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.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


OfficeOur Opinion: Neutral.  A relaxed RV park with very friendly and helpful staff.

Date of Stay:  Sept. 24-26, 2011

Weather During Stay:  Highs in the upper 70’s to mid-80’s, 50’s at night.

Site Description:  This rustic-looking RV park has a mix of tent and FHU RV sites on level gravel and grass with plenty of large shade trees.  The entrance, though a small mobile home park, isn’t glamorous, but we find the RV park meets our needs.

We were in site 123, a long 50 amp FHU site with afternoon shade and no trees blocking satellite TV access.  Water pressure and voltage was good.  Our site had an aging wooden picnic table.

Rows and TreesThe park’s office, store and common area buildings are “rustic western” style, and tubs of flowers bloom along the roadway.  It is obvious that the owners care about the look of their comfortable RV park.  Nice laundry facility, spa, small swimming pool, clean restrooms, and a small store on site.  Propane sold on site.

Rate:  We paid $31/night with an AAA card and discount for paying by check.   

Phone/radio/TV:  Good Verizon signal here for both phones and aircard.  WiFi available for $2/day; we didn’t need it.  Cable TV with 40 channels.  Pick a site carefully if you have a roof-mounted satellite dish as there are a lot of tall shade trees here.  Local NPR on 88.9.

Elevation/landscape/terrain:  This flat park is in a dry area of eastern Oregon at 3,400’,  Located on the edge of town, residential on one side, commercial on the other.  Views are of neighbors and trees.

Lighting/noise:  A few tall, bright lights keep it from total darkness at night.  Mostly quiet except for 4-6 distant trains per night.

Entrance and ExitFavorite Sites:  For our size rig, sites 115-127. 

Hiking/Walking: Walk out the gate on the east side of the park, a couple blocks south and a few more east to find the 2.5 mile Leo Adler Memorial Trail.  Follow the trail south along the bank of the Powder River into the Baker City Historic Center.  Very pleasant.

Comments:  Baker City is a very friendly, unpretentious town, and Mt. View RV Park is the same.  There are two RV parks in town, not far from each other.  We pick Mt. View because we can walk to downtown Baker City from the park.  The staff here is very friendly and helpful, and the owners appear to care about the park without turning it into a resort.  This was our second stay, and we would return.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Plymouth Campground road and sites.Our Opinion: Rave.  Perfect for a short stay with a Golden Age pass.

Date of Stay:  Sept. 22-23, 2011

Weather During Stay:  Highs in the upper 80’s, cool nighttime lows.

Site Description:  Just 32 sites, mostly pullouts parallel to the loop road on both sides (only three back-ins).  Fifteen sites have 30 amp water and electric; the remaining 17 sites are 30 amp FHU.  Half the sites can be reserved, the remainder are first-come, first served. 

The campground loop is paved, as are the level sites.  Each site has a substantial picnic table and a campfire ring on gravel surrounded by grass.  Plenty of shade trees. Voltage (even on a hot day) was good, as was the water pressure.

Without a reservation, we chose site 15, facing east with afternoon shade and an opening through the shade trees for our TV satellite dish.  We liked it and the park so well that we decided to stay an extra day.

Site 15 at Plymouth ParkOne bathhouse serves the park.  Nice playground.  Large dump station.  A day use area of the park is down the road about a mile, with a swimming area and boat ramp.  This campground appears to be popular with fisher folk.

Rate:  $24/night for FHU; $22/night for 30 amp E and water.  Since this is a COE (federal) facility, we paid just half of that with our Golden Age pass: $12/night FHU.  Stay limit unknown.

Phone/radio/TV:  Good Verizon signal here for both phones and aircard.  Our site had no obstacles for our roof-mounted satellite TV dish, but many did so pick carefully.  No reception on the air antenna.  NPR on 90.9.

Elevation/landscape/terrain:  This park is adjacent to the mighty Columbia River at 260’ elevation.  Irrigation in the park keeps the grassy sites green, a welcome contrast to the surrounding brown scrub this time of year.  Near views are of grass, trees and neighbors; distant views are of dry scrub and hills.

Bath house and RV'sLighting/noise:  Very dark and quiet at night except for the trains that passed nearby 3-5 times a night - which didn’t awaken either of us, though our windows were open.

