December is a great month for looking back on the year. We’re all holed-up, hot chocolate in hand, snuggling with our honey’s (furry and non-furry alike) and chatting about all the places we’ve been. I’ve kept a fairly detailed list of every park we’ve stayed at, and decided it would be interesting to combine them all and see who came out on top.
Now, we have a definite slant towards open, green spaces and pet-friendly locations and it’s no surprise that those are exactly the spots that came out as our favorites. During the year we’ve also drifted away from Private Parks towards National Forest and State Parks mostly for their paw-friendly space and costs. In fact, of the 42 spots we stayed at in 2010, the top 5 are ALL National Forest. So, with that said, and just a small drumroll (for dramatic effect) let’s reveal the Nina, Paul, Polly, Taggart and Rand favorites of 2010:
1/ Top 3 National Forest Campgrounds
These were all tied for top spot (as well as best overall in all 42 parks rated). They all scored 4.75/5 in our rating system.
- Hillman Ferry, Land Between the Lakes KY – lakes views, hiking, swimming and outdoor beauty. We had a blast here.
- Rock Creek, Erwin TN - Serene woods, creeks, water-falls and 50AMP hook-up deep in the Smoky Mountains for $15/night. So peaceful!
- Singletree, Dixie Forest UT – Mountains, nature and stunning views of Capitol Reef for only $10/night. We’d go back in a heartbeat.
2/ Top 3 State Parks
These didn’t quite beat the NF sites in ratings, but came real close
- Snake Creek, Platte SD – daily dips in the Missouri w/ doggie!
- Alafia River State Park, FL - some of raddest mountain bike trails in FL.
- Cumberland Mountain State Park, TN – wooded and relaxed campground in the Cumberland Plateau, plus the nicest camp hosts we’ve ever met.
3/ Top 3 Private Parks
It’s no surprise that our top 3 private parks were the ones who had most space and nature around them
- Santee Lakes, San Diego CA - one of the very first parks we ever stayed at and it still tops the ratings.
- Winding River RV Resort, CO – a huge (enormous), pooch-friendly spot right next to Rocky Mountain National Park and Arapaho Forest.
- Waheap RV Park, Lake Powell, AZ – maybe the prettiest view we’ve had from a site on the whole trip.
4/ Best Beach Park
Although we only really stayed at beach parks in the Eastern part of our trip one park topped the others are being the absolute best and that was Hunting Island State Park, SC. For beach, it can’t be beat.
5/ Best Value
National Forest was definitely our best value throughout the trip. Of the paid sites we stayed at Brick House in Sumter Forest. SC ($5/night) and Singletree in Dixie Forest, UT ($10/night) topped the list. Of course nothing can beat the boondocking we did in Quartzite, AZ.
6/ Best Views
No doubt the best views that we had (right from our campsite) were in Singletree, Dixie Forest UT, Waheap, Lake Powell UT and boondocking in Quartzite, AZ. Hard to beat the views in the West.
It’ll be interesting to see which way we go next year. Given our penchant for space, we’re likely to continue with our preference for State Parks & National Forest and will probably add more boondocking sites to the list too.