06 Dec

Campground Review #110 Sunset Bay RV Resort and Campground in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan near Isle Royal National Park

Sunset Bay RV Resort and Campground is in Allouez, Michigan in the part of the Upper Peninsula that stretches over Wisconsin in Lake Superior. This is a remote campground, serving as a great basecamp to Isle Royale National Park. Sunset Bay RV Resort is about 4 hours from both Duluth, Minnesota and Green Bay, Wisconson. It’s a full seven hours
northwest of Traverse City.

On this Campground of the Week podcast episode, Melissa and Matthew Kellas share why it’s more than worth it to make the trip to this remote but amazing destination.

Sunset Bay RV Resort and Campground is one of the oldest continuously operating campgrounds in the Upper Peninsula. It opened in 1944, and has been providing a classic camping experience for decades.

Campground Details

This is a small campground with 11 tent sites, 23 RV sites, and two cabins. Melissa and Mathew snagged the ONLY full hook up site in the campground (site 21), which also has a fantastic water view. Sunset Bay is planning on expanding in 2018, adding 11 new sites with full hook ups.

Sunset Bay is open from mid May to mid October, and there pricing system is different than anything we have ever heard of…they charge by the length of your rig! RVs up to 29 feet are $30/night; 30+ feet rigs will run you $35/night; and 40+ feet will break the bank at $40/night.

Seems quirky to us, but clearly it’s working for them.

The individual sites are level and spacious. Melissa and Mathew tell us that there are no bad views.

And the view is the star of the show. You won’t find playgrounds and jump pillows at the Sunset Bay RV Resort and Campground. You will find a rocky beach with direct access to Lake Superior. And you should also expect those sunsets to be incredible!

Regional Attractions

This campground is within reach of the least visited national park in the system, Isle Royale National Park. Isle Royale is on an island, so Melissa and Matthew walk us through our options for getting there and what to do once we have arrived.

There are two ways to travel to Isle Royale National Park: plane or boat. Listen to the podcast episode for details about the planes and the ferry. Here are the links to the ones mentioned:

There is a ton of mining history in the area as well. In the episode, Melissa and Mathew share details about…

They also recommend checking out the waterfalls at Jacob’s Creek and strolling through downtown Calumet, Michigan.

Lastly, they give us some dining recommendations…

It was so much fun talking to Melissa and Matthew about a fascinating region of our country that so few people visit. It definitely made us feel itchy to make our way there, no matter how many hours of driving it takes! A big thanks to both of them for bringing us such a fun episode of Campground of the Week.

And a big thanks to our sponsors for supporting weekly content for all our RV and camping fools…

See you at the campground!

Stephanie + Jeremy

30 Nov

Campground Review #109 Yogi Bear Jellystone Park Mammoth Cave near Mammoth Cave National Park

On this episode of the Campground of the Week podcast, our correspondent Casita Dean May gives us a complete review of the Jellystone Park Mammoth Cave, located just 10 minutes from Mammoth Cave National Park.

This is podcast episode is paired with RVFTA episode # 170: Greetings from Mammoth Cave National Park. Listen to that podcast episode to hear all of Casita Dean’s recommendations for exploring this popular national park and the surrounding area.

Jellystone Park Mammoth Cave is a definitely a campground in transition. This campground has been a popular family-owned destination for decades, and they recently embarked on a 10 million dollar renovation. That means there will be some pretty amazing features in the near future (summer 2018), but at this moment in time, expect some on site construction.

Yogi Bear Jellystone Park Mammoth Cave is centrally located about 75 minutes south of Louisville, Kentucky and about 75 minutes north of Nashville, Tennessee. It’s also just 30 minutes north of Bowling Green, Kentucky. This campground is conveniently located minutes away from Mammoth Cave National Park, making it the perfect base camp for anyone visiting this bucket list destination.

Campground Details

There is a wide variety of site options at Jellystone Park Mammoth Cave. You can snag a full hook up (30 or 50 amp) for between $77-$81 per night, peak season. There are also water and electric sites or primitive tenting sites for a lower price tag.

