Brian C.
Portland, OR
Joined September 2016
Very Cool and Unique Campsite on the Grounds of the Laura Ingalls Homestead

A very cool and unique campsite on the grounds of the Laura Ingalls Homestead near De Smet, SD. Unique in that you can camp right on the open prairie and for only $10 a night. Just pick a spot of grass and you’re good to go. There are some picnic tables you can choose to be near or just head out on the frontier. There are also options to camp in a covered wagon as well as a bunkhouse. RV spots are available and include water and electric hookups. Well appointed and clean bathrooms (electricity and flush toilets) are on site with showers.

The other really cool thing about this spot—especially for families—are all of the fun activities at the homestead itself. There’s a one-room school house with tours, a barn with animals, a covered wagon ride where you (or your kids) can lead the horse-drawn wagon, opportunities to learn how to make a jump rope, twist hay, wash clothes—all things the Ingalls family had to do on a farm from long ago.

A night or two in the summer is great though with no shade for the campsites field, it can get warm but evenings on the prairie are gorgeous. All in all, a great spot to set up that is cheap but with nice facilities and staff.

Amazing lake views

Huge campsites with views of the lake. Some of the biggest camp sites on our trip. Some had more privacy than others. Both RV and tent sites.

Picnic tables, camp fire pits. Drinking water. Close to the Jewel and Wind Caves and Mr. Rushmore. About 50 sites total, with the best being on the lake side.

Vault toilets only where we were, though other parts had flush toilets.

Nice day use area with access to the lake. Boat ramps. Very popular with locals. A bit off the freeway, so no noise at night. Sites can be booked up to six months in advance, or sometimes grabbed at the last minute if lucky.

Next Door to Silverwood Theme Park

The best thing about the campsite is that it is the closet place to stay near Silverwood theme park. You can easily walk from your tent right into the park, which makes it super convenient.

There are showers on site and full hook-ups. However, you are camping here to go to the park, not to enjoy camping. Sites have little to no tree cover. If it is hot out your camp will be hot, though chances are you’ll be inside the water park anyway.

While we were there the sprinklers went off in the middle of the night, soaking our tent. Management gave us a free night and moved us for the next night. One weird thing is that you have to place your tent on a hard gravel pad, rather than the green grass (see previous sentence about the sprinklers).

If you have an RV, life is a lot easier at this park. That said, you will not find a closer place to stay, and definitely not as cheap.

Cheap, No Frills Campground Near Glacier

Conveniently located near the south side of Glacier National park, Summit Campground is a cheap, no-frills stop-over campsite. Vault toilets on-site. Camp spots have cement pads.

Site is very close to the freeway, which makes for easy access, but not quiet. Amazing views of the mountain across the highway. Good staging spot to head into Glacier.

Cheap, Sprawling Campground Outside Bismark

Sprawling, well-appointed campground on the outskirts of Bismarck, run by the park and rec district. Lightly forested with large campsites for tents and RVs. The park has showers, bathrooms, an amphitheater, disc golf, a playground, and a group area. It is very popular with locals. It is also incredibly cheap and was an easy stop-over campground.

We visited the Natural History Museum at the capitol which was free and nearby, and had lots of fun dinosaur bones and displays.

Pretty Campsites Next to Lake McDonald

Very pretty and popular campsite in Glacier National Park, just off the "Going-to-the-Sun" Road. It's on the shore of lake McDonald with gorgeous views of the lake and mountains.

The campground has basic tent campsites. There is also a boat load-in. Toilets and water available.

Five minutes away from historic lake McDonald lodge.While there's not an amphitheater on site, there are activities at the incredible lodge including evening ranger programs.

Beautiful and Popular Campground in the Heart of Glacier

Beautiful, classic and extremely popular campground in the heart of Glacier National Park, right off the Going-to-the-Sun-Road. Beautiful picnic area on the creek. Good hikes within the camp area. Flush toilets. Water on-site.

Unbelievable scenery right outside your tent. However, because it’s first-come first-served, it’s very hard to get a spot. If you’re lucky enough to get a site, you’ll find yourself in the heart of some of the best parts of Glacier.

Cool Campground Surrounded by Lava

Scenic and cool campsite smack in the middle of the lava beds of Craters of the Moon National Monument. Interesting information center within a quick walking distance with lots of national park rangers and activities.

Campsites are pretty small, but many are surrounded by LAVA. That said, very little shade, so if it’s the summer, it will be very hot.

Water, toilets, all available. RVs allowed but no hook-ups. No fire pits, but they do have charcoal grills available.

Very cool lava flow hikes and formations all around.

Super Friendly Family RV Park with Tent Options Near Glacier

Super-friendly family RV park near the western edge of Glacier National Park. When I say friendly, I mean really friendly. After spending the whole day driving on the "Going to the Sun" road through the park and not finding any spots open, we ended up at San Suz Ed (now called Moose Creek RV Park) which was also full, but they had a large empty field nearby that they allowed for overflow tent camping for $30+.

Showers, laundry, toilets all on-site. Full hookups for RVs. Tasty small cafe in main building where we had breakfast. While the sites are nothing special, the friendliness is the real charm of the place.

Great Location, Spots and Price

Great campground in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Smallish campground with about half the spots right on the river. Nice day use area slightly separated from the camping. Picnic tables and fire rings. Mostly tents when we were there, but there's also pull-through driveway type spots that could fit a trailer. At just $12 per night, price can't be beat.

Plenty of trees and grass. Most spots are slightly exposed to the turn-around road, but still feels private since there's space and trees between the spots.

Not too far from Mouton Falls, which are amazing, plus other hiking and swimming areas nearby.

