Christy C.
Lutz, FL
Joined June 2016
I am a wife to Jason(23 years) & mom of 4 boys. I love Jesus,my family, coffee, Camping, hiking, photography, painting canvas & collecting rocks.
Ranger Review: Optic Nerve Sunglasses at Rainbow Springs Campground

One of our favorite local places to go in Florida is the Rainbow River in Dunnellon. The crystal clear spring-fed river attracts people from all over to it's 72 degree water for fishing, swimming, boating, diving, birding, snorkeling and tubing. There are 3 areas of the state park: headspring, tubing and campground.

Campground Review: We have been coming here for about 7 years since the re-opening of the camping area. There are 60 sites in 3 loops. They are all level and many now have shade since the trees have grown. They are all full hook-up sites except for the tent sites that have only water and electric. Each loop has a restroom with showers and laundry. During the spring and summer it is very hard to get a site on weekends due to the river being packed with tubers. Recently, they have closed the gate to the campground requiring a code to get in so non-campers aren't sneaking in to use the river. The max # of people per site is 6. There is a public parking lot a few miles down the road where people can pay the concessionaire a fee for tube rental and tram ride to go float for 2 hours back to the parking lot. This is always packed during the summer and the lot fills up early.

On our most recent stay we were in site #51 which is very secluded and shady. On our first night, there was a massive storm in which we lost power and several trees were toppled in the park. It took all night to restore our power making it a hot and muggy, restless night. A few things had changed since our stay here last year. The pool that had been out of service for 5+ years had been filled in and covered over with grass. The convenience store had been taken out of the office/ check-in area. This was disappointing. You now have to drive into town if you need something like ice, tubes or basic RV supplies. The staff here is still as friendly as always which makes up for it.

Product Review: Being a ranger for thedyrt makes it possible for me to get products to use/test while I am camping. This time, I had the opportunity to try out some ONE sunglasses by [Optic Nerve](http://Optic Nerve.com). The styles we chose were Athena and Lunker. My husband and I have actually been wearing them all summer and love them. The styles are attractive and they are very affordable compared to other well-known brands. You can spend much less and get a quality pair that are polarized and durable. Not a scratch on them after 3 months of working in the yard, hiking, zip-lining, camping, boating, tubing, scalloping, shopping and 5000 miles in the RV. With a lifetime warranty and 100% UV protection, you can't go wrong with this brand.

https://www.opticnerve.com/products/athena

https://www.opticnerve.com/products/lunker

Lots of Lake activities

Reed Bingham State Park is located in Adel, GA. It has about 1600 acres including a 375 acre lake with many activities surrounding it. There is a dam with fishing as well as boating, swim beach and and island for camping. Off the lake are 2 camping loops with just under 50 sites. Ranging from water/electric only to full hook-ups. Prices run between $28 and $38 per night. There is also primitive group camping and Eagle Island camping in the lake if you wish to paddle over. Our family stayed here in December 2016 with friends. We were lucky enough to get 2 standard sites side by side so we could create a cozy awning to awning camp area for our families. The bathrooms and laundry were nearby (1 in each loop). There was a large grassy area in the middle of the loop for the kids to play soccer, set up the slack-line, etc.They also enjoyed the playground, climbing tree and mini-golf nearby. We went on some short hikes in the park. There are 7 walking and biking multi-use trails that are all under 1 mile. You can connect them together for a much longer hike. Overall, this was a great family friendly campground.

