Date of Stay: October, 2012
We stayed for one of their Halloween theme weekends. This is the second year in a row for us. Overall it was a good experience. The campground is efficient at meeting you upon arrival, and an employee guides you directly to your spot. No worrying about registering until you're set up - definitely nice, and besides there is no room at the camp entrance for more than two or three rigs to sit and wait. Unlike other campgrounds in the area, this one is entirely wooded. Sites are small - more on that later. Every site is graveled as are the roads, a plus for us. Less mud and dirt to track in the camper. We have two small children and our reason for going was the Halloween activities. We took part in the Saturday night costume and trick-or-treat parade and an afternoon craft activity. There were three crafts to choose from, and it was $5 for the most elaborate of the three. There were other activities we weren't able to do. There is definitely enough scheduled to keep kids busy. The playground is adequate, but needs a little work (there is a wooden pirate ship that is missing some railing pieces). Everyone is encouraged to decorate their sites and many people get very elaborate with it. Other pluses - a local farmers market sets up on Saturday morning, free coffee in the morning, and they have free wi-fi with a decent signal. Check-out is 2:00, which let us do some things in Gettysburg before leaving. Negatives - cable TV was $2 extra per night. I don't recall if that was the case in 2011. They put us in a small spot, and I'm pretty sure I said we have a 21' trailer with a rear slide. Our slide basically jutted out into the neighbor's site, very close to their fire ring. In the future I will just say I have a 27 footer.
Date of Stay: September, 2012
We stayed here as it is the closest campground to Rehoboth Beach. We weren't looking for a traditional camping experience, instead we camped as an alternative to a hotel. We were there to go to the beach. That being said we had a good stay. Since it was after Labor Day, the pool was closed. We kind of expected that but our kids could have enjoyed it. Our site was wooded and we asked for that. Many of the transient sites are out in the open though. Most of the sites are seasonal/permanent. The road through the campground is tight - I felt lucky to leave without hitting a tree and my TT is only 21'. Our site was sandy and not entirely level. A staff member helped me back in - no pull-throughs here. I used leveling blocks but they actually sunk into the sand. The sewer hookup was far to the rear of the site, and there wasn't enough of a drop so I needed to 'help' the black water make its way to the outlet. As I was preparing to leave I couldn't remove my sewer adapter from their connection. I ran to the office to ask for a strap wrench, and within a few minutes an employee showed up with a wrench. Staff was friendly and the campground is family-owned. We would stay there again. Only real negative was the cable TV - they recently re-wired everything and you can get a cable box for a deposit. The service would sometimes stop and an error message would appear. Don't know if this is something Big Oaks can control.
Date of Stay: August, 2012
The campground is large with several distinct sections. We were in Hickory, which is largely wooded and sits on a ridge overlooking the lake. Our site had a view of the water from the rear, not all sites do though. We have two small kids, but no boat so we are always looking for activities. The staff does have scheduled summer season activities that we took advantage of - mostly geared towards the little kids. We also enjoyed the water park, which had been scheduled to be closed that weekend but was opened up anyway. It isn't huge but has several water slides for different age levels, and has two 'waterworks' areas with spray guns, water jets, etc. There is also a kiddie pool and a small adult pool. It turned out to be free for us since our kids are under 5 - that was a nice surprise. Before leaving on Sunday we took a breakfast cruise on the 'Proud Mary' riverboat, which features a 'pirate' high-jacking. My daughter still talks about it. The food was good besides. We're definitely going back in 2013, at least once. We chose the weekend before Labor Day to avoid the holiday crowd. The place was generally quiet when we went, but I understand the summer holidays are a zoo. Nothing negative to report at all. Our original assigned spot wasn't shaded, so we called the office and were given one across the road. They even sent someone out to us with a new parking pass right away.
Date of Stay: May, 2012
We live close to Hershey and stayed there mainly to shake down our camper before a week-long trip. We also had a 20% off coupon. The campground is fine if you're visiting Hershey Park or the surrounding region. There was severe flooding in 2011, and, as a result, they rebuilt the office/store and many of the bathroom facilities. The new office resembles a ski lodge and is very attractive. The pools looked great too but weren't yet open for the season. It looked liked there were a number of newly built cabins also. They put us on site 100, which is close to a new playground and the office. The sites in our area all had new utility hookups and fresh gravel. Our site was perfectly level but I noticed a few sites that I would never accept because they were too uneven or sloped for my comfort level. One section has stream-front sites and they looked decent. That was the only part of the campground that appeared to be "woodsy" in any sense. The section near the main road is mainly for large rigs (all pull-throughs) and the section we were in was mainly back-in, with camping cabins close by. All sites are close together. One complaint about this campground is the train traffic. Yes, it was close and frequent, maybe 70 yards from our site. But, we always use a white noise generator at night and it didn't bother us. If you need silence to sleep this isn't the place for you. I wouldn't say it offers a true "camping experience" and certainly isn't in the middle of a forest, but for being a mile or two from Hershey Park its hard to beat for convenience. There was at least one other playground besides the one next to us, and during the summer season there are some activities offered. We were too early for that though.
Date of Stay: May, 2012
We stayed the week prior to Memorial Day. Campground was well maintained. Sites are close together, but we didn't have neighbors until the last night. There are seasonal spots but there was no junk piled around like you see at some parks. Staff was helpful and friendly. We didn't like the spot we were assigned so a staff member drove me around in a cart to scope out other sites until I found what we wanted. We don't like having roads on two sides because of our small kids. He then helped me back in. It got very busy the Friday of the holiday weekend and we left the following morning. We had the pancake breakfast before leaving; it was worth going to and saved from having to clean up after the meal. Another staff member (the owner I think) did open the bouncy pillow early for me one morning. Our daughter loved the bouncy pillow and we did use the pool. I would go back, but not during a holiday period. The pillow and pool get very crowded, and as with any campground a holiday brings a lot of noise and traffic.