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becoming very disillusioned with most state parks


64 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   amcclaran

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 03:11 PM

DH and i are on the tail end of our annual 5-6 week trip south from Vermont. usually go thru Texas into NM and maybe get as far as AZ. then back into FL panhandle and up 81 thru Blue ridge mtns.  we are almost at the point of saying "never again" - we have pulled into so many state parks and have left with the feeling that we had just camped in a suburban sardine can complete with the hum of A/C or noisy furnaces or TVs and trying to sleep with street lights, or "yard lights" or party lites shining in the TC window all nite. we have learned that if a camping area offers water/elec and sewer, that means BIG RIG city and we should stay away. we often use the no-hook ups areas, but seems the W/E/S sites are always in the best spots.(and a fair number of state parks dont have no-hook areas anymore). we have tried Natl forests and National Parks, with not too much success. maybe there are more off-road or boon-docking areas further west??  does anyone understand my gripe? we love our TC and love being on the road, just cant figure out where to camp along the way. would like to be comfortable enough in a spot to actually stay 3 or 4 or 5 nites, but usually end up leaving after 2 or at the most 3 nites. the last state park we stayed at actually had lawnmowers, weedwackers and leaf blowers working the entire day on Wednesday. and each site had its OWN street light. then there were the lawn sprinklers that went on in the middle of the nite! we're too old to go back to hike-in or boat-in tent-camping, so i guess we had to live with it. where do all you other TC'ers go?? 


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#2 OFFLINE   DakotaCamper

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 03:17 PM

There have been a few Washington state parks that I will never camp at because of the sardine syndrome. That is NOT camping. We've also stayed at a couple of resorts that did the sprinkler thing during the night but didn't find it intrusive because the sites are so big.

 

Check and see if there are any county owned and operated parks in the area you will be in. Oftentimes I've found they are better (and quieter) than state parks and many are dry camping. And usually less expensive.


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#3 OFFLINE   RedneckExpress

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 04:34 PM

Deep in the woods or back roads of Montana, Oregon, Washington, where the nearest service is 60-100 miles away and 4x4 is not optional.   That's the only way you're going to get truly away from the sardine effect, however, do it soon, as more and more of that type of camping is being shut off from most as roads are closed and areas become hike in only, if any human access is allowed at all. 


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#4 OFFLINE   Oliver

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 04:59 PM

There's no doubt about it, a lot of camping facilities don't look that good up close. We're in the wrong side of the country for the "Wander the West" kind of camping that seems to be what you are aiming for. There are some bright spots, though. We have camped quite a few NY State Parks, and been very pleased, in general. They are suffering from budget cuts, but they do pretty well, IMHO. There is a whole string of them along the St. Lawrence River, big and small, busy and quiet, pick your own poison. They usually have tent sites, or, non-electric sites, and some of them are the nicest views in the park. Another area is the Finger Lakes, where we live. Several really scenic State Parks here. West to Niagara Falls and east to the Adirondacks, we have visited quite a few of them, and would be happy to comment on them to anyone thinking of visiting the state. Just PM me, anytime.

I would also suggest an app called "AllStays". It has pretty comprehensive coverage of the areas I am familiar with, so I figure they are knowledgeable on the rest of the country, as well, and it only costs a couple bucks.

Hope this helps. Happy camping!

#5 OFFLINE   KnightEagle

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 08:32 PM

Our favor spot we like to go to has 200 w/e sites and 150 boondock sites or tents Have never seen it get loud except when the rallie from Princess craft 2 years ago then they had a live band and anyone could go if they cared too. Most texas parks are geared 50/50 hook ups and not


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#6 OFFLINE   Kent

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 04:37 AM

Anne,  I have been a camper for most of my life and hate the rig camping experience to be honest.  I have used almost every style camper also.  TC is my favorite without a doubt because I can find my own spot.  I like you have a NorthStar with no slide and I have all the blackout windows also so appearing not in is pretty easy.  The way most campgrounds pack people in nowadays is pretty insane so I usually go with the tent rates and park in the overflow parking areas or field parking away from everyone else.  Or I go for deserted dirt roads and parking down the fire breaks.  The only time I do campgrounds is when there is a rally or my wife wants to be at the beach where if your not in a camping site they will come and tow you away.  

