Ranger Review: Darn Tough Socks @ Fort Yargo State Park
As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I occasionally receive outdoor gear to review. During my stay at Fort Yargo State Park, I tested Darn Tough socks and fell in love with them.
Fort Yargo State Park has lots to do. There is disc golf, nature programs, gift shop, putt-putt golf, playgrounds, hiking, mountain biking, and a 260-acre lake offers swimming, boating, paddling, and fishing. Overnight accommodations include fully equipped cottages, adventure cabins, yurts, and campsites. We visited in late April and could only find a campsite during the week. Despite Covid-19, the park was open for day-use and overnight guests. The visitor center was closed but bathrooms were open.
We loved the hiking. Most of the trails are mixed mountain biking and hiking but when we were there, we only saw two mountain bikes. We took a picnic lunch with us and found one of the many picnic areas to have lunch and enjoy the lake views.
The roads are a little hilly and twisting but if you have a big rig and go slow you will be fine. All the campsite driveways are angled so backing in is pretty easy. The campground is treed and many sites have nice shade. Sites 7-12 in Loop 1 are very nice with lake views and access. They are also close to the boat launch. We did not have trouble getting level in our site (#17). We enjoyed the beautiful spring weather which was sunny during the day and cool enough at night to have fires. The campground was very peaceful during the week when we were there but can imagine it gets pretty busy on the weekends and during the summer. Most of the sites have pretty good separation between them so you don’t feel like you are on top of someone. There are train tracks nearby so expect some train noise. This is a great campground and definitely worth a visit.
Gear Review: Darn Tough Socks
I really LOVE these socks! I know, having a love affair with socks is weird but they are so amazingly soft and make my feet feel so good. Darn Tough socks are 100% made in America (Vermont to be exact) and stand out among other brands because they have an unconditional lifetime guarantee (which I actually tested). If the heel wears out, they get a hole in the toe, or they simply are not the most comfortable sock you've ever worn, just send them back and they will be replaced, no questions asked. With a guarantee like that, you know they have to be comfortable and well-made socks.
Darn Tough socks come in an array of heights, thickness, styles and designs (many of which have cool outdoorsy themes). So whether you want a thicker hiking/working sock or a thinner running sock you will find it. If you like low cut socks to prevent tan lines or need a high calf sock to fit in your tall boots, they have those too. Their website has a nice guide to sizing and sock height so you know exactly how they will fit and look which is helpful for choosing the right sock for you. Free shipping on orders of two or more pairs is an added bonus. My socks arrived in a cardboard box so it can be recycled.
Darn Tough socks fit perfectly. I wear a size 8 so I land in the middle of the medium size which covers (7.5– 9.5). Sometimes socks are too long, bunch up in the toe, too wide and sloppy, or slide down in the back, all of which have never happened with any Darn Tough socks I own. They are made with a seamless toe stitching which eliminates bulkiness in the toe box which causes a tight, cramped fit. After multiple washings, they still look and feel the same with no fading or shrinking. I like the fact that these socks are made from Merino wool which is not itchy on your skin like other types of wool. A couple other great features of Merino is that they are insulating in the cold but function great in hot weather as they are breathable and wick moisture from your skin. I find that these socks dry very quickly and even when they get wet on hikes I’ve never gotten blisters. Merino wool is said to naturally repel odor and bacteria which is a great feature of a hiking sock where your shoes constantly get wet and dirty.
I was curious why these socks are so soft, so durable, and just so perfect so I turned to their website to get the story. According to their website, Darn Tough socks “are knit on small needle, fine gauge knitting machines. This approach produces durable, high density stitching without bulk. Less bulk means a better fit. The better the sock fits, the longer it will last.” So there you have it.
I tested a variety of Darn Tough socks in different shoes and during different activities. For the days when I am standing on my feet for hours in Danskos, I chose the bridge no show light. The no show socks are just that, one’s that do not show in your shoe. These socks are thin enough to fit perfectly in shoes that don’t have much room to play around. During the eight hours I wore them they never slipped in the heel and stayed perfectly in place. The no show light cushion sock is perfect for my 3-4 mile runs. The sock has enough cushion that I never got blisters but not too thick to cramp my feet. Compared to the bridge no show sock this particular style did show a little bit above my running shoe. For hiking, I prefer more cushioning and a slightly taller sock so I choose the hiker¼ cushion sock. This sock has added cushioning that fairs well for long hikes scrambling up and down hills and mountains and over rocks. Despite the hot weather and six miles, my feet never felt “hot.” The¼ hiker is the perfect height to cover the high tongue on my hiking shoes.
Alas, I found a problem and had to test their warranty with the treeline micro crew cushion socks that I ordered. One sock was considerably taller than the other. You can file a warranty claim on the Darn Tough webpage but I didn’t want to have to pay for the packaging and shipping cost to return these brand new socks. So I clicked on the online chat box and was in touch with someone from customer service immediately. I explained the issue and sent a few pictures illustrating the discrepancy. The representative agreed there was a problem and offered to send me a new pair and within ten minutes of ending my chat I received an email confirming a new pair was on the way. The representative asked if she could follow-up with email (of which I agreed) and said that the quality control team may want to examine them (of which they would pay for shipping). This is the first time I have tested the Darn Tough warranty and was quite pleased with the process and result.
