Jean C.
West Roxbury, MA
Joined September 2018
Lifelong tent camper, now in a teardrop. Love hiking, photography, exploring in New England & beyond! Visited all 50 states,more than 70 countries.
Compact campground with pull thru sites

Stopped by this KOA to see what it offered for possible future stays. It's a compact campground that provides pull through sites as well as back-in and tent sites. They offer everything from 50 amp electric to cable TV. Sites are clean and neat. There's a dog park for your pets. Bathrooms are clean with hot showers. They have cabins available as well.

Great location for exploring Sandra Fe, Bandelier, and other national monuments.

Gravel parking lot, great location

If you have a big rig and need a place to stay while exploring Santa Fe and the many national monuments in the area, this is a great location! It's not much more than a gravel parking lot, but it can accommodate your large RV and extra vehicle. Try to get a spot as far from the highway as possible.

Owned by the pueblo, it provides large pull-through sites with 20/30/50A hookups, sewer and water, plus free wifi. There are shops and restaurants across the way. 

Bandelier, Kasha-Katuwe, Pecos National Monuments are all nearby as is downtown Santa Fe.

Beautiful location

El Morro National Monument features some amazing petroglyphs and the remains of a pueblo, offering fun hikes. Nearby is a free campground, first-come, first-served. There's water available except in winter (and then you can fill containers at the visitor's center) and vault toilets.

Sites offer picnic tables, fire rings, and tent pads. Some, because of their set-up, are better suited to tents than RVs, but because you can't reserve in advance, you'll get to choose what works best for you…assuming there's vacancy. In December it was cold and largely unoccupied, but in warmer months I'm guessing it fills quickly. Sit 5 is handicap accessible and located across from the bathroom.

Primitive camping with offroad access

This is a small, primitive campground offering access to a number of backcountry trails. If you're bringing a swamp buggy or ATV, you'll need to be sure to complete the required training and obtain your permits. There were a few swamp buggies heading to the trail when i was there. Following a large rainstorm, there was some puddling on the RV pull-through sites. The back side of the campground was drier and quieter. Access to the trails is at the far end of the pond, so ORVs will be coming past your site either on their way in or out. 

Insects are somewhat more tolerable in the dry season (Jan-Apr), but but expect them anyway! The only facilities here are vault toilets. Be sure to bring plenty of water and stock up on supplies before you get into the Preserve! 

You may be visited by gators or panthers, so there are food boxes available. Ample opportunity for birdwatching and looking for alligators throughout the preserve. You're also not far from the Everglades.

You may stay 10 days Jan -Apr; 14 days the rest of the year. If you have a senior or access pass, your fees are discounted 50%.

Parking lot in a fabulous location

If you have a self-contained RV (no pop-up/canvas; permanent toilets/water tanks), like the beach, fishing, boating, and/or windsurfing, this may just be the park for you. It is nothing more than a parking lot with no hookups and only composting toilets available, but you get access to Block Island Sound and all that it offers. Sites 58-75 are waterfront. For Rhode Island residents, the price can't be beat, and it's fair for out-of-staters, too, because of the location

No animals permitted. Generators only 8a-8p. Clam shack, marina, deli, and ice cream place nearby, but I doubt you'll want to fight the traffic on a summer day.

Huge campground, not many level sites.

I've never camped in Rhode Island, so I was curious to see what a state park campground had to offer. Rates are reasonable for state residents, but quite high if you are out-of-state, given the amenities. There are no hookups, but dump stations are available. Bathrooms have flush toilets and coin-operated showers. There's a small beach at the pond, a boat ramp, and proximity to wildlife refuges and the ocean. It's a HUGE campground, with 700 sites and 20 cabins. Canoes are available to rent.

There's a nice playground, a camp store, and a naturalists cabin. Trails are available for hiking and biking. The beach is sandy and there's a small parking lot there, but I suspect most people walk to it. No alcohol allowed. 

