This Memorial Day, we’re heading to our first private campground for a full 5 days of camping!
If you’re new here, I encourage you to check out my free meal plans, money saving tips, and other articles from the blog to get you started – or just read more about me!
We’ll be setting up camp on Thursday, May 26th, then leaving Monday, May 30th. And while we were really hoping for beautiful weather (aren’t we all when we camp!) it looks like we might have rain every day. Not all day every day, but at least once a day. Here’s what the forecast currently looks like:
I like to do these pre-camping posts to help myself think through exactly what we need to pack, but also introduce ya’ll to some really cool campsites in the Midwest and beyond. Doing these helps me to do all of my research as far as campsite amenities, charges, as well as check in and check out times, and then I share all of that info with you.
And of course, I always do a recap post after we come back where I share some pictures, unexpected and surprising things about the trip, takeaways, etc!
Rustic Acres Campground is located in New Douglas, IL, about 45 minutes from our home in the suburbs of St. Louis. This will be our first experience at a private campground. We usually stay at national parks because of our free annual parks pass but this time we waited too long to book the popular Memorial Day Weekend camping sites, so we had to look beyond our regular campsites.
It does have some pretty cool amenities:
- More than 170 campsites
- Full hook-ups
- Pull-Through Sites
- Trading Post Country Store
- Golf Cart Rentals
- Swimming Pool
- 2 Playgrounds
- 2 Fishing Lakes
- Basketball Court
- Horseshoe Pits
- Volleyball Court
- Lending Library
- Movie Rentals
- Restrooms & Hot Showers
- Laundry Facilities
- Planned Activities and Potlucks nearly every weekend throughout the camping season
A few of these really caught my eye:
Swimming Pool: With so many kids in our group, we will obviously be using this as long as it’s not raining. I need to remember to pack a clothes line, extra towels, and extra swimwear. Also, swim diapers.
Playgrounds: Score! Nothing extra to pack, but all the kids love these.
Planned Activities & Potlucks: Something is planned for this holiday weekend, and although we don’t know exactly what, I’ve packed some extra food and a semi-nice outfit so if we end up going to some sort of social event I won’t totally look like crap.
What Else To Look For?
Even though the list of amenities was pretty comprehensive, there are a few other things I need to know about:
Grilling Grates/Fire Pits: As a general rule, most campsites have fire pits with a sort of grate that you can lower down to use for grilling. However, we have been to some that don’t, so I always check. Luckily, pictures of Rustic Acres show that they do have fire pits.
Bathrooms/Showers: We do not have a bathroom or shower in our camper, so bathrooms and showers are necessary. Bonus if they’re nice and always clean. Seriously, you guys, the bathrooms kind of make or break a camping trip.
What About Rates?
Camping at national parks mean that most of the rates are pretty standardized. But in the private campground world, you never know what you’re going to get. Thankfully, Rustic Acres lists their rates very clearly on their website:
- Full Hook-Up: $28.00/day
- Water/Electric: $26.00
- Tent Only: $20.00
They also offer weekly and monthly rates, but we weren’t interested in these. Also worth noting is that they do offer discounts for veterans and senior citizens, and since my husband is a veteran we will be receive a discounted rates, although I don’t know exactly what the discount will be.
Their rates for the full RV hook-up and water/electric hook-up are very similar to other campsites, their tent rate is actually pretty high. It’s not uncommon to see tents be allowed on the RV sites (usually 1 per site) at a rate of $5 – $10 per day…basically enough to cover the cost of using the bathrooms and showers.
But in this case, each tent has to have its own site and pay the $20 fee per night.
New Things We’re Trying:
Each time we camp, we make changes to our packing method, new products we’re trying, and whatever else seems like it needs changing, and this camping trip is no exception.
The thing we’re probably most excited about it the fact that this will actually be our first camping trip with our pop up camper! We got a great deal on a camper in January of this year, but the weather has just been so darn crazy that we haven’t been able to use it, except for a night or two out at the family farm. The camper was honestly in great shape, but very dated looking, so I changed out the curtains, cleaned it up, and bought nice bedding (from IKEA, but still) so that our camper can seem like our home away from home.
One of the things we cannot leave home without is a king-sized bed. Matt is a big guy, and quite frankly I don’t like to be touched while I sleep, so probably the most exciting thing about this camper (other than the price) is that it has a king size bed in it. Additionally, it has two full-size bed and a queen. We obviously don’t need all these beds, but they make for lots of space inside the camper!
Then, for Mother’s Day, one of the things Matt got me was camping towels. He actually ordered these particular towels and we’re really starting to like them because they absorb tons of moisture and dry in 15 minutes. He bought one for each of us, and I think they’re going to be perfect!
Finally, I created a new 5-day meal plan for this trip, which you can download for free by visiting the post found here, scrolling to the bottom, and entering your email address.
The meal plan is completely free, and comes with more than just the meal plan. It also has a coordinated shopping list and preparation checklist to help you think though your own camping trip and make the meals as painless as possible!
Download The Meal Plan
Most campsites have pretty similiar rules, and this site is not different. here are their policies, straight from the website:
- A deposit of one night is required within 7 days of making the reservation.
- A minimum reservation of three nights is required on holiday weekends.
- Cash, credit card, money order or check will secure reservations. (Checks will secure a reservation only after clearing the bank)
- If a camper wishes to cancel a reservation, notice must be received prior to the reservation date.
- In order to receive a full refund, notice of cancellation must be received seven (7) days prior to the reservation.
- Please understand that we cannot be responsible for work schedules, weather, illness or other situations affecting our guests, and therefore enforce our cancellation policy regardless of circumstances.
- Camping is an outdoor experience, therefore, we do not give refunds due to discomforts of nature.
CHECK IN & CHECK OUT TIMES:
- Check-in time is 4 p.m.
- Check-out time is 2 p.m.
- The campground must inspect all firewood being brought in due to the Emerald Ash Borer Infestation.
- Please use existing fire rings and ask the campground’s permission before moving the fire rings.
- Firewood is available for purchase at the store.
- Fishing is allowed between the hours of 7 a.m. and 11 p.m.
- Catch limit per day per campsite: 3 catfish, 5 bass & 5 crappie
- Golf carts are for rent at the store. Drivers of rental carts must be 21 years of age or older.
- Pets cannot be left outdoors unattended.
- Pets must be leashed or contained in an invisible fence and cleaned up after.
- Pets are not permitted in campground buildings, including the pavilion.
- Quiet time is 11 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.
- Playgrounds close at dusk
- Parents and guardians are responsible for minor children.
- 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
- Abbreviated store hours for Monday through Thursday from April 1st to May 14th and September 15th to October 31st: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m and 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
SWIMMING POOL RULES:
- Pool hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
- Adults ONLY(21 & over) swim time 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
- Please put trash in plastic bags and place in the trash dumpsters by the shower house or the front office.
- All visitors are required to register at the office & are subject to campground rules.
- Visitors must leave the campground by 10:30 p.m. or they will be expected to pay a camping fee.
Interested in checking out Rustic Acres for yourself? You can find them at their website: RusticAcres.com
So that’s it for camping prep this time around. I’ll be sure to update you with pictures and other fun stuff after the trip is over!
Til Next Time,
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