Camp-California! Guide to Nearly 800 Campgrounds in California

The California Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (CalARVC) has a great 80-page guide with information on nearly 800 RV parks and campgrounds in the Golden State. This is a must have for any California RV camper! The guide includes photos, maps, amenity grids, and more.

You can download the PDF here: Camp-California! The Camper’s Guide to California! (It’s big – 52MB)

You can also order one here:

Single Copy or by the Case (80 copies/case)

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Medford, Oregon – Five Reasons for RV Camping There

Just north of the California/Oregon border (about five hours north of Sacramento) is an outdoor wonderland custom-made for enjoyable RV camping. A town surrounded by rare natural beauty, Medford, Oregon can be the center of an active motorhome vacation. Keep reading to find the five reasons we recommend you go RV camping in Medford, OR.

Reason #1: Hiking and Biking Trails Abound
Medford is blessed to be in a bowl formed by the Cascade and Siskiyou Ranges, which means it’s never more than a short walk to exhilarating hiking and mountain biking. Here are some favorite trails you’ll want to explore:

  • ANY of the trails at nearby Crater Lake National Park (more about that magnificent spot in a moment) Hikers highly recommend the Union Peak, Stuart Falls and Annie Creek Canyon trails.
  • Applegate Lake Loop Trail or any of two hundred other trails in Rogue River/Siskiyou National Forest are favorites with mountain biking fans.

Reason #2: The Rogue River
Starting on Mount Mazama (Crater Lake) and winding more than two hundred miles to the Pacific, the Wild and Scenic Rogue River provides a superb setting for fishing, whitewater rafting and wildlife viewing. Just a few short miles from Medford, the Rogue River should definitely be on your RV vacation itinerary.

Reason #3: An Historic Entertainment Venue
Born in the 1880s and once a bustling railroad hub, Medford boasts an historic downtown district centered around the Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater. Apparently, the world-famous dancer once owned a ranch in the area and lent her celebrity to the push to restore the 1920s-era theater.

Reason #4: Easy Access to Crater Lake
Medford, because of its mountainous surroundings, is right in the heart of Southern Oregon’s famous natural attractions. The most popular is Crater Lake, just a couple of hours northeast. Fascinating day trips at this national park include the 33-mile Rim Drive, the boat ride to mysterious Wizard Island and a visit to the awesome Pinnacles rock formations.

Reason #5: Scenic RV Campgrounds!
Finding an attractive campsite is a no-brainer when traveling by RV to Medford, OR! Tree-lined campgrounds like Medford Oaks RV Park cater to visitors hoping for comfort and convenience. Other popular area campgrounds include Holiday RV Park “on the banks of Bear Creek” and Medford/Gold Hill KOA, just off I-5.

It will soon be springtime in the Cascades, and it’s high time you started planning your RV camping adventure to Medford, Oregon. Use our tips to plan your trip to enjoy the outstanding sights of Southern Oregon.

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RV Camping at Santee Lakes

Just twenty miles from San Diego, Santee, California is a young city built around responsible use of resources. One place RV campers congregate for outdoor fun is Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve, built by this visionary city to provide recreation while recycling water and sustaining the environment.

What You’ll Find at Santee Lakes
There are plenty of reasons to turn your RV toward Santee Lakes, and one of the best is the excellent RV camping available. Carefully-planned to preserve the surrounding environment, the campgrounds at Santee Lakes are located in beautiful settings, along a lakeshore, in a shady grove or near a bubbling stream.

Once you’ve settled in a scenic campsite, turn your time toward outdoor entertainment. Seven lakes created to safely recycle water for the city have been stocked to provide catfish and trout fishing action. A tip for RV camping fishermen – Lakes 6 and 7 are reserved for campers only. Don’t own a boat? Rent one from the Santee Lakes General Store.

And there’s plenty for non-fishing campers to do, as well. The kids will enjoy splashing in the “sprayground” or playing at one of the playgrounds or in two pools open to campers. Fitness buffs can find plenty of hiking and biking trails winding their way through the complex.

And one of the best things about Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve is the way the staff there caters to RV campers. Special potlucks, game nights and parties are held throughout the week for campers in the clubhouse. Top-notch laundry facilities and a fitness center round out the amenities offered to RV travelers.