I didn't see more than a handful of level sites, with varying degrees of slope, but many are quite large. If you have an RV, plan to level; if you have a tent, be sure to bring good mattresses to protect you from the roots and rocks and orient your head to the uphill side. Most of the sites have some degree of visual separation from their neighbors, but there are places where it's hard to tell where one site ends and the next one starts. Site have fire rings and picnic tables, but if you plan to cook over the fire, bring your own grate or plan to use sticks and/or aluminum foil. 

If you don't have a tent, consider reserving one of their rustic cabins. These offer two sets of bunks (no mattresses) and a small porch with a picnic table and fire ring outside. Some are located along the pond.

3-4 bar cell phone coverage. No road traffic. East Beach is nearby, but parking fills early.

Quiet in the offseason, great location

Smokemont is located a few miles up Newfound Gap Rd from Cherokee, NC and the Oconaluftee visitor's center and farm. You'll have a head start on driving to Clingman's dome to watch the sunrise and you're not far from places to explore on the east side of the Smokies. 

Smokemont is one of the few campgrounds open year round, with loops A & B available in the off-season. I stayed here in early April and there were plenty of open sites. You can make reservations online or take a chance at first-come, first-served. With the exception of two sites offering electric for medical equipment, there are no utilities available. Firewood is available at nearby Towstring Horse Camp. Bathrooms are basic, with flush toilets and running water. Sites are good sized, most with square tent pads; it may be difficult to fit some of the larger tents on these pads. 

Loop F is across a bridge and for RVs only. Some of the sites on the outer edge of the loop are on the river; i liked the looks of sites F34, 35, 38. Sites in the middle of the loop are more open.  None of the other sites in the campground are directly on the river, but they're just across a road and you'll fall asleep to the sound of babbling water and be able to wade in it during the day. D loop sites are largely pull-through sites, great if you have a larger rig. 

If you have a longer stay in the national park, spend a couple of nights here and enjoy all that the area has to offer, then move to another section and explore that area as well. You'll spend less time on the road each day and enjoy your visit more! While here, check out the Mingus Mill, go into Cherokee and learn more about the tribe and its history, and visit the farm at the visitor's center. Keep your eyes open as you drive, esp. in the early morning or at dusk; you may see deer, bear, or elk.

Primitive Campground in a National Preserve

This is a primitive campground off the loop road south of Tamiami trail through Big Cypress National Preserve. The first couple of sites have large parking pads for campgrounds hosts that were unoccupied when I was there.  Sites are first-come, first served and you'll have a choice of sites that are tucked away behind brush and trees or large, more open sites. There's no drinking water available. There are vault toilets available that were clean. Few of the sites were occupied in late January. At the back of the campground there is airboat access to backcountry trails in the Stairsteps section of the Big Cypress Preservel elsewhere along the loop road you may be able to use swamp buggies and ATVs. There are extensive rules and permitting to take your vehicle on these trails as well as online training requirements, so check them out on the Big Cypress website. 

Sites are $24/night, half price if you have a Senior pass or Access pass, though to be honest I didn't see any envelopes for payments and the campers I spoke with indicated they weren't paying anything. You can stay 10 nights during peak season (Jan-Apr), 14 consecutive nights the rest of the year. They  have picnic tables (look at the end of the table for the site number), fire rings, and lantern poles. Bearboxes provide food protection if you don't have a hardsided vehicle. You're in a panther habitat.

You'll need a boat, but it's gorgeous

This small island in Biscayne National Park offers a distant view of the Miami skyline, gorgeous aqua water for swimming, snorkeling, boating and fishing. A small lighthouse stands above the protected harbor. There's a small trail around the wooded end of the island. 

You can stay on your boat or pitch a tent on the island. There are spots along the shore and if it's full, you can pitch a tent on the grassy field. The back of the island has a small beach for swimming.  It's $25/night to camp for up to 6 people with an additional charge if you have more in your group. Pay the iron ranger.

