Lazy River Campground Layout and Rating

This was our second trip to to Lazy River Campground, America’s Only FUNGROUND. Our first trip was the Fall of 2020, a chilly football weekend was a fun time. This time we wanted to test it out during the summer to enjoy their warm weather activities. Unfortunately we didn’t have the best weather, some rain, but we made the most of our weekend.

They have 54 full hook-up with cable sites that are spread throughout the campground. The rest of the sites consist of water/electric creek side (9), water/electric/cable (22), and then a smaller number of water/electric sites that look more to be tent areas. They also have a large number of seasonal spots for those looks to just park their camper for the summer months. Here is their campground map.

Unlike our trip last Fall, during the summer months all weekend trips with a full hook up is a minimum of a 3 night stay. This makes planning around our work week a little more difficult, but when we are forced to take a 3 day weekend, we are always thankful come that third day.

Located in the beautiful Welsh Hills of Licking County sitting just 25 miles east of Columbus, Ohio, it provides up a nice easy drive for a weekend trip. It you want to make more than weekend trip out of it, check out the area attractions that include Dawes Arboretum, National Trail Raceway, and the Wilds just to name a few.

In the Summer and Fall months of 2016, Bruce Willis’s movie, First Kill, was partially filmed at Lazy River. We will definitely be watching this movie soon to see which parts we can pick out. Here are 2 clips from the news stores surrounding the filming, ABC6 and the Newark Advocate.

Roads

Main roads through the campground are paved. We like this so our kids can bring their bikes! Some of the non-main roads are gravel. The pads that you park on are grass and straw. As this didn’t cause a problem for us I could see where there could be some issues in regards to the pads being level.

It rained a lot during our stay and the night before we left there were puddles in the grass under our truck. I was worried if if rained overnight again we may get stuck in the mud trying to get out. Our strip of where campers were parked had no major water issues, but in walking around the campground one morning with the dog after a major rain there were a handful of spots that had puddles of water in their grass.

We didn’t have to use any leveling agents for our spot and didn’t see many other need to use them either. Making setting up easier, so I would say their spots are pretty level!

Privacy

Quiet hours were observed which is always nice when we have little kids!

There is no major freeway nearby and the campground overall is very quiet. Very little privacy between camping spots, but not uncommon in a commercialized campground.

Bathrooms

There are 3 shower-houses on the grounds. One right by the pool that has toilets and showers. The floor is almost always wet (from people using it from the pool) and didn’t seem as clean as I would prefer.

The other 2 shower-houses are located about 1/3 of the way in from either end of the campground, making it convenient no matter where you camp.

Amenities

We got lucky the weekend we were there they had a kids dance party and DJ! Super fun for our small kids. As the sun set he had strobe lights and the kids danced the night away on the basketball court.

Playground

Two playground in the middle of the park make a great spots for kids little and big. The smaller playground sits close to the pool and camp store with baby swings, monkey bars, slides and a tire swing.

The larger playground sits next to the creek and the Ohio Adventures two story challenge course. Tall slides and many fun extras, this is great for the older kids in your family

Water Activities

Two pools and a splash pad anchor the main area of the campground. A smaller pool, that my guess may have been the original is directly behind the camp store. Connected to that pool is a spray ground. And then sharing the other side of the fence is a large pool with 3 water slides. The water slides were my kids favorite! Perfect for any size kid if your family. It was also nice to have a shallow end of either side of that larger pool, perfect for the younger kids in your family.

Plenty of chair surround both pools and a bathhouse close for those needed bathroom breaks.

Restaurant and Food Options

They have a walk up snack shack by the gift shop. They have a variety of breakfast sandwiches, pizza, hamburgers, and more. We didn’t try any of their food, but saw a variety of people grabbing food.

Golf Carts

They do have some golf carts to rent. If you are in and around the pool/playground area I wouldn’t believe that you would need it unless you are handicap. If you are closer to the registration gate, it may be beneficial.

All the rest

They have a small game room and miniature golf course for extra fees.

Ohio Adventures is located inside the campground. My nephews loved the 2 story challenge course last fall and this summer my girls got their chance to conquer it. For $10 for 30 minutes you can tackle any of the 19 obstacles with a harness in place. The website states you have to be 48 inches to participate. My youngest is close to that but they allowed her to go with my husband. The height requirement is so you can hook and unhook your harness as you move throughout the course.

They also have a zipline that stands 30 feet in the air, unfortunately both last fall and our trip this summer it hasn’t been open.

A laser tag course of the other side of the creek is available for rental.

Here is the link to check out all the above amenities

Hiking

There are 2 hiking trails on the other side of the creek. An upper trail and lower trail (aka Bruce Willis Trail). My 7 year old daughter and I went out one afternoon, collected some worms and just had some nice mommy daughter time. We got to the far end of the upper trail and tried to take the bridge back to the campground but there was no bridge. So we walked back the lower trail (Bruce Willis Trail) to come back the way we started.

Later that day I asked in the gift shop why I couldn’t find the bridge and they take the bridge out when the creek water is too high. So unfortunately I didn’t know this before we set out. My suggestion is at the trail heads they post a sign when they take the bridge out! It all worked out and we had a nice time but just twice as long than planned.

Boats

No boats to rent or large lake to go one around the campgrounds. We did see some adults on large inner tubes floating down the creek. After a few days of rain it was pretty high and moving pretty fast. Not a place I would let my kids in when the water was moving as fast as it was.

Dog Park

They have 1 large dog park on the opposite end of the registration desk. It was pretty muddy after all the rain we got, but I’m sure on normal dry and hot summer days it would be pretty nice.

Fishing

No real fishing within the property of the campground. My oldest daughter went with my husband in the edge of the creek to catch minnows. Then of course we had to keep the minnow in our camper for the night for her to play with before returning it to the creek the next day. This was before we had a bunch of rain and the creek would have been unsafe for smaller kids.

Best and Worst Spots

We loved our spot that we were in between the pool and the playground. The two places our kids spend the most time. We could sit from our site, 67, and see them at that park!

However I will say we had a skunk problem. Our first night we saw some creatures walking across the road from where we were. We got the flash lights out and it was a family of skunks! They didn’t bother us but we heard the next morning they sprayed a dog a few campers down.

The next night I had to go open the grey water tank after it was dark outside. I took my flashlight and checked under and around the camper before I headed out and didn’t see anything. So I opened the tank, a few minutes later closing it. As I walked back around to the door a skunk ran out from under our corn hole set.

I’m all for nature and letting animals be in their natural habitat but we could have done without skunks!

Price

Price varies depending on time of year. During the summer months there is a 3 night stay minimum. Also it’s an additional $5 per kid, per night.

There is an extra price for kids but I will say they have scheduled activities and theme weekends. They also have an arts/crafts room that is inside (perfect for when it was raining for us!) Many free activities and some for small fee.

Here is an easy link to check out their pricing.

Summary and Rating

Overall Rating: 3.8

Cleanliness/Modernness of Campground: 4

Campground Layout/Lots: 3.5

Scenery: 4

Amenities: 4

Local Attractions: 3.5

Value of Price: 4

Here is the link to their campground, I hope you check it out and see what all there is to enjoy!

Sunbury/Columbus North KOA Campground

We visited one our favorite local campgrounds in June of 2021, voted the #3 Campground in 2020 USA Today, Sunbury/Columbus North KOA Campground. With a ranking like that, it’s hard not to find something for everyone to love! Just 30 minutes north of Columbus off 71 makes a nice quick weekend drive.

When we first bought a camper in 2017 I had a friend recommend this campground. We have been every year since, and sometimes more than once. The weekend we went this year we reserved a site next to friends, it was perfect!

Sunbury KOA offers numerous ways to stay for any “camper.” They have 6 deluxe cabins, 2 treehouses (new for 2020) and truck cabin (new for 2020). It also includes 122 sites available for any size camper you have. All have full hook-ups and comes with gravel pad, paved patio, fire ring, and nice picnic tables. If your family is the tent camping type they also have 6 tent sites. They have a large number of season sites, something we may look into for future years!

Roads

Roads like at many KOA campgrounds are gravel. This is a big reason we only take bikes to KOA campgrounds and not our kids scooters because they are too hard to manuver on the rocky roads.

The pads to park your camper on are pretty level for being gravel.

Privacy

The 100 acre campground sits in the middle of farm fields and is very quiet.

The area we were located was pretty quiet as well. Quiet hours were observed, which is nice when our kids go to bed.

Bathrooms

There was a variety of 4 bathhouse options depending on where your camper is parked, two in the front and 2 in the back. They are all nice and updated.

Amenities

KOAs have a variety of amenities. Its always nice for our kids to stay busy.

Check out there schedule of weekend events here. We have been there for previous slip-n-slide and foam parties.

Here you can find their daily activities planned for June, July, and August!

Playground

They have a variety of playgrounds that my kids LOVE. An area in the front of the park that has a zip line swing and a barn with variety of slides.

Another newer playground area is in the middle of the “in town” area of the campground and the back two sections. There was a new zip line and playset for 2021 year. In that area there is also a jump pad, one large and one smaller. The smaller one is perfect for those little kids to keep them seperated from the older/bigger kids.

