Date of Stay: December 16 through 24, 2010.
Weather During Stay: One of southern California’s worst winter storms on record brought rain and some flooding to the area. Our last two days were sunny and pleasant. This area gets VERY windy at times.
Site Description: With 521 sites, this might be the largest park we have stayed in. All sites are back-ins. Some sites are occupied by park models or RV’s that probably aren’t going to move again. Lots of “seasonals” here, but most sites and rigs are nicely maintained.
Sites are reasonably sized, with hedges between the sites providing privacy. A quarter of the sites would be too sloped for us to use, another quarter appear very level, and the remainder slope to some degree. We (and many other rigs) used boards to shore up our passenger side to help level the rig.
I believe that all sites are FHU (30/50 amps). A small number of sites have “hot” cable TV, ready to hook up, but most sites either have no cable TV hookup or are set up for long-term rental - contact the cable company for service.
Roads are paved and reasonably wide, sites are gravel with concrete pads for a tow or towed vehicle. No picnic tables, trees here and there (lots of palms, not a lot of shade). One central trash area for this huge park!
While the RV sites are average, the common areas are a cut above. Nice swimming pool (seemed a little on the small side for the size of the park), two Jacuzzis, plenty of indoor space with a shuffleboard table, several pool tables, computers, a couple big screen TV’s, comfortable seating - very, very nice. A 9 hole golf course (extra fee, of course) tennis courts, fitness center, and an appealing dog run round out the common areas.
Rate: We stayed on a special deal only available to first-time visitors: pay the normal weekly rate of $215 and get two additional days for free. The “special” price (under $25/night) seemed reasonable for what was offered - not sure if we would go back at full price. I don’t know the monthly/seasonal rates, but they are likely very reasonable if you like a park offering these amenities.
Phone/radio/TV: Strong Verizon signal here for both phones and aircard. WiFi (TengoInternet) is included, but we didn’t use it. Our site had no obstacles for our roof-mounted satellite TV dish worked, and the air antenna picked up some channels. Instant-on cable TV is an extra $3/night or $15/week - we didn’t bother. NPR on 89.3 (or was it 89.5?).
Elevation/landscape/terrain: Around 600 feet above sea level, the Coachella Valley has arid mountain ranges on three sides. It is obvious from the hundreds of wind mills in the area that that this area (especially Banning Pass) gets a LOT of wind, so be prepared. Local views are of neighboring rigs; distant views are of arid mountains (sometimes snowcapped).
Lighting/noise: Our site was comfortably dark at night; the low level park lighting makes it easy to see when walking or driving, but not intrusive. Very quiet at night (except when the coyotes get going).
Favorite Sites: Not a lot of difference in the sites, except some back up to the desert perimeter or one of the washes that run through the park (we were told that these cost more). The BIG difference we noticed was how level the sites were - some are very sloped.
Hiking/Walking: Walk the big park twice for 10,000 steps. Otherwise, drive 10-20 miles for area hikes, or 45 miles to Joshua Tree National Park.
Comments: Not the sort of place we usually stay, but it is quite appealing if you like large parks with lots of activities. Two grocery stores within a couple of miles.