Is there anything nicer than the Adirondacks in late summer? Buck Pond is a quiet, sublime campground about 20 minutes from Paul Smiths College. The sites are sandy and our site was mostly flat. Some sites do have an uphill driveway lined with trees. If you have an RV, looking at the site on ReserveAmerica.com might be the way to go. We didn't see any sites with electricity and there is one outlet in the bathroom area (I plugged my coffee percolator into this outlet every morning). The shower could use an update and definitely bring some shoes to shower in and a mat/towel for the floor as it gets slippery when wet. The bathroom area has one sink with no shelving so carrying your necessities in a shower caddy especially when you have kids that need to brush their teeth. Sites are large enough to have an RV, a canopy, and a small tent, or several tents. There is a canoe/kayak rental at the campground as well as a beach. A place to buy wood on the honor system is a 5-minute drive from the campground, and there is a Walmart about 35 minutes away. If you eat dairy, you can't miss a drive to Donnelly's Soft Ice Cream where only one flavor is served each day and standing line is worth the wait. We're looking forward to staying here again, even without electricity!
SB Elliott SP is a tiny campground with quite a few flat places to take a stroll. The sites are decently sized for the size of the campground itself, and there is a bathroom at the campground and pit toilets across the street at the picnic area. There are no showers. Sites offer a picnic table and a fire ring. There isn't a camp store, but I-80 is 2 miles down the road and there are places to shop/eat in nearby Clearfield. The park is a wonderful place to go for walks as they have fields, forested areas, gravel roads and paved roads. Parker Dam State Park is also a couple of miles down the road if you want more trails to explore.
While I understand that Memorial Day is a very busy camping weekend, I was hoping that due to the coronavirus that this spot would be less crowded given the restrictions in place. Our loop had approximately 50 sites with roughly 200 people on it, minimum. The concept of social distancing here is a joke and the only evidence of there being a pandemic was the sign in the bathroom that stated to stay 6 feet apart and masks being a requirement in all park buildings… with no enforcement whatsoever. That said, sites are on the small side with a fire ring and a picnic table. All vehicles MUST back into the parking spaces, and all parking spots are blacktop. There is a camp store and a bundle of decent hardwood will cost $6; they do accept cards with a $10 minimum. The city of Altoona is about 30 minutes away for more extensive shopping. There is a marina and boat rental on the lake about a 10 minute drive away. Bathrooms are very clean and the push button showers have excellent water pressure. Drinking water is dispersed throughout each loop. Pets are allowed on certain loops.
We stayed at Shawnee for 2 nights Memorial Day weekend just after Covid19 restrictions had been partially lifted. Site 258 on loop D is quiet, but may have been noisy if the yurt and 2 cabins had been rented out. There is a 20 amp plug and 30 amp service at this site. The fire ring is at an angle so cooking on it proved to be a challenge (we bring a grill grate with us just in case, and had to use it). Bathroom and showers were clean, bright, and there is a dish washing sink outside. Showers were push button but pressure was great and the water was hot (make sure you push the button once before you get in so its warm if no one else is showering at that time). Bring shower shoes. We were able to hear a small bit of traffic from the highway, but nothing that disturbed us. There are several stores within a 20 minute drive (Walmart, etc) and a mall an hour away. Camp wood at the entrance is $5 and is tiny; our biggest piece was a foot long, 4 inches wide and 2 inches thick! It was okay to start a fire, but we went into the woods and picked up dead wood that we cut into manageable logs. There weren't any roadside stacks of seasoned wood, so be prepared if it rains. The picnic table was saturated and too heavy to move, so we ate sitting in camp chairs. We would stay again.
We stayed at site 8 which is creekside. It was a large, beautiful site and the sound of the burbling water lulled us to sleep every night. The bathrooms and showers are very clean and modern (tiled, not concrete block for a change). The only downside to the area is the quantity of timber rattle snakes that we encountered, one at our site and one in the woods nearby. Something to keep in mind if you have pets or small children.
We stayed here 5/2019 on Loop C #30. While we were right next to the bathroom, we really weren't bothered by noise or traffic, and our site still felt quite private. We could easily see Lake Ontario through the trees, and the air was filled with the sound of birds. The space between our site and the next was a bit muddy, but the sites themselves were dry. Electric power is at every site, and both 30 and 50 amp are available. Pets are welcome in certain loops, and there is a well kept playground. Staff were super friendly, and there is a safety officer who patrols at night. We checked in well after the office closed (it's open until 9pm), but called ahead and it wasn't an issue at all. Plenty of farm stands around, but grocery stores will take about 30 minutes to get to. Definitely looking forward to staying again.
We stayed at site 78 on the Sycamore loop at the end of April in a tent, which isn't the best equipment for this campground. Our site had a blacktop driveway, a very small amount of gravel, and a ton of mud. There was standing water toward the back of our site, and no really solid place to pitch our tent.
It was very windy the night we stayed and the following morning was as well. Because our tent stakes were anchored in mud, our tent blew over and collapsed. Our neighbor's tent did as well.
With the exception of our neighbors, we were the only tents in the loop (the other sites had RVs, and there are 2 cabins and 2 yurts on the loop as well). Firewood is for sale at the camp host site.
The sites are flat and open. There is a lack of trees, so no real wind break. Each site has a fire ring and a hook to hang food from small animals.
If the primitive sites weren't all booked out (it was the first day of turkey season) we would've stayed there. I'd give this place another chance, but only if we can snag a site at the primitive campground.
We stayed here 9/2018 at site #10 and can't wait to return. There is a small campground just by the entrance that has a small store and electric sites with RV hookups. Site 10 was at the campground at the top of the hill, sparsely populated, and had beautiful views beyond the trees. There were toilets and drinking water, but no electricity. Each site had a fire ring and a picnic table. Trails were well maintained, but be warned that the overlook is crowded.
We stayed here July 2018 and found a quiet campsite by the creek. It had been quite rainy and some of the sites were wet and muddy, but for $12, I couldn't complain. While there is an outhouse, it is simply a couple of toilets (bring a lantern or wear a headlamp). Arrive early to get a prime spot, and take advantage of the hiking trails (a bug net for your head will help in the summer as the gnats and deer flies are distracting). Looking forward to staying again.
After the last bad winter storm we had (2/2018) trees fell all over the park, including on my favorite hiking trails. Hemlock Hollow and Conservation Trails were grueling hikes this week, with a downed tree or 3 every 20 yards or so. There is cleanup going on, but it's going to be a while to make these trails relaxing and enjoyable again (as tough as it was, it was still enjoyable in hindsight… definitely not easy by any means, though).
ETA: 10/2019 The trail has been cleared since this storm and is a very enjoyable hike. Kudos to ASP staff for trail maintenance!
I live nearby so I'm a bit biased towards the park. Definitely one of my favorite places to day hike. The trails are well maintained, and the scenery changes every few steps. Lush hardwood forest; plenty of shade for summer hikes. Not crowded at all in the off-season.