Top Campgrounds, RV Parks & Resorts in Areas of Natural Beauty

These special RV parks and resorts are situated in areas of natural beauty in the U.S. and Canada. These campgrounds with a view, from Utah to South Carolina and British Columbia to Texas, are the perfect spots to park an RV.

Blake Ranch RV Park, Kingman, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Blake Ranch RV Park , Kingman, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Moab is known as Utah’s adventure capitol, offering activities such as biking the Slickrock Trail, off-road routes, rafting down the Colorado River, and hiking to Delicate Arch, Utah’s famous icon. Enjoy the breathtaking natural surroundings of Moab at OK RV Park. The park provides easy access to Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, and Dead Horse Point State Park. From scenic parks to adventure, Moab offers something for everyone.

Located 12 miles east of Kingman, Blake Ranch RV Park offers the best darn place to park your rig in northwestern Arizona, with all the conveniences RVers expect. There’s plenty to see and do in the area. Drive the twisted ribbon of pavement along the storied Route 66 to the historic town of Oatman, a favorite Arizona road trip. Additionally the ghost town of Chloride is an easy day trip.

The mountains and lakes around Kingman offer numerous recreational opportunities. Fourteen miles southeast of Kingman is beautiful Hualapai Mountain Park at an elevation of 6,700 feet. The shoreline on the Colorado River provide opportunities for fishing, boating, swimming, and other water sports. Grand Canyon West is home to Arizona’s second largest tourist attraction, Grand Canyon Skywalk, an easy day trip from the park.

JGW RV Park, Redding, California
JGW RV Park, Redding, California

Family-owned JGW RV Park welcomes RVers to enjoy its 32-acre facility nestled among the native black oak trees along the scenic Sacramento River. The park has a grassy, natural setting for viewing birds and wildlife and for strolling along the riverbank. You can also fish for steelhead, trout, and salmon.

A wonderland of scenic beauty and outdoor recreation, the Redding area offers unique experiences that include glistening lakes and world-class rivers to scenic drives and backcountry roads. Vibrant attractions include Lassen Volcanic National Park, Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, Shasta Lake, and the Sundial Bridge, a Redding icon.

OK RV Park makes a great home base for touring Petrified Forest National Park. Located 26 miles west of Petrified Forest National Park along I-40, OK RV Park in Holbrook has easy-in, easy-out large gravel pull-through sites suitable for big rigs. Each site has full hookups with 30/50-amp electric service, cable TV, and Wi-Fi. The park also features a laundry room, clubhouse, and clean, modern restrooms.

Elephant Butte Lake RV Resort is just a quarter of a mile from the entrance to Elephant Butte Lake State Park, which contains the largest lake in New Mexico. The resort is the perfect staging location for planning activities and outings for Spaceport America, Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, and nearby ghost towns.

A 55-minute scenic drive from the world famous Las Vegas Strip and just 45 minutes to Furnace Creek at the heart of Death Valley National Park, Wine Ridge RV Resort and Cottages is nestled on a ridge below the majestic Spring Mountain range and Charleston Peak. The Resort includes the pristine vineyards and winery of the award winning Pahrump Valley Winery and 5-star Symphony’s Restaurant.

OK RV Park, Holbrook, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
OK RV Park, Holbrook, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Vogel Talks RVing selected the list of top campgrounds, RV parks, and resorts from parks personally visited.

Blake Ranch RV Park , Kingman, Arizona

Bridgeview RV Park, Lethbridge, Alberta

Elephant Butte Lake RV Resort, Elephant Butte, New Mexico

Interstate RV Park, Davenport, Iowa

iRVin’s RV Park & Campground, Valemont, British Columbia

JGW RV Park, Redding, California

Lincoln Road RV Park, Helena, Montana

Whiskey Flats RV Park, Hawthorne, Nevada  © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Whiskey Flats RV Park, Hawthorne, Nevada © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Mom & Pop RV Park, Farmington, New Mexico

New Green Acres RV Park, Walterboro, South Carolina

OK RV Park, Moab, Utah

OK RV Park, Holbrook, Arizona

RV Park USA, Comfort, Texas

Spartanburg/Gaffney KOA, Gaffney, South Carolina

Whiskey Flats RV Park, Hawthorne, Nevada

Wine Ridge RV Resort & Cottages, Pahrump, Nevada  © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Wine Ridge RV Resort & Cottages, Pahrump, Nevada © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Wine Ridge RV Resort & Cottages, Pahrump, Nevada

Worth Pondering…

May all your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view……where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you.

—Edward Abbey

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RV Parks As Base Camps For Annual Events

RV parks and campgrounds are great places to enjoy hiking, biking, boating, and other outdoor recreation activities during your leisure time.

Shipshewana Auction & Flea Market, Shipshewana, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Shipshewana Auction & Flea Market, Shipshewana, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

With RV and tent sites as well as a wide range of accommodations, campgrounds can also serve as base camps for those interested in attending festivals and annual events throughout the U.S and Canada. These annual events range from rodeos to music festivals and cultural to culinary events.

Following is a sampling of the festivals and annual events that take place during the coming weeks and months, along with listings of nearby attractions and campgrounds and RV parks, many of which also have rental accommodations.

All parks included have been personally visited with a minimum of one night of paid camping.