I have to admit that I rarely camp where I hang out in the day also.  If I am visiting a park nation, state or otherwise I will do that during the day when I can pull in find a nice place to park and then put the awning out chill and then pack up and find a good hide to camp that night.  I don't tend to stay in the same spot more then one night.  Guess that is my infantry showing or something.  To many years in the military will do that to someone I guess.  This all is being typed from a back parking lot of a foundation I visit where I can tuck in well hidden from traffic and other people.  There are many gems all over you just need to seek them out.  

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#7 OFFLINE   seismik

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 07:55 AM

We avoid campgrounds for the same reason.  We have found that in PA, if you stay at a State Forest, there are usually only a few sites spread throughout the whole forest.  But State Parks have the sardine effect.



#8 OFFLINE   Wellsdesigned

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 12:13 PM

My family has been off camping for a few years now for that reason. The destination has to be somewhere really, really, really worth the crammed in feel of modern campgrounds to tempt us out in the camper anymore. Its sad when you go to a State or Federal campground that could easily give campers more elbow room if they would just open up more camping loops that are closed because the "demand" appears to fit in the one and often least desirable loop that is held open at the convenience of the bureaucrats only. They are blissfully unaware of the fact that the demand is diminished and that we are in a decline in the appeal to get people out from behind their TVs and game consoles and into the parks.


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#9 OFFLINE   Kent

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 12:30 PM

New Hampshire has a few Gems that we love to stay at.  


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#10 OFFLINE   KnightEagle

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 08:45 PM

But has anyone really sat down an figured what it costs to manage and maintain a park. lets say a camper catches the table on fire. three 2x12x6 30$ or so someone drives off and tears up the water and elect a couple hundred there and not all of it is caught or even charged back to those that did it. The repairs to the roads, water lines, etc. The staff to keep every thing clean and running and then pay salarys and elec. on a 300 site park at 22$ 6600 dollars for one day if they are all full. Most states just are not opening new parks or even trying to expand the ones they have


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#11 OFFLINE   Kent

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 01:50 AM

I understand the issue of the cost factor.  What I would like to see is areas for boondocks like us to be able to pull in no E,W,S just a quiet place to park.  No table needed even.  I have many times asked to and been allowed to set up in the parking spot for the campsite not RV area.  I have found the tent campers tend to be quieter often then the RV people and since I take the same footprint as a tent person who parks his or her car and hikes in a bit to set up a tent I hurt no one.  Just another option.  


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#12 OFFLINE   MPohio

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 02:17 PM

I try not to do the  state park thing anymore. I had a VW Rialta and could get away parking in rest areas, truck stops and rest areas.  The truck stops where like what you described.  Noise of Semis' engines, AC and what not.  I found rest areas  less congested /noisy than a few of the parks.  I like going where no one else is, hence the reason I sold my Rialta and bought a truck camper for my f150 4x4.  The rialta, albeit small, would constantly get stuck.  Heck even wet grass gave me problems.  Not anymore!!  I usually drive until I get tired and find a nice secluded/safe place to crash for the night. 



#13 OFFLINE   DakotaCamper

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 03:10 PM

I try not to do the  state park thing anymore. I had a VW Rialta and could get away parking in rest areas, truck stops and rest areas.  The truck stops where like what you described.  Noise of Semis' engines, AC and what not.  I found rest areas  less congested /noisy than a few of the parks.  I like going where no one else is, hence the reason I sold my Rialta and bought a truck camper for my f150 4x4.  The rialta, albeit small, would constantly get stuck.  Heck even wet grass gave me problems.  Not anymore!!  I usually drive until I get tired and find a nice secluded/safe place to crash for the night. 