You can feel especially good about camping at Santee Lakes, because green practices such as water recycling, a waterfowl nesting program and solar energy are at the heart of how this natural area was established.

So, why not park your RV at Santee Lakes and then spend your entire vacation enjoying the charms of this picturesque area? Fish, swim, hike or simply walk the shores of these perfectly-planned lakes, knowing your campground is part of a forward-thinking city’s efforts to preserve the environment.

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RV Security Using a Hunting Camera

By Maureen Page, Discount Security Cameras

We often get asked by RV and trailer owners if they can use video surveillance cameras to protect or look after their RV or trailer. This does present a bit of a challenge. Classic security cameras require wires. Even if it is a “wireless” camera that sends video wirelessly to a digital video recorder (DVR), a wire is still needed to power the camera. I don’t know too many people who are up to a major reconstruction project to run the necessary wires to set up a security camera system in their RV.

But the need to protect an expensive asset still exists. What is one to do?

Well it turns out that there is an answer to this conundrum. We can turn to our hunting brethren for a potential solution. Hunters often times use hunting cameras, also known as game cameras and trail cameras, to scout potential hunting sites. It turns out that these cameras have a lot of characteristics that make them a good fit for protecting your RV.

  • Hunting cameras are self contained and do not require wires. They run off of internal batteries and they record pictures (not video) to internal memory.
  • Hunting cameras are triggered (take a picture) when motion is detected.
  • Typical hunting cameras can take color pictures during the day, and black and white pictures at night using their infrared flash capability.

So basically, you can simply pull into a camp site and set up the camera to “keep an eye on things”. You will, however, need to lock your camera to something so that it does not get stolen.

Not only can the camera be used to watch your RV at a camp site, it can also be used to keep an eye on it when it is stored someplace when not in use.

Other Benefits to Using a Hunting Camera

In addition to its security aspects, the camera can also keep track of any animals who may “visit” your camp site during the day and night. It might be nice to know that a bear comes by after dark or that dear or other critters come by to visit at times… Hunting cameras can, and often do, get some pretty amazing wildlife photographs.

Hunting cameras can also be set up to take time lapse photographs of a location. So you could set it up to make a time log of your visit to your camp site.

So a hunting or trail camera may be just the thing you need to provide some security for your RV, and you may get some great photographs as a side benefit.

About the Author
This article was written by Maureen Page, VP of Discount Security Cameras, your source for quality security cameras and security camera systems. To learn more about security camera systems and video surveillance visit the Discount Security Cameras Interactive Security Camera Learning Center.

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Innovative Ways to Help Today’s Wired Generation Reconnect with Nature

One campground offers children a chance to build “bat houses” this summer, while another offers visits by “The Bug Lady”

Others offer river rafting, canoeing and kayaking, as well as nature walks, and opportunities to pick organically grown fruits and vegetables

One park outside of New York City even has its own wolf preserve, where you can hear the call of the wild as you sleep

Richard Louv made national headlines a few years ago when he published Last Child in the Woods, an award winning book that documented an alarming disconnect between today’s wired generation and nature.

But if you feel it’s a challenge to separate your children from their cell phones, iPods, and computer or video games, take heart. “Many of America’s privately owned and operated campgrounds are developing new activities for children of all ages to help them reconnect with nature,” said Linda Profaizer, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds. The Larkspur, Colo.-based trade association, in fact, is encouraging its 3,500-plus affiliated campgrounds and RV parks and resorts to increase their offerings of nature-oriented programs for children and families.

Here is sampling of privately owned parks across the country that are offering interesting and unique activities, both on their own initiative and with encouragement of the national association, to help their guests reconnect with nature:

Artic RV Park in Cosmopolis, Wash.: This park, located near Olympic National Park, offers crawdad fishing in a river that flows next to the park. “I keep spare bait for crawdads, string and weights for children to use for ‘long lining’ in the river,” said park owner Roy Pearmain. “I also teach children how to pick up the crawdads and how to sex the crawdads so they can throw back the girls.” Pearmain, who has a degree in biology, also takes his park guests on nature walks and talks about the medicinal uses of plants and trees that are native to the area.

