire pit included. Long enough drive in for RVs. But enough grass for tenting. Not many trees available for clothes lines.

Unfortunately, we might have had bad timing. The beach was closed due to high levels of bacteria. The pit toilets closest to us were also closed due to a bee hive being found so we ended up driving to the flush toilets if there was any urgency but could walk if you wanted. We also picked a spot by the water fountain. The water was yellow from iron. It had just stormed so the bugs were bad and everything was wet. So mostly a series of unfortunate events but we still enjoyed our time.

Because this is a prairie, there is so much to look at! The hiking trails are great through prairie and woods. The sunrise over the prairie and the sunset colors of the sky were great.

Not my favorite

We went here for a friend's birthday. It felt like we were packed in like sardines. Barely enough space to use the fire pit. Not much for shade and the only separating you from your neighbors are driveways/roads. The best parts was the full hookups, the pool, and the live music.

I do not think we will return to this campground.

Not Bad

The park is pretty nice. The pedestrian beach is to rocky for my liking, but the dog beach is nice and sandy yet small. There is also a bit of a hike to get there. So if you take a cooler you may want a wagon.

The sites we were in were a little narrow to back in a 30ft camper. The pictures of the site did not show this. The staff was friendly and the restrooms were clean.

Fort Atkinson Yogi Bear

We had a great time camping over the summer! Plenty for the kids and adults.

Tent camping near lake

Tent sites are in hickory hills area. Easy walk to showers/toilets over across from site 100. Tent sites are much more shaded and private than electric sites. We were traveling with another family so had two sites. If you have two parties I'd recommend sites 27 and 31 which have a little private path and potentially 53 and 5 which also appeared to have a path between them. Our sites 47 and 53 were big and shaded but not very flat for sleeping. Boat launch very close if you bring your own kayaks or canoes. There are also some for rent at the other end of the park. Park and ice at concessions.

Large wooded sites- near loud road

The campground is well kept with several bathrooms and showers. We have a 30ft travel trailer, and it was easy to maneuver around the campground. We did have to wait in line to fill the water tank, but the water pressure was good and it didn’t take too long. We stayed at site 327e, which was very easy to back in to and was mostly level. Easy access to electrical and plenty of space for slide outs. A nice big fire pit with large flat grate for cooking, one of the best set ups I’ve seen. Would be perfect, but there’s a loud highway WI-67 traffic about 20 ft from the campsite. Tons of loud motorcycles and trucks with constant traffic. If you want solitude I would avoid sites 305e-328e, all of the odd number sites back up to the road. Evens, except for 328e, are inside and are better. Video shows traffic and noise. I would come back, but pick a site inside the campground and away from highway.

Lots to do

There are a ton of activities here to include two bouncy pillows, three play grounds, a pool, water slides, a kids water activity area, beach, water obstacle course, inflatable slide, RC car track, laser tag, mini golf, giant chess, and I'm sure I'm missing something. Great place for families. Don't allow Saturday checkout.

Good open place to camp

A good place to camp . Price is very reasonable and the people are great . Easy to get in and out . Lots are nice and well kept . Close to everything you need. Not a lot to do at this location

Great campground!

Camped here the past few years for my son’s birthday. Last year we heard out their fall package and got 3 weekends for a very much discounted price. Loved it so much we got it again this year! We will again spend most of September here! So many activities for the kids and adults! Yes it’s pricey, but you know that going into your reservation. It’s not like you have to pay extra for the wristbands at every other campground. They’re already included. The package we have includes 2 Halloween weekends. We have been to other campgrounds for Halloween, including 2 last year. We gave up standing reservations we’ve had for about 10 years now to spend Halloween at jellystone only.

More of a trailer park, not a campground feeling

Half of camping sites closed due to flooding. Big sites, not a lot of bugs or critters, electric available, pool but was closed at our visit. Neighbors were not friendly at all, permanent campers just didn’t socialize. Workers never told us about activities our kids could do, we had no clue they were available. Showers were nice though. Water on site, not from other campsites. Beach was amazing!!

Our all-time favorite place

Absolutely beautiful, reasonable prices, electric available. Tons of restrooms, showers, laundry, and wonderful camp hosts. Huge beach area, dog park, fishing as well. Shop to buy items you may need and absolutely wonderful place. Open all year round

Ranger Review: Wenzel Blue Jay 25 Sleeping bag at Lake Kegonsa State Park

What do you do when you want to camp but don’t have much time off from work? Camp near your work! That’s just what we did at Lake Kegonsa in Stoughton WI. Here we will review this wonderful state park just outside the capital city of Madison but far enough away to feel like you’ve actually gone somewhere remote.

The campgrounds are split up between regular and group camping. The group camping site was down the road from regular camping and consisted of a big parking lot, toilet facilities, recreation areas, and a large open area for 2 groups to camp. It was far enough away that if a group was partying late into the night it wouldn’t disturb the regular campers.

Both campgrounds shared a “shower house” complete with 3 shower units and about a half dozen toilets and 3 sinks(at least on the“female” side). There were also handicap private rooms with toilet and shower bundled together. Facilities were clean enough and toilet paper seemed to always be stocked. My husband had reported that he only needed to press the shower button twice for hot water to start flowing. I however had to press it about 7 times. I think it really depends on when the shower was last used. Takes a while for the hot water to reach your stall. Showers stayed on for about 20 seconds before you needed to push the button again. The shower heads could all use a little TLC but they were functional. Wearing shower shoes is recommended. There were NO soap dispensers so make sure you bring your own toiletries.

