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Acton, MASSACHUSETTS
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Very nice!

I haven’t been tent camping in years but this past weekend I stayed while attending the Levitate festival. I was very comfortable, the bathhouses were clean. Can’t wait to go back!

Terrible park

So noisy we only stayed one night. No privacy. Tents parked a few feet apart. We had smokers on both sides and our camper was blue with their smoke. Heavy drinking and loud voices all afternoon and evening. Many had their car radios blaring, all on different stations. Outdoor bingo game was done on a loudspeaker that penetrated every inch of the grounds. Drunken campers were banging on our door after midnight thinking we were the camper they were looking for. Nightmare!

Love this place

We have been camping here for many years. The staff and seasonal campers are all very friendly. The campground and bathrooms are kept very clean.

One of our favorite places to stay

Beautiful clean campground! Great for kids and pets. We love taking the dog to the dog beach for a swim.

Camp store is great, fun fishing on the lake and tons of activities for the kids.

Princess of the Pines

The campground was large enough to tire out the dogs walking around, staff was friendly, helpful and welcoming!

We spent the weekend of the 4th and although there were no fireworks it ended up being a better weekend for one of our dogs who fears them.

The sites are level and a decent size with a picnic table, fire pit, shaded by the tall pines.

There was a rain event the second to last evening we were there but the staff was quick to be sure the roads were repaired for check out!

The “Olympic size pool” was not filled at the time but it did not effect our stay at all, there was a smaller pool for those who wanted to cool off. (We’re more of the swim in the river/pond kind anyway)

The bathrooms were clean and showers had nice hot water if you wanted it. No coin operation here!

Had we had more time I would have ventured into the adjacent wildlife management areas as well.

First Time Camping

We were lucky to select a very private site. Several more private sites seemed available. Pleasant swimming area, hiking trails, playground. Tiny store. Bathrooms were not super clean, but this seemed expected. No electricity at sites.

Beautiful lake

First time staying there. Two tents allowed per site, no alcohol although no one checked. No water or electricity at the sites. You park & walk in but they provide carts. You have to buy firewood from them. Canoe, kayak & padddleboard rental available. Showers & bathrooms by the parking area. Lots of islands & places to explore on the lake. Buggy in June so bring your repellent. Dogs allowed…that’s all I got for now :)

Quiet, friendly campground

Just stopped for one night, small kids playground, friendly staff, very quiet (except birds chirping in the morning). Friendly seasonal guest helped us with our campfire. We heard the lake was full of mercury and not to go swimming there, but since it was a quick stopover for us we didn’t see the lake.

Busy but worth it

Mostly geared toward families, especially with kids. Most of the campground is RV sites. There a a handful of tent sites in the back (no hookups). Bathrooms and showers are very clean, general store and pools are nice and convenient. It’s a perfect distance away from Gillette (a couple miles) if you’re looking for an alternative to staying in a pricey hotel. Definitely not a place I would go to “get away from it all.” You can hear the highway from the sites.

Large, quiet camp ground

Very large campground with lots of woods to block you from other campers. Dog friendly 🐶

Nice place

super friendly and accommodating staff. Nice facilities and great spaces for large rvs. We stayed in July of this year, after staying for the months of August and September, and a week in May. Last year, they were under new management.They were friendly and accommodating. The sites were well maintained. This year, the same negative issues from last year existed. MUDDY, hole filled roads when it rained and dirt and dust when it was dry. No WI-Fi, sketchy cell reception,  but the one new addition was a very aggressive rent-a-cop, who was their weekend security. ( We were being dropped off after an evening out with friends. We were IN THE CAR with them, so it wasn't as though we were giving out the gate code or having a party and invited tons of people. The rent-a-cop followed us to our site, and told our friend that he had to check in at the office (1/4 mile up the road)before entering the property. We said he was just dropping us off , picking something up, and leaving. The security guy said it didn't matter, and was very confrontational.  So, not wanting to cause a problem, our friend went to the office to check in and was charged $20 to reenter to pick up his wife and the other couple who had driven in with us.)  In addition, we had a site for our large rv that had ankle deep grass and tons of bees.After days of wading through it, we had to ask them to come mow our site and spray for the bees. The place did not look as well maintained as the year before.

