Campground Chatter with Janet Groene, January 4, 2020


The latest news about camping and developments in North American campgrounds and RV parks from Janet Groene and sometimes the staff of

DISCLAIMER: Information is believed current at press time but conditions can change quickly. Check ahead for specifics about dates, rates and rules, as well as a campground’s location, site sizes and conditions, reservation policies and road conditions in the area. No endorsement of any campground or product is implied by this reporter nor this website.

DATELINE: January 4, 2020

The 32nd annual Arizona Renaissance Festival and Artisan Marketplace welcomes chivalrous nobles and fair ladies February 8 through March 29 at the 30-acre village in Gold Canyon. Plan to spend several days to see all the jousting, food choices, music stages, horses,  wandering troubadours, tournaments, artists, crafters and costumed characters. Camping is at Lost Dutchman State Park near Apache Junction.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Big Basin Redwoods State Park, Boulder Creek (near Santa Cruz), offers a guided, two-hour hike exploring the courtship behaviors of the park’s most interesting animals and plants. Meet docent Eva Fewel at 11:30 a.m. on February 15. The park has RV sites but sizes are limited to 24-foot trailers and 27-foot motorhomes. In winter, some campsites close on short notice. At this time the nature museum is closed for renovations and some facilities are seasonal. The park still has plenty to offer: 80 miles of trails for all skill levels, ancient redwoods, naturalist-guided backpacking trips, frequent events and rushing waterfalls. Some trails are wheelchair accessible.

RV camping ($40 with hookups) is first-rate at the fairgrounds in Grass Valley, where a Night at the Speakeasy gives campers a chance to wallow in 1920s luxury, wear their best 1920s Gatsby costumes and take gambles on raffles, a silent auction and games. Youth and community services benefit from this Rotary Club fundraiser. Tickets at the door; food and beverage booths extra. It’s February 1 at the Main Street Center, 6:30-10:00 p.m. Event information; fairgrounds information (530) 273-6217.

Gold Branch State Park, a 600-acre natural paradise of woods and springs south of Jacksonville in Keystone Heights, will host its Yesterday’s Festival on its 80th birthday, January 25, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. See scenes from Old Florida with steam engines, three stages of live music, food galore, antique cars and tractors and demonstrations of old-time skills. The park has three campgrounds and most sites have 30- and 50-amp power. The region is a popular bird watching site and an entry point to a section of the Florida Trail. Site-specific RV reservations are through

Keep rock ‘n’ roll alive by making plans now to attend the Rockville Festival May 8-10 at the Daytona Speedway. Metallica heads the long list of top music stars. Four-day camping passes are available now with entry allowed as early as noon on May 7. Some sites are available with water and electric hookup. Festival passes are purchased separately.

Mistletoe State Park, Appling (outside Augusta), is the ideal location for Date Night in the Park on February 15. A $20 entry fee lets you and your spouse compete against each other in primitive camping skills. The park has 93 campsites, some of them open in winter. Event participation is limited, so call 706-541-0321 ASAP for information and sign-up. Camping reservations and fees are separate. The popular park offers 1,920 acres of hiking, fishing, nature watching, seasonal beaching and boating on 72,000-acre Clarks Hill Lake.

Indian Lakes State Park, Lakeview, is open for first-come winter RV camping and will be warm with pancakes and Ohio maple syrup on March 14-15. For ticket information go to The park is primarily a summer destination because of its watersports, but expect cold snaps in March. Reserved campsites are available only in season. Go to for full information about this popular destination.

As always with these super concerts and RV parking, it’s important to get in early for ticketing information, RV parking information and reservations if available. Held at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus, the Buckeye Country Superfest on June 20 will star Kenny Chesney, the Florida Georgia Line, Kane Brown, Brett Young, Gabby Barrett and a lineup of country superstars. Tyler Rich stars at the Tiki Tailgate Fan Fest. RV parking will be available for the event only and on a first-come basis.

It will be a year or two before the opening but the new RV resort that’s a-building adjacent to the Hilton Head National Golf Course in Bluffton will be a unique destination. Luxury amenities will include an Olympic-size pool, dog park, fitness facility with three-mile trail, playground, ball courts and 300 spacious RV sites. The prestigious Hilton Head location plus golf will make this newsworthy. A name for the new resort has not been announced.

Utah’s largest music festival with camping takes plenty of planning if you want the whole enchilada with VIP access and the best RV campsites. This year’s stars start with Brantley Gilbert, Old Dominion and Neal McCoy with many other stars, groups and acts to fill July 30-August 2 with music, get-togethers, parties, food and good times woven around North America’s top country stars. It’s Country Fan Fast in Tooele. Find it west of Salt Lake City in the beautiful Oquirrh Mountains.


Entrance and camping fees have increased in South Dakota state parks as of January 1. Fees for prime campsites in campgrounds will increase to $26, preferred sites to $23 and modern to $20. These are the first park entrance fee increases since 2014. The additional revenue will repair broken roads, bridges and campgrounds.

Operators of the Green Park Campground in Port Hill near Tyne Valley, P.E.I., are terminating their agreement with the province to run the park. The campground was severely damaged by post-tropical storm Dorian a few months ago, and the insurance rates have tripled because of it. The park is owned by the province, and the current operators are hoping someone else will take it over. Green Park hosts the annual Rock the Boat Music Festival, and there will still be camping available for the festival.

The Hays, Kansas, City Commission recently heard details on the first in a package of incentives for a proposed travel plaza north of Hays. The first phase of the 55-acre development at exit 157 of Interstate 70 would include a travel plaza, truck wash, a restaurant inside the plaza, a convenience store, scales and hygiene amenities. Phase two of the project is anticipated to include construction of retail and commercial uses, including an RV park. Work is underway at the site, but approving the incentive package and project plans will probably take until May.

Reservations opened up on January 3 for some national parks in Canada, via Parks Canada’s online Reservation Service. This service will be available for 36 national parks, national marine conservation areas, and historic sites across Canada, and will include fully-serviced campsites. More info here.

Janet Groene is the author of more than 25 books including Living Aboard Your RV, 4th Edition, available at Her brand-new book, “March Malice, a Yacht Yenta Mystery,” is available at See Janet Groene’s weekly Solo Woman posts at SoloWomanRV.

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