Spectacular views and great hikes

Last month I was able to take a 5 week trip to the Northeast and back to Florida. One of the National Parks that I had heard so much about was Acadia. I was very excited to get a last minute site here in Loop A. The campground sites were very shaded and level with a picnic table and firepit on them. There were several restrooms conveniently located throughout our loop. The sites are primitive which means no electric, water or sewer(normal for a National Park). However; there was a dump station and water fill station by entrance to campground. We did take advantage of some trails nearby to Cadillac mountain one day and Otter Cove on another. The negatives about this campground were that sites were very narrow and close together in Loop A and we were scolded via note on our picnic table for hanging our Tentsile up here. The buses weren't running yet so it was a little hard to get around in our RV. Lots of One-way loops and restricted height roads due to overpasses, etc. This put a damper on things but we still tried to make the best of it. We visited Thunder Hole, Sand Beach, and of course; Bar Harbor for some seafood and shopping. Another cool thing to do was walk to Bar Island at low tide. There is a land bridge only visible/accessible at this time. We saw a beautiful sunset that evening and I collected some rocks to take home…shhh! Next time, we will bring a car with us to get around and try our hand at the Precipice Trail or Beehive.

Ranger Review of Original Buff & Infinity Scarf @ Cottonwood Campground

Campground Review:

This a continuation of our South rim to North rim hike of the Grand Canyon. Day 2 was a beautiful hike from Bright Angel Campground to Cottonwood Campground. It followed a river along on the canyon floor with mostly shade and level ground. We covered about 7.4 miles and had an elevation change of about 1600 feet It was by far, my favorite day of the hike and most peaceful. We crossed so many bridges that I lost count. Beautiful flowers and high canyon walls were all around. It was very quiet out in the middle and we were very much alone. Once we entered Cottonwood Campground, we noticed there weren't many hikers here. Our calves were tired and we were ready to set up camp and relax. We chose site #4 next to the creek mostly because it was very secluded and we might need some alone time in the tent later… LOL These sites also had a picnic table, metal storage box for food and toiletries and a pole for hanging backpacks. There was a bathroom here as well as water source to fill our bottles and bags. We shuffled back and forth along the path through camp trying not to feel the burn of 2 days of walking. We talked to another, more experienced couple who had obviously done this many times over. We were always meeting such nice people on our hike. Our site was next to the creek and we quickly found our way there and took a nap on a large flat rock listening to the water falling over the rocks nearby. My plan had been to wash my hair and body in these creeks and once again that wasn't going to work. The water was freezing! After dinner, the sky started to change and we quickly moved in to the tent for a night of rain. It was 6 pm and already dark. We slept for 12 hours! The next morning we began our last and final day of the hike up and out to North Kaibab Trailhead. It was 6.8 miles and 4161 feet elevation change. This was the hardest day and I wanted to quit right about Supai Tunnel when we were out of water. This is usually a water source but it had been turned off for the season. We met some "trail angels" that gave us some of their water. That allowed us to continue on without panic. It seemed like the top would never come. Jason kept motivating me and took almost the entire contents of my pack. Once he spotted the trailhead sign and pointed it out, I broke down crying…We had made it! What a wonderful challenging adventure with my husband! So glad to have accomplished it and looking forward to many more.

Product Review:

As a Ranger for TheDyrt,I get to test products from time to time. This trip, I tested the infinity scarf by Buff. It was a lifesaver on the trails! At times, it kept the sun off my head and other times it kept the wind off my head. It also served as a cover-up for my dirty hiker-hair since I couldn't wash it for 3 days. What I loved about this infinity scarf was that I could put it on my neck and twist it up and over my head to cover both head and neck. It was lightweight and breathable as well as a fun pink/coral color.

Large campground close to beach

On our way to through Connecticut, we needed to stop for a night. This was on Long Island Sound and had walk-up sites available. $33 per night gets you a site with bath house/restroom close by but no hook-ups. There is a public "beach" nearby which is way different than our Florida ones. We had to walk under the railroad tracks through a tunnel to get there. Interesting but still a nice feature and probably the main attraction here. There was also a concession stand, nature center, picnic area and boat ramp here at this park. Since we were getting a walk-up site they let us drive around and pick our site from a list of available ones. Most of them were on the small side accommodating tents or pop-ups. We found one in the Osprey loop which was very shaded. The bath rooms were clean and up to date. Good for a night on our way to Rhode Island.