Water Activities

Their large pool also has a smaller splash pad area. In the last few years we have seen them update their chairs and loungers by the pool. Their pool is open Memorial Day thru Labor Day.

New this year they have built a lake with an inflatable obstacle course. This is a feature that we have loved at other campgrounds. Our girls are getting old enough to enjoy it too. It was fun to see them conquer it. They also have a smaller beach area with some lounge chairs. They supply the life jackets at a barn with limited hours. The building of this lake was a good idea to offset the busyness of the pool during the hot summer weekends.

Restaurant and Food Options

One great perk we took part in this year was pizza Fridays. We pre-ordered one pizza when we arrived to share with the other family we were camping with. It was delivered on time and HOT to our campsite. It was so good we needed another! Ordering food can be done multiple ways including through text, which makes it easy and convenient. This is a great option for when you’re pulling in and setting up a little later than ideal or just want a quick and easy option!

Roadkill cafe is what the restaurant is called. A full menu is on their website and offers lunch and dinner options all summer long except for 2 options for breakfast Sunday mornings.

We also tried their cinnamon roll on Sunday morning which was hot and delicious as well. They also have the options of biscuits and gravy.

Golf Carts

They have golf cart rentals. We have always stayed at the front of the campground called ‘in town’ so haven’t needed one. But if you stay in the back areas of the campground, unless everyone can ride bikes or you have smaller kids a golf cart rental would be ideal.

Taking Oscar for a walk in the morning and we saw the line up of golf carts

Petting Farm

They also have a petting farm! I mean how cool is that. Below you’ll see a picture of my kids during our first stay compared to our last at the petting farm. They have a barn full of goats, donkeys, turkey, sheep, miniature ponies, and miss Lily the potbelly pig. You have bring some extra veggies to feed them or buy food at the general store.

All the rest!

Other amenities are here, include basketball courts, corn hole, hiking trails, laundry room, workout room, pedal boats. They also have a non-denominational church service Sunday morning.

Hiking

Hiking, unfortunately, isn’t something we have tried when we have visited. We need to add it to our list next time, they have 40 acres of trails just waiting to be explored. They have a variety of trails that start at the back of the campground. I typically get up in the morning and walk the dog, but when I have him I try and stay off the trails so we have a less chance of getting ticks on him.

Boats

No big and fancy boats but they do have a small pond “in town” that have paddle boats, canoes, kayaks. The paddle boats can be rented at the general store for $5 an hour.

Dog Park

They have 2 Kamp K9’s at the front of the park. A smaller one and then a larger one.

They also have a nice feature that a few sites in the back of the park have a small fenced in area for your 4 legged friends (or any small kids)!

Fishing

There is fishing for catch and release allowed at the same pond that you can take the boats on.

Best and Worst Spots

I can’t think of any terrible spots! I would say that “in town” is a nice spot to be with younger kids so your closer to the pool and activities. The “backwoods” is much more shadded, which would be great on the hot summer days.

Next year our friends and us want to try the buddy sites. They only have a few but are great ideas when camping with friends. So we have our sites picked out and can book for the 2022 season on January 1, 2022.

Deluxe patio sites have a nice paved patio and with table and chairs. Always a nice benefit but you’ll pay extra for it! Here is a map so you can check out these areas!

Price

KOA has a rewards card that we purchased for the first time in 2021. It wasn’t expensive and we thought we would see if we got our money’s worth! Here are the details.

The Value Kard Rewards account immediately entitles you to 10% off the daily registration rate every time you register to camp at any of our nearly 500 KOA campgrounds throughout North America. While you’re camping, you are also earning valuable camping rewards that are redeemable for cash off your future KOA stays.

There is also a free night of camping at a participating KOA, during Value Kard Rewards Appreciation Weekend each September.

The average cost per night is $78-98 pending if you have a back in, pull thru, or delux patio.

Summary and Ratings

Rating 1-5, with 5 being the best

Overall Rating: 4.25

Cleanliness/Modernness of Campground: 4.5

Campground Layout/Lots: 4

Scenery: 3.5

Amenities: 5

Local Attractions: 4.5

Value of Price: 4

A few of our favorite upgrades

In the winter of 2021 we decided to upgrade a few things on our camper. We wanted a little more living space so we went on a search. Click here to see our review of the dealership RCD RV and the purchase of our Keystone travel trailer.

The fireplace may be one of Sean’s favorite features. And this coming from a man when we camped last fall he didn’t want to turn on the furnace! Since the fireplace runs off of electric we don’t have to use our propane as much for the furnace.

Another feature that was a perk to Sean is an outside TV mount. The TV can pop off its mount on the inside of the Keystone travel trailer and hook right outside. Previous years we have had to bring a bigger TV and extra table for movie nights or for football season.

