Today's guest blog post comes from Betty Barnes, who some of you may remember from her great post about HughesNet back in September. Since she is a native Texan who has been attending RV rallies since she was a little girl, she's the perfect person to give an RVing overview of San Antonio.
When you think of San Antonio, Texas, what image comes to you? If you are like so many others, it is the Alamo, a hallowed symbol of Texan independence and spirit. Indeed, the Alamo is on my list of “must-see” places in the area, especially if you are visiting San Antonio for the first time. There are, of course, so many other places of interest and activities for all ages in and around “The River City.” Located in what one might consider as the heart of Texas, San Antonio is a crossroads of Interstates 10 and 35. The River City lies on the border of the Texas Hill Country and is an easy drive to Austin for exploring the capitol of Texas. The summers are typically Texan – hot! The winters can be pleasant, and the area is popular for migrating snowbirds seeking temperate climes during the cold months.
What Would You Like to Do?
Keeping in mind that I am a native Texan and therefore somewhat prejudiced (she says with a grin), some of my favorite spots in San Antonio include:
- The Alamo: This Texas shrine is located right in the middle of downtown San Antonio. Epitomizing the spirit of independence, honor, bravery and strength that I like to think all native Texans share to this day, the Alamo sees more than 2.5 million visitors annually. Although small by comparison to other historical sites at only 4.2 acres, one can almost feel the spirits of those who defended our state which was at one time its own country.
- San Antonio River Walk: Descend from the busy streets of downtown into the soothing realm of the River Walk. Stroll along the stones, browse through the shops, stop at a cafe or pub and watch the river taxis cruise as you dine on delicious Mexican food or sip a cool beverage of your choice. Why not even book a ride on a river taxi and soak in the sights and history of downtown San Antonio from a new perspective? Refreshing in the summer, definitely take a jacket with you during the winter months as you explore all that the River Walk has to offer.
- Casa Rio: Aah . . . Casa Rio! Growing up in Texas, you come to realize that you just cannot get “real” Mexican food once you leave the Lone Star State. Sitting here in South Carolina and talking to you about Casa Rio, well, shall we say it fills me with a longing for all those yummy dishes! Casa Rio opened its doors in 1946 on the River Walk, and my first memories of this renowned eatery are those of a child. My first visit was not in 1946, but it was many years ago. This is “the” place not only for a true meal of the region but to experience River Walk dining at its utmost. Go early for lunch or dinner, as it is very popular!
- San Antonio Zoo: My first visits to the San Antonio Zoo began in childhood and have continued through my adult years. Naturally, as a kid I gazed in wonder at all the exotic animals and enjoyed the exhibits specifically targeted for young folks. As an adult, I stroll through the extensive grounds with camera at the ready, looking for “the shot.” It is also fun to watch little ones perhaps seeing an elephant for the first time or munching down on a hot with much relish – both the condiment and the enjoyment!
- Japanese Tea Garden: Reopened in 2008 after extensive renovation, this oasis is located in Breckenridge Park, a short walk from the San Antonio Zoo.
- The Mission Trail: Five missions, including the Alamo, make up the Mission Trail. At least one of these missions still serves as an active parish with regular weekly services.
Also of note are SeaWorld, Fiesta Texas and HemisFair Park. HemisFair Park was built to host the 1968 World's Fair. (I was lucky enough to experience it as a kid during its heyday) and still attracts visitors with its Tower of the Americas and nearby museums.
Places to Land with Your Rig
Displaying the same diversity of San Antonio activities are one's choices in places to call home with your RV. As we all venture to different destinations with a variety of purposes and a mix of ages in our families, again, there is something for everyone! Below is a sampling:
Greentree Village North: Located at Exit 169 off Interstate 35 on O'Connor Road, this park has a variety of short and long-term residents. We stayed here in 2008 and found it to be a very comfortable location for taking in the sights of the city. Although not immediately downtown, the drive to The River Walk, Alamo and so forth was short, straightforward and easy to navigate. We enjoyed coming home to our campsite after a day of sightseeing and being away from the hustle and bustle of the downtown area. Would we return? You betcha! Read more on RVParking.com.