A "Grand" view by the river

In the summer of 2016, my husband expressed interest in hiking the Grand Canyon rim to rim with me. Immediately I thought, "no way"! No showers, no electricity, no cell phone service… Why would anyone do this? But he was serious! I had never backpacked and slept in a tent without having some kind of civilization around or modern conveniences nearby. We began training by Keto diet and walking everyday. Since we live at sea level, we couldn't really simulate the elevation change but walked stairs at a nearby hospital frequently. We eventually progressed to carrying our weighted backpacks for 5+ miles. I lost 20 lbs, had more endurance, got stronger and a little more confident in his plan. We booked our permits, plane tickets and arranged for the care of our 4 boys to get to school, soccer, etc. while we were gone. We left on October 31 and flew to Phoenix, AZ. After a few days of sightseeing with Jason's parents around the south rim, we drove up & left our rental car on the North rim. It was closed for transportation and all services already.

On November 2nd, we began our hike from South Kaibab trail to North Rim which was about 20.5 miles. The first stop was Bright Angel Campground that night which was about 7 miles into our hike and an elevation change of 4,780 feet. Going down was mostly easy but hard on the knees and toes. The view was amazing and I took lots of pics along the way. By the time we made it to Bright Angel campground, all of the creek sites were taken. We found another one quickly because it appeared to be filling fast. Each site had a picnic table, backpack / gear hanging pole and locking military-type box to store food and toiletries. The sites were level and there was a separation between them by vegetation. There was a ranger station and toilets in campground. Deer walked around freely nearby. There was a water spigot next to us to fill our bottles and bags. We didn't encounter a rude person there- everyone was willing to answer questions and offer advice from their own experiences. After a mountain house meal and an attempt to clean off in Bright Angel Creek(way too cold), we went to bed exhausted and ready for the next day of hiking…

Ranger Review: Tentsile Flight+ at North/South Lake

Campground Review:

North/South Lake Campground is located in the Catskill Mountains in Haines Falls, NY. There are 7 loops with a total of 219 primitive sites. Most are fairly level and shaded many with views of North lake or a creek. Each loop has a bathroom and showers. There is also a dump station and several places to fill up with water. There are many activities to do here like swimming, hiking and boating. There were walk-up sites available when we arrived after hours. The cost was about $28 per night. We selected site 13 located in loop #1 which was very peaceful and shaded located next to the creek. There were many rocks for the kids to climb on nearby. The showers had no hot water available and were locked during our stay which was a bit inconvenient. We hiked to some waterfalls nearby which were very beautiful.

Product Review:

As a ranger for the Dyrt, I get to test products from time to time. At this campground, I tested the Flight+ tree tent by Tentsile. This is a combination of a hammock and tent. I was very excited to get this product and have been looking at them for a while.

Pros:

  • The Flight+ tree tent is very lightweight and convenient to take backpacking weighing in at only 7 lbs.
  • It has a mesh netting that keeps bugs out and can be used with or without the rain tarp. In upstate NY, we left it off because there wasn't any humidity or dew at the time. It gave us a great unobstructed view of the creek and trees.
  • keeps you off the ground- high and dry
  • 2 person size and each has their own door to get in and out so no crawling over your tent mate.
  • a variety of colors to choose from unlike most tents and has a sleek eye-catching design that peaks interest of other campers
  • Customer service is great at helping you troubleshoot your setup as well as providing videos on the website.

Cons:

  • There was a bit of a learning curve to the set up. We tried it in a variety of places and with different tree configurations.
  • Had a hard time getting it level so there wasn't a lean one way or the other when you were in it. Couldn't get all the tabs to line up on each strap.
Ranger Review: Tentsile Flight+ at North/South Lake, NY

Campground Review:

North/South Lake Campground is located in the Catskill Mountains in Haines Falls, NY. There are 7 loops with a total of 219 primitive sites. Most are fairly level and shaded many with views of North lake or a creek. Each loop has a bathroom and showers. There is also a dump station and several places to fill up with water. There are many activities to do here like swimming, hiking and boating. There were walk-up sites available when we arrived after hours. The cost was about $28 per night. We selected site 13 located in loop #1 which was very peaceful and shaded located next to the creek. There were many rocks for the kids to climb on nearby. The showers had no hot water available and were locked during our stay which was a bit inconvenient. We hiked to some waterfalls nearby which were very beautiful.

