Believe it or not we’ve made it to 2012! With 2011 speeding rapidly behind us (at an ever increasing rate, or so it seems) this is the perfect time to review the best of the best of sites that we stayed at last year (just like we did in 2010). In line with our “free-the-beast” camping style most of the spots we chose were public parks. In fact out of 62 total stops in 2011, only 5 were private parks, and all but one of those 5 were big city. It’s the way we like it ->loose and free in the wild with just a rare touch of civilization every now and then. Since SO MUCH of our camping was in the wilds I’m switching around a few of our catagories this year. Hope you enjoy them!

1/ Top 3 Camping Spots with a VIEW

Lovely Lone Pine Campground, CA

We came across some simply spectacular views in 2011. In fact so many campgrounds made this list that I had to narrow it down to those that gave us true 360-degree views right from our RV site.

2/ Top 3 BEACH Camping Spots

The wonderful beach at Fort Stevens State Park, OR

We managed some great beach stops both in FL, TX and OR. It was hard to chose, but these 3 made the top of our list:

3/ Top 3 FOREST Campsites

Our "sitting area" at Convict Lake, CA

When we’re in the mountains we LOVE the forest campgrounds and we managed some pretty gems in 2011. Here are my favorites:

  • Canyon Rim, Flaming Gorge, UT -> What a spectactular spot! A mini-campground with only 7 RV sites just steps away from outstanding views of Flaming Gorge.
  • Cayton, San Juan NF, CO -> We totally fell in love the remote Lizard Head Wilderness here and would come back in a heartbeat. You’re next to river, mountains and days of hiking at 9,400 feet.
  • Convict Lake, Mammoth Lakes, CA -> It’s the most expensive of our NF choices, but in a simply fabulous location. Lake, mountain and views. You get it all here!

4/ Top 3 Camping DEALS

Desert boondocking just outside of Yuma, AZ

This may seem like an odd catagory, but I had to mention it. I’m lumping together a few campgrounds into one here just to give you a feel for just how GREAT a deal you can get camping in the wilds.

  • New Mexico State Parks -> I’ve mentioned them soooo many times on the blog, but they deserve just one more. New Mexico has the BEST camping deal in the country IMHO. The Annual Camping Pass is $225 and covers a YEAR of primitive camping with only $4/night extra for electric. Add to it that New Mexico has some of the most beautiful State Parks we’ve encounted and I really can’t imagine a better deal.
  • BLM Campgrounds -> BLM campgrounds are primitive and often remote, but they’re fabulous deals at only ~$5 a pop. Good examples that we’ve simply loved are Tuttle Creek and Owl Canyon in CA, Datil Well and Orilla Verde in NM.
  • Boondocking -> What’s even better than $5/night? That would be FREE!! There are tons of great boondocking sites especially on BLM land out west. We snagged a gorgeous spot on the beach in Sea Rim, TX, a desert beauty in Quartzsite, AZ and a remote lovely just outside of Yuma.

5/ Top 3 Not-Yet-Mentioned Gems

Hill view of the lovely Davis Mountain State Park, TX

These didn’t fit into the other catagories, but they made our list of top-rated campgrounds for their own individual reasons. So, here we go:

  • Davis Mountains State Park, TX -> One of our absolute top-rated campgrounds because it combined the best of everything. Great sites and facilities in a fabulous location with both hiking, star-gazing and hills. Sadly fire swept this area in 2011, so we’re not sure what it all looks like now.
  • Mesa Verde RV Resort, CO -> Yes, a private park believe it or not. Great facilities just outside Mesa Verde National Park. It made the very top of our list of private parks visited in 2011 and deserved a mention for that reason alone.
  • Markham Park, Sunrise, FL -> We wintered here last year and consider it one of the nicest spots for extended stay in southern FL. Want gigantic sites, oceans of green, trails and lakes? Add-in a full-blown dog-park and biking area to boot. Then, this is your spot!

There are tons of other worthy and beautiful campgrounds that I didn’t manage to mention, but we’ll just have to place them in the archives for the next time. Happy Camping everyone!

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18 Responses to 2011 Top RV Parks & Campgrounds Of The Year

  1. Marsha says:

    Elephant Butte is one of our top choices also. Thanks for doing such a great job! I have this bookmarked for reference when we head out West.
    Thanks for taking us along with you in 2011. Can’t wait to see where 2012 take you!
    Wishing you two a happy, healthy and Blessed New Year!

    • libertatemamo says:

      Oh we sooooo enjoyed Elephant Butte. Ended up extending our stay twice there it was so nice.
      Hope to see you guys on the road this year. You coming West by any chance?
      Nina

      • Marsha says:

        We are headed west in March. We will spend the month of March watching spring training up in the Phoenix area. Love those Cleveland Indians!!!

  2. Sue Bidniak says:

    we will be sure to save this post!!…very informative …thanks for all the best of the best!!

  3. So many great options! We need to find a smaller RV with solar power and go explore the U.S. again. :)

    • libertatemamo says:

      Well we’re pretty big so you can fit anything up to 42′ in these sites (we’re exactly 41.6′ end to end) but having solar is nice :) We used it alot this year.
      Nina

  4. bob says:

    Once again, a great blog. Many thanks!! Now my question … I notice in your pictures that many times you appear to pull in rather than back in thus putting your door on opposite side of the sitting area. Is this for ease and convenience or do you position based on what provides the optimum view from inside your coach.

    • libertatemamo says:

      It’s totally a view thing. If we’ve got a great view out the front we’ll position ourselves front-first so our big window faces that way. We’re aaallll about the view :)
      Nina

  5. Don says:

    Davis Mountains State Park is alive and well after the fire. We stayed there in October and although you could see the remnants of the fire on surrounding hills, the RV park itself looked relatively unscathed. We agree it is a great place. While reclining with a late night Bailey’s outside looking at the universe, we were excited to see a coyote visit near our site, snooping around the camp area. What a treat. The drought in Texas has made predators throw caution to the wind in search of a meal.

    Thank you for your blogs. We very much have enjoyed your travels and helpful hints and experiences over the last two years.

    Don

  6. Yair says:

    Tuttle Creek takes the cake for me as well! We had a spectacular stay there at the very beginning of our RVing back in August 2010, and I’m looking forward to heading back at some point.

    PS – Climbing in Mission Gorge next week? (Let’s coordinate by email if you guys are interested.)

    • libertatemamo says:

      Totally with you on Lone Pine. What a great spot!
      Ooooo….climing sounds interesting. I’ll e-mail for sure!
      Nina

  7. Sheila says:

    Nina and Paul, a great post! Your talent to enlighten others is greatly appreciated! Happy New Year – be happy, healthy and safe with your 2012 travels.

  8. Steve says:

    Publish it all … in print…. Photos in a coffee table book and camp grounds and trip blog as a Milepost type guide. We’ll order one!

  9. […] 2011 Top RV Parks & Campgrounds Of The Year […]

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