Indiana: Shipshewana Auction & Flea Market, Shipshewana, May 5-October 3, 2015

What started out as a home business in 1922 is now the Midwest’s Largest Flea Market with nearly 900 vendors covering 100 acres and offering a variety of products from fresh produce and beautiful flowers to locally crafted items and handcrafted furniture. Held every Tuesday and Wednesday from early May to early October. The sights, smells, and sounds contribute to a unique experience the whole family will enjoy, remember, and want to repeat!

Lassen Peak and Manzanita Lake near the Northwesr Entrance Station. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Lassen Peak and Manzanita Lake near the Northwesr Entrance Station. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

This small community comes alive with travelers from all over to visit this “do not miss” Hoosier tradition.

Named a Top 100 Event in North America by the American Bus Association.

Nearby Attractions: Menno-Hof, Das Dutchman Essenhaus, Amish Acres, RV/MH Hall of Fame

Recommended RV Park: Pla-Mor Campground, Bremen, Indiana

California: Redding Rodeo Championship Challenge, Redding, May 13-16, 2015

This rodeo is sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

Nearby Attractions: Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay, Lassen Volcanic National Park, Whiskeytown Lake

Recommended RV Park: JGW RV Park, Redding

California: Lodi, ZinFest Wine Festival, May 15-17, 2015

There are over 80 wineries, hundreds of Lodi-labeled wines, and approximately 100,000 acres of premium wine grapes. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
There are over 80 wineries, hundreds of Lodi-labeled wines, and approximately 100,000 acres of premium wine grapes. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Wine, food, and fun at the north side of Lodi Lake Park. Sip, swirl, and savor from a selection of 200 handcrafted wines from over 40 Lodi wineries at the 11th annual ZinFest.

Nearby Attractions: Wine Tasting, Historic Downtown Lodi, Galt Outdoor Market, Sacramento River Delta
Recommended RV Park: Flag City RV Resort, Lodi

Indiana: Quilt Gardens along the Heritage Trail, Amish Country, May 30-October 1, 2015

One million blooms of flowers come to life each year in the form of 19 dazzling quilt-patterned gardens and are featured with 21 art inspired quilt-themed murals.

Located in the communities of Bristol, Elkhart, Goshen, Middlebury, Nappanee, Shipshewana, and Wakarusa along the scenic Heritage Trail in Amish Country of Northern Indiana.

This one-of-a-kind national event is free and fantastic. Combine Quilt Gardens with backroads Amish discoveries, hands-on programs, barn quilts, quilting bees, garden centers, quilt shops, delicious home cooked Amish food, and more. Round out itineraries with Amish farm tours, buggy rides, and step-on guides.

Amish horse and buggy © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Amish horse and buggy © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Named a Top 100 Event in North America by the American Bus Association.

Nearby Attractions: Shipshewana Flea Auction & Market, Menno-Hof, Das Dutchman Essenhaus, Amish Acres, RV/MH Hall of Fame

Recommended RV Park: Pla-Mor Campground, Bremen, Indiana

Indiana: Shipshewana Quilt Festival, Shipshewana, June 24-27, 2015

The Shipshewana Quilt Festival is packed with many exciting activities. A nationally recognized speaker kicks off the event every year on Wednesday followed by the opening of the Quilt & Vendor Show which runs Wednesday through Saturday. A Quilter’s Schoolhouse takes place all day on Thursday; workshops, Shipshewana Backroads Shop Hop and much more.

Experience an old-fashioned quilting bee with local Amish women, dine in an Amish home, or take in the sites at the Midwest’s largest outdoor fl ea market. All this and more await you at the annual Shipshewana Quilt Festival.

Named a Top 100 Event in North America by the American Bus Association.

Nearby Attractions: Shipshewana Auction & Flea Market, Amish Acres, Das Dutchman Essenhaus, Quilt Gardens Tour

Recommended RV Park: Pla-Mor Campground, Bremen, Indiana

Texas: 62nd Annual Luling Watermelon Thump, June 25-28, 2015

Riverbend RV Park, Luling, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Riverbend RV Park, Luling, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Guiness Book of Records Watermelon Seed Spit Record is 68 feet 9 1/8 inches from the starting line. The Championship Watermelon Seed Spit record was set in 1989 by Lee Wheelis from Luling, Texas.

Nearby Attractions: Texas BBQ, Lockhart, San Marcos, Austin, San Antonio

Recommended RV Park: Riverbend RV Park, Luling

Worth Pondering…

Life is a succession of moments. To live each one is to succeed.

—Conita Kent

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KOA Study Reveals Campers Rate Wi-Fi As Top Amenity

More campers today rate access to free Wi-Fi a higher priority than traditional camping amenities, such as access to cabins or recreational activities, according to the 2015 North American Camping Report, an independent study supported by Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA).

KOA Study Reveals Campers Rate Wi-Fi As Top Amenity
KOA Study Reveals Campers Rate Wi-Fi As Top Amenity

The must-have camping gear, according to the results of the survey of 2,104 US households, is the cell phone, as 83 percent of all campers bring their mobile phone to the great outdoors, according to a KOA news release.

What’s more, the heart wins out over the wallet, as more people today see camping as a way to escape the stress of everyday life than as an affordable vacation option.

