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Altoona, PENNSYLVANIA

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Most Recent Altoona Camping Reviews
Great camping in northern PA

Love it here! This is a great State Park. The campground has added many full hookup sites and there are also cabins available also. Nice clean sites.The lake has good trout fishing and the beach area offers a nice place for a relaxing summer retreat. Several picnic shelters are for rent if your looking for a place to have your reunion or annual company picnic. There are also boat/kayak rentals, a snack bar/ camp store, and a large modern bath house/changing building down near the beach.Come for the day or stay for the week. Parker Dam State Park offeres something for everyone.

Nic cabin camping!

Nice, clean, friendly/accommodating staff and the prices were reasonable for the accommodations. My Outdoor Adventure Algorithm is:(Drink+Fire+Lean-To)-(Rules+Regulations+Fees)/(Crowd-Privacy)*(Isolation*Acceptability of loud, primal, Forest-Man behavior)=Camping. While you won't mistake yourself for a member of the Donner Party, you'll also be comfortable, watching Dish, cooking on a gas stove or microwave inside(fire-ring out), with cold food/drinks and ice from the'big' mini-fridge. Bunk room had 2 bunk beds, each with a full size mattress AND room to move, plus good natural light. Living/dining area is large with a wall-mounted tv, rustic wood dining set, storage room and hooks/hangers, good natural light, as well as sufficient artificial direct and ambient lighting.Comfortable couch pulls out into a comfortable bed. Large covered front porch with again more lighting and a hanging swing. Parking is driveway-close, and they're pretty mellow about blazing conflagrations(IF it's under control) so you can get a REAL bed of coals to properly cook.They also have used/re-purposed camping/RV/tailgating items for sale( some free). It would even make a good event-specific yard-sale trip. Overall, a damned nice hotel in the woods. Not a survivalist challenge or hXc camping experience; just a clean, safe getaway for a game, Arts Fest, or just a time-out

Family friendly

I grew up near this park so I’m a little used to it, however, it’s perfect for families. Good trails, kayak rentals, and a private beach for the campgrounds make it a nice vacation spot. I had a good time.

Very peaceful

I camped here as a child so when my husband and I recently purchased our new RV I knew we had to go there. My only reason for not giving 5 stars is that only a small portion of the park is open to campers with pets. I'm ok if they have just a section of pet sites, but you are also not allowed to walk the whole park with them - just that small front section. It would be nice to see the whole park become pet friendly.

Quiet well maintained

Owners and seasonal campers are friendly. We camped here 3 times this summer. We’re going to masquerade ball in October. Large sites, nice restrooms, big hall, pool, lake to canoe, boat & fish. They have a small cafe for breakfast and lunch. You can rent the hall for parties and weddings. You can get married at the gazebo. They have activities on weekends. Like the bingo here. Keystone Lake close to campground to go boating. Short drive to Smicksburg to shop. You may hear the horse drawn buggies of the Amish who keep their boats here. No charge for golf carts. Senior discount for sites. We invited friends who like it here and invited others. Would recommend!

Nice place

Great place to camp! Enjoyed it

Ranger Review of Banner & Oak Women's Hoodie at Parker Dam State Park

Campground Review:

This is our second trip to Parker Dam State Park.   It is a beautiful PA state park.   It is quiet and peaceful.   The leaves were beginning to change.  This trip was chilly at night, but gorgeous weather during the day.  Bathroom/shower houses are a bit outdated, but clean.  We had a full hook up site.  They have pet loops as well.  If you want to stay in September, book early.  Limited cell service.   Spent time driving to Benezette - about 30 minute trip - to see the Elk.   Great experience seeing approximately 100 elk.  Several very large bulls.   Would recommend the campground and the trip to Benezette to everyone. 

