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, May 16, 2012


RV Camp and Cabins with RROur Opinion: Neutral.  A comfortable, mellow “mom and pop” stopover between Twin Falls and Boise.

Date of Stay: May 12 and 13, 2012.

Weather During Stay: Warm and sunny with pleasantly cool nights.

Sites: 14 pull-through sites, half of which are FHU (2 of these have both 30 and 50 amp, the remainder 30 amps) and half of which are W and E only (two of which have 50 amps).  Our site, number 6, had a new cable TV connection; I’m not sure how many others had cable TV.

Sites are level gravel, separated by grass lawns.  No picnic tables.  A dump station is available, as are bathrooms and showers.  The laundry room has one washer and one dryer and a small exchange library. Trees are scattered here and there in the campground, with tall trees on the perimeter.

Rate: We paid the Passport America rate, $15/night for 30 or 50 amps FHU.  Excellent price.

Site 6, RV CampPhone/radio/TV: Verizon worked for phone and aircard.  No obstacles for TV satellite in our site, but others - with trees - might have an issue.  Some channels were available on the air antenna, four of them excellent Idaho PBS.  No local NPR.  Cable TV available at site 6 and possibly others, for an extra fee of $1.50/day.

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: Located at around 2,500 ft., this small park is sandwiched between the main route to the nearby Three Islands Crossing State Park and a railroad track.  Flat and green, with views of neighboring homes and passing trains. 

Lighting/Noise: No obtrusive lighting at night.  This park is very near to a railroad track and train noise is noticeable.  During our two night stay, all horn blowing was done at a distance.  We both were surprised by how little the trains bothered us and how well we slept.  Surprisingly, we found the traffic on the nearby road more disturbing - but still not bad at night.

Favorite Sites: The biggest difference in sites is proximity to either the railroad or the road, and whether you need 50 amps or not.  If so, choose sites 5 or 6 (FHU) or 8 or 9 (W/E).

Entrance to RV C&C Office, Laundry, Restrooms at RV C&C
Hiking/Walking: You can wander off down the gravel road by the railroad, or drive to the nearby state park. 

Comments:  During our stay, Craig, the owner, was in residence and frequently working on his small, tidy campground.  Several sites were occupied by what appeared to be long-term rigs, but with none of the junk that often accumulates.  We found our stay relaxed and enjoyable.  Small Glenns Ferry, located at a strategic crossing of the Snake River, played an important role on the Oregon Trail; we enjoyed our visit to the state park‘s Oregon Trail interpretive center.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


Some of the campsites at Rock Creek ParkOur Opinion: Recommend.  This small park was a comfortable, convenient base for our exploration of Twin Falls.

Date of Stay: May 9, 10, 11, 2012.

Weather During Stay: Spring weather - sunny every day, windy and cold one day, lows around freezing and highs in the 60’s.

Sites: 25 sites, of which 6 or 7 are pull-throughs.  All face west; wide gravel strips between sites.  All of the pull-throughs are long enough for a 40’ rig, and quite flat.  The back-ins were somewhat shorter, and some of them were too sloped to accommodate us.

All sites have water and electricity; back-in sites have 30 amp; most or maybe all of the pull-through have 50 amps. No picnic tables or fire rings at sites, but several covered picnic tables in the grassy area of the park.  No dump station in the park, but there is a large, free dump station one mile away.  Bathrooms are pit toilets and there are no showers.

Not much shade at the campsites, but they all look out towards beautiful green lawns, Rock Creek, and trees and park pavilions beyond.  This is a park frequented by locals, walking their dogs, joggings, pushing strollers.  Very friendly.

Site 17, a 50 amp pull-throughRate: $15/night for 30 or 50 amps and water. 

Phone/radio/TV: Verizon signal for phone and aircard was occasionally interrupted, but usually worked.  No obstacles for TV satellite.  Half a dozen or so channels on the air antenna, four of them excellent Idaho PBS.  Local NPR on 91.7.

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: This campground is situated in a canyon; Rock Creek runs down the middle of it, with thick green grass on both sides.  Up top, there is a gravel operation and busy Addison Road; down in the canyon, it is lovely, green and quiet. Elevation is around 3,600 ft.

