When Travel Channel names an Indiana campground one of the ten best for families in the United States, you take note- and then ask when you can go! Sure, I’m a self-proclaimed indoor girl, but not only does Lake Rudolph in Santa Claus, Indiana, offer tenting areas and more rustic spaces, it’s all about luxurious camping as well- and that’s right up my alley. Our summer visit was filled with a new take on campgrounds- with more than a touch of holiday spirit!
Lake Rudolph: An Overview
Lake Rudolph is a super family-friendly campground that sits bang next to Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari. Once under the same theme park umbrella, the campground has acquired new owners recently and has really stepped up its game in regards to the number of overnight options it provides it guests. While, yes, you can still pitch a tent in one of its reserved spots, there’s plenty of upgrades that the park provides including cottages, RVs, and our favorite, Rudolph’s Christmas Cabins. What is really amazing is the fact that you don’t have to drive a big RV to the property- they have several styles available for rent!
And, while you will undoubtedly want to spend a day or two (or three or four!) at Splashin’ Safari, Lake Rudolph has its own mini version of a water park, Santa’s SplashDown, including three slides. At the time this post went live, cost was $8.95 per person, per day. There’s an in-ground swimming pool and splash pad for the wee ones that’s totally free to use for on-property guests- perfect for hot, summer nights or days that the family simply wants to hang around the campground.
Lake Rudolph Amenities
As for amenities, there’s free wifi, golf cart rentals (sold out when we were there- make sure to reserve one super early!), nature trails, and the icon of the campground, Lake Rudolph and its beach and water activities. Fishing, water rentals including paddleboats, kayaks, and rowboats, fishing, and a beach volleyball court.
Families with children that have plenty of energy to spare will love the playground areas, two basketball courts, horseshoe pits, and mini golf (it’s free!) and the two super fun game rooms. Need a shower? There’s five air-conditioned bath houses.
Rudolph’s Christmas Cabins
I seriously cannot stress how much we loved our Christmas Cabin. It had all the creature comforts of home including indoor plumbing, a full kitchen (stove, microwave, sink with garbage disposal, and all the utensils you’d ever need). We actually stopped at a Walmart 25 minutes away, grabbed enough grub for our two-night visit, and had a blast making meals.
On the massive covered outdoor patio there’s a gas grill filled with propane and we made burgers, hot dogs- even pizza- for dinner and it was lovely. If we really wanted a rustic feel, there was a fire ring that we could have used any time: for s’mores, hot dogs, you name it.
There’s also a Camp Store filled with provisions including groceries, ice, and themed items and Blitzen Kitchen with ice cream, pizza, and other comfort food.
So let’s get down to business: what’s it like to spend a couple of nights in a Christmas Cabin? Is there plenty of space? What do I need to know? Here you go!
Luxury Camping – You Betcha!
Keep in mind this comes from a girly girl- it was amazing! It was like a enjoying vacation in a small house filled with everything you need- except for towels and bedding. A Christmas Cabin at Lake Rudolph sleeps eight comfortably and they’re not kidding when the say that. Mr. Locke and I enjoyed a king size bed and our own bedroom and The Kid had the entire loft to her self- with four beds to choose from!
The loft area is split into two sections- perfect for families with multiple children that need their own space. The spot she called home for the night had a queen mattress, separate air-condition unit, and a tele with tons of channels. Yep, it had bottom sheets and pillows on all of the beds- we had to bring our top sheets and blankets.
When it comes to space, the cabins make the absolute best use of it. Everywhere we looked there were cupboards and places to keep our things tidy and plenty of outlets, too. The bathroom is tiny but did have a shower and smaller tub which I thought would be great for families with younger children.
Can You Park the Car and Leave it?
You betcha. The campground itself is huge, but there’s a way to take a load off your legs: a complimentary shuttle around the property and to and from Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari, too. All we had to do was locate the closest stop and hang out in the covered waiting area until it arrived. I have to disclose they were running very swiftly during our visit and we only had to wait no more than 5 minutes at any time.
It’s almost spooky how much my family loves Halloween so, if we had a choice to visit at another time of year, it would be for Halloween Weekends! Probably a larger draw than the Halloween festivities at Holiday World, the campground goes all out with campfire ghost stories, haunted hayrides, costume contests, and even a Halloween Dance, but my favorite aspect is the fact that guests are allowed to decorate. How much fun would it be to rent a golf cart and drive around checking out the Halloween decor? I’d be in Halloween heaven.
Halloween Weekends begin around mid-September and run through the end of October, are for campground guests only, and sell out super early- 2018 is already online!
In a Nutshell
Lake Rudolph Campground is great for families, couples, retired folks- you name it! The campground is super clean and friendly, has tons of free and pay-as-you-go amenities, and is ideal for folks that love rustic camping to a more luxurious camping style like my family does. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone and everyone.
Have you had the pleasure of visiting Lake Rudolph? Please let me know your thoughts in the comment section below!
Disclosure: I was hosted by Lake Rudolph and Holiday World to give you fine folks the scoop on what make sit so amazing. All opinions are my own!