Lee D.
Pro
West Des Moines, IA
Joined September 2018
Retired in 2017 and my husband and I have been traveling in our camper van about 75% of the time ever since.
Camping?

We were camping in another nearby (fee) US Army Corp of Engineers campground and decided to check this unreviewed free campground out. The website indicates there is camping here but I saw no evidence of any place where you could pitch a tent or even park a vehicle. Absolutely no services. Lots of felled trees and swampy land and a decrepit covered bridge that was not photo worthy at all. Perhaps navigation brought us to the wrong place but there were signs for the park. Glad we didn’t decide to plan on staying here!

Nice small campground

If you can’t get into Fort Clinch State Park, this small (40 site) campground is a good option as long as you don’t have a large RV. Our 17-foot campervan did just fine, but the sites are not very large and there are some low hanging branches. Some sites are more private than others. IMO, the best site is#38, a pull-through with no neighbors on either side or behind. Sadly, it was empty when we were there! 

Check-in is across the street from the campground. The ranger who checked us in was very helpful and explained everything we needed to know. The roads and pads are dirt so they can get muddy when it rains (didn’t rain when we were there but the puddles suggested it had done so recently). Also, the roads are narrow and there are no signs indicating they are one-way so if two vehicles meet, one of them will need to pull over! Again, this would be challenging or impossible for large RVs. 

The restrooms were clean (with HOT water!) and there were two of them for the campground which was more than sufficient. Appeared there were multiple hosts.  

There is a very walkable beach with access across the road from the campground – about a half-mile walk to get to the access point; I enjoyed a morning walk and didn’t see a soul. If you have a kayak, you can launch it from the campground.

Very reasonable price($27) for a water and electric site.

Umm, not for us but ok, I guess

I wasn’t able to find out much information about this 25-site campground as the owner was not in the office when we visited. It is located not far from Interstate 10, but I would not recommend trying to find it after dark. 

The campground is on a dirt road and there were puddles from recent rain, although it was not difficult to navigate in our van. It did appear that some of the“campers” were long term residents. 

The website indicates there is a pool, but I did not see one. The website also indicates the following information (although I could not confirm it): cash only, pets are ok, 30/50 amp electric plus one FHU site, restrooms/showers/laundry. 

There is a small lake and fishing is available, but no boat launch (lake would be too small for boats). Other than that, there really is nothing to do here.

A nice little hideaway

This campground on Route 98 just east of Navarre Beach was renamed to The Hideaway Camping Retreat with new owners about 8 months ago. It was obvious that Jeanie the owner takes pride in the campground as she showed me around. Numerous improvements have already been made and there are more plans for the future. One planned improvement is to build decks on the four premium waterfront sites (#37, 45, 46, and 47). 

The bathhouse is very clean and nicely decorated, unique to campgrounds I have seen. There are a community fire pit, hammocks and a small beach that allows pets. Also a very nice laundry room– I wouldn’t mind doing my laundry there! 

What sets this campground apart is the numerous trees on the property. I visited on a cool, cloudy day in February, but I imagine the shade from the trees would be very welcome in the summer. Also, unlike many other RV parks, the sites are not lined up in a row like dominoes. Some sites have more separation than others.

Rates, while a bit pricey, are not out of line for Florida RV parks. Rates are based on the type of site and season and range from $45 for a tent site in fall/winter to $125 for a premium waterfront site on a holiday for spring/summer (March 1-September 15). 

Note that it could be challenging to find as the traffic can be fierce on 98 and the sign is small but I guess that’s what makes it a hideaway!

Seasonal five-star rating!

My seasonal five-star rating is based on being here in the offseason. There is just something about having a campsite right on the water that is so peaceful. However, in the summer, I would imagine the water would be clogged with boats zooming around, and we would not find it so peaceful or enjoyable (but many others would). 

