|Camped|||||8 places|||||23 nights|||||1943 km|
|Coles Creek State Park (Waddington, NY)|
June 15-17, Loop A North, Site 98: 30A, voltage untested. Because Dawn often gets a recurrance of strep throat in May we decided to start this year's season in June with a trip back to Coles Creek State Park in upstate New York.
We've been here once before with extended family and it was nice to have a chance to experience the park at our own pace. Although we didn't have a waterfront site, we could see plenty of water from across the road and the breezes reached us with no problem. Coles Creek is on the St. Lawrence Seaway and there's plenty of interesting ship traffic. The park is just 20 km west of Massena and all the amenities of a large town.
We had a wonderful time. For the most part we took it easy and hung around the park, enjoying the excellent weather and beautiful surroundings. There's a lot to be said for slowing things down.
- Staff - Helpful and very friendly.
- Location - Just over an hour from home.
- Sites - Large with well maintained grass.
- Beach - Small but nice.
- Bugs - there were almost none!
Not so good:
- Firewood - ours, purchased inside the park, was plenty wet.
- Shortcuts - plenty of people felt it was okay to cut through our campsite.
|Logos Land Resort (Cobden, ON)|
June 29 to July 2, Site 98: 114 VAC. We had heard of this family park near Cobden before so we decided to visit enroute to Algonquin Park. Because of the good weather, decent beach and some nice folks we met we had a good time, but a lot of stuff in this park is badly run down and in need of repair. Not on our return list.
- Site - Site 98 was a bit smaller than the rest but had a good view of the lake.
- Lake - Very pleasant for a dip on a hot day.
- Beach - Nice sand with grass in the shade further back.
- Firewood - Dry at $7 per bundle
Not so good:
- Showers - In a word - filthy.
- Run down - Water slides, mini golf and petting zoo all look as though they were built in the 70s and untouched since
- Price - Water slides are not included in the $40 camping fee. Price of admission: $15 per person after the campers' discount
- Staff - some were nice, but some were sullen and unfriendly.
- Shortcuts - Our neighbours to the back, also at the end of the row, felt it was OK to cut through our campsite rather than spend the extra 10 seconds going by the road.
|Rock Lake (Algonquin Park, ON)|
July 2-8, Rock Lake Campground A, Sites 54 and 35: 114 VAC. This was our very first camping trip to Ontario's vast and majestic Algonquin Provincial Park. I don't know how or why we never camped here before but we've done it now and it's a trip we'll never forget. Rock Lake itself is a very nice campground with a beautiful lake for swimming, paddling or gazing upon. Algonquin park holds riches of history and the wild that are shared and preserved for all to enjoy.
We walked the Spruce Bog, visited the Logging Museum, stopped at the Visitor Centre, frequented an outfitter, toured a few other campgrounds and participated in organized activities. We tie-dyed clothing with a large and welcoming family and made some great new friends. Emily made one good friend in particular and got some well-earned independence riding around the loop on her bike and visiting the campsites of people we'd met. We enjoyed ourselves so much that we extended our stay by two days, even though we had to move sites to do it. As for moving sites, the second one was almost as good, but would have been impossible to access had we not been able to remove the marker pole from the ground.
- Site 54 - Among the best in the campground.
- Site 35 - One row back from the lake, but still excellent.
- Rock Lake - Excellent for swimming, paddling and playing in the sand. Very gradual increase in depth - great for kids.
- Staff - Friendly and helpful
- Surroundings - beautiful
- Bear-free - we were told at the gate that Rock Lake does not have bear problems.
Not so good:
- Firewood - Typical of Ontario Parks, it was wet. $6.50 per bundle.
- Mew Lake signage - Incorrect or nonexistent. We fumbled our way through the CG and found an exit sign that led to a locked gate, then had to fumble our way back out again.
Oh, yes. We will be back.
|Higley Flow State Park (Colton, NY)|
July 23-27, Loop B, Site 24: 118VAC. We've been to Higley Flow twice before, group camping both times over the May long weekend. This was a totally different experience.
We had a wonderful time at this quiet park in the pines. There was plenty of time for cycling, kayaking, swimming and touring. The park is nestled in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains and is situated on a widening of the Raquette River, New York State's second longest. The small town of South Colton is nearby and the larger towns of Potsdam and Canton are only slightly farther away. In our experience this park is very beautiful, very quiet and perfect for families.
