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> Northern Campgrounds, Greed Prevails-Conditions Bad--Stay Away
Beastdriver
post Aug 7 2004, 03:34 PM
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While it is, of course, unfair to categorize all nothern campgrounds as lousy, such a characterization would not be too far off the mark. There are some good campgrounds in the north but, unfortunately, they are very, very few and far between. We are just wrapping up a four-month swing through the north, including Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Hampshire, and Maine. We spent weeks preparing for this trip, studying Woodalls, Trailer Life, Wheelers, various on-line rating sites, campground websites, and, of course, RVParkReviews.We only picked the best of the best, according to these sources, and we often would drive hundreds of miles out of our way just to stay at the "alleged" very top campgrounds.

We have come to the conclusion that, with some notable exceptions, northern campground owners are a bunch of greedy people who should arrested for fraud and dishonesty, and should be nominated en masse for a collective Putlizer Prize in fiction writing. A few examples:

1. We encountered countless campgrounds that charged ridiculous fees for the privilege of having a friend stop by for a beer, in some cases "visitor fees" of as high as $8.00 to $10.00 per day.

2. We found campgrounds which set a very late check-in time and then charged an totally unfair fee for "early arrivals". In one case, a campground had a check in time of 6 p. m., with a $2.00 per hour fee for every hour ahead of time that you checked in.

3. We found numerous campgrounds that charged a $2.00 or $3.00 per day "pet fee." Our 10 pound dog does not take showers, use the air conditioner, swim in the pool, or do anything else that costs the campground money. A rip off!

4. We found campground after campground that charged $30 or $35 or $40 per night, and then charged for the use of a shower. Another absolutely unfair ripoff.

5. Even though we have a big rig and pay for 50-amp service, we found numerous campgrounds that charged extra if we used our air conditioners, or extra if we used our on-board washer and dryer. What am I missing here?

6. We found a large number of campgrounds that charged ridiculous fees for the use of wi-fi, in some cases as high as $29.00 per week. What happened to the courtesy telephone plug-in for use for 800 numbers?

7.Does nobody's RV but ours get dirty? We found park after park where we were paying $40 or $50 per night, but they wanted an additional $20 or $25 if we washed our RV. We have a pressure washer that uses, at most, 15 gallons of water to wash and rinse the whole RV. That's just under $2.00 per gallon for water. Completely unacceptable.

But aside from the greed, we found most campgrounds to be a maintenance nightmare. So-called "gravel" parking areas that haven't seen gravel in ten years. Paved strees that have potholes big enough to swallow a Prevost. Grassy areas that have no grass and no effort to replant. Ingress and egress routes into campgrounds with trees that haven't been trimmed in years. In short, junkyards. Hundreds and hundreds of them, disguised as RV Parks.

Again, this is not to say that all northern campgrounds fall into this category. But I must say that an alarming percentange (about 95% of those we saw) do. We're heading south shortly and you may rest assured that we will never, never again venture northward. From now on, our travels will take us south or to the midwest or the southwest, or the west.

Those who have been around long enough remember that in the 50s and 60s, the poorly maintained, overpriced mom and pop motels disappeared as Holiday Inn and others began to offer top quality lodging and reasonable rates. I am convinced that we will see the same thing happen to those greedy, uncaring campground owners in the north who refuse to price fairly and offer good properties. Are you listening Outdoor Resort of America and where are your facilities in the north?
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Cheryl
post Aug 7 2004, 05:08 PM
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We have stayed at very some nice campgrounds in the north. For example, near Bar Harbor, Maine; Cape Cod, Mass.; New Jersey - near New York City; Niagara Falls, New York; Cook's Forest, PA and Cedar Point, Ohio. Our experiences were not anything like what you had. I guess the trick is not to believe Woodalls and the other mags that take campgrounds' money for advertising, tends to put an unfair slant toward those campgrounds. Next time use the reviews listed on this site. I found this site last fall and plan on using it for every vacation from now on.
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John S.
post Aug 7 2004, 08:45 PM
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I too will say that northern campgrounds on the east coast do lack the curtesies and amenities that we find elsewhere. They are usually older and far more run down and in need of maintance. It is not every CG or all of them but many of the ones we have been forced to stay in due to requirements to be in the area. I have not run into it anywhere else in the country. In their defense they are older and in a more congested area and that has to hurt and they have a shorter season so must make more money in a shorter period of time. Therefore, for vacations where I want a nice CG I will definitly look here to find a CG.


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partyof5
post Aug 8 2004, 07:44 AM
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I'd have to disagree with you somewhat. I am from the north...we have been to many nice campgrounds up here, we have also been to some not so nice ones too. I agree some of the rates are higher and being from NY I can tell you it's probably becasue the cost of living is higher(taxes, utilities etc.) You also have to realize that most of these campgrounds are only open from late April til Sept./Oct. I am really sorry that you had a bad experience, but I do hope you will try again. There really are some nice places up north. I also would suggest not going completely by Woodalls or TrailerLife....they can be helpful but I have been dissapointed with them before. I think actual reviews by "real" people are so much better.

