We're thinking of being in the Medora area this summer but are unsure of our dates. Would it be crazy to go without cg reservations? We would be there late July/early August.
Also, any recommendations would be appreciated. We would prefer a pull-thru site with at least electricity. Had thought about staying in Teddy Roosevelt National Park but it seems that none of their campgrounds have electric sites?
Guys read the OP origional post wanted Full Hookups and you all got on a state park kick and we all know there are no full hookups.
Actually there are! Lac Qi Parle and Lake Shetek are two I can think of off of the top of my head. OP, check out the MN State Parks reservations website, you can search by region and then by full hook-ups.
OP, I think the best course of action is to figure out how much you can tow and go from there. Then you'll be able to see what floorplans fit within your tow capacity, both TT and Hybrids. Then you can check them out in person to see what you prefer.
We are in Minnesota and camp quite a bit in April and October and have never had a problem keeping warm. We added an optional heat strip into our A/C unit that runs with the A/C's blower. It works wonderfully and at times it's even too warm :) We don't use any type of exterior tent end covers, or heated mattresses or mattress pads, although those are things that could certainly be an option.
Good luck with your search!
I once read a very wise statement on the Rv.net forums... "There are two types of RV's: those that leak, and those that will leak." WoodGlue I'm glad your happy with your camper but don't ever let your guard down. Water is our enemy, whether you are rolling in a million dollar Prevost or a $10K pop-up.
We went from a Rockwood TT to a Cub hybrid because you absolutely positively cannot beat the amount of space you get vs. the tow weight. It's small enough to tow almost anywhere and opened up it's spacious enough to live in (no kidding).
We've been going every year (sometimes 2x a year) since 2000. Even with all those trips, we STILL find new things to do and see every time. If you do more than scratch the surface with the most touristy attractions, you will be so pleasantly surprised.
Also we usually go in August, we've never had an issue with the Sturgis Rally. If the thought bothers you then avoid the rally dates, but if that's the only time you can be there then don't worry about it. The Hills are a large area with plenty of room to disperse.
We have camped at Beaver Lake Campground in Custer and enjoyed it very much. Some sites are close together while others are very nicely spaced. We've also camped at The Roost Resort in Custer and it is small but the sites are nicely spaced out. We've driven thru Rafter J Bar and thought it looked very nice, some sites are close together and some are very wooded and more spaced out from each other.
Good luck on your search and I hope you enjoy the Hills as much as we do :).
I 100% agree with pjsky about the Wall Drug donuts... they are heavenly... no exaggeration!!
Wall Drug is one of our favorite places along the way. Much interest there beneath the touristy things if given the time.
I would also add, if you plan on visiting Jewel Cave, I would recommend reservations. We were there at the end of the summer and had only one available morning for a cave tour, so we chose Jewel. Unfortunately all of the standard tours were booked well ahead of us, so our only option was a 20 minute "talk" in one room of the cave. We did the talk but all four of us were disappointed.
I don't know if Wind Cave has the same reservation system but it would be worthwhile to check.
We are reading up on RV covers and the pros and cons and are getting more confused by the minute :?
We are still debating, but if we do cover, are there any brands that may be more suited for snow, ice and cold weather? We are in Minnesota.
We have always stored indoors but the rates increased dramatically this year so we are looking at other possible options.
Many thanks in advance!
We have stayed in cabins at two locations in Custer:
The Roost Resort - 1950's type cabins, very cute, it's a small place and quiet. Park outside your door.
Calamity Peak - cabins perched on the side of a hill, some with few steps and some with many steps up to the cabin. Near Hwy. 16 but the noise is not bad especially at night. This place also has a small motel so be sure you inquire about the free standing cabins.
Custer is a good area for exploring the Hills especially Custer State Park, Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Wind Cave, Jewel Cave, and it's not far from Hot Springs and Hill City. It's about an hour drive up to Rapid City, and two hours to Devil's Tower or Badlands National Park.
Just wondering if anyone has stayed at the Happy Holiday Resort?
We have never stayed there but have driven past many many times and have noticed it seems cramped. It's also close to a very busy road (Hwy 16) which I would think would cause a noise issue.
Check out the reviews here at RV Park Reviews if you haven't already.
What happens if the wood is infested with bugs and you are in a state that has rules about transporting firewood?
