Ari A.

The Dyrt Pro

Okemos, MI

Joined February 2019

We are Ari & Jessi. Find out more about how we Hike. Camp. Boldly Go. at #hikecampgo

Great base for hiking treks

This is a typical state park in Michigan in that the sites don't offer privacy and are packed in tighter than they should be. However, if you want amenities, this is the place to use as a great Basecamp for day hikes in the Porkies. Nice bathrooms and shower facilities, plus great views down by Lake Superior with plenty of access even if your site isn't right on the shore. Check out the sunrises in the morning and the really dark skies at night for stargazing.

This park is huge so you have to plan some travel time from Union Bay to the tourist sites (Lake if the Clouds) and the many trailheads. But getting out hiking in the park is the best way to appreciate the 60,000 acres that are here.

If you want a quieter setting and enjoy rustic camping, Presque Isle campground on the other end of the park is a great spot to stay, too.

Good spot for city camping

This is a marina with RV parking in the city of Duluth. So don't expect pristine views and quiet natural settings. But for city camping, this worked out well. The sites are decent-size and mostly level. No privacy from neighbors and side-to-side could be tight quarters depending on the rig (and if it has slides) that is next to you. But for being within walking distance of a good restaurant and entertainment district, this is a quieter spot than being in the city proper.

The marina makes for some nice views over the Duluth port and the lift bridge, which offers some cool sites when it goes up and Great Lakes freighters come through. There is some routine marina and port noise, but we didn't find it troublesome. (Note that the lift bridge schedule could throw off arrival and departure since you need to travel over it to reach the marina.)

Cell service was great for Verizon and T-Mobile, plus the campground WiFi is good, too.

Having clean, modern bathrooms, showers, and laundry available in the adjacent hotel is a nice amenity.

It's city camping, but it's a good spot to hang out for a few days to enjoy Duluth.

Tip: If you don't need a sewer hookup, go for the higher numbered sites with electric and water only for better views.

Another tip: Check the maritime visitor's center near the lift bridge for arrival and departure schedule of Great Lakes freighters. It's impressive to see them go by!

Smaller sites but nice and woodsy

This campground's sites and roads seem a little smaller/tighter but plenty of room for smaller rigs to maneuver.

The outer loop is non-electric and more "in the woods" than the center, which also helps provide a bit more privacy. The sites are still close together but we didn't have much noise to contend with the one night we stayed. Some of the sites are much less level than others, which is typical in a state park.

Trails that we were able to check out were well-maintained and the Hidden Falls is worth the short trek out there. Be ready for a lot mosquitoes on the trail (after a rain at least), although they weren't as bad at the campsite.

Bathrooms and showers were modern and clean.

With this many trees, we'd like to get back in the fall as the color should be impressive.

Verizon cell service was decent but T-Mobile was nonexistent.

OK for an overnight

The campground is basically a mowed park field with some mature trees around it. No privacy from neighbors and the campground is on the roadside of the park instead of the lake side of the park. Because of its location, you are going to hear road noise.

Relatively short walk to the bath house and the lake. Bath house seemed old, showers were not something I wanted to use but would do so in a pinch.

Electric poles are old but power seems to hold steady. Strong cell signal on T-Mobile and you're quite close to Madison, University of Wisconsin, etc., so location could work well for lots of folks.

The sites are nice and level, and they include an aluminum picnic table and a fire ring.

$38 a night, when you include the reservation fee of $10, is a bit steep for what's here. I would stay here again if I needed a spot, but there are better places in the area to consider.

Nice county park

This is a county park with state-park type amenities. Not a lot of privacy because neighbors are pretty close, but it was quiet for a good night's sleep.

Paved roads, gravel sites, nice and level overall. Bathroom facilities appear new and are well-maintained. They even have a dish-washing station and high-pressure air hose available.

Sites have 50/30/20 amps. No water on sites but spigots located throughout the park. Dump station right at the entrance but there's plenty of room to maneuver around there. Could get congested if busy.

Some sites are quite large; saw plenty of bigger rigs here. Site 17 is a smaller one but worked great for our Class B. All sites have an aluminum picnic table and a fire ring.