From now on the only socks I will buy are Darn Tough. The price is comparable to other name brand wool hiking socks but the feel and quality are so much better. And, the 100% guarantee seals the deal. I think you will find these to be the most comfortable, well-made socks on the market.
This campground sits on the Schroon River just a few miles north of downtown Lake George and is very easy to access from I-87. They can accommodate any size camper from the 45’ motorhome with 50 amp service to a tent just wanting electric and water. All sites have cable TV hookup and free WiFi at their site along with a picnic table and fire rings. The park is not huge and it was pretty full so it felt a little cramped for us. There were quite a few seasonal people. Some sites back up to the river so you have a nice view. When the park if full, it can be a little cramped for big-rigs to back into some sites, especially the river ones. There are trees to navigate and some of the spots are tight.
Apparently, it is under new management and there are lots of changes that the new owners are proud of. But that also means there is a lot of on-going construction happening in the campground which was pretty annoying. Lots of dust and loud equipment certainly interrupted the thought of a peaceful afternoon outside. Many of the sites in the older section have sand/dirt patios and sandy roads which makes it very dusty. The new area has crushed gravel and lots more room and some pull-thru sites. They have the typical campground amenities like horseshoe pit, pavilion, playground, pool, and camp store. We typically don’t use any of those and they were closed anyway due to Covid-19 safety precautions. Had we stayed longer, we would have taken advantage of the river access and paddled. There is a little beach area and launching paddleboards, canoes, or kayaks would be very easy. (They also have watercraft available to rent.) We were more focused on hiking and enjoying the woods.(Recommend the short hike to the“Bear Slide.”)
Some of the things we didn’t like was the sandy/dirt which was a mess when it rained. You are supposed to leave your trash at the front of your site but sometimes it was not picked up until late in the day. We found the bugs to be very pesky in the evening and didn't want to sit outside. Things we liked it the surrounding location and access to hiking trails and the river. Once the construction is complete and grass takes hold in some areas it will be really nice. Downtown Lake George is only about 4-5 miles away.
This park was such a great find. We were traveling I-86 through the area and wanted to spend a few days in the woods admiring the beautiful fall colors and this turned out to be the perfect place to do that. There was just one other camper in our loop (Quaker Section) because we were there the three days prior to the park closing for the season. Even the other loops had just a few campers. It took us three sites to find one that was level enough for our RV but our motorhome is pretty sensitive to degrees of unevenness so it may not be a problem for most others. Our site had 50 amp electric but the hook-ups were at the far back of the site at barely reached. The parking pad was gravel and the patio was grass.
The solitude of this park was great but we can imagine there is lots to do and plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities in the summer. There office/store is not located in the loop we parked in but it was an easy in and out with our 45’ motorhome and tow car. We loved the old CCC building that it was in and the others that exist in the park. Bears are present in the area and bear-proof containers for food and garbage in the campground. Plenty of hiking trails and walking opportunities exist from rustic dirt trails to nice paved paths. We enjoyed the paved areas because rain made the rustic trails very slippery.
There is a nice paved trail around Red House Lake that makes for a pleasant walk(we did have to drive from our campsite to this area). During the summer they rent rowboats, paddleboats, paddleboards, canoes and kayaks for lake enjoyment and there are two sandy beaches where you can soak up the sun after a swim. We would definitely stop here again and spend more time.
The sites at this park are huge. You could have parked three RVs in our site. Added bonus is that there is nice separation between sites with trees and shrubs that block out your neighbors and provide lots of privacy. Pretty much all the sites are the same except that a dozen or so don’t have as many large trees around them and are pretty open. The angled sites and wide roads make backing in very easy.
There are closer campgrounds to the town of Lake George but none of them are as nice and the sites are so much closer together you feel like you are camping with your neighbor. The large pool(a.k.a.“Aloha Beach Tropical Swimming Pool”) is the major attraction for this park. It is touted as the largest heated campground swimming pool in the northeast and features caves, waterfalls, waterslides, led lights, swim-in theater for nighttime movies, and cabana rentals. It was closed while we visited due to the Corona Virus but I’m sure it can get quite busy in the summer. Attached to the pool is also a café serving lunch and dinner which is convenient for being at the pool all day(but it was also closed during our stay). If you want internet, bring your own because there in none at campsites. I was able to use my Verizon hotspot which worked fine. There is a cable hook-up at each site. I was able to use my roof-mounted satellite dish and get reception but that would not be true for all sites. The bathrooms and laundry were clean but laundry costs were high at $3.50 for a wash and $3.00 for a dry. The park is very large so if you want to be near the pool/entertainment area or nearby bathrooms, pick your site accordingly. The park has a nice camp store with everything from t-shirts to RV supplies to food. You are allowed to bring a golf cart or rent one from the campground so watch out for the flurry of golf carts driving around(especially those operated by teenagers). If you need propane, there is a very convenient fill-up as you enter the campground.
