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, July 29, 2010


Looking towards the little office at Woodland Park Our Opinion: Neutral.  If you want an RV site in Grand Marais with utilities, this is the (only) place.

Date of Stay: July 29 through 30, 2010.

Weather During Stay:  Mostly sunny and very pleasant - highs in the low to mid 70’s, lows in the 50’s.

Site Description:  The city of Grand Marais operates this park, with 144 RV sites.  A separate, somewhat secluded area has 19 primitive sites (tents only).  The large, grassy campground is on a bluff above Lake Superior, with some view spaces and plenty of trees to provide some shade to most of the sites.  We are in site 31, a large “lakefront” site with a view through a gap in the trees to the blue water and sandy beach of Lake Superior. 

109 sites have 20/30/50 amps, water, and cable TV; the 16 remaining RV sites have no services.  Most of the sites are spacious - not particularly deep, but wide – but there are a few narrow, awkward sites that were last to be claimed.  Most (not all) sites look reasonably level, but frequently are lumpy.  All sites are back-ins, with a heavy-duty picnic table and a fire ring.

Site 31 at Woodland Park Roads are dirt/gravel, and sites are mostly grass with patches of dirt.  The campground includes two bathhouses (coin op showers, heavily used), a dump station, and access to the Lake Superior shoreline and beach.  A recreation area, including a softball diamond, is adjacent to the park.

Rate: $25/night for “lakefront” sites (the view of the lake is mostly obscured by trees, but is definitely the best view); $24/night for the remaining RV sites with W/E.  Tent sites and non-electric sites are $18/night.  Weekly and monthly rates are available.  No reservations taken - it is all first come, first served.

Phone/radio/TV:  Strong Verizon signal.  Our roof-mounted satellite TV worked, but this would not be true in all the sites. No problem, cable TV is included.  Not sure about WiFi, but I don’t believe it is available in the campground.  Computer access is available in the office for $3/half hour (yikes!).  No NPR station.

Lake View Sites at Woodland Park Elevation/landscape/terrain: This is a flat, grassy, partly shaded campground at 800 ft. elevation on a bluff above Lake Superior.  Views are of other rigs, trees, and - if you have a lake front site - a bit of the beautiful blue lake and sandy beach. 

Lighting/noise:  Reasonably dark and very quiet at night. Lots of noise during the day from all the campers, dogs and kids.

Favorite Sites:  Because the park was very close to full when we were here, the lakefront sites were the most appealing.  Most campsites were crammed with tents, clotheslines, small trailers, boats, cars and ATV’s, so sites without the open view to the front looked mighty crowded.  Sites on the eastern end of the lakefront row seemed to have the best views of the lake.

Hiking/Walking: Excellent!  Stairways lead down to the beach, good for strolling (and swimming) or walking the short distance to town.  If you don’t want to walk on sand, take the sidewalk into town for sightseeing.  Beautiful hiking trails are a short drive away in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

Beach at Grand Marais Comments:  This large park would be a gem during the off season, but was crowded with vacationing families when we visited.  Lots of activity, lots of daytime noise, lots of dogs, and lots of kids and adults cutting through campsites (what’s up with that??), the usual perils of summertime camping.  We both had to ask kids camped nearby to quit throwing their softball towards (and into) our site, and Odel eventually had to give ‘em heck when the ball hit our motorhome.  Where were their parents?  You get the picture!  On the plus side, NO bugs – amazing!  It made a good base camp for exploring Pictured Rocks and we enjoyed the little town of Grand Marais.  Don’t be afraid to drive to the “end of the road” for a visit.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Lots of trees and green grass. Our Opinion: Neutral.  The park itself is nice, but their list of “rules” is long, detailed, and tiresome.

Date of Stay: July 26 and 27, 2010.

Weather During Stay:  Summer weather.  Highs in the low 80’s, lows in the upper 60’s.

Site Description:  The 50 RV sites in this level, grassy campground are a mix of FHU, W/E,  E only, and primitive.  50 amps available at some sites for an extra charge.  Trees provide shade for some of the sites.

We were in site 10, a wide, level, grassy pull-through with FHU (30 amps).  Utility boxes are between sites, shared by rigs facing in the opposite direction.  Sites are very spacious, with no sense of crowding.  All sites have a picnic table and a fire ring. 

Streets are gravel, arranged in three concentric circles.  The bathhouse/laundry is located in the “bulls-eye”, along with a playground.  There is a dump station on site.  Trading library in the office.

