Collage (clockwise starting upper left): Lakehead Boat Basin; Harris Beach State Park; Gilbert Ray Campground; Shenandoah National Park; Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore; Craters of the Moon National Monument; Dolly Copp Forest Service Campground; Theodore Roosevelt National Park; Lake Powhatan Campground.
It’s once again time for the fave list. This past year was a big mileage year for us in which we circled the country and camped in about 57 different campgrounds or RV parks (this doesn’t include the boondocking spots). Most places we liked, so creating a list with our top faves took a bit of thought. For the most part, we prefer public campgrounds, and this is reflected with this list.
Faves for 2015 (in alphabetical order)
- Cottonwood Campground, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Medora, ND - This medium-sized campground is very typical for a National Park. Most of the sites in one of the two loops were of the smaller size, limiting the options for larger RVs. Some of the sites were along the Little Missouri River and offered very nice views, but most of those sites were reservable, so that ruled out folks like us that fly by the seat of our pants. The park offers excellent opportunities for hiking, auto touring, and wildlife viewing.
- Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve, near Arco, ID - Once again, the camping sites in this National Monument tended to be on the smaller size and, in some cases, very close together. Still, there were some options for larger RVs. While we were there, they did not take reservations. There was a board near the campground self-pay station where one could see the occupied campsites. While there, we enjoyed hiking, auto touring, and exploring a couple of the lava tubes.
- D.H. Day Campground, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, near Glen Arbor, MI - The main campground in this National Lakeshore, Platte River Campground, was closed for repaving so we ended up in the smaller O. H. Day Campground. They had one loop for folks like us that don’t travel with reservations, and we found a spot near the intersection that worked well for us. For some reason, there was a lot of commotion with people driving around. Partly because we were catty-corner to the self-service firewood machine that offered excellent people-watching opportunities. We enjoyed walks on the shore of Lake Michigan as well as through the sand dunes. There was a historical village that we visited via the paved bike paths in addition to well-maintained auto touring loops.
- Dolly Copp Forest Service Campground, near Gorham, NH - We fell in love with New Hampshire and the White Mountains. We were apparently early in the season as this campground was not very crowded. Because of this, an excellent selection of good campsites was available. There were a few good hiking opportunities from or near the campground that offered beautifully yet challenging hikes. Although a tad pricey, an auto trip to the top of Mt. Washington is well worth it. And if you don’t want to pay the toll, there is always the option to hike to the top.
- Gilbert Ray Campground in Tucson Mountain County Park near Tucson, AZ - We like the Tucson area, and this well-located campground is an easy drive through the mountain pass to town. There is much to do in Tucson as well good shopping, dining out, and cool brewpubs. Both the county park and the adjacent Saguaro National Park West offer excellent hiking opportunities. The campground doesn't take reservations. We consider that a plus, but they have a quirky rule that allows only a seven-night stay. One must leave the campground for at least seven days and then can return for another seven-night visit (which we did).
- Harris Beach State Park Campground, Brookings, OR - Our goal was to visit this campground in the fall of 2014, but it closed early for repairs. This year, as we headed down the Oregon coast, we read that they were closing again for some infrastructure improvement. We were disappointed, to say the least, but later learned that the construction had been delayed. When we arrived, we got the last site available that day overlooking the Pacific Ocean – we were happy campers! Lots of scenic views in the area, along with beach walks & hiking. There are also four brewpubs in Brookings… we visited three. The fourth had just opened, and we learned about it after we left the area.
- Lakehead Boat Basin RV Park, Duluth, MN - This unique RV park also doubles as a marina on Lake Superior, with the winter boat storage spots serving as the RV sites. The sites were a tad closer together than we prefer, but it's walking distance to the Canal Park area and downtown with its many restaurants, attractions, and a couple of brewpubs.
- Lake Powhatan Forest Service Campground outside Asheville, NC - This a very well-maintained Forest Service campground near Asheville. We were lucky enough to get one of the non-reservable campsites with a paved pad and full hookups. The sites were well spaced from each other, as well as abundant hiking from the park. Nearby Asheville has all the amenities one would want. A plus was the fact that the Erickson’s, our RV friends we met in 2014 in Bend, Oregon, were also staying there.
- Loft Mountain Campground, Shenandoah National Park, VA - In our opinion, this is the nicest campground in Shenandoah. Our site had a fabulous view that backed up to the Appalachian Trail so we could watch the through-hikers pass by. Needless to say, hiking opportunities in the area were outstanding. We even got to hook up with our friend Bob for a guided hike and meal at a local brewpub.
Besides these campgrounds/RV parks, we driveway surfed & boondocked with family and friends across the county. These stops are all considered faves.
Honorable Mention – These three were included on our 2014 Fave list, and we revisited each in 2015: