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.

If you would like to know more about me, or contact us, click on "Who are We?" (to the right). For more information about what you can expect to find in these reviews, click on "About These Reviews". Finally, a note about the photos: hover your cursor over a photo to read the caption, or click the photo to enlarge it.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Our Opinion: Rave. We love coming to this lovingly developed and maintained desert park.

Date of Stay: We have stayed here half a dozen times over 4 years. This stay began 9/23/2008, and we plan to be here a couple of weeks.

Weather During Stay: Highs in the mid-80’s, low’s in the 50’s and 60’s. Some windy days. Lots of sunshine.

Site Description: Queen Mine RV park is a large, level, graveled circle, perched high up on the side of the open pit copper mine that dominates Old Bisbee. The 25 FHU sites (30 amp), all with cable TV, are all back-ins, lining the outside of the circle, facing center. Generally, motorhomes park in the sites on the west side, facing the view to the east, backed up to a mountain; 5th wheels with large rear windows park on the east side, their view windows facing Bisbee or the red mountain to the east. Great views - the top photo shows old Bisbee from the RV Park.

Low rock walls and plantings of native plants and trees have transformed this gravel lot into a cozy refuge. Above the Queen Mine museum and tours, it almost feels remote… but it is a short walk down the hill into charming, funky, old town Bisbee. The small office building (bottom photo) houses a clean laundry room and restrooms. Trash and can recycling is near the entrance. A covered picnic table outside the office makes a pleasant spot to socialize, and a small dog walk hugs the driveway.

Rate: Passport America rates ($13/night includes electricity) are in effect until the end of September. After that, the nightly rate is $28; weekly rate is $165. No SKP discount any longer (ownership has changed recently).

Phone/radio/TV: Verizon signal is strong here, and the aircard is on speedy Broadband. WiFi is available at no extra charge, though we haven’t tried it. About 30 channels on cable TV; no obstacles for satellites. Radio in this part of the state is crummy - no local NPR (hooray for Sirius!). NOAA weather radio does not get a signal here.

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: A level RV park at 5300’ on the side of a deep, defunct copper pit mine. Wonderful views of deep red mountainsides and the Victorian buildings lining the steep canyons of Old Bisbee.

Lighting/Noise: Subdued night lighting is unobtrusive; very quiet.

Favorite Sites: Since we travel in a motorhome, we like the sites that back up to the hillside, where we face east. Second photo shows our motorhome in site 6.

Hiking/Walking: Walking up Tombstone Canyon, though Bisbee to the underpass, is about 4 miles round trip. Wandering through the streets of Bisbee is fun, too. Lots of good hiking in the area, but all the hikes require a drive.

Comments: Finding the way to the park can be tricky. If you have Passport America, check out the useful map in the PA book. We unhooked our towed the first time we came up here to check it out, as the road and route can be confusing.

The Bisbee Natural Food Coop is a short drive away, Safeway is a little farther. A good golf course (with its own inexpensive, friendly RV park) is in Naco, 5 miles away. Eat at Rosa’s for great Italian food, CafĂ© Roka for expensive and delicious fine dining, Bisbee Breakfast Club for delicious (and large) breakfasts and lunch.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Our Opinion: Recommend. If walking/hiking is a priority for you, this is a great stop.

Date of Stay: Our third visit was Sept. 20 through 22, 2008. We also stayed twice in January/February of 2008. This photo was taken on this trip, when Justin's was virtually empty.

Weather During Stay: HOT! Highs in upper 90’s; lows in uppers 60’s. In winter, days are mild and nights are chilly.

Site Description: All 125 sites at Justin’s are unusually large for a commercial park, a big plus for us. Most are very level and most are back-ins, though there are some pull-throughs in the front row near the road. All are FHU with 50 amps. All are covered with a small rocks/huge gravel that is rather uncomfortable to walk on (Luna hates it). Saguaros and native landscaping scattered around. Roads are paved, which really helps keep the dust down here in the desert.

The “front” (south) section of the park is set up in standard rows of side-by-side sites and is slightly higher than the “back” (north) section. This photo is site 65, in the south section, taken in January of 2008.

