Babieka

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Date of Stay:

Last summer, we met a camper in Maine who upon learning we lived in Virginia highly recommended we camp at the Corps of Engineers managed campground at Kerr Reservoir. The reservoir borders Virginia and North Carolina, and there are several campgrounds on different shores. After exploring a few, we decided to camp at North Bend, the largest Corps campground. The campsites are spread around several loops and many offer lakeside camping. The access roads are well paved and the RV sites pretty level (some are gravel, some are paved) and all sites seem very generously sized. Water and electricity are provided April 1-Oct. 31, but one loop remains open year round (sans those services, at a $5 a night rate). There are lots of nice bike paths connecting the various loops within the campground, and a visitors center and nature center operated by the Corps are located nearby. This is one of the best maintained state/federal campgrounds we have stayed at. If you have a golden access card, the rate is discounted 50%. Cell service is decent, and with a booster antenna and a Verizon WiFi card, fast enough to work on. There's a small country store/BP gasoline station about 5 minutes away by car for basic necessities (milk, bread, sodas) but a real grocery store is about a 30 minute drive. There's also a pizza restaurant across the street from the country store.

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We thoroughly enjoyed a five night stay at this park. My husband had a good time fishing just a few feet from our camp site, and we saw deer and other wildlife on our evening strolls. A visit to the nearby Ninety Six National Historic Monument was a worthwhile side trip. We spent a lovely Sunday afternoon walking on their interpretative loop and then along one of their primitive trails.

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We enjoyed our stay at this campground, which with 186 sites felt rather intimate compared to some of the larger ones we'd stayed at on this trip. We stayed here midweek so the place wasn't packed, but it seemed there was enough space between the campsites that it would be nice even when full. There are a number of waterfront sites which are first-come-first-served (worth checking into when you arrive, I believe you can move from your reserved campsite into one of these for an additional fee). As do other Michigan state parks, this campground requires an additional 'vehicle fee' for cars/motorhomes. We'd purchased an annual sticker for our RV at the previous campground and paid $6 for an out-of-state 'toad' sticker at this one. At one point, a polite ranger who was checking up on the stickers knocked on the door to say we needed to pay an extra $6 for the toad...then she realized the amount we'd paid was correct (after I'd whipped out my wallet). We drove to the main Pinckney Recreation Area entrance booth and they provided a map that directed us to this part of the park (about a 15 minute drive away). There are, however, little generic brown camping signs that point you to the campground (we just chose to follow the larger signs to the 'main' park as we weren't sure). Ann Arbor is an easy 25 minute drive away, and we look forward to staying here again if we're in the area.

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We loved our stay here and look forward to returning since its relatively close (3 hours) to our home. The camp sites are nicely wooded and it was very quiet despite the freeway not being far away. We stayed at one of the rustic sites (no electric sites were available) and would try to reserve in the "A" or Ash electric loop next time. In addition to having the electric convenience, it's closer to the lake. A ranger mentioned that the electric sites might not have power from mid-October through the late Spring of 2009 because of some bathhouse renovations that are slated for that period, but said to call and check with the office to make sure. They were also considering the possibility of keeping one loop open during the winter this year (again, call the office to double check). The lake has a nice, wide beach area. Dogs are not allowed on the sand, but there are cute, shaded, 'love seat' wood swings on the lawn nearby where you can sit and take in the view with your pet (and a beloved human :) The 5 mile loop trail around the lake is lovely. The only downside was that we could not get a strong WiFi signal on our Verizon EVDO card here or at any of the nearby open areas. The town of Cumberland (about 10 minutes away by car and within biking distance for strong cyclists) offers an assortment of dining opportunities and a few art galleries and interesting shops. Lastly, I loved that this state campground doesn't charge extra fees for booking online.

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We spent three nights here midweek in order to visit the Airstream factory, which is located in nearby Jackson Center, and look forward to returning if we pass through this area again. Our campsite was on a canal in the D loop, and the view of the lake, while not direct was very nice. Each loop - and this is a very large campground - had its own campground host and they do keep things up quite nicely. Another plus was being able to get a strong WiFi signal on our Verizon EVDO card, something that unfortunately is not that common at state/national parks. The signage leading to the park is very sparse: a generic brown camping sign was the only cue from the access road we used to approach (our GPS sent us a few miles past the sign to a residential access point to the lake, but we backtracked, turned at the sign, stopped to ask for directions at a small store and found the park within 15 minutes).

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We were disappointed to learn when checking in that we needed to pay an additional $24-$32 for 'vehicle fees' to stay two nights at this campground, on top of the $62 we'd already paid. Apparently a Michigan state policy. Do they expect campers to arrive with a tent on their backs? Anyway, we ended up buying a non-resident 'annual pass' for our motorhome for $29 because we had already pre-paid for another two night campground stay at a Michigan state park for the upcoming week, plus we paid a $6 toad charge. We'll need to buy another toad permit at our next Michigan state campground but saved $3 with the annual pass - which is only good through December 31. When we finally pulled up to our site we were greeted by a mound of dirty aluminum foil in the fire ring, and a good amount of smaller litter on the ground. Not very pleasant. On the plus side of the roster, we did enjoy hiking the nearby Higgins park trails, and thought the fitness stations along the beginning of the 6.5 mile loop were a terrific idea. We also liked the fact that on the lake the park lets you walk with your dogs as long as you stay on the inland side of a nice path that runs parallel to the water. There are plenty of shaded benches that offer nice water views.

