TentingTimesTwo

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Date of Stay:

On the plus side, there were a number of nice hiking trails (if at times poorly marked and a bit confusing), certain of the campsites offer spaciousness and privacy, regular patrols by New Jersey State Park police offered the appearance of security, and the park is welcoming to pets. These attributes were outweighed, however, by some distinctively negative features. The campground (and swimming area) restroom and shower facilities were very outdated (no soap, inoperative faucets and toilets, mirrors that were unusable due to the accumulation of rust at levels that made visibility near-zero) and invariably filthy (clogged toilets, used toilet paper and urine on the floors, feces-laden toilet seats, trash in abundance). The permissible swimming area is rather tiny and shallow, with swimming being limited largely to small children. And planned activities for campers (such as ranger naturalist talks) are few or nonexistent. With its current budgetary woes, the State of New Jersey appears to have found some convenient targets for financial cuts, and this campground appears to represent one of them.

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We have camped at many state parks, in multiple states, and rank this at the very top. The facilities are well maintained, recreational opportunities abound, the hiking trails are abundant, scenic and well marked, there is a high level of security, and the park is both child-friendly and pet-friendly. We stayed in a cabin and, while the cabin is designated as being "rustic," it included a modern stove and refrigerator, a dining table with seating for 6, an outdoor covered porch, a fireplace, and a modern, private bathroom and shower. We hope to visit again many times.

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On the positive side, this campground was well maintained; had nice recreational facilities including a playground, pool, boat rentals, and a beach; offered well shaded, waterfront tent sites as well as a hiking trail around the lake and into the woods; and was relatively quiet at night. Negatives, though, included an indifferent appearing office staff (our check-in guy was clearly more interested in his personal telephone discussions than in dealing with customers); an abundance of unlevel sites; dusty, unpaved, and uhlighted internal roads; and irregularly cleaned rest rooms that were situated quite a distance from the tenting areas, i.e., farthest from those most likely to use them.

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In many ways, this campground was a gem: lots of wooded and relatively private sites, a diverse array of well-planned activities, friendly and helpful staff members, a nicely equipped camp store, nighttime quiet hours that appear to be nearly-universally respected, scenic hiking trails, and a magnificent and beautiful setting enhanced by the presence of a well maintained working farm. On the other hand, though, there was only one modern bathroom/shower facility, located near the entrance (at quite a distance from many of the sites), with the alternative to that facility being a number of rather primitive outhouses located throughout the camping area; there was a charge for use of the shower; security was nonexistent at night (no gates or attendants at all); and the aroma of cows/manure at times permeated much of the campground and surrounding facility. The positives, in our view, outweigh the negatives, and we hope to return in the future to this campground, which is quite close to the wonderful town of Freeport with its terrific shopping, eclectic culinary delights, and cosmopolitan ambiance.

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We were generally quite impressed with this campground. There are lots of hiking trails (though not always well marked), planned activities for children and families, a relatively uncrowded campground beach area at the lake, boat rentals, and a number of relatively private wooded sites for tenters, many in the pet-friendly sections of the campground. Given the size of this campground, there is a great diversity in the qualities of the camping sites, which range from scenic, shaded, and spacious waterfront sites to those reminiscent of a parking lot; to avoid disappointment, check the website and/or call the park office to find out details of a particular site before you choose. The campground is ostensibly in the midst of a much needed renovation program -- bathrooms are quite old, and a number of the picnic tables appear to date from the Civil War.

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This campground is little more than an unshaded parking lot, situated on the side of a heavily traveled bridge, within easy walking distance of a very pleasant beach that is located across the street. Apart from rest room and shower facilities, that were filled with flies and inadequately cleaned, and a sparsely inventoried camp store: the campground offers little other than its proximity to the beach.

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We were very impressed with this campground. It is situated at the mid-point of the Appalachian Trail and compared very favorably with the Maryland state park campgrounds with which we are most familiar. The shower and restroom facilities were extremely modern and well maintained. scenic hiking opportunities were abundant. Quiet hours were nicely enforced and security was excellent. A range of organized activities was offered. The lakefront beach area was delightful. The store was well supplied and staffed by a delightful and most helpful lady. A family friendly environment prevailed.