The difference in the "feeling " of the place between this year and last year was huge. Not the super friendly, accommodating staff as in the past.

Don’t waist your time.

I give it a 2 star because the Staff was nice. The camp ground itself is terrible. It looks like a camper / RV bone yard. Lots of what must be seasonal sites that have accumulated years of scrap metal and trash. Yep there is a golf course but trust me this place does not seem to be fitting for a golf course. The electric plug ins are so far away you have to have about 20yard of extension cord. Of course they conveniently have extension cords for you to barrow for a deposit fee. Long store short I don’t recommend this place at all. I didn’t even stay long enough to take a picture. I backed into my spot got out looked around and got back in my truck and drove north to a much better camp ground.

Beach camping...

This campground might not be for everybody, but if you like the beach you should give it a try. The sites are open with maybe one tree on most sites. Sites have paved and concrete driveways and lots of them have a concrete pad that would be under your awning. They recently built a new bathhouse and re-did the dump station to three lanes. Like I said it’s not for everybody weather is pretty much an open field with some sporadic trees, so very little shade. The ocean is on one side and the Merrimack River is on another side with a marsh that is great for canoeing,kayaking and fishing on another side.

Nice resort

The good…..nice level site w gravel base, pea stone around camp, friendly staff, lots to do, clean all around. The not so good….A lot of sites are tight to get in. The lake beach could use a dredge so there is more sand (weedy). Mini golf course needs some upkeep. Overall a nice campground.

Nice place!

People are real nice here. Pretty place. But very remote. Ok place for overnight stay but wouldn’t stay longer.

Ranger Review: Gregory Octal 55 at Gilson Pond Campground

Gilson Pond Campground is small— just 37 sites nestled into the woods near a swampy, but beautiful pond in Jaffrey, New Hampshire. Most people stay here because it is located in Monadnock State Park at the base of Mount Monadnock. Have you heard of it? 

Mount Monadnock is 3,165 feet tall and is best known because of its cameos in writings by both Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. It’s quite a prominent peak in southern New Hampshire, and I’ve heard tell that it’s the second most hiked mountain in the world, after Mount Fuji in Japan. Mount Monadnock may not be the tallest mountain in New Hampshire, but it’s rocky and bald, and provides 365-degree views of the surrounding valley and distant mountains. 

We chose Gilson Pond Campground because of its proximity to Keene State College, where we were headed for a college orientation, but we figured since we were camping near the base of a famous mountain, we might as well hike it. First tip, camp at Gilson Pond Campground the night before so you can get up early to beat the heat, if that applies, and the crowds. 

This is one of the quietest and most peaceful campgrounds I’ve ever stayed at. The sites are super private, the rangers are friendly, and the mosquitoes are ferocious, but I can’t give a campground a bad review because of the mosquitoes. Just a warning to be prepared. There’s a decent bathhouse with pay showers, a small playground, and a loop trail around Gilson Pond that leads right from the campground. No matter which site you choose you’ll be happy. They’re all really nice. 

A few words of caution- don’t bring a large RV- the sites are not meant for big rigs. Also, dogs aren’t allowed anywhere in Monadnock State Park, and while we were sad to leave our goodest boy at home, he would have hated the hike up the mountain anyway- too many rock scrambles. 

A Quick Overview of the Hike up Mount Monadnock 

The ranger at the trailhead office recommended that we hike up the White Dot Trail (2 miles) and down the White Cross Trail( 2.5 miles) so that we could do the steepest route on the way up and take it easy on the way down. This was a great suggestion. 

The White Dot Trail starts off flat, but that’s very short-lived. The trail begins to climb steeply pretty early on. The second half of the trail is very steep with lots of rock scrambles. You definitely have to watch your footing most of the hike because the rocks can be wet in places and very slippery. Once you get above the treeline, follow the rock cairns across the ridge. On a nice day, you will be able to see for miles in every direction. 

The White Cross Trail is not as steep, but my knees were still pretty sore after all was said and done. We started the hike at 8 am and finished up at 12 pm. We saw about 15 people in total, but when we got to the trailhead, the parking area was full and many people were starting their hike. I’m a middle-aged woman who does more walking than hiking, and I would consider this a strenuous hike that is totally worth the huffing and puffing.

