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springhill
blink.gif We just got home from our first long trip in our motorhome. We started in New Mexico, drove 3 days out to California, stayed in Paso Robles, went to Hearst Mansion, drove up Pacific Hwy 1 (which everyone told us not to do and I'd recommend it to most), stayed in San Franciso, went to Alcatraz, drove to Lake Tahoe and stayed 3 days and then drove home through Nevada, Utah and Colorado. We were gone 14 days. I used this site to plan our stops and found few surprises at the RV parks we stopped at due to great reviews.

My question is this... As I go back to write (and read) reviews on campgrounds we stayed in during our trip, I am surprised to read some of the reviews they have been given. I think the ones that call themselves "resorts" and charge around $50 a night are fair game for some hard criticism as they are charging for nicer park accomodations.

My problem is the little mom and pops we stayed in along the interstate and highways that we chose because it was getting dark and we wanted somewhere to park, plug in, walk the dog, and get a good nights sleep. I think the most we paid at these was $25 and we stayed in 5 or 6 different little "spot on the map" type towns. These seemed to be run by mostly retirees who spend their days mowing the lawn, emptying trash and cleaning the bathrooms.

I read review about...
--Sites not being leveled or concrete... Have you checked bulldozer or conrete prices lately?
--Yelled at me about my pet being on the grass... I am a dog lover and took 2 on our trip and I was amazed at how much poo there was that wasn't picked up by irresponsible pet owners. I'm surprised many allow pets at all and there are signs everywhere to keep pets of grass.
--Full-time residents junking up the park... How much income do you think these guys get off people who choose them over parking at Wal-Mart in these small towns? Full-time residents aren't bad people... maybe they just ran out of gas money and decided to stay there.
--Traffic/train noise was constant... I would think that traffic noise 100 ft off an interstate might be something to be expected and not the park owners fault.

So my question is this? What do people expect in these little side of the road type parks that noone probably stays in for more than 1 or 2 nights?
John Blue
We see the same thing all the time. I had a bad experience due to the rain, owners did not like by dog, the train was loud, the person next door was bad, trees over our site, no tress over our site, the showers were slow, on and on. We talk to people in parks that were unhappy yet will stay a month. If you do not like RV life stay at home or as we do move on down the road to a new place. You will never find a campground that 100% of the people who use it will be happy. In our years on the road we find that someone is always ill over some small item. This will never change! biggrin.gif
Bud in Florida
I think the key is for people to say exactly what they don't like. If you want a paved site and have a space like your driveway and get one that has trees and you don't like that-- say so in the review. I hate reviews that just say the place was terrible and don't say why. I will not give a 10 to parks that do not have sewer, but I have given a lot of 9's to parks w/o sewers, but I always say this is why the park did not get a 10. There was one review of Disney's Fort Wilderness-- they review gave them a 2! Why, because he/she did not read that in order to get cable you had to have a premium site. It is clear on the web site. But he was mad at Disney because he booked a full hook-up site and did not have cable. Hey read the website. I agree with John-- you have a different standard when you are booking an overnight stop rather than long term. In an overnight stop, I look for nice people and a clean campground. It is nice if they have clean showers, but ytou can even pass that for one night. Sometimes I think posters expect the world for $20/night
GaryWT
I agree, sometimes you have to read between the lines and many times the the rating does not match the review. I love the ones that say the park was great etc etc but the owner caught me sneaking in a guest and made me pay the visitors fee so I am giving them a 1 because the owner is mean. The other one I love is the security or the owners told us to quiet down at midnight, what they enforce the rules?

Some of the small places are the best places to go. Many cannot compare to the resorts in what they offer but a nice clean small park can be vary enjoyable.
Big Ben
I'm in total agreement. People down grade parks for a lot of WRONG reasons.When we are traveling and stop for the night, we usually try to find a small park for between $20 and $30. For that price I expect a gravel site. If there are permanent residents so what. I may be one some day.
Thats some thing I never understand, why people want to put them self in some category. Another great complaint, The seasonal people have the best sites, DAAA!
springhill, sounds like you had a good trip. We love Hearst Mansion also. I enjoy driving rt. 1 too.
Bud, you must not stay in COE parks. I have been in several that certainly rated a 10 without sewer.
Cheryl
How about the review where the poster gave a low rating because the campground owners expected them to "watch" (be responsible for) their own kids.
mastercraft
My wife and I get a kick out of reading all the low reviews, especially the low reviews of the campgrounds we have been to. I like the reviews that blame the owners for enforcing the rules. We recently were at a campground out west where someone came in without a reservation. The campground made them move to a different site each day since the other sites were booked already. All this person did was complain on a daily basis for having to move his motorhome. We also like the ones with low ratings due to mud from recent rainstorms. I get no help from reading the reviews about bad experiences between the owner and camper that are isolated at best. I usually laugh and disregard.
Ben, we have also stayed at excellent COE campgrounds in Georgia. There are 2 that we frequent each year and we give them 10's without cable, sewer, wi-fi, etc.
springhill
biggrin.gif
Enjoyed reading your responses today! When I wrote that last night, I was a little cranky from driving all day and having to return home to the real world after a great vacation. I was a little worried I was going to be chewed out for being negative toward other posters opinions.

