Posted in: Campground Review, Internet, National Park, National Parks, Sightseeing

Kenisee Lake RV Campground (Thousand Trails)

We stayed about an hour outside of Cleveland in Jefferson, Ohio at Kenisee Lake RV Campground.

Kenisee Lake RV Resort Map
Click to enlarge

The check-in area was not well laid out for larger RVs. It looks like you used to be able to pull straight forward, but now they have you turn into a parking lot. It has not been redesigned for larger RVs. The campground itself has a pond and a lake. There was a laundry room, a few planned activities, a basketball hoop, Snack Shack, putt-putt, playground, and a pool. Fishing was allowed in the pond and lake, but no swimming. The lake by the office had boats available for use. There were also horseshoes and a small baseball diamond.

Office building, snack signs at office window, laundry room

The laundry room had a lot of machines. There was no change machine, but I was able to get change at the office. Washers were $1.75/load, dryers were $1.50.

The Snack Shack had some ice cream products, shaved ice, and some drinks. It was only open on the weekends when we were there.

Our hotspot and phones worked…kind of. If it was cloudy we lost a lot of reception on all 3 networks. Some spots were better than others in the park for getting a signal. We ended up buying the campground WiFi for the week ($19.95). Phone calls seemed ok for the most part, but internet was definitely spotty.

The campground did have a lot of nice amenities. The boys really enjoyed the putt putt and basketball hoop. It was a nice destination campground and there were grocery stores within a 20-30 minute drive. Cleveland was about an hour drive and Cuyahoga Valley National Park was also about an hour drive.

NOTE: The campground was included in our Thousand Trails membership, but charged us a 50 amp fee at check-in (not stated ahead of time).

VIDEO: Kenisee RV Campground Walk Through

SUMMARY OF CAMPGROUND:

Our rating: 2.5 out of 5 hitches. Great amenities, but farther out and bad internet signal. Would be good for destination camping if you do not need reliable internet.

Cell Phone Reception: AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile. All were spotty. We ended up buying WiFi.

Laundry: Yes

Bathrooms/Showers: Yes

RV Sites: A few Pull Through, mostly Back-in (grass)

Pop Up Tents/Gazebos/Outdoor Rugs On-Site: Yes

Amenities: picnic table/fire pit at site, playground, pool, snack bar, putt-putt, basketball, baseball, horseshoes, pavilion

Cabins: 2

Tent Camping: Yes

Full Hook-ups: Yes

            Amps: 20/30/50

Pool: Yes

Food On-Site: No

Camp Store: Yes, very limited. Office was closed, you have to ask if they have items at the walk-up window.

WiFi: Free at office and pool, otherwise pay for internet

Accepts Mail: unknown

Fishing: Yes

Posted in: Animal Sightings, Campground Review, Food, Frequently Asked Questions, Hiking, Internet, Maintenance, Newbie Tips, School, Sightseeing

How We Pick Out A Campground (Frequently Asked Questions)

There are a ton of campgrounds out there and it can be overwhelming trying to find the “best” one to call home! They range from independent places, chains (like KOA and Thousand Trails), city owned, state owned, and federally owned. Some only accept military/retired military, some only accept Class A’s, and some have age limits on the RVs or the people they let in. A lot of places also have dog restrictions based on breed.

We have a few things that we always look for in a campground: location to sightseeing, internet, full hook-ups, and a laundry room. Our biggest one is a good internet connection for school and work. There are a few different websites that I visit to check reviews: campgroundreviews.com, GoodSam, and Campendium are my first ones. After those, I will go to Yelp/Google Map reviews (make sure to type RV Campground or RV Resort, not just campground as you will get results that will not work with RVs or may not have hook-ups), and then to Facebook for the RV groups to see if anyone has stayed there before.

Our favorite RV Campground Review Sites

I always check multiple review sites, especially for internet issues, but sometimes you still don’t get it right. For example, the Garden of the Gods RV review stated that our 3 providers worked. However, when we checked in, there was a note with our paperwork saying AT&T did not work in the park. This wasn’t mentioned on the campground’s website at the time. (This is just one of the reasons why we have three internet providers!)

I also try to read about the general campground conditions (sites, roads, etc.). If a lot of reviews with bigger RVs say that sites or internal roads were tight or not well maintained, I will pass on that campground. We’ve even double checked the reviews on the way to a campground and changed our plans last minute based on the current conditions. Conditions of campgrounds can change frequently. For example, when we booked one Texas site, it had decent reviews. On the drive there, we were reading the reviews from the last week and it was filled with reports of sewage problems throughout the campground (eww!), so we frantically searched and found a new campground to stay in. The most recent one was a change due to a review saying the T-Mobile signals were weak. T-Mobile is where most of our working internet comes through. We have some hotspot data through our cell phones, but the T-Mobile hotspot is the workhorse.

Campground amenities can also be a big indicator for the nicety of a park, although not always. There doesn’t seem to be a regulation on who can call themselves a RV Resort vs a campground, so reading reviews are important! We had one Thousand Trails claim to be a resort and they only had a laundry room and a walking trail. Nothing else was available or was broken and the sites and roads needed some upkeep. On the other hand, we had a Thousand Trails in Orlando that lived up to the resort title with many amenities and things to do.

An on-site laundry is also a requirement for us, as we do not have a washer/dryer on our travel trailer.

We have learned to always check (recent) reviews across the different review sites. It can be worth spending the extra money to get a nicer campground, especially for longer stays.

Posted in: Internet

Our Internet Solutions For Full Time Travel In The RV

With the boys attending online school with required live sessions and Ben working full-time remotely, we really need the internet to work at all times.

Campgrounds often offer WIFI, but it is limited both in speed and availability. Some campgrounds offer it throughout the whole campground, some only in certain sections (usually towards the office), and some only in the office. Some even charge for the WIFI.

We spend a lot per month on internet, right now about $343/month, just to make sure we have service.

Here are our current internet options:

  • Verizon Get More Unlimited: 5G where available, Unlimited 4G LTE (75 GB, then may slow during congestion), mobile hotspot (30 GB of 4G LTE). ($167.62/month)
  • AT&T Unlimited Extra: Unlimited (after 50GB, may slow), mobile hotspot (15GB). ($100.51/month)
  • Finally, we have an independent (no cell phone attached) hot spot through OTR Mobile. The hotspot runs using T-Mobile. It is an unlimited, supposedly not throttled, hotpsot. ($70+tax,$75.04/month) We also had to buy the hotspot ($426, $420 device plus $16 shipping).

However we recently learned that OTR was discontinuing the Pink (T-Mobile) plan on 10/1/2020, leaving just the Evo Blue (AT&T). We already have AT&T through a cell phone and ran into a campground where it didn’t work. We wanted to keep service in all 3 major networks to let us have the most options for service. We had to go back to the drawing board for a T-Mobile option. I will say if you are grandfathered into an unlimited plan, keep it! The new plans aren’t really unlimited.

Some RV’s will also offer paid plans as well. We didn’t go this route because we wanted the flexibility of a hot spot. It’s small enough that as long as it has power, we can bring it anywhere and get service (where T-Mobile signals are). There is a battery it can run off of, or we can just plug it into the wall.

We also have a WeBoost* and a MiMo Antenna* to help with boosting the signal.

We joined FMCA a few months ago and when researching a new T-Mobile provider, we saw they had a plan for FMCA members. This plan is $49.99/month, plus a one-time hot spot rental fee of $40. We’ll see how it goes! I am hoping it works really well.

*Affiliate links