Our girls favorite area is the bunk room. They had bunk beds in our old camper but NOW they have a room with 5 bunk beds (perfect for their cousins and friends) and a door! The door features seems small but will be nice for when kids are changing or when one wants to sleep in a little longer. Previously we had to have 1 family in the camper at a time to change clothes. They will of course want to sleep on the top bunks so my husband (being so handy) took an idea I had for railings and made them come to life!

A full tutorial on bunk railings for our little girls is here!

For my perks, the kitchen! Its small but I have a more counter space which will be nice for prepping food for the campfire and grill. The refrigerator is bigger too. Weekend trips having a small frig was fine but when we are gone longer than a weekend or have family/friends with us there wouldn’t be enough room.

Caesar Creek Campground Layout and Rating

Caesar Creek State Park has a large campground that offers Class A camping facilities in the beautiful rolling hills of southwest Ohio. The campground is on the edge of a 2,830-acre lake. This campground is just 68 miles south of Columbus, an easy drive down Interstate 71 south. Once off Interstate 71 it’s a quick 5 miles to the campground. This large campground offers 252 electric spots and 35 full hook-ups.

Boating, hiking, camping, and fishing are just some of the adventures to explore at Caesar Creek State Park. On the campground property itself you have access to amenities that include beach (with kayak rentals), boat ramp, playground, basketball courts, amphitheater and hiking trails. We spent a quick 2 night weekend here but explored a lot and will dive into each of these amenities below.

Roads

One thing that sets state parks apart from others is the paved roads. This is always a plus with my kids. We either bring our kid’s bikes or scooters pending which park we visit. Bikes go to commercialized campgrounds and scooters come to state parks. They always prefer their scooters so we are always happy when they know we are going somewhere where the roads are paved. The pads were nicely paved as well.

We stayed on the A-B-C side which had no dump station or trash containers. For us, having a full hook up, not having the dump station wasn’t an issue. But, there are a greater number of just electric sites so if you didn’t fill your fresh water tank up prior to leaving home you’d have to go to the other side of the campground to fill up your water tank upon arrival. As that can be a hindrance I was happy that the dump station was not on the main road. This makes it an easier pull put on busy Sunday mornings when we aren’t stuck in traffic waiting behind the dump traffic.

Privacy

There is very little privacy between sites as trees are limited between sites. However there is quite a bit of distance as I mentioned earlier. It was very quiet and with having 4 kids with us that weekend felt like we had plenty of room for them to play without being in our neighbors area.

Each site backed up to thick foliage and we even saw a few deer. But other than the foliage that was behind each site there wasn’t any between pads.

Bathrooms

There is a total of 5 shower houses on the campground. The one on A loop looked new or newly remodeled. There are 3 restrooms (without showers), 1 on each side of the campground, and a third down by the beach and boat ramp.

Amenities

One of the best amenities we can find for the hot summer months at state park campgrounds is a campers beach. A campers beach is just as it sounds, only allowed for campers. It is typically smaller and located within walking distance or a short bike ride from the campsites. This is a perk for us as many Ohio State Parks (Alum Creek State Park & Delawere State Park) has a public beach, which can become very crowded on those hot summer weekends.

The beach also had kayaks and canoes that can be rented by the hour. It was a hit with my teenage nephews we had with us for that weekend. They even supplied the life jackets for them to wear. We also saw many other families putting their own kayaks into the water from the beach.

There is 1 basketball court on the D-E-F side of the campground

3 playgrounds are spread out throughout the sites. Well maintained with slides and climbing equipment and then separate swings.

Hiking

They have a variety of trails, some that start at the campground and various other spots around Caesar Creek Lake. While we took the Horseshoe Falls trail, they have others that lead you to a swinging bridge and views of the lake.

The Horseshoe Falls trail was about 1.7 miles round trip. We took our 5 and 7 year old daughters on the trail. They did pretty well, my 5 year old wanted carried a little bit of the way so she road on my husbands shoulders.

Boats

Before Memorial Day weekend use of the campground boat ramp is free. This past year that would be a nice perk as we had many beautiful 80-degree days. After Memorial Day weekend you will need a daily or yearly pass. You can find more information here.

Dog Park

I did not see a dog park on the campground, however all sites are animal friendly.

Fishing

Caesar Creek Lake offers muskellunge and some of the best crappie fishing in the state. Please follow Ohio fishing regulations. We did see some kids fishing off the campers beach that weekend, and many fishing boats were out in the water. Here is the fishing map.

