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Review Count: 64
States Visited: 13
Helpful Reviews: 16

Banning State Park, Sandstone, Minnesota

Date of Stay: August, 2006 - $22.00
Overall Rating:

This park was a nice surprise for us. It offered good activities, clean facilities, and nice campsites. Big Rigs need to be careful with low hanging branches near site 7, otherwise you'll be ok. Sites 2, 4 & 6 are in an open area; rest are in a wooded setting. 28 is a nice non-elec site. 24, 22 & 20 were nice elec sites. (#24 was especially roomy) 10, 12 & 13 seemed a bit snug to us. Several very interesting hikes. Get the "Banning Quarry Self-Guided Trail" pamphlet at the Ranger Station and walk the Quarry Loop trail. Nice trail (old rail road bed) takes you past relics from the late 1800's when pink "Hinckley Standstone" was mined here and used for high-end building materials. Walking past the remains of the Cutting house, Power house, Rock Crusher, seeing the blast holes in the quarry, the unfinished rock, the tailings, and reading the pamphlet is almost spooky! Hundreds of people worked here and now: nothing but the ruins. Suggestion: Take the Spur Trail up from the quarry rather then face all the stairs at the North end of the Quarry Loop. Kettle River roars through "Hell's Gate" and there is a nice outlook called "Teacher's Outlook." Park is very well maintained. We told the ranger about a paper-wasp's nest across from our site. 30 minutes later a ranger pulls up in a truck, waves at us, sprays the nest, knocks it down from the tree and stomps on it, he waved again as he saw us all standing in our RV applauding him! Very friendly staff here. Some cell phone coverage; no Blackberry coverage. No highway noise, however some minor noise at night from a rail road several miles away. We camped at Banning State Park in a Motorhome.

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Review Count: 64
States Visited: 13
Helpful Reviews: 16

Fall Lake Campground USFS, Ely, Minnesota

Date of Stay: August, 2006 - $18.00
Overall Rating:

Beautiful lake and a lovely setting. However, we didn't find this campground to be that friendly to larger motorhomes. For pop-ups and tents it would be great. Many of the sites (which were lovely) were multi-layer where you'd park on one level then go up/down a hill/stairs to reach your picnic table/fire. Sites are generally separated from each other by woods. Sites were not very large - awnings/slides might have difficulty. Several sites had low-hanging tree branches that could cause larger rigs problems. We drove through, looked at available sites, and decided not to spend several days here. Overall "feel" of the campground was more like a private campground rather than a State Park. We camped at Fall Lake Campground USFS in a Motorhome.

Review Count: 64
States Visited: 13
Helpful Reviews: 16

Bear Head Lake State Park, Ely, Minnesota

Date of Stay: August, 2006 - $22.00
Overall Rating:

We were disappointed when we drove through the campground as the majority of sites were quite small for a larger motorhome - just fine for tests or pop-ups though which is what most others were using. Sites were pretty wooded and the roads and sites had low hanging tree branches. Sites 51-57 look like they are along the lake front but many trees prevent a good view of the lake. Only electric loop is sites 25 - 50. We camped at Bear Head Lake State Park in a Motorhome.

Review Count: 64
States Visited: 13
Helpful Reviews: 16

Birch Lake RV Park & Campground, Babbitt, Minnesota

Date of Stay: August, 2006 - $23.00
Overall Rating:

There are some very nice sites here (esp #5, #7, #6, #18, #26). Campground is well maintained, firewood is inexpensive (and delivered to your site!), hookups are good, and facilities are clean (flannel curtains serve as doors to showers and toilet stalls). Roads for larger motorhomes are fine in the center loop (5, 7, 8, 21, 16). However, there is a real tight turn near site 31 that is nasty for a larger rig. Many seasonals here, but there are a dozen or so nice sites. Not a lot of activities at the campground itself. Ideal to have a quite get-away to catch up on reading! Short walk to a public beach (lots of sea gulls), park, fishing pier, etc. Their website is pretty accurate and the owners were friendly. We camped at Birch Lake RV Park & Campground in a Motorhome.