Between generators and music, it's not a quiet island. Tour boats from the park bring crowds a couple of times a time.

There are flush toilets and the odor is so strong you won't linger! Bring potable water. 

There are picnic tables and grills available.

Expensive and loud, but it's Key West

I stayed here as a money saving exercise the night before a morning flight to Dry Tortugas. I didn't bring a tent, but Leo's had a camping kit available for rent that included the tent, sleeping pad and a small lantern/flashlight that I took advantage of; bring your own sleeping bag or sheets. 

The sites are level with pea gravel; the ground was so hard that I could not get the stakes into the ground (they didn't provide a hammer and i was in too much of a hurry to ask). I tied off a guy line to the fence in hopes of preventing it from blowing into the water. Someone must have come by and staked it down while I was in town because the 4 stakes were in when I returned. The sites have a picnic table and grill. Some of the sites have electric, making it nice to fully charge camera and phones as needed. There's good cell service, but they do provide wifi if needed.

The campground is visually separated from Rt 1, but it is so close that you will hear the traffic All. Night. Long. I always say I can sleep through anything, but between this and the sleeping pad with a leaky valve, I didn't sleep at all. I wish I'd had earplugs.

There's a mix of seasonal and shorter term campers, everything from large RVs to camper vans and tents. There were a few empty tent sites when I was here in late January. There's a small pond with a shelter. Near the restrooms there is a covered area with picnic tables and a small library, a good place to take refuge from a shower or to hang out with friend or a book. Laundry is available. The bathrooms are clean and small. They definitely need more hooks in the shower stall and could use a small stool or shelf. 

If you have a pet, they have a small doggie playground next to the office. For the people, there are large games such as jenga and chess.

It's about 4 miles to the historic district.

Front country camping in the Everglades

Campsites are generally good sized with both paved parking pads and green grass. Unlike the sites at Flamingo, there's more brush and trees providing an element of separation and privacy from other sites. There are flush toilets, showers, water fill, and a dump station, but no hookups. If you want electric, you should make reservations at Flamingo. Many of them have good vie of the sky, nice for solar charging your batteries or enjoying the stars. Insects can be be brutal, but they weren't too bad in January. Campground is open during the winter months/dry season, before the rain, insects, and heat keep most people away.

This is a nice location not too far into the park in case you want to explore another area, but it's remote enough that if you haven't picked up all you need by the time you reach Robert is Here Fruit Stand, you should go back to get it or plan to do without for a while. Speaking of Robert's, stop for a refreshing smoothie or shake and some fruits or vegetables on your way in or out of the park…or maybe each way!

 This campground and the one at Flamingo are operated by Flamingo Everglades concessionaire and they seem to be working to upgrade facilities. They're building a new station at the entrance. Reservations are available for RVs to try to ensure that those who need an RV site will be able to get one that fits their rig; tenters are asked to select their site upon arrival. 

Phone access spotty with Verizon; It was decent at Anhinga Trail, worse the farther down the road you get to Flamingo.

 I didn't happen across any gators in the campground while I was there, but they're definitely in the area. Didn't see a panther, either. Wildlife abounds, particularly the birds. An easy walk with great reward, especially early in the morning or in the evening is the Anhinga boardwalk. Keep your eyes peeled for the colorful purple gallinule darting across the lily pads and the anhinga spreading their wings to dry. I'm not much of a birder, but the challenge of distinguishing the ibis from the snow egret to the great egret is fun (Do you know which one has the golden slippers? The Merlin bird app is also a great tool to help you out.) 

Also nearby is the Nike MIssile Site, open for tours most days during the winter, but check at the visitors' center for details because the info on the website doesn't correspond with real life. Continue on down the road to Flamingo to catch a boat tour or rent a boat on your own; explore some hiking trails along the way. Bikes are a nice way to explore the campground or longer rides through the park. Stop at the visitor's center and pick up some guides or a Jr Ranger book for the kids.