Best and Worst Spots

Lots were large! Probably 10-15 yards of space in-between each camper. The pads looked newly poured (or well kept). Each spot that we saw looked pretty level, which makes parking and leveling a lot easier (especially for rookies!)

The campground map has 4 sites listed as being ADA accessible.

We were spot 36 which was right across from a bathroom and catty-corner from the park. Perfect for our needs because our kids played a lot at the park and we could keep an eye on them.

Another site that I would be interested in looking into for next time was site 74, it backed up to the park and our kids wouldn’t have to cross the street to get to the park. Click here for a campground map.

Summary and Rating

Rating 1-5, with 5 being the best

Overall Rating: 3.8

Cleanliness/Modernness of Campground: 4.5

Campground Layout/Lots: 4

Scenery: 3

Amenities: 4

Local Attractions: 3.5

Visit the State Park website here for more information. To book any Ohio State Park Camping reservation click here.

Enjoy our views below from our hike to Horseshoe Falls

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread/Muffins

I came across a copycat Starbucks banana bread recipe over the winter. Our family would demolish a loaf in a day…it was that good.

Then I started experimenting with the recipe. I made it gluten free, when I was trialing a GF lifestyle, the texture changed a bit but was still good.

Then I would add a few extra ingredients and I think this final recipe is a winner!

  • 2 cups flour (GF flour is a good alternative)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg (flax egg would work)
  • 1 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp milk (of any variety)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 mashed bananas
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Place in greased loaf pan and bake at 325 for 50-75 minutes, until the top is golden brown.

Or, place in muffin tins greased or lined and bake at 350 for 29 minutes, until top golden brown. Makes 16 muffins. These are great snacks for our camping trips and even for a quick breakfast!

We love these muffins and they travel well on our camping weekends. The girls will eat them for breakfast or an afternoon snack.

Buckeye Lake/Columbus East KOA Campground

The Buckeye Lake/Columbus East KOA Campground was huge. This was our first time visiting and exploring this area. Roughly 30 miles east of Columbus, Ohio. The campground sites 1.5 miles off interstate 70

They offer Cozy sleep camper cabins (15), deluxe cabins (4), large shaded primitive tent area, deluxe patio pull-through (27), with a total of 270 sites (not including cabins) this campground has a hook-up of your choice.

Roads

The main road in and out of the campground around the gift shop and office is paved. The rest of the roads are rock, along with all sites.

The sites even though gravel, were very level for the most part.

Privacy

The campground was quiet from car traffic. Even though it sits only 1.5 miles off a major interstate it was quiet.

Bathrooms

There are 3 bathroom/shower houses. The one by the front office is the only one we used. The other two were farther away from us and closer to the tent spots (which makes sense!) So unfortunately I can only speak to the one.

It was very nice, clean, and even had a TV in it. Doors on the stalls, is always nicer than just a curtain! Seems to have been recently updated.

Amenities

They have a schedule of events that start opening day April 1, 2021 and ends the last weekend in October with a month long Halloween celebration. Mixed in the other months you can find events like wine and cheese, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day events, big activities for the 3 major summer holidays (Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor day). You can find their full list of weekend fun here!

We were lucky enough to participate in The Big Weekend. This weekend all money raised is donated to Care Camps for kids with cancer! So since we stay Friday night we received Saturday night for $20, and then that $20 was donated by the park. What a deal, right?! They had an auction where people staying the weekend could bring auction items, a 50/50 raffle and donuts and coffee Sunday morning. All of the profits and donations from those events were donated. For our weekend May 14-16, 2021 – $3000 was raised!

My daughter with no allergies really enjoyed the donuts that day. While my husband took our dairy and egg allergy daughter into the store to pick out a treat.

There is a small creek that runs through the campground. I brought their rain boots not knowing how high the water would be, they tested it out but they preferred to spend their time at the playground!

All full hook-up camper sites have cable hook-up as well! This makes early morning hours a little better for the kids while us adults take more time to rise.

Free wifi, is always a nice option. I did hook my phone up to it and it was slower than just using my data. Thankfully we have unlimited data so that is an option. But the wifi wouldn’t be fast enough for any type of streaming.

In addition to planned actives they have unique amenities that include basketball, gaga ball, game room ($), gem mine ($), giant checkers, giant chess, horseshoes, jumping pillow, sand volleyball court, shuffleboard, pool (opened Memorial Day thru Labor Day), mini golf, bike rentals ($), golf cart rentals ($), gift shop, wagon rides, and fire truck rides.

Firewood is available for purchase. As with many campgrounds bringing in outside firewood is prohibited. They also have propane for purchase.

A camping kitchen is available toward the back of the campground where more of the tent sites are located.

You can find a full list of their amenities here!

