Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Levi Jackson Wilderness State Park - Kentucky

One of our family discussion points has centered around "spontaneity" while on the road. Let's simply say that one of us wants reservations for every night we plan to be on the road and the other is OK with heading in a compass direction and finding something along the way. While this discussion continues, our compromise is that we always have a full list of reservations before we hitch up Rosie, our 25 foot Airstream trailer, for a new "planned" adventure.

We were surprised when the service work at the Airstream factory was completed on the second morning. We planned on being there for three days. That meant we were about to test the theory that we could find somewhere to stay while heading down the road. It also meant that one of us was going to be very nervous on this leg of the trip.

To make things more interesting, we wanted to be south of Lexington and far enough from Knoxville that we would miss rush-hour traffic the next morning. How hard could it be to find the perfect spot while traveling through the hills of Kentucky?

The All-Stays app and the RV Parks Reviews Web site helped narrow down our choices to two. We selected the park closest to the Interstate highway, making Levi Jackson Wilderness State Park our default choice for a one night stay. The park has more than 130 campsites, so we figured we had a good chance of squeezing in for the night.

Rosie at Levi Jackson Wilderness State Park

A few of the negative comments left online in reviews for the park said it was full of kids. We were amazed at the number of children playing in the campground, but we saw that was a positive sign.
Clearly, many families wanted to be in this park. In fact, it seemed to us that this park had many things you expected to see at a good summer camp for kids.

For example, we noticed that you could check out basketballs at the recreation center and many kids took advantage of that service. The rec center also offered arts and crafts classes for campers, both big and small. In the park were several playgrounds, a great swimming pool with children's splash pools and a miniature golf course. All this adds up to Levi Jackson being a wonderful park for families with children. The reviewers complaining about kids being in the park are missing the point of family camping and should be sticking to 55+ campgrounds. We found the family atmosphere at this park to be positive.

One of the trails

The miniature golf course at Levi Jackson State Park

Looking back at the first camping loop in Levi Jackson State Park

There were several nice hiking/bicycle trails and we loved the shade trees in the park. There was a geo-cache in the park, but we were reluctant to leave the trail and hike through the brush to find it because we saw a few plants that could have been poison ivy.

Here are some specifics about the park:
  • There are three camping loops in the park, each with its own attributes. The first loop featured larger campsites and some were along a creek. This loop has water and electric connections for your camper. We think the first loop had more shade than the others. The center loop added sewer connections to the package. It appeared to us that these sites were closer together. The last loop had water and electric connections and those sites were much closer together.
  • Our site had 20, 30 and 50 amp power.
  • There is one dump station in the park.
  • There are multiple pricing tiers based on your loop and the day of the week. Holidays and weekends are pricier than the middle of the week. There are several discounts available. We were able to cash in on the "veterans" discount.
  • Our "TV Towers USA" iPhone app said one TV signal covered the park. We were unable to pick it up. Don't expect to watch over-the-air TV while camping in Levi Jackson State Park.
  • AT&T provided the faintest signal for voice and data over this park. If patient, you may be able to load your email.
  • The camp store sells Wi-Fi access in this park. I hope this does not become the norm for state parks.
  • This is a pet friendly park.
  • The bathhouses appear to be well maintained. One negative is that water for the showers is turned on with a push button. Once pressed, the water turns off too soon. We won't go into water temperature issues with the push button system.
The camp store sells the normal items found in these places. If you need firewood, bug spray and hot dogs, you will find the store well stocked.

This is a great little park for families. There are a lot of things for the kids and plenty for the adults. We were very pleasantly surprised by how nice this Kentucky State Park is and how friendly the park staff was to us.

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