I am soft hearted and when I go into the office and see these nice, friendly older people who are probably veterans, retirees, etc. who run these campgrounds still trying to make a few dollars, it moves me. Then when I get on the internet to try and throw them a little business for their park in the middle of nowhere that I thought was mowed, clean, and friendly and read bad reviews because of traffic noise, unlevel sites, etc. it makes me a little bitter.

I'm happy to read that most people read between the lines. This is a great website and like I said, I used it to plan all but 2 or 3 of our stops. The internet can be a valuable tool.

P.S. What are COE parks?
Big Ben
COE Parks stands for Corp of Engineers. They are generally in conjunction with a water way that was put in and controlled by the COE. Most in in a great setting and well cared for.
You thinking is well in line with many of us. Glad to have you aboard.
Sunflyer
I would rather people lay it all out and I'll make my own decisions based on what I'm looking for.

The flip side of the coin is people who give 7-10 to a park that doesn't deserve it. I read one the other day and it was comment after comment about this didn't work that wasn't maintained, sites weren't level, this was dirty and the elec. was iffy and then they gave it a 7. Good lord, what would this person give a 5 or less to.

However, the other opinions put it more in line with an appropriate rating.
mgoblue911
QUOTE(Sunflyer @ Aug 14 2007, 06:08 PM) *

I would rather people lay it all out and I'll make my own decisions based on what I'm looking for.

The flip side of the coin is people who give 7-10 to a park that doesn't deserve it. I read one the other day and it was comment after comment about this didn't work that wasn't maintained, sites weren't level, this was dirty and the elec. was iffy and then they gave it a 7. Good lord, what would this person give a 5 or less to.

However, the other opinions put it more in line with an appropriate rating.


Ratings are in the eye of the beholder. Different things are important/valuable to different people. The most important part of any review is the details/stated reasons that they like or dislike a campground. State the facts and particulars in your review and let others judge if it is what they are seeking for that price. Isn't that what this site is designed to accomplish?
Big Ben
[/quote]

Ratings are in the eye of the beholder. Different things are important/valuable to different people. The most important part of any review is the details/stated reasons that they like or dislike a campground. State the facts and particulars in your review and let others judge if it is what they are seeking for that price. Isn't that what this site is designed to accomplish?
[/quote]

There are a lot of reviews that are written with such venom that it is more like a vendetta than a review. Usually when you see this it is a new member.
This is also true of some saying " we have been coming here for years and it is the greatest park in the world".
In 12 years of full timing,,we have never experienced a park as bad as some of those I read about. May be it is the way I look at life but I disregard all the negative reviews because I figure there is a personal problem that caused it.
dmsscs
I would have to agree, the negative reviews often sound like it's personal, maybe they had to ask them to keep their dog on a leash or they got caught doing something against the rules, or asked to leave. Unfortunately, anger is a great catalyst (sp?) to writting a review. People needing to vent are more likely to write in order to relieve their anger than are people that leave happy and are moving on to their next experience. If a park is really that bad, I just don't go back, if it is bad as all that, then eventually the customer base will shrink and it will become another housing developement or shopping complex. I have noticed that a lot of complaints are really abut fellow campers not the park so much. Smokey fires, drunks, early rising kids, late night loud campfires (although I think I have sat at a fire or two and got a little loud with laughter without realizing we ere getting loud, losing ourselves in friendship) Sometimes it is not so much the park we complain about. We were in a park in Fla., last winter and a fellow camper was using a power tool to buff his camper, all day while we tried to read we had the whirling noise in the background, it was very distracting, even annoying. I don't think he thought about it in that light, he just wanted to get his camper clean. But i wouldn't rate the park as noisey because this one guy was trying to take pride in his RV. Unlevel sites? We view them as a challenge, I haven't gone to a park yet that had a site that a few boards didn't fix. I personally thnk cement sites take away from the whole camping feel of a park. I like trees, I respect the difference in opinion, but i wouldn't rate a park low for an unlevel site. If every park was "perfect" I'd get bored with camping. my favorite parks have always been family run parks, they are almost always not perfect, but almost always the staff is friendlier.
RLM
I think what all of us would mostly like to read is objectivity. That would be a review that eliminates attacks, minimizes personal opinion, and takes into consideration the different classes of recreational equipment.

If there is a problem with a campground it is appropriate to make it known. It’s hard not to have a personal opinion about something that really bothered us, but a reviewer’s credibility goes south when the review is an essay about how they got bent out of shape over the issue.

As written by Mqoblue911 - “State the facts ……and let others judge if it is what they are seeking for that price.”

Springhill> You may be a newbie to this site, but you bring a lot of wisdom with you.
thecyr
When I write a review, I write mainly for the tenting, but still observe closely for my parent's 5th wheel.

I think that a review is based on an individual comfort level, and gear. I fully expect a different take on a campground that I reviewed compared to somebody who came in a motorhome.

