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Andover, NEW HAMPSHIRE

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Fun family campground

A little of everything at this campground, 2 pools 2 hot tubes, a giant water slide that is even fun for the adults!!! Campsites are level and site is fairly easy to maneuver with bigger rigs. Have great activities daily for the kids a nice store onsite. If I have one issue it would be that it went to a KOA which isn’t bad but the transition year seemed a bit wanky and hopefully this year will be better as my kids love it there and we’ll continue to go back often

Family friendly with plenty to keep you busy!

I hadn’t camped here in the past 8 years, so decided it was time to revisit; it helped that it was one of the campgrounds still open after Columbus Day weekend. Although reservations are available online, I didn’t need them for closing weekend; 3 sites were occupied when I arrived, about 15 by the end of the weekend. During the peak season, I’m sure it’s a different story given it’s proximity to Concord and Manchester and the variety of activities available. 

Mostly level sites sit under towering pines and vary greatly in size. Many of the sites are separated from their neighbors by large, downed pine trees. I was in site 38 and found that the little loop to my campsite was tight to exit(I was towing a 14’ teardrop, not a big trailer) and I had to be careful to swing wide at the corner. This site backed onto an open field with a backstop for baseball/softball. It meant that I could enjoy the the sunny warmth on an otherwise cool morning. Last time I was here I stayed in site 45, a small tent/pop-up site along that same loop, but in the shade. If you are tenting and don’t mind a short walk, reserve site R1 for a raised site overlooking the pond. Sites 13-25 back up against a hill. Site 91 is near the entrance, but large and set back from the camp road, so it offers some extra seclusion. It’s across the street from the playground. I’d avoid site 93 because it is so close to the playground and the fire ring placement makes it seem like families enjoying the playground will be tempted to walk through your site. If you want to be close to the play area, site 90 or the ones on the loop behind it are better options. 

There are no hookups, but there is running water and a dump station is available. Bathhouses offer coin-operated showers; I noticed a price difference between the two of them, so went with the less expensive option! It was the final weekend of the season, so that may explain the lack of attention to cleaning and upkeep of the restrooms. Several of the stalls were lacking toilet paper and, although it was nearly empty when I arrived, the bathrooms had little bits of debris scattered on floors and around sinks. The bottom of one of the dishwashing sinks was coated with something that resembled dried coffee grounds. 

I was here with a 5-year-old the last time and she enjoyed the playgrounds both at the campground and at the Catamount Pond beach. There’s another beach in the campground itself. Numerous trails call out of exploration, around ponds and up and down hills, with geocaches to be found (if you can, download the info and maps before you get to the park to be sure you have the necessary info). The mountain biking trails are busy even on late October afternoons; some trails allow horses. Canoes and kayaks let you explore and fish. There are two archery ranges and wheelchair accessible docks for fishing. For history, check out the antique snowmobile museum and the Civilian Conservation Corp(CCC) museum. The CCC built much of the infrastructure here and elsewhere in the country. 

The camp store offer a few basics and a selection of Bear Brook attire. Cell phone coverage varies from 1-2 bars, not always 4G, on Verizon.

Great Campground and Staff

Went there with our RV group (NE Pacers) for a weekend rally and had a great time. The staff was so friendly and helpful. The sites we good sized ( had water and 30amp) and the campground was very clean and well kept.

Ranger Review: Red Ledge Rebel Shell Rain Pants at Pawtuckaway State Park

*CAMPGROUND REVIEW*

This campground is definitely a dazzler and I was fortunate to visit on a quieter weekend. I was able to enjoy an especially picturesque sunset over the lake and I would definitely visit this spot again, especially with how accessible the campground is. There is a nice stretch of sandy beach at the campground as well as canoes and kayaks for rent. The convenience store at the campground had essentially everything you would need for a good camping trip. Definitely do your research on the different site numbers because some sites are much more private and scenic than others. Each site is equipped with a picnic table and fire pit as an added bonus.

