Date of Stay: April, 2009
Snowbird Heaven. Nice park September through May Thousand Trails Member Park. This is actually a pretty nice park, which is for the birds: snowbirds. On the downside, it is completely packed November through February. On the plus side, the pool is nice and inviting, and there are quite a few shops and restaurants which are close by if you have a dinghy. Since it's the desert, it is subject to high winds, so don't leave your awning up if you leave for awhile. The palm trees do give the park a lot of character, but may make it a bit tricky for big rigs. A bit more thought should have been given to placement. Steak night (Saturday) is a pretty good meal. Not much for the grandkids to do except play in the pool and visit the Living Desert. Closed mid-May to September. It's just too hot, and the electric bills would kill the park.
Date of Stay: October, 2007
We camped here because it was affiliated with our RV club membership. We had camped here before, but many of the problems remain. The pool and spa were still very nice, and the people were friendly. However, the majority of sites were still by the highway unless you were a VIP of some sort. And the clubhouse was still not much more than an outbuilding. Despite the talk, not much money has been put into the park. And the road getting here is only slightly less scary that Echo Summit, where my wife held her breath all the way down the hill! However, none of that matters now anyway. ***CAMPGROUND WAS BURNED IN HUGE FIRE, OCTOBER 22, 2007***
Date of Stay: August, 2007
The information below is TOP SECRET. If you breathe a word of it, Tony and his boys are going to pay you a visit, and they won't be bringing graham crackers and marshmallows for mores. Camping in Yosemite is definitely one of the things you have to do before you die. As previously mentioned, the back row of Upper Pines is the best, with no rigs behind you, only a small creek (and an occasional bear). The best part is that you are just a short walk away from the Happy Isles shuttle stop. (Not to worry, however, the busses are quiet, and they stop running to Happy Isles in the early evening.) The sheer beauty and majesty of Yosemite more than makes up for the lack of hookups, generator restrictions (only sparingly between 7 AM to 7 PM), campfire restrictions (5PM-10PM only), and the distance to the nearest showers (over a mile). You are literally in the shadow of Half Dome, steps away from miles of hiking and biking trails. You don't mind the restrictions, because the sound of the wind whispering through the pines and the creek gurgling by (and the Merced River roaring in the spring and early summer) is so peaceful and calming. Campfires all day would enshroud the valley in smoke, and generators would drown out the natural sound. Best way to get around is to take the shuttle, or even better, RIDE YOUR BIKES! If you didn't bring any, you can rent. Most places in the valley are easily accessible via bike and shuttle. In the summer, the pool is very refreshing (for a fee, of course). Bring your own food, because the food in the cafeteria is basically non-eatable. The pizza is OK, though. Oh, and don't even THINK of getting site 210. That's OURS. Actually, if you are in 210, 211, or 213, expect a bit of foot traffic past your site, since it is the most direct route to the shuttle stop. When we camp there, we just use it as an opportunity to say 'howdy'.
Date of Stay: October, 2006
I'll give this park 2 points for the pool and the play area, and another for the staff, but that's about it. Fishing was advertised, but no place to fish (pond was empty). Like a previous reviewer stated, the best sites are kept for somebody, but nobody can tell you. I just don't see how anyone (other than a shill) can give this old, run-down park a 10, especially with its poor location. The stats say that that there is big rig access, but I'd think twice before taking a forty-footer up the canyon road. The only other place my wife was more nervous was at Echo Summit coming into Lake Tahoe, where it was a narrow road with no guard rail. We stayed here for free to take the tour, but we were not inclined to buy at all, if this is an example of the resorts in the system.
Date of Stay: October, 2006
This is a really nice, clean park. The only reason I didn't give it a 10 is that there is no Wi-Fi. The pool is nice, and the shuttle to the casino is a nice touch. As for the previous reviewer who noted the "yelling, screaming kids." It's called FUN. Perhaps you're too old to remember what that is. Everyone I met here was very nice, but I guess there's always a grumpy one in the bunch. It's pretty much expected wherever you go in the summer. If you don't want kids running around having fun and making noise in the summer, stay home. Staff was friendly and helpful, and the resort is easy to get to from Orange County.
Date of Stay: September, 2006
As TT members, we try to get around to all the preserves in the system. Of all the parks we have visited so far, this one is the most disappointing. WIth that said, however, let's look at where it is: Vegas! There is a clear lack of activities here, because IT'S VEGAS! Why play candy bingo when you have the real deal just down the street. Other TT parks offer Saturday night dinners, and usually breakfast. I guess they just cannot compete with the buffets. The pool was nice, and they had some playground equipment for our youngest, and she enjoyed both. The strip is 6 miles away, and Boulder Station is practically next door, while Sam's Town is a short mile or so south. On the way in, we passed Sam's Town, Arizona Charlie's, and another RV park, all of which looked nicer. Sites were gravel, and seemed flat, but there's no cable, only "local" TV if you want it. This is a good enough place to stay if you are going to be doing a lot of gambling and exploring the area, but really no great shakes. On the plus side, the staff is very friendly and helpful.