However, when you get burned by a campground, you can't help but relay that story to others. I've done it.
kwilliam10
While I agree that noisy neighbors should not warrant a decreased rating, for a campground. I DO feel that how a campsite DEALS with noisy neighbors....is. Case in point, I just submitted a review (still pending, since it was only my second) for a state campground where the ranger was no where to be found....all evening. Could not complain about the noise level, that went into the late hours of the night (3:00 AM.) No Ranger in the station....and definitely not walking the beat, so to speak. So, for THAT...I did rate lower.

Just my humble opinion.

Regards,

Keith Williamson
gwbischoff
Ya'll can follow the other threads on this topic, like:

"experience" Vs. "review" , et. al.

Just stayed at a place near the beach in CA where the previous reviewer complained that there was sand everywhere.

Geez, Louise.
dmsscs
Just when you think you have heard it all, I once was in line to check in when the lady in front of us asked for a site with no wind. I also heard a woman complain that there were birds and they woke her up in the morning....what [i]do[/i] people expect in a campground???
Texasrvers
Uh-oh, I hope you weren't behind us. We frequently stay at a west Texas KOA where the wind blows constantly! We have stayed there so many times that we have gotten to know the staff so when we register we always ask for a site with no wind. I suppose someone just standing in line behind us could misunderstand the joke. However, we have never complained about birds so we won't take blame for that one. Although one time we did mention to the staff that 2 mockingbirds in a tree beside our site kept our cats entertained. But that wasn't a complaint. It was fun to watch.

While I'm on this thread let me add that there was a recent review of a membership park that the reviewer was very mad because they had to move when the lot owner showed up on short notice. The reviewer gave the park a very low rating because of this. I had to think about this one. I'm sure it was very inconvenient to have to move. But it was a membership park after all, and the reviewer knew it when he made his reservation, and the lot owner paid big bucks and should expect to get his site when he wants it. I know for a fact this is an outstanding RV park. Did it deserve such a low rating over this incident? What to you think?
Butch
Not knowing the wording and limits of the ownership contract makes opinions just that, opinions. But on the surface, if an individual(s) has a purchase agreement for a designated site, then that site is his/hers to use at anytime the spirit moves them. When one knows that the park is a membership park, that individual most be made aware that the member may require his/her purchased site during their stay on that site. Personally, I would have second thoughts on staying at a membership park for that very reason. Just my thoughts on the subject.
dmsscs
It would have been funny if it had been you, but it was in Florida. I really think they were serious, the poor lady behind the counter didn't know what to say. Personally, I am very easy going, I have never had a REALLY bad experience in a park, most things we take as "experience" I think that just because there was something I didn't like in a park, doesn't mean that you might not like it. Sometimes, the sites are too small but the entertainment was good. The site was a bit of a hill, but a couple of boards solved it, the staff wasn't friendly but the lake was beautiful. I try to look for the good stuff, life is too short to dwell on the negative. I would love those mocking birds! smile.gif
cathycamping
Although I have only "tent camped" 3x in my life and not until I was over 35 and only took what we could pack on our motorcycle, I now have a "posh" 5th wheel. Even though my own accommodations are very nice, I still view it as "camping". Which means, its okay if there are not the same luxuries as a 5-star hotel, in my opinion if you want that, then go there. I think some of the people are too harsh also when rating campgrounds. Although I do not want to see pet droppings by my site, I feel its the pet owner's responsibility to pick up after them, or they will no longer be able to bring their pet and ruin it for everyone.

What I do not like seeing are the campgrounds that have "interesting" pricing systems, like if grandparents take their grandkids they get charged for "2 families". My husband and can tow 2 motorcycles or an ATV in the back of our 5th wheel. We ususally take friends with us. Some campgrounds do not allow this, we must all be related. I think we are pretty good guests, we pick up afterourselves, are quite (as we are usually out riding all day) and are considerate of our neighbors and are quite if we come back late (my husband has even push his bike from the "main road" to our site so there was no noise after 10). Anyone else see this?
dmsscs
my favorite park, i should say the one we frequent the most, has a very liberal policy, they rent their sites for two adults and three chilren or four adults. Relationships don't matter, i think with today's "family" they are often hers, his and theirs, or grandparents with grandkids, etc. but i do know of parks that rent to two adults and charge for everybody else.
dmsscs
anybody have an opinion on gate cards? We are at a park that has a $10 deposit on a gate card that you use to get into the park if you leave, i always get the card, i just like the thought of the added security, i like thinking that not just anybody can get in.
i don't like waiting behind the guy that didn't want to get a card for whatever reason, while they look up his reservation to verify that he is actually camping and not just some one of the street. then they get angry because they had to wait, i say get a gate card and save us all the trouble, it is a DEPOSIT you get the money back, what is the problem???





















































































i always get the card, because I appreciate the added security iy provides,
katt
I expect campgrounds an their restroom facilities to be clean and in good repair.

I expect quiet hours to be enforced.

I don't like having to do the campground owners and their staffs jobs for them.

