Watching the sunset over the Pacific from a rustic log cabin porch, a deer skulking through the evening shadows mere feet from my RV, diving into green glass water in a spring-fed lake with hard, golden sand bottom while turtles and fish looked on, these are all treasured memories of State Park camping experiences.
I extended a business trip to Portland, Oregon with a week of camping using Oregon’s State Park cabins and Yurts. One extra roller bag stuffed with the camping basics, a rental car and just enough cash for camping chow and the $27 per night cabin rental fees and I had one truly memorable vacation for minimal outlay. I added numerous Pacific Coast Lighthouses to my lifetime list and really enjoyed the rustic beauty of Oregon’s magnificent State Park system.
On another trip, I had five days during the peak July camping season and really needed a break from work. Most east coast campgrounds were booked, but West Virginia afforded an awesome camping experience along the South Branch of the South Fork of the Potomac River. Deer crept about the edges of our campsite at night and during the day we picked wild raspberries and played in the rapids and minor falls of the river. I hated to leave when the long weekend was over.
In Michigan, my kids and I enjoyed a fantastic camping experience at Kingston Lake State Park, close enough to benefit from all the activities and sights of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, but without any of the National Park congestion or hassle. The spring-fed water of Kingston Lake was like green glass and the wildlife viewing was excellent! We picked wild blueberries for breakfast and kayaked to small islands and back bays, drifting over the actual springs that fed the lake. Coyotes yapped at dusk and my son spotted a wolf in a forest clearing while kayaking. It was one of our most memorable family vacations! We’ve agreed to make it our annual family trip.
In my experience, State Parks have always offered some of the best camping. Facilities are rustic, private, and full of fun activities. The prices are always dirt cheap, a real value compared to private campgrounds. The combination of unspoiled wilderness and easy access makes a State Park camping vacation a great idea for the whole family.