Nearby is good hiking in Adirondack Park where trails range from easy to difficult and have some great views of the lake and surrounding area. The Inman Pond Trail(about 15 minutes north of the campground) is a nice easy walk in the woods which takes you to a pretty pond good for fishing and a great place for my dog to swim. Others like Pinnacle Trail and Buck Mountain have great views of the lake and surrounding area. This campground does come with a high price tag. It was $66/night during the first part of our stay but them jumped up to in-season rates that were $99/night plus $20/night because it was a holiday weekend(and they consider the Thursday before Memorial Day part of the holiday). We did get a 20% Covid-19 discount because many activities were cancelled and the pool was closed but that is still pretty steep. Their price for firewood is $9 for an average size bundle but there are plenty of places along Route 149 with better prices.
This park is located approximately 12.5 miles from downtown Cooperstown and is set in the quiet rural countryside of New York. The mature trees make for beautiful scenery in the fall. There is a mix of sites varying from tent, RV, rental trailers, and camping cabins/cottages/lodges bringing the total number of sites to 120. Back-in and pull-thru sites are available. Site types include full hookup, water and electric, and no hookup with prices varying depending upon site. You can choose between 30/20 or 50 amp electric service. Interior roads are gravel and some site pads are gravel while others are grass.
The park is nicely terraced and all the sites are level. Patios were a grassy/dirt area with a picnic table and fire pit. Our site (#41) was a pull-thru but there was no way we could drive our 45’ motorhome forward out of the site because of a large tree and narrow roads. So we ended up having to back out. The free wifi worked well as did our Verizon 4G phone and hotspot. We picked up a dozen or so television channels with our antenna. The park does have a fair amount of trees that would interfere with roof-mounted satellite dishes so you would have to pick your site carefully. But, there are some 30 amp and no hook-up sites that are clear. This is a typical KOA with lots of amenities including a swimming pool(which was closed for the season when we were there), a playground, volleyball court, basketball court, jump house, pavilion, recreation room, bicycle rental, and horseshoes. Showers, restrooms and laundry are also present and clean. There is a propane filling station. While there is no fenced-in dog park there is a pet walking area. The surrounding area is pretty rural and the closest town (Richfield Springs– which is very small) is five miles away and where you will find restaurants, gas station, grocery store, and more. A few miles from the park is a creamery that has a café.
Approximately five miles away is Glimmerglass State Park which was great for hiking and kayaking Otsego Lake. There is a also a historic house at the park that you can tour and the country’s oldest covered bridge. Cooperstown is a little over twelve miles away from the park but well worth a trip. Not only is Cooperstown home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame but it is a charming downtown well worth exploring. Other nearby attractions include The Farmers Museum, Fenimore Art Museum, Hero’s of Baseball Wax Museum, Glimmerglass Opera, and Cooperstown Brewing Company.
We stayed here two nights because the campground we arrived in the area earlier than expected and the campground we wanted to stay at was not yet opened for the season. This campground turned out to be o.k. with a mix of good and bad aspects. It is pretty large with lots of seasonal campers which brings a mixed bag. Some seasonals had very nice, well-kept sites while others have junk and clutter everywhere. Our site (A-15) was a long pull-thru in the front section of the park on the main road but the road traffic wasn’t an issue. The thing we did not like about our site was how close we were to our neighbor. When the windows were open we could hear everything they said inside their camper. Since the campground doesn’t have very many sites to fit large transient RV’s this was pretty much our only choice. The site was gravel but just out our door was sand which made for a mess when it rained. The patio area was pretty large but very little grass and mostly sand. During our stay, the pool was not yet open but it looked like it was way too small to handle the number of campers in the park. The sewer hook-up was very weird and at an angle that was hard to secure my hose to. Instead of flowing straight down into the ground, it was at 45 degrees and took a big rock for me to secure it.
Some good things about this park is that it is close to downtown Lake George and there is a nice paved walking/biking path adjacent to the park that runs from Lake George to Glens Falls. The path is perfect for safely walking or biking to Lake George which is less than two miles away. If you like wooded sites with lots of shade there are plenty of sites for you.
This is a clean well-cared RV park that is a nice place to stay but a bit of a no- frills park. We were busy exploring the town so it was really just a place to park our RV and the fact that there were not many amenities was fine with us. The park is close to I-20 and I-520 so there is easy on/off and it is a great place for an overnight if you are just traveling thru. At $35/night with full hook-up, wifi, paved patio this was a pretty good bargain.
The person who checked us in was nice and helpful and the process was speedy. All the roads are wide and easy to navigate. The sites are level and we had no problem fitting our RV and tow car in a back-in site. Our driveway was gravel/sand but the patio was paved with a picnic table. There is no cable but there is a clear view to the sky if you have satellite and we were able to receive numerous television channels with our antenna. Note that there are no restrooms or laundry. As with many RV parks, the sites are close together and since this is a fairly new park there are no large shade trees. Note: that there are no fire pits and campfires allowed.
Numerous stores and restaurants are nearby and there is lots to do in Augusta. There is a nice walking path by the canal downtown where you may see some urban wildlife. Would highly recommend visiting the U.S Army Signal Corps Museum at Fort Gordon and the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area Interpretive Center downtown. We also did a narrated canal boat tour which was very informative and entertaining. Both were very interesting!
Catherine’s Landing is a great RV park with lots of amenities and things happening. This park is an RVC Outdoor Destination property which is known for their “resort” amenities. The park is set on 400 acres with one mile bordering Lake Catherine and about eight or nine miles from downtown Hot Springs.