Bad campgrounds seem to fail in all those ways, not just one or another.
Texasrvers
Butch,

You are right that if you stay at a membership park you should be made aware that the owner might show up. We have only stayed at one park like this, and we were not told that. However, I do not know if we were actually on a lot that was owned by someone or just one that was for rent. I just think that if you know there is a chance the owner might show up and if you still choose to stay, you should not be that upset if you do have to move. As I said it is the owner's lot and he deserves to have it. If it upsets you to have to move then you probably shouldn't stay at this type of park. I brought this up because there has been lots of discussion about review vs. experience. I think this is a good example of someone who obviously reviewed his experience not the park.
DXSMac
I expect the minimum: Sewer, water, electricity, and it's clean. Anything else is a "plus."

You can't blame the owners for noisy neighbors, but as one poster said, you can comment on how the campground deals with it. Also, you can't blame the park for "road noise," but knowing that some people don't like it, I usually comment whether or not it's there. And if you don't follow the rules, you can't blame the park. However, I will claim "false advertising" if the RV Park says "We have wireless" only to find out that you have to sign up with a third party at some outrageous cost do get it.......

I expect "free wireless" because it's norm in hotels, but if the park charges $1 or even $2, I'm ok with that. I know one park that does charge, I think, $2 a day, but it's THEIR wireless (not a third party) and I think they are just trying to recover the infrastructure costs.

I do expect cable, if they have it, to be free/included. I have been to one RV park that charges to have it. (The same one that charges for their wireless....)

And, I have been to a KOA that gave you the choice of either free wireless or free cable. In that case, on a review, I will "comment" but not say "bad park" because of it.....

JJ
HorizonQueen
laugh.gif OMG! I am still laughing. And I have decided when we travel to Big Bend National Park in March I will ask (with a big smirk on my face just to see the reaction I get) if they can turn off the sun! Otherwise I will gladly accept the wind, the sand and everything else those campgrounds offer. That's why I am there. Thanks for a great read!!!!!!!!!
julievojo
I expect a safe, clean site with working electricity and a clean bathroom. I'm pretty easy to please....

My husband and I looked at purchasing an RV park in Washington a couple of years ago, but decided against it. With the costs of electricity, sewer, water, road repairs, insurance and taxes, it would be very difficult to make a living at it. I don't begrudge these owners who are having a hard time keeping up with a park. We were told that it cost on average $50,000 PER SITE to develop an RV park.
rodeo1
I'm so glad to see this thread. I have thought for years that some of these people have lost their minds when it comes to rating a park.

"lousy wi fi, give it a 2,

Sites too small for my 90 foot motor home towing my 25 foot enclosed tool shed with nine slide outs" give it a 2.

Damn folks, some of these parks are a lot older that your modular home you are driving down the road. some of you would complain that wal marts parking lot is too small.

A lot of these parks were built back when everyone towed an airstream with a pontiac. then you want them to charge $10..00 a night and be able to enlarge the parks spots on that. get real !

If you want all the whistles and bells, go pay $60.00 a night on the west coast at some r.v. resort. better yet, stay a night at lost hills in caly, then you will have something to complain about. or at morro strand r.v. in morro bay where they built a brand new park with spaces so small you can't hardly fit your trailer in the spot, then they want you to park next to it. what a riot!

Why compain over not enough t.v. stations, get you a dish. most really bad posts i see are written by people driving huge rigs, hardly ever by someone pulling a little pop up, or even a fiver. the bigger the rig, the bigger the bitcher. (look at me, i'm important ! get out of my way, i can afford a million dollar rig)
gwbischoff
QUOTE(rodeo1 @ Oct 7 2007, 06:04 PM) *

I'm so glad to see this thread. I have thought for years that some of these people have lost their minds when it comes to rating a park.

"lousy wi fi, give it a 2,

Sites too small for my 90 foot motor home towing my 25 foot enclosed tool shed with nine slide outs" give it a 2.

Damn folks, some of these parks are a lot older that your modular home you are driving down the road. some of you would complain that wal marts parking lot is too small.

A lot of these parks were built back when everyone towed an airstream with a pontiac. then you want them to charge $10..00 a night and be able to enlarge the parks spots on that. get real !

If you want all the whistles and bells, go pay $60.00 a night on the west coast at some r.v. resort. better yet, stay a night at lost hills in caly, then you will have something to complain about. or at morro strand r.v. in morro bay where they built a brand new park with spaces so small you can't hardly fit your trailer in the spot, then they want you to park next to it. what a riot!

Why compain over not enough t.v. stations, get you a dish. most really bad posts i see are written by people driving huge rigs, hardly ever by someone pulling a little pop up, or even a fiver. the bigger the rig, the bigger the bitcher. (look at me, i'm important ! get out of my way, i can afford a million dollar rig)


Dude, you just became my favorite poster.
campergal
There are some things that are completely out of a campground owners hands. A factory that has just opened up next door is noisy - sorry, I can't do anything about that. Trust me I've called to see if there are noise ordinances in my area...there are not.

As for size of sites - it's true, some of the campgrounds are 40-50 years old - the sites were there when we got the campground - as we put new sites in, we try to make them 40x60 minimum.

The bathrooms - keep them as clean as I can - the showers are small - sorry, again - that's the way they were built 40 years ago. As soon as I have the extra $60,000 to install new washrooms, I will but until then I will keep them as clean as I can and as updated as my budget will allow.

