Hello again friends, today we are proud to bring you to a campground that is so impressive that it actually made our jaws drop when we arrived. The Oquaga Creek State Park Campground located in Bainbrige, NY is just about 25 minutes north of the Pennsylvania border and is so magnificent that it will leave you in a state of awe. We are, in fact, so happy that we aren’t afraid to say that many of the campgrounds, we have visited, can take a page from this parks book. We are certainly going to try and give this park a fair review but it’s going to take a lot of nitpicking because this place is just that excellent. We believe Prince-Dave can say it better than we ever could… plus he has pancakes.
Anyway, when we first arrived our GPS actually took us in the back, winter, entrance so we had a little trouble finding where to go. There is absolutely no cell service, or internet, of any kind here so the GPS would not update. As it turns out there was a couple from Brooklyn, NY who were having the same issue. We quickly made friends and worked together to find our way to the ranger station. Due to the recent pandemic the ranger station was only allowing one person in the door at a time so we all had plenty of time to converse. We learned a lot about our new friends but we mainly spoke about fishing, camping, and the excitement of just being away from any kind of phone service. The ranger station itself was clean, rustic, they had wood, a phone, and bags of ice for sale if you needed it.
Once we were on our way the campground map is very straight forward and our initial impression was just that of amazement. The campsites, for the most part, are huge, they are grassy, well shaded, and level. The only trouble we ran into was getting our tent stakes in the ground. The ground 2 inches down is like one giant piece of shale so no matter were we went our stakes got pretty banged up. They did eventually go in after a few good whacks and once we broke that layer the stakes went in with no trouble.
On this trip we were on site 32 which, again, is so large that you could easily park 4 vehicles on it and still have room for half a dozen tents. There really are no barriers between the sites but they are large enough to where you don’t feel invaded. Not to mention each site has its own fire pit with grate, has its own separate charcoal grill, and a picnic table.
There does not seem to be any power/water hookups for campers, but there are plenty of community faucets, and public rest rooms to use if you need them. The rest rooms aren’t anything to write about, they are an older style with a single shower just inside the entrance to each area. There is a utility sink on the outside of the building but that’s been restricted to a hand sanitizing station due to the recent pandemic.
The restrooms are surrounded by a huge common area, a large grassy field with swings and a basic play area. The swings were all temporarily removed when we went, again due to the pandemic, but the common areas are big enough to play any game that you see fit. There are dumpsters, recycle bins, and an RV dumping station conveniently located at the entrance to all three circles. We believe that this was a well thought out spot for them for a few reasons. First they are so far away that you can’t even tell that they are there. You do have to pass them, however, when you enter, or leave, so they are conveniently placed for garbage removal. Finally the location eliminates the need for several dumping stations like you see intruding on campers in many other campgrounds.
Let’s talk circles, the campsites in the Tamerack circle, where we were located, are pretty much the same. This is a good thing, they are spacious, grassy, but the only downfall is that there are no shortcuts to the bathrooms, or the common areas, if you are camping on the outside of the circle. Each one of the campsites on the inside of the circle have their own path to this area which cuts your walking distance considerably. This is the only complaint we have with this area since we had to take the long way around to use the facilities which can be pain staking in the early morning hours. If you are lucky enough to find an empty campsite to walk through on the inside of the circle, however, it’s no trouble at all. Our only suggestion, with this circle, is to shoot for any inner campsite and you can’t go wrong. If you can’t get one of those campsites then it’s not the end of the world, either, because these sites are pretty awesome. We would like to point out that the traffic is one way through the circle, but sites 34, 1, 2, 3, and 4 are by the main entrance. For this reason we recommend avoiding these sites just because the campground traffic is funneled here.
The campsites on the Red Pine circle are decent for the most part, again spacious, grassy, but we could see a good rainstorm causing a mess with a few of the beginning sites, particularly 41, 43, and 45. We really don’t like campsites 48 and 50, on this circle, and would recommend avoiding them unless it was overcast and you rented them both at the same time. The reason being is that these sites are in the same open field, there is no shade, and the combined sites are actually a tad smaller than the rest.
