Campground Reviews – Oak Plantation Campground; Charleston (Johns Island), SC

CHECK OUT OUR VIDEO REVIEW OF THIS CAMPGROUND AT:

Campground Review - SC - Oak Plantation Campground-Charleston

This was our first campground ever !!  It’s where we bought and moved in to the rig :-).  We were here from August 14 through 19, 2018, and yes, it was hot and steamy as the Charleston area is known for that time of year.  Not the kind of weather we would have ordered up but we were too excited to let it slow us down.

IMG_0029

The campground has a section for big rigs with mostly pull thru sites that are quite spacious with plenty of room to park your UHaul trailer of stuff ;-).  Another section toward the back of the park is more paved and gravel but also with smaller sites.  There are large trees scattered around the big rig area that provide good shade in the mornings and afternoons, and the back section has fewer trees and more open areas (= sun exposure). We had full hook ups with 50 Amp service and no issues running all our AC units pretty much 24/7.

The bath houses and laundry were in reasonable condition.  The pool is attractive with several palm trees around it but it’s close proximity to a busy road means you’ll battle the road noise while trying to relax.  There is a good size lake on the property with fishing allowed (no swimming in the lake!).  The grounds around the lake are studded with beautiful live oak trees.  The recreational areas are very nice with a large picnic pavilion, spread out playground for the kids, and even a frisbee golf course.

IMG_0058

The best thing about this campground is its proximity to Charleston and nearby beaches.  I could write several blog posts about What to Do, See, and Eat in Charleston, but for here, we’ll recommend going to Folly Beach and The Charleston Tea Plantation (www.charlestonteaplantation.com).   Folly Beach has a great fishing pier, nice boardwalk, and several blocks of restaurants and shops to browse.  The Charleston Tea Plantation is the only tea plantation in the U.S.; it’s worth the time to take the factory tour, browse in the shop, and relax on the deep porch sipping your tea.

file-2

Even though there’s more road noise than we’d like, we gave this campground a “B” because there’s nice shade, the grounds are very attractive, and the proximity to Charleston is so great.

To see more of this campground, check out our video review at:

For a printable summary of this review, click this link:  Campground Review – SC – Oak Plantation Campground-Charleston

Please see this post for more understanding of how we rate campgrounds:  Our Idea of a Perfect Campground

We welcome your comments or questions about this campground below.

 


Campground Reviews – Thousand Trails Forest Lake; Advance, NC

Campground Review - NC - Thousand Trails Forest Lake-Advance

We enjoyed our stay at this campground but unfortunately had to leave earlier than planned due to torrential rain coming in from Hurricane Florence.  We stayed here from September 4 through 12, 2018.  This park is an hour north of Charlotte which made it convenient for us to wrap up some last minute details like moving our stored items into a different location and smaller unit.

We had a pretty large site with good hook ups and 50 Amp service.  The downside to this large site was that it was completely exposed to the sun without any tree cover.  The cell service at the park was good; however, the park WiFi was very slow (I know, most are).  Our site was situated in the middle of the park and we had very little road noise and minimal noise from neighbors.

The park has numerous amenities with several sports courts, a sprawling mini golf course, two pools.  There is a picturesque pond with fishing, canoeing, and a small sandy beach area, and also a hiking trail around the perimeter of the park.  The grounds and facilities do show some signs of wear but there was no problem with using any of the amenities.  The park has some organized activities on weekends like BINGO, potlucks, dances, etc.

IMG_0124

Numerous attractions and small towns are nearby.  Winston-Salem is the closest city with several good museums and historic downtown.  Charlotte and the National Whitewater Center is an hour’s drive.  Many, many wineries and a few distilleries offer tastings and music events.

We graded this park a “B” for its quiet location and proximity to many attractions and activities.  We will likely return here as it’s fairly close to family and friends in the Charlotte area.

For a printable summary of this review, click this link:  Campground Review – NC – Thousand Trails Forest Lake-Advance

Please see this post for more understanding of how we rate campgrounds:  Our Idea of a Perfect Campground

We welcome your comments or questions about this campground below.


