Going Camping? 21 Campgrounds to Avoid, According to Reviewers

Campgrounds to Avoid


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Campgrounds to Avoid

Some Reservations

Camping is usually an inexpensive way to spend time relaxing outdoors, but not every campground delivers on promises of peace and quiet. In looking at scenic and inexpensive campgrounds across the country, there are some that get less than stellar reviews. Problems include overflowing toilets, nearby highways, high prices, and difficult management. The following campgrounds got multiple negative comments on sites such as TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Google Reviews with recurring themes that point to genuine problems prospective guests should be aware of — in fact, two camps once included in this roundup have since closed forever.

Related: You Won't Believe These 15 RV Horror Stories

Centennial Park Campground, Anchorage, Alaska

Centennial Park Campground

Anchorage, Alaska
Centennial Park Campground is filled with stately trees against a backdrop of rugged mountains. But although campers love the ample, well-shaded spaces and easy access to big-city amenities, along with polite and friendly staff, there are some deal breakers. Road noise from the nearby highway can be "deafening and nonstop," and although it's nice that showers are free, there are no locks, which invites lots of traffic from non-campers. Theft is a big enough concern that the campground is patrolled regularly. If you have a hard-sided RV, you might not be too bothered — but tent campers should definitely give it a skip.

Front Royal RV Campground, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Front Royal RV Campground

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
It's hard to go wrong when your campground is next to a picturesque national park, right? But it can happen: Tripadvisor users are quick to point out that this campground near Shenandoah National Park has good bones — but they haven't been kept up, leading to a rutted roads, overgrown vegetation, and dirty-looking, backed-up bathroom some compare to third-world conditions.

Lee's Park Campground, Saratoga Springs, New York
Jeanine D./Yelp

Lee's Park Campground

Saratoga Springs, New York
This wide-open swath of land doesn't provide amenities such as picnic tables or fire pits, but it does give you the freedom to put up a tent just about anywhere, and there are RV spots with limited full hookups. But if you're not a Saratoga Performing Arts Center camper, if you want any amenities at all, or if you don't want to hang out with the concert camping crowd — which some reviewers say tends to be young, loud, and drunk — this is not the place to you. Reviewers also complain about odd per-person instead of per-tent pricing, and that shuttle service to the performing arts center is not included in the concert camping price; you have to pay extra.

Related: 19 Reasons You Really Don’t Want to Buy an RV

Indian Rock Campground, Near Jackson, New Jersey

Indian Rock Campground

Near Jackson, New Jersey
Indian Rock Campground is just a half-hour drive from the Jersey Shore, and 8 miles from Six Flags Great Adventure Park. But it generates some seriously mixed reviews. The most common complaints are about the general conditions of the campground: bad sewer hookups, leaky water connections, clogged toilets, uneven sites, cramped conditions, and a generally poor layout. "It's the most depressing, run-down campground.

Ventana Campground, Near Big Sur, California
Ventana Campground/Yelp

Ventana Campground

Near Big Sur, California
That stabbing pain you feel driving into the Ventana Campground near Big Sur might be your wallet crying out: Some travelers are outraged to find that even when they're already paying $85 to $100 or more a night for tent camping, basic amenities such as showers still come with an extra fee. That pain might also be the result of confusing check-in rules and steep inclines to campsites that can test even expert drivers.

Slickrock Campground, Moab, Utah
Nycole R./Yelp

Slickrock Campground

Moab, Utah
Just south of Arches National Park, Slickrock Campground is one of the cheapest in the area, with a full-hookup RV spot going for $73 plus tax and a single tent site at $35 plus tax. But atmosphere is lacking. "The spot that was sold to me look like a dump ground by a chain link fence," writes one disappointed user, while another says that tent sites are squeezed in so tightly "it sounded like the neighbors were opening our tent, not theirs." The RV spots are tiny and close together too. You get a spot to lay your head, but that's about it.

Pelican Kay RV Park, Key Largo, Florida

Pelican Kay RV Park

Key Largo, Florida
This campground has a fabulous location on the fringe of Biscayne National Park — but advice from unhappy reviewers on Yelp and Tripadvisor is still to stay away. Their stories make management look pretty bad, including describing a run-down, poorly maintained park that has supposedly been "rebuilding from the hurricane" for years. Reviewers say the bathrooms are gross, and that the sewer overflows when you dump your gray or black water.

White's City RV Park, Whites City, New Mexico
Jayden J./Yelp

White's City RV Park

Whites City, New Mexico
It's hard to beat the park's location, which is close to the entrance of Carlsbad Caverns National Park. But unhappy visitors have two big gripes with this campground: Dirty bathrooms (including complimentary roaches) and lots of noisy oil field workers who tend to start their big, loud trucks in the wee hours of the morning.

Granite City Koa, Granite City, Illinois

Granite City KOA

Granite City, Illinois
If you're headed to Gateway Arch National Park, you might just find yourself pulling up to Granite City KOA Campground. Reviewers on Yelp and TripAdvisor agree you should just keep on driving. The campground itself is in an unfortunate location, in an industrial area with a racetrack, train tracks, and mosquito-filled swamp, but the real problem, reviewers say, is unprofessional management.