Do they ever check campgrounds to see if people are following the rules and what happens if they find wood that is infested with bugs? I can see it now -- "Honestly officer, that wood was here when we pulled in." :)
Here in Minnesota, state parks ask you when you arrive if you are bringing firewood. In the past, if you had your receipt as proof, you could bring wood that you had purchased at other MN state parks. Now, you cannot even bring that. It either has to be bought on site at the park or from one of the local vendors, and you better have proof.
We've had everything from the simple question "do you have any wood" to as far as having our truck searched. We've always been honest went with the flow, as we understand it's an issue, but it does get annoying sometimes.
Back when you could bring it from other state parks, we had three nice bundles of birch wood that we declared upon check-in... but when asked for the receipt we couldn't find it! So they confiscated our wood like so much hazardous material... encased it in giant hefty garbage bags and tied it tight and told us, too bad! This didn't sit well with my hubby so he called the other park and had the proof of our purchase faxed to the current park and we managed to get our wood back.
I don't mind people leaving firewood behind in a neat pile. It is the slobs that leave their trash in the fire rings that bug me.
This bothers me too. I usually end up having to pick garbage out of the fire ring before we can use it. It's usually really obnoxious stuff too, like tin foil. Would that ever burn? I'm guessing no campfire anywhere ever got hot enough to burn tin foil...and yet they keep on trying.
We looked into the Palmer Gulch KOA because of all the water activities for the kids but it was over our budget. If money wasn't an issue, and I thought we would be spending enough time at camp to make use of the activities, we'd give it a try. It's a KOA atmosphere (busy) but the extras make it seem like it would be fun.
We've stayed several times at Beaver Lake Campground in Custer. We like to make Custer our home base as we spend a lot of time in Custer State Park, and it's an easy drive to pretty much everywhere in the hills. Beaver Lake has a waterslide (for a fee) and a smallish pool, which my kids really enjoyed. We are not usually at camp much, so the small pool was ok since we didn't use it that much, it still was really fun to have. They also have a small playground and bikes to borrow.
We have also stayed at The Roost Resort in Custer, and there is not much for kids to do, but the place is very quiet and peaceful.
The 2013 Rally is August 5-11, 2013 and be warned, the rates for lodging/camping go higher everywhere in the hills. If your dates are flexible, you may want to avoid it, but if you need to/want to go at that time, I wouldn't let it stop you. We've been there during the rally and we were not inconvenienced at all. I think most of the bikers stay where the party is (Sturgis, Buffalo Chip, etc).
Hi MinnCamper, just saw your post... we heard that Pine Ridge got it worse than Bear Paw, sorry to hear from you that it was true. It was crazy how fast the storm whipped up and then was over, wasn't it?
Thanks for sharing your pictures, I also posted some, of the Bear Paw CG (just around our loop), here is the link:
Itasca Bear Paw CG Storm Damage 7/2/12
We have not done the circle tour but have been way up the North Shore. We've also been to the Black Hills/Badlands many times. IMO I would definitely chose Black Hills/Badlands over the circle tour, especially with the ages of your children. There is so much to see an do in the Black Hills area that your family would enjoy. You could also camp in one central location and make day trips all over, instead of constantly having to pull your camper around.
My kids are close in age to yours and some of their favorite places are: Wall Drug, Badlands NP, Reptile Gardens, Bear Country USA, Custer State Park, Ellsworth Air Force Base for the museum & base tour, Evans Plunge, Devil's Tower, and Mt. Rushmore (mostly for the ice cream haha).
There is also alot you could do on the way out there and back if you're so inclined, to make the miles more fun.
Nerstrand-Big Woods state park, south of Northfield, might be a possibility for you if you really want to stay in a state park. It would be a bit of a drive, it's about 20 minutes from I-35, but once you're on the interstate it would be a pretty easy drive up to the MoA.
There are several nice trails there, as well as a waterfall, and it's near Northfield which is a nice town to visit (unless you are Jesse James and looking to rob a bank).
Depending on the time of year you visit, there are also several apple orchards in the area.
Last summer we had a TT tire blow out on Eastbound I-90 west of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The speed limit there is 75 mph so people were doing 80 and sometimes over 80 mph. Hardly anyone would move over, and the wind push from the larger vehicles was rocking our TT as they passed.
Three state troopers passed us and not one stopped. I was hoping they would at least park behind us and run their flashers to give drivers more of a reason to move over. What's odd is that I'm not sure they could even tell we were changing a tire, so they didn't even stop to see what we were doing on the side of the interstate.
Kudos to your trooper!!!