There are four sections to this 130-site campground: Mallard Point, Oakwood, Creek View, and River Chase. The only sites that are reservable are in the Oakwood and Creek View Sections. Only Mallard Point and Oakwood were open when we were there; I’m not sure if it was because of flooding or just low occupancy. Based on Elaine H’s review, we had reserved Site 50 in the Oakwood section for two nights and we were not disappointed. We were right on the water, which gave us a little concern after the host said the water was expected to rise (some of the sites had some water) but we didn’t have a problem. Not much separation/privacy between sites but most people were in RVs (didn’t see any tents). Each site has a large picnic table, fire ring, lantern hook, and food prep table. 

Bathrooms were very clean AND heated, which was nice as the temperatures dipped below freezing at the end of February. Each section has laundry facilities ($1.50 each for wash/dry) The map showed two dump stations, one at the very end of the campground and one located in the Oakwood section but again, only the one in Oakwood was open when we were there. Sadly, no recycling. 

There are two very short nature trails but no other hiking trails. There is a fenced-in dog park. If you are not a boater, there is not much to do but again, it was very peaceful at the end of February.

Nestled in among the big boys!

This campground is geared toward large RVs. Although I am sure you could pitch a tent, we did not see any while there. Each site is a FHU and therefore, the campground is pricier than other state parks ($40 plus a $5 park pass). The driveways are very long, and our small camper van looked lost among all the larger rigs! There are also 11 fully equipped cottages; four of them allow pets. Reasonably priced laundry facilities ($1.25 each for washer and dryer). We were in the section with the new bathhouse – four individual units, each with toilet, sink, and shower. 

Our first night, the noseeums were pretty pesky but the temperature dropped about 20 degrees the second night and voila - they were gone! I imagine they would be relentless in the summer months!

We chose this campground since it was just a 20-minute drive to the ferry to Cumberland Island. Although we did not avail ourselves of these options, fishing and private boats are other activities that can be enjoyed at this park. The day-use area has an outdoor “gym” and mini-golf. You could walk there from the campground, but it is about a mile away.

Don't waste your time like we did!

We were camped at another Army Corps of Engineers (fee) campground and decided to check out this unreviewed one further south. The website indicated that there was camping at this free site but although there was a loop at the end of the road, we could find no evidence of a place to pitch a tent or even park a vehicle (or even that you would want to). Absolutely no services, not even a porta-potty. In the middle of nowhere - no gas stations, grocery stores, or any other type of amenity. Lots of felled trees and swampy land. Only saw a decrepit covered bridge that was not even photo-worthy. Perhaps we were in the wrong place but signs indicated we were at the park so I dunno?

Good for families

This review starts with the wonky reservation system. If you look at several campsites, it thinks you want to reserve all of them. Even if you de-select campsites, it still thinks you want to reserve all of them! And then, it didn’t like the apostrophe in our last name. I took that out but then it made me wait for two minutes before I could continue with the reservation. Ugh. We were also not happy that there was a two-night minimum on the weekends. 

Now for the campground. This is a fairly small campground with only 40 sites. It was full on the first Friday in November but there was no host (and we did not see a Ranger throughout our stay). There would be free firewood (donations encouraged) if a host or ranger were present, so no firewood for us.    

Many of the sites are NOT level but the website does indicate this during the reservation process. Fifteen have tent pads, but others do not and would be more suitable for RVs. The driveways are paved but some are crumbling, and pieces of pavement are tripping hazards. All the sites have electric and water. There are two comfort stations that were very clean and the showers (no additional cost) looked reasonable. There is a pack-in, pack-out policy and therefore there is only one dumpster across from the park office, which is quite a distance from the campground, and you are asked to bring your trash there nightly (the distance from the campground makes this challenging if you do not have another vehicle). 

There are some nice hiking trails, but they are not on the map that you are given upon check-in. There is a map posted by the camp office, again quite a distance from the campground. This park is also good for mountain bikers, although they are not allowed to use the trails on Saturdays. Dogs are allowed if kept on a leash. Alcohol can only be consumed if out of public sight. 