Campground Reviews – Carter Caves State Resort Park; Olive Hill, KY

Campground Review - KY - Carter Caves State Resort Park-Olive Hill

We have stayed at Carter Caves State Resort Park every year for close to 20 years for family reunions but this was the first time staying in the campground.  We have always stayed in the cottages, but this time we really appreciated being in the RV and having all the comforts of home.  We arrived on a Wednesday and had the park to ourselves until Friday night.  Through the weekend, the campground is VERY full of families having good camping fun.

This campground is a definite challenge for big rigs.  From I-64, you will find yourself on very curvy KY-182 to get to the park entrance.  KY-182 has some low-hanging limbs and  several blind curves, and the local drivers take these curves at road speed !  Coming in on the park road to the campground requires successfully navigating an uphill hair pin curve to the left.   Then, getting to our site required shimmying around a hard right curve between trees and ditches.  Fortunately, we made it safely to our back-in site with no damages.  Then getting back out, of course, requires you to navigate the hair pin turn downhill to the right and curvy KY-182 back to the interstate.  Christina went ahead in the Jeep and blocked any oncoming traffic around the curves as needed so Scott could have access to as much road as needed to make the curves.

IMG_0257

The camp sites are actually fairly roomy and level considering this is a state park and located in hilly eastern Kentucky.  There are picnic tables on concrete patios and fire rings at each site.  We were glad to have full hook ups with 50 Amp service.  Of course, there is no WiFi or TV service, but our cell signal worked just fine.  Our site was on the east end of the campground overlooking the mini golf course which gave it a spacious feel when sitting outdoors.

This campground sits in the middle of the state park’s 2,000 acres of  forest and hilly, rocky terrain.  The park does have a wide range of amenities and activities.  Of course, as the name would suggest, there are several caves on the property with a very good visitor center where you can arrange for cave tours.  The main lodge contains an on-site restaurant open 7 days a week (except Christmas through April 14 when it’s closed on Mondays and Tuesdays), along with meeting rooms.  There is a very nice creek and 45-acre lake with fishing and canoeing available.  The park boasts an equestrian campground and 15 miles of multi-use trails for riding, trail biking, and hiking with an additional 15 miles of hiking trails.  An area for rock climbing and rappelling has been designated for experienced climbers.  There is a seasonal pool, mini golf, and numerous naturalist programs and special events.

As you might expect, signs of budget constraints common to publicly-owned facilities are evident throughout the state park.  Most of the facilities are showing significant signs of wear.  That said, the park staff do a good job of keeping things functional and arrange some seasonal decorations to provide a cheery appearance for guests’ enjoyment.  Staff are generally cheerful and respond well to resolving issues.

All in all, we gave this campground a “B” because we like the quiet atmosphere and proximity to natural areas, and it meets our expectations for a national or state park campground.  In addition, there are numerous activities available, and we really appreciate the convenience of an on-site restaurant.

For a printable summary of this review, click this link:  Campground Review – KY – Carter Caves State Resort Park-Olive Hill

Please see this post for more understanding of how we rate campgrounds:  Our Idea of a Perfect Campground

We welcome your comments or questions about this campground below.


Campground Reviews – Carowinds Camp Wilderness; Charlotte, NC

Campground Review - NC - Carowinds Camp Wilderness-Charlotte.JPG

Since our exit from the sticks and bricks lifestyle happened from the Charlotte area, we spent an extended time at this campground from Aug 24 through Sep 4 to get some visits with family and friends in this area.    We had a back-in site with full hook ups and 50 Amp service.  Our Verizon cell signal was very strong and the park did have WiFi but it was not consistently adequate.

IMG_0116

The campground is associated with and within walking distance of Carowinds Amusement Park and is in the Charlotte region with easy access to many attractions in the wider metro area.  We were able to have some great visits with our sons and dear friends before leaving the Carolinas for a while.  We also made huge progress on getting more settled and organized in the rig.

There is a bath house and laundry facility along with a generous pool.  The sites are not overly crowded considering this campground is really about being close to the amusement park and is in an urban area.  We were there over Labor Day Weekend, and it did get quite full but we were not too cramped.

We did have some significant rain while we were there, but drainage is pretty good and we didn’t have any worries about getting stuck.  Good tree cover provided nice shade in the evenings.  The campground staff were very helpful in receiving and handling several packages while we were there.

