Jennie R.
Centennial, CO
Joined August 2016
Road-tripping, fossil-hunting, rock-hounding, geo-caching, adventure-seeking, nature-loving mother of children, dogs, lizards and small critters.
Ranger Review: Snapbuds at Muskegon State Park Lake Michigan Campground

Campground Review

Lake Michigan Campground in Muskegon State Park was a great place to pull in for the night. We had ice cream for supper at the adjacent ice cream shop (where they advertised a free cone with your firewood purchase). We pulled in and settled into our cabin with enough time to enjoy sunset over Lake Michigan from the stairs and overlooks along the beach. The campground is well kept and has a nice shady canopy. The sites are fairly large, but there are no shrubs or structures to provide privacy from neighbors. We reserved a camping cabin and found it clean and functional with power, 4 beds (bunks), mini fridge and microwave. The showers were good sized with plenty of hot water, but being beach style, there was a lot of bug access. Expect to shower with some insects. I was a frustrated birder - I could hear the birds but couldn’t pick them out visually since they were all up so high with no low cover. All in all I would say this is a great campground for beach access, better in the cabins or an RV than in a tent since there isn’t much privacy.

Ranger Review:

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to review occasionally. On this trip I had a chance to try out Snapbuds, an earbud detangling system. We received the snapbuds before we left Colorado and used the enclosed guide to get them set up on my earbuds - it was a snap! The instructions say they can’t be repositioned once in place, so we were cautious about setting them up right the first time. I don’t use my earbuds often on road trips since I’m the only driver and I like to listen for birds on a walk - but after a few long days in the car with my kids choosing the playlists, this mamma was super excited to whip my earbuds out! I had them shoved in the back of my purse where we’d been rummaging around for various things over the course of the trip, so they had every opportunity to be a tangled mess - but they came out in a neat little wad and unraveled easily to take me away from the teens fighting over beds. I was pleased with how neat they stayed. My one word of caution is that the magnets really like to stick together, and if you create slack while wearing your earbuds (by bending to pick up a perfect rock or acorn, for instance) they have a tendency to find one another and shorten your cord, potentially dislodging your earbud when you straighten back up.

Great KOA! We’ll be back

What did I love about this KOA? It was quiet. I read and roamed around watching birds and picking up rocks while the kids were occupied with the pool and playing free putt-putt. The owners were very nice and helpful. The cabin was clean and neat with no spiders. The showers and bathroom were neat and clean. Add to that being not-too-far from one of my favorite corners of the planet with so much to offer, a cute little town, the birthplace of the People, and the origin of the Buffalo and you have a great spot.

More bathrooms please!

if you are going to camp in Moab, bring a tent, go mid-week and find a nice spot along a river. This KOA has a lot of the KOA perks we like, such as cabins and showers, but the bathrooms were nasty ALL the time, and there were not enough for the large number of people using them. The cabin was fine though - no complaints there. If I had to do it over, I would have brought along the tent and taken my own suggestion above.

Great base for a Badlands adventure

We spent a few nights at the Badlands/ White River KOA as our home base while we explored Badlands National Park area. The KOA had all the standard KOA amenities, but they were a little worn and could use some TLC. We stayed in a cabin which backed up to the White River, and there were game trails behind the cabin. We collected a rainbow of rocks and small agates from the driveway gravel and spent a great morning watching the nesting cliff swallows under the bridge scoop mud for nests and feed their young. The sites were well shaded, which is great in such a hot, open area. The nearby National Park campgrounds I drove through were not so nice.

Enjoy exploring the Badlands! Wounded Knee, Minute Men National Historic site, Buffalo National Grasslands (agate hunting for you rockhounds), and a cool sod Homestead are all nearby.

Big campground with great facilities

Tumalo State Park Campground is big, and spots might feel a little tight. The tent areas didn’t seem to have a whole lot of privacy and room. We stayed in a yurt, which was nice and clean. Unfortunately the neighbors weren’t great about following the quiet hours. The bathrooms and showers were really nice. We had a great time playing in the Deschutes river!

