Annie C.

Pro

St Charles , MO

Joined July 2016

I'm a hiker, explorer, road tripper, and camper with wanderlust in my veins.

Lots of camping options

This is a large Corps of Engineers run campground with over 100 sites. Some of the sites are by the water-ish and some are up in the woods. I liked the remoteness of the first seven sites- they are away from the water and up in the trees. All of the sites in the campground had water and electric hookups, concrete tables, fire pits and prep tables. Some sites are not level at all and are terrible sites for tents(stick to the first seven, very level and away from the hubbub, a short walk to the lake). Most sites seemed to have good trees for hammocks. In the large main area of the campground there are a couple playground areas, a beach, marina, boat launch, and several bathrooms with flush toilets. While you are here, head into town which is super cute and home to the Daisy AirGun Museum!

Great hiking as well as super cool springs

What I like about this campground is that the tent sites are separate from the RV area, and RV’s don’t have to go through the tents to get to their area. However, the RV’s have actual loops off the main road and the tent sites are right on that main road. The main road goes all the way through the park to the actual springs, a picnic area, and a nice arboretum. There are great hiking trails in wooded hills on either side of the campground. The RV area has dedicated parking spots for each RV with picnic tables and fire pits. The keypad coded bathhouse and laundry are also located in this area(keeps out the general public). The tent area is more or less a strip of mown grass with a few picnic tables and fire pits on either side of the road, with the creek and run off channels on either side. Obviously, you want to get a site on the creek side. Definitely hike back to Blowing Springs, LOTS of flowing water. The hiking trails up top are really pretty and surprising. I came across a cemetery up on a bluff, and found another small spring. It’s easy to get turned around and confused on the trails as they seem to overlap and some trail names seem to appear on several trails.

Camp along the river, but not much river access

All sites have nice tent pads, concrete picnic tables, fire rings, and lantern hooks. The sites are either on the river side of the long skinny loop or on the road side(sandwiched between the main road and the campground road). All sites have great hammock trees, and late at night and early in the morning you can hear the river from everywhere. However, you have to work really hard to get down to the river as the campground sits on high ground next to the river. You are better off going down the road a bit to get to one of the fishing access points instead. All of those have a nice parking area and a wide trail up and over a berm to get down to the river and skinny trails along the river for fishing.  They also have several horns scattered up and down the river to warn of sudden flooding/high water when the have to do a release from the dam upstream. It will startle you for sure!

Island camping fully accessible

The main camping area is on an island that you drive onto, how cool is that?! Unfortunately, it was temporarily closed due to Covid19, and a lot of the sites were flooded from high water anyway. I took a walk over the spit of land connecting the camping island with the mainland and walked around the small(maybe a couple acres) island. Here’s what I saw: every site had water and electric hookups, a picnic table, and a fire ring. Sites right on the lake(and some very much under water) also had a pavilion covering the picnic tables. Sites in the middle had nice mature tree cover, but weren’t necessarily as level as the lake sites. The bathhouse was closed, but looked fairly new or at least well maintained. I didn’t see any boat launches or places to bring your boat right up to sites, but back on the mainland is a public boat launch. There are also some sites along the lake on the mainland, also with electric and water hookups.

Quiet up in the hills

This was a fun private campground usually used as a music festival site. On the weekend I went, things were quiet and there were only a few campers. You can pay online or at the self check in kiosk(the friendly cat will want to visit). The few campers that were there were scattered over the 160 acres, with some in the trees, some along the back road, and some in the festival stage area. I picked a nice spot on the edge of the trees in the meadow where I could hear the turkeys calling to each other in the morning. Most of the campers up in the stage area seemed to be long term campers with semi-permanent structures(including a shipping container) and several converted school buses. It seemed that only the spots in the woods had rock firepits, and no sites had picnic tables. There was a bathhouse at the main check in that was available to“resident campers” only due to covid. The rest of us made due with the porta potties scattered around the property. There is an awesome frisbee golf course that seemed to cover the entire property and have more than the usual number of baskets. Also on the property are several art installations and a Jerry Garcia shrine. What more could you want?

