Review: RV Camping at Lakeridge Campground near Pine Flat Lake
This 2015 Spring Break gave us the opportunity to get away from the busy life of the city and reconnect with nature and all it has to offer. My husband and I climbed behind the wheel of our 26 foot long motorhome and took off to California, pets in tow. We planned to spend a few days at Lakeridge Campground near Pine Flat Lake, a place my husband spent many of his childhood Sundays. It was a much awaited, much appreciated break.
Lakeridge Campground Entrance Sign
RV Park Location
Lakeridge Campground is located in Sanger, California situated 30 miles east of Fresno and just a stone’s throw from Yosimite National Park. Many people who frequent this campground are visitors to nearby Pine Flat Lake, a man made reservoir just a short hike (and even shorter drive) down the road (Sunnyslope Road) from Lakeridge. The dam, created in the 1950s on the Kings River is now closed to the public due to security reasons as a result of the 9/11 tragedy. The lake itself, besides being a mecca for recreational activities, is a means for flood control and irrigation.
Pine Flat Lake is a property of US Army Corps of Engineers. Visitors to the lake can opt to pay the daily ($4) or yearly ($30) entrance fee before parking on the banks of the lake in front of Pine Flat Lake Marina. This facility rents slips to a variety of boats and includes a convenient store, more prominently for fishermen and boaters. The marina owns and operates a small resort on the lake, as well, that includes an RV park with hook-ups and motel.
On any given day, more so in the spring and summer, visitors to the lake are enjoying water sports galore: fishing, boating, water skiing, jet skiing, kayaking, paddle boarding, you name it. We took our blow-up canoe on the lake with our pooch and were planning to scuba dive the next day, but upon snorkeling in the cold water and finding little if any underwater life, we decided to forgo the latter choice (more so at my insistence). The employees and visitors we spoke to at the marina were not familiar with anyone diving the lake and said that the question was rarely, if ever asked to do so. We were going to take the canoe rafting down the Kings River, feeding into the lake, but we were unsure of the terrain and water flow, especially with the water levels due to the drought and lack of ample shore access along the river route.
Other non-water sports offered in and around Pine Flat Lake include hiking, biking, and wildlife viewing! My husband is an avid photographer and took advantage with the plethora of the birds and wildflowers. Unfortunately, we lost the photos when we thought we had successfully transferred them to the laptop and wiped the memory stick clean for a completely different outing.
Half a mile down Sunnyslope Road, before Lakeridge’s park entrance is a convenient store cleverly named “The I Forgot Store.” We visited this place daily as we were out of milk one day, in need of trash bags another, and low on gas the last day. The lady at the counter was very accommodating and friendly, offering us the use of the store’s microwave to heat up food items or offering us filters for our coffee maker.
Early Sunday morning, as we stepped in for a much needed grocery item, she let us know about the $10 omelet breakfasts the American Legion Post 159 Society puts on every Sunday. We were in the midst of making our own breakfast at the RV so we sadly missed this opportunity. The American Legion building is sandwiched in between Lakeridge and the entrance to Pine Flat Lake. The society is known to hold special public functions and events (like Sunday breakfasts) throughout the year.
Pine Flat Lake
Pine Flat Lake Marina
Lakeridge Campground, also known as Lakeridge Camping and Boating Resort, offers both RV and tent sites as overnight/daily spots. There are permanent lots rented out towards the back of the park. Temporary RV sites include water and electric hook-ups, but for the most part exclude sewer connects. Instead, the park has one on-site dump station that can be used by RVers. Some sites are pull-thru and offer ample shade for the warm afternoons. Picnic tables and grills are available at most sites.
Our assigned spot was a pull thru, right smack in the front of the campground. We were literally next to the campground entrance sign and about 10-15 yards away from Sunnyslope Road where cars, trailers,and boats traveled to and from the lake (there is no gate that surrounds the park). Although this assigned area is technically a two site rental, we were offered the entire space since there were only a handful of campers. This was a big space and offered much privacy; however, the entire lot was on a progressive slope, so leveling took over an hour. That was not fun. In the end, we were able to situate the RV just so the back tires were firmly on the ground and the front tires were levitating only a few inches.
Other amenities offered included bathroom and shower facilities for men and women. There was also a laundry room with three washers, one dryer, and a table top shelf loaded with paperback novel after paperback novel. Use of the washer and dryer was $1.50 (accepting quarters only). The appliances worked pretty decently, too. WiFi is advertised, but very poor and spotty unless you are next to the office (literally standing next to the office). We were not prepared for this and went through a period of phone and internet service withdraw.
Pets are welcomed, but required to be on a leash. This is also a state mandated law. The park does not have a dog run, but simply requires visitors and residents to pick up after their pooch.
Bathroom and Laundry Facilities
We paid $35 for each night at this park, pretty steep we thought for what the sight offered alone. Tent sites are a bit cheaper at $25 a night. Discounts are offered with longer stays, week and month long stays. Lakeridge Campground is not affiliated with any discount programs like Good Sam or Passport America.
Lakeridge Campground was well kept during the time we visited. There was no sign of trash or pet waste on the grounds. The laundry room and bathroom/shower facilities were fairly maintained. There were a few scary instances where spiders were lurking in a shower stall, around the books of the laundry room, and underneath the patio tables. We were in the outdoors with plenty of trees and other plant life where this is prevalent, so we had to stay vigilant. The lawn was maintained. Permanent residents of Lakeridge were careful to keep their spots looking decent, as well.
Waking up to the view from the inside of the RV
No complaints regarding customer service! From the moment we phoned to make reservations to the minute that we left the park, our camp host was accommodating with answering any questions and filling us in on information about the campground and surrounding areas. Employees of Lakeridge were off in their golf carts assisting visitors or chatting with residents and their pets. They weren’t intrusive, but offered or intervened when necessary. The atmosphere of Lakeridge was laid back and friendly.
My final rating for Lakeridge Campground is 3 out of 4 tires.
Lakeridge Campground is located just seconds from Pine Flat Lake. It has much to offer in the way of customer service, amenities, and overall ambiance. Some downfalls to the park include poor, if any access to phone/WiFi service, lack of sewage hook-up at RV sites, inadequate leveled sites, and overpriced overnight stays.
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