If you can beat the bugs, stars and sunrises await

If you can beat the bugs, stargaze and enjoy the sunrise. But take the bug seriously. Even in late January the mosquitoes or vicious. You'll want insect repellent long sleeve long pants and maybe even a mosquito net when you are out and about.

Flamingo Everglades is the concessionaire that operates this campground and the nearby marina. The campground is arranged into 2 loops (one for trailers; about half of them with electric) plus a bayside field area that also includes a group tent site. For these, you park and walk to your site, but you get a great view of the bay and sunrises. In addition, there are several new eco-tents (platform tents) with beds two chairs and lamps. I stayed in one of these.

The Flamingo area still shows the effects of Hurricane Irma a couple of years ago and some neglect. The B & C loops are not open, though NPS is working to clean them up. An employee I spoke with indicated that they hoped to have those open next year. I was there midweek and only the trailer loop was full. On the weekends they do fill up.

The campsites in the loops have picnic tables and fire rings. The bayside field sites have scattered picnic tables and fire rings in various states of rusty disrepair. The eco-tents some picnic tables closer to the bathrooms for the field sites are not occupied, you can use one of those. You can't use a stove in your tent or on your deck, so you do need to cook elsewhere.

Bathrooms include flush toilets and free showers, although the water never got very warm. They are solar heated.

Remember everything you need because it's a long trip back to Florida city or Homestead the nearest places for picking up supplies. Stop at "Robert is Here" on your way in or out for a smoothie or milkshake. The shop at the marina has some basic snacks and drinks. Tuesday to Saturday afternoons there is a food truck available. For activities, campers get a discount on bike rentals. They also rent kayaks & canoes and offer boat trips, though I wouldn't do the boat trip again.

If you choose to stay in an eco-tent, there is a cart with bicycle tires to quietly take your gear to your tent. The boardwalk lights up at night so you can safely find your way to the bathroom. You'll be conscious of the sound the zipper makes when you leave and return to your tent. These are tents and not cabins, so you may hear some neighbors talking or snoring. Even so, it was a welcome change from a sleepless, noisy night at a campground in the Keys.

If you're looking for birds, nearby Eco pond or the waterfront near the bayside campsites offer a nice variety for minimal effort.

No Verizon coverage, but I've been told there is AT&T. Wifi is available at the visitors center.

Large clearing for group camping

The only indication that you have reached the turn off for Pinecrest group campground is the brown tent sign. The sign for the campground itself is parallel to the road, so you won't see it until you are upon it. You'll need to reserve a campsite online in advance. Otherwise the gate to the campground is locked. Each of the 4 sites can accommodate 15 campers/8 tents as they are paired in such a way that sites 1&2 are together and 3&4 occupy a separate corner, perfect if you're group requires two sites.. Each site has a picnic table, fire ring, and half of a bear box; extra tables were gathered in the center. There are vault toilets, but no running water. Plenty to do in the area…fishing, birding, boating, hinting. Explore the preserve or neighboring Everglades. It's off the gravel loop road south of Tamiami Trail Rd.

For the sunsets, the sunrises, and the dark skies

Our newest National Park offers inexpensive primitive camping along a backcountry loop trail. You'll need to carry your gear ~1 mile each way, so pack and plan accordingly. the hike isn't tough, but it will take you 20-30 minutes to get to your site and you want to be settled in time to enjoy the golden hour before sunset! There's no hiking after dark because it can be easy to get disoriented without too many landmarks in the area.

You can't make advance reservations because they can't predict when there will be missile tests that require closing the park for a bit, but they do generally know about a week in advance. Check out the website for updated information. Entry to the park was delayed until 9am two days during the week of my visit, so no camping on those nights. Be prepared to switch nights if necessary!