Product Review: 

As a Ranger for the Dyrt, we get products to test from time to time- today we tested the Banner & Oak Women's Hoodie. https://bannerandoak.com/collections/hoodies/products/freedom-heathered-black I so apologize because we were so busy watching the elk in Benezette, that we completely forgot to take photos of the product.  This hoodie is very soft! The sizing is accurate.  While it is not a thick sweatshirt material, it keeps you very comfortably warm.   I prefer the thinner material versus a thick and heavy sweatshirt.   It has become my "go to" hoodie.   Pros:  Lightweight, but very warm.   Con:  The pouch in front is actually 2 small pockets even though it looks like a pouch.   I'm not sure this is really a "con" because it depends on what style you prefer.  At first, I wasn't sure about it, but I am beginning to like it.  Wish the pockets would be a little bigger though.   Overall, I think this is a great lightweight hoodie and worth a purchase!

First to Review
More of an RV park than a campground

Named after the disastrous 1889 Johnstown Flood, this park is at the site of the dam that burst. I need to remember that my definition of a campground is different than what others think of as a campground; this is more of an RV Park. There are ten sites located on a large gravel lot and would definitely not be suitable for tents. There are five sites on either side of the large lot. All have full hook-ups for a very reasonable price ($25 cash or check only). The biggest plus to this campground is the host, Wayne. He immediately greeted us as we arrived and spent time orienting us to the campground and the area, as he is a lifelong resident of the area. He even offered to give us some firewood but when we returned from dinner, it was raining. He showed us that the restrooms were located across the street. Although they were unlocked, when we went to use them at night, we discovered the water had been turned off! It was too late to let Wayne know but he was very surprised to learn this the next morning; he had no idea who had turned the water off. The other downside is the VERY loud coal train which woke us up at just after 5 am. Normally for the restroom issue and loud trains, I would give this two stars but Wayne was very welcoming and apologetic about the restroom issue. This is not our typical type of campground, but we chose it for its proximity to the Johnstown Flood Memorial which is about a mile from the campground. If you are at all interested in the history of Johnstown, this is a must-visit. There is also a museum in the city of Johnstown, about 12 miles away.

Great campground

We stayed in the Red Oak section, site 113. The site was roomy enough, but next time I know to try to reserve on the outside perimeter for more room.

Dogs are permitted in this area of the campground and honestly they were all well behaved.

The bathhouse was a bit dated, but clean with a nice size dressing area within each of the 6 shower stalls. I believe there were 10 toilets as well. On the outside of the bathhouse were 2 sinks to do dishes.

The camp store was fairly priced, centrally located and they even delivered wood to your site.

The trails were nice, but I wish we had been given a better map to show where we could walk with our dog instead of discovering no dogs allowed when we arrived to certain areas.

We will definitely return.

Ranger Review: The GrubStick at Seven Points campground

Campground Review:

Located in the Raystown Lake Recreation Area is Seven Points. It has 6 different loops to choose from. Two are waterfront and view. Four are wide open sites with space in between. Highlights are the numerous hiking trails, mountain bike trail which is extensive, swimming beach that wasn't crowded on Labor Day weekend, a marina, a restaurant at the marina, a visitors center, and a bicycle "course" for younger people I think. We stayed in Senoia loop in a water view (somewhat) site. It was small for our 22 foot total camper but we fit. It was carved out of the side of the hill with 3 wood walls. Our table and firepit were up several stairs/steps. This is a hilly area so your site is split and the two areas are on different levels. Only the two loops on the water have this. The other four loops are all level spacious sites.  There was electric but no water or sewer hookups. We drove into Huntingdon and found signs to two outlooks which had spectacular views. One was Ridenour Overlook and the other Hawn's Overlook which were accessed from the same parking lot. Ridenour overlooked the Raystown dam which led us to see that we could drive to the top of the dam and have another great view which we did. We saw signs for Hesston Speedway which we want to visit next time we go. It's across from the campground main road entrance. The RLRA has numerous activities one of which was Chris Collins and Boulder Canyon group who performed John Denver songs. They tour nationally and into Canada so not a small town group. They were great! The amphitheater provided plenty of space for the couple hundred attendees. While we could walk Senoia loop even with its steep hills, the whole area was not walkable. One would have trouble walking the entire RLRA. There was a path through much of it but that path didn't seem to go all the way to our loop. There was obviously boat noise at times but you're at the lake. In fact, several sites allowed for boat tie ups right at your site so you could have both your camper / tent and boat at the same site. There is a launch area at the marina also.  The lake swimming area also had a snack bar and bathhouse. We plan on going again next summer and explore more. I will include pics and videos of campsites. Water sites are in Senoia and The Point. The Valley, Meadow, Bay, and Ridge loops are not near the water but there's plenty of parking in day use areas which were not full that weekend. 

