Tag Archives: Iowa

2017 – Beeds Lake State Park, Hampton, IA

20170719_204403.jpg We were at Beeds Lake State Park in Hampton, Iowa a couple of years ago and I did a review on it then. Things are the same as they were then, so this will be another short review. We had a back in site on our previous visit, but this time we ended up in a “parallel parking” site. We were here before over Independence Day and the place was packed. This time we arrived during the county fair which takes place close by and the place was full once again. Our parallel parking site worked out just fine, although I chose it because it was on the end of the row and with a bit more elbow room than most. The 50 amp electric was solid and restrooms and showers were okay. I had a decent 4G signal until each evening. At that point the signal was strong enough but I think all the fair goers were overloading the system. Because of trees I was unable to get the Dish western arc satellites so I swapped out LNB’s and aimed for the eastern arc which I got with no problems.

Our feeling about Beeds Lake is about the same as it was before: it’s a nice spot if you are okay with electric only, an odd parking setup, and being 10 miles or so off of I35.

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2017 – Cherry Glen ACoE Campground, Ankeny, Iowa

This is our third stay at this campground, so my review will be a short one.

Previous reviews: from 2013 and from 2015.

campground.jpg We actually prefer tailblazing and finding new and interesting places in our travels. However, it is nice to visit family and friends too – and that brings us back to some places again and again. I’ve been reminded that there are advantages to that too. On previous visits we learned the campground and this time we put that knowledge to use as we made advance reservations for a site we knew we would like.

As you might guess, not much has changed since our last visit. The campground is still a great one with big, shady sites. We got one of the sites with water so we didn’t have to fill the fresh water tank upon arrival. The 50 amps came in very handy as we endured some 90 degree days.

One pleasant change is that my Verizon 4G signal is better than on our previous visits. We got a fairly solid 2-3 bars.

The place was packed out over the weekend, but rather empty during the week – something to keep in mind as you consider staying here.

20170717_113740.jpg The Neal Smith trail is still inviting, but not so much with the high temps and humidity.

This place still gets a thumbs up and will be our northern Des Moines campground of choice on our next visit.

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2017 – West Lake Park Terrace Campground – Davenport, IA

20170711_183154.jpg This park is a real gem. Close to the Davenport, IA I280 bypass, on a pretty lake, and in a beautiful park. The campsites at West Lake Park Terrace Campground are full hookup, level sites, with gravel pads and concrete patios and lots of nice shade.

Here are a few things you’ll want to know. The water spigots are a distance back from the sites, and two sites share the same spigot, each of which has two hookups. You’ll likely need some extra water hose. Also many of the sewer hookups are at the back of the site so you may need extra sewer hose or at at least pay attention when selecting a site. Also, there are several gates to West Lake Park. If you want Terrace Campground, you want Gate 5.

20170710_152904.jpg This is a no reservations campground. When you arrive you find a site and then go to the office to register and pay. We arrived on an early Monday afternoon and had many sites to select from. By Thursday most sites had been taken but there was still a selection of sites. My guess is that the place pretty much fills up on summer weekends.

Nearby is the water/electric only campground, West Lake Park Summit Campground. You actually register at the office at Gate 5 for that campground as well.

This is a really nice campground and the prices are reasonably low. We’ll remember this one for future stays.

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Campground Review: Beeds Lake State Park – Hampton, IA

100_4113.JPG Beeds Lake State Park in Hampton, Iowa is well-known and popular with the locals and is otherwise just a bit too far off the beaten track of I35 in northern Iowa to be discovered by travelers journeying between Des Moines and Minneapolis. A short 10 mile drive east from I35 brings you to a pretty, tree-lined lake and state park.

A more recent review of this state park is here.