Cheryl
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John Blue
post Aug 8 2004, 10:01 AM
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I agree with Beastdriver on parks that we have been in. I have junked out travel plans in same states due to all the write ups we found on this board. It is sad to see this type of write up on Northern camp sites. I do not wish to travel into a place that is a problem all the time. We have found sites that charges to use the AC with 50 amps service. What will the per night cost cover anyway, right to drive in. Most every site we have been to was very old and run down. Wal-Mart may be a better deal.

We also travel in the south, west, and midwest with very good luck. I would like to travel into northern parts but at this time we have no plans to go due to problems like Beastdriver run into. Who needs that? If you travel in FL, LO, and TX you may never go into the northern states.

Not all sites or places are good!


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John
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seabirdrv
post Aug 9 2004, 01:16 PM
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It is sad to hear about your experience of the northeast. I hope as you extend your travels thoughout the States it will improve.

Our park in the Pacific Northwest would fall into the "Mom and Pop" category. We try very hard to make all of our customers happy and feel welcome during their stay.

One of the issues you mentioned is the Pet Fee. We have never charged a pet fee in our park since it was established in 1980. However, we have been considering the idea of a $2.00 per day pet fee. More and more we are finding that some pet owners refuse to clean up after their pets. We provide, "for free", plastic baggy dispencers and even several scoopers for our physically challenged pet owners to use and we are still cleaning up after pet owners.

Our manager inspects the dog run twice a day and if all of the pet owners in our park obey the rules there should not be any pet waste in the dog run. Unfortunately the manager is cleaning up pet waste at every inspection. We also clean up pet waste on the Park road ways and in spaces. This costs the park real time and money.

We have considered doing a pet deposit for extended stay customers, the deposit would be returned after we see the pet owners site is clean. This is still difficult because we won't know if the person is using the "dog run" or the disposal baggies that we provide for free. We would not be able to follow every pet owner around to make sure they are working with the rules.

So, as business owners what are we to do when hit with real costs associated with customer actions?

We have not created a Pet Fee as of yet, we are still trying to find other methods to deal with the issues I listed above. I am a pet owner myself and I know most of the pets in our park by name. That is why we have been struggling with this issue.

I would be very interested in hearing other comments about what RVers would consider fair when it comes to Pets.

Sheila
Owner, Sea Bird RV Park
Brookings, OR


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Sheila Sparlin
Owner - Sea Bird RV Park, Brookings OR
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Beastdriver
post Aug 9 2004, 02:50 PM
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Seabird:

I can appreciate your problem with irresponsible pet owners. As people who always clean up after our pet (and sometimes after other pets when we see poop on the ground), I, too, am angered by the few people who lack responsibility.

But, why penalize the many because of a few jerks? If this is your line of reasoning, why not charge extra for cleaning up the fire ring after people leave (I notice many folks leave all kinds of junk in there). Or why not charge an extra fee to everyone to cover the few who throw trash on the ground (such as latex gloves after they hook up their sewer line). Or why not charge an extra fee to everyone to cover the few who delight in trashing the rest rooms, running all the toilet tissue off the roll onto the floor, etc.). Or how about a fee to all to cover the cost of folks who cut across sites and drive on the grass

The bottom line, I think, is that you will always have irresponsible people. This is a cost of doing business and and the site fee charged should be adequate to cover the cost of jerks. You sound like responsible "mom and pop" owners who run a nice park and try to keep your prices reasonable. I hope you do not turn off responsible pet owners with a policy like the one you are considering.
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Cheryl
post Aug 9 2004, 03:33 PM
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A lot of campgrounds charge for extra people - more than 2, more than 4, etc. So if you are traveling with your kids, you have to pay. Charging a pet fee, would amount to the same thing. Since most people (including me) think of their pets as their kids, if you charge extra for extra people, then include a pet as a kid a charge accordingly.
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bluedurango
post Aug 10 2004, 04:19 AM
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But why should the responsible dog owners have to pay for the misdeeds of others? I would not stay in a park if I had to pay for our dog. I just recently read of a CG near Hershey PA. The statement in their ad read, "Pets permitted but strongly discouraged". That tells me to "Go find another CG". If they don't want pets, then state no pets allowed". In Gatlinburg, one CG doesn't allow dogs over 50 lbs. Personally, that's discrimination. My loveable 75lb. Golden Retriever wouldn't hurt a flea. However that nippy heel biting terrier, could cause serious damage. My philosphy is "if my whole family is not welcome, then I'm not going there".

Just my 2 cents! mad.gif
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compokel
post Aug 10 2004, 02:24 PM
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I agree, I agree, I agree! I have been buzzing around the northeast for the last 4 months & have come across shabby/high-priced campgrounds & very disagreeable camp owners. I'm sure there are some nice campgrounds out there but I haven't found them.