Beautiful area and great location, updates needed

For us, Umpqua’s Last Resort was, well, a last resort! This was all about location for us. Close to the North Umpqua? Check. Camping Cabin? Check. Available? Check. Expensive? Nope. It worked, but there is nothing fancy about this place. It is fairly small, was definitely quiet, had lots of blackberries ready to pluck, and has a little store down the road where we were able to get what we needed. The cabin was fine, but the shower house had seen better days. Trails and creeks were accessible from the property and it is in the neighborhood for a great day rafting, fun swimmin’ holes and Crater Lake National Park. In 2015, cell reception was spotty.

Thimbleberries and plenty of room

We stopped for a night in a rustic camping cabin at Emigrant Springs in July of 2015. It was a welcome dose of green after a long day of brown along the interstate through Idaho and western Oregon. The cabin was rustic, the shower house was in good repair with nice hot showers. There seemed to be good space and shade around the sites offering some privacy. Great spot! Take the time to stop in Meacham on the West side of I-84 tomstop at The Oregon Trail Cafe - literally the ONLY store in this teeny town. Wonderful hospitality, the local ‘scoop’ and great breakfast.

Beautiful KOA on the Wyoming/ Idaho border

I like staying at KOA’s during road trips - I choose a cabin so I can have a bed, there are plenty of things for the kids to do and everyone can find their pace/place to wind down from the day. Some are definitely better than others - Montpelier Creek was one of the BEST. This is a beautiful KOA. Our cabin was right on the creek, and I found my pace and place on the porch and nature trail watching birds and listening to the creek while the kids enjoyed the pool and playground. Everything was in great shape, including the shower house. Wonderful area with lots of history and natural beauty.

Give the grass some time to grow

We stayed at a Legion Lake cabin in Custer State Park. The cabin was fantastic - comfey beds, kitchenette and private bathroom. But the area around the cabins and along the lake shore is recovering from construction, so you may want to give the grass some time to grow. It's pretty brown around the cabins currently. The lake is still lovely though, and Custer State Park is full of views and wildlife as always. One of my favorite places.

Devil's Tower KOA

Devil's Tower KOA has an incredible view and is adjacent to the Devil's Tower National Monument Entrance.

Lovely KOA with all the KOA amenities, one bathroom/showerhouse in great shape and the other under renovation. They have a pool and playground and of course had a showing of 'Close Encounters'. The camping cabin we stayed in was clean and comfortable with AC and heat available. The view of the tower from the cabin was stunning.

I was very impressed with the trees and space between sites in this KOA - quarters were not as tight as we sometimes see. An excellent KOA.

The Devil's Tower area is a beautiful lanscape, with deep native roots. When in the area please respect it and learn about the stories and traditions of its caretakers.

Family 'Glamping' in the Chihuahuan Desert

If you haven't yet discovered the beauty of the chihuahuan desert, the Carlsbad KOA is a great place to hang your hat while you explore.

I often stay in camping cabins at KOA's while on road trips with my children. We like having a bed to spread our sleeping bags out on sometimes, access to AC after a hot day of exploration and the kids like a chance to 'plug in' while we are unplugged….

Carlsbad KOA is big, but it has adequate bathrooms and showers for the size, and they were in very good shape when we visited in June 2016. There is a pool, laundry, all the amenities you need if you are RVing, a game room and food on site. If you like camp cabins, the cabins had grills, picnic tables, the usual double + set of bunks (bring your own bedding), and AC.

Campground was peaceful. The great tailed grackels were courting and whistling, quail wandered through and rabbits romped around our cabin.

If you are in this area, visit the Living Desert State Park and Zoo and of course Carlsbad Caverns - stay and watch the bats fly out in the evening.

The only drawback on this KOA was that the wifi signal was spotty at our cabin, and I had some work to do. If you are taking an ACTUAL vacation, it wouldn't be an issue!

Top notch beauty, but needs some work

The Las Vegas, NM KOA was one of the prettiest KOA settings I have seen. It is a stunning location, and the town of Las Vegas is charming. The owners are were kind and helpful. That being said, this property is tired and in need of some maintenance and love. Our camping cabin needed chinking, I could see light through the logs. Happily there was a heater for the cold rainy night. The shower house was in great need of an update. Breakfast was delicious, but really slow as there was only one kind gentleman doing the cooking and there were several groups to feed. Some people cancelled their orders and left rather than staying to eat.

