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First time staying at Chester State Park. Checked in at the Ranger’s station with friendly staff and a small store front with ice available. Picked pull through site 16. All 25 of the sites are on mostly level ground. The lake from the campground has a fairly new access via a ADA compliant walkway with lighting leading to swings, benches and Adirondack chairs surrounding a rock fire pit. There are benches facing the lake for sitting and or fishing and a new deck that provide even better views of the lake. The trails are well marked and wide that run along the lake edge. There is fishing, kayaks and canoes at the boat dock for rent and to our children’s disappointment no swimming in the lake. The other side of the park has the boat dock, playgrounds for the kiddos and plenty of grassy areas and picnic tables for sitting by the lake. Also there is a professional disc golf course on site. Last but not least the bathhouse is up to date, clean and well stocked.
This wilderness area has a terrific trail system with waterfalls, overlooks, and more. I like it because I got to spend time beside the Middle Saluda River. I checked out the other campsites, and I decided to pick campsite 8 because it is right beside the river. You can hear the sounds all night long, which might be a disadvantage if the sound of running water makes you need to go to the bathroom. The best thing about site 8 is that it has more flat space than the other ones I saw, and it is fairly large. There are fire pits at the campsites, but you have to pack everything in. It is a relatively short hike to the campsites, but you won’t be taking the same things you would take for car camping. There is a shower and toilet, but they are back near the visitor’s center. I can’t pick one best thing about this state park, because when you have over sixty miles of trails and two waterfalls, it’s hard to pick. The only drawback this time was that the temperature in July is HOT, so having an electric fan is not an option. Fortunately, there was some cool air at night coming from the river. Rainbow Falls can be accessed by the Jones Gap Trail, which is the one that takes you to campsite 8. If you are staying in campsites 1-4, you will have to go through the parking lot to get to Jones Gap Trail. Likewise, sites 5, 6, and 7 are a short walk to Jones Gap Trail. Overall, camping at Jones Gap State Park is not for everybody since it is not for RV camping nor for car camping. However, if you like camping in earshot of rushing water, you will fall in love with this place.
Table Rock State Park is a large park with at least three“campgrounds.” One is a primitive campground, and one is a traditional campground. I did not get to explore the third campground, but I believe it is a traditional campground as well. The site I stayed at, site 56, was level, except for the approach; however, the pad was rough gravel. I put down two tarps under my tent to help eliminate the roughness inside the tent. The site was shaded and wasn’t too close to my camping neighbors, but the biggest problem was dealing with the ants—big black ants, small black ants, and other tiny ants. There was no lantern pole, but there was a fire pit and a picnic table. The bath house was only a short walking distance away. There is no lack of things to do, and the trail system is extraordinary. The main attraction, I would guess, is Table Rock Mountain, but there are other things to do. There is a swimming beach and a diving platform. Beside the beach are picnic tables, including a picnic shelter with a standing grill. The visitors center/store was well stocked with souvenirs and supplies, and there is a laundry next to it. Sometime during the night when I had to go to the restroom, I discovered that there was not water. The next morning, I turned on the faucet at my campsite, and it sputtered out brown water at first and then it came out clear. I said that to say this. There was a problem and they dealt with it quickly. That impressed me. The heat and humidity was almost unbearable, but nothing can be done about that during the summer. If you camp in a tent during the summer, make sure to take and extension cord and a fan. Overall, this is a great place to camp during vacation, but the cost is a little more than I expected to pay for a tent site. Costwise, I’m not sure I would want to pay that much for camping for a whole week. It rivals the national campground franchises. However, if cost doesn’t concern you, it really is a good place to camp.
We visited this park a few weeks ago and wished we could have stayed longer! It's a well-kept, clean park within approximately half an hour from Lake Lure (where Dirty Dancing was filmed). It is an adult only campground that is dog-centric… For us the best of both worlds! Includes several dog parks for large and small breads, and a pond in which the pups can swim and splash around. We've never been to a park like this one and highly recommend it if you can get in. We'll be back for sure!
I took my 10yo son camping for the first time (for both of us!). We had a great time! The campground was clean and quiet. Bathhouses were very clean as well. We enjoyed the trails and swimming in the lake. It rained a bit each day, but we still loved it. I can’t wait to take another trip, will definitely be back!
Jones Gap gives you the feeling of really being deep in the Appalachians. The rushing river and dense foliage with tons of mountain laurel makes the air seem so fresh. I love just coming here and hiking upstream and playing in the river. Great camping spots, all are hike in. Not far, but not car camping at all.