We really enjoyed the pool. Beware - ice, ice cold. For us, that was okay. Hot humid day, and low chlorine level made for a nice dip and good conversation. Putt-putt golf was fun, but pricey. We had a gorgeous lake site. With the good comes caution on tree roots. The fire pit was the deepest I've seen and rocks just stacked made for complicated marshmallow roasting. But I liked the artistry of it. The stock info on Beaver Dam said 60 sites, but I counted 73. Am noting this because restroom facilities are way under-designed. Three toilets and three showers. Coin showers were okay once you learned how to use them, but chances of an ice cold shower are high. Threading seems reversed for the knobs. I notice port-a-potties by the big rig section. Beaver Dam should consider putting in two of the new style solar latrines. Technically, staff cleans twice a day, but we found owners in often just sweeping and keeping things to a minimum clean. The floors take a beating. But overall, okay. Just adds to stress of the stay. Clearly, the owners work hard. I overheard a child zooming on a bike say to another," I want to live here all the time, don't you?" Not "I wish" but "I want". To be real...activities are limited during the week, and additional costs will add up. The lake looks great. Missed out on renting a boat due to structure of our trip. Neighbor boys appeared to fully enjoy fishing from shore and boats they launched. The dog park is a nice gesture, but it was empty and our dog un-interested. I'm a little dismayed at having to reserve more time at the site than neighbors who popped in and out. We also had a better experience with late check-in than others have reported. We lost 4 hours in severe traffic backup, and staff was good about allowing us entry before 9 PM. For proximity to Dover, NH, the coast and overall, Beaver Dam is a worthy choice. (I added the non-refundable reservation fee into the nightly rate)
The shade trees are very tall and make a nice rustling sound. Restroom/showers are single unit unisex with indoor carpeting. They manage to keep them clean partly because it's a small campground. Very comfortable and peaceful place. The Wi-Fi was a nice surprise, and owner was fantastic, working with me before and during our stay. I had timing and weather concerns. A major storm blew through. Site drained nicely and nothing came down on us. Staff worked all day the next day re-grading the drive. Being part seasonal/transient they're not geared for big activities every weekend, but sounds like they do a nice job on ones they do have. Convenient to Northwood groceries and a few restaurants. A Caesar salad and house pizza from Cooperhill was great. We also required an engine check-light diagnosis from the Northwood Garage. They were friendly and honest. The lake is more like a pond. The nearby state park has a great trail around their lake. I wouldn't say Saddleback is not kid friendly, but it's not meant to fulfill every kid activity /fantasy. There are places within an hour for that. We had only pet children with us. I'd stay here again. For the cost and quality of camping services, an easy 10.
Forked Run (pronounced "fork-ed") is in another time. It's away from cell phones and urban sprawl. The park offers few creature comforts. Basic electricity, latrines, old and perpetually wet shower houses. Yet where can you watch a huge barge drift down the Ohio River? Or catch sight of bald eagles? The park is lovingly maintained. I have never come across a more caring and dedicated staff. On a holiday, they drove to each site and made sure campers knew a big storm was approaching. Forget the game boys, kids here splash and swim at an idyllic beach, play frisbee golf, cornhole and rent boats for the lake. We bought delicious local tomatoes. It's unlikely there is anyplace to eat out, or even get groceries nearby. We needed gasoline, and found a BP about 30 minutes of semi-windy road with an ice cream stand that sold excellent cones, malts and food. The big warning is for big rigs. I don't know. Maybe there's a way to come in from the west or southwest, but OH 124 has hills and tight turns with narrow sections. Patience and sound equipment recommended. We pulled a popup (which we saw plenty of at camp area 2) and I held my breath on one occasion while sensing the Ohio River was "right there" and no guard rail. This is only a few miles, but care is needed along OH 124 from US 50. Drive it in the day. On the other hand, a very nice boat launch to the Ohio River is nearby, so skilled people do this all the time. Be wary of your GPS from Parkersburg. Take US 50 all the way to 124. We stayed only one day but will definitely return to hike and explore.
I thought the sites would be wider from viewing their website. We stayed in a group-like area where the grass was worn off with no gravel pad. It rained a day and a half but didn't get too muddy. They have sites for a few more dollars with metered electric. These might be worth it for slightly more privacy. Those sites are narrow and have gravel pads. No barrier vegetation. You need to be skilled if you're in a big rig backing in because they're deep and lined with trees. All in all, the owners are conscientious. We didn't have a chance to visit the pool or game/clubhouse. I'm bumping up my review because they appear to be nice facilities. Based on the overall cleanliness of the grounds and bathroom what we didn't visit probably is a bonus. They also offered nice activities for adults as well as children. On Saturday they featured a ghost hunter (we didn't get to see but noticed it was well attended), and Sunday was a nice history display by a local historian. We came almost entirely because of the pet friendly billing. This was mostly true. It was hot/humid and the open area down by the river was trickier to trudge under those conditions. Pet Comfort Station was appreciated.
We stayed one weekday night at site C63 and we will come again. There is a very nice commissary with fair prices. Don't expect a campsite with a view of the lake, but the bike path gives a good sense of the lake. We stopped for a delicious scoop of ice cream at Jac-n-Doe's. There is a patio overlooking a lovely harbor and the management is very friendly. The biggest drawback to the park is grungy bathrooms due to continuously leaking faucets. There is water everywhere. When we come back we plan to rent a canoe and spend more time at the Dog Beach. The dog swim area is small, but cozy and great for teaching our dog how to swim.