Our quest to find the perfect St Louis-area campground continued during our most recent visit. We decided to stay a little further away at Illinois' largest lake, Carlyle Lake. Read on to learn what we thought of our first Army Corp campground, to learn about Animal BINGO, and to hear about our day in St Louis.
We booked at Boulder Campground, an Army Corp of Engineers campground on the east end of the lake. We weren't sure what to expect at an Army Corp campground, but our expectations were exceeded. Our site was at least 100 feet long backing up to the water with an unobstructed west view of the lake offering a perfect sunset. The bathhouse near us was small, but new and spotless. The main bathhouse was older but well-maintained. Most of the sites were on the water, but not all had water access. Call to find out which sites to book if you wanted to bring a boat to put in right at your spot. Those sites are limited, but there is a boat launch in the campground. There is a small playground and a marina and camp store that we didn't explore.
Like an NPS campground, the Army Corp did campfire talks on the weekend. We missed the first one about beavers, but we caught the Saturday night program: Animal BINGO. The Ranger played an animal sound and the kids had to match the sound to the animal.
We spent the Saturday in St Louis, hopping on the bikes at Tower Grove Park and heading to Tower Grove Farmers' Market. This market is the place to go if you like local, organic, and artisanal products. We bought locally made kombucha, coconut butter, fruit, and a starter set to grow our own garlic. Our next stop was one of our favorite festivals, the Festival of Nations, also at Tower Grove Park. The festival offers music and dancing, arts and crafts, an international marketplace, and dozens of food vendors. The food vendors are always our favorite; we visited the Greek and Vietnamese stands, as well as the Thai stand that sold young coconuts served with a spoon and a straw.
Park hopping, we headed over to Forest Park to ride the bike trail. We took a detour to see Turtle Park, something we've never visited. The Park features seven concrete turtles and a snake, with the largest turtle measuring 40 feet long.
Overall, we really enjoyed the campground and would love to spend a weekend at Boulder Campground with our bikes and paddle boards. As a St Louis base camp however, it was too far away. We will be back to Boulder, but will also continue our quest to find the perfect St Louis-area campground.
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Shane and Jessica
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