Highlights from the 2015 North American Camping Report include the following:

Must-Have Camping Equipment: Wi-Fi and Mobile Phones

Today’s campers are more “plugged in” when preparing for camping trips and while at campsites. Of those surveyed, half of all campers (51 percent) claim that they go online at least once a day while camping, and four out of 10 (41 percent) say that having free Wi-Fi influences their decision to stay at a campground.

When selecting which campgrounds to visit and stay, free Wi-Fi ranks as the third most important amenity, behind only clean bathrooms and a kid-friendly environment, and outpaces access to recreational activities such as a campground store, cabins, and even safety lighting.

Spartanburg/Gaffney KOA, Gaffney, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Spartanburg/Gaffney KOA, Gaffney, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The youngest campers, younger than 25, are more likely to bring a mobile phone (86 percent), compared to campers age 65-plus (77 percent). Conversely, campers 25-plus are somewhat more likely to bring along a laptop or notebook (29 percent) compared to the youngest campers (21 percent). Younger campers even say having a smartphone (28 percent) is almost as important as toilet paper (34 percent).

Camping as a Healthy Escape and Relationship Builder

Though the notion of camping as an inexpensive vacation option remains, survey results suggest that while the cash-saving aspect is still important, people are camping to build the emotional connection and relationships with family and friends in nature.

Survey highlights include:

  • According to campers, reconnecting with nature (55 percent), reducing stress (54 percent), and spending more time with family and friends (49 percent) are the key reasons they camp. Economic and practical values were only identified as reasons for camping by less than 35 percent of those surveyed.
  • Campers are likely to say that camping improves family relationships—in fact, 41 percent “completely agree” with this.

Additionally, fully 4-in-10 campers (39 percent) suggest that camping has “a great deal of impact” on allowing them to spend more time with family. Another third of campers say that camping has a positive impact on their relationships with family and friends (35 percent) and their emotional well-being (36 percent).

Outdoor Melting Pot

Gulf State Park, Gulf Shore, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Gulf State Park, Gulf Shore, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Nearly one in four campers in 2014 identified themselves as either African-American, Asian/Pacific Islander, or Hispanic, a significant increase compared to past industry research efforts. Other key survey highlights include:

  • Camping rates among nonwhites have doubled from as recently as 2012, jumping from 12 percent up to 23 percent.
  • Among multicultural groups, camping rates among Asian/Pacific Islanders have increased the most over the last two years, representing only 1 percent of the total camping population in 2012, compared to 6 percent in 2014.
  • Hispanics jumped from 2 percent of campers in 2012 to 6 percent in 2014.

2015 Season Outlook

Looking ahead to the 2015 camping season, a majority of campers (53%) plan to spend more nights camping, and almost half (48 percent) plan to take more trips. Other key findings related to campers’ plans for the 2015 season include:

  • When asked what has the most impact on their decision to camp more, survey respondents cited spending more time with family and friends (68 percent), exploring new areas (67 percent), and decreased gas prices (60 percent) as the most impactful factors.
  • Among campers who say that decreased gas prices are impacting their travel plans for the upcoming year, 88 percent plan to visit new areas, 88 percent say it will allow them to camp more often and 86 percent plan to visit new campgrounds.
Wahweap RV Park & Campground, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Page, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Wahweap RV Park & Campground, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Page, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Worth Pondering…

Life is short and the world is wide.
—Simon Raven

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Using RV Parks As Base Camps For Festival & Annual Events

RV parks and campgrounds are great places to enjoy hiking, biking, boating, and other outdoor recreation activities during your leisure time.

Cajun Palms RV Resort, Henderson, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Cajun Palms RV Resort, Henderson, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

With RV and tent sites as well as a wide range of accommodations, campgrounds can also serve as base camps for those interested in attending festivals and annual events throughout the U.S and Canada. These annual events range from rodeos to music festivals and cultural to culinary events.

Following is a sampling of the festivals and annual events that take place during the coming weeks and months, along with listings of nearby attractions and campgrounds and RV parks, many of which also have rental accommodations.

All parks included have been personally visited with a minimum of one night of paid camping.

Louisiana: Festival International de Louisiane, Lafayette, April 22-26, 2015

Historic downtown Lafayette is transformed into an entertainment complex featuring six music stages, food court areas, street musicians and animators, arts and crafts boutiques, art galleries, beverage stands, cultural workshops, international cooking demonstrations, and a world music store.

All programming for the festival is designed to celebrate cultural expression in a variety of forms and to encourage understanding and appreciation for different cultures. Festival International events are free to the public and designed to encourage family participation from all sectors of the community.

Named a Top 100 Event in North America by the American Bus Association.

Nearby Attractions: Avery Island, Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site, Breaux Bridge, Vermilionville, St. Martinsville, Local Cuisine

Recommended RV Parks: Frog City RV Park, Duson, Louisiana, and Cajun Palms RV Resort, Henderson, Louisiana

New Mexico: Gathering of Nations Native American Powwow, Albuquerque, April 24-25, 2015

American RV Park, Albuquerque, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
American RV Park, Albuquerque, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Gathering of Nations Powwow is North America’s largest Native American competition and powwow. The event celebrates Native American pageantry and culture with more than 500 tribes represented from across the U.S. and Canada.

Attracting more than 3,000 participants from all over the world, the powwow features aisles of shopping at the Indian Trader’s Market and native foods and music. Also featured during the powwow is the crowning of Miss Indian World.