Pros: 

-Within a short driving distance from the Boston area 

-Lakefront sites available 

-Canoe and kayak rentals available 

-Well stocked convenience store 

-Reasonable cell reception

Cons: 

 -Can get busy during peak camping times 

 -Some sites have a lack of privacy

*PRODUCT REVIEW*

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time. During this trip, I took out a pair of Red Ledge Rain Pants. While it didn’t rain during my camping stay (great from a camper perspective, not so great from a reviewer perspective), I was able to try out the general fit of the pants. They have a nice stretch fit to them and a certainly one of the more stylish options as far as rain pants go. As is true for most waterproof gear, they run on the warmer side and don’t have a ton of ventilation so they may not be the best choice for hotter weather. Although I didn’t get to test out the pants in a camping setting, I did wear them a few days ago while making the 1.5 km evacuation route trek from my apartment to the flood shelter during one of the biggest typhoons to make landfall in Japan. After about 25-30 mins of walking in record breaking-ly heavy rain, the pants started to saturate around the knees and the upper thigh area started to get a bit soggy. That being said, this is probably the most extreme possible test setting and they did hold up reasonably well. Due to the aforementioned, I would recommend using these pants as a waterproof option when skiing/snowboarding in warmer weather where you still want a snow barrier but may not necessarily need the insulative warmth offered by actual snow pants.

Pros: 

-Stylish look 

 -Stretch fit 

 -Waterproof 

 Cons: 

 -Trap heat 

 -Not typhoon proof

One of my favorite places

You cannot go wrong. Right on kangamangus highway basically in the mountains. Recommend the sites by the river!

Best swimming view from a lake

Site wise it’s more of a rv camp but they do have some tent sites. I would recommend mosquito repellent.

[Ranger Review] Gregory Endo 15 Pack at Mt. Ascutney State Park

Intro:

On a whim back in August, our family decided we wanted to camp for a night and discover some new mountain biking trails. I did some research and poking around on the interwebs, and discovered Mt. Ascutney State Park in Windsor, VT. The state park had everything we were looking for: close proximity to mountain bike trails, beautiful hiking trails, available leantos, and less than two hours from our home.

Campground Review

I am going to talk about the positives first, and then lay out the few negatives at the end. Sound good? Great!

The state park is located off of a paved road, about 15 minutes from the closest interstate exit. It is situated on the side of Mt. Ascutney, a 3200+ mountain. There is actually an toll-road that goes up the mountain. The campground has two distinct loops. We stayed in the loop to the left of the entrance in one of the lean tos.  Our campsite was a prime site. It was very large, and quite private.  As a bonus, it even had direct access down a path to a large recreation field that included a volleyball net. Our children and their friends loved biking around the field and exploring it while waiting for meals, etc.  The lean to was very clean, and recently painted. It had ample room for 6, and could fit 8 as well. The lean tos come with a bench that can be used inside, or out by the fire which was a nice touch.

Our site was situated under large pine and hemlock trees, with some small deciduous trees mixed in. This kept the site shady, but rays of sunshine did break through at times.  Our lean to faced east, so we had a view of the sunrise in the morning.

The bathroom was clean, and the shower area was recently tiled with nice tilework. Outside of the bathroom there was a little library book case with books for campers to borrow. Such a fun idea!

The state park maintains its own mountain biking trail loop, which accessible directly from the campground. It is a 3 mile beginner friendly loop, with some nice rollers and moderate terrain.  Down the road  about 10 minutes at the Mt. Ascutney Outdoor Center, there is a whole network of mountain biking trails that range from novice to expert. I checked out some of the trails there, and particularly enjoyed the trails in the Mile Long Field. Beautiful switchbacks traversed an idyllic Vermont field. 

The hiking trails are also pleasant--there is a sweet little nature loop in the campground with signs identifying different trees. There are also other trails that lead to the summit of Mt. Ascutney.  We decided to drive up Mt. Ascutney to see the sunset our first night. Sunset was at 7:30. HOWEVER, the toll road also happened to close at 7:30, which we had ignored on the sign.  Well, the state park staff enforce their rules, and they came up to the top before (sadly) the sun had set to tell us we had to drive back down.  Half of our group decided to stay at the top and watch the sunset and then hike down in the dark.  It was quite the adventure--thankfully we always carry headlamps and flashlights in our car. 