Spacious sites 11, 10 and 9 Rate: Rates are tricky to figure.  This park participates in PA, but not the FHU sites, which we needed on this stop.  We paid $24 for a 30 amp FHU site.  Want to use your AC?  Add $2/day.  Want cable TV?  Another $2/day.  Upgrade to 50 amps? Another $2/day (and AC is not included in that price).  It’s the kind of nickel-and-diming pricing that drives us crazy.

Phone/radio/TV:  No Verizon signal here for phones or aircard.  The park has WiFi (7 am to 9 pm) at the office; the signal doesn’t reach to most of the sites.  Don’t count on anything other than email and a bit of internet research, as the WiFi service has a data limit on it, so high-data-usage applications are prohibited (understandably).  Our roof-mounted satellite TV worked with no problem since we were in a very open site (so paid $2/day extra for A/C).  No reliable NPR stations.

Elevation/landscape/terrain: This is a flat, grassy, partly shaded campground at 800 ft. elevation.  Views are of other rigs, grass, and trees - pleasantly green. 

Lighting/noise:  Very dark and quiet at night.

Dump Station is right along the campground road. Favorite Sites:  No favorites here.  The utilities you want will dictate your choice of sites.

Hiking/Walking: There is a short “nature trail” on the property, but the best hiking is around 20 miles away in Tahquamenon State Park, site of a well-known U.P. attraction, Tahquamenon Falls.

Comments:  The park itself - and the facilities - are quite nice and appealing, but the long list of rules and the reminder signs posted throughout the campground make you feel as though you are doing something wrong most of the time.  You can’t even put a small mat for wiping you feet on the grass by your steps (hurts the grass).  Add the extra $2/day for anything “extra”, and we ended up feeling as though our money was welcome, but we campers were a real pain! 

Friday, July 23, 2010


Soo Elks Parking and tall ship Our Opinion: Rave.  What a view!

Date of Stay: July 21 through July 25, 2010.

Weather During Stay: Some sunshine, morning fog, a shower now and then.  Highs in the 70‘s, lows in the 60‘s.

Sites: Just four sites, one with 30 amps, one with 50 amps, and two with 30/50 amps.  All four sites have water and cable TV.  All are suitable for big rigs, with room for slides and awnings.  Each site has a wooden picnic table.  No sewer connection and no on-site dump station.

Sites are on a small peninsula in the St. Mary’s River, the waterway between Lake Huron and Lake Superior.  The short dirt road to the sites is potholed and rough.  Sites are sloped and very bumpy, but large enough to find a fairly flat area for parking.  We needed a board or two to supplement our jacks in the leveling effort.  Lots of Canada Goose poop in the long grass of the sites.  All worth it because of the fantastic view!

Rate: $22 for electricity and water, cable TV and WiFi. 

Soo Elks Site 2Phone/radio/TV: Strong Verizon phones and aircard signal.  No obstructions to block TV satellite.  Lots of cable TV stations, so we didn’t check antenna reception.  Didn’t use the WiFi, but our neighbor reported a strong signal from the lodge.  Local NPR on 98.3 FM.

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: Large bumpy, grass and dirt field at water’s edge.  Elevation around 600 ft.  Views are of the wide St. Mary’s River between the U. S. and Canada, the HUGE freighters using the Soo Locks to travel between Lake Superior and Lake Huron, and the lights of Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, Canada across the water.  Spectacular!

Lighting/Noise: Dark and quiet.

Favorite Sites: Site 1 has no neighboring rigs on the water side, but has just 30 amps.  Sites 2-4 all have 50 amps, so were best for us.  All sites have fantastic views up the river and to the Canadian side of the river.

Hiking/Walking: A sidewalk begins at the Elks Lodge and goes all the way west into downtown and the fascinating Soo Locks, just under two miles. 

Comments: The view here is so fabulous and fun, with HUGE (600 - 1000 ft) freighters passing by at regular intervals.  We walked to the locks to see them in operation.  The Elks Lodge is active and appealing, with a wonderful outdoor patio and bar with a view.  Golf course nearby.  Dump at the city RV park less than ½ mile away.  According to the lodge, non-Elks can use the RV sites here, but Elks have priority.  I don’t know how that plays out… 

Elks Patio and parking View from our rig

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


The office and water at Loon's Point. Our Opinion: Recommend if you want a quiet hangout.  Not much going on around here, but beauty everywhere you look.

Date of Stay: July 19 and 20, 2010.

Weather During Stay:  Perfect summer weather.  Highs in the low 70’s, lows in the low 60’s.

Site Description:  The 54 RV sites in this level, grassy campground are a mix of FHU and W/E, some with 50 amps, a third of the sites on the shore of the Les Cheneaux Channel of Lake Huron.  Scattered trees provide shade for some of the sites.

