Tennessee - Townsend - Little Arrow by Dave Hileman

I stayed here four days for a photography event in the GSMNP in fall of 2016. I was in a nice spot by the creek and it was quiet at night as the campground is the very last thing before entering the park, so no traffic at night. It had on site water, electric, sewer and cable and was about $55 a night. Way less than staying at the lodge for the conference but more than I would normally spend. Still just fine, convenient to the park and well kept at the time.

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New Jersey - Cape May - KOA by Dave Hileman

I bet you are thinking, what a great camping site. You would be wrong. The photo is the Cape May - Lewis Ferry on route with our trailer because I never remembered to take a photo at the campground. In my meager defense, I was tired. We dropped off the trailer about 2 (after asking for a better site, their belief in my ability to squeeze backwards into a tiny spot was overly optimistic). We went to a play in Ocean City and back very late and had to be at the ferry by six-thirty. So no photo. This was an old campground transitioning to KOA and had a bit to go. But we were OK, level in the new site and were out easy and early. https://koa.com/campgrounds/cape-may/

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Maryland - Frederick - Church by Dave Hileman

I parked at this church on Saturday evening - with their permission, of course. Turned out to be a really nice night, easy place to park and easy to exit in the morning. But do go to church if you ask! I have a bit of a relationship with these folks so I was not coming to them as a stranger. Still, very nice of them and perfect for us.

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Maine - Orland - Bucksport KOA by Dave Hileman

I imagine it is very hard to transition an older, perhaps a bit run down or with different standards RV park into a KOA. My experience has been very positive with KOA overall and I have been pleased with the three parks we have been in that were in the midst of the transition. One in NJ had a long way to go, this park, near Bucksport and Fort Knox in Maine is well underway. It might be because of the engagement of the owners, David and Marlene. I was impressed with their plans and with what they had already accomplished. For our purposes it was a perfect stay. Why? We were headed to the NP campground in Acadia and there we would not have any services for five days. I wanted to: 1. fill the water tank, 2. completely empty grey and black tanks, 3. refill propane and 4. have all the batteries fully charged. We did all that at our site. It was a just enough angle to fully empty tanks, David had the propane filled and everything else worked. We were also only an hour plus to Acadia so easy access to MDI and we arrived early enough to settle in, take a couple of hikes and get ice cream. We MAY have gotten the ice cream first. Good stop, fair price, nice people lots to see in the area. https://koa.com/campgrounds/bucksport/

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Massachusetts - Hingham - Wompatuck State Park (2 photos) by Dave Hileman

We chose this park for its proximity to Boston and access to the ferry system. It turned out to be an excellent choice for several reasons. First, the park was priced fairly, about $27 a day for out-of-state with electric and water. I really liked the electric stations that were lit at night and had holders to keep the cord off the ground. (it was also easy to see for those of us with poor back up syndrome!) The site we had in the first loop on the right was D007. It was level, had a nice table and fire ring and the site was well spaced with lots of trees. We were about a 10 minute drive from the ferry terminal and since we were going to the NP on a weekend parking was free and the ferry - $15 to Boston. It is fast and convenient. We went first to the Boston Islands NRA, specifically Fort Warren. The second leg was from the island to the dock in Boston. There we spent a day seeing the African American Park and Revere’s house. We also had dinner, dessert and a great walk. Hingham is the home of Talbots, so, just a note you can shop in the original 1948 store and they they have a factory tour which we missed but one of us is a big Talbots fan so when we come back, not only is that on the agenda but we will stay at Wompatuck.

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Vermont - Quechee Gorge - KOA by Dave Hileman

Sorry but this photo does not do justice to this KOA. It was well decorated and situated in a pleasant locale but it was raining hard and I was ill with migraine number two on the trip. The KOA had a nice level spot, cable, water, electricity and a clean bathhouse. The folks were very helpful, even to bringing me some oil that she felt would improve my headache. The area is a prime tourist spot, the Quechee Gorge State Park in Vermont is popular. We did not visit there for we had been there twice before and, I know you will be surprised to read this, it was raining. We did go to the King Arthur Flour complex: store, cafe, bakery, exhibit bakery and classrooms. What a great place if you love to bake (Cindy) or love to eat (DAVE) or want to get very clever tools, amazing variety of flours and eat fresh baked goods (DAVE). The KOA was a tad more expensive than the other two we stayed at but fairly priced and well run. The bathhouse was clean and bright. The dump station was a bit of a challenge to navigate but the staff were super helpful Great place to stay. https://koa.com/campgrounds/quechee/