Named a Top 100 Event in North America by the American Bus Association.

Nearby Attractions: Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, Acoma Pueblo, Sandia Peak Tramway, Petroglyph National Monument, Local Cuisine

Recommended RV Park: American RV Park, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Louisiana: Contraband Days Pirate Festival, Lake Charles, April 28-May 10, 2015

A+ Motel & RV Park, Sulphur, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
A+ Motel & RV Park, Sulphur, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

During the first two weeks of May, the city of Lake Charles returns to the swashbuckling days of the pirates and buccaneers who once sailed the area’s waterways. Legend has it that pirate Jean Lafitte buried his contraband treasure somewhere along Southwest Louisiana’s plentiful waterways. The celebration of Lafitte and his adventures has grown into Contraband Days.

The first festival began in 1958 as a one day festival of water and has expanded to a 12- day festival with close to 100 events, such as pirates sailing in from Lake Charles, coming ashore to put up their pirate flag, and taking over the city. Lafitte makes the mayor walk the plank and jump into Lake Charles, which starts a two-week festival of concerts, carnival rides, food vendors, concerts, bike races, tennis and golf tournaments, a Kids’ Pirate Costume Contest, a petting zoo, and more.

Named a Top 100 Event in North America by the American Bus Association.

Nearby Attractions: Charpentier Historic District, Creole Nature Trail All-American Road, Mardi Gras Museum, Imperial Calcasieu Museum, Local Cuisine

Recommended RV Parks: A+ Motel & RV Park, Sulphur, Louisiana

Louisiana: Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival, Breaux Bridge, May 1-3, 2015

Crawfish, mudbugs, crawdads, or crayfish—call them what you will—are woven into Cajun culture. They raise them, catch them, eat them, sing about them, and have a festival celebrating them.

Held the first weekend in May in the Crawfish Capital of the World, the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival has become one of the largest gatherings of world-famous Cajun, Zydeco, and Swamp Pop musicians and plays host to more than 30 bands on three stages during the three-day festival. Music fills the air from morning into night at Parc Hardy.

Named a Top 100 Event in North America by the American Bus Association.

Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Nearby Attractions: Avery Island, Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site, Vermilionville, St. Martinsville, Local Cuisine

Recommended RV Park: Cajun Palms RV Resort, Henderson, Louisiana

Worth Pondering…

With the coming of spring, I am calm again.

—Gustav Mahler

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Top Campgrounds, RV Parks & Resorts For Outdoor Recreation (Birding & Hiking)

These selected RV parks offer outstanding opportunities for outdoor recreation including birding, hiking, and fishing.

A+ Motel & RV Park, Sulphur, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
A+ Motel & RV Park, Sulphur, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A+ Motel & RV Park is centrally located in Cajun Country near Calcasieu “Big” Lake and other great fishing, hunting, and birding destinations and the Creole Nature Trail All American Road.

Enjoy the Old West in and around Angel Lake RV Park in Wells, Nevada. Some of the least known, pristine outdoor recreation areas in the West is all easily accessible. Deer, antelope, and other big game populate the surrounding back country. Anglers will find nearby lakes, reservoirs, creeks, and streams much to their liking. Angel Lake, tucked into the East Humboldt mountain range, is a particular favorite for its fish and striking 8,400 foot scenery.

World-class birding and the Texas Tropics surround you at Bentsen Palm Village RV Resort in Mission. The World Birding Center Headquarters at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park welcomes Bentsen Palm Village RV Resort residents to the top birding observation center in the nation. You can bike through the Park or take advantage of the convenient tram service.

Thousands of acres of state and federally protected wildlife habitat, lakes, parks, trails, and a 40-foot high Hawk Observation Tower on the banks of the Rio Grande River are within easy walking distance of your front door at Bentsen Palm Village RV Resort. Additionally, the North American Butterfly Association (NABA) outdoor butterfly park is adjacent to Bentsen Palm Development.

Camping at Bentsen Palm Village RV Park south of Mission.
Bentsen Palm Village RV Park, Mission, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Bosque Bird Watcher’s RV Park is a small mom and pop operation offering basic gravel parking lot type sites with full hookups. It’s nothing fancy but is quiet and clean and handy to the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.

RVers, birders, photographers, and all lovers of nature and the outdoors are attracted to Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. Thousands of sandhill cranes and snow geese arrive for the winter each November amid a backdrop of purple mountains clothed in autumn colors and bathed in the light of New Mexico’s spectacular sunrises and sunsets.

Catalina State Park protects a choice section of desert on the western base of the Santa Catalina Mountains near Tucson. The environment offers great camping, hiking, picnicking, and bird watching—more than 150 species of birds call the park home. An equestrian center provides a staging area for trail riders and plenty of trailer parking is also available.

Miles of equestrian, birding, and hiking trails wind through the park and the adjoining Coronado National Forest, as well as an interpretive trail to a prehistoric village.

Catalina State Park, Oro Valley, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Catalina State Park, Oro Valley, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Usery Mountain Regional Park contains a large variety of plants and animals that call the lower Sonoran Desert home. Usery Mountain offers over 29 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Park trails range in length from 0.2 miles to over 7 miles, and range from easy to difficult. These trails are popular because they have enough elevation to offer spectacular vistas of surrounding plains. The park’s modern campground is excellent for RVs of all sizes.