Admiralty RV Resort: According to their Web site, Admiralty offers shuttle service to Sea World, is located on the public bus system, and is 20 minutes from Fiesta Texas, the River Walk and the Alamo. I have not personally stayed at this park.
Travelers World RV Resort: This park on Roosevelt Avenue in San Antonio lists planned winter activities and location adjacent to a golf course for those of you desiring to tee off. Again, this is not a park I have personally visited.
Whatever your vision of a stay in San Antonio and no matter how much time you have to spend there, I am sure you will find a wealth of opportunities for fun, food and relaxation!
Betty Barnes is a nine-year cancer survivor, Reiki Master/Teacher, cyclist and drum circle facilitator. She and her husband Dave, originally from Scotland, began full-timing in their fifth wheel in June 2010, workamping as they travel the Lower 48. Betty's first RV experience was literally as a babe in arms over 50 years ago. She has camped under canvas, in a pop-up and travel trailers now a fifth wheel. Betty has seen much of Scotland, so now she and Dave are taking the opportunity to experience together the wonder and beauty of her native country. Betty maintains an active blog describing their adventures on the road at Phoenix Once Again. You are also invited to visit her Reiki Web presence here.
This is the first post in a series where we will feature some of our bloggers favorite RV parks in a particular region of the US. Thanks to R.M DeSanti for helping us start this off.
There are several camping resorts that are located minutes from one of America's most profound attractions; historic Gettysburg. Lancaster, PA is approximately an hours drive east on US 30. If you have a hankering for chocolate, or the adventure of a theme park; a tour of Hershey Chocolate World is also only an hours drive away. If rain is in the forecast, a tour of the largest Harley-Davidson manufacturing facility is in York, PA. Established as an assembly facility in 1973, the York facility covers more than 230 acres and has over 1.5 million square feet under roof. A word of warning; Although it is not posted, no open toed shoes permitted on factory tours. Washington D.C. is also close enough for a day trip.
We managed the Cafe' which offers hot and cold items at Drummer Boy Resort, giving us first hand knowledge of the facility and what it has to offer. The resort offers 400 campsites situated on 95 acres. Several rental units are also available including 12 cabins and 27 cottages with lofts. Many rentals offer luxury accommodations. The camp store has a range of provisions from groceries, RV supplies, and battlefield souvenirs. A large game room offers video and action packed arcade games. There is also a miniature golf range which overlooks one of two swimming pools. A large activity pool displaying a 250 ft water slide is located at the rear of the park.
The park is approximately 1 1/2 miles from the town of Gettysburg and all it has to offer. Although nightly ghost walks are advertised, a tour of the battlefield is a must see. The impact of walking upon 'hallowed ground' is chilling. The Eisenhower Farm , adjacent to the Battlefield is also worth a look see. However, the only way to visit "Ike's" hideaway is on a very affordable tour bus that leaves from the new visitor center in the heart of town.
If you happen to be a collector of stuffed bears, Boyd's Bear Factory is several miles down the road and takes a few hours to see all they have to offer. You can adopt a bear form the Teddy Bear Nursery located on the top floor, or enjoy a home style cooked meal in the dining room. Pamper yourself by ending your tour with one of Boyd's ice cream delights.
My Picks for Gettysburg RV Parks are:
Round Top Campground - 180 Knight Road, Gettysburg, PA 17325
"The park was in disrepair when we stayed here. However, that was some time ago. I can say that this park, as well as Drummer Boy Resort a few miles away is owned by Diversified Industries LLC." Read full review here
Artillery Ridge Camping Resort - 610 Taneytown Road Gettysburg, PA 17325
"The park is out of the way from the center of Gettysburg. A rustic park with some narrow, uneven sites." Read full review here
Granite Hill Camping Resort
Drummer Boy Camping Resort - 2030 Fairfield Road, Granite Hill Campground 3340
"Pricey but nice. Commercial water slide installed in rear of park. 2 miles from downtown Gettysburg." Read full review here
About the Author
After a lifestyle change some years ago, my wife Annie and I decided to purchase an RV and 'hit the road.' We explored alternatives how other full time RVers endured life while traveling. Although I was getting a small pension from New York State as a retired police officer, neither one of us were at full retirement age. Bottom line; if we were going to set out to see this beautiful country, we needed to earn while still keeping up a comfortable quality of life. Over the past ten years, we have never regretted the decision we made. You are welcome to ride along with us at anytime by clicking, Ctrl-click our link below:
We are still looking for guest bloggers for this series, particularly those who can review parks in Florida, the Southwest Desert, San Antonio, and Nashville. If you can contribute to any of those articles, please send an email to nicole at rvparking dot com. Stay tuned for another Christmas RV Park event list later in the week.