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Virginia - Winchester - Walmart by Dave Hileman

Nice Walmart night at the intersection of Rt 37 and Rt 50 just a tad west of Winchester. Quiet spot near the garden center, except for a Walmart truck that arrived late and ran his generator. Did not really cause any issues, I just noted it when he fired it up sometime in the night. There were also three options for coffee in the front of the lot, and I am returning from my choice, Dukin Donuts, with coffee and maybe a pumpkin munchkin, who knows, just a bit after 6:30.

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New York - Seneca Falls - Cayuga Lake State Park by Dave Hileman

This was an odd sort of park. It had a lot of spaces but most were closed by the time we arrived in early October. We got a space that offered electric hookup but while they were on the lake side of the highway, you could not see the lake and you were mere yards off that same highway, Rt 89, so you heard traffic noise and there was no foliage barrier between you and the road. The sites were not well spaced but level. There were two bathhouses - we were not in either so no report on how well they were kept. The cost was reasonable, about $27 a night. Still it was well suited for our visits to Auburn, Seneca Falls, Rochester and Geneva. So, no complaints.

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New York - Watkins Glen - Watkins Glen State Park by Dave Hileman

We arrived here on a busy weekend but not a race weekend. A Friday night only stay on a 3-day weekend is not always easy but there were spaces at the park - only with no electricity. That was not an issue for us so we slotted into site 23 on the second loop. The cost was under $30 for out of state residents. Our site was difficult to get into, at least for me, but fine once I got parked. It was level but a bit muddy. The other advantage is that you are in the park and can walk - long walk - to the Glen and that is a fantastic place and well worth spending some time there. There are a lot of steps and it was raining slightly but even so, you may get a bit wet as you walk under two or three waterfalls out of the 19 in total.

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Maine - Acadia NP - Blackwoods by Dave Hileman

This is a very rare shot, we have a campfire. I think this is our second but it might be the third in nearly three years. It has rained or been very overcast for 5 of the seven days on the island and a fire seemed nice to dry things out. I think it was more theoretical than reality. Blackwoods is a NP campground on the eastern side of the island not far from Otters Point. Is has no services but there are restrooms and water is available in a few locations. But the location more than makes up for any issues. We dry camped for the entire time without moving the camper to empty or fill tanks. We were quite surprised. We were on site A-23 and we chose it because of the proximity to the ocean, about 250 yards. We recommend this campground and find it adds to the enjoyment of Acadia being in the midst of the quiet and the beauty. We paid $90 for six nights but that is Old People Rate

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Massachusetts - Westport - Horseneck State Park by Dave Hileman

This was a nice spot overlooking the ocean. We were in row two and there are no electric or water hookups. We used our generator for the first time to make coffee in the morning. Not the reason we have it but a nice perk. (Please note the hard earned pun!) The park was about $30 for the night. It was convenient for visiting New Bedford Whaling Historic site. The pretty sunset a bonus.

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Maryland - Clarksburg - Little Bennett Regional Park by Dave Hileman

Nice place - great location. You are 15 miles from Frederick just three miles off I-270 and a 20 minute drive to the metro to DC. They have full hook up sites, nicely spaced and wooded and lots to do if you just hang out in the park. It was a little more than we would normally pay but with Passport America it was right in line at $32. The easy access to the interstate, base for DC or Baltimore make it a bargain.