Sites in the north section are arranged around a “golf course” (check out the third photo) - a large dirt area with 8 raised mounds, each covered with green outdoor carpeting sporting a cup and flag. We would fear for our windshield if we saw someone tee up! This area has been planted recently with native plants, and has a small pond - it will be very appealing when it matures, but the “golf course” seems pointless to us.

The single dumpster, up front by the entrance/exit, is often overflowing in snowbird season. Laundry, a clubroom, and a pickleball court round out the amenities.

Rate: In winter, we paid a weekly rate of $153, which included our electricity - around $22/night, a great deal for “high season” in/near Tucson. For this stay, well before the arrival of the snowbirds, we paid the Passport America rate of $13/night, which included our electricity (AC’s running almost constantly in the heat). Spaces in the north section are a dollar or two higher per day than in the south section.

Phone/radio/TV: Verizon works well here, including the aircard. No cable TV, but nothing to block a satellite signal. Local stations available on TV antenna. There is a local NPR station, but I forgot to write down the number. NOAA weather radio had a signal.

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: Though I forgot to check, I believe the elevation is around 2,500 ft - which is why Tucson is cooler than Phoenix. The park is mostly flat; one small elevation change between “front” and “back” sites. Views here are fabulous, even when the park is full. Near views are of rigs in the park and surrounding native plants. Distant views are of beautiful, arid mountain ranges, including well-known Gates Pass, covered with Saguaro cactus.

Lighting/Noise: Low lighting is unobtrusive at night. We stay in the “back” (north) section to avoid the road noise on San Joaquin Road. Residents in the nearby neighborhoods head to work early, and the sound of their vehicles stands out in the otherwise still mornings. Also some noise (not bad) from neighborhood dogs, livestock, and coyotes in the desert.

Favorite Sites: We pay a dollar or two a day more to stay in the north section, at the back of the park, ringing the “golf course”. The views are spectacular and the sites feel larger since you have no one directly behind or in front of you. Motorhomes like the row facing the mountains across the “golf course”; 5’ers choose the row adjacent to the desert. We were in site 7 on this trip/; this photo was taken when we stayed in site 6 in February, 2008.

Hiking/Walking: This is where Justin’s (and Desert Trails, next door) shines. Trails start on the north side of the park and head into Tucson Mountain Park. It is possible to hike into Saguaro National Park (long hike). The Sonoran desert here is gorgeous, and there are geocaches hidden around, too. Trails are well developed and marked. What a great amenity!

Comments: If only it was easier/quicker to get into Tucson! We come back to Justin’s (and Desert Trails, before Justin’s opened), again and again for the wonderful desert hiking, the great views, the beautiful sunsets… but complain each time we decide to go to Tucson! The nearest big grocery store is about 20-25 minutes away. The traffic on the “easy” route to Tucson (Ajo Highway) can be a real bear, so we usually take the beautiful but winding Gates Pass Road. The drive to just about anywhere we want to be in Tucson is at least 30 minutes; longer to Costco or Trader Joes.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Our Opinion: Rave. This is what a desert RV park should look like: huge spaces, raked gravel sites, native landscaping. Passport America discount, too!

Date of Stay: September 18, 2008

Weather During Stay: High around 85, low around 50.

Site Description: Huge, level, adjacent to a large native plant garden. 50 amp FHU with 49 channels on cable TV. This desert park has an upper and lower level - our site, 49, a large pull-through (we didn’t even unhook) was on the top level, one of a ring of deluxe sites surrounding a garden area..

This park has added 40 spaces since we last visited 3 years ago, bringing the total number of spaces to 70. The new spaces are as large and lovely as the old, with 2 additional garden areas. Although we didn’t use or inspect any of the amenities, there is a large laundry, exchange library, patio with grill - probably all as impeccably kept as the rest of the park.

Rate: I don’t know the regular rate. We paid the Passport America rate of $19/night. A chat with a neighbor revealed very reasonable monthly rates.

Phone/radio/TV: Great Verizon reception; aircard on Broadband. No obstacles for satellite TV, and cable was included with our site. Free WiFi available, but we didn’t use it. I was not able to find a local NPR station, a surprise. No weather channel on the NOAA radio, either.

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: This park is on a little slope, with an upper and lower level, at 4,530’ elevation. The park is surrounded by native shrubs, and beautifully landscaped with small evergreens and native plants. Views are of neighbors, gardens, and surrounding shrubs, with mountains in the far distance.

