Santee Lakes rental offerings sit on the water

Nestled in the mountains about 20 minutes outside of San Diego, Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve & Campground in Santee, Calif., recently received the 2013 Large Park of the Year and Plan It Green awards from the National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (ARVC) for excellence in business and environmentally conscious practices.

Woodall’s Campground Management reported that the 190-acre property includes seven stocked lakes, 300 full-hookup RV sites, 312 RV storage sites and 10 cabins – seven waterfront and three “floating” – with full kitchens, flat-screen TVs and climate control.

In looking at what’s different about this campground, the first peculiarity is its location – it’s smack in the middle of a densely residential area. “When we call ourselves ‘San Diego’s Best Backyard,’ we’re typically being serious because we really are in people’s back yards,” said Johnathan Skinner, director of Santee Lakes.

In the same vein, when the campground backs up its website proclaims there’s “something for everyone.” Campers can go for a few hours or a few months. They can park their RV for winter storage or find a spot for fishing. They can get wet or even get married.

This might describe plenty of campgrounds in North America, but there are a few things that stand out about this place, such as Santee Lakes’ efforts to allow people of all capabilities to enjoy the park. Handicapped-friendly cabins are available and children with disabilities can play at the Kiwanis Playground.

The local Lions Club helped coordinate the construction of Lions Pier, where wheelchair-bound visitors can safely and easily enjoy fishing from the well-stocked lakes, and the Lions Sensory Garden for the visually impaired. This garden features plants and flowers that are fragrant and interesting to touch, such as spearmint, rosemary, pineapple sage, English lavender and plump Arctic roses. Plaques in Braille and English dot the garden to tell visitors about the plants with which they’re interacting.

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