For a printable summary of this review, click this link:  Campground Review – NC – Carowinds Camp Wilderness-Charlotte

Please see this post for more understanding of how we rate campgrounds:  Our Idea of a Perfect Campground

We welcome your comments or questions about this campground below.


Campground Reviews – High Falls RV Park; Jackson, GA

Campground Review - GA - High Falls RV Park-Jackson

We stayed at High Falls RV Park for just a few days from August 22 through August 24.  We were in the area for a business-related meeting in Covington, GA, and chose this park for its convenient location between Atlanta and Macon and not too far off I-75.  This park is independently owned and pretty small with just 38 sites.  We enjoyed this campground very much.  The very shady grounds were a nice relief from the August Georgia heat, and the small size and adequate distance from the interstate made for plenty of peace and quiet.

IMG_0072

This campground is heavily wooded and nicely landscaped with numerous rustic decorative highlights.  Amenities are very basic with laundry and bath house facilities.  The roads are gravel, and the sites are mostly graveled where the RV sits surrounded by grass.  We had 50Amp service with our full hook ups.  The site included a picnic table and fire ring.  Even though the campground is heavily wooded, the area over each pull-thru site is clear with trees on the sides for morning and late afternoon / evening shade.

IMG_0071

There is a very cute play area for kids with a playhouse and fairy garden.  This area is enclosed with a low fence to keep the kiddies contained.  Taking a stroll around the shady campground is enjoyable in the mornings and evenings.

IMG_0074

Even though this is a small RV park, we had no trouble accessing and leaving our pull-thru site.  These sites are close to the entrance, and the owners are mindful to keep overhanging limbs trimmed back.   We had good Verizon signal while we were there.  There is a WiFi system, but it didn’t work very well for us – probably just too slow.

IMG_0075

The campground has good proximity to Atlanta and Macon for day trips to attractions in those cities.  We highly recommend an afternoon visit to nearby Covington, GA, for quaint southern small town charm.  There are numerous eateries and interesting shopping around the main square.

For a printable summary of this review, click this link:  Campground Review – GA – High Falls RV Park-Jackson

Please see this post for more understanding of how we rate campgrounds:  Our Idea of a Perfect Campground

We welcome your comments or questions about this campground below.


Campground Reviews – Pecan Park RV Resort; Jacksonville, FL

Campground Review - FL - Pecan Park-Jacksonville

We stayed at Pecan Park RV Resort from August 19 through August 22, 2018. I know, Florida in August ?? – What were we thinking !?! We had just bought the coach in Charleston, SC, and needed to get it registered in Florida where we are domiciled. Our domicile is out of Green Cove Springs, so fortunately we didn’t have to go further south than Jacksonville to get that done, and our stay during this part of the year was a short one.

This campground is part of the Sun RV Resorts group and is very well maintained. The entire park was very clean and well-kept. The sites are all concrete pads with picnic tables that are in good shape. Our Verizon cell service was very strong as the park is close to I-95. There was some road work going on at the interstate exit, but we had no trouble accessing the park. There’s also a Love’s Travel Center conveniently located on the other side of the interstate.

The park is on the north side of Jacksonville outside the I-295 loop and is within a 30 minute drive of several beaches, including Amelia Island. There are numerous attractions in the area including a large flea and farmers market next to the park, along with the Jacksonville Zoo, several museums, and Adventure Landing amusement park.

This park is VERY noisy. Proximity to I-95 results in constant road noise, and even worse, the park is in the flight path of Jacksonville International Airport which results in frequent loud engine noise from low-flying commercial jet traffic. Another big negative for us is the lack of shade. There are a few palm trees scattered around but none of them really offer any shade.

We had full hookups at our site with 50 Amp service.  All sites are pull-through on a very level concrete pad with picnic table in good condition.  The pool was in good condition with no shade trees.  There is a small pond on site with fishing available.  We left a day earlier than we had reserved, and the staff were not able to refund the last day due to computer protocols.

Unfortunately, because we stayed only a couple of days and it was so hot, I didn’t get any pictures to add to this review — apologies !