Product Review:

As a ranger for the Dyrt, I get to test products from time to time. At this campground, I tested the Flight+ tree tent by Tentsile. This is a combination of a hammock and tent. I was very excited to get this product and have been looking at them for a while.

Pros:

  • The Flight+ tree tent is very lightweight and convenient to take backpacking weighing in at only 7 lbs.
  • It has a mesh netting that keeps bugs out and can be used with or without the rain tarp. In upstate NY, we left it off because there wasn't any humidity or dew at the time. It gave us a great unobstructed view of the creek and trees.
  • keeps you off the ground- high and dry
  • 2 person size and each has their own door to get in and out so no crawling over your tent mate.
  • a variety of colors to choose from unlike most tents and has a sleek eye-catching design that peaks interest of other campers
  • Customer service is great at helping you troubleshoot your setup as well as providing videos on the website.

Cons:

  • There was a bit of a learning curve to the set up. We tried it in a variety of places and with different tree configurations.
  • Had a hard time getting it level so there wasn't a lean one way or the other when you were in it. Couldn't get all the tabs to line up on each strap.
Convenient to Newport

This campground is located by Newport, R.I.The man in the office was very nice and had a super laid-back attitude. They only accepted cash or check and it was a little pricey for the lack of amenities. They did have a bathroom and laundry building. Sites were very tight which meant you had no privacy. Most of the campers were seasonal so their units looked more permanent. We were happy to have the full hookups since we had been on the road for a while without them. The great thing about this campground was the location to the beach which was across the street. Good spot for a quick stop when traveling through to see the Newport mansions, etc.

Family-owned campground with lots to do

This campground is 1300 acres owned and operated by the Simonsen family in Derry, NH. The main attraction of this campground is the golf course of 9 or 18 holes. There is a pro shop, golf cart rentals, etc. There are 300 camping sites with full hookups. Very reasonably priced at $40 per night. A lot of the campers are seasonal which is May - October each year. I did not see any tents there, only hard-sided units. The amenities are state of the art, clean laundry center, restrooms, bath house, grocery store, bar & grill, playground & 2 swimming beaches. We had interactions with both Drew & Lauri Simonsen (brother & Sister) during our 2 night stay. Our generator was down and we needed to pick up our friend at the airport. Lauri loaned us her minivan to go to the airport and Drew loaned us some tools to work on the RV. They were so helpful and treated us like family. The kids were given a lot of grace and hung out in the grill/game room area for hours on end to use the wi-fi. I can't say enough about the customer service here. Anyone in this area should check it out.

"Camping" in Philly

When you want to go to Philadelphia and camp close by the historical sites, this is about your only option. It is literally a parking lot enclosed with chain link in the middle of the city.

Campus Park and Ride is a fenced/gated lot that adjoins a US Customs building.. There is water and electric connections plus a dump station.(I use that term very loosely) There is a pvc tube running by wall of building with no hose or anyway to clean out your tube. It wasn't capable of holding much because it backed up quickly…GROSS!

There is a bath house/trailer and office on site. No one was ever in the office while we were there. The shuttle bus driver had to let us in and out as well as take our info & credit card info on a form to leave on the desk.

At $49 per night, this camping was a little pricey. Strangely enough, as urban as this was… I felt safe.

The best part about this campground was the people we met camping next to us. They were helpful in getting us to our site-seeing destinations by way of bus instructions and even gave us tokens to ride. On the other side of us were vendors from Comic-Con that was in town that weekend. They gave us free entry tickets. Awesomeness for the teenagers who wanted to roam.