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Product Review:

As a Ranger for the Dyrt, I get to test products. At this campground I tested the GrubStick. I was excited to try it out as I wanted to cook over an open fire. First off, the kit comes with two handles, 2 baskets, 2 double prong sticks, a hot pat and finger hot pad to use to open the baskets. It is very sturdy and well made. You're getting a well made product! We first tried a Caprese Sandwich. We use the circle basket and handle combo to heat and melt the tomato, mozzarella, and Pesto. Then we put that on a ciabatta roll. I love these sandwiches. It was delicious and quick. I was happy. Later I used the square basket for S'mores. I put the graham cracker, marshmallow, and chocolate together in the basket and held it over our fire. It burnt the graham cracker, melted the chocolate into a mess but tasted good. I think using the long marshmallow stick for them and then putting the smore together would be less messy. The next morning we made breakfast sandwiches of hash brown patties, sausage, and egg whites with cheese. We had to cut some of it smaller to fit into the GrubStick basket. It heated well and was delicious but we could've done the same in our microwave in the RV or in foil over the fire. My husband said he felt it was a fun tool but if pressed for space or weight on a backpacking trip, he wouldn't take it. I think kids would have fun with it. I recommend it for a meal or snack but probably not for every meal. Though I admit clean up wasn't that bad. If considering it, go for it! You'll have fun with it.

Bizarre and Outdated

This campground is extremely outdated and run by an elderly couple who reside there. we stayed here because it was close to the Flight 93 memorial. The office is their home- she was very friendly once we were able to find her. At first we knocked- with no answer, so we picked a site ourselves. I believe most people who camp here stay all summer long. We had electric and water, but were unable to use the sewer (see pic). We decided not to use their facilities based on their outside appearance.

Quiet

Nice small campground. Water is available but not at every site. There is water at the dump station. Quiet and somewhat small. Not really any issues, really noisy neighbors on holiday weekend, but you kinda have to expect that. Bring everything you need, it’s about 30 minutes to some supplies. Make sure you bring firewood and be prepared for extremely limited cell service (Verizon).

Nice showers, pricey, not much scenery

The place was nice, with nice spots and nice hot showers but overall, there wasn’t much to bring me back. There’s a little lake there, and a stream and some trails but in general it’s all pretty uninspiring. If you’re looking for a place to get away from everything it’s fine but, if you’re looking for adventure or proximity to impressive nature and geography, keep moving.

Well kept and convenient

We stayed at one of two walk-in sites at Greenwood. The highlights were a spacious camp site, nice bathrooms, little light pollution (we saw the Milky Way!) and hearing screech owls at night. 

A couple of really nice things about this campground: You can buy ice ($2), bundles of wood (15 pc @ $5) and as long as you don't need change, it's self serve. The shower house is nice, nothing too fancy but clean. There's also a toilet-only bathroom closer to the walk-ins with a mirror and a baby changing table. It was VERY clean and heated, which was glorious considering it was quite chilly at night. There's also drinking water spigots in several locations which is a big plus and not something you see a lot in most state parks.

The walk-ins are not very far from the little parking lot, so it was easy to carry our gear down to the site. The site itself was HUGE in comparison to the other sites. Also close to a nice little stream.

