Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort is the closest lodging to Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana. I think the name is a little misleading, because it sounds like you need to bring an RV or tent with you, right? That isn’t the case at all. Lake Rudolph has 200 RV’s and 72 Cabins that you can rent. And some of the cabins are very far from rustic (think flat screen TV’s and surround sound). A few key amenities are not provided, but we’ll get to that later. Lake Rudolph offers many recreational opportunities. The miniature golf course was being renovated while we were there and a new playground was recently installed.
Paddle boats are available to rent on the lake.
Outside the camp store, you can search for gems and fossils in a bag of rocks.
In the summer, Lake Rudolph offers a swimming pool (included) and a small water park (extra charge). Although these had closed for the season prior to our September visit, we got to experience Halloween Weekends and all the associated activities. More about that later.
There are four different ways you can stay at Lake Rudolph: Rent a cabin, rent an RV, bring your own on RV, or bring your own tent. The rates range from as low as $27 per night for a tent site in the off-season to $270 per night for a Christmas Cabin in the peak season. Lake Rudolph is open from May through December. As guests of the Spencer County Visitors Bureau, we were provided a complimentary stay in a Christmas Cabin during the first of seven Halloween Weekends. This is what our cabin looked like from the outside.
This second view shows you how enormous the deck is.
Both doors provide entry into the family room of the cabin. As you can see, there is a flat screen TV (with cable), and a fireplace (electric).
On the opposite side of this room is a bar area with four stools. Note that this is the only dining area inside the cabin, but there is a large picnic table on the deck. Above the bar is a glimpse of the loft.
There’s a galley-style kitchen with full-size appliances. Pots, pans, dishes, silverware, and utensils are provided.
Behind the kitchen is the master bedroom with a king size bed. Now here’s where it starts looking more like camping than a hotel. Fitted sheets, pillows, and pillowcases are provided. You need to bring your own flat sheet and blankets. Bathroom amenities are also limited. Small bars of soap are provided, but not shampoo, conditioner, towels, or a hair dryer.
Upstairs is a loft that sleeps six more people. The loft is not a full second story–head space is limited. The loft is divided into two rooms. One room has a queen-size mattress and a television. You can sit up in bed without hitting your head on the ceiling, but you definitely can’t stand up.
The other room has four twin size mattresses. This room has less head space. As you can see, you can’t even sit up in bed in this room.
The other possible negative I see about this room is that it is open to the family room. If you had young children that you wanted to put to bed early while the rest of the family stayed up, this room would be exposed to all the family room noise. I have teens and a tween, so this wasn’t an issue for us. We ended up putting my son in the queen room and the girls in the twin room. This cabin would be ideal for large families. There aren’t very many hotel rooms that sleep 8.
There are two other types of cabins: Family Cabins and Legendary Cabins, plus three different sizes of rental RV’s–lots of different options to meet the needs of different families. I didn’t have the opportunity to look at any of the other options, but descriptions are available on Lake Rudolph’s website. Our cabin was comfortable and I appreciated having a full kitchen. The only thing that I would like to see different is for full linens to be provided. I asked management if they had plans for that and they said that it has been discussed, but would require them to add a new laundry facility. IMHO lodging options that cost more than $100 per night should have linens and toiletries, but I will also say that most (if not all) of the cabins were booked during our visit, so maybe other people aren’t bothered by that.
Now for the fun stuff! Halloween Weekends last for seven weekends in the fall, leading up to Halloween. Activities are scheduled for Friday evening and both daytime and evening on Saturday. No activities are scheduled for Sunday, so that makes it an ideal time to visit Holiday World. We participated in several of the activities. On Friday night, we went on a hay ride. It was our exchange student’s first hay ride!
Other activities included Bonfire Ghost Stories and Frightful Film Classics. If the word “frightful” make you nervous, there’s no need to worry. They were showing The Nightmare Before Christmas, not horror flicks.
On Saturday Morning, families gathered for Rudy’s Kids Carnival. There were inflatables, several games, and crafts (for a fee).
At 10 am there was a TEEN Corn Hole Tourney in which my kids had expressed interest, but when it came time to wake them up to get ready, they decided that a little more sleep was preferable. We did get them down to the beach for Hallow-TEEN Fun at 11:30 though. The use of the word teen isn’t quite accurate here–it’s for ages 8 to 16 and I’m pretty sure some of the kids were younger than 8. The entrance fee was $5 per person. My kids played in a few of the games: a big foot walk and a sponge relay race.
After the games, we went out for a few hours to explore Lincoln’s Boyhood Home, one of several Lincoln attractions in Spencer County. We had to be back in the campground by 3:30 p.m. because cars are not permitted to drive from 3:30 to 6 p.m. because of Trick-or-Treating. I put my 11-year-old daughter in charge of costumes. She and a friend made us Scrabble tiles that spelled FAMILY.
I thought they were cute and clever, but when it came time for the costume contest, it was clear that we were no match for some of the groups. My kids are old enough to go trick-or-treating without a parent, so they went out while my husband and I handed out candy. After dinner, it was time for the decorating and contests. It was clear that some people put a lot of effort into planning for this. The decorating categories included cabins, RV sites, and golf carts.
Then it was time for the costume contest. There were several categories for kids of different ages, adults, and groups. Many of the groups had a theme for their costumes, cart, and cabin/RV. One group of people dressed as hippies turned their golf cart into the cutest hippie-mobile.
Some of the group costumes were very impressive–you can see why we didn’t win.
After the contest was over, there was a dance party, complete with music, cool lighting, and a fog machine.
I was impressed with all the activities that Lake Rudolph offered during Halloween Weekends. You could easily keep busy all day on Saturday without leaving the campground. To make the most of Halloween Weekends, arrange your schedule so that you visit Holiday World and do other activities on Sunday after you check out of Lake Rudolph. As of this writing, there are still five Halloween weekends left in 2014, so it’s not too late to make plans for this year.
Ready to visit?
Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort
78 North Holiday Blvd.
Santa Claus, IN 47579
Check website for rates and calendar.