Hiking

No hiking trails within the park. There is a side walk on the main road (S.R. 79) that a walk/run would be enjoyable. Also walking to the trail along Buckeye Lake would provide a great view while you take stroll.

We had the girl’s electric scooters and took them along the bike path by Buckeye Lake. It was a great time. There are restaurants, bars and ice cream parlors to stop at too!

Boats

No boating directly on this campground. However, we did see many campers bring a boat as I’m sure to enjoy a beautiful summer day on Buckeye Lake and there are numerous rental services available around Buckeye Lake as well.

Dog Park

Two separate areas in the back of the campground are perfect for dogs. They have a smaller dog walk area that is fenced in. The also have a larger Kamp K9 to allow the bigger dogs to get out some running.

Fishing

No fishing area on the campgrounds. But just a short 5 minute walk will take you to Buckeye Lake and a bike trail where we saw people fishing.

Best and Worst Spots

I can’t really say there were any bad spots. There are some sites that are a little closer together than others but nothing consistent. As my husband and I walked to and from the park multiple times a day we saw two sites that would be idea for the park and jumping pillow area. Sites 311 and 321 are full hookup 50 amp patio sites with cable. They are right on the corner and I could watch my kids on the jumping pillow from my comfy chair. I will say however, that these sites don’t have many mature trees to provide shade and you will be looking out towards the main road as well. But on the plus side the patio includes patio furniture, grill, and specialty fire pit. Here is a graphic of the campground map.

Price

KOA has a rewards card that we purchased for the first time in 2021. It wasn’t expensive and we thought we would see if we got our money’s worth! Here are the details.

The Value Kard Rewards account immediately entitles you to 10% off the daily registration rate every time you register to camp at any of our nearly 500 KOA campgrounds throughout North America. While you’re camping, you are also earning valuable camping rewards that are redeemable for cash off your future KOA stays

There is also a free night of camping at a participating KOA, during Value Kard Rewards Appreciation Weekend each September

Our price for this trip was $88 a night plus $6 a night per child. The second night we stayed since it was the Kamp Weekend for kids with cancer that money went to that fundraiser! Win-win for us all!

I’d say overall the kids enjoy KOA’s because they offer many activities, so sometimes that helps us to justify the cost. We have never camped at this KOA before but there was only 1 arts/crafts activity for them to participate in while we were there, which is on the lower side from our experience. However, we kept busy doing other activities but when the pool isn’t open and not many “organized” activities the increased cost (compared to state parks) is harder to justify.

Summary and Ratings

Rating 1-5, with 5 being the best

Overall Rating: 3.6

Cleanliness/Modernness of campground: 3.5

Campground Layout/Lots: 3

Scenery: 3.5

Amenities: 4

Local Attractions: 4.5

Value of Price: 3.5

Wireless Remote Meat Thermometer

My husband got this meat thermometer for a gift Christmas of 2020. I never really understood the excitement that he had for it until I used it recently to cook teriyaki chicken. We had a soccer practice that we had to get to for one of our girls and he was on a work call late; so I took it upon myself to grill the chicken for dinner.

I feel like chicken is a difficult food to grill. To make sure it reach the USDA preset temperature of 165 of poultry but not cooking it too long and drying it out.

I’ve seen him use the thermometer in the past, but had never used it myself. I threw the teriyaki chicken (see our recipe here) on the grill and then opened the box.

How to use

I removed the two monitors from the box along with 1 of the 2 probes. The second probe would be nice if cooking a different type of meat or a larger piece of meat like a whole turkey. It had easy instructions of where to plug the probe in to the monitor.

Next, you can set the temperature manually or to the USDA preset temperature for 9 types of meat and their various doneness levels. No synchronization required for the two devices.

From there I placed the probe in the thickest slice of chicken breast, placed the orange monitor outside the grill, resting on the shelf, and waited. Halfway through I flipped the chicken over and went back inside prepping the rest of dinner. When the internal temperature for the chicken reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit the monitor alarmed and the chicken was done. Sounds pretty easy, right?

No more slicing the chicken open to see if the pink has disappeared. This meat thermometer takes the hassle out of cooking and allows you to place the perfect piece of meat on the table for your family and friends.

Not only have we used it with our grill we have also used it with our Pit Barrel Smoker and have had excellent results.

Some other features of the device includes: (1) 300 foot distance so you can still enjoy your company while preparing the meal (2) Large LCD displays (3) back-lit for use in low light conditions (4) count up and countdown settings (5) probe wires can withstand up to 716 Fahrenheit

Some of the links on this page/website are affiliate links. This means, at zero cost to you, I generate income if you click through the links and make a finalized purchase

Teriyaki Chicken Recipe

Teriyaki chicken is a family favorite around here! It’s even so popular that we almost had it for a fancy Christmas dinner one year.