Review Count: 64
States Visited: 13
Helpful Reviews: 16

Scenic State Park, Bigfork, Minnesota

Date of Stay: August, 2006 - $22.00
Overall Rating:

This is a lovely State Park! On the maps, it looks like sites 1 to 8 overlook Coon Lake - but there is a row of dense trees between the road and the lake so you won't have a view. Sites 1 through 41 seem a bit smaller but would be fine for tents or pop-ups. 5th wheels, large TT, and Motorhomes will do best in sites 43 to 69 (This is all in the Chase Point Campground). These sites are generally level and wide enough to support slides. Personal preference is to avoid #50, 51 & 60. 52 - 58 are really nice for larger units (no low tree branches, good entrance/exit, and nice site). Facilities were modern, clean and pleasant. The hiking was wonderful - both along the lake as well as in the hills. The hike out to Chase Point is well worth the time - fantastic view from there (we took our lunch, sat on benches at the point, and had a great time). Good "northwoods smell" - pine trees. Very nice boardwalk on the lake between sites 5 and the boat launch - great for meditating!! Row boats/canoes available for $10/hr - wonderful boating lake! Large stand of 200+ year old pine trees up by Pine Lake (about 5 mile round-trip hike). Grounds generally bug-free (thanks to the wonderful bats!) On a clear night, millions of stars are visible over the lake as it is pitch black in the campground and no big cities nearby. Average-to-poor cell phone and Blackberry coverage. We camped at Scenic State Park in a Motorhome.

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Review Count: 64
States Visited: 13
Helpful Reviews: 16

Mille Lacs Kathio State Park, Onamia, Minnesota

Date of Stay: August, 2006 - $22.00
Overall Rating:

This park took us by surprise. Originally this was just to be an overnight stop on our trip to Northern Minnesota - but we found this is a destination park in and of itself. We could easily spend 2-3 days here on their hiking tails, swimming at the beach, and joining interpretative events. Sites were generally quite nice in the Petaga Campground. Sites 41, 43, and 46 are pull-throughs, level and have good space for awnings, slide-outs, and fires. All sites are "in the woods" so they are sheltered from each other. No highway noise either. Cell phone and Blackberry coverage. Facilities were clean and attractive. We camped at Mille Lacs Kathio State Park in a Motorhome.

Review Count: 64
States Visited: 13
Helpful Reviews: 16

Lake Shetek State Park, Currie, Minnesota

Date of Stay: July, 2006 - $18.00
Overall Rating:

We've been here several times and found it quite enjoyable. In general, you'll have larger spaces with mature trees offering good shade, most sites have a nice view of the lake. Some sites are for tenting only. Other sites only offer 20amp electric. Sites numbered 31 & up all seem to offer 30amp service. None have 50amp. No sites have water or sewer though there are several faucets around the campground. Two restroom/shower buildings (northern is newer) are well maintained. Any site would work well for a pop-up or travel trailer. 5th wheels would be comfortable in most sites as would a motorhome - check site description carefully though (some are not real level!). Good hiking at this park (trails are easy and well maintained) & canoe rental. No naturalist. Decent dump station. Swimming beach - well there is really no beach at all - just access to the lake with swimming area marked by buoys. Nice breeze in the campground most of the time. If you like bird watching, you'll love the trails here - lots of variety to see in the marshes, woods, and grasslands. We camped at Lake Shetek State Park in a Motorhome.

Review Count: 64
States Visited: 13
Helpful Reviews: 16

Indian Trails Campground, Pardeeville, Wisconsin

Date of Stay: July, 2006 - $28.00
Overall Rating:

We normally prefer State Parks to private campgrounds (space, hiking, quiet, etc), but with 101-degree temps forecast, we thought an indoor pool sounded nice. Reviews here were pretty positive about Indian Trails so we called and got a site (coming in Sunday afternoon wasn't a problem - but weekends book way in advance). We had a great time! The site we got was large and was a real lake front. The breeze off the lake helped us stay cool. CG was very well maintained - all tables, firepits, facilities, utilities, etc were in excellent condition. As a family we went swimming in their indoor pool (very nice pool), hiked around the 15-acre fishing lake, and played 18 holes of minature golf (fun course, will need maintenance later this year). After the 9th hole, we were pretty hot so went into the office where they had a nice restaurant for some slushys before doing the "back 9". Activity prices were reasonable. Folks at the CG were very friendly; they have a LOT of repeat business and apparently advertise very little. CG was peaceful and we got 3 nights good sleep. Most sites are pretty good size; some are more attractive than others. If you're in a big rig, make certain they know - there are many sites that are fine for a popup but a Class A would have a hard time getting level in them. We all agreed this was a "destination" campground - one to which we will likely return. We camped at Indian Trails Campground in a Motorhome.