When I've told people about the contest, some people have responded with the question "What makes a good review?". In this post, I'd like to answer that question by discussing some things to consider when writing a review. You do not have to use all these things in your review, but hopefully this post will serve as inspiration if you don't know what to write.
1. Check out our tip sheet. We have a whole list of things to include in your review. This list, while not all-inclusive, is something that you can through as you write your reviews to make sure that you cover some of the most important details. The rest of this post will give examples of ways people have addressed components of the tip sheet or discuss things not included on the tip sheet.
2. Think about what you would have wanted to know about the park before you stayed there. Odds are, that's what other RVParking readers want to know too.
3. Length - The best RV Park reviews give fellow RVers a good idea of what it's like to stay at an RV park. This requires a lot of information, usually more than you can fit in a sentence or two, which is why I look for reviews that are at least a paragraph or more.
4. Support your opinion - It's great to know if an RV park is good or bad, but it's just as important (if not more important) to know why. The best reviews are really specific about why an RV park is being rated a certain way, like in the review of Craters of the Moon National Landmark Campground by joannb:
"The only reason this is a 4 star campground is that it doesn't have showers. It is a self-serve campground; you pick out a site then go back, fill out an envelope, put the top half into the board showing which campgrounds are taken and the other half with your money in a slot. Real simple. This otherworldly landscape may not be for everyone, but it fascinated us. Most sites are very ample, set among the lava with a black cinder base."
5. Noise Level - Is it a quiet park? Is there a lot of noise coming from a nearby interstate? From rowdy campers? Does the park have quiet hours? The review LiveWorkDream.com wrote about Lindenwood Park Campground does a great job of addressing freeway noise:
"Yes, there is freeway noise, but if you ask for the LOWER campground along the river, it's not so bad."
"The staff bent over backward to make our stay a great one. This started with a call to let me know that a spot had opened up and I could get in. We were traveling without reservations."
7. WiFi - One of the things RVParking.com readers care about the most is being able to connect with their loved ones and employers from the road. Just mentioning if the park has working WiFi on site or nearby is a big help for your fellow RVers, but the extra details in LiveWorkDream.com's review of Johnsons Corner Retreat make this one of the best Wifi/Internet assessments I've seen so far:
"Tree shade here WILL block your satellite connectivity. They did just hire a smart networking guy who installed a brand new Wi-Fi system which works GREAT. So skip the dish and go right for the Wi-Fi, which is free."
8. Are the sites level? Here is a good example from Wheeling It's review of South Sandusky Campground. Not only do they discuss the levelness of their site, but they also cover the levelness of every site at the campground:
"The one thing that got us were the sites. There were really so hit and miss in terms of how level they were. Our own site had a huge drop and we weren't able to level. Some had moderate drops whereas a selection were completely flat."
"Cell & Data Coverage:
AT&T – Weak, but usable.
Sprint - Very slow but still usable CDMA 1xRTT. (D: 115Kb/s, U: 56Kb/s, 669ms) (Sprint indicates roaming – probably on Verizon)"
10. Cable/TV - Does the park have cable? Is it free or do they charge? What channels do you get? Is it available in all parts of the RV park? Here's an example from RVingToadless' review of Garden of the Gods Campground:
"As for the cable, currently it is installed in rows B and C. The cable is limited, just some networks, Travel, CNN, Discovery, Weather, and some 'who cares' channels."
11. Activities - Are there any activities the park offers on a regular basis? Movie nights? Ice cream socials? Potlucks? Do they have any special holiday celebrations? For example pdronline says that Shabbona Lake State Park's Fourth of July fireworks celebration is a must-see:
"DON'T MISS: Each year on July 4th catch the fireworks display over the lake and in February go night fishing on the lake."
