🗓The 4th of July marked exactly 90 days of full time road tripping across the country! We've survived monster bugs, crazy winds, the humid South, laundry days, our first pseudo boondocking stay, hail (thankfully no damage to Le Twinkie!) and much more!
In 3 months we've been to 8 different states, and 15 different campgrounds! We've met up friends and family and have made new friends along the way as well.
1. Bear Creek Campground CoE (Fort Worth, Texas): ★★★★☆
This is an Army Corps of Engineers (CoE) campground with partial hookups (electricity and water). It's next to Benbrook Lake with easy access to freeways and town. The sites are well spaced out, but no trees or bushes to provide privacy. They also have a curfew of 10:00pm when they lock up the gates, so if you're going out for the night, I'd suggest you call a Lyft and you can walk back in to the campground. Otherwise, there's no parking outside of the campground! This was a great site for our first official stay at the very beginning of our trip, but the bugs and wind were insanity... Big hairy, black spiders with bodies that were the size of my thumb, gigantic wasps that would attack the camp stove, and swarms of tiny gnats that would cover the outside of the trailer at night! Overall, 4 star rating (minus 1 star because of the 10:00 pm curfew and the bathrooms were actually not too well kept).
2. St. Bernard State Park (Braithwaite, Louisiana): ★★★★★
We loved this campground! Being in Louisiana, there was so much greenery. It was a really beautiful campground with partial hookups. It was also near New Orleans, so we drove out for a day to explore. If you want to stay within the campground though, there's a nice nature trail (beware of swampy areas! You might even spot some alligators sunning themselves), a large grassy picnic area, and even a working splash pad! The facilities (bathrooms and showers) were old, but very clean and well kept. Also, laundry machines on site! The town itself didn't have much to offer, but for necessities, stores were close by. We also noticed many mud mounds around the grounds and one day asked a camp host what the heck those were, and apparently, they're left by crawfish when they dig into the ground! We never did see a crawfish while we were there, but we learned something new!
3. Sawnee Campground CoE (Cumming, Georgia): ★★★★★+
I'm giving this campground a 5 stars plus rating because it's one of my favorites!! It's an Army Corps of Engineers campground with partial hookups on Lake Lanier and it's BEAUTIFUL. Lake Lanier has a very interesting history. It's actually a flooded town! During a severe drought season in Georgia several years ago, the water level went down low enough that certain parts of the town like buildings and a race track became visible. People often scuba dive in the lake to view the remnants of the town. There's so much to do around there as well! Hiking and biking trails, day use areas, and if you want to do some shopping, Cumming is a really cute small town! I would definitely go back for another visit!
4. Safe Harbor RV Resort (Nashville, Tennessee): ★★★☆☆
While the facilities and amenities at this resort were very well kept and nice, the sites are so, so narrow and you're sardined in. I realized that I'm not a fan of RV parks/resorts... However, I admit it IS nice to have amenities, full hookups and level pads, but I prefer a more "in nature" setting that gives you the camping feel.
5. Seven Points Campground CoE (Nashville, Tennessee): ★★★★☆
This campground is next to Percy Priest Lake and is one of the first Army Corps of Engineer campgrounds. Most of the sites are well shaded with thick trees for plenty of privacy. But being an older campground, the sites do show their age. There are partial hookups, bathrooms and showers on site. Being next to the lake, it's very family friendly with swim beaches, a playground and picnic tables. All the CoE campgrounds have a curfew. If you're into water activities, this is a great place to visit!
6. Singing Hills RV Park (Cave City, Kentucky): ★★★★★
This cute little RV park was close to Mammoth Cave National Park and perfect for a weekend stay. They have RV sites with full hookups and tent camping as well. There's even a small catch and release fishing pond! It was peaceful and quiet here and the the town was a bit quirky and unique.