There were a few big puddles from this summer's torrential rains but surprisingly no mosquitoes to speak of. The only con about this campsite was that it's down the hill from PA 305. It was fine during the night, but traffic started to pick up at daylight. Maybe it would not bother everyone, but it was annoying to be reminded you're right next to the road all day.

Great park

Since I am from near the area, I camp here a lot, and I will say that it is a great campground. The sites are spacious and well taken care of, and if you camp on the upper loop, there is a lot of separation between sites, which is nice. The bathrooms are average, not the best I've seen, and certainly not the worst. The sites aren't all level, so If it rains, certain sites become ponds. Other than this, though, it is an awesome campground, and I highly recommend it!

Wonderful weekend getaway

My family stayed in one of the cabins while friends were in their campers. The cabin was great, very clean and cozy. The campgrounds are very nice they have a pool as well as a community building and camp store. We had 8 kids and 8 adults who all had a blast playing on the playground, floating down the creek, swimming in the pool, riding bicycles etc. All in all we will definitely be returning

Poorly Maintained

I was expecting a much nicer camping experience based on the reviews and price. We camped out on Poplar. Our site had a gravel pad. But the surrounding area was not level and you had to climb up a 2-3’ incline to get to the fire pit area. Gets very slick because it doesn’t dry out. Sites across the way were on the water. They had cement pads only as wide as your rv/tt but then the surrounding grass dropped off sharply. Very dangerous as you barely had enough room to walk around your unit.

We explored the “red carpet” row up on the hill. What a joke. Gravel pads skinnier in some instances then a TT is wide. One wrong step and you’d fall into the woods. Grass and weeds galore in the gravel areas. Sites barely large (long) enough and all back in’s up there. Trees had low branches which isn’t good for rigs. Not many people up in this area and I can see why.

The beach area really needed combing or raking once in a while. There was a water leak coming out of the road and a tree branch barely hanging on about to fall that staff just drove by like its normal.

When we checked in, there wasn’t much explained to us. This is a huge property and would have thought they’d want to give campers more direction about where things are etc. We went to the store to sign up for pump out service. ($10). I asked the girl a question because I hadn’t done that type of service prior and she doesn’t answer with information, just tells me to read the ticket. …..which didn’t have the answer. Felt like staff wasn’t overly friendly and didn’t want to take the time. So many good camp staff experiences to compare to from other campgrounds so this really stood out.

Water was nice. Rented a kayak. Spent some time on the beach. Boats zoomed back and forth but the noise wasn’t too bad. Jet skis could be a bit loud at times.

Also, almost forgot….we lost power twice. Once a meter overheated and melted. Took a few hours to get that replaced. The other time two workers walked along the tree line behind the campsites and hit the main to our area so they could fix an electrical issue up the row. No warning. No communication. Campers were to ones telling each other what was going on. Another example of staff just feeling very punching a clock.

Great Que

Great place for fishing kayaking Very family oriented

Closed

No longer open, bummer

Black Mo is a unique treasure

As far as camping goes, the loop area is a bit cramped for my taste, but if that doesn't bother you it's fine. Clean bathhouse and convenient outdoor sink for washing up after dinner. Overall one of the best PA parks and well maintained.

I really have to address some of these other reviews, though:

"Water was thick with weeds& lilies but ok nonetheless." Wow! Pitcher plants, sundews and water lilies are not "weeds." They are unique to bog environments and don't grow in other places. The vegetation in the lake is what makes Black Mo black, so picturesque and unlike other PA parks!

"The overall area has nothing to do. And I mean NOTHING. We drove 45 minutes to Altoona to see the famous Horseshoe Curve but there’s literally nothing else around for miles and miles. Not even an ice cream stand, or not one we could find. And, since there’s no cell service, we couldn’t figure out any options either." Like many state parks in this part of the world there is no cell service, so you need to bring a real map (Purple Lizard) and look a few things up on the internet ahead of time. Black Mo is literally ten minutes from Philipsburg where there is surely an ice cream stand, 25 minutes from State College, which has tons of touristy offerings…I could go on but really this is laughable.