Wake up to a breathtaking sunrise; wind up the day with a spectacular sunset at the Van Horn KOA, set in a beautiful desert valley surrounded by mountains. This country setting, landscaped with native plants that attract wildlife, is filled with the sounds of birds. Visit Guadalupe Mountains and Carlsbad Caverns national parks, Fort Davis and the town of Marfa, whose “Ghost Lights” have defied explanation since 1883. The full-service KOA Cafe can deliver a Texas dinner to your campsite.

Vogel Talks RVing selected the list of top campgrounds, RV parks, and resorts from parks personally visited.

A+ Motel & RV Park, Sulphur, Louisiana

Van Horn KOA, Van Horn, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Van Horn KOA, Van Horn, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Angel Lake RV Park, Wells, Nevada

Bentsen Palm Village RV Resort, Mission Texas

Bosque Birdwatchers RV Park, San Antonio, New Mexico

Catalina State Park, Oro Valley, Arizona

Crystal Lake RV Park, Mims, Florida

McCammon RV Park, McCammon, Idaho

North Llano River RV Park, Junction, Texas

Quail Ridge RV Park, Huachuca City, Arizona

Usery Mountain Regional Park, Mesa, Arizona

North Llano River RV Park, Junction, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
North Llano River RV Park, Junction, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Van Horn KOA, Van Horn, Texas

Wildhorse Resort & Casino RV Park, Pendleton, Oregon

Worth Pondering…

Keep close to Nature’s heart…and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.
—John Muir

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Report: More Camp Sites With Full Hookups Required

A recent review and analysis of Ohio State Parks recommends the creation of more camp sites with full hookups for recreational vehicles and the closing of 29 less profitable cabins.

Mohican State Park  © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Mohican State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The new performance audit by state Auditor Dave Yost indicates that the changes could generate more than $3.3 million in average annual returns and $3.8 million in one-time cost avoidance. This state park audit was one of a series conducted at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

“Smarter planning and capital investment works just as well in the woods as it does in the city,” Yost said in a statement.

“Ohio has an opportunity to enhance the outdoor experience in our beautiful state parks for many years to come.”

Department of Natural Resources Director Jim Zehringer said, “We at ODNR appreciate the growing desire among Ohioans to have the opportunity to enjoy the state’s amazing open spaces and we are eager to provide them with the facilities that will enhance their experience while they are there.”

Ohio State Parks has four categories of overnight accommodations: campgrounds, cabins, “getaways”, and lodges. Campgrounds provide paved slabs for RVs; picnic areas; options for electric, water, and sewer hookups; and a variety of shared site amenities such as restrooms, shower houses, and retail convenience stores.

Holmes County  © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Holmes County © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Most cabins are approximately 900 square feet with two bedrooms, a living room, and kitchen area. Cabins are generally heated and air conditioned and are equipped with furniture, linens, and cookware.

Getaways encompass a variety of structures from teepees to primitive cabins, and their inventory comprises a small percentage of the overall accommodation inventory at any given park.

Lodges are hotel operations which are managed by third-party operators.

Campgrounds and cabins make up the majority of Parks’ self-managed inventory as well as the self-generated revenue; 98.6 percent and 96.2 percent, respectively.

Concerns have been raised regarding an insufficient number of full hook-up campsites and an aged cabin inventory that is no longer sufficiently able to attract customers and meet their needs in an efficient and effective manner.

Ohio State Parks supplies 207 full hook-up campsites specifically targeted toward high-end RVs—the fastest growing segment within RV camping nationally—a relatively small number in comparison to ownership levels.

Despite strong demand and relatively high operating performance, only 12 park locations offer full hook-up sites, with a median of a dozen at each of those parks. By comparison electric sites are more widespread, with 48 park locations offering a median inventory of 98 sites. As such, Parks may have an opportunity to meet customer demand for full hook-up sites by increasing not only the total number of full hook-up sites, but also the park locations offering them.

Ohio State Capitol, Colunbus  © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Ohio State Capitol, Colunbus © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Ohio State Parks plans to install new full hook-up campsites as upgrades to its existing stock of electric campsites. By using existing electrical service and concrete pads wherever possible, costs and construction complexity can be reduced.

Campgrounds sites with full hook-ups are occupied a median of 40 percent of the time. Camp sites with electricity are occupied about 18 percent, and non-electric sites less than 6 percent. The park agency already has earmarked $15 million for cabin improvements—each will cost an estimated $132,100 to renovation—and $10 million for campgrounds improvements from capital money approved last year. A portion of these funds will be used for the addition of full hook-up sites and the renovation of cabins at several locations.

The full report is here.

Details

Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR)

Website: www.ohiodnr.gov

Historic Marietta  © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Historic Marietta © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Ohio State Parks

The Division of Parks was created as a division of ODNR in 1949 with the statutory obligation to create, supervise, operate, and maintain a system of state parks and to promote their use by the public. Through land acquisition and transfer, the park system has grown from the original 30 parks to 74 state parks in 59 counties with over 174,000 acres of land and water resources.

