Our Favorite Campsites of 2014

We are heading to what will be our last campsite of 2014 to join the Amazon Camperforce team and tackle the holiday season rush.  We covered a few less miles this year, but still made it across the country and back.  We volunteered/workamped nearly half of the year, stayed put for about a month without working a couple of times, and actively traveled the rest.  Below is a list of our favorite campsites this year.

Gilbert Ray Campground, AZ – this county park, just south of Saguaro National Park, is the best campground we have found to experience the beauty of the Sonoran Desert.  It is a bargain at $20 per night for electric hookups, and camping among the giant Saguaros is a one-of-a-kind experience.  It is a 20 minute scenic drive to Tucson and there is GREAT hiking nearby.

Buffalo Gap National Grasslands, SD (boondocking) – The Badlands of South Dakota truly are something to behold, almost other-worldly.  Camping on the edge of “The Table,” a cliff overlooking them is a remarkable experience.   This free spot is 6.5 miles south of Wall, SD.  Look for the large antenna and turn left on the service road, drive anywhere you want and park.

North Shore Bay Campground, Buffalo Bill State Park, WY – This campground is unbelievably picturesque.  It overlooks the turquoise Buffalo Bill Lake with the snow covered Absaroka mountain range in the background and is surrounded by hoodoos and buttes.  It’s about 10 minutes to Cody, WY and 45 minutes to the Eastern slopes of Yellowstone National Park.

Point Hudson Marina, WA – While the sites are nothing special, everything else is.  It is 360 degrees of pure awesomeness.  To the east lies the Puget Sound and Mt. Baker, to the south Mt. Rainer, and to the west the Olympic mountains, all located in the most perfect little tourist town of Port Townsend. We stayed 5 days, made a new friend, and wish we would have stayed longer.

Anastasia State Park, FL – This beautiful Florida State Park has just the right amount of sub-tropical foliage and space between campsites.  The park has miles of protected undeveloped shoreline and beach, and is just down the street from charming historic St. Augustine.

Ennis Fishing Access Site, MT – This is a informal dry campground on the delightful Madison River.  Several of the spacious sites back right up to the river.  It is a short walk into the small western town of Ennis, MT.  It also is a perfect base to check out the historic ghost towns of Virginia and Nevada City, as well as marvel at some of the most spacious and beautiful landscapes… truly a pleasant place.

Carl G. Washburne State Park, OR – We spent a month at this oceanside Oregon State Park while volunteering at Heceta Head Lighthouse and enjoyed every minute.  The full hookup sites are spacious and the campers are the most relaxed you’ll find anywhere.  It is a 10 minute walk through the lush rainforest to miles of nearly deserted beach.  Its central coast location offers nearly unparalleled scenery.  Nearby are two charming small towns (Florence and Yachats), a gorgeous lighthouse, and great hiking.

Sunset Isles, FL – This little RV Park located on sleepy Cedar Key is funky, fun and community oriented.  The sites are nothing special, in fact most are poor, but everything else is the draw.  It is a social place with regular impromptu bluegrass nights, nightly sunset gatherings on the docks, and meet-ups at the totally cool tiki bar next door.  The island is completely enjoyable and is truly a taste of old Florida.

Panther Flat Forest Campground, CA – This is a very pretty Forest campground with plenty of elbow room.  It is perfect for exploring the Smith River Valley, which for us, was an unexpected delight.  The crystal-clear jade colored water cascades through a beautiful forest valley, creating everything from class 5 rapids to inviting emerald swimming pools.

Colonial Creek Campground, North Cascades N.P., WA – This is a standard National Park Campground that is located on the lovely turquoise glacier-fed Diablo Lake.  The campground is wooded, with some sites right on the lake shore. A big draw is the boat ramp, ideal for launching kayaks.  It also has wonderful trails that lead to vast overlooks of the Lake and the Glaciers above. We are biased since we love the North Cascades and this is the main campground.

Bonus:  Quartzite, AZ (boondocking) – The Q!  Boondocking around Quartzite, AZ is well known among full-time RVers.  We were here a little after peak season (winter) but still got the flavor of this odd, pop-up town in the middle of the desert.  We also ended up meeting some great people here.

Honorable Mentions:

Hobson Beach Campground, CA – camping right next to the ocean
Rincon Beach Parkway, CA – beachfront camping right on the side of the road
Pine Near RV Park, Winthrop, WA – great Passport America park in a historic western town
Ancient Redwoods RV Park, CA – super clean park on the Avenue of Giants
Rockhound State Park, NM – nice desert campground with terrific views
Big Lagoon State Park, FL – lovely park with nice trails, close to beautiful beaches
Fairview-Riverside State Park, LA – pleasant park near causeway to NoLA
Savannah Visitors Center, GA – value, $12 for two nights in historic downtown
Sitting Bull Forest Campground, WY – rustic campground in the beautiful Bighorns
Rocky Bayou State Park, FL – attractive park & great value, on a bayou near Destin
Little Creek Casino Resort, WA – affordable luxury at southern-end of Puget Sound

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