7. My Old Kentucky Home Campground (Bardstown, Kentucky): ★★☆☆☆
We went to Bardstown to visit all the various distilleries and stayed at this campground for a week. The campground shows its age and the sites are not well kept. Pretty much every site was severely unleveled as well. Our spot was so tilted side-to-side that we had to prop up the trailer tires on one side with 5 blocks... There are partial hookups, but bizarrely, the water and electric hookups are shared between sites and so they're really far away! Not only was our hookup on the wrong side, we had to buy an extension electric cord... Thankfully we were able to piece together all of our water hoses with the water filter and softener to barely stretch far enough. Phew! The bathroom/showers are clean however and the campground is in-between 2 sides of a golf course. In the evenings, after the golf course has closed, it's nice to take a stroll through the course.
8. Twin Rivers Landing (Lesterville, Missouri): ★★★★☆
If you're ever in Missouri, I would highly, highly recommend taking a trip to Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park! We went to Missouri specifically for Johnson's Shut-Ins and it was the most fun natural water park. We stayed at Twin Rivers Landing since it was close by. Lesterville is fairly remote without a big town within easy access, so if you're planning a trip there, be prepared with groceries! This campground is fairly large, a little hard to get to as the road leading in is not paved, but as long as you drive slowly, it's ok. They offer a variety of river floating activities like canoes, tubes and kayaks you can rent and they even have a shuttle for transportation! There's also a great little swim beach at the campground. They have bathrooms/showers and laundry on site. There were only 3 RV spots with full hookups when we went, but the owner was working on making more sites with full hookups. All the RV sites have water and electricity hookups though.
9. Gulpha Gorge Campground (Hot Springs, Arkansas): ★★★★★+
LOVE LOVE LOVE this place! Hot Springs National Park is actually part of the town which is very walkable with some great restaurants and breweries. All the camp sites at Gulpha Gorge are on a first-come-first-serve basis and are full hookup sites. The bathrooms are very clean and well kept, but no showers. When we were there, we managed to get a prime spot right next to the creek! There's an easy/moderate hiking trail from the campground that goes straight into town. But beware of ticks... We took the dogs on a hike and they walked through a pile of fresh mulch that had a hoard of ticks! From the campground, there's easy access into town for shopping and exploring. This is a spot we're definitely going to revisit!
10. Cedar Hill State Park (Cedar Hill, Texas): ★★★★★
This park is HUGE with fishing, biking, hiking, water activities, and a lot of other things to do. There's even an old farm that's part of the campground that you can tour. Many of the sites are very private with plenty of mature trees and bushes to provide separation between sites. The only downside is that the loop we were on was near the highway and so we heard some traffic noises at night. There are several other camping loops that are further into the park however, so the sites there would probably have been quieter. Overall, this was a great park with lots of outdoor activities you can do but also with easy access to get into town.
11. Amarillo KOA (Amarillo, Texas): ★★★★☆
We went to Amarillo to get the propane water heater switch and the water pump fixed at an RV dealership and stayed at this campground for a couple days before we dropped the trailer off. While it was small, this KOA was very nice! When you first arrive, you're checked in and someone will escort you to your spot and help you maneuver in! They had wonderful customer service and were very friendly. There was a pool that we enjoyed cooling off in, and the bathrooms/showers were the cleanest I've ever seen at a campground! It's out in the middle of nowhere, and there's really nothing much to do out in Amarillo, except to go to Palo Duro Canyon State Park, which was worth the hour drive. I give it an overall 4 star rating only because there's not much to do out there, so I can't imagine we'd be going back to Amarillo, but the Amarillo KOA itself gets a 5 star rating!
