Our first RV trip went off without a hitch. We planned to take the kids to Branson (where we knew fun things to do) and then to Arkansas to explore places we had never explored before. We knew we wanted to go some place it would be hopefully not terribly freezing in mid March and also not too far away. It seemed like a great fit.
Because we are going to be full time RVing very soon, we went ahead and joined a group called Full Time Families before we left so we could get some discounts and benefits. Can you believe there are literally thousands of families doing the same thing as we are? Talk about a community of like minded people. It has been so fun chatting with people in the group and we look forward to meeting up for a rally in the future.
As part of our membership, we also got a free year membership to two other RV clubs, Escapees and Good Sams. We used our discount at the first campsite we stayed at. It was in Hollister, MO just outside of Branson Landing. I’ll include our review below. HERE is our video of the first half of our trip!
Of course we had to stop at Lamberts on the way down! It was so fun to take the kids and both boys are now roll catching pros! Now, Branson isn’t terribly far to drive but with the rig it is about a 5 hour trek. To break this up, we decided to boondock at Walmart in Ozark! We had heard that this is a totally normal thing to do so we wanted to try it and see how it went.
Turns out, Walmart is a great place to stay for free while in transit. Most allow overnight parking even though they have signs posting otherwise. Just go in and ask a manager… and spending money in the store helps too! In fact, we ended up spending quite a bit as we had some key items we needed for the rig. There was no power but we were able to run lights and open the slides with the battery. Yes, we totally opened the slides. There is a great debate on boondocking etiquette. Some say slides are taboo while others say if you are out of the way slides are ok. We cannot get to either bedroom without the middle slide open at least partially so we parked next to a grassy median in a way that the slides opened over the grass and not in the parking lot. It worked out perfectly and since it was March, everyone slept comfortably with just the vents open. We found ourselves surrounded by cars in the morning but we were able to get out just fine.
It was off to the campground the next morning and the 45 min ride was nice. We arrived early enough to get settled and still have time to go do things. It was our very first experience really camping with our RV and it felt like people were getting out their lawn chairs to watch the new guy park! I guess I should have asked John how big we were before booking for a 32 foot spot. We are actually 37 feet long. Oops! The owners were nice about it and put us in a different pull through spot. We stayed right by the river and the boys got to break in Ethan’s new fishing pole. We didn’t really spend too much time in the campground as we had other things to go explore. It did seem like they patrolled regularly and we got a few knocks on our door about various things… Cinder being let off her leash (there is a dog run for that but you know – kids) and one of the boys parking their bike in the road. They weren’t big offenses but as a newbie RVer we felt like we were kind of being watched.
There wasn’t a ton of time for exploring but we decided a trip into Branson Landing would be fun. We needed to exchange a chair for Ethan at Bass Pro anyway and our favorite candy shop is right next door. We gave the kids the full “kid in a candy store” experience and let them each pick out a half pound of candy. After walking around a bit we landed at the Trolley stop. Sparky was a cute little trolley ride through downtown Branson and it was FREE! There were 16 stops in the full loop and it may have been a little longer than we expected. Ethan fell asleep and when we got off loudly exclaimed that it was the most boring thing ever. Haha! Well I enjoyed the Trolley ride. You can’t please them all. Unfortunately it was getting late and we needed to head back to make dinner so we missed the fountain show. We’ll have to catch it during our 4th of July trip. An easy spaghetti dinner and 9:00pm bedtimes made for a little quite time for mom and dad and some amazing chocolate covered strawberries. Oh and everyone showered! Yeah I know that seems like a weird thing to add but we were anxious to try it out and it worked well to shower and go to bed in staggered times.
The next day we had planned to go swimming.
Vacationing in Branson in March can be tough because a lot of things are closed as it is considered off season. Plus with chilly weather there isn’t much to do outside if the weather turns yucky. I had researched beforehand and found an indoor waterpark resort that offered day passes – and even better – a great deal on Groupon. So for $39 our family spend the entire day playing on water slides and swimming. You can see more about our fun at Castle Rock Waterpark and Resort HERE.
No one had any trouble sleeping that night! Haha. We were able to take a mid day break and drive around Indian Point to scope out future camping sites while the kids napped before heading back to the waterpark until closing.
Review of Escapees Turkey Creek RV Park
Cost: $17/night with our Escapees Discount – this is CHEAP!!!
Location: Hollister, MO right off of Lake Taneycomo just outside of Branson
Amenities: Fenced Dog Run, Showers and bathrooms, River-side with boat ramp, laundry
RV Sites: Some are shaded but many are in full sun. Accommodates large rigs
Hookups: Full hook ups – 30 and 50 amp, water, sewer and cable
Atmosphere: Very open, spacious, flooding issues in the spring