Favorite Sites:  Except for exposure and hookups, the sites are pretty much the same.  Given the warm weather, we wanted to face east, and were looking for afternoon shade.  Sites 1-16 face east; sites 17-32 face west. 

Hiking/Walking: We did a few loops of the park, but the good walking is at McNary Dam, about 15 minutes away (by car) on the Oregon side of the Columbia River, 2-3 miles of pleasant nature trails and parks along the big river.

Comments:  We planned this as a one night stop, on our way south.  It was so restful, pleasant, and inexpensive with our GA pass that we decided to stay another day.  I dithered about whether this should be rated “recommend” or  “rave”, but considering we changed our plans to stay another day, it deserves a rave.  We would return whenever in the area.

Friday, September 23, 2011


FHU loop at Lincoln RockOur Opinion: Rave.  Beautiful green grass, trees for shade, on the banks of the mighty Columbia River.

Date of Stay:  Sept. 19-21, 2011

Weather During Stay:  Sunny and warm, with a pleasant nighttime cool down.

Site Description:  A total of 94 sites are arranged in 3 loops.  Sites 1-27 have no utilities; sites 28 through 59 are FHU with 30 amps; sites 60-94 have water and 30 amp electric but no sewer.  Roads and sites are narrow asphalt; each site has a picnic table.  Voltage (even on a hot day) was good, as was the water pressure.

Most sites on the exterior of the RV loops are pullouts, fairly sharply curved.  Interior sites are back-ins.  Asphalt pads are only wide enough for the RV (quite narrow) and are surrounded by grass that is watered daily (be prepared to track in a LOT of grass).  Most sites are quite level.  Little privacy, but a pretty setting.

Site 83 Lincoln RockWe chose site 83, a W/E site, for our 3-day stay.  Because the weather was warm, our main criteria were shade, a site facing either north or east, and no obstacles for our TV satellite dish.  Few sites were available in the FHU loop and none of them met our needs, but site 83 (without sewer) had a shot to the TV satellite and afternoon shade.

This park also has a 4 cabins.  Each loop has a bathhouse with token-operated showers.  A huge days use area has sports fields, a boat launch ramp, and a swimming beach.  Dump station near the exit.

Rate:  $27/night for 30 amp E and water.  $28/night for FHU.  Stay limit unknown.

Phone/radio/TV:  Good Verizon signal here for both phones and aircard.  Our site had no obstacles for our roof-mounted satellite TV dish, but many did - so pick carefully.  Three snowy analog stations on the air antenna.  NPR on 90.3 and 90.7.

A pull through at Lincoln RockElevation/landscape/terrain:  This is a slightly rolling park with the FHU sites at the highest elevation, around 750’.  Near views are of grass, trees and neighbors; distant views are of the massive, dry hills of the Columbia River valley, dotted with deep green orchards.  Very appealing.

Lighting/noise:  Very dark and quiet at night.

Favorite Sites:  Looked like site 45, an FHU site with a nice view of the river, would be the winner, but there are many, many lovely sites here.

Hiking/Walking: This is a big park with nice walking paths throughout, though no trails of any distance.

Comments:  This state park is very near to Wenatchee (5-6 miles away), surrounded by orchards (lots of fruit stands nearby).  Reservations are strongly recommended during summer, but the reservation period ends on 9/15.  There were many sites available when we visited.  We would return.

Lincoln Rock State Park campground from across the Columbia Swimming area at Lincoln Rock

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Site 13 (far right), first fairway, pro shop and golf barn.Our Opinion: Recommend, especially if you are a golfer.

Date of Stay:  September 15-18, 2011.

Weather During Stay:  Two days of sunshine, two days of rain, cool nights.

Site Description:  Sun Country is a small golf and housing development in the Cascades, including 14 on-site RV sites.  Six of the sites are adjacent to the parking lot (with very easy parking access); the other half are accessed via a narrow road that circles the pro shop.  Sites are long back-ins on gravel and grass (mostly grass), reasonably level.

All sites are FHU (20 and 50 amp in all the utility boxes I checked) with cable TV.  Each has a sturdy picnic table.  Spacing is comfortable.

Golf barn and RV sitesAmenities include a putting green, a clubhouse that sells coffee and muffins, and a bathhouse, with several private, individual bathrooms (sink, toilet and shower).