It was a bit disappointing that the auto road closes before sunset, but I understand that the park needs to have rules to keep folks safe. There are 6 cabins that the state park rents out that are partially up the mountain on the auto road. Folks who rent those sites actually do have access to the summit at sunset. So if you are looking for an easy sunset experience, that would be the way to go.

Overall, our experience at the campground was fantastic.  The other campers were quiet, everything was clean, and access to local recreation was convenient.

CONS:

The road nearby is noisy. Because of its location, you can hear both the local highway and I91.  If being in the quiet wilderness is important to you, than this campground might not work out.

Gear Review

From time to time, as a Dyrt Ranger, I am given gear to test out and review.  On this camping trip, we tested out a Gregory Endo 15 3D Hydro Pack.  Gregory specifically designed this pack for mountain bikers.  We chose the one in Carbon Black.  Our first impression of the pack was that it was made out of sturdy, rugged materials, which is important for a pack that has to take the abuse of mountain biking. Our second observation was that it didn't have any external water bottle pockets the way a regular day pack would.  This of course makes sense as water bottles would easily fall out while biking.  The waist belt is unique as it can slide into a few different positions in order to change how the pack rides on your back.  The back panel is lifted away from the users back, which provides excellent ventilation. Inside the pack are sever pockets, including a removable pouch ideal for storing bike tools. My husband really appreciates that feature as it makes it much easier to find his tools on the go.  The included reservoir is easy to fill, and we like that it is also very easy to hang to dry. It seems to dry faster than the reservoirs that we have from other brands.He has also used the pack a few times on hikes, and it is comfortable for that as well. The straps are low profile, so it doesn't work for carrying super heavy stuff.

My husband says the pack is comfortable. He says it does bounce a bit while descending rougher trails, and he wished there was a way to prevent that. Overall, it does its job well, stays out of the way, and holds the gear and water that he needs when biking.  It is great that companies are starting make mountain biking specific packs.

Been here twice now.

Some of the sites are a bit too close to each other but there are some that are nice and private. Mountain biking is awesome here, can ride right off the campground and onto the trails! Will def be coming back

Some sites are awesome and somewhat private others are on top of each other

Some sites are awesome and somewhat private others are on top of each other. We hammock camp so we took a chance and the employees were able to give us an okay site. We drove around and checked other sites out (huge campground!) and are excited to go back

Family friendly destination and great base for hiking Kinsman Ridge

Lonesome Lake hut is one of three AMC huts open year-round. During peak season, your rate includes dinner, breakfast, a bunk with 3 wool blankets. Meals are served family style; if you have food restrictions, let them know when you make your reservation. There's running water in the sinks (peak season) and composting toilets. Bunkrooms are smaller here than at other huts; you'll be sharing a room with 3-6 others and most of the bunks are only two high rather than the triple deckers you'll see elsewhere. During the off-season, a caretaker may start a fire, but you're on your own for meals and bedding. Sit on the deck or down by the lake and enjoy the views, maybe some wildlike. If you're not an AMC member, join and you'll get a discount on the rate while also supporting their work.

It's about 1.6 miles and 1000' elevation gain from Lafayette Place trailhead, making it a family-friendly destination. NOTE: parking at the trailhead is at a premium and you may need to park at the hiker shuttle at Cannon Mountain. If that's the case, drop off the majority of your crew so that only 1 person has to pay the shuttle fee.

In winter the trail is so frequently travelled that you may not need snowshoes, but I would definitely recommend spikes to minimize the risk of sliding on ice.  Your reward is a beautiful view (on a clear day) across the notch to Franconia Ridge. The Kinsman Ridge towers over you to the west. If you're bagging 4000-footers, it's great to hike up here in the evening one day and then head up to the ridge for the Kinsmans and Cannon the next, to make it just a little easier.

Hidden gem of a campground with pondside or riverside sites

I discovered this small family-run campground while driving to another one and my curiosity was piqued, so I had to check it out. After a friendly welcome, I was allowed to explore. They offer wooded campsites, some of them along a a brook and others near a pond; There's no boating or swimming in the private pond because of steep sides, but it's stocked and license-free fishing is possible for trout and catfish. The brook runs into the Pemi river. There is also a swimming hole, but I didn't get a chance to explore that. 

