Bear Cave Thousand Trails is just north of South Bend, Indiana in the southwestern corner of Michigan. The campground is situated along the St. Joseph River and there are several sites along the river. Most of these sites are a bit smaller and all are 30 amp/water sites. Campers with smaller rigs will enjoy these sites. There are several FHU 50 amp sites but many of these are sold to seasonal residents. Still, there were vacant FHU sites while we were at the campground. Most of the available FHU sites are large sites on or around a field rather than in the wooded areas beside the river. Not only would we have not fit in the river or playground sites, we wouldn’t have been able to get a satellite TV signal so we were satisfied with our back in site along the perimeter of the field sites.
The road into the campground is a bit of a concern. It is gravel and just barely wide enough for two RV’s to meet. “Just barely” may even be a bit optimistic depending on how close to the edge the drivers are willing to get. This isn’t a huge deal because the road in is fairly short, but it is something people might want to know.
Our Verizon signal was barely there even using a cradle booster. We had internet but it was only fair at best and sometimes unusable. Compounding the problem is the fact that there is no WiFi anywhere in the campground – not at the Activity Center and not for pay. I think Jackie and I both went through a bit of Internet withdrawal – not necessarily a bad thing.
The campground has a big pool (too cold for us in early June – but well-used by the kids) and a big Activity Center. The spa was out of service. These are a ways from the FHU section of the campground.
During our visit the cave itself was closed due to winter flooding. Work was being done on it and on the nice river walkway that was also damaged. The nicest feature of the campground, in my opinion, was a pretty waterfall that is right at the heart of the campground. In fact, there are some campsites that overlook the waterfall. I imagine that with the sound of the water that tenting in those sites must be great for sleeping!
Really, I think there’s a lot to like about this campground. It is a bit tired and in need of some corporate financial TLC but really, this is a pretty good Thousand Trails.
Being close to South Bend, Indiana and having heard of Notre Dame University all my life we decided to drive down and tour of the campus. I was impressed with beautiful well kept grounds. The famous Gold Dome and statue Of The Virgin Mary on top is a well known landmark. We toured the bookstore and saw the many items ranging from text books to Fighting Irish themed clothings. We took a walking tour with a friendly young lady who is a sophomore at the University. She said they have about 16 female dorms and 17 male dorms. The Basilica of the Sacred Heart is a beautiful ornate place of worship with the stained glass windows first installed In 1893. Our final stop was The Hesburgh Library featuring Jesus depicted in a famous mural as the “Word of Life” facing Notre Dame Stadium. This giant mural is better known as “Touchdown Jesus”. There is much more to see on campus should you decide to visit.
We also enjoyed our day in St. Joseph, Michigan. This city is at the mouth the St. Joseph River on Lake Michigan. Many people were enjoying the Silver Beach County Park. This park offers wide beaches with playgrounds for kids of all ages. There were several volleyball nets. We saw lots of children playing in the water at the Whirlpool Compass Fountain. They were having a blast being sprayed with with water shooting up from the floor for them to run through and stand under and huge water cannons shooting across the park on timers. There is also a paved trail above the shoreline with benches to sit on and enjoy lake view.
From the river walkway we could see the two lighthouses called Range lights at the mouth of the St.Joseph River. They were built in 1907 when the pier was lengthened.
A major attraction of the Park is the Silver Beach Carousel open year around and along with unique handmade horses. It features a rocking peacock and sea serpent benches that are wheelchair accessible.
This is a great area to visit and I know there is much more to see. In fact, I’ll have another review of the area as we continue our visit in the vicinity at a different campground next week.
We really like our Hitchhiker II LS 5th wheel. However, we’re missing a few extras that the newer rigs have. A couple of months ago we decided that for the foreseeable future we’d like to make a few upgrades and keep our current 5th wheel. The biggest upgrade for us was adding a power leveling system. We found that the Bigfoot Leveling System by Quadra was highly regarded by most everyone. This is a powerful hydraulic system. They make a fully automatic system – just push the button and it figures out what is level by itself. We opted to save nearly $900 and install a single pump, manual, four jack system. With this system you have a remote control and using the bubble levels already mounted on the camper you level the camper. The guys at the factory told me our 5th wheel was a bigger project than many and it took a day and a half to do the install. The good folks at Quadra were nothing but helpful and professional. They even let us sleep in the camper while it was parked overnight inside their facility. This is a new system for us, but we found ourselves on a rather un-level site our first night out with it. It took just a minute or so to bring the camper perfectly level. Jackie and I were both all smiles watching it work!
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