Camp Taylor Campground in Columbia, N.J.: This campground is the home of the Lakota Wolf Preserve, which provides educational talks on wolves, bobcats and foxes twice daily. “We also provide lake swimming, rather than a pool maintained with chemicals. Our lake was built so that we have the ability to control the flow of water into it, thereby maintaining a continuous flow of fresh water,” said park owner Jean Taylor, adding, “Most of our weekend activities are designed to promote environmental awareness and preservation. Our newest activity this year is a ‘lett-us-be-green’ weekend, in which we will be introducing green smoothies made with various green vegetables and healthy fruits. We try to incorporate the need to eating healthy with the need for a healthy environment using informative, nature-based activities centering around simple ways people can ‘go green’ at home and the effect it can have in preserving the planet. Children will go home with a green plant to care for at home.”

Castaways RV Resort and Campground in Berlin, Md.: This park is the closest to Ocean City, Maryland’s most popular beach resort. “We are situated overlooking Assateague Island, where the wild ponies run. You can see them feeding daily from across the bay,” said Kathleen Morris, the park’s general manager. “We have kayak and jet ski rentals on the site as well as fishing skiffs. We also have numerous fishing and crabbing piers as well as clamming sandbars within wading distance.” Morris added, “We encourage the kids in the park to participate in our recreation activities as opposed to being couch potatoes.”

Herkimer KOA in Herkimer, N.Y.: This park is doing several things to try to encourage its guests to develop a closer connection to our natural environment, while also taking better care of themselves. The park recently installed the nation’s first “off grid” solar powered park model rental cabin, which includes bamboo flooring, LED lighting, recycled axels and tires, recycled lumber composite decking, on-demand water heating, energy efficient heating and air-conditioning.

“Our guests will not only have an opportunity for a great camping experience, but the dwelling itself becomes an educational tool,” said Dr. Renee Scialdo Shevat, the park’s owner, adding, “It’s going to increase awareness of environmental issues not only in New York state, but across the country. My hope is that our guests not only come to enjoy the weekend, but come away inspired to live a greener lifestyle.” Toward that end, a rainwater collection system is also being set up to capture rainwater that falls on the solar-power park model so that it can be used to irrigate an organic vegetable and herb garden. Dr. Shevat plans to encourage her guests to pick vegetables and herbs from the garden and use them in their cooking while they stay at the park.

Lake George RV Park in Lake George, N.Y.: This park has a nature awareness program that includes educational materials and designated nature areas where campers can learn about the wildlife that inhabits the park. The park also has live animal shows with wildlife experts.

Lazy River at Granville in Granville, Ohio: This park has many outdoor activities, including a 300-foot-long zipline, which is popular with people of all ages. But one of the park’s newest nature-oriented attractions is a teacher they affectionately call “The Bug Lady.” “She’s like a pied piper,” said park owner Mark Kasper. She comes to the park several times during the summer, equipped with a suitcase full of insects. Kasper remembers one day when a group of teenagers arrived at his park and scattered shortly after checking in. He worried that they were going to get into mischief. “I later found them sitting in rapture,” he said, “just listening to what this lady had to say.” In addition to talking about the insects she carries in her case, “The Bug Lady” also takes children on tours through the campground looking for bugs. The park also recently opened a mile-long walking path to encourage its guests to get out of their RVs and enjoy a walk in the woods.

Normandy Farms Campground in Foxboro, Mass.: This park has a 2-mile nature trail, complete with interpretive nature signs that the park incorporates into its regular activity schedule. The park also offers geocaching to encourage kids to get outside and search for caches. “We also have fishing derbies to entice kids to enjoy simple activities, such as fishing in our pond,” said park spokeswoman Kristine Daniels.

Sorensen’s Resort in Hope Valley, Calif.: This High Sierra resort offers nature oriented events throughout spring, summer and fall, including a medicinal plants hike on July 4th, a photography workshop on July 25th, a fly-fishing workshop Aug. 7th and 8th, a watercolor retreat Sept. 20th to 24th and a fall colors hike on Oct. 8th.