Close to Table Rock Lake

This was a neat and busy little campground right on the water and right next to town. Even though only a quarter of the sites were on the river/lake, there didn’t really seem to be a bad site in the entire park as they all had views of the water, and all had trees (although some were better for hammocks than others), giving everyone plenty of shade. Even the sites in the middle of the loop were good, especially if you have a large group and want a central area to congregate in the evenings. A few sites on the water had direct access to the water, so you could kayak right up to your tent/RV. There was a big playground in the middle for kids. The bathrooms/bathhouse was closed due to Covid-19, so to camp here you have to be self contained for the time being. There is a restaurant that is supposedly pretty good right next to the entrance of the campground. Take a walk out of the campground to the historic bridge over the water, and right by the bridge is an old spring house with really good drinkable water still flowing out. Just past this is a mown trail along the water that goes for a ways. A great place to stretch the legs with or without a dog.

Camp down on the lake

The campground was closed to tent camping but open for RV’s when I was there(Covid-19 precautions), but I was able to check out the tent area. It’s down by the lake, with some sites at the back of a large meadow with a tree line(a few good hammock trees!) and some sites right next to the lake. I suspect that a lot of these sites next to the lake will flood as they are almost flush with the lake level. Some sites looked brand new with great tables, fire pits, and tent pads. Other sites were definitely older and a little worse for the wear. There is a great trail system in this park, so be sure to take a hike or three. Up in the RV area is a nice playground for the kids(when it is accessible again, after Covid passes), and down by the lake is a big boat launch with fun paddle boats and kayaks for rent(the rental cottage is right there at the boat house, very convenient).

Right on the river

This is primarily an RV park next to the White River with a small area for tents way in the back. The campground has its own boat launch. Every site seems to have the usual picnic table and firepit, but in the tent area you will likely have to share those. The tent area is really just a nice grassy area in back, with a creek/ditch flowing through the middle. There is room for tents on both sides of this creek/ditch that can be hopped over or walked over on a little foot bridge. You will hear the neighbors cows back here as well. The bathroom and shower house are older and in need of updating, but were clean enough. Definitely take time and go across the historic bridge to the park across the river- this is where you can see a large spring that flows into the White River. There is also a public boat launch here and great playgrounds, so if you brought your boat, you can just boat across the river and back. In town are several restaurants to pick from if you didn’t catch your own dinner.

First to Review
Weekend on the lake

There seems to be two camping areas, but one was inaccessible due to flooding when I visited. The campground at the Marina was nice, wooded with level dedicated tent pads, nice picnic tables with firepits and prep tables next to level parking pads. This location is great for boaters because the marina is right there. Awesome spot to watch the sun rise or set over the water. It’s a short walk to a bathroom with flush toilets(no showers). The only downside is that it is shared with boaters, so it would be a really good idea to wear shoes to the bathroom. There’s a nice floating bar with light food in the public area of the marina if you want to get a drink or something light(bar food) to eat. Make sure to make reservations well in advance, as this campground is so popular that getting a site as a walk up is highly unlikely.

This is not a campground

This location is the Beaver Lake Project Office.

Resort camping in the clouds

Took a tour of Sky Haven on a whim. Talk about full service camping! They have everything here- tent sites, RV sites, cabins, nightly, weekly, and long term rates. Frisbee golf, mini golf, a "mining" site, go carts, game room, showers, laundry. It was pretty overwhelming as I don't camp this way. But for a family gathering or reunion, or a big trip, this could be just right for you. Rates were reasonable for all the services you get. I liked the views since the place is up on top of a "mountain".  The staff was really friendly and welcoming and answered every silly question of mine with a smile. Not my camping jam, but definitely nice.