Teriyaki flavors produce bold, savory and salty flavors. Most commonly teriyaki includes soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, and garlic. However this recipe doesn’t include brown sugar, and honestly I don’t think it needs it! To have something so flavorful and not include sugar……tell me more!

I have searched for bottled brands of a teriyaki marinade that our family likes, and nothing compares to this homemade recipe below.

The Prep

It is easy to throw in a zip lock bag, let marinade for a few days (at least 12 hours is my recommendation), and then on the grill for a camping weekend. I typically prep food for our trips the day prior. Teriyaki chicken is always a staple

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce (substitute coconut aminos for gluten free)
  • 2 Tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 Tablespoon vinegar
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic

Mix ingredients together in zip lock bag, add chicken, then close bag. When we travel I double bag it for just extra precaution. Every day that it is marinating I flip the bag over to make sure every piece of chicken is getting a good coating of sauce.

Throw on grill or bake in oven until internal cooking temperature reaches 165 degrees fahrenheit. We use a Therm Pro Remote Food Thermometer to ensure the internal temperature. This handy dandy gadget that my husband got for Christmas one year has been great when we are grilling or smoking meat. Click here to see the article related to the thermometer.

It is also a great leftover to add on salads and to mix in with chicken fried rice. What sides do you like with teriyaki chicken?

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Lake Alma Campground Layout and Rating

Lake Alma Campground was nice, small, quiet, and full of trees. Tucked in on the other side of the lake off the busy road you’ll find 76 spots. They offer full service (6), electric (67), and non electric (10) spots. From first appearances and impression it seems to be an older campground. It is a tighter fit than most state parks and your camping spots aren’t as large as you would expect from other state parks. However, it still had a lot to offer and we would recommend checking this one out. Click here for our weekend review. See below for more specifics.

Woodpeckers! Not a normal sound to hear but every morning when I was up to walk the dog I heard many of them. We even got to see and hear one on our hike on the Acorn Trail.

Roads

The road to the campground entrance is a one lane road with 1/4 of the road allocated for walking/biking. When you turn into the campground there is the dump station and fresh water station. There are some fresh water filling stations spread throughout the park as well. The roads are narrow and only one camper can fit on the road at a time. There is no room to pass by a camper or another car. Like any state park pulling out on Sundays can be a long process with everyone waiting to dump their tanks. However, this one would be more problematic than most given the layout and width of the road. There is no escaping the traffic leaving this state park on a Sunday and on a weekend where there was less than 15 campers we even experienced a line. I cannot imagine pulling out of here during peak season. I would recommend either leaving early or planning on taking your time on Sunday.

There is one turnaround in the park and for our 35″ camper it was tight. We only needed to use the turnaround because we missed our spot when we first pulled in. Your camping spot will be paved, which is a nice benefit. However the majority of them are uneven. We will talk about that a little later.

They also have two small creeks that run over the roads, yes I said OVER the roads. It is a paved area that allows the campers/cars to drive through the water. Depending on how wet of a season the water levels will change. However, there is a small foot bridge to use if not able to walk through.

Privacy

There is little to no privacy between spots. There are a few tree’s but that doesn’t provide for much separation. Here (see left) are a few spots that have absolutely no privacy and are very close together, I don’t think you could even have a campfire given the space between campers. Sites 1-6 there was only room for a picnic table with very little grassy area.

Bathroom

There is one newer shower house in the middle of the park. It has 4 rooms, each room includes a flush toilet, water, hand soap, hand air dryer and shower. This bathroom is ADA accessible. There is one older bathroom towards that front of the campground that has no flush toilets and each gender has 3 stalls.

Amenities

The beach at Lake Alma would be in walking distance about .3 miles from the campground. It was pretty big and had grills and a playground. This is not a private campers beach so you could also have families from the community. It was one of the nicer beaches we have seen at a state park. It had a lot of sand and was very clean.

Amphitheater is at the front of the campgrounds, my guess like other state parks they have movies on some evenings during peak season.

Shuffleboard game with the equipment needed to play, however, equipment was mostly broken and needs replenished.

There is a nice playground at the front of the campground that our girls loved to play on. A set of swings (3 regular and 1 baby) and a play area with 3 slides. It also has 2 picnic tables and grill. The playground looked relatively newer.

Many small creeks ran through the property. Many campsites have a creek that runs behind. Our girls loved playing in it, I wish I could have brought their rain boots so they could get more “in” it. In the summer time water shoes of some sort would be beneficial.