12. Amenties Not Covered on RVParking.com - RV Parks offer so different many amenties these days that it's hard to list them all. Does the park have an exercise room or amenities not seen at other RV Parks, such as a car wash or barbecue delivery? Don C.'s review of Junipers RV Resort does a good job of addressing the different amenities they have:
"We were met by a friendly camp host, assigned a spot and shown the Pavilion, barbeques, laundry facilities, bathrooms and showers. They even have a business center with fax machine."
"The park is well shaded by mature trees."
14. Size of sites - Do you have a lot of room or hardly any at all? From Technomadia's review of Pecan Grove RV Park, we learn that sometimes you have to trade space around your site for a hip, urban setting:
"Don't expect much in terms of space around you (unlike their monthly spots, which many feature nice yards) - you're here for the location and atmosphere!"
15. Stores - Everyone has to eat. Does the RV Park have a store where you can stock up on supplies? Are there any stores nearby? This example from CarHouse's review of Ocala Camp Resort kills two birds with one stone by discussing both the RV park store and a store in the area:
"All convenience store items have been removed due to the cheapness and proximity of a local grocery store."
"Although there are restroom facilities, they are in desperate need of remodel/update, so much so that you will want to be totally self-contained if you stay here. When the water table (dry spell with no rain) falls low, the water starts to look rusty/brown."
"The showers are private and very nice but cost some coins to operate. One would think at $45 a night they would include a shower ..."
18. Restaurants - Whether folks aren't big on cooking or just want to spend a night on the town, it's good to know what restaurants are at the park or in the area. For example, RVingToadless recommends the restaurant over at Ekstrom's Stage Station:
"I must recommend the adjoining restaurant. Excellent, world class food for a small restaurant. Dessert included in the meal price."
19. Pet Friendliness - Did the owners/staff treat your pets well? Were you charged extra for bringing pets? Did the campground have a pet park?
20. General feel of site - Is the site big or small? Well-kept or run-down? SilverSnail's review of Crown Point RV Park gives us a great overall sense of the park:
"Nicely situated on the Old Columbia River Highway, and tucked away from the roadside by large trees and a tall wooden fence, this small campground is a secret treasure. I had spent a day looking for campgrounds in the Portland area that were comfortable and affordable enough to stay for a month, and most of the places around Portland were unappealing - mostly commercial places catering to the big rigs with little nature or privacy. I almost passed this place up, thinking it was TOO rinky-dink, but it was cozy and rustic in the way that I like it, and convenient to the Columbia River Gorge and Portland."
21. Is the RV Park website accurate? Were some park features over-stated? Understated? Not mentioned at all? Please let us know.
I hope this list helps give you ideas about what to cover in your park review. For all you RVParking.com reviewers out there, what do you think makes a good review? What do you take into consideration when reviewing an RV Park? Did I leave anything out?
If you still need help with reviewing, please feel free to contact me. Happy reviewing!
Calling all Park/Campground Owners! This post was written especially for you. We now give you the option to claim your park listing on our site. There's no cost involved (it's Free) and the whole process will only take a few moments of your time. After you claim your listing with us you'll be able to update your park details, respond to reviews of your listing, add photos, and most importantly stay in touch with what visitors are saying about your site.
Questions? Just comment below for answers stat.
Step 1 - Go to our site and search for the name of your park (recommended) or the city that your park is in.
Step 2 - Click on the name of your park (blue font) in the search results.
Step 3 - On your park listing page, under the "Park Info" portion there is a "Claim it" link next to the words "Do you own this park?". Click on the "Claim it" link.
Step 4 - Link your user account with your park listing. There are 2 ways to do this.
Option 1 - Create an owner account with us (stay on the 1st tab). Do this if you don't have a user profile with us or you want to use a certain email address for managing your listing.
Option 2 - Sign into your already existing user account with us (stay on the 2nd "log-in" tab).
Step 5 - Voila! You're done. Here's a little preview of what your new owner account will look like. Pretty nice, right?