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North Carolina - Morrow Mountain State Park (2 photos) by Dave Hileman

We  camped here for two nights as a prelude to our fall trip. We had added some gear and wanted to try it out in camping conditions. Worked great. We also added some new hooks and other things designed to make camping easier and all but one of those also worked well. Morrow Mountain State Park is in the central Piedmont portion of NC. It lies south of High Point and east of Charlotte near the town of Albemarle. The park is a decent size with a long lake on the northern and eastern boundaries. There are three camping areas but only one (C) has power. We stayed in site 100. It was short and steep. Easily the steepest site we have ever used. The front of our camper was on the ground to get level. People were nice but the park could use a bit of attention. It was a CCC built facility with beautiful stone buildings quarried on site but showing age. The pool is a work of art. We took three hikes all OK but not great partly because it was so beastly hot and humid. The cost to stay was reasonable about $20 a night for seniors. It suited for our purpose but I doubt we would go back, too close to actual mountains for the slight bumps at Morrow Mountain. 

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 Steep site easier to see here, along with the table, lantern hook, fire ring and the nicely spaced sites. 

Steep site easier to see here, along with the table, lantern hook, fire ring and the nicely spaced sites. 

Iowa - Madrid - Ledges State Park by Dave Hileman

We were attending Odyssey of the Mind World Finals in Ames two years ago and stayed in the campground at Ledges about 15 miles from the campus where the competition was held. You will note I did not think to take a photo of the site. The camping area was Ok. They had electric at most sites and they were reasonably level. Some of them were challenging to back into because of poorly placed signs and narrow rutted road in places. Water was available at a few spots around the campground. Cost was under $20 then. I just read that they are renovating the campground and it needed a bit of refresh. The park and the area are quite nice. Lots to see and do. The Cliff Swallows were building nests at a furious pace in along the canyon walls in the park. We would definitely stay here again (along with the many Cliff Swallows!) http://www.iowadnr.gov/Places-to-Go/State-Parks/Iowa-State-Parks/ParkDetails/ParkID/610148

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Florida - Orlando -Disney Fort Wilderness (The Review) by Dave Hileman

Lets begin with Disney is expensive. Across the board. However, while it may cost more there is also a value there. People would love a day at the theme park to be $50 but each park is full at twice that, so people perceive value for their money. Fort Wilderness Campground is two or three times what we would normally pay for a KOA type campground. So what is the value? First, everything works and works well, everything is clean, and your space is landscaped and level. You plug in the power and whatever your power need it is there, the water does not leak (and has been certified safe) and the sewer connection is contained so that a small spill does not make a mess and there is a rinse hose already hooked up on site. The pad is large enough, the edges of the pad are bordered with a sandy edge to keep things clean, you get a table that you can really use and on and on. Plus you have access to all Disney transportation, clean restrooms, nice places to walk, a beach, pools; it is a value. It is still expensive, we could not stay there a month but three or five days and you feel like you are somewhere special. Disney magic extends to the campground as well as the castle. 

 How much more can it cost to build a great site like this?

How much more can it cost to build a great site like this?

Florida - Pensacola, Gulf Islands National Seashore - Fort Pickens Campground by Dave Hileman

A very nice place to stay. You are a very short walk to either the bay or the Gulf side, wide white, soft sand beaches, lots of neat birds, hiking, presumably fishing as well, and water and electric at each site. Restrooms looked newish, there was some shade (none on our spot) and three or four loops of sites. The days we were here were cold and rainy. We reserved about 2 months ago and there were not too many spots left when we did. Place seemed full each night. We were here for three nights, I think. Under $30 a night for a peaceful and beautiful location is hard to beat. We would go back and in fact might be making plans to do so. Don't neglect seeing the old fort on the island and the Naval Air Museum on the mainland, excellent. 

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Mississippi - Gautier - Santa Maria RV Park by Dave Hileman

Some days you just want a plug. We were traveling toward New Orleans after spending much of the day in Tuskegee at two National Park sites. It rained all day and the day before and we spent the previous night at a Walmart. So I wanted to get a full charge plus our inverter that was to have been fixed would not run the coffee pot. Ugh! I found this place in the Alstays app that had power, water, sewer and internet for only $28. So calling ahead for a reservation I also checked about a late arrival, they accommodated us easily. As you can see from the photo there were few nods toward making things look good but they delivered on the promise of pull-through space and everything worked. Somedays that is all you need. And note the sun came out that morning, but it was rather cold. Right off the interstate and run by nice folks I would stay there again overnight. (PS They did have a pool that looked rather new.)

www.santamariarvpark.com

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