The Great Outdoors RV Nature and Golf Resort in Titusville, Fla.: This RV resort is one of the largest in the country, with 1,534 sites for towable and motorized RVs as well as park models and custom-built resort homes. But the park also has 3,000 acres of land that are home to native egrets, deer and quail. The Great Outdoors puts a heavy focus on nature, providing habitat areas for numerous land animals and birds, including the colorful “painted bunting,” a rare and stunningly beautiful red, blue and green bird whose habitat has been destroyed in many areas of Florida. The Great Outdoors not only preserves habitat for the painted bunting and other species, but recently opened a 2,795 square foot nature center, which provides a wildlife museum, nature programs and hikes.

Other park operators offer much more traditional but very satisfying nature-based activities. Consider Riley and Vicky Turner, who own a small campground in the Manistee National Forest in central Michigan. Their park, R & J Resort Campground, has 25 campsites, six cabins and three cottages, and is surrounded by pines, poplars, maples and oaks. It’s also close to the Manistee River, a prime spot for fishing and kayaking or canoeing. “My favorite kayak or canoe trip is to go from Hodenpyl Dam to Red Bridge,” Vicky Turner explains. “You’ll see eagles in flight, albino deer, turkeys and other different animals coming to the river to get a drink.” The trip takes about three to four hours by canoe. “When the kids come,” Turner said, “I take them to see some of our sassafras trees. It’s my favorite tree because you can chew on the leaf and it tastes like root beer!”

This was kindly provided to us by the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds where you can find more help locating unique campgrounds in your area or for additional commentary, statistics and sources on the latest camping trends.

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A Couple of Pensacola Bay Area Itineraries

Blues & Beyond – Naval Air Station Pensacola

Watch the world-famous U.S. Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron practice awe-inspiring maneuvers and meet the pilots. Visit one of the largest air and space museums in the world. Dine among naval aviation memorabilia from across the globe at an exact replica of the famous Plaque Bar of the Naval Air Station Cubi Point in the Philippines. Explore a fortification built in 1763. Allow 4.5 – 5 hours.

Attractions on this itinerary:

Art & Culture – Downtown Shops & Galleries

Enjoy the many galleries, boutiques, and restaurants lining the streets of historic downtown Pensacola. A visit to the Pensacola Museum of Art, formerly the old City Jail, reveals a collection of 19th, 20th and 21st century works and famous traveling exhibits. Visit Quayside Art Gallery, and the largest co-op gallery in the Southeast. Before leaving our downtown area, stop off at Joe Patti’s Seafood for a tour of the largest seafood distributor in the Southeast. Allow 2 – 2.5 hours.

Attractions on this itinerary:

Many thanks to the Pensacola Bay Area Convention & Visitors Bureau for providing us with these itineraries.

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Multnomah Falls – A Delight for RV Travelers

We are proud to have provided a blog post to the Travel Oregon Blog. The Travel Oregon Blog is the blog of the Travel Oregon site, the site of the Oregon Tourism Commission.

You can see our blog post here:
Multnomah Falls – A Delight for RV Travelers

If you have a blog or a site that you think might benefit from a guest article from El Monte RV please let us know.

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Five Days of RV Camping in Saratoga Springs, New York

Four hours north of New York City, RV campers will find Saratoga Springs, a fabled Adirondacks town rich in horse racing history. Once home to exclusive mineral springs spas, it’s still filled with plenty of exciting attractions. We’ve created a five-day itinerary for your Saratoga Springs RV camping adventure.

Day One: If you’ll be taking your RV trip in late summer, Saratoga Race Course should be the first thing on your itinerary. For forty days each summer, visitors from around the world come to Saratoga to see the best in Thoroughbred racing. This year’s race schedule starts the last week of July. Keep it casual in the stands or rent a box seat and dress for the occasion, either way, plan to spend a day at the oldest operating race track in America!

Day Two: On your second day in Saratoga Springs, retrace your steps to right across street from Saratoga Race Course. That’s where you’ll find the National Museum of Racing & Hall of Fame. Anyone who loves horse racing will enjoy the exhibits, racing movies and even a racing simulator at this award-winning monument to the Sport of Kings.