Besides the options I have offered above I would bring some toys for your kids, since they have no planned activities. We had a soccer ball, kids bean bag toss gamekids velcro ball toss game, and chalk . Inside we have coloring books, markersaquabeads , and movies for early morning activities.

Hiking

Five hiking trails cross the park (the bolded ones are the trails we used):

  • Acorn Trail – 1 Mile – Moderate
  • Island Loop Trail – 0.5 Mile – Moderate
  • Lake Loop Trail – 1.4 Mile – Easy. Multi-use paved path; connects to the Wellston Bike Path that ends at the old train station in downtown Wellston
  • Old Pine Trail – 0.72 Mile – Moderate
  • Sassafras Trail – 0.57 Mile – Moderate

Boats

Hand-powered boats with electric motors only are permitted at Lake Alma. The boat launch ramp is located at the northeast edge of the lake. There was also information to rent boats from the campground office.

Dog Park

They have a fence in dog park. It had fencing on 3 sides with the fourth side open to the lake. I’m guessing a lovely area for them to cool off during hot summer months.

Fishing

We saw many great fishing spots. You can fish for bass, bluegill, crappie, and channel catfish. A fishing license is required for >16 years of age.

Best and Worst Spots

Below we will review some of the best and worst spots we noticed on our walks through the campground.

  • 1-6 as discussed above are very close to one another
  • 9 is an okay spot as it is right by a creek that runs through the campgrounds but it is also right next to a small foot bridge that people need to take to get over the creek. So there will often be people walking close to your camping spot to take the bridge.
  • 28: nice site, LOTS of privacy but you need to turn around in a short parking area to back in which may be harder for longer campers, right next to trail head.
  • 37: lots of land, but would need to be a shorter camper
  • 46: electric only, level surface, close to bathrooms (plus since it’s not a full hook-up), the fire ring is behind your camper (this is a positive so on windy days you don’t have to worry about having your windows open on your camper for smoke to come in ) and it was right by creek, so when you are sitting by the campfire you will also be sitting by the rushing water of the creek. If we were to do just an electric hookup this would be our first choice.
  • 50-53 short and steep pads
  • 55 by river but level pad
  • 66 was our spot. Full hook up, lots of open grassy area. Next to the shuffle board, play ground, and amphitheater. Beautiful view of the lake and sunsets, we were able to sit at our campsite and see the sunset over the lake and watch the kids play at the park.

Summary and Rating

We really enjoyed this campground. Thankful we had a full hook-up since we were farther from the “nicer” bathroom. We plan to re-visit Lake Alma during the summer months so that we can enjoy the beach, we believe that this would also be a great spot for Fall foliage!

Ratings (1-5, 5 Being the Best)

Overall Rating: 3.3

Cleanliness/Modernness of Campground: 3

Campground Layout/Lots: 2.5

Scenery: 5

Amenities: 3.5

Local Attractions: 2.5

Visit the state park website here for more information

Some of the links on this page/website are affiliate links. This means, at zero cost to you, I generate income if you click through the links and make a finalized purchase.

Booking at Ohio State Parks

 

The booking process for camping sites at Ohio State Parks has been a learning process. I have become more familiar with their site over the last few years but initially I didn’t believe it was very user friendly.  The more I navigate it the better I have become.

A Few Helpful Hints

  • Book 6 months out. (this is the best tip I can give you) Full hook-ups book up fast. You have to be exact (and sometimes early in the mornings) to get a specific site. We pick the weekend we want to go and then I walk back 6 months in my calendar and set a reminder
  • Many Ohio State Park campgrounds remain open all year round, however during the winter season they limit the number of sites available and/or amenities. Many parks that remain open may limit water and electricity available. You can search for the park you are looking for here and sort the columns
  • During COVID precautions, reservations are required.  No walk up’s are taken.
  • Create a log-in, so you can keep all your past and future reservations in one location, and earn points
  • Put in as much specific/preferred information in your search criteria as you can.
  • Look up images of the campground map on a search engine (Google, Bing, etc) to become familiar with the layout
  • Book based on seasonal amenities (example: do they have a beach for the summer months or the hills and lots of foliage for spring/fall).  We will plan our trips based on what locations are better suited for that season.
  • If you have traveled to a desired park before, walk the campgrounds and take note of desired spaces for future dates and keep a journal.

For us, important criteria would be in this order (1) close to playground (2) close to beach or water view (3) if not full hook up close to bathrooms (4) on a round about so our kids can ride bikes in the circle and still be in our view

A great guide to the Ohio State Parks is provided here. Provides everything from day use information to overnight amenities

And continue to come back to our blog, as we travel to different parks we will be surveying the grounds for specifics and providing ratings for the parks

Click here to reserve today