12. San Luis State Wildlife Area (Mosca, Colorado): ★★★★★+
This was our first boondocking experience and it was fantastic! We stayed at this campground while visiting Great Sand Dunes National Park. Its status had recently been changed from a state park to a state wildlife area and therefore you can camp for FREE on a first come, first serve basis. You do however need to purchase a Colorado State Park and Wildlife Area pass which is available at Walmart. They still provide electricity hook up, but no water and no other bathroom/shower facilities besides vault toilets. It's about 15 minutes from Great Sand Dunes, but with beautiful views of the dunes and mountains in the distance. It's really out in the middle of nowhere with the closest town being 30 minutes away. Zapata Falls is close by and is an easy, short hike to the falls, but the drive up is the bumpiest I've ever been on! It's only 3 miles up to the small parking lot at the start of the hike but it took us 30+ minutes of driving very slowly and getting our brains rattled in our skulls... Zapata Falls is a very small water fall, but the drive and hike is totally worth it! The water is crystal clear and ice cold, but the views are beautiful. There's a lot to do in this area, but be prepared with groceries and extra water if you're planning on an extended stay. We did a trip into town twice during our 1 week stay and did just fine without feeling too isolated or bored.
13. Boyd Lake State Park (Loveland, Colorado): ★★★★★
We stayed here for a few days through the 4th of July, as we made our way into Denver. The grounds were very well kept with a large day use area that was PACKED with people coming out to camp and just hang out for the holiday. Inside the campground there was a paved path right next to the lake which the dogs loved to walk on and nature trails as well. Each site had a picnic bench and campfire ring. Fort Collins is not too far away so we made a couple trips there for lunch and to visit the New Belgium brewery!
14. Missile Site Park (Greeley, Colorado): ★★☆☆☆
We had a few days without a campground reservation due to everything being booked for the 4th of July so we found this boondocking site that is a first come, first serve campground and $20/per day. I have to say it was a weird experience... The campground itself is really small, with only about 12 sites, no hookups, but with a dumpsite and restrooms. There's no camphost on site and so there were people (possibly homeless...?) coming in and out of the campground. They might've even been just squatting. No one bothered us and kept to themselves, but there was just a really uncomfortable vibe going around. I also found a lot of broken glass around our campsite and even two razor blades! Why?? Why would anyone leave razor blades on the ground?? The town is also mostly farmland and when the wind was blowing, the smell of fertilizer permeated the entirety of the town. The only good thing I can say about this site though is that it's perched on top of a hill so you do get a really nice view of the valley below. If the campground was empty, it'd be a decent place to stay for a couple of nights. But overall, wouldn't recommend.
15. Cherry Creek State Park (Aurora, Colorado): ★★★★☆
We needed to be near Denver for a week for Bach's work and the closest campground with openings was Cherry Creek State Park. This park is really big and for $30/per day, the RV sites have full hookups and are well spaced out and well maintained! There are many trails you can explore and close enough to downtown Denver that you can go for a fun night out on the town. I give it a 4 star rating because while we were there, we had to switch to a different site and ran into some problems... Check out is at 12:00pm, but check in isn't until 1:00pm, so instead of waiting around the park for an hour, the morning we had to move sites, Bach and I scoped out the new spot and waited until 12:00 for the previous campers to move out and we moved the trailer and set up camp. The camphost came by to let us know that check in wasn't until 1:00pm, but we explained to him that we were coming from the next loop over and just moving sites. He told us that as long as we're ok with the site not being properly prepped (it wasn't dirty at all), then we can just tell the ranger we moved sites early if the ranger came by. An hour later, while Bach was at work and I was out with friends, Bach gets a call from the campground office saying that our trailer is about to get towed!! They thought that our trailer was from the previous campers and that they still hadn't checked out. That's understandable, but if they had the ability to find our contact information, knowing the trailer parked at the site is ours, then wouldn't they have been able to figure out that we had simply moved to the new site early...? Gah... Thankfully it all worked out and Le Twinkie didn't get towed, but that was a bit scary. Especially because the dogs were in the trailer with the AC blasting! We had never run into this problem at other campgrounds when we moved sites... At least the office people were nice about it and we were able to clear up the confusion. Despite all of that, I'd actually stay there again!
Now we're boondocking near Mesa Verde National Park and a post about our experiences of visiting the park and our first time really boondocking will be up on the blog in the near future!