 Gregory Octal 55 Review 

As a ranger for The Dyrt, I occasionally get to test out products and gear. For this particular trip, I received a discount on the Gregory Octal 55 Ultralight Backpacking Pack. It’s meant for short treks and can carry a maximum of 35 pounds. I used it for day hiking, and found to my surprise, that it was lighter and more comfortable than any of my day-hiking packs. 

This pack has oodles of awesome features, including three external pockets, large hipbelt pockets, an Aerospan ventilated suspension system that wicks away moisture and keeps the pack off of your back, and a quick stow system for your sunglasses. 

The Octal 55 is hydration bladder compatible, comes with a custom rain cover, and an ultralight aluminum frame. Oh, and I almost forgot the most important part— it’s designed specifically for a woman’s frame. Not to sound cliché or anything, but this pack was so comfy, I hardly knew it was there. 

I had a small issue early on in my hike that I will mention. My water bottles, which were stowed in the two mesh side pockets, fell out on the rock scrambles. Because they weren’t held in securely, they would just slide out whenever I bent over. I realized after the fact that there are small straps that can be tightened around them within the pockets. This solved the problem after I scrambled down several rock faces after my runaway bottles. 

All-in-all I’m really happy with this pack and can’t wait to take it on some longer adventures.

Wednesday camping

Awesome park. It was a quiet night and bathrooms where clean. Has spacious showers. Park rangers drive around campground often.

Nice, yet cramped and no cell reception

I really wanted to like this place. It's in a very cool area that I didn't expect to be so awesome. First main issue was how bad the cell reception is. Normally, I'd day that's a perk for camping but we're full-timers and work on the road so it is important for us. Next, the place is massive and they are more about make money than making people comfortable. What could easily be a very nice and spacious pull-thru spot are 2 back to back back-ins. Unless you're lucky enough to get an end spot, those are pull-thru. Pros: awesome dog park, great office with laundry, activities, arcades, adult only room, community campfire, indoor pool with lifeguard, the staff is nice, there's a lake for swimming, boating, catch and release fishing. Their basketball court is on a shuffleboard court, playground is nice though. Close to Old Sturbridge Village and many cool hikes and MA cities.

Family oriented camp ground quite nights

Loud campers will be asked to leave, there are three shower houses the one closest to main beach is the best with handicapped accessible shower stalls

Pools!

Great campground. The pools are amazing. Kid pools. Adult pools! Adult hot tub.

Nice campsite with very friendly people and staff

We enjoyed this campground. It has a few bumps and bruises that could be improved but overall it was a safe place with lots of families. 

It appeared to be mostly seasonal / long term campers and people that had developed good relationships with their neighbors. Everyone was friendly and helpful. 

Good comments:

Most of the campsites seem to have an open area in the middle between them that allows for maneuvering and socializing. 

The camp store is small but well stocked and the prices are very good. 

The beachfront is nice, the canoe and kayak rental is reasonable. 

Needs improvement:

Electrical at my campsite could use a little work. 

The sewer on my site overflowed after only ~15-20 gallons of dumping.

The swimming area has a 'icky bottom' (kid term :)) 

The entrance / office setup is confusing. If you come in from the West you'll see an entrance, if you pull in you'll then be able to see signs that tell you to go another 1/4 mile to the office to check in. This area doesn't have enough room to make a u-turn unless your rig is pretty small. 

After checking in, you go back out on the main road to the aforementioned entrance. 

Overall we had a good time and the issues were minor compared to having a safe place with lots of kids and things to do. All entrances are gated with key codes and there was a security guard on staff part of the time. The office staff was super nice and understanding when I lost my way coming into the wrong gate. :)

Lots of partying and duck poop

Last time i was there a fight broke out and the cops had to be called. Attracts a lot of the rowdy party crowd.

My favorite early and late season spot

Well maintained campground with an equally maintained indoor pool making this my favorite cold season spot.

Nicely maintained

Sites are nice and the campground is nice and clean.

Nice spot for a quick relaxing weekend

First time coming back here in 20 years. Got a great site by the pond.