We were in “deluxe” site 24, one row back from the waterfront sites, on the end of a row.  All sites are on grass and are level, all sites are back-ins, all sites have a picnic table and a fire ring.  Streets are gravel, including a quarter mile long driveway.  Tents are allowed in a separate, nicely shaded area near the bathhouse, which appears well maintained (we didn’t use it).   There is a dump station on site.

Our end site, 24 - waterfront sites on the left. The tiny office has a small trading library.  There is a small, sandy swimming beach and a boat dock with access to Lake Huron.  Paddleboats and kayaks can be rented.  Fish cleaning station.  Many of the campers appear to be seasonal, but all sites are well maintained.

Rate: Rates range from $28/night to $37/night, depending on location and utilities.  The park participates in PA, but not quite at half price.  Using PA, we paid $20/night for a “deluxe” (one row back from the waterfront) 30 amp, FHU site.  If you plan to visit and to use PA, you might wish to inquire on the phone about pricing.  Stay 6 days, get one free.  Monthly rates available.

Phone/radio/TV:  Strong Verizon signal for phones and aircard, and our roof-mounted satellite TV worked with no problem.  We got 8 or 10 TV stations on the air antenna, including 2 PBS stations.  No cable TV, no wifi.  NPR on 91.7.

Dock and beach in the morning. Elevation/landscape/terrain: This is a flat, grassy, partly shaded campground at 600 ft. elevation on the shore of Lake Huron.  Views are of other rigs, trees, and the Les Cheneaux Channel. 

Lighting/noise:  Very dark and quiet at night.

Favorite Sites:  The “premium” waterfront sites (2-18) have the best views, but most were occupied so that  row seemed a little tight.  Our row, one back from the waterfront, was only half full, so felt much more spacious.   

Hiking/Walking: Poor.  There is are no hiking trails that we could discover anywhere in the vicinity. 

Looking back at the campground from the dock. Comments:  Cedarville, 1.2 miles west, is a very small town (school, grocery store, post office and a few businesses) in the southeastern UP.  Coming from a no-sewer site, we used Passport America to find a reasonably priced FHU site where we would be able to catch up on laundry and rig cleaning.  Loon’s Point worked very well. Don’t come for the excitement.  Pretty, friendly, and quiet. 

Friday, July 16, 2010


Entrance to Magnus Park Our Opinion: Recommend.  The campground is nothing special, but the location is spectacular. 

Date of Stay: July 15 through 18, 2010.

Weather During Stay:  Mostly sunny and warm - highs in the 70’s and 80’s, lows in the 60’s.

Site Description:  The 68 RV sites in this city-owned park are a mix of FHU and W/E.  All sites have 20 and 30 amps.  Some of the sites are heavily shaded (by trees and a high bluff); others are in full sun.  Sites are on grass and dirt, each with a picnic table and fire ring.  About half the sites are level; many are sloped or lumpy.  We were in lumpy site 66, in full sunshine, able to level with the aid of a couple of boards.

The on-site bathhouse is old but clean, as are the showers.  Playground and dump station on site.  Small registration booth, two dumpsters at the far end of the campground (next to the water treatment plant).  Three roads: one smooth asphalt, one patch and potholed, one dirt/gravel.

RV's with the hospital on the bluff above the park. The campground is on the shoreline of Lake Michigan, with a swimming area.  A smooth, paved, bike trail runs directly through the park.  That’s the good news.  The bad news:  the campground backs up to a high bluff, topped by a huge hospital/medical complex with very noisy AC/climate control.  The far end of the campground abuts the city waste water and sewer plant.

Rate: $22/night for W/E; $24/night for FHU. 

Phone/radio/TV:  Strong Verizon signal.  Our roof-mounted satellite TV worked, but this would not be true in about half the sites.  No cable TV, no wifi.  NPR on 103.9.

Elevation/landscape/terrain: This is a flat, grassy, partly shaded campground at 800 ft. elevation on the shore of Lake Michigan.  Views are of other rigs, trees, and the view across the lake. 

Site 66 at Magnus Park Lighting/noise:  Our site is reasonably dark at night, as are most of the others.  Noise is another thing entirely.  We hear the hospital’s air-conditioning all day and night.  Fortunately, the consistent, monotonous hum quickly faded into white noise and we both slept surprisingly well!

Favorite Sites:  No special sites here - all have pros and cons.  Our site was spacious and good for satellite TV, but we dealt with hospital noise and a west-facing exposure, pretty warm in summer.  Others were in deep shade, cooler but no chance of satellite RV reception.  Sites at the far end dealt with odors from the sewer plant.