Lighting/Noise: No obtrusive lighting, and it was very quiet at night.

Favorite Sites: We picked a pull-through, as they were longer, more level, and offered 50 amps for the same price as 30 amps.

This is the driveway into the park, looking west.  Note the Westwind Homes sign and the smaller Rock Creek RV Park sign.Hiking/Walking: Very nice walking here.  Paved paths go off in different directions, one of them about a mile long (through the picnic area of the park, which is accessed by a separate road).  There also are several spectacular paved walks along the rim of the Snake River Canyon, a couple of miles away.

Comments: This was an enjoyable stop for us, a little hidden oasis in the small city of Twin Falls.  The price was reasonable for the services provided, and the hosts were very helpful and friendly.  Finding the driveway was a little tricky (look for the Westwind Homes sign), and the narrow, downhill driveway into the campground is a bit intimidating, but easily doable.  We would return here.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Our row in Red Hawk LoopOur Opinion: Recommend.  This is a large state park in an interesting location.

Date of Stay: March 21-25, 2012

Weather During Stay: Plenty of sunshine; highs in the 70’s and lows in the 40’s.  Often breezy in the afternoon.

Site Description:  The campground here has four loops, one of which is for tents only.  The remaining three have 110 sites with water and electric hookups (50 amps), the majority of them back-ins.  Each loop has its own host (with firewood for sale), dumpster and restroom with showers.

Quail Loop is closest to the entrance station, with 45 sites.  Further into the park and up a hill, sites in Red-Tail Hawk Loop and Cooper’s Hawk loop have expansive views.  Roads and pads are asphalt, almost all sufficiently long for big rigs.  Each site has a substantial picnic table in good shape.

Site 70 at Dead Horse RanchWe were in Red-Tail Hawk loop, site 70, long and level, with a little shade provided by a tree (unusual here).  Although the sites are spacious, the sparse vegetation provides absolutely no privacy.

Rate:  $25/night for 50 amps and water.  Add a $5 reservation fee (one time, not per night) if you make a reservation.  We were here during spring break and all sites were reserved.

Phone/radio/TV: Verizon service, both phone and aircard, is excellent.  No obstructions for TV satellite dish; several local channels on the air antenna, including PBS.  Several NPR stations, including 102.5 and 103.3 FM.

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: This hilly state park covers 423 acres at 3,300 feet in elevation.  Vegetation is sparse; very limited shade.  The upper camping loops (Red-Tail Hawk and Cooper’s Hawk) have expansive views to the town of Cottonwood and mountains beyond.  Quail Loop, lower down the hill, has many more trees and bushes and more privacy (but no distant views).

Lighting/Noise: Quiet and dark, though each restroom has a couple of unobtrusive amber lights on all night.

Red Hawk Loop at DHRFavorite Sites: We preferred the sites in the two loops up on the hillside, which are sites 46 through 110.  We would not be likely to reserve sites 46 through 52 - they appear to be more sloped than we like. Arizona’s online reservation site has descriptions and photos of each site, a big help when making a reservation at an unknown campground.

Hiking/Walking: GREAT!  Trails of varying lengths run through the park, including the day use area with three large, pleasant lagoons for fishing.  Trails connect to public lands outside the park, including the Verde River Greenway.  It’s possible to walk to nearby Tuzigoot National Monument - if you can get accurate directions!

Comments: We used Dead Horse Ranch State Park as a base camp to visit Tuzigoot National Monument, Sedona, Jerome and the historic section of old Cottonwood, but there is plenty to keep campers busy in the state park, too.  Grocery stores, restaurants and other services are nearby.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Site 97 at North RanchOur Opinion: Recommend.  Roomy, well-maintained, friendly park.  400+ deeded lots create a varied and interesting RV-friendly community.

Date of Stay: March 9 through 20, 2012

Weather During Stay: Warm and sunny, with cool nights - though we extended our stay to allows a spring storm to pass by.

