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, December 30, 2010


6665 signNot a campground, the “Fortuna Foothills” (usually just called The Foothills) is a sprawling, RV-friendly development of privately owned lots 10 miles east of downtown Yuma, AZ.  The area is bounded on the north by Interstate 8 and accessed from either Fortuna Road or Foothills Blvd, stretching south for a couple of miles.  The area was developed from I-8 to the south over several years, so the newest lots are south of 48th Street, with the newest and most “upscale” residential use in the southeast area.

Spacious RV sites can be rented from private owners, usually for 1-3+ months in winter.  Craigslist.com is a good source, or drive the streets and call phone numbers on the “RV Site for Rent” signs. 

Our Opinion: We liked the area south of around 44th Street, which is the part of the Foothills we explored.  We were happy with our inexpensive stay on a no-frills lot in this sunny snowbird destination.

Map picture
Date of Stay: December 25 to January 2, 2011.

Weather During Stay:  Ranged from sunny and warm to sunny and cool/cold, with a day of rain thrown in.  Usually breezy, sometimes windy.  Yuma is often windy is winter and spring.

Site Description:  We rented a gravel site on a gated double lot that had FHU for 4 RV’s, plus trash and recycling bins.  Lots of room, no frills.

The variety of residential options on these lots is amazing, ranging from graveled, no frills lots (like the one we stayed on), to lots with RV sites and patios, to casitas, park models, modular homes, and site-built homes, some selling for upwards of $300,000. 

What they all have in common: RV’s are allowed to park on all lots.  Streets are paved and wide enough to easily maneuver a big rig while turning into a gated lot.

No-frill lot in the Foothills. Walled, gated, but few improvements.
No frills lot in the foothills. Front wall, gated – a step up.

Rate:  We were told that the average monthly rate January through March is $325, which includes utilities.  Because we stayed prior to January, when the snowbirds flock to Yuma, we were able to rent short-term.  The typical daily rate appears to be $10-15, including utilities.  It is very difficult to find a short-term (less than monthly) rental during the high season.

Phone/radio/TV:  Good Verizon signal here for both phones and aircard.  Our site had no obstacles for our roof-mounted satellite TV, but some of the landscaped sites might have palm trees to avoid. The air antenna picked up several channels, including networks and a PBS station.  NPR on 88.9.

Double wide, landscaping, RV space. Typical Foothills lot that needs some TLC
Double wide modular home with RV space and landscaping. Typical lot that needs some TLC

Elevation/landscape/terrain: Not far above sea level, Yuma is one of the sunniest places in North America.  Foothills Blvd. rises slightly as it heads south from I-8, so the distant view improves as you continue farther south.  Local views are of neighboring rigs and homes; distant views are of arid, very rocky mountains. 

Lighting/noise:  NO streetlights in our area - YAY!  All nighttime lighting is low, on the 3-4 ft. high brick fences.  Very nice.  This is a very quiet area; no disturbing noise at night.

Hiking/Walking:  Walking on the wide roads is safe, easy, and interesting - good for biking, too.  Lots of variety and pretty views.

Foothills scene 1 Multi-hundred thousand dollar plus house in the Foothills
Typical scene of RV’s and a home on a wide street with palms. Couple hundred thousand dollar plus home, fully landscaped.

Comments:  Because of the difference in age between the lots closest to I-8 and those farthest away, there is a wide variety of appeal between the older lots and the newer lots.  We stayed in one of the newest areas and enjoyed it, but drove some of the older neighborhoods and found them less appealing and somewhat run down, varying from lot to lot.  If you rent via the internet, be sure to ask for photos of the site, the lot, the neighboring lots and the view across the street.

Plenty of businesses in the area, including a large Fry’s grocery store at I-8 and Fortuna Road, and a post office that accepts General Delivery mail on Fortuna Road.

Saturday, December 25, 2010


Pool at SandsOur Opinion: Neutral.  Since we don’t use many of the common area offerings, it’s a little high-priced for us.  Friendly and appealing, though.

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.

Typical Street and sitesI 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.

Site 163Phone/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). 

View on a fine dayFavorite 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.