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Although the campsites were rather closely spaced and lacking in privacy, this was but a small consideration in light of the abundance of positive features at this resort-style state park. Those features include a golf course; scenic mountain-top lodge; well marked and picturesque hiking trails of varying levels of difficulty; a magnificent lake for boating, swimming, and idling on the beach; a nature center; planned weekend hikes and activities; well maintained rest room facilities; and excellent security. In a state that prides itself on its excellent state park campgrounds, this one ranks at or near the top.

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With many lakefront sites, clean and spacious restroom facilities, a magnificent lake, beautiful cabins, adequate security, and an abundance of wildlife, this campground is truly a gem. Be forewarned, though: the hiking trails are confusing and poorly marked, and the "maps" provided at the registration station seem to magnify the confusion.

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For tent campers in particular, this campground is wonderful. Area A is the more scenic, less crowded, and more woodsy of the two camping areas, and contains a large number of relatively secluded walk-in sites a short distance from the parking area. Bathroom facilities are relatively abundant and generally well maintained, the campground has its own scenic and uncrowded lake beach for tanning and swimming, a campground store is well stocked with the basics, and there are organized nature walks and "ranger naturalist" type activities on weekends. The state park itself has activities well suited for a variety of ages and interests, including scenic hiking and biking trails, a terrific petting zoo, swimming, boating, and horseback riding. The park and campground are in close proximity to Birmingham but create the illusion of being a world away!

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Spacious, shaded, relatively private and well maintained sites, an abundance of beautiful hiking and biking trails, a lovely, sand beach, excellent security, a helpful and gracious staff, and easy access to a variety of local attractions (including the North Carolina Arboretum just down the road) make this a wonderful campground in which to enjoy a peaceful camping experience. Campers should be aware, though, that the gates are locked at 10 p.m. nightly (you can park outside the gate and walk in if you want to enjoy Asheville's magnificent nightlife until a later time). The restroom facilities -- though well maintained -- may be somewhat inadequate (a single toilet, sink and shower were provided in our loop's men's restroom).

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This state park campground has much to recommend it: well-maintained and heavily wooded sites situated at a respectable distance from each other, scenic hiking and boating trails, boat rentals, an associated arboretum, and a number of amenities generally unavailable at Maryland state parks, including trash receptacles at each site, private showers, a well-supplied firewood shed that operates on an "honor system" basis, and soap in the restrooms. Unfortunately, these positives are undermined by a near-total lack of security after 11 p.m.: there is no gate or guard station to limit or control access to the campgrounds, no camp host at all in the non-electric loop, and no after-hours patrols. During our recent visit, this lack of security resulted in a most dangerous and unpleasant situation: a group of campers engaged in profane, angry, loud, drunken and seemingly violent conversation and argumentation throughout the night, played music at high volume until 5 a.m., and spent several late-night hours in the campground woods chopping down trees and acting in a manner that made sleep impossible for virtually all of those in the campground loop (although several attempts were made to contact the natural resources police, the spotty nature of cell phone service foiled these attempts). Unless and until the deficiencies in security are remedied, we cannot recommend this campground.

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Excellent trails, relatively spacious and private sites, river swimming, a host of planned weekend activities, and an abundance of mature trees and wildlife make this campground one of the gems of Maryland's excellent state park system. The few negatives -- bathrooms in significant need of updating, no lifeguards at the riverfront beach, and a park size so large as to necessitate the use of an automobile -- detract only slightly from the magnificence of this park.

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Since our visit last year, there has been a significant expansion in the number and range of family-oriented planned activities on weekends (guided hikes, craft workshops, "scales and tails" evening programs, lifeguarding demos, etc.). These programs, combined with the picturesque hiking trails, climbs to the falls, lake swimming, boat rentals, excellent camp store, and well maintained bathroom facilities, make Cunningham Falls a wonderful weekend destination for families.

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Hiking trails of varying difficulty, a well-equipped camp store, a lovely beach, family-oriented weekend activities, good security, boating and swimming in delightful Greenbrier Lake ... if only the restroom facilities were improved! Still, all things considered, this state park campground is a gem.