Site Description: 107 large, level, FHU sites (30 amps) are arranged in 3 long rows, two facing each other, the third facing the deeded lots owned by Escapees. We are in site 97, facing east.  Sites are on gravel, and each has a wooden picnic table.  Sites are spacious, with plenty of room for slides, awnings, tow or towed, picnic table, chairs, etc.

This is an Escapee park; you must be an Escapee to stay here. Besides the rental sites, the park has a huge neighborhood of mostly well maintained, deeded lots that can be built on and bought/sold like normal real estate - very interesting mix of everything from unimproved lots (very few) to large, site-built homes (mostly southwest style) and everything in between.  (Click here for more information and photos of the deeded lots.) The park’s activity center is located in the deeded-lot neighborhood, but accessible to all guests of the park.

Two of three rows of rental sites

North Ranch clubhouse

Two rows of transient spaces Office

Clubhouse has library, activity rooms, laundry room.  Easily accessible dump station located near entrance, along with trash and recycling. 

Looking into the deeded lotsRate: FHU (30 amps) sites are $14.50 plus electricity (currently 12.3 cents per KWH) daily; $85 plus electricity weekly.  No reservations - first come, first served. 

Phone/radio/TV: Strong Verizon cell service for phones and WiFi.  No obstacles for satellite TV dish.  Several stations (including PBS) on antenna.  Local NPR on 91.5.  I believe Tengo Internet is available here for a fee; we didn’t use it, but did see “tengointernet” on our WiFi connection list at our site.
Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: Arid, slightly sloping terrain at 2,500’.  Near views are of neighboring rigs or RV’s, park models or homes on adjacent deeded lots; distant views are of arid mountains.  Very appealing desert views.

Lighting/Noise: Very quiet at night, with subdued night lighting.

Out the back gateFavorite Sites: Not much difference between the sites for travelers.  We asked for a site facing east to catch the morning sunshine.

Hiking/Walking: Plenty of interesting walking in this huge park, or head out the back gate for unlimited walking on the BLM land surrounding the park.

Comments: North Ranch is an interesting, relaxing, friendly park in a rural desert setting.  Congress, the nearest town, is tiny; drive 12 miles south to larger Wickenburg for groceries and sightseeing.  Easy day trips to Prescott (higher elevation) and Phoenix.  Full list of park activities during winter season.  Click here for more information on their website.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


Our row against the fenceOur Opinion: Odel (a golfer) recommends it; Laurie is neutral.  This exceptionally friendly park is the place for RV’ers who like to golf!

Date of Stay: February 27 through March 2, 2012

Weather During Stay: Plenty of sunshine; highs were mostly in the 60’s and lows below freezing at night.  The spring winds kicked up most days.

Site Description:  This gravel RV park has 103 very level sites, 17 of which are 50 amp FHU; the remainder are 30 amp FHU.  All sites have cable TV with many, many channels.  Sites are typical of many commercial parks - just enough room for slides and the awning - a mix of back-ins and pull-throughs.  We were in site 52, a 50 amp FHU back-in site next to the road.

Typical rows at Turquoise ValleyRoads are gravel and dirt, sufficiently wide for big rigs; turns are easily negotiated.  Laundry, showers and restrooms are available; we didn’t use or inspect them.  Propane is sold on site.

Rate:  With taxes, we paid just under $27/night for 50 amp FHU with cable TV.  Golf packages are available, along with monthly rates.

Phone/radio/TV: Verizon service, both phone and aircard, is good in Naco (rhymes with taco).  Didn’t bother with TV antenna; many channels on cable TV at each site.  No obstructions for TV satellite dish.  Free WiFi, sometimes blazing, sometimes crawling.  And something new and unexpected: NPR from Tucson on 91.7 FM! 

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: Flat, dirt and gravel roads at around 4,600 ft. elevation.  A bit of desert landscaping and some tall, narrow evergreens have been planted in the park; the surrounding area is scrubby desert.  Distant views are of arid mountains.

Turq Valley golf courseLighting/Noise: Usually quiet except for the occasional passing vehicle. Bright nighttime lighting in many sites.

Favorite Sites: No real favorites here, but we always ask for a 50 amp site when making a reservation (current phone number is 520-432-3091)

Hiking/Walking: Not good around the park (narrow roads), and the park itself is not large enough for much exercise.  Good hiking within 30 minutes to a hour (by car).  Many renowned birding sites within an hour drive.