I read the reviews and truly wonder if people really ever know the other side of the counter when it comes to camping.

Sorry if I sound cranky here - was involved in a survey all summer and those are then things that came up a lot - thankfully there were enough nice items about the things we actually ~do~ at our campground that made up for the negatives.

What I do find from folks that review us is this - those that are "RV'ers"...full timers or long time campers tend to look for "RV parks"...we are a "campground" and cater more to the person who wants to get out and enjoy nature and life with family for a few days without wifi, satellite etc. We have decided to focus more on them and let the RV parks around us cater to the full-time RV'ers. That way everyone is happy.
Sverlinde
People tick me off sometimes. If one thing goes wrong they give the campground a really low rating. You see some campgrounds with all tens and then there is one review that give the campground a one because some stupid thing happened. On resort I could have swore that the same person reviewed the campground 3 times because the reviews gave the same ratings just slightly different reasons. Now if the campground receives all 1 then there might be a problem.
DXSMac
I just read a review of a STATE park where the reviewer complained about no cable TV or WiFi. (Slap, slap, slap). dry.gif FOLKS! DO NOT EXPECT CABLE TV OR WiFI IN A STATE PARK!!! You just get the basics! Water and Electricity! In fact, you are lucky if each site has a sewer dump! I have run into a couple State Parks in WA that have sewer dumps at each site, but that is not "norm."

When I review a state park, I have to change my "expectations" a bit, and start there.

JJ
Richard Angeli
This is a really interesting thread. We're still relatively new to the RV life style (3 years). We have a 35 ft. Pusher and tow a Chevy HHR. I just gave a 1 to the Harpers Ferry KOA because of hammered camp sites narrow roads, and $45 per night for 30 amps with sewer.

I agree with some of the posters in this thread. Those of us driving rigs over 30 ft should find some where else to park. The folks in the Pop Ups and Trailers were having a good time. We left the next day without staying for the weekend activities.

Tonight I gave a 10 to Riverside RV Park And Resort in Sevierville, TN for level gravel sites with grass concrete patios and 50 Amp full hookups Cable and WIFI (for a fee) at $26.00 per night.

In our travels across most of the southern US, and now up to Maine and back. Some of our best Overnight stops have been at COE, State Park, and Mom and Pop Campgrounds.

Value is in the eye of the beholder. One of the most memorable stops was a roadside campground on US 50 in the middle of Nevada that only had 10 sites. But everything we needed was there.
DXSMac
QUOTE(Richard Angeli @ Oct 14 2007, 07:06 PM) *

Value is in the eye of the beholder. One of the most memorable stops was a roadside campground on US 50 in the middle of Nevada that only had 10 sites. But everything we needed was there.


That's true! Helpfullness of staff is a biggie with me. If the staff bent over backwards to be helpful, I'll take that into consideration, even if the park has "just the basics."

For a Full-timer, WiFi and Cable are a necessity, unless they are carrying a Sprint Card or whatever, and a satellite. For the part timer, those are "luxuries."

JJ
gwbischoff
"DO NOT EXPECT CABLE TV OR WiFI IN A STATE PARK!!! You just get the basics! Water and Electricity! In fact, you are lucky if each site has a sewer dump! I have run into a couple State Parks in WA that have sewer dumps at each site, but that is not "norm.""

Actually, if you have *ANY* hookups in a state/fed park you should consider yourself lucky. Most CA SP's do not have water/elec/sewer. Many are getting WiFi.

"I just gave a 1 to the Harpers Ferry KOA because of hammered camp sites narrow roads, and $45 per night for 30 amps with sewer.

Tonight I gave a 10 to Riverside RV Park And Resort in Sevierville, TN for level gravel sites with grass concrete patios and 50 Amp full hookups Cable and WIFI (for a fee) at $26.00 per night."

For me, I'd have to go a long way to give a place a 1 or a 10. As someone else posted, I tend to start every place off at a "5" and adjust accordingly. To get a "1", a park would need to be in a garbage dump, at the end of an airport runway, between a freeway median near a nuclear power plant with a rail line running through it, in Kraplakistan. Or Cleveland.

Likewise, a "10" would be equally difficult. If a site was at the 50 yard line at Lambeau Field, included a Heineken hookup and Emeril Lagasse cooking your food served by Playboy Bunnies. That might get it.

Hmmmm...

Ok, nobody take my idea. I 'm going to work on a business plan.
DXSMac
I guess that is what I do, too, start with "5" and work from there. The worst I have ever stayed at, I still gave it a 5. I didn't like the location (in the middle of an industrial area, and I didn't feel safe), but it was on a great busline with good service to the city. Now, I feel someone would like that feature, so......

For me to rate a "10," it would have to have BEAUTIFUL LANDSCAPING, Spaces far apart, free cable and WiFi (but I disregard this for a state/county park...), and DO MY LAUNDRY FOR FREE! Ok, this basically means I don't ever give "10."

Now, at a State/County park, I will comment on what kind of TV reception you get, because people do like to watch their TV's (ok, speak for myself.....yeah, yeah....). But I'm not going to downgrade it for lack of cable or WiFi...

