Date of Stay: June, 2012
We live in Columbus and had never camped here, so we decided to give it a try for a quick weekend trip. The sites were all very clean and most were shady, too. The campground is very large so bikes are a good idea for easy transportation within the campground. It was very hot when we were there, and the campground beach was pretty crowded but not unbearable. Our kids loved the activities in the nature center and the playground. We will definitely camp here again!
Date of Stay: July, 2010
This was our second stay at this campground. The price is high for the services provided, however, it is worth the cost to have quick and easy access to Cedar Point and Soak City as well as the discounted park tickets and early admission. The bathrooms were generally pretty clean, but did get a lower score because they ran out of paper towels and toilet paper in the afternoon several times during our stay and it was not replaced until the next day. We had a pull-through site on the inner circle close to the restrooms and it was very shady. The campground has three different circle loops and there are no pathways to get to the restrooms from the outer loops. As a result, people staying in the outer two circles had to walk through campsites in the inner circle to get to the restroom building. Since we were in the inner circle, there were a lot of people using our campsite to walk through to get to the restrooms. Most people were respectful and tried to walk on the backside of our camper so as not to disturb us, but several people were pretty rude and walked right under our awning (several times when we were sitting there!) to cut through. If that was the only place to walk we wouldn't have cared, but they could have easily walked on the back side of our camper or through the site next to us where no one was sitting outside and wouldn't have disturbed us. Overall, we enjoyed our stay and will definitely camp here during our next trip to Cedar Point, but will probably request a site in the outer most circle so as to avoid the people cutting through our site.
Date of Stay: June, 2009
This was our third stay at this campground and as always it was a wonderful place to stay while visiting Hershey. We had stayed in the Hilltop area for our past two trips, but decided to try the Shady Rest area this time. These are the best sites in the campground! We had site 135 which was next to the creek and backed up to the river. It was shady and we were so far back from the road that it was private as well. There seemed to be a lot of room between our site and the one next to us. There was a newer restroom/shower house in our section and it was kept clean during our entire stay even after a day of pouring rain which created a lot of muddy feet. The discounted tickets to Hersheypark along with the regular shuttle bus service can't be beat. You can still hear the train from this area, but we felt it was less noticeable to us in the Shady Rest area. We will definitely camp here again and request this same site.
Date of Stay: August, 2008
This campground is not a luxury campground and is basically there to allow easy access to Cedar Point and Soak City. As other reviewers have stated, the sites are very close together and many of them back up to the Soak City fence, so there is not much privacy when the water park is open. We had site 123 which backed up to the wave pool area and other than the workers cleaning the area with a leaf blower at 7:00 each morning it didn't bother us. We actually spent most of our time in the park while we were there, so the visitors to Soak City didn't bother us at all either. If you are staying in Camper Village, there are only electric hook-ups and to get water, you have to go to the restroom building. Also, if you reserve a back-in site, try and request one on the outer circle, otherwise other campers will have to walk through your site to get to the restroom building as there aren't any walk through areas for the inner circle sites other than the campsites themselves. I felt bad every time I went to the restroom building as I had to walk through 2 or 3 occupied campsites on the way. The restrooms were cleaned regularly and the staff was very friendly and helpful. It is definitely overpriced for what you get, but when you compare the cost to staying in one of the resort hotels it's definitely a better deal! Also, it was very nice and economical to be able to come back to our camper for a late lunch and a quick rest during the afternoon. We are looking forward to returning next year for another visit to one of our favorite amusement parks.
Date of Stay: August, 2008
This is a very busy campground that seems like it is almost always full. We had site number 42 which was on the highway side of the campground right next to a newer restroom/shower building which was very nice and clean. The map on the reservation site makes it appear that the highway is not as close to the campground as it truly is. Our relatives had the site across from us (43) and there was about 5 feet between the campground fence and the road. The highway noise is pretty loud during the day and the cars are very close to the fence, but there was very little traffic during the night hours, so it was manageable. We had a few windy days towards the end of our stay and noticed a strong sewer smell coming from the restroom building on those days that seemed to invade our site, so would probably not choose this particular site again due to the smell. The restroom buildings in the other sections of the campground are definitely in need of updating, although they did keep them pretty clean. The best sites seemed to be the ones along the beach side in our section and many of them had a great lake view and their own beach access. We could see the lake from our site by looking through the site behind us. We did notice that many of the sites were very small and saw several people with larger motorhomes and travel trailers having trouble fitting their rigs on the site. The beach was not very clean on the end where we were (lots of dead fish remains, sticks, weeds, algae, etc), so we had to walk a long distance to the main beach access each day to have a clean spot to set up our stuff. The staff was very friendly and could be seen regularly picking up trash from the grounds and cleaning and checking the restrooms. There is not much to do in the Port Austin area, but if you want to just go to the beach and relax this is a great place to be.