Review Count: 64
States Visited: 13
Helpful Reviews: 16

Timber Wolf Lodge, Babbitt, Minnesota

Date of Stay: August, 2005 - $30.00
Overall Rating:

The web pages made this sound pretty nice, but we didn't find it to our expectation level. First the roads in the campground were in need of maintenance. I worried about taking our Class A on them. There are some tight turns and wash-outs to watch for (esp the corner between #12 & 13 - turn, back, turn, back, and turn was needed to get around it). The campsites were not real pleasing to us: most were small and packed tightly together. Some pull-throughs (like #18) had significant slopes. Owner was quite pleasant. Many pop-ups were doing just fine in the sites. Owner advised us not to take our rig into sites 1..6 as we would have trouble turning around so we didn't see those. We camped at Timber Wolf Lodge in a Motorhome.

Review Count: 64
States Visited: 13
Helpful Reviews: 16

Pattison State Park, Superior, Wisconsin

Date of Stay: August, 2005 - $13.00
Overall Rating:

Pattison looked good on the web, but it looks even better in person. Almost every site is a pull-through which is unusual for a State Park. However, only 18 have electricity. The sites are Large, Medium & Small (the ranger station has them labeled that way on their map) but they are all quite nice. There are a couple of double sites for camping with friends. Good playground for kids. $4 for a pile of firewood - enough for all night. Excellent interpretative center. The naturalist while we were there, Jesse, was wonderful. He was a very hands-on field work kind of a guy, not the lecture kind. His naturalist hikes were excellent - he knew every bird in the forest, he took us off-trail to a huge beaver dam, he had a fine insect collection, well, you get the idea. The hiking here was awesome. The trails were well maintained but not totally artificial. Hiking to the waterfalls is a must. At 165', Big Manitou Falls is the highest waterfall in Wisconsin and the 4th highest east of the Rocky Mountains. Very easy hike to it, and around it, and down river. Well worth it! Rangers patrol the campground hourly and it was very peaceful while we there (as is typical). It is also very quiet at night. Very nice beach and bathhouse too. Great for kids to play on or swim in the roped off area. Water was a bit cool in late August already. One disadvantage for multi-day visitors in a non-electric site: Generators are not allowed to be run at any Wisconsin State Park at any time. After three days, we had to strike camp in our Class A and take a drive into Duluth for groceries (but the drive was really to recharge our house batteries). The ranger, when he found out, was so nice - "Ya coulda driven down to the shop, I'da let ya plug in for a cupla hours. " This park, in our opinion, is a good destination park. We spent 4 days there in late August and were not ready to return home. There were good hiking trails we didn't take, more swimming to do, horseshoes/volleyball/basketball (all free, get supplies from the park office), and walking the campground talking with more people. No problem with animals (bears are very rare there). We had good Cell Phone coverage there, but there was no Blackberry (digital) coverage. No Internet access at the park (but one of the lady attendants offered to let us plug our laptop into their phone line in the office). When we return, we'll look to reserve one of the electric sites on the inner loop. All of the electric pull-throughs are quite nice. They reserve 6 sites for people without reservations - all non-electric. Site #1 is the best if you can get it (we did). Finally - that far north, the sky is spectacular at night. You can easily see the Milky Way among an incredible number of stars. We camped at Pattison State Park in a Motorhome.

Review Count: 64
States Visited: 13
Helpful Reviews: 16

Pilot Knob State Park, Forest City, Iowa

Date of Stay: August, 2005 - $15.00
Overall Rating:

Campground hosts were very friendly and there was nice hiking to the Pilot Knob Tower (2nd highest point in the State of Iowa). Climing to the top gave some great views of the country side. The campground itself has an unusual layout. Some sites are all grass, not level, and have no indication of ever being used. Others are gravel but are not at all level. A few sites are level. It is not at all clear how to enter/exit many of the sites - or even their location. This is a very tent-friendly campground, it can accommodate Pop ups, but only a few Class A's are really comfortable there. That said, this is only a few miles away from the Winnebago Factory in Forest City (tours at 9am and 1pm) so there were about 6 Class A's squeezed in the evening before their tour. The bath house is old and run down (but cleaner than many private CGs we've been to). Avoid dumping here as the drain isn't level and... well lets say there has been spillage that won't run uphill into the drain. Yech. I'd camp here again if I was going to the Winnebago Factory (while there is free "camping" at the Winnebago Visitors Center, I think this State Park is preferrable to that concrete-city). I'd also camp here for an overnight. But we don't see this as a vacation destination. Good cell phone and Blackberry coverage. We camped at Pilot Knob State Park in a Motorhome.