Nice place

This is a great small park. We have a 36' class A, which we were able to back into site #7 easily. Spacious private site, set back off road. Last year, we were in site #9 which was a little tricky to back into because of the angle. It would be easier to pull straight into #9 but then the fire ring may be on the wrong side of your rig. Unfortunately, there are no pull-through sites here. Sites #7, 8 and 9 are located in a little alcove which would make for a great three-family compound. No hookups at this campground, but we like boondocking so we don't mind. Hookups would make this campground a 10! There is a water spigot across the street from our site. Bath house is brand new, and we were extremely impressed with the showers! Spacious, clean, a nice door separating your personal dressing area from your shower, great water pressure and temp. 75 cents for 3 minutes, 25 cents each additional minute. There is a dump site near the bath house. Even though it's the first week of August, almost 8 am, it's nice and quiet here. There is a nice lake (reservoir) for fishing, swimming, kayaking, etc. Plenty of hiking and challenging mountain biking. We love this campground! We camped at George Washington Memorial Camping Area in a Motorhome.

Would Do Again

We stayed a week. No issues with water, sewer, electric, and cable. I was on site 87 and was able to level on the first try. The campground is a little tight with a big rig (40’ motorhome pulling a vehicle on a dolly). The sites are a decent size and consist mainly of gravel and grass. Not all sites have a fire pit so be sure to book one if you want a fire pit. The WiFi was better than most places we have camped at.

Electric scooters, golf carts, Segways, etc., are not allowed. That was disappointing but fully understood because of a liability factor. The campground is pretty big which would have been nice to explore on a Segway.

There are two pools. One is for 55 and older. At least there are no kids dive bombing you if you want an enjoyable swim.

They mowed around our campsite yesterday. The employee used a bagged mower to keep the grass off of our motorhome. He did a good job and was very careful with the weed eater.

I will definitely stay here again the next time I am in the area. The owner(s) put the money back into improving the campground. Most campgrounds we have visited in the northeast rarely make improvements - they only want the money because it is a relatively short camping season.

Great place

Big rigs stay at the bottom of the mountain where it's flat and are close together. Upon arrival the nice ladies in the office gave me a campsite map and marked 4 sites that were available, asking us to choose one and let them know which one. Sites on the mountain are in mature trees and site surface is dirt. I didn't see any hookup pedestals in the traditional sense but they are there, sometimes on the backside of a tree. Same with water. You need to look around a bit. We received great info about the local area and where to catch commuter trains to Boston. Very helpful office staff. The bath houses are old, could use some paint but are clean and checked regularly. I thoroughly enjoyed this campground. We camped at Cape Ann Camp Site in a Travel Trailer.

Great place

260 site campground with about half with 20 amp electric service. Water spigots throughout. Sites are wooded with mostly hardwood mature trees. There is at least 100 feet between sites. Large sites, couldn't hear neighbors conversations. Loop M backs up to woods so no one behind us. The bathroom was decent for a State Park with 3 shower stalls. The roads are one way smooth and well paved. 12 miles of trails for biking or walking. Fishing and canoeing available. Geocaching in the park. Each site has fire ring and picnic table. Buy your wood when you check it, the campsites are about a mile in. The dump station is conveniently located as you leave. The park is over 3500 acres. The spring house for Mt. Blue spring is down the road to the left going in, to the right leaving. Lots of people come here with gallon bottles getting fresh spring water. We camped at Wompatuck State Park in a Motorhome

MA State Park - Great Choice

There are some wonderful sites in this campground, but not all of them have privacy.  We really lucked out with getting one of a few sites left on Memorial Day weekend - after walking the campground, I think we would have chosen the same one again!  #18 is right next to a ravine, so it was wooded on one side, and the two adjacent camps were visible but not on top of us.  The trees are primarily pine, which made for pretty comfy tenting.  Was a short walk to the facilities, but not close enough for the foot traffic to be annoying.  

I loved that there were trails to hike from right in the park; you could do a short one, or a slightly longer loop (2.5 hours depending on your pace) with some inclines and boulders to scramble up and over.  We were on foot, but it would be challenging for mt. bikers in some spots.