RV delight

I wanted to escape the house and go camping while on the work from home order (Covid-19 happening at the time of this review), so I headed to a very local park and campground to pitch my tent. I've been to 370 Lakeside Park many times to walk around the huge lake and to hear concerts in the summer, but I had never camped there. Still haven't. I'll explain. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, they were not so keen on having tent campers. But they were very nice and gave me the general lowdown on this "in the city" campground. Since they opened the campground, most of their campers have been RV owners, and so it is really designed for the RV camper. There is a small primitive section for group tent camping, but the majority of the sites are full hookups for RVs. Some sites are pull through and some are back in. All have picnic tables and fire pits. The park has planted some trees, but they are really just saplings, so there is no shade yet. There is a nice bathhouse with free showers for the campers and pay laundry. If you are lucky, you can get a site close to the water, but it means the walking trail is right next to your unit. Trade offs, I suppose. One couple I talked to was camping long term (I think they are permanent RV'ers) and they got a free membership to the St Peter's RecPlex recreation center with their long term spot (they said something about having to book a least a month out to get this perk). One of the downsides to this location is that it is prone to flooding. It was out of commission for most of the summer of 2019 as the entire area was flooded. But the City of St Peters did a great job getting this place back to usable with new sod, a new bathhouse, and some general sprucing up. The lake is great to walk around, about a 3 mile walk or bike on a paved trail. You can see all kinds of wildlife in and around the lake- deer, bald eagles, pelicans, ducks, snakes. In the summers they have live music in the large pavilion, and you can rent kayaks and other small boats to take out on the lake as well as bikes to ride around on. The office told me that they have 24 hour on site security also. If I really wanted to tent camp, I could rent a section of the group camping area, but $30 seemed pricey for just me, and it was very soggy to boot. Or I  could rent an RV spot, but $45 was silly when I don' t need hookups.

Great hiking, choose your site carefully

There are single campsites on both the north and south ends of the conservation area, and none of them have any amenities- no water, no vault toilet or outhouse, no firewood for sale. But what the sites are lacking is made up for with scenery and hiking, and it is free. The conservation area is closed to camping during various hunting seasons(I ran into a hunter scoping out his turkey hunting spot for the following week’s hunt). There is a great hike down into a valley with the actual Lost Creek at the bottom, completely worth the hard hike back up out of the valley. The campsite has room for a couple tents(no RV’s here), some great trees for hammocks, a primitive fire ring, and a picnic table. Since you are right next to the parking lot, you will see some traffic during the day with hikers, birders, and others, and there is no privacy for your campsite. Bring everything, including a cat hole shovel, and pack everything out.

Quiet and out of the way

There are 10 or so primitive tent sites and an area that will accommodate about a dozen RV’s. There are no services here and no hook ups, but it’s free. The primitive tent sites are spread out along the main road through the conservation area, which means that in the daytime you will get road noise and dust, but its pretty quiet at night. Only a couple have picnic tables, but all seemed to have at least a level spot for the tent and a fire ring. I noticed some sites had a bit of trash in the fire rings, probably from day use or partiers. There is no trash service, so plan to pack out your trash. The best site (already taken, too bad) was set on the edge of the woods next to a fishing pond. The campers that were there let me take some pics of their site since it was so pretty. The only downside to that site was its proximity to the RV lot and their generators. There are some nice hiking trails here to explore.

Quiet, no services, good hiking

There are two main camping areas here. As you pull into the area, take the first left down Turkey Ridge (I didn't see and turkeys the whole time I was there, but did see lots of mushroomers). You will see the first camping area shortly- there is a pit toilet, some picnic areas, and some parking slots for RVs(no hookups). KEEP GOING! Down at the bottom of the hill you will come to the second camping area. There are no services here- no pit toilet or trash, and no hook ups for RV’s. But there is a nice mown meadow with a big fire pit next to a pretty creek. Camp here. Jump across the little creek and hike the Glades Trail along the creek and then up the hill. Lots of little ponds scattered along the trail including one that looks like a fairy ring(its up top, super cool!). Back down by the campsite you can bushwack along(or in) the creek to a cool rock overhang that drips down into the creek.

Kayak in to this tiny site

Accessible from only human powered or wind powered boats (or if you are really ambitious, at super low tide, you can wade over from Pearl Island). Reservations are required to camp in either of the two group sites. I was here with a group with a kayak outfitter on a multi-day trip. The island is really small- only one acre! There is no water here (ironic when you are surrounded by water), and you need to pack out your trash (there is a compost bin), but there is a vault toilet (pretty smelly, but better than nothing!). There are a few trees you can hang a hammock from, but not many. We had to paddle to Pearl Island to scrounge for driftwood for a fire. We were there just before the fourth of July, so we were able to see some local fireworks, and of course there was lots of sea plane noise during the day. Saw some harbor seals and lots of birds, and saw bald eagles on the paddle over.