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We spent one night at this campground but wished we had the time to spend more. The owner was very friendly and helpful in getting us to our campsite before checking us in, and the grounds were nicely maintained with level, mowed grass covering each campsite. They had lots of lawn chairs and picnic tables in their lake front common area, and whimsical art pieces adorning the trees along the path that leads down to the lake.

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We spent one night at this campground, and appreciated the fact that the staff spoke English. As other reviewers have mentioned, the WiFi carries a charge of $6.50, and the sites are very closely situated. They also charge $1 per dog per night. Our neighbor kindly moved his car when we saw we were getting ready to pull out which allowed us to do so without unhitching...but if he had not done so, we wouldn't have been able to get through without spending the time to unhitch/re-hitch despite being in a 'pull through' site.

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We booked one of the campground's eight premium oceanfront sites seven months in advance, and the view turned out to be all it was cracked up to be...despite the fact that it rained every day of our 5-night stay. We enjoyed a seafood dinner at the restaurant at the entrance (which seems to be owned by the same family that owns the campground), and had fun exploring the nearby towns of Belfast, Camden and Castine. We would camp here again, but we would camp closer to Acadia National Park to properly explore that area (the drive to the park is about 90 minutes each way from this campground).

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We opted to spend a week at this campground en route to Maine, and based our decision in great part on the glowing reviews others had made about it. It is a very nice campground, but we were a bit surprised by how very many campsites it has, and how close together they are - it felt a bit like a 'small city.' It does seem to have lots to do for kids, with some organized daily activities and three sparkling pools. It also has a nice little fishing pond. Quiet it wasn't, though. The hum of steady traffic from a nearby freeway was audible at night, and one of our neighbors had a strange ritual of chopping wood at 11 p.m. That said, we would stay here again if we're in the area.

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We moved to this campground from the Elkmont Campground inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park because we couldn't get a wireless signal at Elkmont. We asked to check out our site to make sure we could get decent wireless reception before paying for our stay, and they didn't have any objections to that (and warned us that cell reception in the campground can be spotty). Our experience with the office and other staff was pleasant, and we would stay here again.

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We loved our stay here. The sound of the Little River was a gentle, constant presence at our site. One afternoon we spent three hours on the 5-mile hiking loop that starts on one corner of the campground up the Little River Trail, to the Cucumber Gap Trail, then back on the Jake Creek Trail. In early April, wildflowers were profuse and the river beautiful. One note: we would classify the hike as 'moderate' rather than 'easy' as listed in the park's day hike brochure. The big downside was that we couldn't get any cell signal whatsoever (even with a booster) which meant we cut our stay short, as I work from our RV. One day we drove the RV to the Sugarland visitor's center, which is about 8 miles away, and I was able to work from the parking lot as that is one of the very few spots within the park that gets a cell signal...but with snow in the forecast, we decided to move to a campground outside the park to conclude our visit to the Great Smoky National Park. Also, a trip to the visitor's center is required to use the dump station and/or fill your water tanks. Despite the lack of cell signal and hookups, it's the prettiest RV campground within the park as far as we're concerned, and we look forward to returning soon.

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We stayed here in early April, and the campground seemed a bit forlorn. Spring hadn't arrived yet, trees still mostly bare. My husband enjoyed fishing from the lake's shore, given the water's clarity even though he didn't catch anything. We also enjoyed hiking the 1-mile trail behind the park's headquarters. It's a nice little loop, with several footbridges across a babbling stream. From a 'view' perspective, I much prefer Dreher Island State Park, which we stayed at right before coming to this park. As other reviewers have mentioned, Lake Jocassee is partially visible from only a few of the campsites.

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We enjoyed our 7-night stay at this state park. We arrived on a Friday, and the campground was packed but given the lake views it was very pleasant. The park is located on three small islands in Lake Murray, and we entertained ourselves walking around admiring the blooming dogwood trees and getting different glimpses of this huge body of water. The one discordant note was that when we tried to reserve four nights the park's reservation system said we had to reserve for 7 nights...apparently because our arrival fell during what was considered 'spring break.' However, the campground was virtually deserted starting the Monday after our arrival. We chatted with some another couple who were disappointed by the same requirement (they also paid for seven nights but were leaving after five and also lamented the wasted cost given the mid-week emptiness).

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We could only snag a 2-night reservation and plan to return in the future. We loved the feeling of camping within a grove of trees...you know your neighbors are close at hand, but the vegetation provides a nice buffer. We stayed in site #91 which connected straight to a path to the beach. We took a sunrise walk on the beach and were delighted to see six dolphins swimming just a few feet away from the shore. We walked alongside of them for a good 10 minutes. Very memorable. We also hiked a short (1.5-2 mile) trail through the maritime forest to the lighthouse on the other side of the park, and despite warnings from one of the rangers about the possibility of bugs, none materialized and the path provided a lovely experience. The only downside was that the wireless card we use to access the internet didn't work very well from the campground, which has prompted us to order a booster for it!