 

You sold your Rialta?! My mother would be crushed. She loves her Rialta. But then again, there is no way she can physically climb into a TC's overhead bed to sleep. And she won't go off and camp off the beaten path as a solo RV'er at her age either.


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#14 OFFLINE   the tc life

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 03:16 PM

guess im spoiled. a lot of the state parks that I have gone to here in Washington and Idaho are pretty darn nice. there are a couple that are not as good though for rv spots.

 ill know what its like this summer from at least one state park in Oregon.


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#15 OFFLINE   DakotaCamper

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 03:20 PM

guess im spoiled. a lot of the state parks that I have gone to here in Washington and Idaho are pretty darn nice. there are a couple that are not as good though for rv spots.

 ill know what its like this summer from at least one state park in Oregon.

 

Don't go to Alta Lake in Pateros. That is the epitome of RV sardine can state parks, especially camp loop #2.


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#16 OFFLINE   smokeypointer

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 05:47 PM

"ill know what its like this summer from at least one state park in Oregon"

 

Rich, we stayed in 4 Oregon state parks the first week of April.  Some of the nicest places we have ever stayed.


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<p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:'Arial Black';">A few more places left to camp!</span></span></p>

#17 OFFLINE   DakotaCamper

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 06:39 PM

"ill know what its like this summer from at least one state park in Oregon"

 

Rich, we stayed in 4 Oregon state parks the first week of April.  Some of the nicest places we have ever stayed.

 

I would have to agree. When I did the Oregon coast trip several years ago, we stayed at state parks every night for 2 weeks. Of course, it was in the off-season in the winter, but I had no complaints.


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#18 OFFLINE   JHa6av8r

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Posted 11 May 2014 - 03:01 PM

After camping a week in the desert on BLM land we went into Joshoa Tree NP for a couple of days.  My wife says I don't think I'm a NP person anymore.  There's too many rules and too many people.


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#19 OFFLINE   amcclaran

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 11:02 AM

New Hampshire has a few Gems that we love to stay at.  

we did a trip to Bar Harbor and back fall of '12. our favorite spot was in the White Mountains Natl. Forest- the Hancock Area. we liked it because of the great mountain stream running right behind a handful of the sites. No hook ups, and no flush toilets, not many campers after Labor Day. stopped one night on the way to the coast and spent 2 more on the way back. Living in the Green Mountains, we can camp "in the woods" in our back yard if we wanted to, so having access to a stream or river or small lake is what we look for, and this was a find for us. 

You didnt mention which places in NH you liked??


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#20 OFFLINE   amcclaran

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 11:27 AM

am just now getting around to checking out my post of April 25th. Got a bit of a conversation going with that rant!!  - part of our "problem" is that we really want to have some kind of a "view" from our campsite. we do a bit of hiking, biking, & birding, but also like to sit at camp, read, get a fire going, watch it for 3 or 4 hours and then cook on the coals. also, we want privacy, peace and quiet! and no biting insects! a tall order. Now, we could camp in our back yard and have all of those things (except the no-bugs part), but if we dont get away from home, we never stop working! 

we did find a spot we liked on a cold & clear mountain stream, with campsites right next to it. had to leave after one day to stay ahead of the tornados headed that way- but we will return. it was Vogel state park in Northern Georgia.

next trip is after Labor Day- out to Wisconsin. will stop at our fave spot- Kilbear Provincial Park on Lake Huron, and are thinking about doing the Northern route around Lake Superior. must remember to pack the long johns. 

i do expect that there are more "off the beaten path" spots to camp in the West, and Northwest. but until my Hubby retires (landscaper) we cant travel during the summer, and a winter trip to the NW would require a 4-season TC. maybe 5-season!! 


Edited by amcclaran, 13 May 2014 - 11:28 AM.

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