May 232010

We’ve stayed at a lot of campgrounds in our eleven years of fulltime RV travel, some really nice places, and some not so nice. There are campgrounds that we return to on a regular basis, and others where one stop was more than enough.

RVers often ask us what our personal favorite campgrounds are. Sometimes I feel like that would be akin to telling you where my favorite fishing hole is. What if the word gets out and pretty soon the place is so full that they don’t have room for me?

But what the heck, there’s always Wal-Mart if my favorite campsite is not available, so here are my Top Ten favorites, and why. Please be aware that the reasons I like a campground may not be important to you, just as the things you look for may not meet my needs.

Elkhart Campground, Elkhart, Indiana – No question about it, this is our favorite campground in the entire country. It is centrally located to a lot of places we regularly frequent, Elkhart is the capital of the RV industry, the campground is clean and well maintained, the RV sites are wide, the interior roads are all good, and owners Bob and Gita Patel treat us like family. 

elkhart campground 6

Escapees Rainbow Plantation, Summerdale, Alabama – I don’t think we’ve ever been to an RV park with roomier sites than this Escapees Club RV park. We like the Alabama Gulf Coast area, the small towns in the area are all friendly and clean, and the park itself has a lot of great amenities and activities.

Tra-Tel RV Park, Tucson, Arizona – There is nothing fancy about this small RV park, the spaces are tight, and you get noise from nearby Interstate 10 and the railroad tracks on the other side of the highway. However, it’s clean, the staff is very friendly, they have a nice pool, and for us, location is everything. Tra-Tel is a comfortable, convenient place to stay when we visit our family in Tucson.

Escapees Sumter Oaks RV Park, Bushnell, Florida –  I would say that this is our favorite campground in the state of Florida. We love the giant live oak trees that shade the park, they have a great indoor pool, a fine rec room, and because it’s an Escapees park, it’s always friendly. Miss Terry loves wandering through the nearby huge Webster Flea Market looking for bargains.

Bushnell RVs Spanish Moss 2 

Escapees Raccoon Valley, Heiskell, Tennessee –  This is a regular stop for us, and another favorite Escapees Club RV park, because we love the area. The campground is just a mile or so from Interstate 75, and close to Knoxville, but has a rural feel to it. Twice a week local bluegrass musicians come to the park and hold free jam sessions. We haven’t been to Raccoon Valley since the recent remodel, and we’re looking forward to seeing the improvements.

Thousand Trails Verde Valley Preserve, Camp Verde, Arizona – Again, location means a lot. We stay at this large Thousand Trails campground often when it’s too hot to be in Phoenix or Tucson, but still too cold to go to our old hometown in Arizona’s White Mountains. There is a lot to see and do in the Verde Valley, from exploring historic ghost towns and ancient Indian ruins, to riding a vintage steam train.

TTN Verde Valley entrance 2 

Country Roads RV Park, Lake Delton, Wisconsin – Our friends Terry and Terri Michael, owners of Country Roads, bill this campground as a place for adults, and if you want a super clean, quiet location that is just minutes from all of the hustle and bustle in Wisconsin Dells, you’ll like it too. Amenities include a pool, very nice RV sites, and a welcome that will make you feel like you just came back home after a long absence.

country roads

Escapees Turkey Creek Village, Hollister, Missouri – Located on the shore of Lake Taneycomo, just minutes from all of the shows and attractions in Branson, we have stopped at Turkey Creek many times, and look forward to getting back again. The RV sites are nice, the area has more to see and do than you could get done in an entire season, and the local folks are all very friendly.

Hershey Thousand Trails, Lebanon, Pennsylvania – We’ve only stayed here once, and we’re looking forward to going back for two weeks in September after our Eastern Gypsy Gathering rally. The campground is a short drive from Hershey if you need a chocolate fix, it has a lot of great amenities, and this is another part of the county that we really enjoy spending time in. The love the green, rolling countryside around the campground.

ttn Hershey hillside

 Fisherman’s Landing, Muskegon, Michigan – I have to admit that I have a love/hate relationship with this city owned campground. The sites are fine, and it is a great place to stay when we visit my cousin Berni and her husband Rocky, not to mention that there is a lot to see and do in the area, and we can launch our kayaks right from the campground. However, the downside is that on summer weekends there always seems to be at least one large group of rowdy campers who disturb everybody else, and management never seems to be aware of it.  Still, we go back every year, so I guess the good outweighs the bad.

Okay, now I’ve told you mine, so don’t hold back on the rest of us. What are some of your favorite campgrounds, and why?

Thought For The Day – One man’s religion is another man’s belly laugh.

Click Here To Register For Our Eastern Gypsy Gathering Rally!

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  12 Responses to “Top Ten Favorite Campgrounds”

  1. Hi Nick,
    An update on Country Roads, I am in site 13 right now, and agree with you on everything. But they are taking out the swiming pool. It is about half gone right now, so if that is something on your “needed” list…. it is not on ours. It is like coming home when you come here. Great people and park.