Rate:  Friday through Sunday, the daily rate is $34/night.  Monday through Thursday, the rate drops to $29/night. 

Phone/radio/TV:  Good Verizon signal here for both phones and aircard, though the aircard access came to a screeching halt once or twice a day.  Free WiFi  is available in the clubhouse (we didn't use it).  Our site had no obstacles for our roof-mounted satellite TV dish.  Cable TV with 40 channels.   NPR on 90.7.

Elevation/landscape/terrain:  Located at 2,000 ft. in the Cascades just off I-90, this park has a mountain feel.  Watch the comings/goings of golfers on the practice green and first tee.  Views are of the course, custom built homes lining the fairways, and forested mountains beyond.  Interesting and appealing.

Lighting/noise:  Very dark at night, with a light hum of distant traffic on I-90 that did not bother us even with windows open.  The traffic noise is more noticeable during the day but, again, not bothersome.

Bath houseFavorite Sites:  We found all the sites appealing.  When we checked in, Pearl (front desk) told us most people prefer the sites behind the pro shop; since we had a reservation, she had given us one of those sites (site 13).

Hiking/Walking: Excellent.  Quite interesting to walk through the small neighborhood of homes lining the fairways and the banks of the Yakima River.  For a longer walk, pickup the Iron Horse State Park trail (on the edge of the development), a 100+ mile rail/trail developed for hiking, biking and horses.

Comments:  Odel played golf the day we arrived, on a very pretty, up and down course (18 holes).  Short drive to the small towns of Cle Elum (with a Safeway) and Roslyn, where Northern Exposure was filmed.  We would return.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Site 174Our Opinion: Neutral.  We won’t return, but you might love it.

Date of Stay:  Sept. 8-15, 2011

Weather During Stay:  A few warm days (mid-80’s) until more typical temperatures returned; mild nighttime lows.

Site Description:  Tall Chief RV Resort used to be a Thousand Trails Preserve, and feels more like a rustic state park than a typical commercial park - but with some extra amenities.

In a canopy of heavy forest and very tall trees, 176 site have water and electricity (about 20 of the sites have 50 amps, the rest have 30 amps).  Site size/length varies, but most are large and most a quite level.   Many have a substantial picnic table.  Most are very private, buried in tall trees.

Sites are on thin grass, moss and leaves.  Roads throughout the park are dirt and gravel; at the time of our visit, they were dry and extremely dusty. 

Site 59To visit friends, we had reserved a site for a week.  Sites are first-come/first-served.  When you check in, you get a map of the park, along with a list of which sites have 50 amps and which sites MIGHT allow you to use your roof-mounted TV satellite dish.  After touring all the “TV satellite might work” sites (all full), we settled into a 50 amp site, 174 - large and level (top photo).

The forest canopy was so dense that we had to have lights on inside even at mid-day.  After four days in the gloom, I couldn’t take it any longer.  With map in hand, we walked the entire park looking for a site with an open aspect to the southern sky, and found one not on the “satellite TV” list and not taken.  We moved to site 59, large and level, with 30 amps (somewhat unstable), some sunshine, and a narrow shot through the trees to the TV satellite.  The trade-off?  Site 59 is adjacent to the road to the office, more heavily used and dust-laden.

No sites have sewers, but there is a large, centrally located dump station.  A honey wagon is available for a fee ($25, I believe) and makes a scheduled run twice a week (sign up at the office). 

Pool areaThe park has a common area away from the dusty roads with a large, clean, swimming pool; an indoor hot tub; play ground; and pool tables.  The office and clubhouse are in another location, with a TV lounge (old TV, converter box, no batteries in remote control); vending machine; book trading library; and jigsaw puzzles. 

Rate:  We booked a week-long stay at a “special“ price of $149.00.  By the time taxes and other fees were added, the total was $188, almost $27/night for a rustic, W/E site. 

Phone/radio/TV:  Good Verizon signal here for both phones and aircard.  As far as I know, WiFi is not offered (if it is, it didn’t reach to our sites).  We got two or three channels on our air antenna in our first site; none in our second site; no cable TV and you’re VERY LUCKY to be able to use a roof-mounted satellite dish.  We saw several mobile satellite dishes set up on the shoulder of the dusty road.  Local NPR on 88.5.