You will hear trains. Many trains. Loud trains. All throughout the night😊

There is a beach and boat rental in season, which looks very nice, but we stayed there out of season, so this was not available.

Hike to a beautiful waterfall!

At milepost 339 on the Blue Ridge Parkway is another typical National Park Service campground. At this one, there was someone to greet and check us in at 4 pm, which was welcome especially as it was mere days before the campground closed for the season. We did not make reservations for a weekday so late in the season, but I would recommend you do so at peak times. There are three loops in this campground: one for RVs (but no hookups), and two for tents/vans. We drove around the tent/van loop, which was much more sparsely occupied, but not all of the pads were level. Many of the pads were meant to be shared with multiple campsites, making them more optimal for tent campers, but not out of the question for our van. We settled into Site 22 in the A (RV) loop, which was a pull-in side pad(making it easy in and out). 

Restrooms are typical of what I’ve come to expect in NPS campgrounds– functional but not luxurious. Three stalls plus what looked to have once been a fourth. Two sinks but the water was sparse in one and dripped from the other. No showers but there was a soap dispenser, garbage receptacle, and lights, things not always found in NPS campground bathrooms! 

The biggest draw to this campground is the 2.5-mile loop hike to Crabtree Falls. I recommend you hike in a clockwise direction, starting from the B loop and ending in the A loop. This leaves the bulk of the strenuous climbing for the end, rather than descending sharply at the beginning. The waterfall was beautiful, likely made more so due to recent rains.

Standard NPS campground directly on the Blue Ridge Parkway

We were told by a ranger we talked with earlier in the day that this campground might be closed for the season but the gates were open, so we checked it out and saw a sign saying that it would close for the season on November 4 so we were good!

There are two different campgrounds– one for tents and one for RVs. Normally, we can stay in tent sites with our 17-foot campervan but not at Doughton, as the tent pads are a distance away from where you park and there are not suitable pads where you could park and camp. Also, there was not a soul in the tent section. The RV section is across the street (on the Blue Ridge Parkway) and it was about 2/3rds full. No hookups and the bathrooms were reasonable Two toilet stalls, two sinks, no showers but don’t forget to bring your flashlight; there were no lights and it was dark even during the day when it was cloudy/foggy. 

Each site has two pads– I’m assuming one is if you have a trailer or 5th wheel and one to park your car. However, even though there are two, they are not long, so bringing a large 5th wheel might be problematic, and a large Class A would definitely be challenged. 

Even though many of the sites were occupied, it was very quiet. I’m assuming a Monday night in late October meant there were no children. Can’t beat the value for$10 (with a senior pass).

Just beautiful!

It is rare that a campground is close to all the amenities it has to offer without moving your vehicle but Sherando Lakes is one of them. You can access two lakes and multiple hiking trails from any of the three loops. One lake (Upper Sherando) is for fishing only and the main lake is for swimming (in season) and fishing. We were there in October and the fall foliage was stunning. 

This campground gets five stars because of the awesome volunteer hosts. Ron started a fire for us while we were waiting for our firewood to be delivered (yes, you read that right!) and the next night, came over to our site bringing additional wood to keep our fire going long after we expected it to last. Gene and Deb were awesome in describing the trails to us. 

I was surprised to find showers and flush toilets in a National Forest Service Campground but Sherando had both. Also, if you stay in the B or C loops, there are electric hookups, something else I was surprised to see in a NFS campground. We stayed in the A loop (no hookups) and this loop is more suitable for tents, but we were fine in our 17-foot campervan. The tent pads are large and flat. These spaces might be tight for larger RVs. If you have young kiddos, the C loop is closest to the playground. Sites are generously sized and have good separation. Firepit, large picnic table, lantern hook and what I’m guessing was a food prep “counter” This was awesome to be able to put our camp stove on and something I have never seen before. 

LOVED this campground, the hikes, and awesome volunteer hosts.