Cell service was decent for T-Mobile and Verizon.

The campground is adjacent to a large multi-use trail system, which would be great if you were here for a few days. One path even takes you downtown in just 4 miles.

Price is a bit high due to $10 registration fee on top of $28 site fee. But would stay here again for an overnight or two if in the area.

Small campground near cool natural features

This is a small campground with the St. Croix River on one side (pretty) and Highway 8 on the other (a bit noisy at times but not terrible).

Sites aren't very private and you're rather close to neighbors but it's a relatively quiet place due to the small number of campsites. They have a mix of electric and non-electric sites. The ones directly on the river are non-electric.

Bathhouse is old and showing its age, but seems to work well overall.

Cell service was spotty at times but stayed solid enough for the most part for decent service. Not good or great service without using our cell booster.

The main draw here is either the canoe rentals in the campground for the river or visiting the main park area with the glacial potholes, which are really neat to see. (Definitely go check those out.)

We'd stay again if passing through.

Nice campground with decent Wi-Fi and good cell service

Blue Mounds State Park campground is located on tree-lined paved roads tucked in between a prairie and farmers' fields. It's quite peaceful and relaxing, especially with most sites unoccupied during the week. 

While the sites don't offer a ton of privacy, they are well-spaced for the most part and some of the loops have foliage behind the sites so you have a bit of a buffer there. The loop we were in (on site 28) has a relatively new bathroom and shower house that is very nice. The other loop has the older-style bathroom and shower house that looked clean but is showing its age. 

Even though you probably could rely on your cell phones here due to good and great signals (Verizon and T-Mobile respectively), the campground also offers WiFi that is actually quite good. The transmitter for our loop is on the bathroom building and we have been able to work, including video calls, all week without any issues. 

The sites themselves have gravel pads and decent-sized grassy areas to set up screen tents, etc. The park itself offers several things to do, including watching for the protected bison herd out on the prairie, as well as hiking and biking trails that can lead you to a historic quartzite quarry and some great vistas of the area around you. At night, it's nice and dark so you can see a lot of stars -- if you walk a short way down one of the trails from the campground you can even see the Milky Way.

If we are in this area again, Blue Mounds would certainly be a place where we would check for openings.

Decent sites; plenty to do

This park has a ton of camping available, particularly if you don't need electricity and have a smaller rig because then you can get into more of the campground loops. (There is electricity here, but there are many more sites without.) 

The sites in the Old Logging Campground were close together but many had vegetation between them offering some privacy. Site 207 was especially tucked in but it's a tight spot, so probably best for a van or tent. 

The park itself has a lot to offer being right on the St. Croix River, plus there are hiking trails, a paved bike path, a fire tower you can climb, an old CCC camp area you can tour, and more. Also, canoe and kayak rentals are available. And this is all within the state park boundary since, at 34,000 acres, the park is the largest in the Minnesota state park system. 

Some of the loops have old bathhouses that desperately need to be replaced, but they are in the process of doing so, which means some loops have great new bathrooms and showers. (If you stay in the upper 200s, sites, you'll have one of these new bathrooms right away, but more are being built.) Cell service was incredibly spotty on Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. Depending on where you're at, you'll get a low signal, but often it was only enough for texting-- don't think about using the web or social media or getting any work done while you're here. 

Overall, we enjoyed our weekend at this park and would come back for another getaway if we had the chance and it wasn't a workday.

Nice tucked away campground

Nice national forest campground that seems well run, has sites with decent privacy and nice bathrooms.

Sites vary a lot in size and some are quite unlevel so luck of the draw on whether your rig can fit, but worth trying.

I'd you have a Class B, B+, or small C, try to snag Site 42. It's around the curve from other sites on the loop and has great privacy. Parking spot is down a small hill from your picnic table and fire ring but the parking is quite level.

Bathrooms only have one shower per gender but work well and have good hot water.

You can get water here but note there is no RV dump station.

Lake is on the smaller side and seemed peaceful the one day we were here. Decent boat ramp for access Swimming beach isn't much but works if you want it to.