Day Three: Saratoga National Historical Park, commemorating the American victory at the 1777 Battle of Saratoga, is a fantastic way for families to spend Day Three. Let tech-savvy kids take the cell phone or mp3 tours of Saratoga Battlefield. Take time to visit Saratoga Monument, as well as the restored home of General Phillip Schuyler. The beauty and history you’ll find at Saratoga NHP will satisfy the entire family.

Day Four: Long before the days of interstates and RVs, Saratoga Springs was already known as a plush resort town. Saratoga Spa State Park recaptures the fabulous spa experience that scores of visitors came to find. In the park’s beautifully restored buildings, you’ll find not only prime examples of classical architecture, but also the National Museum of Dance, the Saratoga Automobile Museum, dining from casual to upscale and a chance to experience the mineral baths for yourself. Combine that with special presentations at the theater and performing arts center and both 18-hole and 9-hole golf courses, and you may want to spend more than one day here!

Day Five: Before you leave the Saratoga Springs area, treat yourself to a day on the water at legendary Lake George, only thirty minutes north. Take a ride on a steamship, spend the day fishing for bass, salmon or lake trout or simply relax on one of the many beaches. The Lake George area offers something for everyone, from amusement parks to butterfly museums. What a wonderful way to round out your Saratoga Springs experience.

As you can see, Saratoga Springs, NY makes a fabulous destination for RV campers with five days to play. Make one of these highly-recommended area RV campgrounds your home away from home while you’re there:

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RV Camping to Niagara Falls!

Niagara Falls

Author: Daniel Mayer (cc-by-sa-2.5)

What? You still haven’t visited Niagara Falls? You haven’t seen one of America’s most memorable sights until you do, so dust off that RV and get going! Here are ten important things to know about RV camping to Niagara Falls.

    1. How to get to Niagara Falls: Niagara Falls, NY is located twenty minutes north of Buffalo, four hours from State College, PA and about seven hours north of New York City. Coming from Chicago, you can drive I-90 to Toledo and then follow the Lake Erie shoreline all the way to Buffalo.
    2. What You’ll Find at Niagara Falls: New York’s Niagara Falls State Park encompasses magnificent Bridal Veil Falls, American Falls and a portion of the Canadian Falls. On the Canadian side, mighty Horseshoe (Canadian) Falls pours six hundred thousand gallons of water per second into the gorge below. Dozens of local attractions (see #7 below) make visiting and learning about the Falls even more memorable.
    3. Where to Cross the Canadian Border: The simplest way to cross over into Canada at the Falls is on the Rainbow Bridge, a short walk from the American Falls. This bridge links Niagara Falls, NY to Niagara Falls, Ontario, and you’re allowed to walk, ride your bike or drive across.
    4. Tips for Crossing the Canadian Border: U.S. citizens crossing the international border into the Canadian Falls area will be required to show a passport or enhanced driver’s license to return to the US. If you’re travelling with children, be prepared to show their birth certificates. You’ll need a signed document from their parents giving you permission to take children who aren’t yours across the border.

Not from the US? You’ll need to apply ahead of time for a special visa at the nearest Canadian consulate (Buffalo, NY). Here’s a helpful page that’s updated with current Canadian border crossing requirements.

  1. Best Niagara Falls RV Camping:
  2. Where’s the Best Place to Park an RV? The Aquarium of Niagara offers RV parking spots, as well as the large lot on Goat Island. Use the Niagara Falls Scenic Trolley system to visit area attractions.
  3. Best Attractions at Niagara Falls:

    Here’s another helpful link to photos and information about the Falls and surrounding attractions.

  4. Hiking Trails in Niagara Falls State Park: From the Trailhead Center in Niagara Gorge Discovery Center, you’ll have access to four guided hikes of varying difficulty. For self-guided tours, the Niagara Gorge Trail System will thrill, challenge and beckon you to explore the Falls region.
  5. Niagara Falls on a Budget: Traveling on a budget to Niagara Falls? Here’s a link to great ideas for no-cost excursions while at the Falls. You’ll also find links there to information about fees and reservations for the Park’s main attractions.
  6. Where to Rent an El Monte RV for Your Trip: Glad you asked! El Monte RV Rentals has three locations convenient to Niagara Falls:

Photo Credit: Daniel Mayer (cc-by-sa-2.5)

