This was our 4th time at Santee Lakes and we’ve always loved coming here. While we did have some nice times on this trip, we also had some disappointing things happen.
First, the good parts.
We stayed in Site 161 in Willow Loop. The site is at the end of the loop and it’s a very large site with plenty of shade and close to the pool, bathroom, club house, and playground.One night we had pizza delivered to our campsite! I highly recommend Giant Pizza King. It definitely lives up to its name (huge!) and was delish! One afternoon we went over to Lake 5 and rented pedal boats. You can rent a 4-seat boat, $12 for a ½ hour or $16 for an hour. Because we had our dog with us, we just traded off and went 2 people at a time. A ½ hour was plenty of time for us.
We also went over to the pool for a while to cool off. They have 2 pools and a hot tub. Both pools seem to be heated but one is definitely warmer than the other so it tends to be a bit more popular unless the weather is scorching.
My stepson and I hid rocks for others to find and keep or re-hide. A fun little hobby.Ok, the not-so-great stuff.
Before this trip we bought a nice, white, 2.5’ high fence that we put around our sitting area so our dog can be with us without getting her leash constantly tangled up. If you’ve camped with a dog, you know what I mean! We were really enjoying it the 1st night and so was she.
On 6AM on our 1st morning the ranger came by to tell us we had to take down our little fence because it was “against the rules.” We (begrudgingly) complied. ☹
I’d never heard of this and hadn’t seen anything posted when we reserved. In fact, when I went to the office to inquire a bit more, it took 3 people to even find the rule in the fine print. They said it “gives a false sense of security to others. A child may walk up to the fence thinking the dog is friendly & it may not be. Or the dog may jump the fence.” So a child won’t walk up to a dog on a leash?? I wish I’d said this, but didn’t think of it and it wouldn’t have made any difference because, “that’s the rules.”
That evening while walking back to our campsite, carrying a bunch of stuff including having my dog with me on a leash, a dog OFF LEASH came running at us in the pitch dark. I was so startled (remember it’s pitch dark) that I yelled at the owners that they need to have their dog on a leash. Then we turned the corner and at the very next campsite ANOTHER dog OFF LEASH charged at us! This time the dog is growling, barking, and running at my dog. My heart was still racing from just 30 seconds ago and I yelled at these owners that their dog needed to be on a leash. I had seen this same dog charge at someone walking with another dog earlier that day and I told them this. They laughed and told me to “chill and go take a valium.”
The next morning I saw one of these dogs out roaming around on his own doing his morning poop. And no, they didn’t come out of their trailer to pick up after their dog. They just watched and left the poop.
Later the next afternoon I ran into the Camp Hosts and told them what happened. They were very sympathetic and kind, and said they would address the issue. To their credit “Mr. Host” immediately got on the walkie-talkie. “Mrs. Host” acknowledged that she doesn’t really understand the “no fence” rule either.
We have found the issue of enforcing the leash rule to be one that really isn’t enforced. Unfortunately, unless campgrounds decide to start fining people, I don’t think it will change. We’ve witnessed several fights between dogs who are off leash at a campground, always from campers who think their dogs are friendly and would “never bite or hurt anyone.” The problem is, you can’t anticipate how any 2 dogs will behave together. And what if this encounter was with a small child? I hope we never see that.