All roads, sites and patios are paved and this is definitely a big rig-friendly park. Every site has water, 50/30 amp, sewer, cable, and wifi. Fire pits and picnic tables accompany all sites. There are a variety of sites ranging from waterfront back-in, pull-thrus, or interior back-in. Waterfront sites have a nice view of the lake from the back of the site and access for fishing. The park also has yurts and cottages (some of which are pet-friendly). Adjacent to the yurts is a nice, large covered picnic area with grills, a dish washing station.
Lots and lots of amenities here. Hiking trails, swimming pool, fitness center, lounge, playground, dog park, zip-line, boat rental, boat launch, store, and disc golf. Some amenities (boat rentals and zip-line) are an extra charge.
Hot Springs is a nice little town nestled in the Ouachita Mountains with interesting history and natural beauty. We found plenty to do from hiking the National Park to learning about the bathhouse history to discovering the gangster influence. We spent four nights and could have stayed longer with all that the town offers. Most people come here to bathe in the soothing warm mineral waters but there is also a horse racetrack, science museum, off road track, water/theme park, alligator farm, and a few museums. Hot Springs National Park has miles and miles of great hiking trails and a great place to spend an afternoon. The town of Hot Springs is very dog-friendly and we found many places that would allow them in and on the patio for lunch.
- Very nice, clean, well-manicured
- Lots of amenities
- Paved level sites with paved patios
- The dog park was a decent size for running and mingling with other dogs
- The hiking trail(about 3 miles) was a big plus and got used a lot.
- Price. We booked late and didn’t have too many sites to choose from we had to pay for a waterfront site
This is one of those RV parks that you have a love-hate relationship with. You love the location– super close to a town you want to be in and its attractions(in this case it was downtown Fayetteville) but, you drive in, take a look around and let out an“ugh!” There is nothing appealing about this park– gravel roads and sites, no picnic tables, no fire pits, old bathrooms/laundry, and not much else.
The park has some 80 sites set in a horseshoe-shape with a mix of permanent people and transients. We were in a pull-thru that faced a big field separating the park from a neighborhood development and a Tyson chicken plant mysteriously labeled“Mexican Original.” There was a masa-type smell in the air and knowing it was a chicken processing facility we had the feeling that chickens were being converted into something called“Mexican” based on the Tyson sign along the road. The smell was a pretty big turn off.
Roads and sites are gravel. Some sites had a paved pad but most are gravel. All sites have 50/30 amp, water, and sewer. There are back-ins and pull-thrus. At one time there was cable but it was not working when we were there and we were not able to get any antenna channels(although our friends picked up 20 or so). While there are no picnic tables at the sites, there are two areas in a big field that have picnic furniture and available for anyone to use. Sites are fairly close together with just a few trees scattered about for shade. The water and electric worked fine. This park is big rig-friendly and we had no problem maneuvering our RV with the car attached through the park.
We called about making a reservation and the owner said to call him prior to our arrival and he would give us a site number. When we arrived he drove by and instructed us to put our money(cash or check only) in an envelope and drop it in an outside deposit box. Can’t say there are any amenities except the two picnic areas and an old, tired bathroom/shower house. We were only in there one time and that was during a tornado watch. It was old, needed painting and in need of cleaning. There is one washer and dryer that are housed in the bathroom.
The park is a short drive from I-49 with an easy in and out on good roads. After exiting the interstate you will notice the correctional center, bail bonds, homeless shelter, pawn shop, and huge Tyson processing plant. However, you are just five miles or so from downtown Fayetteville where you have everything at your fingertips. Within just a short drive you are downtown where restaurants, shops, entertainment and more were very close. Fayetteville is home to the University of Arkansas and has that cool college town vibe with good restaurants, lots of microbrews, funky shops, and lots of energy.
We stayed at this park for one night because it was the mid-way point on our trip from Alabama to Arkansas. Additional factors in selecting this park were that it was in a fairly convenient location to I-55 (5 1/2 miles), a great price ($16/night with senior discount), and a state park with trails and plenty of green space. The state park is 1,138 acres and offers plenty of recreational activities including hiking, an Olympic-size pool, basketball court, tennis courts, ranger-led programs, picnic pavilions, a playground, and a cultural center displaying artifacts found on the property. (Note: most of these are not located in the campground but other parts of the park.)
Park roads are paved and wide enough for any size RV to navigate. Sites are paved with gravel patios containing picnic tables, BBQ grill, and fire pits. There are a mix of pull-thrus and back-in sites of varying lengths(some of which claim to be 80– 90 feet) which can be reserved on-line for up to 14 days. Many back-in sites were longer than the pull-thrus. About half of the sites are on a slight incline that we would consider unlevel. Sites have electric (30 and 50 amp) and water that are easy to reach. A dump station is located as you exit the park and is easy to navigate in and out of.
Our site (#5) was a pull-thru claiming to be 61 feet but was slightly short for our 45’ RV and tow car. Luckily, we could pull forward enough into the road so we didn’t have to unhitch. If you are towing a trailer and don’t mind backing-in there are lots of options for long sites. Check their webpage for details about each site including approximate length, width, and grade which may or may not be accurate. There are also pictures of each site online. We were able to get 20-25 channels with our antenna. Our Verizon hotspot and 4G phone worked well.