Elevation/landscape/terrain:  This is a hilly park!  Elevation is probably around 300’.  Very heavily forested, the exception being the swimming pool area.  The forest makes for good privacy, but lots of gloom and no distant views.

Typical road and viewLighting/noise:  Very dark and quiet at night.

Favorite Sites:  None. 

Hiking/Walking: This is a large, hilly park, so walking for a little exercise is pleasant.

Comments:  Tall Chief has changed hands, from Thousand Trails to Encore, so is no longer a membership-only park.  Staff was friendly and seem to be making an effort to improve the camping experience (like adding speed bumps to the dusty road). 

The campground was no more than ¼ full when we visited.  If you like rustic, densely forested parks, this one works and it probably would be great for a family camping experience (good place for kids). 

I found it overwhelmingly gloomy and claustrophobic, and the lack of a sewer hookup and any TV service made a one week stay seem too long.  We were here to visit friends in the park, and we all felt that the two-times-a-week honey wagon service should be provided as part of the camping fee.   We would not return, but I can imagine others would enjoy the rustic camping experience.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Tall trees at TaidnapamOur Opinion: Recommend.  This nicely developed campground makes a good base camp for exploring Mt. Rainier National Park and the east side of Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.

Date of Stay:  Sept. 6-7, 2011

Weather During Stay:  Sunny and warm, with a pleasant nighttime cool down.

Site Description:  This park, owned by Tacoma Power, was expanded within the past couple years to double the number of RV sites.  Originally 51 sites, now the park has 96 FHU sites (perhaps a dozen have 50 amps), 43 W/E (30 amp) sites, and 24 walk-in tent sites.

Sites in the old (original) loop are more heavily forested, but all sites in both loops are in trees.  Roads are paved, all RV sites are paved, and most sites are very level.  Pull-through sites are curved pullouts along site the road; the back-in sites are a little better suited for large rigs. 

We picked site 215, a long, level back-in which happened to be one of the 50 amp sites, a nice surprise.  Sites spacing is good, and each site has a substantial picnic table and a fire ring,

Site 213 and 215The park has flush toilets, private (coin operated) shower rooms, an abundance of trash cans, and a big, clean, double dump station.  Voltage and water pressure are good.  Roads are paved and easy to navigate (slowly) in a big rig.  The campground is near Riffe Lake; the park has a boat launch and a fishing bridge.

Rate:  $28 per night for full hookups.  $5 per night discount for seniors (age 62+) or disabled (quite a few ADA-compliant sites)!  We paid $23/night for 50 amp FHU.  Stay limited to 10 consecutive days in summer; 10 days out of 30 days the rest of the year.  Reservations and information are available at www.tacomapower.com/parks.

Phone/radio/TV:  Though on “extended network”, our Verizon phones and aircard work here.  Very few (if any) sites have a clear sky view for a roof-mounted satellite TV dish.  No stations on the air antenna; no local NPR station.

Elevation/landscape/terrain:  This is a flat park at 800’ elevation.  Lots of tall evergreens.  Views are of neighbors (we didn’t have any), forest, and scampering squirrels.

Site 215Lighting/noise:  Very dark and quiet at night.

Favorite Sites:  Our site, 215, was very long, very level, very roomy - but many others were equally nice. 

Hiking/Walking: This big park is pleasant for walking - to the fishing bridge, the day use area, and the swimming area of the lake.  Quite a few mosquitoes at dawn and dusk during our stay.  We did our hiking at Mt. Rainier National Park, where the trails are unlimited.

Comments:  No doubt fisher folk and boaters love this park.  We came to visit Mt. Rainier, and it made a very comfortable base camp for our explorations.  The small town of Morton, 8 miles west, had a very well stocked small grocery store, Morton Country Store, along with a post office and a few restaurants.

Monday, September 5, 2011


Premium front row with others behindOur Opinion: Rave.  We got what we paid for at this small, pretty park on the outskirts of Astoria. 

Date of Stay:  The Labor Day holiday weekend, September 2 through 5, 2011.

Weather During Stay:  Unusually sunny and warm in Astoria, a real treat for us.  Cool nights and morning fog that burned off reasonably early.

Site Description:  We sprung for a “premium” site for this stay, adjacent to the green grass of a pretty, 9-hole golf course.  Utilities are situated so motor homes can pull in head first, facing the green expanse of the golf course.  Great setup, and a huge site, totally level.