As it happened, Wednesday the 25th was a milestone for Dawn and John, marking 20 years since we first started dating. We three celebrated with a visit to the Hideaway Cafe in Colton, recommended to us for the home cooking. This is a small and unpretentious place, and it was packed. The food was amazing, the service was great and the prices were unbelievably low. I fully encourage patronage of this fine establishment.
This trip we spent a lot of time in our kayaks, Em riding with her Mom. With the help of a lifeguard from the park beach we found the Black Lagoon, a local attraction. It's populated with bones and body parts dangling from trees and signs that warn of a resident creature who enjoys a tasty human now and then. We made it in and out with no loss to life or limb so we figure the monster was either full or asleep.
Alas, the trip had its low points too. The GPS was accidentally smashed in the door of the truck, leaving us to probe our way around the countryside by map and road sign. We found recent evidence of mice in the lower cabinets, which required a bit of cleaning. And John received a superficial but rather bloody laceration from the corner of a liftgate that warranted a trip to the hospital in nearby Potsdam. An excellent facility, by the way. Luckily, none of these problems were anything but a temporary hiccup in an otherwise idyllic vacation.
Our last full day was a wash, so to speak, with non-stop rain. We toured to Massena early in the day for a replacement GPS and we hung around the campsite for the rest of the day. We watched movies, played games and for a while Dawn and I sat by the fire under a beach umbrella. Good times.
- Sites - large and private with asphalt pads; level from side to side.
- Firewood - $5 bought a big bundle of dry mixed hard and soft wood. Cheap, dry and big - Ontario parks, are you listening?
- Price - $21 per night for an electrical site. Ontario Parks, are you still wondering why we're taking more of our camping dollars to NY?
- Deer - abundant and not camera-shy.
- Services - recycling and garbage are picked up from your site daily.
- Area - The park is situated in a beautiful area of northern New York.
Not so good:
- Still can't think of anything.
Higley Flow has moved up a couple of notches on our short list.
|Long Sault Parkway (Ingleside, ON)|
July 27-29, McLaren Island Campground, Site 140: 118VAC. We capped off our week at Higley Flow by camping here with friends. We had a great time with our friends but the party atmosphere at McLaren Island will not attract us back in a big hurry.
- Sites - large and grassy with gravel pads.
- Beach - lots of sand to play in and nice water for swimming, though the sandy bottom runs to slimy weeds before waist depth.
Not so good:
- Sites - little to no privacy
- Atmosphere - lots of partying going on, including behaviour, language and consumption that's not appropriate for small children.
- Shortcuts - lots of people cutting through campsites, and not just ours.
In retrospect we should have contacted the park wardens. If we return we'll keep the number close at hand.
|Bayview Lodge RV Park (White Lake, ON)|
August 23-26, Site P3: 106VAC. We booked this campground mainly because it was near to Arnprior and the Canadian IMAC Nationals event in which John planned to compete. In the end he didn't - airplane problems - so we all got to enjoy a nice weekend stay instead. This is a gem of a private park and we would definitely like to return.
- Site - Site P3 was huge, with a deck (!) and a gravel pad.
- Pool - Clean and cool - unheated salt water was very refreshing. We were in and out several times each day.
- Free stuff - on Saturday the 25th there was a fair with pony rides, mini golf, petting zoo, laser tag and face painting. They served dogs and burgers with chips and drinks for lunch. That afternoon at 4 there was a corn roast with rolls, ham, beans and drinks.... and it was all free! We've never come across a park that gives stuff away like that.
- Quiet - No matter what was going on, things in the park always stayed relatively quiet - much appreciated.
- Staff - The staff were friendly and helpful, and they work hard.
- Price - $48/night for three service sites - with a deck - made this a real value
Not so good:
- Beach water - The beach is in the marina and surrounded by a dock. Unsurprisingly. the water is disgusting.
- Cluttered - lots of stuff lying around.
- Traffic - our site was near the entrance, so everyone coming in drove by. It was noticeable, but not unduly inconvenient.
This park is now on our short list for trips close to home.
|Sandbanks Provincial Park (Picton, ON)|
October 5-8, site 602: 114 VAC. Our fourth annual Thanksgiving at Sandbanks. We've come here since 2009 with Dawn's parents. For the first time the weather was less than excellent - but the company was good and the food was delicious. A good time.