There are not too many amenities in the campground itself except a playground, restroom/showers, and laundry with free ice. When I tried to go into the laundry room around 8:30 am it was locked so I can’t attest to how clean it was. In other parts of the park are the Chucalissa museum(which you can get free tickets to when checking in), a swimming pool, hiking trails, picnic areas and tennis/basketball courts. The park is located on the south side of Memphis in a pretty run-down part of town which is very obvious if you approach from Route 61(exit 7 off I-55) where you pass pawn shops, liquor stores, and unoccupied stores. The other way to approach the park is from Paul Lowery Road(exit 9 off I-55) where you drive through an industrial part of town which leaves you with a totally different impression. While there are gas stations, restaurants, and various shops within 3-4 miles of the park, we probably would not patronize them.
The park is located just 5 miles from Graceland and 10 miles from Beale Street and the downtown action so from that perspective, the location is decent. What we liked about this park was the$16/night(with senior discount) price which was a great deal for a water/electric site for one night. What we didn’t like was the whole feel of the park and area. The surrounding neighborhood made us feel a little uncomfortable as it was a pretty shady side of town. Let’s just say the southside of Memphis does not appear to be that desirable. While there is a 14-day limit, it appeared some of the people were spending extended periods of time in the park and there were some pretty run-down RV’s, one which was covered by a tarp. We did notice one tag hanging on a site that was issued for more than 14 days so it may be possible to camp for extended periods of time. There were hiking trails but we did not go on them because we honestly did not feel comfortable hiking there, especially toward dusk. There were park rangers that lived on-site in residences nearby the campground that were armed. While we did feel a little uneasy in the campground there were no incidents that warranted that conclusion- just our own paranoia. The rangers were very nice at check in and did drive through the campground periodically. If passing through this area again, we would not stay here again.
This is another great Corps of Engineers parks where you find really nice campsites set on great waterfront setting. The campground sits on Enid Lake which is recognized as one of “One of America’s Top 10 Fishing Spots.” And since the park is just shy of 100 sites you don’t feel like it is not too big. Plan on staying here for a couple of days and relaxing in the outdoors. Stock up on supplies because there is not much around. Sites are really nice and spacious with paved driveways and patios.
They just added sewer with makes a full hookup at $20/night a total bargain. Each site has a fire pit, picnic table, bbq grill, small concrete stand next to bbq, and lantern crook. The bathhouse was modern with flush toilets with clean showers. Not all sites are level in fact we had to pass up a couple because of that reason. If you come in the off-season, there are plenty of sites not reserved so you can drive around and pick on using the self-pay system. Some sites have amazing water views if you are able to snag one of those you are in for a great stay. The campground is pretty hilly but the roads were easy enough for us to navigate in our 45’ RV and tow car .
The lake is very popular for fishing and there is a boat launch/fish cleaning station. We didn’t have fishing licenses but loved paddling around the lake. The North Mississippi Fish Hatchery(by the Enid Dam) is a fun place to visit and tour for very small fee. If you go into the town of Pope, the restaurant "The Place" offers good food set in a refurbishing an historic building.
Springhill Park in Fort Smith is yet another great U.S. Army Corps of Engineers campground and recreation area. We are huge fans of Corps parks for numerous reasons and this one did not disappoint. The campground is set among tall trees adjacent to the John Paul Hammerschmidt Lake and James W. Trimble Lock and Dam of the Arkansas River. The park is located in Barling, Arkansas which is just a short drive from downtown Fort Smith. The area offers plenty of sights to see (especially for history buffs) and interesting things to do.
The campground is open year-round. Campsites can be booked on-line at recreation.gov except during the off-season (Nov- Feb) when all sites are walk-in. The park has 44 total sites divided into two loops– one with 30 amp electric (A loop) and the other with 50 amp (B loop). Water is available at some sites and at the centrally-located dump station. Finding out which sites have water on recreation.gov is a bit confusing. When looking at the “site list” page you will notice no sites have water listed as an“amenity” but it does list the electric. To find out if a site has water, click on the link for specific details of a particular site and it will indicate if there is water hook ups.
All sites and roads are paved and easy to navigate in a big rig. Many sites are very long with only eleven sites being less than 45’ in length(and only seven under 40’). One major downside of this park is that only about half the sites(in Loop B) were not flat enough for us to get level without having the wheels off the ground. Smaller RVs or trailers that use blocks instead of automatic leveling jacks should be able to get level. All sites have a picnic table and fire pit. The sites in A Loop(pictured below) have a paved parking space adjacent to the paved RV pad. Campsites are closer together and have fewer trees creating a more open feel than in the B Loop but do back-up to a small pond that makes for a nice view.
We stayed in site B1 and loved the privacy and tall trees surrounding the site and the large grassy field next to us. Sites B9 and B11 have great views of the water and offer plenty of room between you and your neighbor while others are tucked nicely into the trees. The patios in B Loop(pictured to the right) have a concrete patio on a cement pad. Most of the patios are located at the back of the campsite. We picked up roughly 15 television channels (including the three major networks) with our antenna. Trees may prevent you from getting satellite if your dish is fixed on the roof.
