Campsites: year one, 2015.

This is not updated but for an historical account, here is where we stayed in 2015 when we were newbies.  Some of these have become regular stops for us over the years like Jackson Center, Ohio for Airstream servicing. Our favorite all time place is Gros Ventre Campground in Kelly, Wyoming where we have returned every year.   Oasis RV Park in Amarillo, Texas and American RV in Albuquerque, New Mexico are easy to get to from the interstates, consistently well-cared for and clean and so both are regular stops.  In Florida, if you can get a state park reservation as soon as they open (11 months in advance) try to snag a spot at Oscar Scherer or Myakka River in Sarasota.  You won’t be disappointed! 

August 3, 2015.  Beaver-del Campground;  East Branch, New York.

August 4, 5, 2015.  Newtown Battlefield State Park; Elmira, New York.  Nice park with limited electric hook-ups but close to the Corning Glass Museum which makes it all workable.

August 6, 2015.  Kooser State Park; Jefferson, Pennsylvania. Small and sweet.

August 7, 2015. Ohiopyle State Park; Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania.  Very busy campground but great proximity to the Frank Lloyd Wright treasures of Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob.

August 9, 10, 2015.  Airstream Campground at factory; Jackson Center, Ohio

August 11, 2015. Woods-n-Water Campground; Columbus, Indiana.  Private campground very close to the amazing Columbus, Indiana.

August 12, 13, 2015.  Sangchris State Park; Rochester, Illinois.  We stayed in Deer Run area but if there is a next time, we will stay at Hickory Point area.

August 14 – 16, 2015. Lake Kegonsa State Park; near Madison, Wisconsin.  We had a non-electric site because the electric was all gone.

August 17, 2015. Highland Ridge; Eau Galle Lake, Wisconsin. US Army Corps of Engineers campground. Can’t miss with these sites.

August 18 – 20, 2015.  Lake Itasca State Park; Park Rapids, Minnesota.  This is adjacent to the headwaters of the Mississippi River.  Nice park. Lovely little town. Great bike trails but we ran out of time to sample them.  Old growth forests. A bison-kill site from 8,500 years ago.  We would return here.

August 21, 22, 2015.  Downstream Campground, Riverdale, North Dakota.  US Army Corps of Engineers campground.  Great site, amazing place along the Missouri River.

August 23, 24, 2015.  Cottonwood Campground, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Medora, North Dakota.  Great little campground along the Little Missouri River.  All dry camping and amazing wild country.

August 25, 26, 2015. Downstream Campground, Fort Peck Dam, Fort Peck, Montana. Another good Army Corps of Engineers place with power and great huge campsites right along the mighty Missouri.  Visitors Center has awesome displays on the dinosaurs who roamed these plains millions of years ago.  Worth the visit here.

August 27, 2015.  Mountain View RV Park, Lewistown, Montana.  Private park that left lots to be desired but fine for getting us from Fort Peck to our next stop.

August 28, 29, 2015.  KOA of Great Falls, Montana.  Our first ever time in a KOA. Perfectly fine pull through site with full hook-ups.  Not many options in Great Falls for decent campgrounds so these guys have figured it out.

September 2, 3, 2015. Lewis & Clark Campground, Three Forks, Montana.  A gorgeous state park in the beautiful rolling hills of Montana’s southwest corner. Limited electric sites but we got one. Close to the Norris Hot Springs.

September 4, 2015.  Grant Village, Yellowstone National Park.  Very busy park on a very busy weekend.  No hook-ups.  Temps well below freezing so we stayed just one night and visited Old Faithful, walked along the Yellowstone Lake, walked the geyser basin.  Awesome place.

September 5, 6, 7, 2015.  Headwaters Campground at Flagg Ranch, Wyoming. Another busy campground will full hook-ups.  Hiked down to the Snake River and then rode bikes along Grassy Lake Road and watched four otters playing in Polecat Creek.

September 8 – 16, 2015.  Gros Ventre Campground, Kelly, Wyoming.  Snagged the site with electric (there are very few electric only sites here) that we wanted at this no-reservations, just show up campground. No wonder this is at the top of many lists for favorite places to camp.  The Tetons are right over the hills, moose and pronghorns were visiting earlier today.  Spectacular Jackson Hole!

September 25 – 26, 2015.  Lucerne Campground at Flaming Gorge, Manila, Utah.  A great Army Corps of Engineers site on the beautiful reservoir.  We had a site overlooking the reservoir and a grassy meadow where the resident herd of pronghorns visited us constantly.

September 27 – 28, 2015. Arches National Park, Devil’s Garden Campground, near Moab, Utah.  There is only one other campground we have EVER stayed in that comes close to this amazing place.  Really hard to snag a site (we booked 5 months out and got 2 nights). We’ve got it on the calendar already for next year.  Super Moon was rising while we were here, just to definitively push things over the top.