Adjacent to the shower house was a nice wooded picnic area with playground equipment for the kids. There was also a trail path the lead down the lake. You could also find the firewood station here but we never were able to catch the people selling the firewood at the station. They always seemed to be driving through the campground to make their sales. This seems like a nice service since you don’t have to haul the wood in your own vehicle but when we wanted wood there was nobody to be found. We ended up going about a half mile down the road to purchase wood from a house that had it bundled up in a self serve stand. Wood here was only$5 a bundle and was full of hardwood and a much better deal than the campground wood. Bonus: They invite you to recycle the orange plastic bags by returning them to the stand on your way out.

We reserved one of the many  “double sites” the campground offers as we were camping with our daughter and needed to setup two tents and have enough room for 3 vehicles. The double sites include two picnic tables as well. We easily had enough room for two tents, 1 screen room, 1 shower room, a large truck, SUV and a car. We were in sites#13 and couldn’t be happier with our choice. I had done a drive through before reserving the site on the state camping website so I knew which ones would work for us. Site #18 would have worked as well. There are 96 sites to choose from in all and even on the weekend there were still a few open spots. Lots of spots can handle RVs and there were drive through sites so you don’t have to back in if that’s beyond your skill set. A third of the sites offered electricity and there was a dump station near by. Water spigots and pit toilets were spread out to make them convenient from almost any site. I've included some pictures of other campsites so you can get a feel for what to expect.

One of my requirements when camping is some level of privacy between sites and the majority of sites in this campground provide that. Its heavily wooded, sites are nicely spaced and we weren’t bothered by the camp hosts at all. We stayed 3 nights but did not have 1 visit from the hosts even to clean out the fire pit. By the end our pit was full of ashes! Our fire grate was a little beat up and did not have a smooth surface like I saw at some of the other sites but it did the job. I was able to put a pot of water on to boil when needed and it was relatively stable.

The campground is somewhat close to the interstate and rural highway roads so there is some traffic noise but relatively quiet by night time. What was NOT quiet on Thursday night was the freight train that came through around midnight and then again at 2 am. The first train only blew its horn a few short times. The second train acted like someone was laying on the tracks and was a little excessive for 3 am! Luckily we did not hear trains Friday night(or we slept through them) and we only heard 1 on Saturday night. The park is adjacent to more than one crossing so if this will disturb you I recommend finding another place to camp.

The park includes a beach and boat launch to help you enjoy Lake Kegonsa. It was also pet friendly with pet trails and a pet beach of their own. There were signs posted to keep pets on a leash when not in the water but people were not following that rule. Nor were they following the rules on the“people beach” which posted no pets but yet there they were. The beach area was very small but it was enough for the kids to enjoy or to get your paddle board or kayak out on the lake. Keep your eyes out for the “bonus swings” found throughout the park. My daughter and I enjoyed swinging on one near the beach and my husband and I enjoyed one near the shower houses.

There were also multiple trails scattered throughout the park. Everything from a quick half mile trek to loops that allow you to put on a couple of miles. Even though it had been raining prior to our visit the trails were not mud pits. Trails were well groomed and enjoyable. And we escaped without a million mosquito bites but were mildly bothered by gnats. We did spray our campsite with a backyard fogger and this may have helped because other reviews tell tales of being eaten alive. We did not see much wildlife so if that is what you’re after its best to pick a more remote location.

Overall I enjoyed the park and would visit again if I had to be in the area. The only standout negative was the trains. Any site you pick should be a winner and contribute to a great camping experience.

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time, and on this trip I tested the Wenzel Blue Jay 25 Degree sleeping bags.

My husband and I are outdoor enthusiasts and have slowly collected our gear over the years. Some quality items have lasted the test of time and other items have fallen apart rather quickly. One of the items we are still lucky to have are our sleeping bags that we purchased for our first camping trip over 20+ years ago. Unfortunately, those bags were made for the extreme cold Wisconsin is famous for. They work well in early spring and fall and have held up to many years of use….. but we find we can’t possibly use them for summer camping. We have taken to unzipping one bag and using it as a mattress cover and simply using sheets or light blankets on top.

So when we received our invite from Wenzel to review some of their equipment it was an easy choice to go with their Blue Jay 25 Degree sleeping bags. This weight seems perfect to handle a cold summer night and just what we need to round out our sleeping bag weather choices.

Wenzel shipped the bags fast and they were packaged individually and arrived intact. I love the fact that they came with their own stuff sacks. It was easy to unroll and reroll the bags and fit them back in the sack. That is something our colder bags don’t have. We have to roll them and tie with an attached string and store them in giant trash bags. I like this design much better. These bags are also more lightweight so they take up much less room than our old bags. This has become very important as we recently gave up our mini van and now have a midsized SUV. Space is now a premium and these fit the bill.

The fabrics are quality and everything seems well stitched together. I don’t feel like its going to unravel and let the filling bunch up unevenly. The flannel lining is soft and handled moisture well. The embroidered logo on the bag was a nice touch. The zippers on any equipment are usually where things go wrong first but these seem well made and easy to open and close. And the bag unzips fully if we wanted to use it as a blanket making it very versatile. The weight of the fill was perfect for this early summer camping trip. Not too hot yet kept us warm enough when temps dipped into the upper 40s. I’d say it was the perfect summer weight for a sleeping bag in our area.

The price point was very competitive and makes these bags a great value for the quality product you get. I look forward to having these bags on all our summer trips from now on. I also look forward to shopping Wenzel again when considering a camping gear purchase. To easily find this bag just follow this linkhttps://wenzelco.com/blue-jay-25/