Comments: This is a VERY friendly park, very welcoming to new arrivals.  Most of the folks in the RV park are golfers who pay for a month or more (usually more) and are eager to have new golfers join them.  The golf course is just across the street; the pro shop building also houses a restaurant that serves very good Mexican food for breakfast and lunch.    Entertaining Bisbee is nearby; Safeway is 5 miles north, Mexico a short walk away.  Lots of good birding and history in the area.   Website: www.turquoisevalley.com

Saturday, February 4, 2012


Our backyard at Justins, in premium site 74Our Opinion: Recommend.  If walking/hiking is a priority for you, this is a great stop.

Date of Stay: This is our fourth stay, coming back after 3 ½ years.  Click here to see photos of our stay in September of 2008, when we had the place to ourselves.

Weather During Stay: Wonderful Tucson winter weather -plenty of sunshine, highs in the mid-60’s and above; lows sometimes below freezing.

Site Description:  All 125 sites at Justin’s are unusually large for a commercial park, a big plus for us - all accommodate a large rig, with slides and awnings, and room to park your tow or towed.  Most are very level and most are back-ins, though there are some pull-throughs in the front row near the road. 

Almost all are sites are FHU with 50 amps (we’ve seen one with a shared water connection). All are covered with a small rocks/huge gravel that is rather uncomfortable to walk.  Saguaros and native landscaping scattered around.  Roads are paved, which really helps keep the dust down here in the desert. 

Our road at JustinsThe “front” (south) section of the park is set up in standard rows of side-by-side, back-to-back sites and is slightly higher than the “back” (north) section.  Sites in the north section are arranged around a “golf course” - 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! 

The single dumpster is up front by the entrance/exit.  Laundry (6 pairs of washers/dryers), a clubroom, and WiFi with plenty of antennas round out the amenities.  Lots of planned activities (hikes, bonfire, donut get-togethers), which we ignore but long-term campers may appreciate.

Rate: About half the sites in the park (including all the sites in the north section) are designated “premium” and cost $2 per night more than “standard” sites, $29/night vs. $27/night.  Premium sites might be slightly larger than standard sites, but seem to be considered premium because no one parks behind you; you back up either to the desert or to a wash/greenbelt, so have more privacy.  Current weekly rates are $189 (premium) vs. $175 (standard).   All fees and taxes are included in the quoted rate.  I believe they participate in Passport America in the summer (off) season.

Huge site 74Phone/radio/TV: Verizon works here (3G), including the aircard.  No cable TV, but nothing to block a satellite signal.  A few local stations are available on TV antenna, including two PBS stations.  Local NPR station on 89.1.  Wi-Fi - with about 4 antennas scattered through the park - worked very well most of the time.

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: Elevation here is around 2,500 ft.  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.  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 are willing to pay a couple dollars more for a premium site; we like the spacious feel, and the farther back from San Joaquin, the better for us.  In the off season, we stay in the north section; this time (high season), we were in site 74, facing south and bordering the greenbelt along the back of our site.

Office and laundry at JustinsHiking/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) 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.  Website: Justin’s Diamond J RV Park.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


30 amp FHU in back-1Our Opinion: Neutral.  Though dusty, the fairgrounds are convenient when we are passing through Tucson and want to overnight or spend an extra day stocking up on supplies.

Date of Stay: January 25, 2012 - our fourth stay.

Weather During Stay: High was just under 70, low was 35.

Site Description: We have parked in two different areas at the fairgrounds.  This trip, we are in the main lot, in a 50 amp FHU, back in site (406).  The majority of sites in this area are back to back, closely packed on level dirt (or dust or mud, depending on the weather), some of the sites 30 amps, others 50 amps.

Since we don’t stay here more than a night or two, we prefer to park in a different area (the 500 row, not available today due to repaving), a strip of somewhat grassy 50 amp W/E sites that back up to a row of trees.  Very level, with more grass than dirt. No sewer hookups in this row, but there is a dump station available.