September 29, 2015.  Cottonwood Campground, Navajo Lake Reservoir, near Farmington, New Mexico.  Another Corps site under the huge cottonwoods along the San Juan River.

September 30 – October 3, 2015.  Riana Campground at Abiquiu Lake Reservoir, Abiquiu, New Mexico.  The Corps does a great job with these sites – and the price is amazing with our Senior Pass.  Water and electric sweeten the deal.  We’ll be back here.

October 4 – 7, 2015.  Buffalo Loop at Cochiti Lake Reservoir.  There are two Corps sites here and this one we picked for the water and electric.  Spacious and quiet this time of year.

October 9 – 15, 2015.  Oasis RV Park in Amarillo, Texas.  This is a new, spacious place on the outskirts of town along US 40 so it is quieter than the in-town places.  We were well cared for here during our unexpected time in Amarillo with a truck repair.

October 16.  Lake Arrowhead State Park, Wichita Falls, Texas.  Wide open sites along the shores of this favorite fishing lake near the Oklahoma border and the Red River.

October 17.  Lake Bob Sandlin State Park, Pittsburg, Texas.  Back in the hardwoods and pine forests and lots more shade.

October 18.  Sandy Creek Park at B. A. Steinhagen Lake. Corps of Engineers site that continues to support our high ranking for these campgrounds.  Lovely site on the lake and great biking along the long shoreline makes returning here a definite.

October 19 – 26, 2015.  Palmetto Island State Park, Abbeville, Louisiana.  In the heart of Acadiana, this lovely park offers spacious sites, great bathrooms and showers and FREE laundry for campers.

October 27, 2015.  Davis Bayou Campground, Ocean Springs, Mississippi.  National Park which hugs the shores of the Gulf and offers a small and well-kept campground with great access to the treasures of the saltwater marshes.

October 28, 2015.  Blackwater River State Park, Holt, Florida.  Tucked into the longleaf pine woods of north Florida, this unexpectedly delightful campground has what looks like great bike trails that we will have to try out on a future visit.

October 29 to November 11, 2015.  St. George Island State Park, Eastpoint, Florida. On our short list of the best places to camp in the U.S.

November 12 -14, 2015.  Rainbow Springs State Park, Dunnellon, Florida.  Headwaters of the Rainbow River and beautiful Springs and new campground.

November 15 – 21, 2015.  Fort Desoto Park, St. Petersburg, Florida.  County park that is on of the best places to camp anywhere.

November 22 – 26, 2015.  Little Manatee River State Park, Wimauma, Florida.  Small and quiet campground about 35 miles south of Tampa, and 40 miles northeast of Sarasota.

November 27 – December 2, 2015.  Fort Desoto Park, St. Petersburg, Florida.

December 3 – 9, 2015.  Sebastian Inlet, Sebastian, Florida.  On the Atlantic coast, connected to the ocean by a man-made inlet, this busy park is open 24/7 to accommodate its reputation for great fishing.

December 10 – 15, 2015.  Oscar Scherer State Park, Osprey, Florida.  On the Gulf side, beautiful park just south of Sarasota.  Beaches close by (10 minutes) and right on the great Legacy Trail, a paved path running 11 miles between Sarasota and Venice.

December 16 – 23, 2015.  Koreshan State Historic Site, Estero, Florida.  An oasis of quiet in the busy Ft. Myers/Naples megaplex.  Great for lovers of history of this utopian community from the late 19th century. Very comfortable campground with lots of hot shower time!

December 24 – 31, 2015.  Myakka River State Park, Sarasota, Florida. One of the oldest and largest of the Florida State Parks.  Check out the Nature Trail and the Canopy Walk which takes you over the land and up 60 feet above the canopy for a great view of the surrounding prairies.

Our earlier trip in 2015.

1. January 5 – 8, 2015. Our first campsite of the pilgrimage is #76 at Hunting Island State Park, on St. Helena Island, South Carolina. The Park is part of a 5,000 acre preserve which includes a lighthouse, and an eery section of a palm and pine forest that has been flooded out by the changing ocean, creating skeletons of trunks and disembodied branches.

2.  January 11 – 15, 2015. Our second campsite ,#35, is at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, near Gainesville, Florida. With 21,000 acres and miles of hiking and bike trails, a Visitor Center, and a rich diversity of wildlife including a herd of wild horses, American bison, alligators, and at least one pair of nesting eagles.

3.  January 16 – 22, 2015 Anastasia State Park, St. Augustine, Florida. In campsite #110 which is in the smallest of the loops here.  Campground completely full. Here there are 4 miles of beach on the Atlantic to explore on a 1,600 acre park. Saw great blue heron, osprey, ibis, and mallards AND the first Trailmanor that we have yet seen.

4.  January 23 – 26, 2015 Highlands Hammock State Park, Sebring, Florida. In campsite #10 on an outer loop which was desirable since the entire place was booked solid and the sites are small and numerous. Park is 9,000 acres with stands of virgin live oak, an amazing cypress swamp and great biking trails.  Not hard to see why it’s so popular.