Overall a nice tucked away campground in the forest with a lake, a short paved biking/hiking trial, decent amenities and friendly staff.

Plus it's only about 8 miles from Ely if you need provisions.

Nice campground near waterfalls and Lake Superior

This was a nice campground near the Gooseberry Falls, with easy access to the trails and waterfalls right from camp (also, Lake Superior!).

No electricity or water for filling RVs, but fresh water is available and there is an RV dump station. Nice bathroom facilities overall but be ready for water-conserving showers that turn off quite quickly. At least the water stayed hot.

Mix of sites in terms of size, shape and layout so we saw a lot of different tent and RV combos. Dirt roads and dirt campsites did make for a dusty time during dry conditions.

Be sure to ask for the CCC map at the visitors center and then go find all the remaining structures. It's a fun hunt to go on.

Pleasant rustic getaway

This is a rustic state park with no electric sites, dump station or water source for RV tanks, as well as nearly non-existent cell service, but it's a pleasant getaway spot. It felt like a rustic forest campground but had amenities like a bathroom/shower house. Regarding water, there is drinking water available to fill containers, just no hookup to fill RV tanks. They also have trash and recycling dumpsters available.

The sites are decent size; privacy depends on the site but most aren't crammed on top of each other. All sites are dirt/gravel and the roads are dirt so be prepared for some dust in dry conditions.

We saw mostly tents and smaller rigs but that's probably due to no electricity and no water source for RVs to fill from. Still, some sites were large enough for the Class As that were there.

Bathrooms were decent but be ready for push-button showers for water conservation. They run long enough to essentially do Navy showers, which works fine. Water never really hot but plenty warm enough to not be considered cold.

Each site has a picnic table and fire ring, plus firewood is available at the front office or at the camp host site (via self-service). Front office rarely staffed but there is a work garage and the DNR staff came through the campground regularly. Little to no cell service on T-Mobile and Verizon, but there is a WiFi spot available near the DNR work garage.

It's nice that you can hike from the campground to Devil's Kettle and another waterfall (same trail), both of which were great.

Access is from Highway 61 down a relatively short dirt road We would stay here again.

Peaceful spot to rest

This campground is tucked into the Superior National Forest but off of a main road. Access is easy enough for most rigs other than maybe very large ones.

There are a little over a dozen campsites here with 4 on their own loop in an ATV camping area.

The sites vary in size and access due to trees and foliage so not every rig will fit in every site. And, depending on your rig size, some sites will require a bit more work to level. A handful of sites are reserveable but most are first come, first served.

Site 11 is a prime spot if you can grab it due to size, layout and location.

There are vault toilets and a well available.

Each site also has a fire pit and picnic table.

If you need it, the cell service was very good for T-Mobile and great for Verizon.

Be prepared for mosquitoes and deer flies (in mid-July anyway) but overall, we had a peaceful stay and got a great night's rest.

Nice spot along the river

This is a small and quiet campground during the week -- the day-use area next door may make the whole park busier on weekends 

We were in Site F4 and it was a good spot for being not too far from the bathroom building but far enough away that it wasn't lit up at night by the building's obnoxiously bright outside lights. (The first few sites on that end get a lot of light pollution from the bathroom.) 

All of the sites here are paved with asphalt or concrete and relatively level although a couple have a slope to them that may impact you more depending on the length of your rig. There is plenty of room here for rigs of all sizes. 

The river is peaceful since it's more of a branch of the Arkansas River now than the main navigable area. The locals seem to love this spot for fishing -- that's not our thing so we can't confirm that. There is a boat ramp in the day-use area. 

Note that the entire campground is a good hike to the dumpster and dump station, so keep that in mind for access to those. There is 20-, 30- and 50-amp service available in what appear to be newer, lighted power pedestals. There also is water on site and each one has a fire pit with cooking grate and a grill, as well as a stone picnic table. A few of the sites have pavilions over the tables, but most do not. 

The bathroom building was constructed in 2019 and is well laid out. There are four individual units with toilet, sink, shower and baby changing station inside. The only real complaint we had was maintenance on the bathrooms. They are not always maintained well by the volunteer staff and we frequently found some of units were without toilet paper and none of them had any soap. 