Super Clean and Basic

Probably a 2.5-star spot. Super clean, but in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do. Lots of pull-through spots with full hook-ups. Just off the I-5 freeway. Shares a wall with the freeway, so can be loud with traffic noise.

Spots are just driveways with very little space in-between. Many did not have picnic tables and only a few on the ends were near any grass. There is some grass on the ends of the rows and at the sides of the park. There's also a small strip-mall basically in the same parking lot, for better or worse.

If you're driving through and need a place to stay, this one is safe, clean, newer, and basic.

Nice State Park. Stay Away from Freeway.

Great state park with all the usual amenities: fire pits, trees, ranger station. It's basically two different types of campgrounds in one: there's the sites more out in the open that are closer to the freeway. Then there's a bunch further away in both a meadow and the woods. Obviously if possible, stay away from the freeway. Down at the day use area (which has a nice small beach) the sound was so loud it was hard to hear people talking just a few feet away.

Lots of hiking including a nice trail between the campground and the day use area. Firewood available. Spots for both camps and trailers including electric and water hookups. Nice staff/rangers available for questions. Walk-in spots are cheapest and many are further away from the freeway. Very clean overall.

Kid-Friendly with lots to do near Mt. St. Helens

Well situated. Just off I-5, about 10 miles from the Mt. St. Helens Visitor Center and about an hour north of Portland, Oregon. Lots to do, especially for kids. There's a swimming pool, basketball court, huge playground, volleyball, disc golf course, picnic table areas and woods to run in.

Everything is fairly well maintained, but like HBO's Westwood's park, it gets stranger the further you get from the center of the park. Off on the edges the spots get more weedy, there's a railroad track on one side and the freeway on the other. But stay to the middle and everything is very well maintained and fun.

A bit more expensive than other more run down spots in the area ($43 or so), but in general worth it for its nice location and amenities.

Tips: not all spots have fire pits, so if that's important to you, be sure to ask for one.

Friendly, Basic, But Mostly Long-Timers

On maps this is sometimes called Paradise Resort & RV Park, but if it's an RV Park with "paradise" in the name and you're in Castle Rock, Washington, you're in the right place.

Just off the freeway. Mostly full-timers. There's a store there with the basics, plus laundry machines, showers etc. No frills. Friendly enough staff and people who live there. Full hook-ups. Sites are nothing to write home about. They take overnight bookings for about $32 a night.

If you have kids and/or want more facilities, head across the freeway to Toutle River RV Park. Otherwise this place is fine.

Come for the Sunstones

Free spots, totally barren with Mars-like landscape and no trees. You're completely exposed to the elements, though there are covered picnic tables and fire pits. Beware of the pit toilets since they are often home to black widows (not the Marvel superhero…sadly). Sunstones galore. Easy to pick up right at your camp site. Not far from some of the best sunstone mines in the world. No water. Be sure to bring all your supplies with you as the nearest stores is miles away. No hookups for trailers, though properly supplied and with decent clearance and spare tires for the gravel road, there is space to park them.

Favorite Campsite in the Area

Affordable forested campsites with many that are steps from the Clackamas River. River is gorgeous and you can hear the sounds of the creek from many of the campsites. While some spots in the middle lack privacy, the river side spots are great with lots of space and separated by large trees. Toilets, picnic tables and fire rings on site. Great in the summer if you wan to wade in the river. We were there on a Sunday night in August and almost had the whole place to ourselves. Fun hiking nearby. One of our favorite campsites in the Mt. Hood natural area. The river access is really cool and it's also a short drive to other swimming holes and hiking.

Great Camp in Lassen National Park

Very large camp near the western entrance of the Lassen Volcanic National Park. Situated on the banks of Manzanita Lake. There are numerous tent, RV, and a few cabin sites available that you can get with little advance notice, unlike many other national parks.

Manzanita has a small camp store with supplies with supplies, hook-ups, and dumpstations availability for RVs, and there is a boat launch for kayaks and canoes on the lake. You can also rent kayaks and canoes and fishing is also widely popular with licenses available in the store.

The camp is also a short drive from the very cool and historic museum that has information about the volcanic history of the park as well as early photographs of the 1915 eruption. It is well worth a visit and has a junior ranger program available for kids, plus general park information. Manzanita is probably the largest camp location within the park and is busy, but there is plenty of opportunities to escape into Lassen.

Fine But Not Amazing

There are several RV Parks in the Oceanside area, or that are nearby beaches. We've had a great time across the street at Paradise Pier. The Oceanside RV Park, however, leaves quite a bit to be desired. There are quite a few areas that seem to be under constant renovation, as well as many long-time visitors, which isn't really our scene. And while it is close to the beach, it also borders an active train track. There are other better options.

That said, there are two reasosn why you'd want to stay at Oceanside if other places were not available. First, their, dog run is quite a bit larger that other places and second, they have a strange fake grass tent area where you can stay without at RV, which is one of the only "resort" type places where I've seen that in the area.

Nice Country Park Near Legoland

Nice, clean, county park. Big spots for RVs with water and electric hookups. Dump station on site.

Spots are not huge, but big enough, and if you have an RV it can feel plenty private.

The park is very popular amongst locals and has a huge, awesome, covered playground for children.

Flush toilets available and a nice nature walk around a lake. The park was a great/affordable base camp for nearby Legoland amusement park. Also easy (drive) access to Target, Grocery Stores and the Beach.

Campground in the Redwoods

Nice state park near the amazing Redwoods National Park. Oftentimes if the national park is full you can find spots here. Camp itself is nice and overlooks the ocean.

Beautiful forest, dramatic coastline. What's not to like? You can take showers with quarters (often cold). Last time we we the bathrooms were extra filthy, but that's the exception rather than the norm.

Junior ranger programs, hikes, and activities are all throughout the area as well.