All that said, I would stay here again. The people were kind, the cost was reasonable, and it still beats a tent in the rain when passing through on a long road trip. And as I said at that start - it is beautiful. My kids loved the playground.

This was our base of operations for a visit to Fort Union National Historic Site.

Alamogordo/White Sands KOA

My children and I stayed only one night at the Alamogordo/White Sands KOA, but it was a great place to stop and play! The kids enjoyed the pool and game room, our camping cabin was clean and neat. They had the nicest KOA showerhouse I have seen in my travels. They were having an ice cream social as we arrived which was a bonus after a long hot day of adventure. This was a great base for exploring the area, including White Sands National Monument and the White Sands Missle Range Museum/Missle Park.

Prepare for the heat! There is not much shade on these adventures. My one complaint about this KOA is it needed more shade around the pool.

Great Place for kids!

My children and I stayed 2 nights in a camping cabin at the Bernalillo KOA in May, 2017. The staff were friendly and helpful throughout our booking process, even when we needed to make changes. The cabin was clean and neat, the KOA showerhouse was as well. They had a nice pool with plenty of shade and an outdoor movie in the evenings which my kids enjoyed. It was an excellent base for exploring the surrounding area, including the Jemez Mountains, many pueblos, Bandelier National Monument, Petroglyph National Monument and Kashe Katuwe National Monument.

Big, Busy but still Beautiful

On our last visit to Rocky Mountain National Park we reserved a space in the Moraine Park Campground. Our spot was fine, we had some shade, deer, jays and ground squirrels all visited. We are tent campers and our site was not immediately adjacent to the parking, but it was a very short walk and still convenient to the car.

The parking apron for our site was shared with another site whose occupants were not observing the one vehicle rule, but they moved their extra vehicle without complaint when we arrived. The bathrooms were busy, but still fairly clean. The ranger program in the campground amphitheater and the shuttles that pick up at the campground and take you to different destinations within the park are a great benefit.

All in all, I was impressed with much of the campground. There are some walk in sites within the campground that are particularly private and lovely for such a large and busy place. I have my eye on those for next time.

Excellent camping at Pinyon Flats

I won't lie, having never visited the Sand Dunes before I was skeptical about the campground. I assumed it would be crowded with little shade or privacy.

I was so very wrong regarding Pinyon Flats! As I drove through the loop, I was impressed by the beauty of the sites and surroundings, the amount of shade, the active wildlife and the spacing privacy available in most sites.

The campsites and facilities were all very well maintained. We are tent campers, so appreciated the level tent pad, picnic table and fire pit. I unzipped my tent to find some local deer preparing to nibble the rain fly - it was a wonderful experience to see wildlife throughout the campground. There we lovely birds as well.

I give the Pinyon Flats campground an A+. For a popular, full campground it was remarkably quiet and peaceful, and just lovely.

You can reserve space at Pinyon Flats through the Recreation.gov website. It is best to reserve several months in advance of your stay, particularly if you are visiting in peak season for the Park.

Spruce Grove Campground in the Lost Park Wilderness

Spruce Grove Campground is a beautiful location approximately 2 hours Southwest of Denver. Surrounded by rock outcroppings, the main campground loop has lovely shaded sites around most of its border. Interior loop sites have little or no shade. The walk-in sites across the foot bridge are wonderful and set among the rocks. Sites are well maintained by a friendly camp host who has served the location for many years. The gorgeous Tarryall Creek runs along the Eastern edge and past the walk-in sites. All ages enjoy tubing on the creek for a 1/4 mile stretch. There are calm, protected shallows along the creek for supervised play as well. The outcropping that surround the campground are fun to climb, and trails lead directly from the campground. There are many birds and other wildlife in the area for observation. I've heard mixed reviews on the fishing, most likely because the river play keeps the fish from biting.

The campground has vault toilets (very well maintained) and a potable water pump. Firewood is available for sale. Please follow Park County burn restrictions and enjoy your visit!

Note: this campground seldom has sites available without reservation. I recommend making reservations several months in advance on www.recreation.gov