The whole park is pretty loosely run from what we could tell, which is nice if it's quiet. If you had any issues with neighbors or day-use folks causing an issue, we're not sure how you would have it addressed. There is a camp host, but they are parked up by the gate, which locked from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Again, we weren't here on the weekend, so this review is for weekday camping only, but we found it quite peaceful. Also, some reviews have mentioned a lot of bugs, but we didn't find any that were bothersome, perhaps because we were here when it was still a bit chilly. 

The river is a nice view and you can see it from almost every campsite. We'd recommend a site on the river side if you can get one though. 

Phone service was decent for Verizon and T-Mobile with reasonable speeds even though the signal jumped around 2-3 bars most of the time. 

One bonus: if you like watching Air Force planes, you might catch the C-130 pilots training overhead as they come and go from the Little Rock AFB.

Equestrian camp small but good location near fort

We stayed one night at the equestrian camp on our way through the area. We prefer leaving the equestrian spots for horse owners but it was the last one available in the park. Although, of the 5 sites in this loop, none of us had horses!

With only a couple of small pens and not much space, we could see why equestrians might not flock here. Hard to say from one night though.

The sites are long and narrow without much space between them. Road nosie is noticeable during the day but quiet at night.

There are no bathroom facilities in this loop, so be aware of that. There is a small dumpster available. The bathroom/shower facilities and dump station are down the road at the main campground. You do have 20-, 39- and 50-amp electric plus water hookup at your site.

The good part about this loop is that you're camping within site of the historic Fort Richardson and visiting the grounds is a short walk. The buildings are only open from about 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., but you're welcome to wander the grounds and look in the windows. Make sure you grab a self-guided your brochure at check-in.

This was fine for a night or two, but for longer we'd encourage a stay at the main campground instead.

Phone service was good: Verizon 4 bars / T-Mobile 4 bars.

Great state park for families

Van Riper State Park is a must-visit if you’re traveling through Michigan's Upper Peninsula.  It’s popular year-round, although camping is only open between May and October. Stop for the day to hike the trails and go for a swim, or stay a week and enjoy the sunsets and serenity.

The state park covers both sides of the highway with the campground and day-use area on the south side and a huge section of trails and wildlife viewing areas on the north.

There are 147 sites in the modern campground, including some sites with 50-amp electric service, and there are another 40 sites in the rustic campground. Plus, there are two mini cabins in the modern campground if you don’t own a tent or RV. All of the campsites have a fire ring and picnic table.

One thing we noticed is that the sites at Van Riper are very large– so much bigger than many sites we’ve seen at other state parks. This means there is plenty of space for your trailer, truck, bikes, screen tent, kids’ toys, etc. without feeling like you’re infringing on your neighbor.

Another plus for the state park is the laundry facilities. Two washers and dryers are located in the restroom building near the beach.

Van Riper State Park is extremely family-friendly, with activities for everyone. There are approximately 5 miles of hiking trails on the north side of the state park. One trail provides a very nice overlook of Lake Michigamme and the surrounding area. Other trails run along the Peshekee River or through the woods and may even provide the chance to see the moose that live in the area. The trails are not difficult, but there is some elevation to get to the lookout. If you don’t want to hike the whole 5-plus miles from the campground and back, you can drive and park at the group campground and go from there.

A sandy beach awaits both kids and adults on Lake Michigamme. The lake is popular as it is much warmer than most of the lakes in the Upper Peninsula. A large, fairly new playscape is also located near the beach, as well as a swing set. One of the most unique activities is a bike pump track. This is the only state park that we saw that had one. It was very popular with the kids and is conveniently located between the campground and the day-use area. The lake is popular for fishing and if you have a boat you can use the launch in the back of the park. It also is a good location for kayaking.

Nice open prairie campsites; bathrooms need updating

We have enjoyed staying at San Angelo State Park because of the natural things it offers. We stayed in the Red Arroyo campground. The sites are large and well-spaced apart. You don't have much privacy due to the lack of trees since this is where the prairie and desert come together, but the distance between sites helps. Also, having a picnic table and covered shelter at each site is a nice touch. 