Arrive in time to check in with a ranger to get oriented and assigned a site. They'll provide you with a map. I arrived mid-day in early December and had a choice of several sites; there were only two other sites occupied. The trail to the site was fairly well marked, although a couple of them were lacking numbers. Your site will be in the low spots between the dunes and you'll be restricted to an area near the numbered pole. You'll be able to see others watching sunsets and sunrises from the tops of the dunes, but once at your site, you're in a private world.

Winter nights are cold and dark…I think I would have enjoyed it more in the autumn or spring with longer and somewhat warmer days, but I loved watching the full moon rise as the sun set. My tent was coated in frost by morning. Camping in the park is the only way to enjoy the sunrises, though my December morning was quite foggy. The last water is available at the visitor's center; bring plenty, esp. in the summer months. You may use a small camp stove for cooking, but it has to be off the ground. There are composting toilets at the parking area, but you'll need to dig a cathole or carry out your waste from the campsite.

Inexpensive RV spots with electric

To be honest, this isn't my style of camping, but if you're in an RV and looking for a base from which to explore the greater Albuquerque and Santa Fe area, you could do worse. Just off I-25 and located on a corner of the San Felipe Pueblo, there's not much here but the casino, gas station, restaurant, and travel shop! For $20 you get 20, 30 or 50A electric hookups with water and a dump station available. Clean bathroom facilities, including spacious showers, are available in the travel shop/gas station. Check in at the casino and they'll send someone out to meet you and get you set up. 

There are great places to explore in the vicinity, including Kasha Katuwe, Bandelier, and Pecos National Monuments to name just a few.

A fishing pond and inexpensive sites

This is a state park campground that offers everything from basic tent sites to full hookups near a small pond for fishing (no swimming or boating). There's a picnic table (numbered with the site so there's no question which one is which) and fire ring. Bathrooms offer flush toilets, no showers and it is not heated. Numerous portable toilets also got the park around the pond and play area. In early December only 4 of the sites are occupied and one person was fishing. It's handicapped accessible with a paved path to a small dock.

No frills waterfront camping

Head north out of Greenville on the east side of Moosehead lake and shortly before you reach Kokadjo, turn right and follow the road along the edge of First Roach Pond. Near the far end of the lake you’ll come upon a small campground with a number of named waterfront sites on the left and a grassy hillside area with additional spots. I drove past this place several times en route to ponds where I could kayak and look for moose before I finally decided to stop in. I couldn’t find much of anything online and that’s because they are old school, taking reservations by phone and tracking them on wirebound notepads. These are no frills sites; most of the outhouses are on the other side of the road from the waterfront sites and not necessarily nearby. Some of the sites occupy rises above the lake while others are right down on the water. There is a gravelly beach area. If you like to fish or boat or look for wildlife, you've come to the right area. Grab your Maine atlas and explore the back road and ponds. Book a moose tour out of Greenville if you want some help finding the moose. There are some small peaks in the area (Greenville promotes a Peak Pursuit). Kokadjo has a small trading post and restaurant, but you'll want to pick up most of your supplies in Greenville. Remember to bring water.

Family friendly with plenty to keep you busy!

I hadn’t camped here in the past 8 years, so decided it was time to revisit; it helped that it was one of the campgrounds still open after Columbus Day weekend. Although reservations are available online, I didn’t need them for closing weekend; 3 sites were occupied when I arrived, about 15 by the end of the weekend. During the peak season, I’m sure it’s a different story given it’s proximity to Concord and Manchester and the variety of activities available. 

Mostly level sites sit under towering pines and vary greatly in size. Many of the sites are separated from their neighbors by large, downed pine trees. I was in site 38 and found that the little loop to my campsite was tight to exit(I was towing a 14’ teardrop, not a big trailer) and I had to be careful to swing wide at the corner. This site backed onto an open field with a backstop for baseball/softball. It meant that I could enjoy the the sunny warmth on an otherwise cool morning. Last time I was here I stayed in site 45, a small tent/pop-up site along that same loop, but in the shade. If you are tenting and don’t mind a short walk, reserve site R1 for a raised site overlooking the pond. Sites 13-25 back up against a hill. Site 91 is near the entrance, but large and set back from the camp road, so it offers some extra seclusion. It’s across the street from the playground. I’d avoid site 93 because it is so close to the playground and the fire ring placement makes it seem like families enjoying the playground will be tempted to walk through your site. If you want to be close to the play area, site 90 or the ones on the loop behind it are better options. 