100_4095.JPG We’ve come to this area for years to visit family but this is our first stay at the state park. The campground is more or less divided between RV sites and grassy tent sites and the RV sites are somewhat divided again between a few pull-through sites or more or less standard back-in sites around the parameter of the campground and “parallel parking” campsites up and down the roads in the middle of the campground. Those campsites are interesting to say the least. RV’s line up in “parallel parking” mode, with the people opposite one another sharing a grassy strip between them. Since we stayed during the Independence Day weekend the campground was completely full so we saw the parallel parking in full swing. Several RVs were so close end-to-nose that the fellow in back had to wait for the folks in front to get hooked up and out before they could hookup to move. All the above seemed to work and the grassy strips between the lines of campers looked like one, big happy block party. Of course this was Independence Day; normally there are lots of vacancies giving everyone a bit more breathing space. When the campground isn’t packed the parallel parking sites function as convenient pull-throughs. I reserved early and picked a back in site that turned out to be a terrific, lake-view site with a nice, big “front yard.”

PHOTO_20150704_124846.jpg The lake was built by the CCC a long time ago and they built a large stone “stair step” dam that functions as a beautiful waterfall. We could hear it from our campsite – talk about ambiance: it was terrific. Our spot was so pleasant I almost felt guilty when looking at the folks who were packed into the sites across the center of the campground. I almost felt guilty, but I somehow managed to avoid it!

PHOTO_20150704_220109-1.jpg Again, this is a much loved local state park. One advantage of being here over the holiday is that the local Jaycees do a great fireworks show over the lake. People lined the shore to enjoy the show. It was a lot of fun and watching Independence Day fireworks in small town Iowa at a campground was about as American an experience as you will ever get.

100_4092.JPG You might want to know that all the RV sites are 50/30 amp only with no water or sewer hookups. There are water spigots scattered around the campground so it’s easy enough to fill up with fresh water upon arriving. However, there is only one dump station for the entire campground. After the busy weekend there was a line of people waiting their turn at the dump station. The campground boasts a couple of new shower houses and restrooms. I had a clear sky for satellite TV and my Verizon phone got a weak, but working 4G connect. There’s a fairly busy train track not far from the campground. We often heard the trains but it wasn’t a big deal.

If you happen to be traveling I35 through northern Iowa and don’t mind driving 10 miles or so off the freeway you might want to keep this place in mind. I suggest you make a reservation so you can guarantee a parameter, back in spot unless you think you would be satisfied with a parallel parking site that will feel like a pull-through when there are few fellow campers around.

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Campground Review: Cherry Glen Campground – CoE – Saylorville Lake, Iowa

This is our second stay at this nice Corps of Engineers campground, located on Saylorville Lake, northwest Des Moines, IA. Things this stay are much the same as they were when we were here two years ago, so you might want to check out my review from that stay. I’ll just focus on a few fresh observations in this post.

PHOTO_20150626_120615.jpg One thing I noticed this stay is how many campsites are rather unlevel front to back. Our site is steep enough that I have the landing gear of the 5th wheel extended about as far as I’ve ever extended it. I think a larger motorhome might end up with the front wheels well off the ground in this site. There are, of course, a number of spots that are level or at least “level enough” but because of our site I began noticing others and realized that several sites are like this.

PHOTO_20150626_115653.jpg Also, I’ve learned that, while there are no sewer sites here, there are several water hookup sites scattered around the park. The reason I missed them on our first stay is that the water spigots aren’t near the electric posts. Instead, they are stand alone water hookups either along the roads between the campsites or well behind them. I think that originally the idea was that people would be able to get water from communal spigots at various places around the park. At some point the decision was made to allow the closest campsite to the outlets to claim them and hook up to them if they wanted. There’s an extra $2 charge for those campsites (since we have an America the Beautiful pass we pay half for the site, making the extra charge just $1). Someone told me that the common practice is for the person in a water campsite to put a “Y” splitter at the faucet so that people can get water out of it even though someone is hooked up to it. If having a water hookup is important to you be sure to study the campground map when making reservations here.

My Verizon has a barely-working 3G signal here. It seems to work okay during the day and then as evening comes it slows down considerably. I was able to get satellite TV by putting the dish up close to the road. I’m guessing that people with a portable dish have a considerably better chance of getting satellite than do those with a roof mounted dish.

In my previous review I mentioned some bad weather and we had a repeat of that our first night here. We kept an eye on things as a couple of tornado warnings were issued for the counties just west of us. Aside from considerable rain falling, though, we came through the warnings without any problem.

We still like this campground a lot and will likely make it our place to stay when visiting family here in central Iowa.

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