Friday, July 03, 2015

State Park Camping

We love staying in Colorado State Parks. Many of them have 50-amp, full-hookup sites and your neighbor is a long way away. There are two very nice parks on the south side of Denver, Chatfield and Cherry Creek, and we have stayed in them each year since we started full-time travel in 2009. In the past, we usually came to Colorado in September. To get our favorite sites, we had to make our reservations in March. This year, our plans called for a visit in June. On the last weekend of January, I went online to make our reservations. Would you believe our favorites sites weren't available and at Chatfield we couldn't even stay in our favorite loop for 10 days straight? We had to settle for an electric-only site over the first weekend we were there.

Obviously, these parks are so popular in the summer, that every weekend is reserved months in advance--you can reserve sites 6 months in advance.

We like state parks because of the large sites, because there are lots of paths for walking and biking and there is lots of grass and flowers around. Even deer and other wildlife. Often, there is a lake or stream. Great!

Some people think Colorado State Parks are too expensive. A full-hookup site in either of the parks here near Denver costs $26 a night. Daily park admission is an additional $9. Since we are Colorado residents, we purchased an Aspen Leaf Pass for people age 64 and older. It covers our daily pass and it saved us at least $200 for the 24 nights we were in state parks. It also gives us $3 off each night in the campground, Sunday through Thursday.

For non-residents, our campsites would have cost $35 a night, including the daily pass. Expensive, but nothing compared to the $64 a night we are paying at the commerical park Dakota Ridge in Golden. The park is neat and clean and we have green grass out front. Unfortunately, they are side-by-side sites and we share the grass with another RV. We needed a reservation in the area for the 4th of July and couldn't get anything in a state park, so we settled for this. As anyone who lives in an RV or travels extensively knows, Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day weekends require advance reservations.

Today, we drove on I-70 away from the mountains. The traffic going west into the mountains was three lanes of slow moving cars. Every motel, camp site and probably even boon-docking site must be taken for the weekend. We're glad we have a place.

These are the trials and tribulations of RVing. Isn't it awful? We could have stayed in our house and always had some place to stay. I think even $64 is better than that, at least for us.


  1. Catching up on blogs...Happy Anniversary!!! Looks like a wonderful time with family and friends. I sure would like some Mexican food!!!

  2. Holidays are just part of doing business. We do what we have to do, pay what we have to pay, and watch with glee as the weekenders pack up and head back to their houses!