Lighting/Noise: Low night lighting throughout the park; very quiet at night.

Favorite Sites: Any of the large sites around the gardens. The only site we would avoid are thos along the street and the interior rows. Any number ablve 41 would be good. We especially liked 44 and 47.

Hiking/Walking: Walking around the park is pleasant, but great walking is found just across the street in Elephant Butte State Park on the shore of huge Elephant Butte Reservoir.

Comments: This immaculate, beautifully landscaped and maintained park is a wonderful oasis. We’ve stayed here 3 times and have always been impressed with the park and super-friendly staff. Maybe someday we will use it for more than an overnight!

Friday, September 12, 2008


Our Opinion: Rave. If you are looking for a convenient, urban park in Santa Fe (and willing to pay the price), this is the place.

Date of Stay: September 11 through 17, 2008

Weather During Stay: Sun and clouds, highs in the low 70’s, lows in the upper 40’s.

Site Description: This is a small, urban RV park in the front section of a 55+ mobile home community. We are in site 20, one of 22 “premium” big rig sites, a wide, level, graveled site with a concrete pad, parking for our car, and a picnic table. 50 amp FHU with cable TV.

The RV section of the park is fairly small and extremely well maintained, with a small, clean, swimming pool, small community building with pool table and library, dog walk area, and sufficient trash disposal. Laundry is open 24/7. Lots of large shade trees. The entire park is surrounded by an abode wall, spacious and very visually pleasing for an urban park. The office staff is extremely helpful and friendly.

Rate: We paid the weekly rate: pay for 6 days, get the 7th free, which worked out to $32/night. Pretty steep for us, but we wanted a convenient spot and this is it.

Phone/radio/TV: Verizon service is good here, phones and aircard. We have around 20-25 channels on cable TV, and our TV satellite works here. NPR is available on 89.1 and 89.9. Free WiFi is available.

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: This is a flat, shady park at 7,300 ft elevation. Views are of neighboring rigs and trees.

Lighting/Noise: Night lighting is typical for a commercial park, “streetlight” type lighting that is brighter than necessary or desirable, but we‘ve seen worse. Noise is typical for an urban park on a busy commercial street, but not excessively annoying in our middle-of-the-park site with our windows open at night. I would avoid the sites in the front of the park, along the road.

Favorite Sites: The “premium” sites all are very large, long and wide. We would be pleased with any of them.

Hiking/Walking: Not much space for exercise in this small park, though a few loops through the mobile home section would be better than nothing. The park is located on a wide, busy, commercial thorough-fare with sidewalks; lots of traffic rushing by.

Comments: We are pleased with this park. We wanted to explore Santa Fe from a convenient location, and the park is better than we anticipated. Santa Fe has a good bus system, easy to navigate and inexpensive ($1/day for seniors). The bus stops right outside the park for a 25 minute trip to the plaza. Albertson's, Best Buy, Target, Borders and the usual companion stores are a few blocks in the other direction, within walking distance.

Monday, September 8, 2008


Our Opinion: Neutral. The prettiest commercial park in Taos has both positives and negatives. Small, mellow, funky, with a lively, friendly host constantly working on improvements - of which many are needed. No cell phone or aircard service, and the free wi-fi doesn’t extend to many of the sites. See Comments below.

Date of Stay: September 4 through 10, 2008

Weather During Stay: Highs in the upper 70’s, lows in the lower or mid 40’s.

Site Description: We are in site 40, on the far end of the center row. The 40 grass and dirt sites are level and sufficiently wide for comfort, with maybe a dozen sites in a center row (the only area suitable for big rigs) surrounded by shorter sites around the perimeter of the park. Our site faces a cute, small “common area” with tables and chairs under a patio cover, a small outdoor kitchen, a campfire circle and small fountain.

A laundry room is available, and we peeked into the restrooms. Like many of the on-site buildings, I’m glad we don’t need to use them! A dumpster provides plenty of space for trash collection. The overall feeling of the park is funky, mom-and-pop, much loved by seasonal guest who return each summer.