Behind our row of 8 premium sites, 21 large, level FHU sites are arranged in two rows, 10 pull-through sites and 11 back-in sites adjacent to the road.  Another row of premium sites adjacent to another fairway have been added recently, 10 or so? 

Very nice site on golf courseRoads are paved; all sites are gravel with manicured grass between sites.  Spacing is good for a commercial RV park, particularly the premium sites.  No picnic tables or fire rings.  A large (very large) grassy area is provided for walking leashed pets.

Rate:  We paid $41/night for our premium site.  Seems a reasonable price for the amenities and location compared with other commercial parks we have visited this summer.  Golfing is $15 for 9 holes, $20 to go around twice.

Phone/radio/TV:  Good Verizon signal here for both phones and aircard.  They have WiFi (don’t know whether it is included in the fee or not), but we didn’t use it.  Our site had no obstacles for our roof-mounted satellite TV dish.  Cable TV with dozens of stations.  NPR on 89.7.

Elevation/landscape/terrain:  This sea level park is completely flat.  Views are of other rigs, the golf course, and the forest beyond.  Very appealing.

Another section of the parkLighting/noise:  Very dark and quiet at night.

Favorite Sites:  We loved our roomy site (A11) with its great golf course view.  A10 looked even larger.  We would not want to be in one of the back in sites adjacent to the road, B11 through B21 (though I’m sure the price is lower for these).

Hiking/Walking: Good for golfers!  Plenty of good walking within a short drive, though.

Comments:  We were happy we had chosen this park for our Labor Day holiday stay.  Well managed, attractive, quiet, close to all that the Astoria area has to offer - which is a lot.


Section of west loop Stub StewartOur Opinion: Rave.  Huge level sites, FHU, and unlimited hiking.

Date of Stay:  Sept. 1, 2011

Weather During Stay:  Sunny and warm, with a pleasant nighttime cool down.

Site Description:  Seventy-eight 50 amp FHU sites (almost all back-ins) are arranged around two loop roads, 43 in the west loop and 35 in the east loop.  All sites are HUGE, with large gravel pads.  Generous spacing between sites.  Most of the sites are very level.  The west loop also has a separate tent camping area (12 sites).

In both campground loops, sites angle off the loop road on both sides.  The east loop is very open; lots of sunshine and not much privacy.  The west loop has a thick row of trees running through the center of the loop, so sites on both the inside and outside of the road back up to trees, providing a lot more privacy.  Flush toilets and hot showers in each loop.  Each site has a substantial picnic table and a fire pit.

Big site 29 at Stub StewardWe choose site 49 in the west loop, facing east to capture the warmth of the morning sun and some afternoon shade from the trees at the back of our site.  Voltage and water pressure are good. 

Roads are paved and easy to navigate (slowly) in a big rig.  There is a playground in the east loop.  Just one collection point for trash and recycling, across from the “Welcome Center” as you enter the park.

This park also has a horse camp with 16 FHU sites and other amenities, and a “cabin village” of  12 one-room cabins and 3 two room cabins.

Rate:  $26/night for FHU.  Stay limit unknown.

Phone/radio/TV:  Good Verizon signal here for both phones and aircard.  WiFi was not working at the time of our visit.  Our site had no obstacles for our roof-mounted satellite TV dish.  No stations on the air antenna; no local NPR station.

Vernonia Banks State TrailElevation/landscape/terrain:  This is a hilly park!  Elevation is probably around 500’.  Most areas are heavily forested - the exception being the camping and cabin areas.

Lighting/noise:  Very dark and quiet at night.

Favorite Sites:  We loved our site, so big, level, and sunny.  We preferred the west loop, where the trees in the center provide much more privacy than the open east loop.

Hiking/Walking: The are trails everywhere in the park, for hikers, bikers and equestrians.  The centerpiece is the paved, 21-mile Vernonia/Banks State Trail.  A park brochure includes distance and difficulty information for all the trails.

Comments:  This fairly new park is a gem, with some of the largest sites we’ve seen in a state park.  Very friendly, helpful hosts.  As the photos show, the grass was dry and brown this time of year, but the park was appealing nonetheless.   Reservations can be made online, but very few sites were full on the day we visited during the week.

East Loop Stub Stewart Cabins at Stub Stewart