Review Count: 64
States Visited: 13
Helpful Reviews: 16

Pikes Peak State Park, Mcgregor, Iowa

Date of Stay: August, 2005 - $15.00
Overall Rating:

There are some interesting things to do here - like hike to the interpretative center and watch the dozen hummingbirds feed at 6 feeders. They aren't too afraid of you so you can get close and take amazing photographs of them. Good hiking with views of the Mississippi. Hiking to Bridal Veil Falls is enjoyable even though there are hundred of stairs down. . . and up again. We saw several effigy mounds while hiking - interesting. However, many of the sites are not Class A friendly - too tilted or low branches. Sites were quite close together with no separating vegitation. Our "neighbor" had his porch-light on all night which shown directly in our bedroom window - yech. Site 38 was OK for our Class A. Lots of dogs in the campground and, with the sites so close, their chains didn't always keep them in their own site. Our personal preference was this was a fine place to visit and experience once, but we don't feel an urge to return soon. We camped at Pikes Peak State Park in a Motorhome.

Review Count: 64
States Visited: 13
Helpful Reviews: 16

Yellowstone Lake State Park, Blanchardville, Wisconsin

Date of Stay: August, 2005 - $15.00
Overall Rating:

We came for the bats and were not disappointed! This park is home to hundreds of mosquito eating bats - as a result, we could camp without bug spray! Every evening at dusk, they fly around chomping unwary bugs but never bothering the campers. Interpretative programs about bats happen on weekends. Nice swimming beach down the hill from the campground. Campground divided into two parts: small loop of sites 1-36, large loop for the others. The small loop had many Class A friendly sites that had ample room. Sites 37-128 generally didn't seem as level; we liked the smaller loop better. Vegitation separates the camp sites so you don't feel packed in. Many activities - but you'll need a vehicle to enjoy them (ie, a Motorhome without a Toad is limiting). Friendly rangers, good cell phone and Blackberry coverage. The one problem: This park is in the middle of nowhere! Better be comfortable driving on narrow paved county two-lane hilly and curvy roads to get here! Good day trips include House on the Rock (gotta see it to believe it), Pendarvis historical site, a cave tour, and a mine tour. Very nice playground for the kids. We camped at Yellowstone Lake State Park in a Motorhome.

Review Count: 64
States Visited: 13
Helpful Reviews: 16

Governor Dodge State Park, Dodgeville, Wisconsin

Date of Stay: August, 2005 - $15.00
Overall Rating:

I normally don't like the big parks - pack 'em in like cordwood and treat 'em lousy! However, I had a wonderful surprise at this State Park. It is large and very spread out so each campground has spacious sites and has an isolated feeling. You don't feel like you're camping in a sardine can. Most sites had a wide level gravel pad great for a Class A. Wood is sold ($5/box and you pick the pieces). There are two main campgrounds: Twin Valley and Cox Hollow. We camped in Twin Valley (don't know about Cox Hollow). There are two areas in Twin Valley: Wooded and Open sites. The wooded are very wooded - so much so I felt a bit confined. However the open sites have lush vegitation around their perimeter (so you don't see your neighbor) and have a large sitting area (great for campfire conversations). Facilities were clean. Some "Dual Sites" which are two adjacent sites great for multi-rig gatherings. You'll need a separate vehicle to get to the swimming beaches or drive to trail-heads (so the motorhome without a Toad is at a disadvantage). Beaches looked great as did the trails. Interpretative programs on some weekends but not during the week. Few bugs, not bad. Has both Cell Phone and Blackberry coverage. We camped at Governor Dodge State Park in a Motorhome.

Review Count: 64
States Visited: 13
Helpful Reviews: 16

Perrot State Park, Trempealeau, Wisconsin

Date of Stay: August, 2005 - $15.00
Overall Rating:

This is one of the nicer Wisconsin State Parks we've been to. The campsites are Class A friendly (level gravel pads with approprately trimmed trees). Most sites have been carved out of woods which gives you an isolated feeling. Good hiking trails, interpretative center, mounds, and rental canoes are present. Good dump station, cell phone coverage but no Blackberry coverage. Very clean and well-maintained facilities. Bring bug spray. Wide variety of plant life and trees. Breeze through the trees smells very nice. Scenic over-looks. Enough to keep a family busy for several days or more! We camped at Perrot State Park in a Motorhome.

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