Wednesday, December 5, 2012

New RV/New Orleans

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We recently spent a week in a state park near New Orleans. It was a dump. Very mis-managed and a mosquito infested swamp. It was our first experience with our new RV. My wife always wanted to explore New Orleans and I thought this would be a great way to do it. As it turns out I was wrong. My wife is now turned off with RVing and New Orleans. I probably should have stayed in a commercial park with easier access to the city, but there were two state parks that looked close so I just picked the one, figuring it would be close to things and a short hop into the city. I am now thinking I should have left the RV home and found a hotel. Any suggestions on how to convince my wife that this is not the norm when RVing?
--Camping Voodoo in Vicksburg

Dear Vic:
Sometimes you do need the right combination of charms, herbs and poisons to have a good experience in New Orleans. Bugs can be a problem anywhere, depending on the time of year and location. Poor management is a bit harder to predict. When traveling you have to take the good with the bad. Not every experience is going to be a positive one. You need to roll with the punches. Overall you will find this is a great way to travel. Unfortunately, you struck out your first time at bat. Tell your wife you have to keep swinging and things will improve. Big cities can be challenging. Next time you should use the Internet to explore and review the experiences of others before you shove off. There are so many online sites that offer info now. You can cull reviews of parks, public transportation, restaurants, attractions, locations, and even bugs. You have to take all this information with a grain of salt. Some people will complain if hung with a new rope, but throwing all the opinions into the mix you will see some trends and glean good and bad vibes from others who have ventured out before you. If you google “New Orleans RV trip” you can read all day how others have attacked the city, discovered the best camping, found parking or public transportation, found great eateries, tours, entertainment, history, and good juju. I bet if you read the comments from this post in a few days you will hear some expert advice from Shrink readers on what to do next time. But for now, take your wife somewhere else you have always wanted to visit and do some research before you sail.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Definately take her somewhere known for its beauty and fine camping. Maybe do a commercial park or two before "roughing it" at a state park and definately before a National Park. That said, if she really wants to visit somewhere like Yellowstone and you have a nice RV with a generator, go for it at the National park campground. Sounds like you might both be a bit novice at this camping thing. So I'd suggest not leaving your trips to summer, but go to appropriate places throughout the year. Visit New Orleans in the winter when the mosquitoes are fewer but the weather is still mild. Then if your wife doesn't like it, get her some therapy of any kind.

Anonymous said...

We found New Orleans to be a very challenging place to visit by RV. Not only is the entire region wet and swampy resulting in unpredictable bugs and smells, but it is very urban and hard to find a desireable camping experience. Potentially 'sketchy' places also are a factor. Read the reviews and do your research. We ended up 30 miles away and had an OK experience.

Anonymous said...

If you return to the New Orleans area try the Fontainebleau State Park outside Mandeville,LA and things might be better for you. We found it to be a very nice park right on the north side of Lake Ponchartrain and enjoyed our stay. Bugs are bugs and can be found anywhere.....I would recommend RVparkreviews.com as a useful website for campground ratings. Hope that helps.

Calvin R said...

I love camping, and I'm a tent camper "first and last." That said, New Orleans is one of the few places I would want a motel year-round, due to the climate. (The other place is Houston; same climate.) However, further north in the same region are many and varied camping places: the Natchez Trace, the Ozarks in Arkansas, East Texas (in spring or fall), and Northern Mississippi. I don't do much with cities, but as suggested do some research and you should come up with real improvments to your and your wife's experience.

Anonymous said...

We went to New Orleans the year before Katrina. It was our first trip in our RV. We stayed at the Red Roof Inn which had a small RV park. While not great, the showers and bathroom were clean and it was a short drive to the French Quarter. I believe it is now called the Mardi Gras Motel and RV Park. When we travel, we always check rvparkreviews.com for any parks that we may think we want to stay. Make your wife responsible for choosing the park that you will be staying. This way she participates in the RV travel experience.

Anonymous said...

We stayed at Ponchatrain RV Resort. Beautiful facility & they transported to & from the French Quarter. We will stay there again. They also have a restaurant & bar in the park.

Ed Price said...

I'll second Calvin; I stayed at a beautiful RV park in Vidalia LA, just south of the Natchez bridge. No bugs and a panoramic bluff view of the Mississippi River. Concrete pad parking and all amenities. A couple of nights earlier, I did the Wal-Mart thing in Mississippi along the Natchez Trace. BTW, I drove the entire Trace; a long, slow and beautiful experience. A day later, I did a free night at the Texas Visitors Center on I-10, just inside the eastern Texas border (a lot of semis, but I can sleep through anything). I use my RV to mix my travel modes; I recently drove the RV to Roseville IL, then got a rental car to drive around Chicago for 3 days. Later, I stayed in an RV park in College Park MD, but used that to grab a shuttle bus and the Washington Metro to explore DC each day.

Anonymous said...

We stayed at Pontchartrain Landing RV park which is a great place to stay when visiting NOLA. It is right on the lake, so you can get to enjoy watching the boat traffic. They provide shuttle service back and forth to the French Quarter, so you don't even have to drive or pay for expensive parking in town. The folks working there are great and have lots of good information about stuff to do in town and around.
We also always check rvparkreviews.com and have learned to read between the lines.
We have seen Fontainbleu State Park across the lake, not stayed there, but it looks really nice. We are considering it as an option next visit to NOLA.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Said:

Start with short trips first.
If you can, check out the campground by yourself ahead of time. Maybe someplace within a days drive from home. That way your first camping adventures will have fewer bad surprises and more enjoyment.

Anonymous said...

We stayed at a compgound in Robert, La it was about 45 mile a way and we really enjoy N.O. and on our way home we will do it agian

Jim

Anonymous said...

We just spent 3 weeks in New Orleans and loved it. We stayed at a very bare bones campground in Mereaux, La which is about 15-20 minutes from the French Quarter. We found in on Trip Advisor. It is mainly for temporary construction workers but it had full hook up, gas station and convenient store on site. We often use RV trip advisor since it gives info by people who have actually stayed at the site, not written by the owners who are trying to "hype" their RV park....