No designated check-out time meant a full day in Philly. We headed to Independence Square by way of the free shuttle and a city bus. Touring Independence Hall, seeing the Liberty Bell, going to China Town and eating a Philly Cheese Steak were our objectives. DONE!

Nice campground in Need of a few upgrades

We stayed on site K8 for one night. Wompatuck has 262 campsites priced right at $26 including tax but only accept cash because their internet cannot support a credit card machine. It is seasonally open fro. May to mid-October. There were plenty of walk-up sites available in June and they actually had electric in one loop. We were excited to have that and not run our generator for A/C. When we got to our site, we discovered it is only 20 amps. Yikes!

The host by us was nice enough to loan us a converter. At least we can have some power. The temps got to 91 inside the RV today.

The campground is very wooded and bath houses have showers which were fairly clean. Ours was closed for a bit for painting in the evening. Water fill station and dump station was convenient as well as dumpster in loop.

Wompatuck S.P. has natural clean water st Mt. Blue spring that is open for bottle filling.

Hiking and biking trails are located throughout the park. There is also a lake with a boat ramp to go fishing.There are many other amenities here we didn't utilize such as skiing, hunting snowmobiling, horseback riding.

"Camping" in Brooklyn

We tried this campground without knowing what was safe and where to stay for visit New York City. It is located in Brooklyn and is little removed from everything. The sites are at Floyd Bennett Field which is an old airfield. The atmosphere here is eerily cool at the same time. You basically park and camp on the asphalt by the old hangars. No hookups at all but they do have a camp store and bath house. If you are tent camping, there are some grassy sites.

The campground is located right on Jamaica Bay so there were people fishing all the time from the seawall. At night, you could hear cars doing burnouts right next to us. To get to all the action in the city, we had to take a bus and then the subway. The travel was a headache but better than trying to drive in to New York City in our RV. One way to improve here would be to have some security at night as well as access to clean water and dump station. They remained locked most of the time for some reason.

The best part of this place was the free tour of Hangar B by some guys doing restoration of old planes (HARP). They had some great stories and gave us history of the planes on display.

Best option for inexpensive camping by D.C.

If you are camping by Washington D.C., this is the place. A great deal At $20 / night compared to another one i will leave unnamed at $90/ night….OUCH! Greenbelt campground has 4 loops (A, B, C, D)A is for scouts group camp, B & C for tents and small RVs due to tight turns and low hanging trees. D is for anything over 30 ft. There is lots of shade trees & trails here. It is primitive but there are bathhouses conveniently located with plenty of water spigots in the loop. If you don't use reserve america to book a site, there is a self check-in option for walk -ups by ranger station. The Metro station is nearby (@ 2 miles) to catch a train into D.C. for sightseeing.

Ranger Review: Cold Pruf Base layer at Burrell's Ford Campground

Campground Review:

In March 2017, our family of 6 went on our 1st overnight backpacking trip. A friend had recommended the Chattooga River Trail in South Carolina. After acquiring some extra gear for the kids, we headed up from Florida. The forecast was showing 30's as low and we were a little worried. Our plan was to start on the north end of River trail and hike for a few days camping in between. The Ranger there sold us a map of the trail since the ones online were not so great. We were anxious to see some of the beautiful waterfalls along the way(not well marked). Day 1 was a nice walk from Fish Hatchery Parking lot to Burrell's Ford campground, mostly along the river. We noticed that the temps seemed to be dropping along our walk and there was actually a little snow/sleet falling on us…. uh oh! We set up camp after about 4.5 miles at Burrell's Ford.It was primitive of course with a picnic table, fire ring and high wire system for storing food, etc. from the animals. All the sites were fairly level and clear for tents. There was a vault toilet at the top of the hill and a parking lot about .5 miles away for easy access. (Of course, we parked in the lot 4.5 miles away)

