Kyle K.
St. Louis, MO
Joined July 2017
Hiker, canoer, kayaker, camper, bicyclist, explorer
Large campgrounds done right

If you've ever been to Glacier National Park, you know it is all about the wild, raw beauty of the landscape. This is not a highly commercialized park, nor is it a huge tourist draw the way other more accessible parks are. This means you are typically camping with nature lovers in an environment that feels natural.

Fish Creek, while a BIG campground, is organized well and feels quite small. I camped in the non-Rav area where the loops are secluded with trees dividing most sites, so you will not be aware of the large number of people around you. The rangers and host are very present and patrol frequently, so noise rules are enforced. The sites sit just along Lake McDonald, and with a short hike through the woods you are standing on the banks of a beautiful glacial lake.

There are free showers here (!!!), along with flush toilets and plenty of bear lockers (I had two on my site).

The only real downside to me is that you are not allowed to gather wood AND there's no wood for sale on-site here. you'll have to drive 10 minutes to the nearest village to buy it, and those shops close by 5/6pm, so late arrivals may have a challenge.

Has amenities, but lacks authenticity

On the surface, these campgrounds look great and have ALL the amenities (shops, showers, etc.), but these are strictly commercial sites where I feel they've lost focus on what matters: nature. There's pavement and big roads everywhere. Sure, you're nestled among the pines, but there's no beauty in these sites, it doesn't feel connected to the wilderness at all. you are jam-packed with other people, and due to the huge size of the grounds, rangers aren't able to help monitor loud people or rulebreakers.

ultimately, my experience wasn't one that felt like I was sleeping in nature - it just felt like I was sardined in with 100 other people into the outdoors.

My favorite national park campground

Of all the national parks where I've camped, this was my favorite campsite. I got a walk-in site, and, besides not having trees perfectly situated for my hammock, I had no complaints - secluded, quiet, well-maintained, beautiful scenery, plenty of bear lockers, easy park access with proximity to a grocery store, flush toilets and running water! The only thing missing here is showers, which most parks don't have. I can't recommend it enough!

Great for picnics, not for camping

I visited this park on an impromptu trip with a friend, abd while the views of the Illinois River (including a tug boat going by just feet from the bank in the early AM hours!) we're spectacular, the camping was not great. The sites don't offer great scenery, and you can hear the constant electrical hum of the nearby lock and dam. It is not a peaceful spot for camping at all.

The pavilions, however, were very nice, and I strongly recommend it for picnics or family events.

Quiet camping, hiking, petroglyphs in MO hills

This park is so rich in Missouri and USA history - from buildings costructed by the African-American CCC stonemasons to Native American petroglyphs, there's some fascinating stuff here. The campgrounds are a bit rocky like, but each has a picnic table and fire pit, and they sit on the hills of a beautiful Missouri pineforest. Big River runs through this park, so there's some great swimming and fishing here, and there are three hiking trails of varying difficulty, so most people can do whatever. No supplies are available onsite, so bring everything you need!

Fantastic, right by the water

A perfect way to camp in the Great Smoky Mountains - down in a holler, right by a babbling stream. The sites are paved so you won't camp on rocks or sticks, and there's a small shop there with basic supplies (wood, snacks, etc.) for sale. Love this site, will return!

Quiet, perfect for spring or autumn

Campground here has both electric sites for campers and primitive sites for tents. All are shaded and quiet. Showers/bathrooms are really nice and clean. In addition to campgrounds, there's a very nice lodge with a good restaurant, and the cabins here are pretty good too.

Lots of amazing, beautiful hikes in this park, especially if you're into bluffs and large boulders. Easy drive to many other picturesque and unique parks (i.e. Garden of the Gods, Ferne Clyffe), and easy drive into town if you want something more civilized.

Tiny park packs a punch

Hawn State Park is tiny but excellent. There is a main loop of campgrounds all facing one another (e.g. little to no privacy) with electric hookups and reservations allowed (these fill FAST) then there are a few primitive walk up sites for tents only (no hookups, no reservations), and these are what I most recommend. You can camp right by the gugling creek with total privacy. Campgrounds have running water and showers from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

The park itself has lots of great hiking trails with unique ecology, geology, and plant life.

One of my favorite sites

This campground has pretty much everything you could want: running water, hot showers, a general store, direct river access, ranger programs, shaded campsites. Half the sites can be reserved, but half are walk-in only. The host and rangers are great and keeping the partiers from getting crazy. Walk down to the river at night for a beautiful viewing of the moon and stars!

Perfect except for the bugs

Beautiful, quiet, free campgrounds right next to the Ontonagon River and Mex-i-mine Falls (you can hear the rushing water). In-ground firepits, picnic table, and a hanging post for trash on each site. Easy to forage firewood here. No bears or racoon sign seen, so no need to store food in a special way. No trash service (pack out all you bring), and no running water here.

Only real minus: BUGS. this campground was FULL of mosquitos and biting flies. Even with bug spray, the assault was nonstop. Bring a screen-printing popup shelter with you or you will suffer.