There are no hookups, but there is running water and a dump station is available. Bathhouses offer coin-operated showers; I noticed a price difference between the two of them, so went with the less expensive option! It was the final weekend of the season, so that may explain the lack of attention to cleaning and upkeep of the restrooms. Several of the stalls were lacking toilet paper and, although it was nearly empty when I arrived, the bathrooms had little bits of debris scattered on floors and around sinks. The bottom of one of the dishwashing sinks was coated with something that resembled dried coffee grounds. 

I was here with a 5-year-old the last time and she enjoyed the playgrounds both at the campground and at the Catamount Pond beach. There’s another beach in the campground itself. Numerous trails call out of exploration, around ponds and up and down hills, with geocaches to be found (if you can, download the info and maps before you get to the park to be sure you have the necessary info). The mountain biking trails are busy even on late October afternoons; some trails allow horses. Canoes and kayaks let you explore and fish. There are two archery ranges and wheelchair accessible docks for fishing. For history, check out the antique snowmobile museum and the Civilian Conservation Corp(CCC) museum. The CCC built much of the infrastructure here and elsewhere in the country. 

The camp store offer a few basics and a selection of Bear Brook attire. Cell phone coverage varies from 1-2 bars, not always 4G, on Verizon.

Small, friendly campground in a perfect spot!

This small, private campground just outside Grafton Notch State Park offers clean, level, quiet sites with hot showers. If you don’t need wi-fi and hook-ups, this is the place for you! Seasonal decorations and solar lights decorate and brighten the paths. A small field near the bath house offers benches and horsehoes. A river runs behind the first several sites on the right side of the loop road. There’s a dump station available. It’s a great spot to stay if you are looking to hit the trail and want an early start.

I stayed here in site 4 a few years ago during my quest for the New England 4000-footers and stopped by recently to check it out again.

Hiking opportunities abound in the area, including the notorious Mahoosuc Notch stretch of the Appalachian Trail or family friendlier Table Rock as well as Crocker, Baldpate, and the Grafton Loop. At the right time of year, you may have a chance to chat with through hikers. Splash in the pools at Screw Auger Falls or Step Preserve falls on a hot summer day. Look for moose and other wildlife at dusk or dawn. This is a true retreat.

5-star now with new bathhouse

I stayed here for the first time in August last year, but returned in October this year to enjoy the autumn colors. This is a lovely state park on a large lake, offering drive-in sites with and without water/electric hookups plus a number of primitive boat-in sites around the lake. In 2019 the bathhouse was renovated, delaying the season opening, but it was worth the weight. Bathrooms are clean and bright, offering hot showers ($) and laundry. 

Site fill up on weekends, especially prime lakefront sites.  You can choose something more open and grassy or a wooded site. There's a swimming area and boat rentals. The office has limited hours. If you arrive after 5 or 6 (depending on the day/month), you'll need to check in in the morning and won't be able to buy firewood on site.

Off site, it's a short drive to Grafton Notch State Park (ME) for hiking and waterfalls, a little farther to Bethel, ME for canoeing, biking, and other outdoor activities. The Umbabog National Wildlife Refuge also offers hiking and boating opportunities with moose, loons, eagles, and beavers, to name a few.

It was bitterly cold overnight (24-27 degrees), so I was grateful for my trailer, but it made for some beautiful, if foggy, mornings and brilliantly clear skies for stargazing. If a tent or trailer isn't your chohice, there are cabins available, too.