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Many Families are Gearing Up for Water Balloon Wars as Campgrounds Prepare for Prepare for “Wet & Wild Weekends”

Some campgrounds organize water war competitions that pit staff against guests and involve virtually everyone in the campground

“There are three adjectives we like to hear. Awesome, sweet or wow! If I get one of those out of the adults or their kids, I’m doing my job. That’s how we run our business.” – Wisconsin campground owner Bud Styer

Some people like to camp in a quiet place in the woods. But quiet is not on the menu at the Wisconsin campgrounds that Bud Styer owns or manages on behalf of other park owners, which include Smokey Hollow Campground in Lodi; Merry Mac’s Campground in Merrimac; Baraboo Hills Campground in Baraboo; Tilleda Falls Campground in Tilleda; Rivers Edge Campground in Stevens Point; River Bend RV Resort in Watertown; and Harbour Village Campground in Sturgeon Bay. Styer caters to an active family crowd, the kind of people who will go through 14,000 water balloons in a weekend game of “water wars” in which everyone in the campground gets wet.

“There are three adjectives we like to hear,” Styer said. “Awesome, sweet or wow! If I get one of those out of the adults or their kids, I’m doing my job. That’s how we run our business.”

But Styer isn’t the only campground operator who is tapping into his guests’ wild side. Growing numbers of independently owned and operated campgrounds across the country, as well as many parks in the Jellystone Park Camp-Resort and Kampgrounds of America (KOA) chains, offer a growing assortment of water-related activities, from spraygrounds and waterslides to their own “Wet and Wild” weekends.

“Camping enthusiasts always seek access to water, whether it’s in rivers, lakes, swimming pools or along the beach. But many parks find they can further enhance their appeal by offering fun, water-related activities,” said Linda Profaizer, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds.

Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Williamsport, Md. is planning a “Wet and Wild Week” Aug. 2nd to 8th. “Wherever you are in the park and whatever you do that week, there is a very good chance you are going to get wet,” said park co-owner Vicki Vitkun. “We have water balloon fights. We do a water balloon pitch burst. We do wet sponge ball fights, big water gun battles, volleyball in the pool, basketball in the pool. Everything is wet. We even have a guest against staff watergun fight. So even the staff knows to beware that week because they’re going to get wet, too. It’s a week filled with constant laughter, screaming and shouting.”

Several KOA parks also offer “Wet and Wild” weekends at various times during the summer, such as July 16th to 18th at the KOA in Port Huron, Mich. and July 23rd to 25th at the Stockton / Delta KOA in Stockton, Calif.

Other parks are adding new water-related attractions. Pineland Camping Park in Arkdale, Wis., for example, just installed PineZilla, the world’s largest inflatable waterslide, which stands over four stories tall and features a 175-foot-long slide with a 45-degree descent at the drop zone.

Meanwhile, the KOA in Rusk, Texas has installed a new Frisbee skills court. “But watch out for the water hazards,” warns park owner Walter Preble. “Everyone gets wet.”

While Styer has “water wars” water balloon game stations at each of his Wisconsin parks, he said his water wars weekends are the most popular times of year at his parks. That’s when he drives throughout each park using a specially designed hay wagon that has been outfitted with four water guns that can each shoot water up to 75-feet. Of course, whenever he does this, Styer and his staff also risk coming under attack from campground guests, who arm themselves with everything from water balloons to pump action water guns.

Styer said his guests will spend an entire day filling water balloons as they prepare for a water wars weekend. “I’ve had guys fill up their pickup trucks with water balloons. It becomes a feeding frenzy,” he said.

In fact, fun family activities take place every day during the summer at the parks under Styer’s management, which include everything “water wars” water balloon games to nighttime light parades and nighttime miniature golf. He even organizes sumo-wrestling competitions.

“It’s hilarious,” Styer said. “You put on these big vinyl suits and you’re about 4-feet in diameter when you have them on. And then you try to push the other guy out of the ring. But if you fall over, you’re like a turtle. And somebody from the audience will have to step in to set you back up on your feet.”

This was kindly provided to us by the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds where you can find more help locating unique campgrounds in your area or for additional commentary, statistics and sources on the latest camping trends.

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