Facilities include eight resort lodges, two dining lodges, six golf courses, more than 9,000 campsites in 56 campgrounds, 518 cottages, 36 visitor/nature centers, 80 swimming beaches and 18 swimming pools, 188 boat ramps and 7,583 boat docks, 463 picnic areas, and 1,167 miles of trails.

Website: www.parks.ohiodnr.gov

Worth Pondering…

I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.

—John Burroughs

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Walmart Parking Lot Abuse Leaves 1 Dead & Officer Shot

The Cottonwood, Arizona, Walmart parking lot was the scene of a weekend fight that left one suspect dead and an officer shot, according to information provided by Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) officials and several witnesses.

(Photo courtesy Arizona Department of Public Safety)
(Photo courtesy Arizona Department of Public Safety)

Cottonwood Police Department received a call about a Walmart employee who had been assaulted by one of the suspects just before midnight.

Eight officers were also assaulted in the Walmart parking lot Saturday night (March 21, 2015) in a fight that left one suspect dead, another wounded, and seven in custody, according to officials.

The fight happened after the Cottonwood Police Department received a call at 11:52 p.m. from the Cottonwood Walmart reporting that a suspect shoved a female employee in a store bathroom.

When officers arrived, the suspects were in the parking lot and attacked the officers.

Several years ago SmartCentres, which owns the Kamloops, British Columbia shopping centre, installed large new signs on the lot reminding customers there is no overnight parking for RVs or trucks. (Credit: bcnews.ca)
Several years ago SmartCentres, which owns the Kamloops, British Columbia shopping centre, installed large new signs on the lot reminding customers there is no overnight parking for RVs or trucks. (Credit: bcnews.ca)

One suspect was shot and killed during the fight, another was shot in the abdomen, and a total of seven others were taken into custody, DPS said.

The suspects are from the same family, according to DPS spokesman Bart Graves. The seven in custody, five adult males, a woman, and a female juvenile, refused to provide their names, Graves said.

The suspects were booked as John and Jane Does on suspicion of aggravated assault, attempted homicide, obstruction of justice, and a separate assault charge related to the Walmart loss-prevention officer, who suffered a broken arm, Graves said.

All suspects involved were members of the same family who were driving a Suburban SUV with Idaho license plates and had been camping for at least four days in the parking lot according to one report.

The man who was shot and killed in the incident had spent the last few days of his life playing a guitar at a side exit to the store, asking for money, a witness said.

One officer was shot in the leg and the other seven were left with cuts and bruises.

“We do believe that there was a struggle for an officer’s weapon, there is an ongoing investigation on that,” Graves said.

The officer that was shot in the leg is 31 years old and has been with Cottonwood police for 10 years, the release said. He was flown to Flagstaff Medical Center for surgery and is expected to make a full recovery.

DPS and local police cleared the scene just after noon Sunday. Dozens of cars circled around the area where the shooting occurred near the back end of the parking lot.

Store management met with Cottonwood Police yesterday (March 24, 2015), to figure out how to keep people from camping overnight at the store.

Details of the meeting are unavailable.

Unfortunately, some campers take advantage of Walmart’s generosity and call the parking lot home for days.

Staying in a Walmart parking lot. (Credit: mybirdie.ca)
Staying in a Walmart parking lot. (Credit: mybirdie.ca)

Overnight Parking Etiquette

Some of the most respected RV consumer clubs have joined together to support your right to park on private businesses’ parking lots overnight under the following code of conduct. The code pertains to establishments that permit “dry camping” on their lots. Dry camping means camping without the use of external hookups for electricity, water supply, or waste disposal.

Industry-Sanctioned Code of Conduct (RVers’ Good Neighbor Policy)

Stay one night only!

Obtain permission from a qualified individual.

Obey posted regulations.

No awnings, chairs, or barbecue grills outside your RV.

Do not use hydraulic jacks on soft surfaces (including asphalt).

Always leave an area cleaner than you found it.

Purchase gas, food, or supplies as a form of thank you, when feasible.

Be safe! Always be aware of your surroundings and leave if you feel unsafe.

If your plans include touring the area, staying for more than one night, or necessitate conduct not within the code, please relocate to a local campground. It’s the right thing to do!

Worth Pondering…

GOD IS GREAT, BEER IS GOOD, and PEOPLE ARE CRAZY!

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Campgrounds As Base Camps For Festivals & Special Events

Campgrounds and RV parks are great places to enjoy hiking, biking, boating, and other outdoor recreation activities during your leisure time.

Coachella Valley Preserve, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Coachella Valley Preserve, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

With RV and tent sites as well as a wide range of rental accommodations, campgrounds can also serve as base camps for those interested in attending festivals and weekend special events throughout the U.S and Canada. These special activities can ranges from rodeos to music festivals and cultural to culinary events.

Following is a sampling of the festivals and special events that take place during the coming weeks and months, along with listings of nearby attractions and campgrounds and RV parks, many of which also have rental accommodations.

All parks included have been personally visited with a minimum of one night of paid camping.

California: Indian Wells Arts Festival, Indian Wells, April 3-5, 2015

There’s something for everyone at the 13th annual Indian Wells Arts Festival. There’s sidewalk chalk drawing, children’s activities, wine tasting, live musical entertainment, and refreshments throughout the day.

Taking place on the grass garden plaza of the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, more than 200 award winning artists set up their displays to create a unique artisan village with thousands of hand-made, one-of-a-kind painting, drawings, ceramics, glass, photography, sculpture, jewelry, apparel, and other wares.

