Address: 1204 Murfreesboro Road, Lebanon, TN 37090
Phone: (615) 449-2831
# of sites: 160
Full hookup price: From $50/day or $185/week
Rating: 1 out of 5 stars
Warnings: Lots of mud and flooding during and after rainstorms
Upon arrival for our Tennessee visit at a Thousand Trails resort, we found no Internet and no sites available with sewer hookups. That left us no choice but to pay for a campground and TN 40 RV Campground was cheaper than KOA and close to family members we were visiting. That is where the advantages ended, however.
This park gave us decent weekly rates that computed out to around $27/night plus tax, almost half what the local KOA's were charging. They gave us a site with no notice and were extremely friendly. Not all sites here are spacious, but ours was.
Probably the biggest plus for the TN 40 RV Campground is its proximity to Nashville -- close enough to visit but far enough away to avoid its horrendous city traffic. There are a few very large lakes around (see my Tennessee gallery) and plenty of activities available on many rivers and lakes as well as various state parks and nature trails, such as hiking, fishing, boating and birdwatching. The Cumberland River winds its way through the region northeast of Nashville and feeds Old Hickory Lake and the Cordell Hull Reservoir. Southeast of Music City are the J. Percy Priest Reservoir, a 42-mile-long lake lined with a myriad of state parks and recreation areas. And then there's Nashville.
Unfortunately, the beautiful photos of the campground posted on their website must be several years old. We found no semblance of manicured lawn, just poorly maintained patches of grass. There were nasty potholes on the gravel roads throughout the park and years-old bulldozed piles of brush, dirt and rocks that are now part of the permanent landscape. The dirt in the sites could have used gravel to keep from becoming muddy quagmires after rainstorms, and even the grassy area flooded with about three inches of rainwater.
Probably the worst feature of the TN 40 RV park is the number of apparently low-income and transient families living there. There were dozens of young, half-bare kids running around without supervision and many feral cats evidently being cared for by residents. Even though their website states that no pre-2000 models of RV are allowed in the campground, we saw several older than that, and many that were dilapidated and/or broken down. We felt we were staying in a mobile home park in a poorer section of town.
With significant attention and maintenance, as well as a few capital improvements, this campground could be much improved, probably enough to recommend it. As it is, I cannot see it being an option for anyone unless they have a budget restraint.
(Click here for an article I wrote about Thousand Trails.)
Address: 7234 E State Rd 46, Batesville, IN 47006
Phone: (812) 934-5496
# of sites: 800
Full hookup price: From $56 /day (30 amp)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Warnings: 50 amp or sewer is based upon availability, kids driving golf carts
The Indian Lakes RV Campground reminds us a lot of the Thousand Trails Hershey resort, which is one of our favorites. There are several loops and a huge number of sites, and the park is packed with families in the summer. This resort is located about halfway between Indianapolis and Cincinnati among miles and miles of forest and farm land, smack dab in the middle of a green belt.
This park is spacious, with large tracts of green space and plenty of room in the RV sites. A small lake ambles around the resort with several spots for swimming and boating and giving nice photo opportunities. There are trees throughout the park but also many spaces with wide-open views of the sky, meaning most sites have satellite availability.
The brand new off-leash dog park was excellent -- large, fenced-in lawn area with round picnic tables with umbrellas. Our dogs couldn't wait to run around inside. The dog park was centrally located in the campground, unusual for many of these large resorts.
They have all the usual amenities found at the best resorts, including a restaurant, clubhouse, swimming in the lake and in a pool, a water park, camp store, laundry, playground, mini-golf, boat ramp, fishing, lots of hiking trails and much more. They cater to families and large groups and do it well, including utilizing an activities director and a large bundle of kids activities.
This portion of Indiana offers a combination of green woods, steams and rivers, state parks, and miles of country and farm roads, meaning that sightseeing and photo jaunts are excellent pastimes here.
Like you might expect, this resort fills with families and kids on the weekends, with nary a foot of lakefront free of children. This was especially disturbing during the pandemic, with hardly any social distancing or masks being used by the many large groups and visitors congregating. Quiet time doesn't start until 11 pm but on weekends the noise continued until well after midnight.
With 800 sites, this park is huge and easily overcrowded. Count on a full park on weekends during summer season. Like many large family-oriented resorts, children abound for the entire high season. There are also a ton of golf carts roaming throughout the resort, even creating traffic jams at times, and we saw many being driven by kids.
The all-too-common Thousand Trails issue of limited available sites with sewer hookups continues in this campground, and though we had reservations months in advance, we got the next-to-last available sewer site. An hour later and they both would have been gone.
If your pets are allergic to frogs, you'll need to watch them. During and after rain showers, which happen often in this region, frogs venture out throughout the park. We even had one get into our rig through the pet door.
The bottom line here is that Indian Lakes is one of the nicer resorts in the Thousand Trails system. With 800 campsites, it's also one of the largest. They are especially known for being family-oriented and cater to kids, which is not always ideal for retired full-timers, but if you don't mind a crowded campground, have kids or are traveling off-season, this park is highly recommended.
Click here for an article I wrote about Thousand Trails.
Jack Huber is a novelist with 7 mysteries published, along with several books of poetry and photography. Now retired, he and his wife, Nadyne, are free to travel the country in their 32' 5th wheel and 1-ton Ford pickup.