Tuesday, December 6, 2022


Letter to editor: RVer turned off by RV parks


letters to the editorHi Chuck,
Just did about three weeks rving from Naples, Florida to home in Michigan. We spent from $20 to $65 per night.

Sadly the $65 was at a Destination KOA last night in southern Michigan. We asked for 50 amp, water, sewer on a level site with access for our satellite dish. One night only. Pull through.

The site was horrible. Uneven with sparse grass and roots everywhere. The back wheels were about four inches, at least, higher than front, and two inches higher on the passenger side than the drivers side. 

Not sure how RVtravel.com can help the often p-poor sites we encounter. Now 120,000 miles on this coach. I rated the park a two out of five on an RV website. I cannot understand why RV park owners milk their profits and apparently neglect their basic product — each site in their park. 

In another case, Renfro Valley in Kentucky, a non-KOA park, was almost perfectly level. They charged $46. Full hookup and pull-through. Their negative: failing to tell us when we made our reservation that there is NO OFFICE at the park. None. Nada.  The office is about 2-3 city blocks farther down the road on the opposite side of the highway. I tried to pay over the phone with my credit card, but they would not accept it.

So, we will continue to use RV parks only when necessary and rely on Wal-Marts and similar. Your comments that there are not enough RV parks and sites is valid. But just getting a level site would be an improvement. — Ernie

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4 years ago

It’s morbidly interesting to me, the more I read this newsletter, how disparate my desires seem to be from so many commenters — we literally want/hate polar-opposite things. I’m not a retiree and move often, which probably plays a big role in those choices, but I do drag a “huge” trailer around the country, so I *think* I’m still part of “RV folks?”

The campground has poor WiFi? I’ve never used CG networks that I can recall (a combination of speed and insecurity).

The site is unpaved? GOOD! I don’t want to “pavement camp” unless I’m actually on pavement — say, at a Walmart, where I don’t pay extra to park between lines.

There’s a swimming pool? I hate chlorine, so I’ll dive in the river. Wait, that’s the “fishing pond” and no swimming allowed. People pay extra for this?

The owner leads you to your site and insists on hooking up for you? That’s actually ANNOYING for a competent driver… I don’t want to wait for your golfcart, and I can follow decent signs! And keep out of my storage bay — I don’t want to be plugged in before I do my own tests, and I handle my hoses more carefully than many.

Absolutely nothing against people who DO want “full service RV Resorts,” but it’s certainly alien to my goals. I think increasingly, many complaints (of any persuasion, including my own) may boil down to a lack of fair and accurate advertising by campgrounds trying to attract EVERYONE to *inappropriate* sites that serve no one perfectly. My point is that many “detractors” above would actually draw folks like me, so just be honest. I try to AVOID places that rave about community centers and pools because (as noted above) that usually means the sites are just parking lots to serve centralized attractions I won’t use. It would be FINE if an owner wants to say “Our all-grass sites aren’t perfectly level, there’s no pool or fireworks show, but you get a quiet 200×80 site for only $20/night!” — I’d GO there! In fact, I often do in state parks.

While folks are griping, I’ll mention my own pet peeve — the marked “snub” to non-sewer folks like me by the conspicuous inadequacy of shared dumpsites. Many campgrounds go to the expense of dozens or even hundreds of full-sewer-hookup sites, but then have a single dumpsite for the other 200 non-sewer sites? Checkout time becomes a deathmatch and 1/2 mile traffic jam. The big sewer expense is handling capacity, not access holes — so since the same volume is still going into the same tanks eventually anyway, adding up to 4 holes adds under $100 of pipe to the build-out. Build it, and we will come!

PS: Just further insight into “to each their own”… Earlier, I asked my neighbor whether he thought my generator was annoyingly loud, and he observed “Nah, and it’s never the generator folks who run their #$*&^#$ disco lights all night…” True, that…

William Morris
4 years ago

We are staying in Grand Ole RV Park just north of Nashville. It is the best park in Tennessee. Level pull thru sites. 50 amp. MUSIC every night. Terrific performances. Dinner every night. 110 sites. Owners family takes you to your site and hooks you up. 25 minutes to downtown Nashville. But. They also have tour bus come in and pick you up ….bill Morris

Sue Adams
4 years ago

We stayed at a KOA in Ohio for 2 days. It started raining and when leaving we had to drop our vehicle off the toter that has a golf cart on the front (pull through site) and disconnect so the guy could pull our 40′ MH out of the mud in mid April on our way back to Northern Michigan. My husband used their hose to wash everything down. Mud everywhere. That finalized our decision of selling toter and flat towing. Didn’t detour our love of full timing one bit. ☺️

Sue Adams
4 years ago

We stayed at a KOA in Ohio for 2 days. It started raining and when leaving we had to drop our vehicle off the toter that has a golf cart on the front (pull through site) and disconnect so the guy could pull our 40′ MH out of the mud in mid April on our way back to Northern Michigan. My husband used their hose to wash everything down and was not happy. Mud everywhere. That finalized our decision of selling toter and flat towing.