Named a Top 100 Event in North America by the American Bus Association.

Nearby Attractions: Indian Canyons, Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, Joshua Tree National Park, Coachella Nature Preserve

Recommended RV Park: Indian Waters RV Resort & Cottages, Indio, California

Sabino Canyon, Tucson, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Sabino Canyon, Tucson, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Arizona: 33rd Annual Tucson International Mariachi Festival, Tucson, April 8-11, 2015

The Tucson International Mariachi Festival is an award winning conference recognized as one of the largest cultural events in the United States. Since the conference’s inception, organizers have made education an integral component, with more than 1,000 participants from across the country.

The festival continues to foster mutual respect between Hispanics and non-Hispanics through the celebration of music, dance, culture, arts, family, and spirit. The weeklong conference provides three days of workshops giving participants the best the world has to offer from the music and dance of Mexico.

Named a Top 100 Event in North America by the American Bus Association.

Nearby Attractions: Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, Saguaro National Park, Sabino Canyon, Pima Space & Air Museum

Recommended RV Parks: Tucson/Lazydays KOA, Tucson, Arizona, and Catalina State Park, Oro Valley, Arizona

Heaven Hill Bourbon, Bardstown, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Heaven Hill Bourbon, Bardstown, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Kentucky: 60th Kentucky Derby Festival & 141st Kentucky Derby Louisville,  April 16-May 2, 2015

The Kentucky Derby Festival is a whirlwind of 70 events starting with Thunder Over Louisville, the opening ceremonies of the two-week festival. With an estimated average attendance of half a million people, it is the largest annual event in the region, the largest annual pyrotechnics display in North America, and one of the top five air shows in the country.

Other highlights include a half and full marathon and live bed racing. The event that started it all, the Pegasus Parade marches down Broadway the Thursday before the Derby.

Named a Top 100 Event in North America by the American Bus Association.

Nearby Attractions: Slugger Museum, Muhammad Ali Center, Kentucky Derby Museum, Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Recommended RV Park: Grandma’s RV Camping, Shepherdsville

Texas: Fiesta San Antonio, San Antonio, April 16-26, 2015

The Alamo, San Antonio, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The Alamo, San Antonio, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Fiesta San Antonio celebrates the Alamo City’s diverse history and culture with more than 100 events over 11 days. Fiesta includes parades, parties, coronations, fashion shows, athletic events, art exhibits, and much more. Fiesta is the party with a purpose because every official event is produced by a local nonprofit that uses the proceeds from its event to fund programs year-round in the community.

Named a Top 100 Event in North America by the American Bus Association.

Nearby Attractions: The Alamo, River Walk (Paseo del Rio), El Mercado, San Antonio Missions National Historic Park, Texas BBQ

Recommended RV Park: Braunig Lake RV Resort, San Antonio

Worth Pondering…

Our nature lies in movement; complete calm is death.

—Blaise Pascal

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The View Campground: New Way To Enjoy Monument Valley

It’s all about the mystical view.

New Way To Enjoy Monument Valley
New Way To Enjoy Monument Valley © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

That is, the view of Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, on the northern outskirts of the Navajo Nation.

Experience Monument Valley as you’ve never seen before. The View Campground offers some of the most spectacular views of Monument Valley.

Opened in December 2008, The View Hotel is a Navajo owned business located within the Navajo Nation and the Navajo Tribal Park at Monument Valley.

The View Hotel features accommodations that serve the needs of visitors from around the world while blending with the environment so as not to detract from the beauty of Monument Valley. The three floors provide 95 rooms, each one with a private eastern facing balcony with views unlike anywhere else in world. The top floor features StarView rooms with unforgettable views of the stars, the entirety of Monument Valley, and serves as a perfect venue for amateur night-time long exposure photography without leaving the comfort of your room.

balcony_dsc_0093w1000Other amenities include Wi-Fi internet access in the lobby, conference room, a fitness center with sunset views, flatscreen televisions. Also included are in-room coffee makers with organic coffee and tea, a micro-frig, and microwave.

Unique to The View is the authentic Native American décor with a locally woven Navajo Rug, traditional Navajo dye chart, and other Native American inspired decorations.

New Way To Enjoy Monument Valley

A multi-dimensional campground, called The View Campground now offers a new way to enjoy Monument Valley. You can choose from RV sites, wilderness camp sites, or cabins. Each offers their own unique view of Monument Valley.

The cabins at the campground are called “The Cabins at The View.” Located just north of the hotel, the campground has 29 cabins that exemplify a cultural retreat and vintage peaceful pleasure.

The private, fully-furnished valley rim cabins offer a unique way to experience Monument Valley. Each cabin features a private porch that overlooks the valley and is decorated in an old west decor. Bedrooms are equipped with queen sized beds and an additional sleeper sofa can accommodate up to six guests. Each cabin also has a full restroom and shower plus refrigerator and microwave.

panorama1w1400-1024x242The View Campground also includes 30 RV spots and 30 wilderness campsites which attracts outdoor enthusiasts who want to capture the essence of rustic living and a dust of authentic Navajo history.

The RV sites feature the best sunset views of Monument Valley. All RV sites are dry camping with no hookups. A convenience store is located in the registration office and offers camping supplies, food, drinks, and ice.