Many Jellystones feature fantastic cabin options, and Mammoth Cave is no exception. There are efficiencies, cabins, and bungalows that range from about $125 to $300 per night. This is a fantastic option for folks traveling with extended family or friends that do not own RVs, but still want to enjoy the campground experience.

Most of the campsites are pull thrus, but there are some back ins available. Listen to the episode to hear Dean’s specific site recommendations and where you might want to be after the renovation is complete.

Activities and Amenities

This was Dean’s first Jellystone experience and he was impressed by the amenities offered at Mammoth Cave. There are two swimming pools, including one with a splash ground plus a water slide.

Did Dean try out the water slide himself? You’ll have to listen to find out…

Other amenities include…

  • Two playgrounds
  • Jump Pillow
  • Mini golf course
  • Ranger station
  • Basketball, sand volleyball, and horseshoes
  • Fishing
  • Laundry facilities

Activities include…

  • complete summer recreation program
  • wagon rides
  • arts and crafts
  • character appearances

By summer of 2018, the Jellystone Park Mammoth Cave will host a pretty impressive 2.3 acre manmade pond. You can visit karstbeach.com to see the plans for this fun on site beach complete with Wibits, inflatables for the water.

To hear all of Casita Dean’s recommendations for visiting Mammoth Cave National Park and the surrounding region, head on over to RV Family Travel Atlas podcast episode #170 Greetings from Mammoth Cave National Park. You may also fight out some interesting info about the white squirrels in Bowling Green. Just sayin.

A big thanks to our sponsors for supporting weekly content for all our RV and camping fools.

See you at the campground,

Stephanie + Jeremy

23 Nov

Campground Review #108 Inn Town Campground in Nevada City, California

Photo courtesy of Erin Thiem.

We love seeing new campgrounds open, and we love it even more when these campgrounds are built by young, locally rooted entrepreneurs who have their fingers on the pulse of a new camping generation.

Inn Town Campground just opened for business this past year in Nevada City, California, and Janine Pettit stayed there recently for a Girl Camping event. We are lucky enough to have a review of the campground on our podcast this week.

To hear more about the campground, check out our interviews with Erin and Dan Thiem on episodes #21#85, and #124 of the RV Family Travel Atlas podcast.

Campground Details

The Inn Town Campground is open year round, and offers tent sites, full-hook up RV sites, and glamping tents on the beautiful 15-acre property. Camping rates range from $45-$65, and the glamping tents cost $85-$150 per night. The campground is full of towering pine trees, creating privacy for the individual campsites.

But the campground also invites plenty of communal interaction. Erin and Dan were inspired by the Holiday Parks that they enjoyed years ago while traveling through New Zealand. Inn Town Campground has many indoor and outdoor shared spaces for friends and families to enjoy together, and for campers to meet new folks during their visit.

Activities and Amenities

Janine Pettit particularly enjoyed the well-stocked camp store full of local food and beverage options. She also raved about the communal kitchen, where she spent a cozy morning curled up on the couch with a cup of hot coffee. The kitchen is completely stocked with everything you need to cook a meal (sans food!). We think this feature makes spontaneous tenting and RV getaways so much easier.

Erin also talked about the activities they have offered and how they hope to grow their recreation schedule over on the Girl Camper podcast, where she was interviewed last month. Right now they host outdoor movies, arts and crafts, and fireside chats with experts on local topics of interest.

Other amenities include:

  • foosball and ping pong tables
  • pool
  • laundry
  • Wifi

Regional Attractions

Campers can visit the neighboring railway museum and stroll through the historic Chinese miner’s cemetery right on site. But of particular distinction is that the Inn Town Campground is located just under two miles from downtown Nevada City. Janine loved that she could take a beautiful walk through the woods and emerge in a town full of shops and restaurants.

Visitors can also enjoy the nearby Yuba River area, where folks can enjoy outdoor activities like fishing, kayaking, swimming, skiing, and biking.

Listen to Campground of the Week episode #108 to hear more recommendations for enjoying your stay at the Inn Town Campground!

