Welcome to our (very personal) reviews of the campsites we have visited. If you arrived here from a link on our travel blog, Semi-True Tales of Our Life On the Road, you can click here to read all of our campground reviews.

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Thursday, August 12, 2010


Boats and RVs at Lakehead Boat Basin Our Opinion: Recommend.  Asphalt parking lot with great views in a fascinating location.

Date of Stay: August 11 through 16, 2010.  We came back for another six days August 22 through 27, 2010.

Weather During Stay:  Warm, muggy summer weather (the locals all claim it is unusually hot).  On our second visit, it had cooled off considerably, with highs in the low 70’s and upper 60’s.

Site Description:  Don’t come expecting a campground.  RV parking (no tents) is on long, rather narrow, asphalt lots used for boat storage in the winter.  Twelve sites (in a single row backing up to a little used road) have FHU (50/30 amp).  In another long row, eighteen sites have W/E (20/30/50 amp).  A few dry camping spaces are also available.

Sites can accommodate rigs to 40’ with room for slides and awnings.  In a few sites, we saw even longer motor homes.  Room to maneuver is tight, and the access roads to both rows of sites dead-end, so we’ve watched many big rigs back quite a LONG way down the limited access road upon departure.  If you have a big rig, don’t plan to come here if you are not confident of your maneuvering ability.

Row of W/E sites The RV sites face the small Lakehead marina and out across the harbor to the hills of Duluth.  On our first visit, we were in site 13 of the W/E row, closest to the entrance.  Most sites are fairly level, and each has a picnic table. 

On our second visit, we stayed in site 3, a FHU site.  Here the access road is not as tight and congested, so maneuvering is a tiny bit easier.  All the FHU sites are completely flat; several of the W/E sites slope somewhat.

Dump station, bathhouse and laundry (one washer, one dryer) on site.  Showers/bathrooms are private, small, poorly ventilated and humid.  Electricity was reliable in hot weather.  Good water pressure – so good, in fact, that you absolutely need a pressure regulator.

Rate: $34/night for FHU; $29/night for W/E; $25/night dry camping.

The Aerial Lift Bridge, view from the end of the marina/rv parkPhone/radio/TV:  Good Verizon signal for phones and aircard.  No obstacles to block our roof-mounted satellite TV.  Nine channels on air antenna.  No cable TV.  NPR broadcast on 92.9 and 100.5.  WiFi is available (for a fee?), but we didn’t need it.

Elevation/landscape/terrain: At lake level, this is a flat, asphalt parking lot with utilities on the perimeter.  Views are fascinating: the activities of boaters in the small marina, the Aerial Life Bridge, huge freighters entering and exiting the Duluth harbor, pleasure craft, sailboats, and beyond to the green hills of the city of Duluth. 

The view from the W/E sites is superior to the view from the FHU sites, so the convenience of the sewer and the slightly easier access is a tradeoff.  For a short stay, we’d return to the W/E sites – better view, lower rate.

FHU site #3 at Lakehead Boat Basin Lighting/noise:  Typical marina sounds, and the occasional loud blasts from a freighter and the answering blasts from the bridge.  Very dark at night with a beautiful nighttime view of the lights of Duluth and the illuminated bridge.

Favorite Sites:  Sites in each row were all very similar.  Site 13 is at the beginning of the W/E row, which we found very convenient.  However, the sites closest to the restroom and showers (at the beginning of the row, where we were) are somewhat sloped.  Those closer to the end are flatter, and have the best view of the bridge.  Of the FHU sites, those closest to the office probably have the best views – 3 through around 7.

Hiking/Walking: Excellent.  Perhaps a ¼ mile to the bridge, and on beyond to Canal Park (restaurants, movie theatres, tourist attractions), the Lakeshore boardwalk and the Bayside trail. 

Site 13, Water and Electricity Comments:  We came for the annual Blues festival, not knowing what a fascinating spot this would prove to be.  We would be likely to return next time we visit Duluth (as you can see above, we did just that, a week later!), though parking and departing can be somewhat challenging.  If you like boats and especially the big freighters, and like to walk, this is a great spot to park.   Friendly, interesting, mellow owners, and you can receive mail and packages.  Don’t come expecting campground amenities.  Nearest grocery store is a couple of miles away.

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