Canal Campground, Grand Rivers, Kentucky (Part 1)


It was so easy to find, just put 1010 Canal Campground Rd., Grand Rivers, KY in your GPS.

It was so easy to find, just put 1010 Canal Campground Rd., Grand Rivers, KY in your GPS.

We’ve spent a wonderful eight days in this US Army Corps of Engineers campground (COE) from June 20-28, 2016. We never would have found this campground had we not met a couple, Betty and Bob, from Paducah, Kentucky at the last campground, Columbus-Belmont  State Park (CBSP). They were a wealth of information and helped us learn more about Kentucky. We hit it off and planned to meet up again, and we did yesterday afternoon. So not only did they tell us about Discovery Park of America in Union City, Tennessee, but also the Wickliffe Mounds State Historic Site, both discussed in this post hyper-linked in case you missed it.

Believe it or not, we are back in the Land Between the Lakes area! That means we were able to do the things we didn’t have time to do when we stayed in Hillman Ferry Campground, June 1-4, 2016. We had no idea about this gem of a campground – we prefer it now due to the fact they gave us the 1/2 price discount using our “See America Senior Pass.” This gives seniors (at least 62 years old) discounts at many Federal Parks and locations. It only costs $10 – and it lasts a lifetime! We can also use our Mifi and cell service here. We missed it at LBL, but were prepared for it at CBSP. We need it for our upcoming trips as we wing it as we travel.

This is our first COE experience and we are so glad we’ve tried it. We hope all other campgrounds we find will be as wonderful as this one. But we did have a few shaky moments….that now seems to be our norm!

Deer greeted us!

Deer greeted us!

You can make reservations at ReserveAmerica.com or Recreation.gov. Betty took time to write up for us the campsite loop names and noted which sites had sewer hook ups. Dumb me made our initial reservation on site 90 in Brown’s Point, not paying close attention that the sewered sites are 91-98. When we checked in, we mentioned we were grateful we were going to be on a sewered site, only to be told it wasn’t!

In spite of no sewer, we set up on site 90 and really liked our location, on a point overlooking Lake Barkley and were able to see the Dam from parts of the area. Our neighbors were very friendly. Here are two pictures of our first site. Click on them to make bigger and read the captions. You’ll note it is pretty narrow and was on a slight slope.

After we set up and ate, I washed a load of laundry.  Then used our dryer. All sites here have both 30 and 50 amp. We also took  a short walk. We liked what we saw and really hoped we could extend our stay.

I didn’t mention it, but it took us forever to get here so we were pretty beat. Betty had told us the best route to take to drive here, but somehow we messed up and ended up having to unhook the car and turn around not once, but twice. And it was HOT out. Poor Bill was drenched….another reason we needed to do laundry! We have been saturating our clothes from the heat and our walks. And it was zapping our energy.

That evening, as tired as we were, we were scrambling, searching the internet as to where to stay until June 28. Since we had a strong signal for our Mifi but to no avail. We did have some foresight and managed to make reservations over the 4th of July long weekend at Good Sam Campground, June 28 to July 5, 2016 near Mammoth Caves.  We went to bed discouraged, we just didn’t know where to go from here. We did like it here but thought no way we could stay over the weekend since we were told it was pretty well booked up.

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What’s not to like? I found a trail that led to this bench with a great view of the lake!

The next morning, we decided we had to figure out what we were going to do about extending our stay here, at least for a day or two. I had taken a picture of the walk up sites on my iPhone.  We’d just check them out by walking around the campground. As we headed out, we talked to a man near us, on what looked like a really good site. He said it was a walk up. He then educated us on how hard it is to get one. You really need to be at the right place at the right time. We left discouraged – well, in my heart, I knew it was going to work out! I hoped for a miracle….and we got one!

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Walk up sites, or non-reservable sites.

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A map of the campground with prices.

We walked by site 49 again and the tenters were still camped out, not looking like they were leaving any time soon (they ended up extending). We then approached site 40. WOW, it was big and level….and even better, the couple was about to pull out. We asked if it was a walk up and if were they leaving. They said yes and they loved it. It was ours if we “took possession” of it. The “unofficial” rules are to at least put a chair on the site then go pay for it. Or if after hours, stay on it, but be the first one in line the next morning at 10:00 am when they open to pay for it.