A big thanks to our sponsors for supporting weekly content for all our camping and RVing fools!

See you at the campground!

Stephanie + Jeremy

 

16 Nov

Campground Review #107 Cody KOA Holiday in Cody, Wyoming near East Yellowstone

Cody, Wyoming was not originally planned as a stop on Kate Dunbar’s 2017 epic RV journey, but a change of plans ended up bringing the family to one of their favorite stops of the journey. On this episode of Campground of the Week, Kate shares all of the reasons why they enjoyed Cody so very much, and gives us all many days worth of recommendations for activities, food, and drink.

Campground Details

The Cody KOA Holiday is located about a one hour’s drive from the east entrance of Yellowstone National Park and a little over six hours from Jackson, Wyoming. The campground is branded as a ‘Holiday’, which means that it provides a great basecamp for exploring the surrounding area, along with family-friendly amenities and activities to enjoy after a long day of sightseeing.

The campground offers ample RV and tents sites, along with cabin rentals. Most of the RV sites are full-hook up and pull thru, and Kate particularly loved site #205, since it was an end cap and offered the family plenty of space to spread out along with a tree and fire ring with grill. Listen to the episode to hear her describe the various areas of the campground and which one might be right for your band of traveling RV pirates.

Campground Activities and Amenities

Cody KOA offered plenty of activities and amenities to keep the Dunbar family happy on this stop of the trip. The kids particularly enjoyed the pool, but other highlights include:

  • hot tub
  • sauna
  • bike rentals
  • communal fire pit
  • dog park
  • playground
  • jumping pillow

Kate also took time to rave about the staff at the Cody KOA, telling us that they were always offering service with a smile and looking to make their guests’ stay the very best one possible.

Visitor’s also won’t want to miss the FREE daily pancake breakfast or the FREE shuttle to the nightly Cody Wyoming Rodeo!!!

Regional Highlights

Kate really emphasized that this destination offered way more interest than her family had originally expected. The Buffalo Bill Center of the West is huge and requires more than a day to take it all in. There are six parts: the Buffalo Bill Museum, Cody Firearms Museum, Draper Natural History Museum, Planes Indian Museum, Whitney Art Museum, Outdoor Education Center. One entrance fee gets you access to all the areas. There is also a café as well as a picnic area. The RV/trailer parking lot is large and easy to navigate.

Other area attractions that Kate recommends are…

And Kate’s awesome eats include…

A huge thanks to Kate for another great campground review. You can follow Kate’s RV adventures AND get some seriously yummy recipes at Katescuriouskitchen.com. You probably want to follow her on Facebook and Instagram, also!

And thanks to our sponsors who support weekly content for all our camping and RV fools…

 

We will see you at the campground!

Stephanie + Jeremy

08 Nov

Campground Review #106 Eureka Jellystone Park Resort at SixFlags near St. Louis, Missouri

On this episode of the Campground of the Week podcast, Kerri Cox reviews the Eureka Jellystone Park Resort at SixFlags, which is located near St. Louis, Missouri.

This Jellystone wears a few hats, offering a great urban basecamp for exploring the great city of St. Louis and also providing a fun place to stay while visiting SixFlags theme park just next door. Throw in a pool, mini golf course, and tons of recreational activities and you wind up with a fantastic campground option near St. Louis, Missouri.

Campground Details

This Jellystone Resort is in the town of Eureka, Missouri just about 20 minutes southwest of downtown St. Louis. It’s a good sized campground and offers a ton of cabin options if you are looking to visit without an RV. Kerri’s favorite thing about this Jellystone was how wooded it was, hosting a great canopy of trees even though it’s located in an urban area.

Expect to find smaller site sizes at this Jellystone, since the focus is on the amenities and activities offered throughout the rest of the park. Sites at the front of the park are smaller, but place you in the heart of the action. For more privacy, you may want to check out the area at the back of the park where guests will find water and electric sites. Of course, if you have a bigger rig, you will want to make sure you rig will easily fit before booking.