One of the nicest National Park Campgrounds we’ve been in

Huge campground with over 200 sites plus additional tent-only walk-in sites but it appeared to be close to, if not completely, full on a Thursday night in late October, so it was a good thing we had reservations. Upon check-in, the campground rules were reviewed with us, and we even had to initial that we understood that we would be fined if our food was not properly stored, as the campground was in bear country. I’m guessing this is necessary because of stupid people who went before us. We reserved Site A67, which turned out to be a good one as it had no site on one side and tent sites behind us, but a good distance away on the other. Some sites have more privacy/separation than others. There were 12 sites in the A loop that did not allow generators, part of the reason we chose the site we did, but IMO, Sites E175-E185 are even better, as they back up to an expansive view. 

This campground has it all, including a shower house (coin-operated) that looked very nice. I made sure I showered the morning of the day we arrived as most national park campgrounds do not have showers. There was also a very nice-looking laundry facility. This may be because of AT through-hikers but again, not something I was expecting in a national park campground. You can also access the trailhead for the popular Dark Hollow Falls trail directly from the campground. We only stayed one night but I would have stayed longer and would definitely consider returning to this large, but well-run campground.

Nice large sites close to the beach

Don’t confuse this campground with Hunting Island (many people do). Although expensive, the sites here are very generous in size. Sites on the outside of the loop have more privacy (sites 1-33 have trees behind them for even more privacy). 

The restrooms and showers are clean. 

There are multiple access points to a very walkable or runnable beach. No bike rentals on-site but there is a local bike shop that will deliver to your site. Tours of Atalaya available plus other programs (although we didn’t take advantage of these). There is a large store with many souvenirs along with general necessities. If you order three or more bundles of firewood, they will deliver to your site. 

It would have been nice to have a utility sink to wash dishes in as there are in other state parks. Also, like all other South Carolina state parks, alcohol is prohibited.

Although I usually take many photos at our campgrounds, for some reason, I didn't here!

Beautiful campground right on the Atlantic!

Hunting Island is a gorgeous campground and state park right on the Atlantic Ocean. Unfortunately, this means they are constantly rebuilding after hurricanes so consequently, it is expensive to camp here! The upside is brand spanking new bathrooms with hot water. The only thing missing (in the bathroom) was a trash can so unfortunately, trash was on the floor. 

Sites are generous in size and some have trees separating them from ones on the other side of the loop. Note alcohol is prohibited. 

The beach, which is directly accessible from the campground,  has a long stretch of hard-packed sand and is very walkable. The lighthouse is within easy walking distance from the campground and the beach takes you through upended trees from hurricanes dating back to Hugo in 1989. The sunrises are incredibly gorgeous and well worth getting up when it is still dark out to take photos. There is a well-stocked camp store with friendly personnel.

Good beach walking

The reservation system for this campground was clunky. If you are familiar with the park and the sites, it might be fine but we were not, so we reserved a non-specific site. This was a mistake as most of these sites (and the only ones left when we arrived) backed right up against a busy road! We were able to switch to a site-specific site for a nominal upcharge. Our site was sandy (close to the beach so not a surprise) but not level, however, it was generous in size and fairly private. Sites vary significantly in size and quality so once again if you are not familiar with the campground, you will be at a disadvantage. 

The bathrooms were mostly clean but dated. Hot water was spotty. Our biggest complaint is that our water hookup (site 174) was rusted and basically broken. Husband “MacGyvered” it to make it work but it needed maintenance (I did let the park know of this in their feedback form so hopefully it is no longer an issue). 

We were there at the end of March so bugs were not an issue, although I have read that at other times of the year, they are! 

There are multiple access points to the beach. It is nice for walking but there was a fair amount of litter. It is next to an active military base (Fort Story) but other than restricted access on the beach if you head east, this did not bother/affect us. It is close to Cape Henry Lighthouses (the old and new ones) at Fort Story (you need to surrender your license and your vehicle is subject to search in order to enter the grounds), but it was worth going.