Kinda Crowded-1In both areas, sites are very tight when they all were occupied, but feel reasonably spacious when you don’t have neighbors (which is why we prefer the 500 row for short stays).  Access roads are wide.

Rate: All sites, back-in or pull-through, 50 amp or 30 amp, FHU or W/E are the same rate: $20/night.

Phone/radio/TV: Though our cell phones have 5 bars, we had a very difficult time with our MiFi today – finally gave up.  Local NPR on 89.1.  Several local TV stations on the antenna, including PBS (channel 6).  No obstacles for the satellite.

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: Elevation is around 3,000 feet.  Terrain is flat desert, but palms, evergreens and grass have been planted at the fairgrounds - welcome green.  Arid mountain ranges frame the distant views.

Lighting/Noise: Various fairground activities can be noisy during the day, but it has been quiet at night when we have been here.  We are far enough from the light poles that the night lighting is unobtrusive - but this would not be true in all spaces.

Site 514 Pima County FG-1Favorite Sites: The 500’s, with 50 amps and water.

Hiking/Walking: This is a large fairground with plenty of space for walking. 

Comments: Typical fairgrounds, with an arena, many large buildings, restroom blocks, pavilions, lots of parking for RV’s and cars.  Because of the horse and livestock events held here, we noticed lots of flies on one stay, and we frequently notice an unpleasant sewer smell.  A few miles off of I-10, it is not luxurious, but is a convenient, reasonably priced spot to overnight or stay a few days to stock up at Costco and Trader Joe’s in Tucson.  A large Fry’s grocery store is about 5 miles away.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Holts lineupOur Opinion: Recommend – with caveats.  We use this only for overnight stops and post boondocking cleanup.  Convenient, inexpensive, FHU with excellent laundry facilities. 

Date of Stay: Many times.  Date of this review is January 24, 2012.

Weather During Stay: Sunny and calm; high 68, low forecast for the low 40’s.

Site Description:  24 level sites on gravel at the back of a truck stop ¼ mile off I-8 and a mile from the center of Gila Bend.  19 sites are very large pull throughs, 5 are large back-ins.  All sites have 30/50 amp service, water and sewer.  Dumpster in the center of the park at the laundry room.  4 washers cost $1.00 each; dryers at 75 cents for about 40 minutes. 

No office in the RV park.  Pay for your site at the fuel station/convenience store up front.  There are also a couple of fast-food type restaurants and a hotel next to the truck stop.

Rate: Regular price is $24/night.  Passport America (with some date restrictions) and Escapees pay $12 night for 50 amp FHU. 

Holt's Cell TowerPhone/radio/TV: Verizon service, both phone and aircard, is excellent in Gila Bend (check out the cell tower in the photo - you park right under it).  Nothing is available on the TV antenna.  No obstructions for TV satellite dish.  Their advertised free WiFi worked well.  NPR on 91.5 (with a little or a lot of static, depending on???).

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: Flat gravel roads and sites at 790 feet elevation.  The little park is surprisingly nicely landscaped with some native trees and flowering plants; the surrounding area is scrubby desert.  Distant views are of arid mountains to the east, the truck stop to the west.

Lighting/Noise: Some noise from the nearby interstate and from the trucks coming, going and settling in at the truck stop, but not enough to overcome the appeal of the low price and convenient access.  Night lighting in amazingly unobtrusive given the proximity to the truck stop.

Favorite Sites: Any of the pull throughs… all are long and spacious, easy in and out for our rig.  No need to disconnect the Jeep, another plus.

Hiking/Walking: Nothing special.  We usually plan to walk elsewhere.

Site 9 at Holt'sComments: Gila Bend is a convenient stop for an overnight and thorough cleanup with traveling between Catalina State Park in Tucson and boondocking in Yuma or Quartzsite.  To empty the holding tanks, get out the dirt and have a nice, long, hot shower, we want a level, FHU site with 50 amps.  Holt’s Shell RV Park (Exit 119 On I-8 Gila Bend) provides all of that at a low, low price, along with easy access to fuel and propane.  No reservations, but plenty of convenience.  Wish there were more solid, secure, no-frills, low-cost RV parks like this!