One of the best features of the Eureka Jellystone is that it provides a great location for extended family or friends to gather and vacation together even if they don’t all own RVs. Tent sites, deluxe cabins, and RV sites are clustered together and make it easy to plan a group get together.

Campground Amenities and Activities

Kerri was very happy to report that the campground amenities were all recently updated and very well maintained. Her family enjoyed time at the pool, and had a few rounds of competitive mini golf. We didn’t get a straight answer about who came out as the winner…

Other campground amenities and activities include:

  • playground
  • shuffleboard
  • sand volleyball court
  • game room
  • snack bar
  • weekly themed activity schedule

Regional Attractions

Kerri’s family always enjoys a visit to St. Louis, and she stresses how affordable this city is, providing plenty of free attractions like the zoo for visitors on a budget. Kerri’s favorite place is the City Museum, and she also recommends the Gateway Arch, the Forest Park area, and Busch Stadium.

During this visit, the Cox family discovered some amazing food finds and we got seriously hungry listening to her talk about Gioia’s Deli and the Missouri Baking Company.

Check out Kerri’s own blog post about the Eureka Jellystone over on Travels with Birdy, and you can also find more recommendations for the area if you are planning a visit!

A big thanks to our sponsors for providing weekly content for all our RV and camping fools…

 

See you at the campground!

Stephanie + Jeremy

01 Nov

Campground Review #105 Pirateland Family Camping Resort in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

On this week’s episode of the Campground of the Week podcast, our correspondent Tatiana Coffinger reviews a controversial campground: Pirateland Family Camping Resort in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Tatiana’s family can usually be found at a New York State Park campground with minimal hookups and zero cell signal. However, they all simply adore Pirateland in Myrtle Beach and return as often as they can squeeze it into their very busy schedules.

There are soooo many campgrounds in Myrtle Beach and it can be tricky to choose just one out of the bunch. There are multiple state park campgrounds, as well as campgrounds right on the Grand Strand. Listen to hear Tatiana explain why the Pirateland resort is the only one that her family will ever reserve when traveling to this favorite spring break getaway destination.

Campground Location

Pirateland is located at the southern end of the Grand Strand area of Myrtle Beach and within walking distance of Myrtle Beach State Park. You are nicely situated to easily access Murrells Inlet and Huntington Beach State Park as well. Of course, the most important feature to most campers is the direct beach access offered by the resort.

Campground Details

Pirateland is a private family-owned campground that has been open for over 50 years. It is an extremely large campground with approximately 2,100 campsites, plus additional accommodations such as cabins and park model rentals. In her review, Tatiana emphasizes that the layout of the campground really keeps the place from feeling overwhelmingly big. There are different sections and plenty of landscaping, rather than the rows and rows of campsites found at many resort campgrounds on the beach. Tatiana gives a ton of really specific advice for booking the site that will suit you best, so make sure you listen to hear those tips.

One of the reasons that Tatiana’s family loves Pirateland so very much (besides the private beach!) is because of all the resort amenities. Some of the highlights include

  • Outdoor pool
  • Indoor pool
  • Splash Ground
  • Jacuzzi
  • Lazy River
  • kayak and paddle boat rentals
  • miniature golf
  • playgrounds

…and too many other amenities to list!

There are also plenty of organized activities your older kids as well as the little ones.

Area Attractions

Tatiana and her family are big fans of golf, so they know how to steer our listeners to some great golfing options in the Myrtle Beach area. There are over 100 golf courses in Myrtle Beach, and Pirateland will help you make your tee time reservations during your stay! Other area recommendations include…

Other Myrtle Beach Content from RVFTA

We totally agree with Tatiana that Myrtle Beach is one of the greatest RV destinations out there. In fact, we’ve visited a few times and offered some of our own favorite destinations on other podcasts. If you are planning a stay, check these out…

You can also search through the Myrtle Beach tag on our website for even more Myrtle Beach travel tips and recommendations!

Thanks to Tatiana Coffinger for reviewing this great resort camping option in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

And thanks to our awesome sponsors for supporting weekly content for all our RV and camping fools!