The 31 sites vary in size, but are reasonably level, no hookups. A clean, bright bathhouse provides toilets and coin-operated showers; a dumpstation is also available for RVs.

The office is also a store with minimal supplies and firewood. Let them know when you plan to arrive and call if you'll be late to hold your site. They're open full-time Memorial Day to Labor Day, and then weekends only through Columbus Day.

Quiet NE Campground

Small but well organized campground. TT members will find all th e comforts of home. Staff is pleasant and helpful. Quiet during the weekdays, picks up over weekends but not to overbearing. Sandy beach by the water has plenty of room to relax out in the sun as well as launch areas to set out in a paddle boat, canoe or row boat, all available on site. Mostly a 5th wheelers park but you can see a 34 foot class A here and there so don't fret, there is room.

Centrally located campground in Franconia Notch

As far as the individual sites go, they are fairly standard. Roomy enough with a picnic table and fire ring and most are reasonably spaced far enough apart with trees to provide privacy. However, the noise from Highway 93 is intolerable! 18-wheelers blowing by at all hours of the day and night, making it very difficult to enjoy a restful sleep. I had reserved site 46 because it was across the street from the Pemigewaset River but I could not hear the river over the highway noise. You can hear the highway noise from all the sites, but I think 33, 34, and 35 are the quietest. The Lonesome Lake Trail runs right through the campground which is good news/bad news. Easy access to the trail but there are a number of sites that directly border the trail, which could impede privacy. No cell service. There is a store, and two restrooms with pay showers; one of these also has a dishwashing sink, and washer and dryer, a nice perk. Franconia Notch State Park has a lot to offer and this campground is centrally located. If it wasn’t for the horrible highway noise, I would give this campground 4 stars; however, it is the ONLY campground in the park, so I guess that’s that!

Good

Working hard. Wifi is spotty and slow.

One of the nicest

Chuck and Laura are wonderful hosts and always available to help. The campground is clean, quiet, with plenty of open sites as well as sites in the woods. Sites big enough for our 42’ 5th wheel and 2 cars. Sites in the woods have water and 50 amp service, no sewer. Most of the open sites have 30/50 amp service with full hook-ups. River view sites available. Canoe rental available. Clean bath houses, laundry, dump station gameroom, and camp store. One of the best in the area!

And it IS a resort!

Very nice campground, on the lake. We were just passing through and didn’t explore much, but this place is definitely going on the “return” list. Staff is great, sites are spacious and great.

Very nice campground!

Nice campground that has a gorge trail attached to the campground! This was nice to do right before dinner. The campground has full showers and bathrooms. Also, they have a community bonfire on Saturdays with s’mores, which was nice!

Nice spot!

This is a nice campground with access to the Swift river! Short hike will take you to the river from the campground. There are a lot of spots! We went on a slow day so we had it to ourselves with a few more campers! Bathrooms available with running water and trash cans!

Good location!

This campground is in a good location to explore the kanagamus highway and the white mountains! It is close to Franconia notch and plenty of hiking/other activities. Bathrooms and running water available! Nice spot.

Nice Campground near Franconia Notch

I went to this campground in both 2017 and 2018. We had a great time here for fall camping, we were able to drive up and get a site that day. The waterfront sites are the best and unfortunately we were unable to get one of these sites (though our friends did). The campground is easy access to Franconia Notch and Lincoln. The bathhouse was clean. As stated in previous reviews, staff is friendly, but also particular about the rules and the showers are a little more expensive than average. Overall good campsite and would recommend it.

Mixed bag...nice pool and river, but bathrooms could be better

I was looking for a campground near the Suncook Valley Rotary ballooon festival in August and the fact that the Lazy River was just a short drive away and offered a river for tubing and swimming, too, made this my choice. I really wanted to love this place (I've been on a quest for a campground with tubing this summer), but the downsides keep me from giving it 4 stars.