Hiking/Walking: Excellent!  Follow the sidewalk and bike trail a mile into appealing, downtown Petoskey, through parks and past the marina.  In the other direction, the bike trail goes for miles and miles along the shore of Lake Michigan, with benches, picnic tables, and viewpoints at intervals along the trail.

Beach and bike trail Comments:  It’s all about location at Magnus Park.  The campground itself is nothing special, and has several “issues”: the never-ending noise from the hospital, the sometimes noticeable smell from the sewer plant, the lumpy sites.  Still, we would return again (this is our second visit; our first was 7 years ago and nothing has changed). 

The location, less than a mile from the lovely town of Petoskey, right on the shore of Lake Michigan, is great.  Go for a swim. Walk or bike into town, watch kites flying in Bayfront Park, visit the farmer’s market on Friday, an art festival or whatever else if happening in Petoskey during your stay.  It is a very convenient park in an exceptionally lovely area, and the price is a bargain for this area.

Some shaded sites Park road could use repair.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Our Opinion: Neutral, or Recommended if you are a golfer. Pretty and well maintained, but nothing here made me wish we had planned a longer stay.

Two rows of RV sites.Date of Stay: July 12 through July 14, 2010.

Weather During Stay: Pleasant summer weather, with highs in the 80’s and lows in the 60’s.

Site Description: This small campground (23 sites) is part of a larger resort with a golf course, lodging, restaurant, and home sites. All sites are FHU with 20/30/50 amps and cable TV. Sites are reasonably spacious, with rooms for slides and awnings, a paved patio, and heavy metal mesh patio tables and chairs at each site, a nice touch.

Roads and sites are paved. Our site (#20) was sufficiently sloped to require boards under our back wheels and jacks to allow us to level adequately. Considering that the RV park obviously was designed with big rigs in mind, that was a surprise.

Sites are separated by well manicured, thick green lawns. Plenty of trees in the area, but most of the sites are open and sunny (which we like). Rigs must be self-contained, as there is no bathhouse/bathroom. No laundry facilities either. Comfortable bird blind, a couple of horseshoe pits, a canopied shelter, recycling barrels, and a central fire ring, complete the amenities.

Site 20Rate: The standard rate is $35/night. The park participates in both PA and CCUSA, Monday through Thursday, 2 night maximum. We arrived on Monday and stayed 3 nights, so paid half price for the first 2 nights, full price for the third: $70 total.

Phone/radio/TV: Blazing fast Verizon service. No obstacles in site 20 for our roof-mounted satellite TV dish, but that might not be true in all sites. No problem, cable TV is included. WiFi available (included), but we didn’t use it. NPR on 91.5 from Alpena.

Elevation/landscape/terrain: This is a flat, grassy, nicely landscaped and maintained campground at around 800 feet above sea level. Views are of your neighbors, trees and green grass.

Lighting/noise: Each site has a chest-high light on the utility pedestal that reflected brightly on the bedroom side of the motor home. After the first night, Odel turned it off… ah, darkness. Reasonably quiet at night, with the occasional passing car on the main road or the nearby residential area.

View between the rows Favorite Sites: We didn’t pick a favorite, as the sites are pretty similar. The front row sites seemed a bit more level, and face the golf course - nice view, but a greater possibility of damage from an errant golf shot (no doubt minimal).

Hiking/Walking: Very pleasant, as you can walk the residential streets of the resort or walk the golf course, following the last golfers of the day. Wear bug spray!

Comments: This is a pretty, pleasant RV park, and Odel enjoyed a couple rounds of golf, but there isn’t really anything here to induce us to return at the rates they charge. $35/night seems high for a resort with no pool, no bath/shower house, and no laundry. We did appreciate the special touches: patio style outdoor furniture instead of a wooden picnic table; the central recycling center; and Odel paid under $20 for 18 holes of golf with a pullcart. No complaints, but no accolades, either. We might use it again as a stopover if we were passing through when PA/CCUSA rates were honored.

Sunday, July 4, 2010


Lots of empty spaces! Our Opinion: Recommend, if you are looking for a reasonably priced, no-frills campground in this otherwise expensive area.

Date of Stay: July 1 through July 7, 2010.

Weather During Stay:  Mostly sunny, windy and warm, with a few HOT days thrown in.

Site Description:  There is nothing fancy at all about this 133 site campground.  No frills - in fact, the “restrooms” are outhouses, so being self-contained is a big plus.  Don’t try to stay here during the county fair, but the campground is incredibly under-utilized the rest of the time.

Sites are level, gravel on grass.  All sites have 20/30/50 amps.  Picnic tables are available, as are fire rings.

