Open from April 15 to October 15, this RV park is located and is managed by the Shipshewana Flea Market. It is big rig friendly with 70 full hookups (20, 30, or 50 amp electric, water & sewer) sites, 55 of which are pull throughs (approx. 60′ long) and 15 back in sites (approx. 40′ long). No reservations – first come, first serve only. Not an issue once the Flea Market closes the beginning of October, but during the season when the Market is open (Tuesdays and Wednesdays), this park must be pretty busy. Check in is based on the honor system and there is no attendant, or dedicated office. There doesn’t seem to be a limit to how long you can stay. The check out time is unusual – 5:30PM.
The park is bordered on one side by the flea market and associated buildings. It is an easy walk to some of the shops and restaurants along the main street of Shipshewana.
Daily rates are available here. Payment can be made with cash or check at the deposit box located at the Pay Station just inside the entrance of the RV park (which is what we did) but if you prefer to pay with VISA, MC or Discover please stop by the Flea Market Office (Mon, 8am – 8pm, Tues. & Wed. 5:30am – 5:30pm) or the Corporate Office (Mon – Fri, 8am – 5pm). The Pay Station includes envelopes for your payment and a card to display in the window of your coach, plus a brochure and coupon sheet for nearby businesses.
Overall Impression – 3/5
Every time we have stayed in the area before, we have stayed at Shipshewana South RV Park. But this time we arrived after October 15th and Shipshewana South (and a few other local campgrounds) were closed for the season. Except for free WiFi and the sound of the clip clop of the Amish buggy horses (sure beats airplanes and trains) on the main road through Shipshewanna, there are no amenities here. It wasn’t an issue for us because this town and the surrounding area has such character and charm and plenty to keep one busy.
When we first arrived we found the layout of the park a little confusing (well OK a lot confusing!) due to the placement of the utility poles and the water spigots. The frost proof water spigots are shared between two sites. Also in many cases, the sites are alternating in the location of the power pole and sewer and require alternating rigs to face in opposite directions. When you drive thru that adds to the confusion. We drove around the park at least 3 times before we figured out what was going on. The sites at the end of the rows tend to have the water spigots on the “correct” side and don’t require running the hose under the coach. We ended up on end site #35.
Size – 3/5
Gravel somewhat narrow, mostly level sites bordered by grass on both sides. Pull thrus are adequately long. With our rig (43′) we didn’t quite have room on site #35 to leave our car hitched to the coach which didn’t matter to us since we planned on unhitching anyway.
Back in sites #60 – 70 were located against the fence overlooking the Flea Market as well as sites #22- 25 which were located to the left after entering the park. The Flea Market and RV Park site map is located here.
Privacy – 2/5
Sites are fairly close together. A few young trees have been planted which don’t provide any privacy. Besides the trees there is no other foliage.
Amenities – 2/5
None except free WiFi. The RV Park does not have any pump out facilities or bath houses. Rest rooms are located on the Flea Market premises. We didn’t visit them so we can’t comment on whether they were still open in the off season or on the condition of the facilities.
Convenience – 4/5
Located close to restaurants, shops and tourist attractions (museums, Amish buggy rides, etc.) in Shipshewana. There is a small grocery store nearby as well as a bulk foods store which is quite interesting. Expect to see a lot of buggies parked at the assorted businesses here as this seems to be where the Anabaptists (Menonites, Hutterites & Amish) do a lot of their shopping, especially on a Saturday. Be aware that a lot of the restaurants as well as the shops and services are closed on Sunday. There’s another grocery store in nearby Middlebury which is approximately 9 miles away. The closest Walmart is 11 miles away in Sturgis or 13 miles away in Goshen.
Physical Surroundings – 3/5
The park itself is on a quiet side street (at least it was quiet in the off season) not too far from the somewhat touristy town of Shipshewana. Seeing and hearing the Amish buggies adds to the flavor and character of the area (but watch where you step!). At our site #35 we had a view of the flea market on one side and on the driver side, there was a barn with a fenced in area where horses were grazing. The area outside of town is quite pretty with rolling hills and picturesque Amish homes and farms.
Expect slow going as well as major traffic jams on Route 5 (the main two lane street through Shipshewanna) due to the often high volume of traffic from cars, buses, trucks and buggies!
Maneuverability and Roads – 2/5
Roads are gravel in the park and are a little narrow and uneven. At one end of the park (to the left after you enter the park) there is a small and somewhat bumpy and hilly turn around section, which can be a little disconcerting. Not a problem – it looks worse than it actually is and we did not bottom out or have any other trouble making the turn.
Peace & Quiet – 3/5
In the off season, the park was quiet although it was cold with frost warnings so we always had our door and windows closed. Not sure how it is during the busy season and with the Flea Market in full swing. I imagine there might be a lot of traffic noise.
Utilities – 3/5
- Sewer – Generally very good, placed about mid site in most cases. Cap was threaded and most were close to grade so drain angle was not an issue, even on site #35 where we had about a 10′ run to the sewer cap.
- Satellite – No trees, no hills, no problem. We can hit even the Dish 129 in this area although we have not been able to get HD on the locals off 129 – I think there is an issue with the spot beam coverage. Dish 61.5 works fine and the locals are in HD.
- WiFi – Campground WiFi signal was surprisingly strong. Not screamingly fast but adequate for web browsing, about 1mb/s up and down. During busy season it may not be as usable.
- Cellular signal – Very Good Verizon 4G LTE in and out of the coach.
- Over-the-Air (OTA) TV – Very Good, we were able to pick up all the primary broadcast channels without raising or pointing our crank up Winegard antenna.
- Power – Very Good 50A with solid voltage. Power poles appeared to be in good condition.
- Water Pressure/Quality – Good water pressure, good clarity, slight chlorine odor and taste. The water spigot on site #35 leaked fairly substantially much to the enjoyment of the local bird population and the surrounding grass.
What We Liked
– Convenient location
– Charm of Shipshewana and the surrounding area
– Proximity to Entegra Service (about 7 miles away)
What We Didn’t Like
– No reservations although it wasn’t a problem for our stay because the Flea Market had closed
– Traffic in the “downtown” Shipshewana area
More photos of the park….