See you at the campground!

Stephanie + Jeremy

25 Oct

Campground Review #104 Dead Horse Point State Park near Canyonlands National Park in Utah

Utah has so many amazing national and state parks, and on this episode of the Campground of the Week podcast Brett Neilson reviews another one for us: Dead Horse Point State Park, just about 20 miles from Canyonlands National Park.

Staying at Dead Horse Point State Park is a two-for-one opportunity since you get to enjoy the on-site hiking, biking, and ranger programs plus all the nearby fun at Canyonlands.

Campground Details

The campground at Dead Horse Point State Park is about as small as they come with only 21 sites situated on the interior and exterior parts of a single loop. All are back in campsites except for four pull thrus. Only four of the sites can accommodate rigs longer than 35 feet, so if you have a larger RV double check before reserving.

Listen to the episode to hear Brett’s tips for booking timeframes and price points, as well as his insider tips for folks looking forward to a future visit.

Dead Horse Point State Park Highlights

Brett and his family really enjoyed their visits to the Pony Espresso, a small snack stand in the parking lot of the state park that offered coffee, smoothies, wraps, and sack lunches. They enjoyed the ranger programs even more, including the “Cloud Appreciation” talk with Dan from the maintenance Department. Seriously, it was a thing.

Other state park activities include…

Canyonlands National Park Highlights

There are two different sections in Canyonlands National Park: Island in the Sky in the north and Needles in the South. Island in the Sky is closer to Dead Horse Point State Park and Brett enjoyed the following hikes during his visit:

  • Mesa Arch (0.5 miles)
  • Upheaval Dome (2 miles)
  • Grand View Point Overlook  (2 miles)

A big thank you to Brett Neilson for sharing another one of his Utah State Park treasures. You can read more about his stay at Dead Horse Point State Park by visiting his blog at OurCampingAdventures.com.

Thanks also to our great sponsors for supporting weekly content for all our RV and camping fools…

We’ll see you at the campground,

Stephanie + Jeremy

18 Oct

Campground Review #103 Custer State Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota Near Mt. Rushmore

Mount Rushmore is a HUGE RV destination and there is no shortage of campgrounds in the area. On this episode of the Campground of the Week podcast, Janine Pettit reviews the Blue Bell Campground in Custer State Park, nestled in the Black Hills of beautiful South Dakota. This campground is under an hour away from the Mount Rushmore National Monument.

Custer State Park was only one of the twenty campgrounds that Janine visited on her grand National Parks tour this past summer. You can hear more about her epic RV journey on episode #96 of the Girl Camper podcast.

Campground Details

There are multiple campgrounds in Custer State Park, but on this episode we focus on Blue Bell Campground, where Janine stayed during her visit. You can find a complete list of the campgrounds along with reservation information and individual campsite photos on the State Park website.

Blue Bell Campground has only about 25 campsites with electric hookup, so visitors should book as far in advance as possible to guarantee a spot. The sites cost $25 per night and there is a dump station at the state park for camper use.

The campground is scenic and quiet, plus it features some of the best comfort stations that Janine has ever seen. Seriously, she raves about the bathrooms on this episode.

Custer State Park Activities

Custer State Park is amazing and has wonderful outdoor opportunities for campers. The legendary wildlife loop has some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities in the country, and folks just love the burros that beg to be fed by visitors. The Needles Highway is also a must see scenic drive within the park. Other highlights include…

  • Trail rides
  • Chuckwagon cookouts
  • ranger programs
  • hiking
  • kayaking
  • fishing

Regional Activities

Of course, there one big reason many people come to the Black Hills of South Dakota…Mount Rushmore is less than an hour’s drive from Custer State Park, so this is a great option for camping near the iconic national monument. Other regional attractions include:

If you want to find out more about other great options for camping near Mount Rushmore, check out episode #49, which has a review of nearby Rafter J Bar Ranch. It will probably be a tough decision to make after hearing our two correspondents RAVE about them both!

Thanks to our sponsors for supporting weekly content for all our RV and Camping fools!