Date of Stay: June, 2008
This campground was clean and in a very wooded area. There were only 54 campsites with electric hook-up and the rest are non-electric sites, so reserve early! The electric sites are all in the Mowhawk circle. Our site was number 59 and it was extremely large and well-shaded. We also noticed that some of the sites in the middle part of the loop were a little close together and not as secluded as the ones were we were. We were close to a playground, water, and fairly close to the restrooms. The restrooms were kept clean even during the busy weekend, but did only have 2 showers for the whole loop, which created a bit of a wait on the weekend days, but wasn't a problem during the week. The pool is pretty far from the campsites, but it was easy enough to drive over and we did not have to pay anything additional to use the pool. The pool was very large and refreshing and our only complaint was that there were very few chairs, so we brought our own for the rest of our stay. The access to the gorge trail is a great bonus as well. The parking lot at the entrance to the trail fills up early, but you can park in the lot by the pool and access the trail from there and the scenic hike was well worth it! We were able to take a different trail back to the parking lot, which provided some additional views of the gorge. There is a lot to see and do in the area including boat tours of Lake Seneca, many winery tastings and tours, Watkins Glen International Racetrack and many interesting shops and restaurants in Watkins Glen. We would definitely camp here again.
Date of Stay: June, 2008
This is a very clean and large campground. We stayed on site 19 in the C loop which was steps away from the playground, restrooms, and water, and was also well-shaded. As a previous poster said, many of the sites are sloped, and it rained part of the time we were there which resulted in several tent campers being flooded out of their sites, so be careful when using the online reservation system. The camp store had basic supplies, and there was a movie shown in the shelter house on Saturday night for families. We were able to drive to the lodge and use their pool facilities for a small fee, which was very nice and refreshing on a hot day. We enjoyed the free putt-putt in the campground, too. The restroom building near our site was old and in need of a good spring cleaning (mainly cobwebs and dead bugs) and some new paint, but usable. The shower house was much cleaner and updated so we tried to use that as often as possible. The town of Oxford is just a short 10 minute drive away and offered many choices of things to do on a rainy day. Overall, we would stay here again in the future and would not hesitate to reserve the same site.
Date of Stay: August, 2007
This was a very nice and clean campground. Easy access to Old Man's Cave hiking area either by trail from the campground or by car on the main road. The playground areas were nicely maintained and the pool was fairly large and clean even on a hot and crowded day. The restrooms and showers were clean and despite the large number of campers, we never needed to wait for a shower. Some of the sites are pretty close together, although most were fairly shady. We had site 103 and it was a good location for us, but were thankful that no one was on the site next to us (102) as their pad was about a foot away from the back of our pad and at an angle. If someone had put a camper on that site, the back of their camper would have been about a foot away from the side of ours, so we would have definitely been cramped for space. If possible I would avoid those two sites when choosing a site! We would definitely return to this campground in the future.
Date of Stay: July, 2007
This is a nice campground with easy and convenient beach access at the end of each loop. The campground beach was clean and well-maintained especially in comparison to neighboring beach areas. As a previous reviewer mentioned there is one restroom/shower building for each campground. The Tannery Creek one had five unisex showers for the entire campground which resulted in long shower lines from early morning to late evening. The restrooms and showers were almost always dirty unless you managed to use them immediately after cleaning, which happened only once each afternoon. The campground was full the entire five days we were there, so this could have contributed to the lines and unclean restrooms, but cleaning them twice a day when the campground is full would definitely help. The sites are close together and people with larger rigs may have trouble backing into many of the sites. We personally witnessed a travel trailer and then an RV having trouble backing into the site across from ours because of the narrow road in the loop. The location is great for the Petoskey area and convenient for day trips to Mackinac Island. The bike path is really nice and easily accessible from the campground for a quick ride into Petoskey or even on to Charlevoix if desired. We would definitely stay here again as the beach was outstanding and worth putting up with the restroom issues.
Date of Stay: July, 2007
Very nice and clean campground. The restrooms, showers, and laundry room were always very clean. The pool was also very clean and heated which was nice on a couple of cool evenings. Nice playground for the kids. The owner and staff were very helpful and friendly. The kids enjoyed the daily train rides and activities. Campers should be aware that the shady electric and water sites are close to a fairly busy highway, and as a result there is a lot of highway noise both day and night. We were in a tent trailer and the noise was bearable during the day, but somewhat annoying at night. Sites toward the back of the campground with the full hookups would be much more quiet. We would definitely stay here again, just thought we would mention the highway noise as we would have reserved a site in the back of the campground if we had known about the highway noise prior to our stay.