Water spigots are spaced every 6 sites or so throughout the park so you can fill your tank.  Because so few campers use the park, we all had plenty of space.  There are some large trees on the perimeter of the campground, and a few of the sites have a tree, but the majority of the sites are in the open.

Site 118, with 120 as our parking space! Roads are gravel, and a roomy dump station is available on-site.  Leave your trash out by 9 am and the host will pick it up in his golf cart for disposal!  No rules prohibit washing your car.

Rate: $20/night or $125/week - a true bargain in this area.

Phone/radio/TV:  Our Verizon phones and aircard work well here.  No obstacles for our roof-mounted satellite TV, and four stations on the air antenna. No cable TV, no Wi-Fi.  NPR on 91.5.

Elevation/landscape/terrain: This is a flat, grassy, open campground at 600 ft elevation.  Views are of other rigs, distant fairgrounds buildings, and surrounding forest.

Lighting/noise:  No lighting at night (except for lights on other rigs); very quiet as it is well off the road.

Favorite Sites:  No special sites here.  We took an east facing perimeter site, 118.  Sites are technically back-ins but, because so few sites are occupied, you can drive through one site into another.

Looking towards the host site from site #118. Hiking/Walking: Plenty of uninspiring walking in the fairgrounds, with good walking, hiking, and bike riding a short drive away.  Traverse City has an extensive trail (walk/bike) system.

Comments:  The best things about this park are the price, the strong voltage, the level sites, the open space and the very friendly, very hardworking, hosts.  Completely no frills, but it worked well for us over the July 4th holiday.  Campgrounds in this area are very overpriced; the fairground was a welcome oasis.  This is NOT a place for families!  Traverse City and Grand Traverse Bay at 8 miles north.  Groceries within 4 miles.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Trailway office Our Opinion: Rave.  Location, location, location!  Beauty in every direction. Great walking.

Date of Stay: June 27 through 30, 2010.

Weather During Stay:  Wonderful.  Mostly sunny, highs around 70, lows around 50. 

Site Description:  This small campground (53 sites), owned by the city of Montague, is tucked into “downtown” Montague, between the main street and a paved, rails-to-trails state park bike trail that runs a total of 22 miles, across the street from White Lake.  Sites are reasonably large, with plenty of grass, trees and flowers.  Big rigs fit nicely.

Each site has FHU with 20/30/50 amps.  Cable TV and WiFi are included.  Roads are gravel, sites are gravel and grass with a picnic table on a concrete slab.

From the bike trail We were in site 50.  Trees on both sides meant we couldn’t use our roof-mounted satellite, but the cable hookup had around 60 channels.  All the sites appeared to be level.

Rate: The standard overnight fee for rigs 38’ and larger is $32.  We found out about this campground through Camp Club USA.  Half price applies for only three days, so we paid $16/night for our first three nights, then full price.  Weekly rates are $192.  Monthly and seasonal rates are available.  Costly, but this is known as a vacation area.

Phone/radio/TV:  Our Verizon phones and aircard work well here.  Our roof-mounted TV satellite didn’t work in site 50, but would in others.  Cable TV is included. WiFi available (included), but we didn’t use it.  NPR on 95.3 from Whitehall, the adjacent small town.

Our row and site 50Elevation/landscape/terrain: This is a flat, grassy, shady campground 650 feet above sea level. Views are of other rigs, trees, and nearby businesses.

Lighting/noise:  Lights on the nearby state park restroom and other businesses stay on all night; we kept our bedroom curtains closed against the light.  Some of the nearby business buildings generate a noticeable hum all night long – not enough that we had to close the windows.

Favorite Sites: We liked site 50 just fine, long and level with some afternoon shade.  Not much difference between the sites that are available to travelers (many of the sites, beautifully maintained, are occupied by “seasonals”).

Hiking/Walking: Absolutely great.  Ride the bike trail, or walk it through the pleasant town of Whitehall.  Many trails in the area, and walking through both Montague and Whitehall is fun and interesting, with many parks and benches along the way.

World's largest working weathervane. Comments:  The park is pretty, but what really makes this stand out is the location.  The small Montague Grocery is right next door, just across the bike trail, as is an ice cream stand.  Montague has a comfortable small book store/coffee shop, a natural food store, and the combined towns of Montague and Whitehall had several good-looking cafes.  White Lake, across the street, has a couple of marinas, and access to nearby Lake Michigan (with a sandy beach).  Odel played golf on a velvety public golf course for $16 for 18 holes.  Walk to the farmer’s market on Wednesday and Saturday.  I could easily spend a month here - so much to do, so convenient, so mellow.  Maybe when we get older and slow down!  :)