The final grade for this campground is a “C” due to the lack of any shade and being extremely noisy as well as having limited amenities for a “resort”.

For a printable summary of this review, click this link:  Campground Review – FL – Pecan Park-Jacksonville

Please see this post for more understanding of how we rate campgrounds:  Our Idea of a Perfect Campground

We welcome your comments or questions about this campground below.


Campground Reviews – Our Idea of a Perfect Campground

General camping picSince we are posting campground reviews and everyone’s definition of a perfect campground varies greatly, I thought it would be good to talk about our idea of a perfect campground.  The reviews we post will be measured against this ideal vision of our perfect campground :-), and the final grade will reflect how that campground measures up to our definition of perfection.

There are several categories of “campgrounds”, and our vision of ideal will vary a bit across the categories.

RV Resort:  Deluxe, high-end park with all the amenities, including full hookups, pools/hot tubs, sports courts, on site lake or pond with fishing, club house and pavilions, very clean level sites with picnic tables and fire pits / BBQs, well-stocked camp store, good WiFi and cell signal, fitness center, on-site restaurant.  Reasonably quiet atmosphere and overall excellent appearance, nicely landscaped throughout with generous tree coverage for shade, and located in an area with good proximity to local attractions and/or peaceful natural surroundings.  All facilities should be very clean and well-maintained with minimal to no defects.

RV Park (also RV Campground): Fewer amenities than the resorts, but at least having clean fairly level sites with full hookups, laundry/bath house, picnic tables, BBQs, limited / slow WiFi, decent cell signal, and camp store.  Generally quiet atmosphere and attractive landscaping in common areas with overall good tree coverage for shade.  May be off the beaten path with limited proximity to local attractions.  Facilities should be clean and generally in functional condition with only minor defects.

National/state park:  Basic sites sometimes with limited to no hookup access but with dump station available.  Ideally, sites would have picnic tables and fire pits / BBQs and be reasonably level. Overall quiet atmosphere with excellent proximity to peaceful natural areas along with opportunities for hiking, fishing, boating, and other outdoor recreational options.  Availability of picnic pavilions, camp store, ranger station.  No expectation of WiFi and very limited to no cell signal.  Facilities should be functional, clean, with minor defects.

Boondocking:  While many use this term very broadly to include dry camping / overnight parking in truck stops and parking lots, we will only use this category to capture stays in off-the-grid remote areas usually on public lands.  These sites will typically have no hookups or site improvements or facility amenities at all.  No WiFi will be provided, and cell signal may be very compromised or non-existent.  Of course, the draw for this kind of camping is the potential for absolutely peaceful surroundings, privacy, beautiful vistas, and proximity to outdoor recreational opportunities.  Surroundings should be clean (little to no litter) and any provided facilities (e.g. vault toilets) should be functional.

The sections of the review form are intended to keep us somewhat consistent in the kinds of information we’re capturing and posting.  In the Site Details section, we’ll check those features that we used or had available at our site.  In the Amenities section, we’ll check the amenities that we observed.  If walking trails and/or biking trails is checked, then there are trails for that purpose other than the obvious campground roads.  Our expectation for big rig friendly is that we can maneuver our 45′ tag axle diesel pusher coach to and within the park and in and out of the site with little difficulty. We’ll provide an indication of the property conditions we observed at the time of our stay — of course, things may improve or worsen since the time we stayed there.  The rate per day is what we paid when we were there; we will note if we had any special discounts.  At this time, we are not getting any direct compensation or benefit from these reviews; if we do in the future, we will include that information in the review.

We will designate an overall grade for the review from “A” – “F” (no “E” 😉  ), and we will probably be pretty tough graders.

  • To get an A, the location must meet ALL of our expectations for that category.
  • A “B” means the location is very good and we’d be happy to recommend others staying there.
  • A “C” means the location is adequate and acceptable for limited stays but we wouldn’t want to stay there for longer than 4-7 days.
  • Any location with a “D” should be avoided unless there are no other options in the vicinity.
  • If we assign an “F” to a location, it means we would never want to go back and would absolutely not recommend it to others.

In each campground review post, we’ll provide a link to a printable review form for your convenience.  We hope this overview of our campground expectations is helpful and we welcome your thoughts.