OK campground in a very large state park

Very large park with lots to do within the park including golf, archery, several lakes, and hiking. We had hoped to hike to Peavine Falls, but since we arrived on the first day after Daylight Savings, we ran out of daylight and needed to get an early start the next day. As with other parks we have been in this fall, the lake was closed for swimming for the season. 

The campground is more than five miles from the entrance to the park and is quite large. It was surprisingly crowded for the first Sunday in November. We did not have reservations but were able to secure an electric site (a frost warning was in effect, so we wanted to be able to use our heater). We could have had our pick of tent (no hookup) sites. Many of the sites had the feel of an RV park. There was no privacy/separation between the sites and the sites vary significantly in size and quality. Some are pull-through, some are paved, some are gravel. Site 9 was level but not all of them were. Each site had a very large picnic table and fire ring. Check-in is at a small store that has some basic supplies but you are within 20 miles of Birmingham and the surrounding suburbs so you can easily stock up on groceries and other needed supplies before arriving. 

The bathrooms and showers were a little worn but serviceable. It was appreciated that they were heated. 

What is it about trains and campgrounds? As soon as we settled in for the night, we started hearing the very loud trains throughout the night and into the next morning! 

An ok campground but unless we were going to take advantage of some of the activities available, we probably would not camp here again.

Small but very nice campground

Very nice quiet park with a small campground (21 sites, all with electric and water). The sites are shaded, and flat with a gravel drive and tent pad. We hadn’t planned on staying here but were pleasantly surprised to find a few vacancies on the first Saturday in November. There is also an equestrian campground located several miles from the main campground. The main feature is a covered bridge, the longest one in Georgia, that is located ¾ of a mile from the campground (an easy walk). 

A nice perk was laundry facilities outside the restrooms. The restrooms were very clean. 

There are seven miles of hiking trails, five miles of bike trails, canoe rentals, and we saw several people fishing. 

There was also a nice day-use area with picnic tables within view of the covered bridge.

Beautiful beach!

You can reserve campsites in Florida state parks 11 months in advance, but I don’t plan that far ahead! We lucked out and snagged a coveted site on the lake due to a last-minute cancellation. Sites are generous and private with many trees separating the sites and it is a very quiet campground. The bathrooms/showers were clean, although the paths to them were a little jungle-like. Canoe and kayak rentals available although we did not use them. It would have been nice to have bike rentals available at the campground, but they are available in town. We walked into the town of Grayton Beach for lunch. Nice white sand beach but not as flat and walkable as others (our calves let us know the next day that this was a vigorous walk)! Because we have a camper van, aside from beach walking, there was not much else for us to do here without dismantling our camper and driving.

Many activities to enjoy

We were lucky to snag a site here for two nights in March; the only available site was the handicap accessible site so we called first to make sure we could reserve it. The good news is it is very close to the bathroom which can also be not so good news as people tramped through our site to get to the bathroom! Sites in the Coquina loop all appeared to be generous in size with a reasonable amount of foliage for privacy. Can’t speak about other loops. The bathrooms are clean. Some great amenities include laundry, camp store with souvenirs, bike rentals, drinks, and food. Easy walking or biking distance to a very walkable beach. Close to St. Augustine and the lighthouse.

First to Review
Convenient to Matlacha

Our stay here was a bit weird. Since it was March in Florida (and nearly impossible to find available campsites unless you reserved 11 months in advance), we called ahead to see if there was room. When Carl learned we only had a 17-foot camper van, he agreed to “fit us in”. Yes, there was a slot that we backed into and we had room to erect our screen room on the concrete pad next to our van but there was absolutely NO privacy between sites. Many of the people here were long-term residents and not generally vacationing campers. Although information says the rates range from $30-$60 per night, we paid $50, cash only. There were no restrooms on-site, but we were able to use the clean restrooms at the county park across the street (but had to make a mad dash across the busy road to get there). It suited our needs for two nights to enjoy small and quirky Matlacha, including walking distance to kayaking opportunities, but we wouldn’t choose to stay here again.