Located in both loops are a bath/shower building(which were very clean), playground, and pavilion. There are hiking/mountain biking trails that leave from the campground. Mountain biking is a big deal here and there is a 10-mile"fast" trail where experienced bikers race frequently. Other amenities include basketball courts, boat launch and picnic pavilions.
The park is a few miles from Fort Smith proper and about eight miles to downtown attractions including the National Historical Park. Within two miles are a few restaurants, gas station, and a super Walmart is less than four miles away. The area immediately surrounding the park is a nice part of town that felt safe to us. What we liked was that this park has well-spaced sites, a nice wooded setting and a site with the amenities of electric, water, and a pavement. The location was great to downtown Fort Smith so you didn’t feel isolated if you wanted to go sight-seeing, out to eat, or shopping. Being right on the lake meant we could easily go kayaking or fishing and there were plenty of places to walk throughout the property. Access to the park is easy and manageable for a big-rig towing a car. The price$20/night (or$10 for senior pass holders) is quite the deal. This park is great for dogs with lots of room to walk, trails, and places to swim.
The only ding was that if this park would have had sewer at the site. But we loved it anyway and would definitely stay here again. The other ding this park gets is the fact that so many sites are unlevel.
If you are ever driving through Arkansas a trip to Mount Magazine State Park is a must. Mount Magazine is the state’s highest point topping out at 2,753 feet and delivers sweeping views of broad valleys, lakes, winding rivers, and distant mountains. The rugged rock outcroppings protrude from the densely wooded forests. What makes this park even more spectacularly beautiful is that it is surrounded by National Forest lands encompassing glorious acres of woods.
In the late 1800’s, the railroad made travel easier and people were drawn to the area for its cooler weather and awe-inspiring scenic beauty. Resort lodges and restaurants sprang up and the resort “Town of Mount Magazine” began. Soon a post office, parks, streets and a dance pavilion dotted the town. The town took a turn when drought, erosion, and the Great Depression brought the town to collapse. The 1934 Resettlement Act purchased all the private land on the mountain and was shortly transferred to the U.S. Forest Service. In the late 1930’s and 40’s, the Works Progress Administration built campgrounds, trails, cabins, and a lodge were constructed. A fire destroyed the lodge in 1971. In 1998, Arkansas State Parks entered into a cooperative agreement with the USDA Forest Service to develop Mount Magazine State Park. The lodge reopened in 2006 and graces the same beautiful setting as the original structure.
We found this park very relaxing which is kind of amazing because there is so much for outdoor enthusiasts to do making it hard to sit still. There are miles and miles of hiking trails, horseback riding, hang gliding launches, cycling, and some of the most dramatic locations for rock climbing and rappelling. The diverse mountain ecosystem offers amazing bird watching and wildlife viewing and provides habitat for over 90 species of butterflies. Many were brightening the woods when we were there. We were there at a time when wildflowers were blooming so the forest floor was lit up with color. The higher altitude and cooler weather on the mountain meant that trees had not leafed out yet but a look down in the valley was a stark contrast with trees fully leafed out. The park has a relatively small campground with a meek 18 sites with full hook-up (two of which are 50 amp). Campsites are well-spaced with gravel pads and patios with fire pits and picnic tables. We so enjoyed hanging around our campsite but for those that don’t camp you will be perfectly comfortable in the lodge or cabins.
The Lodge at Mount Magazine has breath-taking views and some rooms have spa tubs on their balconies to enjoy the view. Thirteen cabins dot the ridge line offering the same awesome views and Jacuzzi tub options on your balcony. At the lodge is The Skycrest Restaurant which is a nice treat for those not wanting to cook. We decided to have drinks one evening on the veranda enjoying the setting sun lighting the valley. The next day we popped in for lunch where $6 got a plate of open-face prime rib sandwich, mashed potatoes, salad, and squash casserole. Pretty good deal if you ask us.
This state park so worked for us. It was the combination of the reading in a quiet wooded campground, being able to go to the lodge for a drink, lunch and great view and spending hours walking in the woods. The park is a good 30 minutes drive from the nearest town so you may want to stock up so you can just relax on the mountain.
Talk about great location in a great town. We usually do not like camping in cities this big but wanted to come here to visit the William J. Clinton Presidential Library. And what a great location this park is to downtown Little Rock and the library. There is a pedestrian bridge that takes you over the Arkansas River to downtown and all the attractions; as well as, some great restaurants and a vibrant downtown.
This campground is essentially a parking lot. There is no shade and our air conditioners ran non-stop since we were there in July. There is a grassy area in front along the river that is a common area for you to enjoy the night sky. The riverfront is beautiful at night with the downtown lit up at night. Sites include 50 amp electric, water and sewer. There is also a dump station and WiFi. Some of the riverfront sites have been upgrades to concrete pads and some sites are pull-thru sites. The restrooms were clean and washers and dryers are on-site. The park takes any kind of RV from pop-up to Class A but does not accept tents. The price we paid was definitely reasonable at$22/night(with tax) but they also offer numerous discounts.
Downtown Little Rock is a great town with plenty to do, see, and eat. The great things about this park are that it is convenient to the interstate and a great price. For the location, you would expect to pay a lot more. We loved walking to town at night and enjoying the restaurants and breweries that bring the downtown to life. The weekly farmers market was a highlight and the Presidential Library is not to be missed.
