Thursday, May 13, 2010
Not all camgrounds are created equal
There are many wonderful things about being able to travel around exploring this great country. One of the interesting parts of the adventure is searching out campgrounds to call home for periods as short as one day to as long as a month or maybe a bit longer. After more than three years of looking for campgrounds, it is very clear that not all campgrounds are created equal. It is also very clear that words used in advertisements for campgrounds like: resort, spacious, level, luxury, exceptional, amenities etc are mostly worthless in assessing the quality of the campground.
What is required in deciding on a campground is impartial research via RV reviews and an understanding of the number of available campgrounds where you want or need to be. In short, you need to be accepting of less than ideal conditions if the situation calls for it.
In the several times we have traveled the state of Virginia, we have found that there seems to be a limited amount of campgrounds compared to many states and lots of those could be considered marginal at best. We are traveling north on Interstate 81 to visit with several friends and found very few campgrounds and even fewer acceptable ones based on RVer reviews of our short list.
In the end, location is almost always a major factor. We have settled on the Dixie Caverns campground. Its major attraction is proximity to the interstate (read on top of) and is used by folks visiting students at nearby VA Tech College. This is one of those that makes no pretense on amenities, but understands that except for some rather old units permanently set up, it is an overnight place for those going north/south or for those visiting local students. It does have free WI-FI and cable and pull thru spots that are extremely narrow but usable. I would not want to spend a week here but is perfectly acceptable as an overnight spot. A willingness to be flexible is a key to traveling with less frustration.
I should note that this campground got its start as part of Dixie Caverns attraction which opened in 1923 and is still providing cavern tours.