Disclaimer: We stayed at Natchez Trace Wilderness Preserve as part of our paid Thousand Trails membership plan during the months of May through July, 2013. We have received no compensation or benefits from them (or Thousand Trails) in return for this review.
As always, we arrived at the preserve near dark… we thought we could whip right in and find our spot and get everything up with a quickness – yeah, that didn’t happen.
When we arrived, we learned that this place is VERY spread out! I think it took us almost an hour to get checked in and find a spot. Many of the ‘good’ spots are taken early in the season by locals or annual members. From those that are left, it is hard to find anything that is 1) level and 2) not overly far away from the activities. Being here has reminded me that I am forever thankful we didn’t purchase a Class A or C Class motor-home and forgo our standard vehicle. This would have been a miserable experience if we had to unhook every time we wanted to go anywhere!
Little did we know that we actually ended up with the only two plug site in the park. Luxury at it’s best – ha! We learned this over Memorial Day weekend when a ‘regular’ was very upset to see that we had ‘his’ spot that he has been parking at “every Memorial Day weekend for the past three years!” Whoops…
Our spot actually worked out rather well for us being within an ear shot of the playground. The kids were able to enjoy themselves without us parents ruining their fun! My kids actually had a ball here. They offer a variety of activities, themed weekends, and there are many other families with children of any age that frequent the park.
It was great for the kids – not so great for me because I am the type of parent that won’t even allow my bigger bunch to use a public bathroom on their own. I can say that our stay here was an eye opening experience for us as parents. Learning to let go is very difficult – especially when you have no intention of doing so!
Pets – My Little Bully
Izzy wasn’t very welcome here. Although it was never said, it was definitely implied by many of the guests. Some of the children were not permitted to come to our camp and pet her, if she escaped (this happened 2 times in 2 months) I was given looks that could kill- for sure! I was very surprised at the way she was treated here. We had not experienced this anywhere else on our trip. While I understand she is a bully breed, and many people are scared of them, I still found this very disappointing.
Note: We did not encounter any difficulties from the staff, there were no discriminating breed regulations in place at the park (to our knowledge).
The office and recreation staff at NTWP are wonderful. They are very helpful and pleasant to be around. Selena, in the recreation department is one of the nicest ladies we have met on our trip. Very sweet lady. She has a great gift with children (of all ages) and is a joy to watch interacting with the kids.
Housekeeping – Their housekeeping team is among the bottom of the places we have stayed at this Spring and Summer. I thought it was because the facilities are older, but have realized that they simply rush through and don’t take the time to clean as they should. Maybe they are understaffed in this department – maybe they simply don’t care about the job they are doing – either way, this crew needs to be revamped.
Groundskeeping – other than an outside lawn maintenance service, I’m not certain they have a grounds crew. The park is massive so it would take an equally massive budget to maintain the grounds of this park properly. I recommend that visitors write letters to Thousand Trails (and KOA as this is one of the parks KOA has moved into) requesting more of their budget being sent over for maintaining the park grounds.
So, What Did We Really Think?
My biggest complaint is that it is not outsider friendly. (Please, no offense to some of the wonderful locals we met and enjoyed the company of…) Most of the patrons live nearby and their entire family also spends a large amount of time here. This doesn’t make it easy for visitors to feel welcome. While I’m sure it is not intentional, it isn’t what many travelers are looking for when they leave home. Travelers don’t want to feel unwelcome and that is what we felt for several weeks. The main reason we stayed 1) our kids LOVED it 2) It was as inexpensive as they come!
I think this is a great park with inexpensive family fun! Our kids loved it here!
I do not recommend this park to elderly who wish to avoid “family” parks.