Oh, thanks for the tip that CA State Parks don't have hookups! So, now if I stay at one, I'll have to revise my "expectations" for the "experience."

Ok, I guess my ratings are based on a combination of "what type of experience is the campground trying to offer" versus "how did I like it."

For example, if it's a "high end" place (like Crown Villa Resort in Bend, OR), then I have a certain set of expectations. If it's a "Mom and Pop" place, I have a different set of expectations. If it's a State/County/Fed park, again, another set of expectations. If it's a primitive place, no hookups, well, I'm not going to downgrade for lack of hookups. You buy an RV so that you can survive without hookups if needed. A primitive place can still rate a 5, 6, 7, or 8 from me, and the difference would be whether or not I felt safe.

JJ
gwbischoff
QUOTE(DXSMac @ Oct 15 2007, 02:35 PM) *


Oh, thanks for the tip that CA State Parks don't have hookups! So, now if I stay at one, I'll have to revise my "expectations" for the "experience."

JJ


Ok, let me re-state that, there actually are quite a few CA SP's that have hookups of some sort. (electric and/or water) , but I'd say the majority do not. I've noticed at a few in the area that have or are in the process of adding hookups.

But yeah, you're right. Set your own expectations accordingly before showing up.
ready2upgrade
I have had only three "bad" experiences, one state park and two private.

The bad experiences really had nothing to do with owners, actually there was little to no interaction with them other than check-in. For me, it's about the campgrounds themselves.

One place was obviously not reinvesting the fees into the place, it was in desparate need of repair, and for the $40 a night fee, it was clear to me the money was going elsewhere. The experience was still good because of who we were with, I was strictly rating the campground because it was in such bad condition.

The other one the place just wasn't kept clean and they did NOT enforce quiet hours, there was loud partying till after 2:30 in the morning. And when someone spilled their load in the wrong place at the dump station, 2 sites away from us, we had to smell it constantly. We left a day early because we just were miserable overall. I don't know if I would go back, some of the sites there were better than others and if I could ensure one of those, and I was say, in a fifth wheel or TT, I would consider it because of its location.

My first reviews were negative, so now with my newer reviews I'm trying to be more objective of the campground itself, not so much the overall "experience"...it's our third season and we are a little more "wise" as to what to expect and not let the little things influence our review.

I noticed two 'good' reviews of a Michigan Campground that we HATED. I tend not to like Michigan State campgrounds because I find the sites lacking and there are not enough bathroom facilities considering the number of sites, etc., they facilities aren't clean; etc. the sites are small, etc., if I'm in a pop-up and I think the sites are small I would want folks to know that. We were at Warren Dunes and I would not recommend it for larger rigs. We barely fit... it's suitable for tents and popups and smaller trailers...but that's about it. Would I go back, likely not, but I'm sure there are folks there that loved there experience and wouldn't agree with me. That's okay.

I have not had a bad experience at Indiana State parks, they are some of the best run and maintained campgrounds. I don't mind not having hookups because I'm in a pop up. I gotta have electricity tho...

I'm planning to upgrade next year and plan a trip out West in a few years. I will use this site to plan my trip. I won't be expecting too much from overnight stops...and that's what folks should keep in mind when they are reading reviews. What are you looking for in a campground? A place with tons of activities that you are going to use for a week? Or a place to safely spend the night, have a meal, and hit the road?

This is a great site, glad to be here!
Butch
Welcome ready2upgrade,

I think in the beginning, as a Rv'er, we are critical about everything that pertains to our camping experiences, and overlook the more important items. Glad to have you aboard.
Testudo
QUOTE
What Do People Expect In A Campground?, Reading bad reviews of campgrounds I thought were fine.

I think they are expecting perfection and maybe some sort of euphoric climax... Which they aren't getting any of, ...maybe (...if you know what I mean) [grin!].

The problem with the format is that everybody is free to take their own approach. Sometimes I think that approach is just to get even with the universe. But, of course, the reviewers that always hand out one or two stars are no more useful than the ones that always hand out 'tens'.

Now, with the "new feature" just implemented, reviewers can at last be held accountable, ...somewhat. They are still free to gripe ad infinitum but you are now better equipped to realize what they are doing and discount their efforts accordingly.

What could really be helpful, now, is a grass roots campaign among users to think in terms of writing a standard review framework. Essentially, this framework would give you as a reviewer a means to objectively assign 'stars' based on your experiences. You'd still be free to make observations and comments but the numerical ratings would be based on a consistent criteria. The biggest problem with this that I see is having a way to 'signal' that _your_ review has been undertaken based on the agreed upon framework. It could be as simple as a accronym code: "RF reviewed", for example, but, the 'Webmaster' would have to agree to allow the 'signal' to be expressed in the review (the 'Webmaster' has extraordinary editorial powers).