The wilderness camp sites offer one of the best views from a campsite anywhere in the world. Located on the cliff-side of the park, the view is breathtaking. A full restroom and shower facility is available to all campers.

“The view captivates what we want visitors to see and experience,” said Armanda, Navajo/Dine.

In traditional Navajo culture, touching Mother Earth is a form of healing and medicine, so it was important to design the rooms with a ground level ambiance and give visitors a down-to-earth experience.

The Navajo-owned company hired up to 20 people during the peak of the tourism season in the summer. The campground was completed in June 2014; however, there are additional plans for improvement.

New Way To Enjoy Monument Valley  © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
New Way To Enjoy Monument Valley © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The View Campground…where the stay is as important as the view. Is the perfect retreat to hear silent whispers of Navajo culture.

Details

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park

Monument Valley boasts sandstone masterpieces that tower at heights of 400 to 1,000 feet, framed by scenic clouds, casting shadows that graciously roam the desert floor. The angle of the sun accents these graceful formations, providing scenery that is simply spellbinding.

The landscape overwhelms, not just by its beauty but also by its size. The fragile pinnacles of rock are surrounded by miles of mesas and buttes, shrubs, trees, and windblown sand, all comprising the magnificent colors of the valley. All of this harmoniously combines to make Monument Valley a truly wondrous experience.

Address: PO Box 360289, Monument Valley, UT 84536

Phone: (435)727-5874/5870 or (435)727-5875

Website: www.monumentvalleyview.com

Worth Pondering…

…and may you always walk in wonder.

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Canadian Camping Week Planned For May

The Canadian Camping and RV Council (CCRVC) will officially launch the 2015 camping season in Canada by hosting the inaugural Canadian Camping Week from May 19-24, 2015.

The newly opened Glacial Skywalk over the Athabasca Glacier (Jasper National Park, Alberta) lets you experience waterfalls, wildlife, fossils, and more on an exciting cliff-edge walkway that leads to a platform where glass is all that separates you from a 918-foot drop. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The newly opened Glacial Skywalk over the Athabasca Glacier (Jasper National Park, Alberta) lets you experience waterfalls, wildlife, fossils, and more on an exciting cliff-edge walkway that leads to a platform where glass is all that separates you from a 918-foot drop. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Canadian Camping Week will feature special events and participation from CCRVC member campgrounds across the country.

Campground associations from British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick, representing about 1400 campgrounds, will work with the CCRVC to celebrate the Canadian camping experience.

Parks Canada, the Camping and RVing in BC Coalition, Go RVing Canada, the Canadian Recreational Vehicle Association (CRVA) and Recreation Vehicle Dealer Association of Canada (RVDAC) are also supporting this exciting, first ever event of its kind in the camping industry.

The 2015 Canadian Camping Week will showcase the best of what Canada’s camping sector has to offer.

Special events will include a discounted weekend camping rate, fishing contests, jamborees, and bonfires.

The beautiful Okanagan Valley of southern British Columbia is a summer tourism mecca. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The beautiful Okanagan Valley of southern British Columbia is a summer tourism mecca. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“We want every campground across the country to participate in promoting the camping and RV lifestyles,” said Maryse Catellier, president of CCRVC.

“Join us in showcasing what Canadian camping is all about.”

The first-ever Canadian Camping Week is scheduled to run from May 19-24. The week will conclude with participating campgrounds across the country offering two nights of camping (May 22-23) at $50 plus tax.

“Campground participation in the Canadian Camping Week is free, and 300 campgrounds are already registered,” said Catellier.

Participating campgrounds and RV Parks are required to offer either two nights for $50 plus tax on May 22-23 or organize an event to promote camping in Canada during the course of the Canadian Camping Week.

Interested campgrounds need to register by March 31. To register, visit www.campingweek.ca and download the registration form.

Rocky Mountain Goat in the Canadian Rockies. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Rocky Mountain Goat in the Canadian Rockies. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The CCRVC is also organizing a Fall Appreciation Weekend planned for September 11-12, 2015 (two nights, Friday-Saturday) following Labor Day.

Participation in the Fall promotion is optional but participating campgrounds are required to commit to offer two nights of camping for $50 plus tax.

The goals of the Canadian Camping Week in May and the fall promotion weekend are to:

Promote the camping sector and the camping/RVing lifestyles.

Details

Canadian Camping and RV Council (CCRVC)

CCRVCThe three major players in the Canadian RV and Camping industry joined forces to create in May 2013 a new association: the Canadian Camping and RV Council (CCRVC).

CCRVC represents the RV Manufacturers Association, the RV Dealers Association, and the campground owners associations from across Canada.

Address: 2425 Narcisse-Perodeau, Québec (Quebec) G1T 2J4

Phone: (418) 455-8548

Website: www.ccrvc.ca

Canadian Camping Week

From May 19-24 the Canadian Camping and RV Council (CCRVC) will host the inaugural Canadian Camping Week and officially launch the 2015 camping season in Canada. The Canadian Camping Week will feature special events and participation from CCRVC member campgrounds across the country.

Website: www.campingweek.ca

Worth Pondering…

Hysterically funny, amazingly talented people. That’s what I think of when I think of Canada. That, and cold beer. And mountains.
—Richard Patrick

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