Before we could get our tents set up, dinner made and gear stowed up high for the night, we were freezing! It dropped to 17 degrees and our plan to stay in 2 tents quickly changed to everybody in the 4-man / 3-season tent that we had just purchased. The wind was whistling down the river next to us and we debated making the trip back to the parking lot over and over. In the end, we stuck it out and hunkered down for a long, cold night. Morning couldn't come soon enough. I think that I slept a total of 2 hours on and off. My husband had fallen the night before and injured his leg so walking back to the Fish Hatchery lot wasn't really an option. At daybreak, he asked for a ride from a nearby camper fishing on the river. He consulted with his group and they said "yes". Overjoyed that we would be rescued from the cold soon, I quickly began packing up camp; ignoring my frozen fingers and toes. After he hadn't returned in what seemed like several hours, I began to worry. I grabbed my 2 little guys (8 & 9 years old) and as much as we could carry and began walking the 1/2 mile to the nearest parking lot at Burrell's Ford. Soon after, he pulled in the lot and we were rescued from the cold!

Long story short….. this was a beautiful hike spoiled by a crazy weather pattern and we will definitely be going back for a do-over!

Product Review:

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get to test products. At this campground, I tested some [Cold Pruf](http://Cold Pruf) base layers: women's honeycomb pant and performance crew. I was very pleased with the softness of the ployester/spandex blend fabric. It was comfortable and lightweight. No scratchy areas on seams and it is tagless. This kept my core warm in 17 degree weather. Very thankful to have worn them. It was a necessity in this situation and I recommend to always be prepared for the cold.

http://www.coldpruf.com/products/performance-womens-crew/

http://www.coldpruf.com/products/honeycomb-womens-pant/

Beautiful park in Memphis...

I visited Memphis several year back for my high school reunion and this was the only campground I could find in a safe area. It actually had hookups in a big grassy/rock lot. Up the hill were bathrooms with showers and the Ag center farmers market which was really cool to visit all of the local vendors. There are 4,500 acres here with lots to do like hiking, BMX, disc golf, playgrounds, boating, biking and they even have buffalo! I have heard that it has since been updated so I might want to check it out again one day to see the improvments.

lots of "No See-ums" and raccoons

Okay so maybe the title isn't very nice but that is what stands out to me when I think of this campground. The sites are very large and there is water and electric hook-ups and a dump station nearby. you really cannot stay outside at dusk. citronella Torches, spray, fans,Avon skin so soft…none of these work for the no see-ums. During the day, go out and fish, kayak , grill or hang at the beach. Lots of things to do here and great waterfront sites available on first come first serve basis.

More expensive than a hotel night but a beautiful view

Located in Flagler, Florida. this campground has spots directly on the Atlantic Ocean. We have stayed here many times but the price continues to go up so I can't say we will be returning. Highest I paid was $130 per night on holiday weekend but now it is way more than that. Amenities: full hookups, ocean side sites, laundry mat, store.

First to Review
So much to do here.... Canoe, horseback riding, BMX, RC track, fishing, trails, archery

So much to do here…..camp, BMX, canoe, fish, RC cars, horseback riding and more

Lake Park is a regional county park with an entry fee of $2 per vehicle located at the corner or Van Dyke and N. Dale Mabry Hwy. Camping is only $12 per night. It is primitive but I will tell you that there are a few water and electric sources over by the BMX track. The title really is an understatement. I love this park that is close to my house and would live there if I could. It has been closed this year due to a sinkhole but due to reopen soon from what I have been told. There are many community events held here annually like the Christmas craft show, zombie run, State and local BMX races, etc.

Our Church camping destination for many years...

Sertoma Youth ranch is located in Dade City, Forida off a dirt road. It has water and electric hookups and a dump station. There are several bath houses and a large gathering pavilion to hold church services or concerts. It has been renovated little by little and gets better every year. There is a creek that runs through the property, a playground and a basketball court. These are the main areas where kids congregate. The sites are dirt and grass and some are pretty unlevel. What we love the most about Sertoma is the serene country setting with cows out in the pasture and the one way in and out makes it a safe secure place for our church families to meet and fellowship. a very relaxing place to camp that is reasonably priced.