Right now, I'm using a standard framework of five criteria that was suggested by issues most commonly brought up by users as well as some other obvious criteria. These criteria are: attitude of campground owners/operators and staff; accessibility for big rigs (to address two issues frequently brought up); and the attractions to be found in the region/neighborhood of the campground; the attractiveness of the campground and immediate locale; and, finally, the completeness and sophistication of the campground facilities. I evaluate these criteria very simply: average, below average, or above average. I give a numerical value (a simple 1, 2, or 3) and average the total results. I don't do any particular weighting.

Now that the new feature is in place, I'm writing text and starting to submit reviews to the database based on numerical evaluations I've already calculated the last few months. Before the new feature, it just seemed too pointless to get involved.
gwbischoff
I've also begun to notice trends in a lot of the reviews. (Thanks to the new site upgrades).

I'm noticing that there are a lot of reviews in which the reviewer gives a lot of latitude to a CG based on the price. Now while price and value are important parts of a good review, if a CG's bathrooms are disgusting I need to know that. Not just that "I only paid $5 to stay here so I could live with disgusting bathrooms".
fixit
I started camping about 40 years or so ago in one and 2+ week incriments in every thing from a sleepin bag to a motor home and have never stayed in a "bad" park. Some I didn't care for but no bad one's. The one's I did not care for I just never went back to.
The best I ever stayed at were in the road side catagory and the very best one was in eastern oregon which appeared to be some one's front yard LOL==it was great. Must admit I dont really are for the "resort " parks, but will stay at one if that is all that is avaliable.
Be of good cheer and remember ---more flies are caught with honey than vineger rolleyes.gif
dmsscs
I agree, the best way to handle a park that you weren't happy with, is to simply not return. I know that there are parks out there that I didn't like but have friends that think they are great. What makes me happy. may not make the next guy happy and visa versa. When we bring the grand kids, we want a park that will be entertaining to them, when we go it alone, we like it more rustic and peaceful. Different strokes for different folks...and different stages of life! rolleyes.gif
Testudo
QUOTE
What Do People Expect In A Campground?

For my money, I basically just want a forceful warm shower ('hot' is optional). The rest is 'gravy'.

I know what you mean, though. Half the art of reading the reviews is filtering out all the reviewers that are harboring some petty peeve or ulterior motive. But with the new feature (instituted in October 2007), you can go and look at some of their other reviews to get a better handle on their mindset. Of course, a lot of venomous reviews come from one-post-wonders so they never wrote another review after getting that one diatribe off their chest.

I've been using the reviews for about two years but I only recently started to put together reviews of my own (we'll see what's left of them after they get posted). I'm using an objective criteria based on the regional attractions, local atmosphere of the campground, sophistication of the facilities, staff courtesy, and accessibility for big rigs. Because of my simple scoring system, most of my ratings are 6's, 7's, 8's, but it is not like I try to go to bad campgrounds in the first place. While I think my rating numbers are fair and reasonable, any rating might only be ultimately comparable on a local basis (ie. between a number of nearby campgrounds). But I think the text of the review is just as important and can explain mitigating factors - - both positive and negative. I'm leaving the petty slights out of _my_ ratings, though.

The downside, from the point of view of my sensibilities, is that I'm going to give a few great campgrounds low numbers - - because maybe they fall down in a couple of areas. Most of these are probably going to be government run campgrounds that are primitive and inaccessible to big rigs but easy for me to get to in my 4x4 truck camper. But I think the lower numbers are reasonable when you consider the profiles of most of the people using these reviews.

The reason that I picked the criteria that I use is that the biggest preoccupation in the reviews, here, seems to be the issue of staff courtesy and big rig accessibility. My staff courtesy ratings are overwelmingly 'average'. I just don't run into difficult campground personell but then, I don't complain about 'tree branches' or that I was expecting a different 'phase of the moon' than that which is currently being displayed. To a great extent, the American people feel inclined to blame whoever is most visibly 'in-charge' because they don't like the direction that the 'tide is heading'. When I read a campground review that heads in this sort of direction, I pretty much just discount the whole review.

As for area attractions, local atmosphere, and facilities, these were common sense choices on my part that reflect my own values. 'Local atmosphere' means the appearance, look, and feel of the immediate campground as well as the immediate neighborhood (to the degree that it may intrude). With facilities, again, most of my scorings are distinctly 'average'. I might comment on the look and feel of the facilities in the text but if everything is basically there and usable, it's 'average'. At a primitive campground (with say, only a pit toilet) I might use my outside shower (maybe with my shower tent and maybe without [grin!]) and be really ecstatic about my camping experience. Of course, because the facilities are 'primitive', that is going to be reflected in my rating so the overall number is going to be lower.

One of _my_ favorite excuses for excoriating a campground with _one_ star was....

QUOTE
...we got a rather irate email, upon returning home, that we have left some
[filled, dog-] poop bags in a convenient bar-b-que grill.


Why would the campground management think putting feces on a common area barbeque grill is a bad thing ??? (...I just hope that those of you who use those grills also carry a container of bleach with you). But then, I guess I would be hurt, too, if I 'soiled' the table, the grill, or the hookups and the management didn't treasure my 'little presents'.
leftyf
One of my favorite parks has a sign up stating that it doen't have a storm shelter and that residents are expected to make their own arrangements. I must be missing something here...I'm in town, I don't know a soul, a big storm comes up and tornados are all over...and I'm supposed to make my own arrangements. I've spoken to the owner about this...and he says he will get one in sooner or later. But, have I seen any tornadoes there?