Rate: The posted rate is $30/night for 30 amps; $35/night for 50 amps. I can’t imagine who would pay that! We chose this park, sight unseen, because it sounded decent in reviews and the weekly rate is $125/week for 50 amps - under $18/night.

Phone/radio/TV: NO VERIZON service here! No phone, no aircard. Very fast WiFi is provided free, but does not reach to at least half the sites, including ours. TV satellite works. Local NPR on 88.7.

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: The park is located in narrow Taos Canyon, next to the Rio Fernando de Taos, at 8,350 feet elevation. Unlike the other Taos RV parks, located in the open, high desert, this park has a “mountain” feel. The campground is long and narrow, with a high, heavily forested mountainside as it’s southern boundary - some of the campsites have been carved out of the hillside. Plenty of trees and shade, a blessing in summer. Views are of the mountainside, trees, wildflowers and neighbors. I feel uncomfortably closed in, but many campers would welcome the shade and coolness.

Lighting/Noise: It is completely, totally dark at night. Though the park is close to the road that carries traffic up Taos Canyon (part of the famous “Enchanted Circle“ loop drive), traffic noise is non-existent after dark.

Favorite Sites: Site 40 is nice, on the far end. Big rigs need to be in the center row. Smaller rigs will fit in any of the perimeter sites.

Hiking/Walking: A trail circumnavigates a small pond at one end of the park, and a short “nature trail” climbs the side of the hill. Neither is long enough for exercise, and the narrow road up the canyon is not safe for walking. Hiking is available nearby. Drive around 4-5 miles back to historic old town Taos for pleasant walking.

Comments: We would not be likely to return. Verizon phones/aircard don’t work here, inconvenient during a week-long stay, and the narrow canyon feels too closed-in to me (Laurie) - but these things would not bother many campers.
This is a funny little place… funky buildings that need updating and a few rigs that appear to be housing of last resort for the occupants. Yet the energetic host and the park owner work tirelessly to improve the spaces and have good reason to be proud of the comfortable, useful, “common space” they have created. Some spaces are neat and tidy, with appealing landscaping; others are occupied by a van pulled in close to a tarp-covered tent. In spite of the borderline buildings and some of the rigs, the overall feeling is safe and secure, cool and shady. If you don’t care about cell service or Internet in your rig, and you can stay long enough to take advantage of the reasonable weekly rate, this might be a good spot for you. It certainly is the prettiest of the 4 commercial RV parks we visited in Taos.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Our Opinion: Rave. Incredible beauty, but big rigs beware: you will fit in very few sites.

Date of Stay: September 1 through 3, 2008

Weather During Stay: Cool days (low 70’s), breezy, sunny, night time lows in the 40’s.

Site Description: Most of the 88 sites in the two loops of this older campground are small, suitable for tents and small RV’s. Roads and sites are paved. We are in site 35, one of very few that will accommodate our size. No hookups. Pick your site carefully for views or privacy. The views of the dunes from Loop 1 are a little better than the views from Loop 2.

Very clean restrooms with flush toilets. Water available near restrooms. Dump station positioned for arrivals or departures, along with dumpsters, recycling and an air compressor so 4-wheelers can refill their tires as they some off the sand road.

Rate: $14 per night per site; we paid $7 with our Golden Age Pass. There is a separate fee for entry to the park, $3 per person (waived with a Golden Age Pass).

Phone/radio/TV: Verizon phones and aircard work here thanks to a new cell tower. No obstruction for our TV satellite, though it could be a problem in a few of the shadier spaces. Couldn’t find a local NPR station. We didn’t put up the TV antenna.

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: The campground is at 8,200 feet, on the side of a hill. Many evergreens provide shade without obscuring the view. Fantastic views of the dunes to the east and the Sangre de Cristo peaks to the west.

Lighting/Noise: Very dark, very quiet, very nice. Brilliant stars.

Favorite Sites: We lucked out with site 35, one of very few that works for a motorhome our size.

Hiking/Walking: Wonderful hiking, either on the dunes, beside the dunes, along the flank of the mountains or up to Mosca pass.

Comments: We hadn’t heard of Great Sand Dunes National Park until this summer, and we are SO glad we came. The dunes are sublime, the campground lovely, and the soaring Sangre de Cristos a fabulous backdrop. Another wonderful National Park.