Crater of Diamonds State Park is a place where you literally play the fun and exciting game of“finders, keepers.” The prize here being diamonds! In the middle of nowhere Arkansas(a.k.a. the town of Murfreesboro) is a field of 37 acres where for $10/day you can dig to your hearts’ content looking for diamonds making this the only diamond mine in the world open to the public. And don’t think this is a gimmick. Over 75,000 diamonds have been found in the“Crater” with an average of 600/year. The largest diamond found in North America was found at Crater of Diamonds topping out at 40.23 carats. In 1998, the Strawn-Wagner Diamond weighing 1.09 carats was graded by the American Gem Society as a 0/0/0“D” Flawless perfect diamond– a“one in a billion diamond”– and found right here in Arkansas.
The park was established in 1972 “to responsibly manage and interpret this unique site and to provide a meaningful diamond mining experience for all guests and future generations.” We find that pretty funny because we have never come across a state park whose intent is to provide a meaningful diamond mining experience mission. All the more reason we wanted to go! The parks campground is set among beautiful pine trees and offers full hook-up sites large enough to fit our 45’ RV without a problem. The campground has 47 nicely shaded RV sites with water/electric/sewer hookup(many of which have tent pads and five walk-in tent sites. The campground has two modern bathhouse with hot showers; one bathhouse includes a laundry and both were very clean and cared for all day long. If you need a dump station one is conveniently located as you leave the campground. There is also free Wi-Fi in the campground. There is a nice hiking trail that leaves from the campground and loops back around after venturing through the forest and along a river. It is not a long trail but a nice walk and we never saw anybody on it while we were there. Now back to diamond hunting. The“crater” is essentially a plowed field that is the eroded surface of a volcanic crater containing a variety of rocks, crystals, and gemstones. The field is plowed periodically to expose underlying layers of dirt and gems. The visitor center has interactive exhibits highlighting the unique history of the park and geology of Arkansas diamonds. They also tempt you with pictures of diamonds that have been found in the park. At the Diamond Discovery Center visitors learn about diamonds, but more importantly, techniques on how to find them.
Once you have rented (or brought your own) diamond digging equipment like trowels, shovels, buckets, sifting screens, etc. then it is time to head out into the crater. The techniques vary widely from walking along looking for smooth shiny diamonds (because dirt and mud don’t stick to the smooth surface of diamonds) to digging up a bucket full of dirt and sifting through water like gold mining. We talked to one man who uses a paint brush to lightly brush away loose dirt to reveal the diamonds. Diamonds come in a rainbow of colors but the predominant colors found here are white, brown, and yellow. If you think you found a precious stone, staff is on hand to positively identify it for you. And if you want it, you keep it! No matter what it is.
Since this a fairly new state park, the facilities are relatively new and the campground has up-to-date hook-ups so you don’t have to worry about getting electrocuted from an old post barely stuck in the ground. The campground has a mix of back-in sites, pull thrus, and primitive sites. We chose a pull thru site which was nice and long for our 45’ RV and tow car. Site #7 is great with some shade and a partial view of the lake. Be aware that numerous sites are not level and numerous pull thru sites are crested in the middle. The RV sites are paved which is especially nice when it is raining. Some of the roads are pretty weirdly laid out and we would mistake pull thru sites for roads so make sure to follow the white lines to navigate. There are some fairly tight turns that you may need to take slow if you are in a big rig and watch out for the trees. There is a large picnic pavilion between sites 34 and 21 which could impact your camping if that was being used by a big group. The park has cable television and our Verizon phone and hotspot worked fine.
We liked the extensive hiking trails that we found all to ourselves and the access to the water. A nice, relatively flat easy 2-mile trail runs from the campground to the beach. There are a couple of boat launches (with rental paddle craft) and a swim beach. We were there on a weekday during the Coronavirus pandemic so there were not too many people there which made for a pleasant experience. The visitor center/office were closed but you could call for a reservation or book online. If you go online they have pictures of the campsites so you know what you are getting. This is the kind of park where you can spend lots of time enjoying the outdoors and an evening campfire. The surrounding area is pretty rural but if you feel like exploring head over to the neighboring town of Helen which is a Bavarian-themed mountain town with good German food and bakeries. You can also hike Anna Ruby Falls which is pretty and a short walk. Overall, we liked the campground and would camp here again.
We stayed here for a couple of nights and wished we could have stayed longer because there is so much to do. The park is set amongst tall trees giving it that nice outdoorsy feel. The weekend we were there in November was jammed packed but it seems to clear out during the week when kids go back to school. There were lots of people aimlessly driving around in golf carts, kids running through our site, and plenty of loud music. A weekday stay would be more out thing as some of the weekend campers were pretty obnoxious.
We were camping with some friends and we both have 45' RVs so we picked two side by side pull-thrus. However, all those pull-thru sites were super close together and right on top of the people on each side of us. We decided to go find other back-in sites and were glad we did because it gave us more room between sites and we had a great lake view. Our site was level but not all in the park are. All the utilities worked well and we were able to get tv over our antenna and our Verizon phone and internet worked great.