See you at the campground!

Stephanie + Jeremy

12 Oct

Campground Review #102 Jellystone at Kozy Rest in Harrisville, Pennsylvania

On this episode of Campground of the Week, we are reviewing the Jellstone at Kozy Rest in Harrisville, Pennsylvania.

The Jellystone at Kozy Rest is located in western Pennsylvania just a short 35 miles from the Ohio border. It’s about an hour north of Pittsburgh, and offers easy access for a day trip from the campground.

There is a ton of variety within the Jellystone franchise, and this campground is a great example of a quieter weekend getaway destination with a focus on family fun and activities. We think it is particularly well suited for folks who may typically camp in more rustic environments but are looking to experience Jellystone activities, amenities, and character interactions.

Campground Details

This is a nicely wooded country campground with a mix of transient and seasonal sites. Jellystone at Kozy Rest is neat and tidy, but expect a good deal of rules and procedures that keep it that way. Prices range from $40 for tent sites with no hookups to $85 for premium full hook up sites holiday or Halloween weekends. There are a ton of special deals offered throughout the year, so check out the website to see if you can find one that fits your camping schedule.

Activities and Amenities

Jellystone at Kozy Rest offers an activity wristband that can be purchased for $15 per child for the duration of your stay (up to 7 days). The wristband includes unlimited access to the jump pad, jump pillow, mini golf course, and bike rentals. Other amenities include…

  • playground
  • pool
  • horse shoes
  • shuffle board
  • gem mining
  • camp store
  • dog park
  • game room

Jellystone at Kozy Rest also offers a full schedule of organized activities with weekly themes like Christmas in July, Dinosaur Discovery, Night at the Races, and From Oldies to 80s. During our visit we enjoyed crafts, potato sack races, bean bag tosses, and lots of visits with Yogi.

Area Attractions

The Jellystone at Kozy Rest has a fantastic website page that details all the great hiking, biking, and kayaking in the area. They highly recommend visiting…

  • McConnells Mill State Park
  • Lake Arthure
  • Clear Creek State Forest
  • Pittsburgh

We also highly recommend a stop at Beans on Broad, a great coffee shop in nearby Grove City. We stocked up on some beans for the rest of our trip while we were here!

A big thanks to our sponsors for supporting weekly content for all our RV and camping fools…

We’ll see you at the campground,

Stephanie + Jeremy

04 Oct

Campground Review #101 Albuquerque Central KOA in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico is a must-visit destination in the southwest with its unique blend of urban and outdoor adventure, plus an amazing local food culture.

On this episode of the Campground of the Week podcast, we review a great urban camping destination in the heart of the city, the Albuquerque Central KOA.

This campground offers the perfect urban camping experience in our opinion, combining a great location with a relaxing environment for unwinding at the end of a busy day.

Campground Details

The Albuquerque Central KOA is a small gated campground just minutes from Route 40. It has plenty of good-sized, pull thru sites well-suited for big rigs. The landscape is unabashedly southwestern, with few trees and crushed red rock as ground cover. The sites farther away from Route 40 will give visitors a better view of the nearby Sandia Mountains.

Amenities

The Albuquerque Central KOA is a simple basecamp, but it does offer some nice amenities for guests including a pool, hot tub, playground, and well-stocked camp store. There is also a small miniature golf course and a group fire pit/picnic area. We experienced excellent customer service during our stay.

Regional Activities

We enjoyed our visit to Albuquerque so much that we had to do an entire RV Family Travel Atlas podcast about it! Check out episode #162 of the RVFTA podcast to hear all our recommendations for exploring and EATING in the area.

The RVFTA Podcast Network also has some other great content about this beautiful area of the country. If you are visiting New Mexico or traveling along Route 66, check out RVFTA episode #140: Kate Gets Her Kicks on Route 66 and Campground of the Week episode #81: Enchanted Trails RV Park and Trading Post, another great option for camping near Albuquerque.

Thanks to our sponsors for supporting weekly content for all our RV and camping fools!

See you at the campground!

Stephanie + Jeremy