Private with great wildlife viewing close to the city

Except for the noise of the highway, you would never guess you were 10 minutes from a major metropolitan city. The campground is very private with lots of trees and palms separating sites, especially in the tent loops. The tent sites are walk in, with some closer than others. I took site #23 for the night, which was set back just enough to the private, but not so far as to really haul my gear. Each tent site has a numbered parking space as well. There seemed to be about 10-12 tent only sites and the remainder of the 50 sites had hook-ups for RVs. The bathhouse was clean and modern, and well taken care of. 

A two mile hike will take you the visitors center, from which you can climb the observation tower to look over the prairie and have access to several trails. It was really wet when I was there which meant that several trails were partially closed. But I still managed to hike several miles over several trails. I never did see the Cracker Wild Spanish Horses or the bison, but did see lots of signs in the form of poop. I also didn’t see any gators, but did get to see lots of birds of various size and variety.

Tight, but so close to the beaches

Got here late  in the afternoon after the campground reservation checkstation closed, so I found a host and made sure I could claim an empty site. All was good, so I found an empty site and paid up in the morning. I ended up in Loop D at site D26. All of the tent sites are in Loops B and D, and the RV sites are in Loops A, C, and E. It was really nice to have so much separation between the tents and RVs. My site was out in the open in the middle of the loop, not ideal. The better sites are on the outside edge of the loops as they back to shrubs and trees. The bathhouse was nice, modern, and clean (though the one in Loop C is even better as I think it is newer). 

There is a good trail to the beach across the road (about a 1/4 mile), and a really nice trail that leads all the way to the fort (about a mile away). The trail that goes to the fort is part of the Florida Trail, a 1,500 mile long trail from the panhandle to the tip of the peninsula. Definitely spend some time touring the fort! There is a pretty good self guided tour and there is a nice museum and gift shop. And it is fun to watch the fishermen and scuba divers on the seawall and on the piers.

Remote and quiet

Set back in palms and live oak, the campground is private with some sites very private and others not at all. The best sites seemed to be #7-9 and #18-21 as they have the best privacy, are close to the river, and are completely set back from the main loop. Sites closest to the bathroom have to contend with hearing the bathhouse fan (although light from the bathroom didn't seem to be an issue). Unfortunately I ended up with the last sight available, #26, right next to the end of the bathrooms with the fan. Good thing I travel with earplugs. On the plus side, my site was a pull through so coming and going was very simple. 

There are some really nice trails along both the Ochlockonee and Dead Rivers, as well as a pretty scenic drive that is "paved" with wood chips, which makes it perfect for hiking. While I didn't see any gators, there were signs warning about them. I did see several deer, a raccoon, and some lizards. 

Town is about twenty minutes away if you need anything. There are several bars and restaurants as well as an IGA grocery. You can even find services offering boat rentals.

Remote to everyone except the bugs

In the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge, this is a fairly remote campground away from everything. There are about 28 or so sites, with varying degrees of amenities (three sites are tent only with no hook ups, some sites have electric only, and some both electric and water). Cost depends on amenities: the tent only sites are going to be $10 a night in 2020 (it was only $5 a night for me this December), and sites with electric and water are $15. There was a dump station for RVer's as well. Bathhouse was clean if dated, with a fairly new shower stall. 

The sites on the inside of the loop are all on a slope and have the playground, office, and bathhouse as the hub. The outside of the loop sites all back up to woods or marsh.  I was in tent site #9, which was right next to the marsh. It rained overnight and I noticed the site could flood if it had rained a lot. But my other option was next to some well established and loud RVer's next to the playground, and on a slope. I chose the flatter site next to the marsh, but I think that wasn't much better as it put me right in with the mosquitos and no see-ums. Bring your industrial strength bug spray!! 

The campground is next to an arm of the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge and so it's close to a few nice trails and a nice boardwalk and fishing pier. If you need ice or firewood or some basic groceries, head back out the way you came in and stop at tiny little Ms Dot's Grocery. She is super nice, has lots of knowledge of the area, and her ice (BIG cubes) is super cheap.