Spruce Lake RV Park, Estes Park, Colorado

Spruce Lake RV Park

Estes Park, Colorado
Perched just outside an entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, Spruce Lake RV Park is in the ideal location. But the management? Not so ideal, say unhappy reviewers, who report rude workers, poor communication, no electricity, and lots of unexpected extra fees, from Wi-Fi, to fishing, to dumping.

Fort Collins Koa Lakeside, Fort Collins, Colorado

Fort Collins KOA Lakeside

Fort Collins, Colorado
Sitting next to a scenic lake, the KOA campground in Fort Collins offers great views. The campground has both RV hookups and tent camping sites, but some guests report unhelpful and rude staff members. The unhappy campers perceived that the campground was nickel-and-diming them with extra fees for activities, guests, and fire rings — services that are often free at other KOA sites. One camper said that in the end he could have stayed at a high-end hotel for the same price.

Ventura Beach RV Resort, Ventura, California
Ventura Beach RV Resort

Ventura Beach RV Resort

Ventura, California
This campground is primarily for RVers, but there are tent sites available as well. Two issues came up in reviews: the noise and the undisclosed fees. Tent sites are right next to a highway. One reviewer says she camped about 40 feet from the slow lane; others say that it's hard to sleep due to the noise, even with earplugs. Some campers say they were charged more for premium RV sites even though they requested regular ones. Others say the price they were quoted over the phone was lower than what they had to pay when they arrived.

Camper's Paradise, Grand Haven, Michigan

Camper's Paradise

Grand Haven, Michigan
Camper's Paradise is anything but heavenly, according to campers. There are multiple reports of the owners screaming at campers and being generally unpleasant. To make matters worse, noise from nearby rail lines and a highway bleeds into the campground, and there are mixed reports on the camp's cleanliness.

Long Ravine Campground, Colfax, California
M C./Yelp

Long Ravine Campground

Colfax, California
An hour from Sacramento, the Long Ravine Campground attracts campers looking for a quick getaway from the city. But the campground is so close to Interstate 80 you'll hear the hum of cars at night — that is, if the neighbors aren't blasting music and arguing into the wee hours.Filthy bathrooms, poor upkeep, and lack of running water are problems, and individual sites are small and sometimes near poison oak.

Carolina Beach Family Campground, Wilmington, North Carolina
Max W./Yelp

Carolina Beach Family Campground

Wilmington, North Carolina
The Carolina Beach Family Campground is a trailer park with poor maintenance, piled-up trash, and some bad smells, according to some shellshocked visitors. Reviewers on Google and TripAdvisor post plenty of reviews with the word "beware."

Ponderosa Campground, Big Sur, California
Jill G./Yelp

Ponderosa Campground

Big Sur, California
The Ponderosa Campground gets low marks mainly because of the surrounding environment. Multiple campers report that all kinds of bugs — yellow jackets, mosquitos, bees, and flies – swarm the campground, so much so that some campers left early. There are also rattlesnakes to watch out for and poison oak lurking on the grounds.

Beaver Pond Campground, Stony Point, New York
Sarah B./Yelp

Beaver Pond Campground

Stony Point, New York
Beaver Pond Campground gets mixed reviews. Sites are only $15 to $22 a night, and if you get a site in the secluded W section you'll have a fine time. Other areas, however, are so crowded that you won't have any privacy, and the bathrooms get dirty fast. According to reviews, the no-alcohol rule is enforced but quiet hours are not, and management isn't helpful.

Pine Cone Resort and Campground, Freehold, New Jersey

Pine Cone Resort and Campground

Freehold, New Jersey
When a campground calls itself a "resort," it sets a certain level of expectations, but many campers left the Pine Cone Resort and Campground feeling disappointed, with most recent complaints coming from RV owners concerned about dumping, facilities, and indifferent management.

Hide-a-Way Lakes, Yorkville, Illinois
Michael T./Yelp

Hide-A-Way Lakes

Yorkville, Illinois
The Hide-A-Way Lakes campground has a friendly staff, shaded sites, and a river nearby. But even those who gave it a decent rating on Yelp say there are broken vehicles and trash throughout the grounds. It's a private campground and alcohol is allowed, which means you might be kept awake by loud neighbors. As several reviewers note, it's a party campground and not for families.

Fiddlehead Campgrounds, Oxford, Maine
Kaila I./Yelp

Fiddlehead Campgrounds

Oxford, Maine
One camper described Fiddlehead Campgrounds as a never-ending frat party. The staff is friendly and attentive, but be prepared for drunken crowds staying up all night to party and shoot fireworks. Even those who knew what they were getting into give the campground mixed reviews on Yelp, citing bad roads, a lack of rules, rampant theft, and port-o-potties as downsides – along with, surprisingly, an extremely strict wristband requirement and locked gates.

Camp Huaco Springs, New Braunfels, Texas
Camp Huaco Springs

Camp Huaco Springs

New Braunfels, Texas
The river is nice but the camping at Camp Huaco Springs is not. The campground in general is dirty, according to several reviewers, with broken picnic tables, filthy bathrooms, bad showers, and bottles, cans, and trash scattered around. The sites are also disorganized and overcrowded, forcing people to walk through others' sites to get to their own. A rule against dogs also gets people riled.