Looking forward to heading south soon!
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BBear
post Aug 11 2004, 02:52 PM
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I guess it comes down to a matter of taste. State Parks in CT, NY, PA, MD, I think are by far the best campgrounds I have ever camped at throughout the United States...bear in mind, I tent camp, and enjoy activities geared toward the outdoors as opposed to commercial social activities such as Christmas in July, carnivals, etc...I would rather swim in a lake rather than a pool and have no need for hook ups. There are a few commercial campgrounds that I have stayed at and I think one of the best in the country is Frontiertown Campground in Berlin, MD and another nice campground is Pioneer Park located near Somerset, PA. I do believe for the most part commercial campgrounds are over priced for what they provide, but I find that to be the case all over the country and not just in the North East.
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GaryWT
post Aug 11 2004, 11:25 PM
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I am sorry that you did not have a good time but I for one would like to know where you stayed. If as you said you read books and reviews etc and picked the best, that would mean you stayed at Lake George RV Park NY, Bayley's at Old Orchard Beach Maine, Bayview on Cape Cod, Cold Springs in NH as well as DanForth Bay in NH and Normandy Farms in MA to name a few. If you find these places shabby, I would be interested in hearing about it.

As far as some of your concerns about fees, costs are high in the Northeast. I would complain if I paid $40 and had to take a cold shower because someone took an hour long shower or someone left the water running and they were out of hot water. If paying a quarter keeps the line moving and saves hot water I am all for it. Pet fees, my question is, is there extra insurance needed if a campground allows pets? Visitor fees, never been to a place without them, generally protecting the crowds from the paying customers. Checkouts and check ins are tough at some places and could be better.

Anyway, let us know where you were so we can all compare our stories.
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Beastdriver
post Aug 12 2004, 11:42 AM
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Gary WT:

Thank you for your reply and for your questions. Obviously, you did not read my post carefully since I specifically said there are "some good campgrounds in the north" but that an "alarming percentage are not good."

And, yes we did stay at some of the campgrounds you listed, namely Lake George RV Park which we found to be excellent but which had ridiculous wi-fi fees of over $4.00 per day. We gave Lake George RV Park a 9.

We also stayed at Danforth Bay in New Hampshire and gave it an 8 despite the fact that the dirt access road was so poor that, after we arrived at the park, we noted that a cabinet in the motorhome had cracked and we have to re-hook up our rear camera because the wires had shaken loose. When we were there, this road had not been scraped nor any rock applied for a long, long time, and it was over a mile of pure torture. We also noted that there was not a single dumpster up the hill at this park (where big rigs park), and that we had to walk a long, long way to toss our trash each day. Unacceptable.

Without exception, we never stay at campgrounds that are not rated on this site, RVParkReviews. We have found this site usually to be fair, honest, and objective. Bayleys in Old Orchard Beach, ME, had no ranking or report. Perhaps you should have written one for this site when you last visited. Bayview RV Park in Cape Cod did not offer 50 amp-service, so we elected not to stay there. Cold Springs RV Park in NH had a very negative rating on this site. And Normandy Farms RV Park in MA was far, far out of our way so we elected not to go there.

You observed, Gary, that you had never been to a place without visitor fees. I assume you are not widely travelled and have fairly much stayed in the north because we rarely find visitor fees (unless they are overnighters) outside of the north. You also mentioned that,"if a 25-cent fee for use of the showers keeps the shower line moving I'm for it." Why don't we charge a fee for us of the water connections because it would reduce water usage and increase water pressure? Or why don't we have toilet paper dispensers that dispense sheets of tissue for 25-cents a time. This would sure cut down on toilet use, and would probably limit the number of times that plumbing is stopped up. I think your reasoning is illogical but, of course, you are entitled to your opinion.
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GaryWT
post Aug 13 2004, 09:21 AM
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Beast, thanks for the reply and from your tone????

Obviously you have not read what you write, you said 95% of the campgrounds are not well maintained and did not meet your standards etc. I just wanted to know which ones as I keep notes on places that I like or may want to try. A few comments back, Bayley's is very well rated on this site, there are about 4-5 very positive reviews listed. Cold Springs has 2 reviews but obviously you did not read them, one is positive and the other gives it a ten overall but since they had a problem with the owner ( who I think was a security guard and not the owner) they gave it a 1, it is a great place too bad you missed it. I can not comment on Danforth Bay but a bad entrance road would turn me off, that is one reason why I will not go to Acres of Wildlife in Maine.

I would love to see a list of other places that you have been, just to compare notes.

I am sorry if you feel I am not well travelled, wierd comment, but the majority of my travel has been in New England venturing out of NE only to NY, NJ, PA and Canada. Most places we do not have visitors but all seem to charge a fee, it is what we are use to so it is not a problem, part of the reason the cost of living in the area is high.

As for you comments on the showers, not sure where you are going with this, how hot water can be compared to toilet paper or water pressure or whatever I think you are reaching.

Anyway, I just tried to get a little info from you to see what campgrounds you thought were good or bad and I get slammed, I will end it with that.
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Cheryl
post Aug 13 2004, 10:29 AM
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The parks at Mrytle Beach charge a visitor fee.
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