J Cherry
4 years ago

My husband and I were just traveling LA, MS, and AL. We have a 43’ motorhome that weighs almost 43,000 lbs. so we have to stay in a spot that has solid ground. We found a beautiful Amry Corp of Eng. park in MS that I honestly don’t want to write a review for as I don’t want people to know how nice it is. Doesn’t that just go against everything I was taught growing up. Also that is not how we RVr’s roll. But I’ll tell you. It was North Abuttment in Grenada, MS. $20/night, no sewer. We also found a very nice, level solid campground south of Vicksburg on Hwy 61. It was $26/night and we used that to stay the night with full hook ups. There was some hwy/factory noicse, but it’s so dang hot out now you have the A/C so it really doesn’t matter. I would stay there again while I tour the historical area. When you are as big as we are you need to really plan ahead when you travel. Our next 5 months of travel is all planned out and we did that in early March with get one of the last spots at Garden of the Gods in CO. Safe travels y’all.

Tommy Molnar
4 years ago

Spot on, ECohen! We have a favorite story about an RV park which had beautiful pics on there website, showing an old western town atmosphere that was hard to NOT make reservations at. So we did. Got there and HOLY CRAP! What they didn’t show was what was behind the person taking the picture. Totally misrepresenting the place.

Live and learn, I guess.

4 years ago

This is our third year RVing. We have the 1475 Lance and it has most everything you bigger rig folks have including a real bathroom. We live in CO so we have mostly travelled out west and in the mid-west. We often travel with friends. So far, with planning, we’ve gotten decent parks. A few duds and many more were just OK. But we didn’t go into this experience expecting 5 Star, luxury hotel environments. We’ve done that and got tired of it and even with the most expensive RV parks (Lake Tahoe for instance), its still cheaper than those hotels and we know what is in our bed and what isn’t and the bed is consistently comfy. We have leveling things to manage uneven spots and what is wrong with grass? It’s good for you and the planet. We are becoming adept at backing into spaces and those are usually the nicer spots. Cheaper and quieter, too since no one wants them. There’s always state parks and National parks which are often quite nice. If our tiny tanks can manage a couple nights without hookups, bigger ones certainly can. There are BLM spaces for quick stops and much better than a parking lot. I’m guessing perspective and expectations make a difference and those are changeable. The RV park situation isn’t under our control but outlook is. Just a thought.

Phil McCraken
4 years ago

Listen, when “in route “, just don’t bother with a RV specific site. Download the Wal-Mart, Cracker Barrels, etc. locators. Patronize their establishmentss and your headache goes away.

Unless you really know your landing point, why bother with parting with $ just to sleep.

Denny Wagamam
4 years ago

Bottom line though you had a choice to stay or not and find a Walmart or whatever. Do you belong to Passport America? Dint you know what the price was before you stopped. I know there are times that we just want to stop for the night and pay whatever. Did you check out the park reviews? Did you call the office whereever it was located and complain? Did you call your cc” company and put a stop on the paymenat and then leave.? You do have choices. Did you write a letter to the park? Did you write a review of the park? I hope so. Because I am sure you wouldn’t want others to pay and stay in such a bad place,

Curtis Dowds
4 years ago

Further west you get and more urban you won’t be able to overnight in WalMarts (or other commercial parking lots) and parking on city streets will be often prohibited. Your point about the quality of RV parks is well taken but why spend a significant amount of money for an RV and then more on top of that for RV parks (which are hard to book and, as you point out, often of questionable quality). At least that was my thinking going in and the reason I spent a decent amount of money on beefing up my batteries and installing a strong inverter. But if you can’t park overnight the logic falls apart. The RV community which is substantial should tackle these issues as a group or they’re going to find themselves without a place to put down overnight in large parts of the country. Just a thought.

4 years ago

In addition to the above issue, most RV parks post all kinds of pictures of their park, playground, pool, rec hall, etc., but FAIL to put pictures of ACTUAL RV sites and some that do only post one or two of their prime sites and/or put minimal information. . RVers want site information, and to see pictures of actual sites, i.e., width, length, level, room for slides, tow vehicle, trees, table, sewer location (usually right out your door next to a picnic table!), etc. Some are quick to charge for everything, but fail to provide honest, complete information. The majority of RV parks are great, but some could use some help.

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