My response was to tell him that my mere presence would increase the possibilty of a class 5 going right up the main road of the park. I got faith.

When I stay in a park, I'm not concerned about their baths and toilets. I have a perfectly good one in my RV. Too easy to catch something that alcohold won't cure. I'd like cable...but, I got satellite. I'd like wireless...but, I got a cellcard.

I've seen a guy in a 300K motorhome complain about black bars on his cable tv at an RV park 100 miles from the closest city with a population more than 50. And, others where the guy goes to the office and tells the owner that he knows what the problem with the cable is...and he can fix it. About 20% of the camps with wifi have problems that the cannot get fixed. If I want wireless that much, I'll get the owners ok and see if I can fix it. I've only had one that I could not. Usually, I get my $$$ on the rent...and a free night of wireless. I get bored easily and like being made to feel useful.
ddbradley952
QUOTE(Bud in Florida @ Aug 14 2007, 10:36 AM) *

I think the key is for people to say exactly what they don't like. If you want a paved site and have a space like your driveway and get one that has trees and you don't like that-- say so in the review. I hate reviews that just say the place was terrible and don't say why. I will not give a 10 to parks that do not have sewer, but I have given a lot of 9's to parks w/o sewers, but I always say this is why the park did not get a 10. There was one review of Disney's Fort Wilderness-- they review gave them a 2! Why, because he/she did not read that in order to get cable you had to have a premium site. It is clear on the web site. But he was mad at Disney because he booked a full hook-up site and did not have cable. Hey read the website. I agree with John-- you have a different standard when you are booking an overnight stop rather than long term. In an overnight stop, I look for nice people and a clean campground. It is nice if they have clean showers, but ytou can even pass that for one night. Sometimes I think posters expect the world for $20/night


That's what portable dish network is for.
ddbradley952
QUOTE(DXSMac @ Sep 16 2007, 12:50 PM) *

I expect the minimum: Sewer, water, electricity, and it's clean. Anything else is a "plus."

You can't blame the owners for noisy neighbors, but as one poster said, you can comment on how the campground deals with it. Also, you can't blame the park for "road noise," but knowing that some people don't like it, I usually comment whether or not it's there. And if you don't follow the rules, you can't blame the park. However, I will claim "false advertising" if the RV Park says "We have wireless" only to find out that you have to sign up with a third party at some outrageous cost do get it.......

I expect "free wireless" because it's norm in hotels, but if the park charges $1 or even $2, I'm ok with that. I know one park that does charge, I think, $2 a day, but it's THEIR wireless (not a third party) and I think they are just trying to recover the infrastructure costs.

I do expect cable, if they have it, to be free/included. I have been to one RV park that charges to have it. (The same one that charges for their wireless....)

And, I have been to a KOA that gave you the choice of either free wireless or free cable. In that case, on a review, I will "comment" but not say "bad park" because of it.....

JJ


Everyone who wants Wi-Fi in their camper obviously has a laptop. A wireless Aircard from SprintPCS that seems to work everwhere was the way to go for me. cost $59.00 month, got equipment for $50.00, droped my internet at home and leave the laptop in the camper but carry the Air card home when not camping and plug it in to my home pc. If you have multiple users at home (network) sprint (and only sprint) has a modem/adaptor you stick the air card into so everyone in the house can acess the (wireless) network.
Joe-n-Doe
We generally do some CG research when either planning a trip or while on the road. The Internet and membership campground books are useful in that regard. As are word of mouth reviews. Our expectations are variable and relative to our needs; i.e. are we just over nighting or staying for a few days.

Like most people, we want the biggest bang for our buck and get a bit testy if we think we are being nickeled and dimmed. But then what constitutes being nickeled and dimmed? Campers with self contained units who actually use their on-board showers and toilets don’t mind not paying a surcharge to use a park’s bathhouse facilities. Ditto Rvers who have their own satellite-Direct TV system and uses it. It creates a kind of damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation for park owners who have to pay for installation and maintenance of a park’s infrastructure and find a structured fee system to be unrealistic and an accounting nightmare. Regardless of how an owner passes on his cost, it is reasonable for consumers to expect not to be gouged and if a park’s infrastructure is not up to speed, isn’t properly maintained, facilities are dirty, etc then arguably the consumer is being gouged.

Further, good business planning should recognize the need to upgrade facilities and include a plan to set aside some proceeds for this purpose. Just like everything else on the market, RV parks need to keep pace with changes in the industry; e.g. longer rigs, RVs with slides and awnings (read wider units), cable TV, WiFi, etc. RV parks built to accommodate the Air Stream pulled by your grandfather’s Pontiac are as out of date as the old stand alone roadside picnic tables that have long since evolved to modern and clean Interstate Rest Stops.

We understand the subjective nature of reviews and take accompanying written explanations in conjunction with the park’s advertised features into consideration when making a decision about where, or where not, to stay. Those same factors in conjunction with our own personal experience help mold our review.
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