5. January 27 – February 9, 2015. Fort Desoto Park – Pinellas County, Florida.  In campsite #202 of this spectacular 1,100 acre county park.  We reserved in July and were fortunate to have secured a place for our first two-week visit.  There are two other Trailmanors in our section and one owner (from Nashville, TN) came by to introduce himself.

6.  February 12 – 15, 2015. Manatee Springs State Park – Chiefland, Florida. We are in campsite #59, a quiet corner of the park with a total of 3 campsites.  We actually got to see a manatee early one morning in the spring, which was wonderful.

7.  February 16 – March 2, 2015.  St. George Island State Park – Eastpoint, Florida.  In campsite #27 of this beautiful unspoiled beach on the Gulf of Mexico.  The State Park is eight miles of white, fine sand, beach, and dunes.  One afternoon, we watched sharks swimming in circles a few hundred feet off shore. Bald eagles nest here and there are more cardinals than we’ve ever seen.  We have met 3 couples who were also at Highlands Hammock when we were. We’ve already reserved a spot for October, we love it here so much.

8.  March 5 – 13, 2015.  Palmetto State Park – Gonzales, Texas.  We arrived here and found that the way it works here in Texas state parks, you confirm a reservation but no site is assigned to you. When you get here, you drive through the campground and see which of the 19 sites is empty and pick the one you like.  Consider it the campground version of Southwest Airlines!   Fortunately, we came in on Thursday and so we actually had choices since they had vacancies that night.  We are on the end site #7.  The sites are very spacious and the place is lovely.

9.  March 17 – 23, 2015.  Patagonia Lake State Park – Patagonia, Arizona. This is a small park on a reservoir in the southern Arizona region, known for its birding.  Here in site #12 for 5 nights (gorgeous and private) and then to #18 (still on reservoir) for 2 nights.  Lovely walk along the beautiful Sonoita Creek.  Elevation is about 3,000 feet so the air is clear and cool.

10.  March 26 – April 1, 2015.  Cave Creek Regional Park – Cave Creek, Arizona.  This is a beautiful park of over 2,900 acres in the midst of a saguaro forest in the Sonora Desert, just north of Scottsdale but light years away.  Right now, the cactus is in bloom and it is beyond words.  Got site #9 for one night and moved today to #13 for 6 nights.  Lots of room and the views are breathtaking. Temps hit 90 for the first time on our trip.  “It ain’t New Hampsha!”

11. April 5 – 8, 2015.  Kirk Creek Campground, Los Padres National Forest– Big Sur, California.  Perched on a cliff 100 feet over the Pacific in Big Sur, this is a small campground with dry camping (no hook-ups).  Got site #15 which afforded us uninterrupted views looking straight west.  Any questions?

12.  April 9 – 11, 2015.  Pinnacles National Park – Paicines, California.  We were in site #100 of a newly established RV campground.  The scenery is spectacular here and it’s known for its population of Caifornia Condors.  They seem to be still working out the national park thing, so patience please…

13.  April 12 – 15, 2015.  Lower Pines Campground, Yosemite National Park – California.  Our site #56 was located at the back of this smallish campground and close to the Merced River. Surrounded by the granite cliffs that make this Valley so incredible.  Beautiful.  NOTE: by 2020 this campground is going to be reduced in size to protect the Merced River banks so it will be even HARDER to snag a spot.

14.  April 19 – 25, 2015.  Dead Horse Point State Park – Moab, Utah.  One full week at site #15 located on the rim of the spectacular Schafer Canyon, 2,000 feet deep, with the Colorado River winding its way through the valley.

15.  April 26 – 30, 2015.  Mesa Verde RV Resort – Mancos, Colorado.  This was our first experience in a campground other than a state park, national park, or county park.  It has received the highest marks from the folks who rate private campgrounds like this – immaculate showers and bathrooms, pleasant surroundings, and a great laundry got our attention.  We were in site #21.

16.  May 1 – 9, 2015.  American RV Park – Albuquerque, New Mexico.  First stay in a big commercial campground, sited along frontage road along I-40.  Site #148.  Total of 236 sites including parking for big rigs OVER 40 feet.  Note that the back 3 rows (where we were) have trees and little grassy spots, so a bit more pleasant.

17.  May 18 – 20, 2015. Prairie Creek Campground – Lowndesboro, Alabama.  Our first stay in an Army Corps of Engineers campground. Site #49 was spacious sites, good shade. Right on Bob Woodruff Lake of the Alabama River area, so during off-season it was very pleasant.

4 thoughts on “Campsites: year one, 2015.

  1. great talking with you both and thanks big time for the info…have your blog bookmarked and will get back to you later…thanks again…

    wilbur & naomi shardlow – Maine


    • We did meet them. They are from the panhandle of FL near Pensacola. It’s a used 2008 which they bought this year. It’s the next model up in size from ours and they love it. Pretty fun to finally see another TM!


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