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Bowdish Lake Camping Area is the worst campground we have ever been to and we travel fulltime! Their website states: $1,800-$3,600 per season (look for yourself on their website if you don’t believe me). We get there after reserving site Blue 65. They then charged us $3,900. Why? We have no idea! Then they charged us an additional $75.00 for our truck. Why I don’t know? Then they charged us an additional $50.00 for having our own kayak. Then they charged us an additional $50.00 for a small dog, $100.00 for large dogs (by the way they have no dog park). Then they charged us an additional $100.00 for cable. Then they charged us an additional .50 cents per kWh ( which cost us an average of$250.00 extra per month). The public facilities are filthy. They do not supply any toilet paper, hand soaps, hot water, etc. They charge you an additional charge by coin operated showers (cold water only) that are crawling with spiders, bugs and cobwebs.
This small state park campground offers basic campsites with running water and showers, open Memorial Day to Columbus Day. This is NOT Wolf's Den Family Campground in E. Haddam, CT. Also, be aware there are 2 campgrounds at this State Park; the other one, Mashamoquet Brook, does not offer running water/showers, so if you want these amenities, be sure to select a campsite 1-35.
There's a small playground in the middle of the loop, a number of hiking trails throughout the park along with a few geocaches (download details for offline use a phone connection is spotty), a swimming pond, and a small brook with an old mill and blacksmith shop that is sometimes open on weekends for tours. It's a nice place to explore and have a picnic. In 2020 with Covid, there were restrictions on visitors to the campground, reservations required, and swimming was not allowed.
The parking pads are paved and a few have overhanging branches, but the trees provide separation and some shade on largely open sites that tend to open up toward the back with open areas for pitching tents. Sites have fire rings with grills and picnic tables. Site 20 is the only one with electric. The ones toward the back of the loop back up toward the woods and give you some more privacy.
They don't allow hammocks in the trees or pets. For some reason, silly string also makes the list of prohibitions.
We are first-year seasonal at Bowdish and have loved it. Even with Covid-related restrictions we have had a great year. Our site Blue 111 is spacious with lots of privacy. With very few exceptions the staff and other seasonal campers are all very nice and friendly. We are sad the season is coming to an end but look forward to making many more memories at Bowdish. I
Upon arrival, I liked the atmosphere and friendly service but our site was filthy. A bag of dog poop by a tree, trash under the picnic table, cigarette butts littering the rocks around the fire pit, and the pit was so full of ash, there was no more room for firewood. And as other reviewers stated, these sites aren’t the cheapest. I don’t normally complain but this was unacceptable in my opinion. I called the front desk and spoke with a very lovely person. She was mortified and said she’d send maintenance. No. One. Ever. Showed. Up. We waited an hour and then we just started cleaning it up ourselves so we could move on and get started on dinner.
Our site was T3 and it was spacious and spread out from other tent sites. There was a tiny creek meandering behind the site and the woods just went on for miles. We felt grateful to be separated from the RVers and have so much space to ourselves.
Night fell and the place turned into Margaritaville. The seasonal RVers have really taken over the place and while some have tasteful decor and lights, others not so much. Even 50 yards away from the RV section and I felt like I was in a dance club parking lot. The music was so loud. No one seemed to care. Nothing was enforced.
Lastly, there was a lonely port-a-potty across the road from us along with a water spigot. There was trash all around the spigot that remained there throughout our stay (an entire roll of sopping wet toilet paper and an eyelash curler, guys), but the camp sanitation truck came once a day to empty that outhouse, which I never used based on the smell. If you have young kids that nap during the day, this truck would wake them. I walked the extra .2 miles to the bathhouse, which started out immaculate but quickly turned south with the sheer number of people using it. A cleaning log claimed it was tended to but it couldn’t have been true. Trash was endlessly overflowing and soap was running low.
The loud music I could get over for the view but the uncleanliness was just annoying. What a simple thing to fix for your customers.
Also beware of bears. We and several other neighboring campers spied a pretty big black bear not far enough away in the late morning hours. I’m sure they are fed well.
I usually wait until our camping trip is over to review, but this place is so great I had to post something. With only 1 other review we were skeptical about trying this place out, but we found one of our new favorite campgrounds. Mineral springs staff is very friendly and welcoming, the campsites are clean, maintained and ready for you upon arrival. Got a last minute spot on a Friday evening with privacy and amenities (usually you cant even find a tent spot during peak season on a Friday). Great place, we will be coming back often!
We stayed at site 85 in Sunny Crest and liked having some privacy. The sites nearby had some trees providing space between each site. A lot of the sites we drove by were pretty sloped- I would recommend a drive though if you can beforehand.
The picnic table was chained down so there weren’t many options to set up having the fire pit and picnic table where they were.
Hiking trails were nice, good variety of easier and more difficult terrain.
The pros: bathrooms are clean with three stalls (women). Free showers. Good location for hunting
Cons: what site you get makes all the difference. There are Many, I would say most, Sites that you feel very exposed (Like I would jot be comfortable staying there) and out in the open. Just plopped next to someone on the grass. I want to feel like im in the woods. Look for the sites that go off to the side (not on the loops) like 39-40. Additionally, there is a station nearby that offers a constant hum and during the week there are trucks going in and out of before 7am. The closer to the street side the worse it is. The far off sites (like 39-40) the sound is still there but more distant. Sites are closer together and on the smaller side
$60 cash. Maybe tent sites less but not given the option. Not good value. (State parks in CT and MA requiring 24 hr advance rez.)Water/elec. Some porta potties in tents area. A little swampy lake. Mostly permanent summer residents parked with big rigs and plastic decor. But, almost nobody around mid week August. As prev reviews, woodsy, moderately secluded up in tent area. Visited in the time of COVID. WEAR A MASK!
Miles and miles of country/forests surrounding pine acres, however pulling in you’ll soon realize how much goes on inside the campground. AWESOME pools (very kid friendly), parks, dog park, hiking trails and even sections off of the trails to find your own private beach on the water. Went there in a tent rather than our camper, which turned out to be better. Tent sites were very dispersed and way up on the top of the mountain. Camper sites seemed a little close but worth the sacrifice due to the incredible environment. On the more expensive side but worth the money if you have kids. Another big plus was the abundance of wood to get from fallen trees (not having to pay for the expensive bundles at the store) and the size of the fire pits