Date of Travel: August 17, 2017
Total Cost Per Night: $18
Phone Number: 270-362-4840
Site: 8 (Electric/water)
Our big trip was finally here! After over a year of planning we set out for our 5,700 mile, 25 day trip out West. Our first stop was going to be Wall, SD which was 1500 miles away. Last year, we opted for a more fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants camping agenda on our drive, stopping at a Cracker Barrel in the middle of the night. While we’re not opposed to this, and in fact found ourselves in a couple parking lots on the way home, we knew a little bit more firmly our plans and thought it would be nicer to have campgrounds planned out along the way. Knowing we’d be leaving in the afternoon I wanted somewhere to land some time before dark so we could unwind for a couple of hours and enjoy the journey a little bit.
Canal Campground is situated in the northern part of Land Between the Lakes. Land Between the Lakes is a huge recreational mecca in Kentucky. You can explore all there is to do and see here: www.landbetweenthelakes.us
I needed a quick place off the interstate on our way up to SD and this one looked like it fit the bill. When you’re just passing through, you don’t want to have to venture far. It’s about 5 miles off the interstate but it’s a quick straight shot and is very accessible for a quick stop. They do have late check-in, but I’d call ahead to make sure they have space before you commit to it if you don’t have reservations.
I noticed when I made the reservation that they had “full price” and “primitive” sites. Generally, primitive means that you’re in a field somewhere or at the very least, without water and electricity. What surprised me when I was looking at the sites online was that their primitive sites still had water and electric. I didn’t need anything fancy for one night so we picked one of these that looked like you could still at least see the water.
We arrived around 7:30 or so. The campground host greeted us and told us to just head on to our campsite. Surprisingly, our primitive site was beautiful. The loop we were in was definitely a little older, hillier and run down than the premium loops, but we lucked out with a very large and flat site facing the water. If you’re picking a primitive site, study the pictures on recreation.gov because the sites in this loop were a mixed bag. Some were great, others were trash.
I was glad that we had made it early enough to enjoy a nice walk around the campground before it got dark. We got to get a decent look at most of the sites. There were a couple of areas that got my attention. If you’re a family with smaller kids and like the idea of being close to the playground, I’d definitely stay in the mid-50s sites. These sites back up to a huge grassy area leading down to the lake and swimming area and are right next to the playground. There is not much privacy here in the way of trees, but if you’re wanting to throw the frisbee or football or go for a swim, this is where you want to be.
The other area that I would choose if I were to stay here again are the 100s sites. These sites are on a loop that seems separate from the rest of the campground and is tucked away nicely. There are only a few sites here so grab them quickly! There are some pull-thrus and a couple back-ins. This loop has a completely different feel than the rest of the campground. It has a really nice walking area on the lake shore as well as some nice benches along the water. The sites share a grassy space in the middle.
The bathrooms seemed clean and not old or run-down. They do have a dump station. We did see a fair amount of wildlife during our few hours here, including two skunks!!! One of them walked right into our campsite.
I liked this campground so much that we almost stopped here again on our way home but we opted to pass it to grind out some more miles before stopping at a Cracker Barrel (we hit a new family record of 996 miles in a day!!!). If I had a chance to go back, it’d be great to spend a couple of nights here to soak up the area. Do try to make reservations ahead of time since you can’t reserve the sites within I think 2 days of arriving. We’ll be back I’m sure…