I sat on the picnic table while Bill ran back to get our car and credit card. Then we parked the car on it and walked up to the entrance to reserve the site. And guess what?  We could have it for eight days! That solved our other problem, where we would stay until June 28. We knew there was enough here for us to do in spite of no sewer. We needed to learn how to conserve water if we ever wanted to boon dock. The restrooms and showers were clean and the washing machine was conveniently located.

We enjoyed our stay here so much and it was really enhanced by attending church on Sunday, in the park. I wrote about it in a post on my personal blog, here.

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Site 40, a “walk up” for seven more days! So level, good shade and spacious. We’re happy campers!

What I also loved about this park was that it was hilly and I could get in at least a 3 mile walk in the shade of the trees almost daily. It’s really too hot to do any hiking here and it is recommended to only hike in this area in spring and fall. We are definitely in the summer season. While it was in the high 90s, the heat index climbed to 106 one day, was at 105 and 103 a few other days. Needless to say, we found indoor activities to stay cool plus we bought a fan to use while we sit outside, to keep the biting flies and mosquitoes away!

This was my longest walk. Very hilly, a wonderful challenging workout.

This was my longest walk. Very hilly, a wonderful challenging workout.

Next up, you’ll learn about the some cool places we visited in Land Between the Lakes, learn where we did time travel back to 1850s, 1880s and 1907. And we also did some space travel in the LBL Planetarium! It was so stifling hot and humid, we needed to find cool places to go!

So we are….

always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:20

12 thoughts on “Canal Campground, Grand Rivers, Kentucky (Part 1)

  1. I love reading this post! I feel like I have been camping!! Beautiful too:) If you ever get this way, check out Lake Murray State camp ground in OK. Really enjoyed the spots!! Happy 4th! I know the camp grounds get booked up. Glad you found a great walk up! Favor!! Blessings, denise

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  2. So happy you discovered Canal Campground and were able to snag a good site. We love Corps parks and look for one everywhere we go. We have camped in beautiful waterfront sites for as little as $9 with our senior pass. We have learned some tricks to conserve water and also carry a blue tank when we know we will be without sewer for several days. We have camped in site 90 and site 45 at Canal. It’s a great campground!

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    • Thank you for commenting! I saw your top 10 campgrounds. Maybe follow up with a list of COE. We’ve been looking but never could find one. But now I know the website. But still not finding any that will accommodate our rig.

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      • How long is the MH? When you look at the length on the sites you only need to put the length of the MH without your toad. Our fifth wheel is 35 fee so that’s what I put. We try to stay in sites 45 feet or longer and have never had a problem. I didn’t mean to publish that campground post yet! I took it down and will re post later. Are you a member of Passport America? You get half price camping at some private RV parks with it.

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      • It’s more that we need 50 amps in hot weather. We’re 40′. Hubby doesn’t like driving on Forest Service roads/types! Anyway, it’s all an adventure and we really appreciate learning from others. I glanced at your list and figured it was a work in progress! Looking forward to it! Good idea!

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      • I get that about the Forest Service Roads. Most of the COE parks we have been to are located on good roads and many have very good roads within the campgrounds. Some are even near urban areas that you drive through neighborhoods to get to. We only need 30 amp so most have worked for us. If you want I can send you an email with a list of all the ones we have been to. Most of the ones in the south have water and electric, some in the north only have electric. Some even have full hookups. It just depends on the park. We were on the end of our second long RV trip before we ever tried a COE park and we have been hooked ever since.

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      • We do miss the nimbleness of our 28′ 5th wheel! But as full timers now, we need it all! We’ll keep looking for COEs. But for now, not many in our path.
        BTW, we are members of PA. Our first year + we stayed almost exclusively in them. Now, we’re going more for 5 days as a minimum, prefer 7 days (get price break) and even staying a month or two when visiting our daughter and grandsons, or at Myrtle Beach! We’ve got a cycle going right now….
        Thank you!

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  3. Enjoyed meeting you here at Csnal Campgrounds and hope we meet up again with our Phaetons!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. […] so much so that we extended our stay to 8 days and made more new friends. There are three posts, so click here to start reading and it will guide you to the other two posts. This is a campground we would love […]

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