We did a small amount of hiking on a very nice, easy trail. We were only sorry we didn't have time to paddle in the lake and explore more of the park.
This is one of those awesome Corps of Engineer Parks that are scattered across the country. We settled in here for a couple of nights and really wished we had more time. Our site was a nice back-in with a great water view. Since we were there in the fall, the park was not even a quarter full so it was very quiet and peaceful. We were going to stay in the nearby town of Meridian but when we found this park is was a no-brainer. It was only three miles off HWY 19 but provided such an awesome place to camp. Campsites have crushed gravel pads and patios (some of which are double in size) and most have a nice amount of shade from the trees. Our site was very large with plenty of room. There are a few pull-thrus but they have a really weird curvature and trees that would make it hard for some large RVs to navigate. The roads in the campground are narrow but most are one-way so that doesn’t really matter and easy enough for us to navigable with our 45’ RV and tow car. All sites are level and have 20/30/50 amp electric that worked well and have a fire pit with bbq grate, separate bbq, lantern crook, and picnic table. Within the campground are pit toilets but about a half mile away at the entrance are showers and a laundry facility. At the end of each campsite are garbage cans so you don’t have to go far to dump your trash. Most all sites have great water views and access in case you want to launch a kayak or canoe. We decided to pull forward into our site so the view of the lake was directly out our front windshield. It was perfect! Our Verizon wifi worked well and got a dozen over the air television channels. There are a couple of small covered picnic shelters with large grills, fire pits, and picnic tables if you want to have a gathering.
A short drive away is Collinsville Park with has a boat launch providing access to Okatibbee Lake. Many people in the campground would launch their boats there and then tie them up on the bank of the campground. There is a small fishing dock in the campground and plenty of bank fishing. The closest town is Collinsville where there is a grocery and some restaurants and you are 25-30 minutes from the larger town of Meridian.
This place is truly an RV Resort with lots of amenities. The list is long so I won't bore you and it is all on their website. Their are restrictions on age of RV (15 years) and size (32'+). We took advantage of a special they were running in which we got a standard site for $34 if you took a guided tour around the property. We really enjoyed our stay here as the park was clean and nice. Definitely took advantage of the fitness center and pool. The paved patio and road was nice since it poured down rain when we were there. Our site had nice separation from our neighbors with a big grassy area and a hedge between us. Some more expensive sites have cabanas, outdoor kitchens, and overlook the lakes. It is fairly large which is nice for dog walking or excising.
North of the park is the historic town of Foley which is quaint and a nice place to walk around, have lunch, and check out the bay. Attractions close by include the new OWA entertainment complex, a Tanger Outlet mall and the beautiful white beaches and emerald waters of Gulf Shores and Orange beach. Jimmy Buffet fans should head down to LuLu's. It is owned by his sister and he has been known to show up occasionally at LuLu's. There are plenty of places nearby to get fresh fish so take advantage of that.
We stayed at this park for 10 days because our original plan to stay at nearby Topsail Hill Preserve State Park was derailed by the closure of all Florida State Parks due to Covid-19. Overall, we liked the park. The park is private and quiet (albeit, the park was only a quarter full when we were there), all the hookups, cable (70+ channels) and wifi worked well, and you are just a few blocks from the beautiful white sand beaches and emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The only real downside is the cost and there is not much distance between sites. We paid $83/night and other than laundry and restrooms, there are no amenities.
This RV park is small with just 34 RV sites(no tents). Sites are paved as are the patios and roads inside the park and all sites are perfectly level. There are a couple of “buddy sites” which are ideal if you are traveling with friends. There is some shade but some sites (including ours) are full shade. Our site had two Adirondack chairs and an extra-large paved patio, others had picnic tables, and some don’t have anything. There are no fire pits but portable ones are allowed. There is a big field (approximately 50 yards x 50 yards) where dogs are allowed to play off-leash the only problem is the sand spurs in the grass that get stuck in their feet and can be very uncomfortable. Our dog refused to go in the field after getting a few sand spurs caught in her pads.
The campground is about three blocks from the beach down a fairly busy road with no shoulder so it’s best to walk in the grass. Once near the beach, there is a paved walking/biking path and a bike lane that goes for miles. There are some public parking spots at the beach, but be forewarned they fill up quickly in the busy season, so walking is your best option. You can also rent a golf cart and fit into smaller spots, when available. Within just a couple of miles are restaurants, beach-themed stores, grocery, convenient marts, and gas stations. Pretty much everything you need is within five miles. The Surf Hut restaurant is just a 10 minute walk and has cheap daily food specials and good happy hour deals with a beautiful waterfront view. Pompano Joes also has a good happy hour and beautiful waterfront views. About a mile away is Legion Park, a county park with a boat launch, picnic areas with grills, and a playground. We used this park daily to launch our paddle craft and let our dog swim in the bay. Dogs are not allowed on the beach in the county so this was a great place for her to play and swim. Park access is free and it was not very crowded when we were there in the spring. Another good place to go for hiking is Topsail Hill Preserve State Park which is about six miles away and has around 20 miles of trails but this is a fee park.
Regarding private parks in the area, this one is the cheapest and we felt safe and comfortable there. The grounds are well-cared for, it was quiet and the owners are super nice and helpful. The only reason we would not stay here again is the high cost.