Date of Stay: July, 2006
We were a bit leery about staying here based on previous reviews, but this served us well as a stop on the way home from Tahoe. We didn't get a spot under the trees, but that didn't matter too much as the weather was not oppressively hot. Our daughter loved the indoor pool, the bathrooms were clean, and the showers had hot water. This is a great base camp for exploring the Sierra, and it's a short walk from Grumpy's, a great local burger/beer joint. Staff was pretty good, a few too many piercings/tattoos for my taste, but the whole town is made up of younger folks who ski and/or mountain bike.
Date of Stay: July, 2006
Very nice campground, family friendly, fun place to stay among the trees. The shuttle bus which stops right at the entrance takes you all around South Lake Tahoe. There are a number of family activities, and the staff is very helpful and friendly. Resort just got Wi-Fi as of 7/5/06 (which I am using to write this), for a reasonable fee ($6 per day or $13 per week; monthly rates available). Lots of desert residents up here escaping the heat. The pool is a bit dirty, but understandable considering the day after the holiday. Pay a couple extra bucks for the premium sites, you won't have another rig behind you.
Date of Stay: July, 2006
Came here on July 4th, arguably the busiest weekend of the year. This is a really safe, clean, fun place to spend the holiday. Even though the park was full, the pool and restrooms were clean, and the staff was friendly and efficient. Even had a staff member cleaning out my fire pit as I was leaving! Free Wi-Fi is nice. And there are a couple pull-through sites for big rigs. There are plenty of places to get some good food in town. To top off your 4th of July celebration, you can watch the fireworks being shot off the pier from the north edge of the property, or the dunes to the west. We'll be back next year!
Date of Stay: May, 2006
This is an excellent park if you want to RV along the coast near Santa Barbara. I recently stayed here in the Santa Rosa section (full hookups) on Mother's Day weekend and Memorial Day weekend. The place was full, but that's to be expected. If you are in Long Row or Beach Row, you are treated to wonderful beach views, and the sound of waves putting you to sleep at night. Long row is about 20 feet from the beach, but even Inland is just a few steps more. The beach is clean, uncrowded, and steps away. Most of the people I have met here are very friendly, and will help you back your rig in. They will even move their cars if it makes it easier to get you in (we returned the favor as well). Bathrooms are cleaned each day around 8am, so plan accordingly. For showers, you must pay quarters (about 2.5 minutes each quarter), so don't forget to bring some. Some sites are wider than others, but every site is wide enough to put up your awning. Besides access to the beach, the town of Carpinteria is wonderful to explore. The people there are very friendly and unpretentious. There is a local burger joint (The Spot), a steakhouse (The Palms), pizza (Tony's, Giovanni's, and Rusty's)-- you can even get pizza delivered to your campsite! There's even an old fashioned candy store, a Foster's Freeze, and many other shops and restaurants. There are lots of kids here, especially summer, spring break, and weekends. Bike riders tend to fill up the camp roads in the mornings and late afternoons. Nothing better than being able to spend all day at the beach, then walk back to the old RV and sit around the campfire. The pros are many, but there are a few cons to consider: First, it can be very difficult to book here. If you want to stay here on a holiday weekend, you will need to book in the first couple hours the sites become available: That is the first of the month, six months ahead of time (If the first date of your stay begins in July, then you can book it Jan 1). Lots of families come here year after year (including ours), so competition can be fierce. We always like to complain (in fun, of course) to the family that took "our spot" on holiday weekends. If you're a full-timer, it's best to avoid this place in summer (especially weekends, and ESPECIALLY holiday weekends). Second, the place gets a LOT of use and can be crowded holiday weekends. That is to say that sometimes the bathrooms can be dirty, and there's no guarantee a really loud group won't be next to you. But hey, that's the same just about everywhere. Third, there's the tar. No big deal, if you invest in a cheap pair of water shoes/water socks. Tar seeps naturally from the Santa Barbara channel, so you may step in a bit of tar from time to time. Easily cleaned with baby wipes or any oil-based liquid and a paper towel. Finally, there's the trains. The tracks pass right by the campground, and there's about a dozen or so per day. Most people make a game out of it, seeing who can be the first person to call "TRAIN!" when they hear the train go by. It's a minor annoyance, but the upside is that there's a train platform about 100 yards from the north side of the campground. We have used it in the past if someone has to come late or leave early. On the plus side, you can stay at the beach without having to pay $2,000 or more per week. The beach is wonderful and right there. The volunteers and state employees are efficient and pretty darn friendly, too. You can get away from it all, yet still be close to convenience. The sunsets are beautiful, and the sound of the waves is so soothing. Definitely worth it, which explains why we visit several times per year.