Great place Wish I could give it five stars

This is a nice cg, don’t get me wrong. Sites are spacious, bathrooms clean and air fresh. Decent beach on the lake and plenty to do within the park for the nature lovers.

The bad? The water in the lake is way frigid - even midsummer and only the very bravest kids were swimming. The overall area has nothing to do. And I mean NOTHING. We drove 45 minutes to Altoona to see the famous Horseshoe Curve but there’s literally nothing else around for miles and miles. Not even an ice cream stand, or not one we could find. And, since there’s no cell service, we couldn’t figure out any options either.

Don’t think we’ll be back. Might be a nice place for kayaking or possibly fishing (but I didn’t see a lot of fishermen).

Absolutely amazing camp grounds

Clean and amazing fishing. Highly recommend. Note; the sites our family were at did NOT have sewage hook ups. I do not know if this applies to all sites.

All in one!

Great little campground nestled in Penns woods! Camp store for the forgetful, beach, kayaking rentals, hiking trails and between 12 & 15 miles of mountain biking trails all right from the campground. Sites are spacious with enough privacy. Two modern bathhouses trimmed out in tile.

A treasure to remember, after a long, rough day...

I had made plans to stay at SSP-PA as my first stopover spot, post leaving my beach friends on the East Coast. The morning drive started early, had several stops and starts, and I was once again glad that my big dog was along for the ride. Shawnee is a lovely state park and I was really pleased with my brief stay. 'Though we were only sleeping the one night, I found the staff to be pleasant and the site spacious. It might have helped that the doggo and I were about the only ones in our campground loop, aside from the campground hosts but the area felt well-maintained and well-proportioned. We had a good night's rest, after enjoying a post-dinner campfire and getting to breathe in the fresh, woodsy air. While sitting fireside, I got to enjoy the local wildlife, from birds to young deer, around the edges of my campsite. The campground restroom was clean and a fair size. I would definitely recommend it and I will certainly look into another reservation, the next time I roadtrip through Pennsylvania.

Enjoyable family campground

Quemahoning Family Recreation Area offers great fishing, some nice trails and generally wonderful weather during the summer season.  The campground offers some sites with electrical and others with varying primitive services.  The campground has a bathroom with showers (2 for men, 2 for women).  The result is there are sometimes lines waiting for a shower to be available.  There is a camp store where wood, ice and fishing supplies are available.  There is no trash service;  campers are expected to carry out their trash.  Campsites do have fire rings, a picnic table and parking available.  The campgrounds are pet friendly.  Boats are available to rent.  If you bring your own power needs to be electric only.

Nice!

Quiet, peaceful campground. Great place for the entire family.

Renamed to Waterside Campground

Absolutely beautiful if you are riverside. Staff was friendly and helpful. Typical overall, but clean and pretty. Stay on the waterside! Sites 48-53. Stayed at 49, it was absolutely perfection!

Lovely area for a weekend away

I think we had the best site w/electric hookup that was also dog-friendly: #48. We loved how it was nicely shaded by hemlocks, oaks, some maples, and with our camper it felt pretty private! We were set back from the road enough that the dogs were undisturbed by people walking past. There’s a great beach/picnic area across the state road (heavily trafficked) and ranger programs were held throughout the weekend. We went for a short walk/hike; I recommend taking a picture of the hiking map or being extra responsible & bringing a map…definitely a chance to get turned around. For being about an hour from Harrisburg, we plan on heading back again this fall for a weekend away.

Relaxing by the water

Most of the campsites are on a slight slope but they’re still bearable. Also a lot of them are waterfront sites which is convenient for swimming in the summer! Super fun campground and area. Great for kayaking or boating

Quiet, spacious campsites

The campground was close to raystown lake and within walking distance of the welcome center. Each site had tons of space and with electric hookup and a dump station by the entrance. Tree covered and close to mountain biking trails