One thing we noticed is that when the wind gets going here it really blows hard, so be prepared to take care of anything that might need to be held down. Several times it was bad enough that we had to close our roof vent. 

The night sky is decent because it's so wide open, unfortunately, it's not as dark as we had hoped because of the lights from nearby San Angelo. You also tend to hear some road noise -- it's not bad, just louder than we expected considering how this place seems like it would be in the middle of nowhere from most of the pictures. Given the expansive horizon, though, you're in for some really cool sunrises and sunsets right from your campsite. 

The hiking, biking, and equestrian trails here offer a lot of variety and with 50 miles of them, it's tough to get bored. Note that the North and South units have separate trail systems and there's no road within the park to reach the two units. You have to drive out on the main road and it's too far to bike or walk. 

In addition to trails, make sure you check out the wildlife blind set up near the Red Arroyo loop, plus on Saturday and Wednesday mornings, the rangers do supplemental feeding of the bison and longhorn cattle herds, bringing them right up to the fence for visitors to see. It's a nice treat! As you hike, you're likely to see plenty of wildlife, too. We have seen deer, owls, birds, and javelinas so far. 

Cell service was pretty good for Verizon and T-Mobile. (2-3 bars consistently) 

The only real complaint (other than tiring of the wind after a while) was that the bathrooms are really old. They are kept clean and the showers were hot with good, modern showerheads. But in Red Arroyo, there is only one shower for women and one for men for the whole campground. And there also are very limited toilets in the main bathhouse and the secondary bathhouse has at least one defunct toilet in the men's room. The whole park could use a bathroom/shower house overhaul. It hasn't been very busy with campers here but we could see that a busy season could wreak havoc on bathroom availability. 

Note that if you're coming for O.C. Fisher Lake, that is a reservoir that is emptying out and never likely to come back. A ranger told us the lake is at about 6-8% of its glory days. The place is filled with boat ramps to nowhere and when hiking you can find several abandoned campground loops. 

All-in-all a good place to stay but go in with your eyes open.

A well-laid out park acquired by KOA in Feb. 2021

This is a nice RV park that was well laid out when built, and it seems they are continuing that as they expand the number of sites. Note that we were there during the transition from the Galveston Island RV Resort to the Galveston Island KOA. So, there's no telling what KOA might do regarding prices, amenities, policies, etc. Therefore, our review is based on the structure and layout of the park. 

We found the sites to be large with plenty of room in between rigs compared to many RV parks, including most of the others on Galveston Island. There is electric (50- and 30-amp), water, and sewer on each site. Many of the sites are pull-throughs. The ones along the outside rows are back-in sites but have the advantage of no roads or neighbors behind you. 

The roads through the park are nice and wide, so there is plenty of room to maneuver large rigs. 

The bathroom facilities are decent; reminiscent of residential bathrooms. It's nice that there are 4 bathrooms with showers and they are unisex. We never ended up waiting. Plenty of hot water, although pressure from the older showerheads seemed lacking at times. 

The laundry room was clean and the machines worked reasonably well. There were 5 washers and 5 dryers available (when they were all working). 

The location could be good or bad depending on your priorities. It's an easy walk across the road to the beach to reach the Gulf of Mexico and the beach stretches for miles. It's also quieter in this area because you are on the west end and not near the city. However, that could be a downside for some folks. It's a solid 20-minute drive to get to town for restaurants, tourist attractions, etc. That may seem long if you want to go in and out of the city a lot, and it's too far to bike it or walk it, so you have to have a vehicle to drive into town with. There are gas stations and a small grocery store within a few miles. 

As I mentioned, this is now a KOA, so I don't know what they're going to do with the pool, hot tub, and lazy river. (All three were closed while we were there in February, so can't really comment much on them.) A KOA representative told us they are looking at adding a playground to the park. 

If it had not been bought by KOA, we would have gone back here whenever we are in the Galveston area. Until we see what KOA does with their rates and policies, we simply don't know if we will return.