The good: 

  1. location in the middle of the state, so it is a relatively quick getaway from the city or southern NH
  2. a newly built store and game room with a friendly welcome from staff
  3. the river offers a beach and tubing without having to drive anywhere; the water was on the low side late in the season, but there were still people tubing
  4. beautiful pool, very popular with families; there's a kiddie pool, too
  5. All the sites include electric
  6. nice playground with an open field
  7. riverfront sites
  8. Fields and equipment for volleyball, horseshoes, etc.
  9. Laundry

The opportunities:

Folks will tell you that a bathroom makes or breaks a campground and, here, the bathrooms hurt. One of the 3 bathhouses was out of order with a sign directing you to the one in the playground field. That one was clean, but there were no latches on any of the doors on the women's side. To get a shower, you have to journey over to the seasonal loop, which may be a bit of a walk depending on your campsite location. Once there, there's no guarantee a shower will work. The first day I found a shower that worked (coin operated), but the next day none of the 3 seemed to be working (one with an error on the meter, others wouldn't turn). Another camper was there and she couldn't get anything to work, either. Ventilation isn't great in that bathroom, so the ceiling is a bit mildewy. It does have a nice long counter with sinks.

Camp roads would benefit from grading, but they're navigable.

If you're on the river, you may hear some traffic noise from 28 on the other side of the Suncook River. It didn't bother me, but I can sleep through anything!

Some of the seasonal sites look cluttered.

Would be nice if you could make reservations online, but had no problem getting through on the phone.

All in all, great place to hang out on the water, whether the river or the pool, but would be even better with bathroom improvements.

Beautiful campground that the security ruins

We have stayed at Danforth Bay for several years now. At least two long weekends every year. One of these weekends we have a large group of friends that come every year. This is the only time we see each other during the year. We enjoy sitting out by the fire after the kids go to bed catching up. The campground has a rule that fires have to be out at 11:30. We are quiet and no one is around us because we all rent the sites around us. The security people have been extremely aggressive to us. I could understand if they asked us respectfully not to add to it but the woman got right in our face yelling at us and telling us that she wasn’t leaving until the fire is out including the coals. The thing that sucks is this campground have everything else we could ever look for except that rule and the security’s attitude. Apparently we are not the only people to have issues with them. The other campers not with us said they had the same problem with the attitudes but for things. I am giving the campground 1 more chance because we love the campground minus the security but if it doesn’t go well we won’t be back again.

Great campround for water activities

This a a fantastic little camp for if you want to go canoeing or kayaking or boating of any kind! It's set up of three islands and a large majority of the campsites are right on the water

Awesome, family campground!

Very family centric, 7 pools which (include 2 hot tubs, a small 2x2 pool for kiddos, 1 adult only pool and 3 family pools). We went for halloween weekend in August and their haunted house was incredible for a campground! Nicely landscaped although the roads are very narrow. Made it hard to back in our spot. Will be coming back!

On the river/creek, but sites are close together

Decent campground with pretty good amenities (camp store, showers, actual flushing toilets). Only disappointment was that the campsites themselves are way closer together than advertised on the pictures on the website. They also have very little trees or cover in between them, which leaves them relatively open and exposed to other sites.

Overall good experience though. We really enjoyed having the river/creek right near to our site to give us some nice white noise. We would stay there again, but might look into some other campgrounds if we had the option.

The Worst

Owner Ross was very rude to everyone, Pool has a scum rim around it, and there are no wooded sites

Super easy

Super easy hike, will take a few hours! A great little campground like all state parks around! I'd recommend it, downside, no dogs allowed

Great little family campground

Family oriented can ground, has a nice playground. There's a beautiful waterfront with a swimming area and boat rentals. One of our favorite things was an archery walk through the woods and a little pond for fishing! Definitely worth the stay

Fantastic little camp

My girlfriend and I went here on a thursday and stayed till Saturday, so the camp was a little more empty then normal but it was a great little place. Nice views of the lake, swimming, wide open sites, not too over crowded! I'd definitely go back! Close by to Miller state park (NHs oldest state park), Garwin falls (beautiful little water falls you can swim in)

Nice Riverside Sites

This campground has nice, quiet, shaded riverside sites and other sites options as well. Showers are $0.25 for 8 minutes. Modest camp store. Pallets of firewood are delivered to your site and reasonably priced. Nice pool. Port-a potty by the river needs to be replaced.