  2. Also, here is the Country Roads link

  3. We are staying at Haas Lake RV Park campground (commercial) in New Hudson, MI. It is reasonable, clean, great views of lakes and adjacent farmland, lots of birds, friendly staff and nice campsites. It is one of our favorites and about 30 minutes from Detroit, 90 minutes from the Port Huron/Canada border.

  4. I love Hart Ranch, as you know, in Rapid City, SD, where we are now. It’s a member-owned resort, but you can stay up to two weeks under either an RPI or a Coast to Coast membership. They also offer a 3-night stay for $39.95 and a sales tour. The location is great, in the heart of the Black Hills, with lots of things to see and do in the area.

    Our other favorite is our winter home base, Cochise Terrace in Benson, AZ. We own one of the deeded RV lots, but there are 145 large sites open for visitors on a daily/weekly/monthly/season basis. Passport America makes the daily rate very affordable. The views of the San Pedro Valley and surrounding mountains are beautiful, and we’re not far from Tucson and Sierra Vista. Cochise County in Southeastern Arizona offers many interesting places to visit.

  5. Desert Trails outside SW of Tucson. a really friendly park with lots of winter activities, a rural location close to Tucson.

    Mayberry Campground Mt Airy, NC. New campground with large sites and a friendly, helpful owner.

    Cherry Creek State Park, Denver
    Well maintained with good sized site, very convenient to Denver.

    Custer’s Gulch in the Black Hills.

    Marion County Park, Knoxville, IA
    You can visit Pella, IA and watch the sprint cars run at Knoxville Raceway. A simple county park, electric only with shared water bibs and a dump station. Pretty, quiet, and the local family groups are friendly.

    And another vote for Country Roads.

  6. right now we are staying in a nice park. It is Mountain Lakes Resort. The park is well kept and the staff are extremely helpfula and friendly. The sites handle big rigs with no problema and they are all pull thru’s. Most sites have a water view of the lake. This is a fishermans dream comet true. The lake is the largest in the state and offers great fishing for all. The park has all the usual amenities. the closest big town in Huntsville which is 31 miles from the park. It is also a great area to Geo-cache. The state park has over 37 caches ranging from 1 to 4 so is available to all. There is no cost to get into or to use the caching areas. The park is between Gunterville and Langston Alabama. We have totally enjoyed our time here.

  7. If anyone is close to Yosemite; it would be worth while to check out Escapees Park of the Sierra in Coarsegold, CA. We will have been here a month now. It is a beautiful setting and the staff could not be friendlier. Lots to do nearby and so very scenic. While this is our first stay in an Escapees park, I think it may be one of the best!

  8. If you are ever in Central Arkansas there are 3 I highly recommend.

    In Little Rock, just off I-430, is Maumelle Park, located on the Arkansas river. A nice clean park, no swimming however.

    In Conway, just a few miles off of I-40 down Dave Ward drive is Toad Suck Park (COE), again located on the Arkansas River. Very clean park, nice playground and fishing, but no swimming.

    Up Hwy65, towards Branson, about 45 minutes northeast of Conway, in the city of Choctaw (just outside Clinton), is my favorite. A COE park, Choctaw Park. Wonderful wooded, wide sites, playground, great swimming area and great fishing.

    Come see us in Arkansas sometime!!!!!!

  9. The Escapees Park in Coarsegold, CA is not our favorite park. They were full when we arrived so we parked in the Boondock area and they told us they would come and get us as soon as a space opened up. Two days later I went to the office to see how the waiting list was going and some how we were not on the waiting list. So we left and went to some other park.

  10. Spring Lake RV Resort in Crossville, TN is one of our favorite campgrounds. The new owners have fixed it up real nice and the sites are spacious. Very nice lake in middle of campground.

    Lake Thunderbird State Park east of Norman, OK is a great state park with full hookups. The view of the lake is very nice and tree shaded sites are great.

    Buckskin Mountain State Park north of Parker, AZ is another favorite park of ours. It has full hookups and is right on the banks of the Colorado River. Spacious site and great views.

  11. Right now we are at the Moose Lodge #558 in Billings, MT. We have 30-amp electric and can get fresh water and use the dump station. We gave them a donation. Just a plug for Moose Lodges.
    We used I-State Truck Center in Billings and are very pleased with their service.
    In 11 years we have many “favorite campsites” but the best is always the current one.

  12. Hi,
    I am writing to you to fnd out info. My 75yr old mom and stepfather want me to pull thier 5th down to gulf shores Alanama for the winter.(snowbird season). Niether one is in great shape but I believe they would be ok if they stayed in a campground with alot of nieghbors and good staff. They don’t need assistance or anything I just would like it if they had people around. Do you have any suggestion on where they might stay?

    Thank you,
    Lisa Doerr
    1521 sanders ln
    Louisville, ky. 40216

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