Great campground for small rigs

We stayed in the Cedar Sage campground for a month -- two weeks in site 5, then gone for the weekend, then 2 more weeks in Site 3. The loop is designed for smaller rigs, there is a 20-foot limit due to how the sites are laid out. 

There's a small parking asphalt pad and then the sites extend out to the side or behind the pad. There is a raised dirt platform area for tents or screen tents. Each site also has a fire pit and a large picnic table.  All the sites have the same sized parking pad (which seemed quite level throughout the loop), but the space beyond that pad varies quite a bit. Some are quite large and others a bit small. (Site #5 has a huge camping area with great sun in the afternoon.) 

Most of the sites seem to be good for privacy and all are well spaced out so you shouldn't feel cramped even when the campground is busy. 

The bathrooms in this loop seem new. They are well-designed and clean, plus they have shower rooms that are separate from the bathrooms. The showers had great pressure and plenty of hot water. 

Cellular service was good for Verizon and T-Mobile overall. It could periodically get weak but would come back quickly. We used Verizon and T-Mobile for video calls and other work and did just fine. Occasionally had to use our cellular boost to get great service, but it was decent without the booster, too -- at least in sites 3 and 5. We heard from others and noticed when walking around that some sites had less cell signal. (Probably depends on trees and terrain, as some sites sit more on a hill than others, and surrounding trees vary from site to site. 

The park boasts miles worth of trails, some that take you along the Guadalupe River. Note that it doesn't take much rain before they close the trails down (first closed to bikers and equestrians, but then to hikers, as well).

The park is very popular and fills up on weekends, even in the winter. During the summer, we've heard it's extremely popular. If you can't get a campsite, there is a large day-use area near the river to enjoy. 

The park is about 3 miles down the state park road before you even get to the entrance, so you take that into account if you need to run to town for supplies. But a Walmart and HEB+ are about 8 miles away(although driving time is deceiving because the hilly, curving roads mean taking things slower with an RV).

If we have a need to be in this area again, we will definitely look at booking here again.

Nice and dark for star gazing

We, unfortunately, only got to spend one night here on our way through the area but enjoyed some great stargazing due to the park being quite dark.

We appreciated electric and water being at the campsite, especially for only $14 per night.

The only thing negative we noticed during our very short stay was that while the bathrooms were clean, they seemed old and small. Men and women each had just one shower stall and it was behind only a shower curtain in the main restroom area. (We were in the Wilkins Creek Loop.)

Staff was friendly and welcoming. We'd like to come back and explore the area more when we have time.

Nice layout and a ton of nature activities

The state park is located within the boundaries of the Indiana Dunes National Park (formerly National Lakeshore), so don't get confused by this. There also is a national park campground, but it's closed in the winter.)

This state park has a nice layout because the sites seem to be staggered so that they don't back up to each other. Also, there is a good buffer space behind the sites and decent space between each site. 

All sites have 20- 30- and 50-amp service available, plus almost all are a combination of a concrete pad and asphalt apron. Note that just because they're paved doesn't mean all of them are level. Each site has a fire pit and it appeared they all have grill grates on them.

One nice touch is that some sites have wider asphalt aprons so if you have a longer rig, you can put your towing vehicle or your towed vehicle off to the side once your rig is in place. Also, the ADA sites are nicely laid out with larger concrete pads so that even the fire pits are in the concrete section for ease of access. 

Note that after Nov. 1, the water is shut off and bathrooms are shut down until spring, although there are vault toilets available. 

You will hear a pretty regular stream of train whistles at this campground, but they aren't so loud as to be disruptive. 

You can hike to the 1929 Dunes Pavilion and a large beach on Lake Michigan. The best hiking activity, however, and also easily accessible by walking from the campground, is the series of dune trails. The Nature Center, which sits between the campground and the trails, has some good visitor's information about the dunes, the flora and fauna, and the history of the area. 

Once you finish seeing what you want in the state park, there's still the entire national park to see. Plus, there's a multi-use trail that runs for 9 miles along the state park and into the national park. 

Cell service for Verizon was two bars but speeds seem to be good. Less signal and speed for Google Fi, but not terrible.