Disappointing, but with a potentially bright future. That’s how I would describe our impression of Lake Paradise Camping Resort, the last place that we stayed on our recent trip. On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best, I would only give it a 2, though it bills itself on its website as a “member owned resort/campground with a five star rating.” The resort is very large and does have a number of very good camping sites. It has a lot of positive attributes, but is very obviously in a state of decline and has been for some time. (see July 26 update)
In fairness, the resort is going through a period of “extreme financial hardship” and many of the problems that we observed are probably as a result of that. It appears that an offer has been tendered by a small family investment group that may result in significant future improvements to the resort. A vote on it by the members is scheduled July 9, 2007.
We had planned for Lake Paradise to be the first stop of the trip. However, due to a family situation that came up we canceled the reservation and detoured to Springfield, Missouri, instead. I doubt, though, that we would have had any better impression of the resort if it had been our first stop.
When we got to the security building at the entrance, the lady inside told us to pull ahead and then come back to the building to register. We made our reservations for Lake Paradise through the Coast-to-Coast system and we told her that, but she went ahead filling out the registration card without looking for any information associated with our reservation. Then she asked us how we were going to pay for it — with trip points or cash. “We already paid for it on-line,” I told her and she responded, “Oh, how did you do that?” or something to that effect. She then told us to pick any site except 1 – 15, which were reserved exclusively for resort members, and to come back to let them know which site we were in.
When we got back to the truck, Karen commented that we hadn’t gotten a map, so I went back and asked the lady in the security building for one. She gave me a really slick looking brochure — too bad so much of it wasn’t accurate any more.
The place is obviously an older campground that has seen better days. The first spot I pulled into was an easy to get into pull-through spot. Unfortunately, there wasn’t any room for our chairs or a picnic table as our door opened almost right on the road. That spot just wouldn’t do.
So off we went trying to find a spot on narrow winding roads that had been washed out in places. We’re still somewhat newbies at trying to navigate with a 32-ft long, high profile fifth wheel camper and trying to find a camping spot just wasn’t fun, especially since so many of the sites looked like they had been abandoned. We finally found a spot and backed in through a point where the tree trunks were very, very close to the camper and truck.
The resort website claims that there are 600 campsites, but far fewer than that are actually serviceable for that role.
Karen had planned to wash clothes, so one of the first things to do was find the laundry. Unfortunately, there was a sign in the window saying that it was closed due to water shortage. We were skeptical about that since there has been quite a bit of rain over the last several months, all five of the lakes had plenty of water in them, and there was no notice anywhere asking campers to conserve water because of the shortage. I later discovered that the washers were disconnected and moved away from the wall into the middle of the room. Very strange.
We found a very nice little laundromat in Oak Grove and Karen thought it was the nicest and cleanest one she had ever seen. (I’ll be doing a post on it later, with pictures.)
We stayed Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday nights. When we got there Sunday afternoon, the trash dumpster nearest us was full with trash sitting on the ground next to it. On Monday morning, it was obvious that some critters had gotten into it as trash was strewn quite a distance around it. Sometime on Monday, the trash service collected the trash from the dumpster and the bags that were on the ground. However, the trash that was strewn by animals was not picked up until sometime on Tuesday.
The brochure said that internet access was available in the adult lounge. When I went back to the security shack, I asked the gentleman who was there if there was internet access and he said he thought that there used to be a phone connection at the adult lounge, but wasn’t sure if it was still there. We figured that it probably was a phone with a modem, which we were not interested in using if that’s all it was. However, we couldn’t find any indication of any internet access when we walked through the building.One of the best features of the resort is the swimming pool. It is absolutely huge. We were looking forward to spending some time in the pool. We often prefer to go to the pool after supper, when the sun is lower in the sky instead of directly overhead. Unfortunately, every evening that we were there, the pool was closed by the time we would have liked to have been in it and I really don’t know what time it closed. The brochure said that the pool hours were as posted at the pool, but we never saw anything about the hours — and we looked.
While doing a little on-line research for this review, I came across the following:
Growing up, my parents had a membership to this lake and I remember spending many a summer playing volleyball with friends and family on their sand volleyball court. It was laid back, fun and a perfect way to get really hot before jumping into the cool pool!
Lake Paradise has lots to offer including camping, boating, a clubhouse, restaurant and so much more. In my opinion, it’s one of the best places to own a membership.
The volleyball court and swimming pool on June 26, 2007
Note: The above image is a panoramic composite created from 34 separate images.
I will be publishing other photos of the resort in my photo galleries pages later.
The resort is located south of Oak Grove and north of Lone Jack in a rural area that is relatively close to Kansas City and it;s suburbs. While at the campground, we visited the Harry Truman Presidential Library and the National Historic Trails Museum. I’ll be posting on those later.