Date of Stay: July, 2007
This was a very nice campground right on Lake Erie. We had site 16, which was very large with a nice shade tree next to where we placed our camper. We were right across the road from the premium sites, that were on the lake, but we felt, we still had great views of the lake and the evening sunset. One thing that should be mentioned about the lakefront sites, is that there is a huge cliff at the back of those campsites that has a drop off leading to the beach, and it is not fenced. There are signs warning people of the danger not to enter the area. I would have been concerned, if I was on one of those sites with my young children as the drop off was quite steep and dangerous. Children could have easily walked right up to the edge and fallen over. The lakefront campsites were also rather short in comparison to many of the other sites. The campground was very clean as were the bathrooms and showers, all despite the high number of campers and visitors for the holiday. The beach is not all that great and other than the playgrounds there were not very many amenities. We traveled to Evangola State Park one afternoon and found their beach area to be much more groomed, the swimming area was much larger and cleaner than the one at Lake Erie State Park.
Date of Stay: May, 2007
The sites at this campground are fairly large and well spaced with lots of shade trees. I don't know if things would be better farther into the season, but we were disappointed that the campground store was not open, and the bathrooms were in desperate need of a good cleaning including putting working locks on the doors, a new paint job to cover all of the peeling paint and removing the numerous cobwebs and dead bugs. The playground equipment was in poor repair and the beach was in need of a good round of weed killer and perhaps a few loads of new sand. We stayed for two nights and the restrooms were not cleaned at all the entire time that we were there, which made them pretty nasty by Sunday morning. Also, the shower house was fairly clean in comparison to the restrooms, but all of the windows were still locked shut for the winter which made showering on an 80 plus degree day rather hot and miserable! We would consider staying here again maybe later in the season to give it another chance, but have stayed at much nicer state campgrounds so would return to them before returning to Cowan Lake.
Date of Stay: July, 2006
We thought this campground was pretty good overall. We also had site #239 as did a previous reviewer. We didn't have a problem with un-level gravel like they did, but we did have to place our camper almost on the grass. This was due to a deep hole in the gravel from a tire (perhaps from the previous reviewer's sinking tires?), but it wasn't a big deal and we didn't have any problems with our tires sinking. Our only complaint was that there were no shade trees over our site, so it got pretty hot in the afternoon sun (most of the other sites around us had at least one shade tree). Our site was the last one in the row, so we had extra grass space on one side of our site which was a nice area for our kids and dog to play. The sites across the road from us were right on the lake and seemed to have much more room and numerous shade trees. Sites 236, 238, and 240 were the ones we really liked. During the week, the campground was very quiet and we didn't even have anyone next to us until the weekend. Then all of the sites filled up, but the campground was still pretty quiet. We also really enjoyed the use of the pools at Fort Niagara State Park (for a 1-3 dollar fee) and being able to park for free there and at the Niagara Falls State Park was a nice benefit. We would definitely stay here again.
Date of Stay: June, 2006
This was our second stay at this campground and we enjoyed this trip as much as our one last year. The bathrooms were much cleaner this time around and as that was our only complaint last year, we were happy to see the change. The train noise is still loud if you are right by the tracks. We did notice it more during the day, but at night it didn't bother us, perhaps because we were exhausted by our day in the park. The shuttle bus to the park is a great benefit as are the discounted admission tickets. It was really hot during our stay and we enjoyed using the pools to cool down. We can't wait to plan our trip for next year!
Date of Stay: August, 2005
The back-in site we had was good sized and we had a lot of shade which was appreciated as it was at least 93 degrees each day! There are a lot of seasonal people that camp there and most of the ones we met were fairly friendly. All of the other reviews about the speeding golf carts are an understatement! I can't count the number of times we almost got run over by a speeding cart and it wasn't just the teenagers driving them either! We felt that the restrooms near our site (which were by the office) desperately need to be updated. The worn and stained toilet seats and dingy showers made it appear dirtier than it probably really was. The pool was always crowded and there were a lot of unsupervised kids that were causing problems, so we didn't spend much time there. That being said, the staff was really friendly and the activities were entertaining. We enjoyed the ice-cream at the snack bar several times during our stay. It was an easy drive to any of the nearby beaches and the discounted beach tags the office sold were a great deal (make sure you get one because we were asked to show one each time we went to the beach!). Our experience at Big Timber was overall pretty good, and we would consider staying here again, especially if they updated the restroom facilities!