The last one third of the circle, sites 53 – 63, are all fully shaded, bushy, areas with a lot more gravel. If you have a popup, or rent a cabin, in this area it could be quite lovely in the middle of the summer, when its hot, but you’re going to see a lot more bugs for sure. Again traffic in front of campsites 62, 63, and 64, can be busy at times, since this is the main access to both circles, so we would avoid those as well.
Beaver creek circle has some of the worst spots out of the bunch but we are using that term loosely. Worst here is equivalent to some of the honeypots we have picked out in other campgrounds we have reviewed and we would still certainly camp here. These sites are still comfortable, they are grassy, but there are several we would avoid if we could help it.
The campsites, in this circle, seem to be a bit smaller and a few of them are crowded up against one another which is why we put this circle at the bottom of our list. With the Beaver Creek circle you’re going to want to avoid sites 65, 93, and 91 because they are nestled on a point, and are quite literally back to back with one another as shown in the picture with the RV. We would also recommend staying away from sites 82 and 83 unless you get them both together. Again relatively small field, very open, no shade, little privacy.
The cabins are pretty standard for any campground, basically just a roof over a set of bunks, but unlike other campgrounds they actually have their own large private space. One item that we missed, and it is so far out of the way from the rest of the campground, is the cottage. We had no idea they even had a cottage until after we left and started really reviewing the map. With that said if you are looking for privacy, in the middle of nowhere, that might be a good spot for you since there seems to be nothing around it.
This place seems to have it all whether it’s biking, hiking, fishing, and even with the amount of area to cover, and places to explore, it is actually no trouble getting to our next talking point, the lake. Arctic Lake isn’t near any of the campsites, we would say its a good quarter mile from any of the circles but that’s ok. This is a public beach set up with pavilions, tables, grills, large grassy areas, trails, benches, and is just a great place to bring your family to spend the day. It’s far enough away from the campsites to not bother anyone, and it’s still technically part of the campground so its easy to get to.
The lake itself isn’t huge but the fish are plentiful right off shore. The DEC is very active here, making sure everyone is playing by the rules, so make sure you have a valid NY fishing license. The best part is that even though the lake isn’t far from civilization, it’s just far enough so that if you get a little rain shower, or two, during the day the entire beach seems to become exclusive to the campers. When we came here we had about 2 hours of rain in the morning, then partly cloudy around noon and in the afternoon. This was enough to keep most people away so a small group of us, from the campground, including our new friends, had the entire lake to ourselves which was pretty awesome.
There are also rental boats, and trails, available if you want to get away from the beach area and find yourself a spot that is a little more quiet.
Kimberly loves the quiet, her favorite thing to do while camping is to sit by the fire and read a book or magazine. Spencer is always on the move though, sometimes he likes to sit by the fire and just relax, but he mainly wants to get out and explore. So, he uses this time to run off with the children, or by himself, usually to fish…. Before you ask, yes he can read… we are sure of it!
This next part we are going to try and keep as short as possible because we would be here all day just repeating the same exact thing over, and over, again with each campsite. There are just so many great sites to choose from so we are only going to list the sites, with a direct rout to the comfort area’s, as preferred sites. If you can’t get one of these sites, again, its not the end of the world the campground is definitely worth going to on a guess. We also don’t have a honeypot with this campground because the entire campground is a honeypot. It is by far one of the best campgrounds we have been to in a long time, so here we go.
When it comes to Tamarack Circle the sites are all pretty spectacular. Again quiet, grassy, spacious they are just awesome. This includes the cabins which are well worth the money here if you choose to camp that way. Aside from the pictures we showed earlier in this post we chose to show site 10. As you can see the site is actually a bit smaller but is still quite large when compared to other campgrounds. You can also see the secluded, private trail to the restroom area just beyond with a little more brush helping to keep things rustic. Again, choose any campsite on the inside of the circle and you can’t go wrong.
When it comes to the Red Pine Circle Cabin 39, along with campsites 41, 43, and 45 are all nestled, a bit more, in the forest. They all have plenty of room although, as stated above, we could see the majority of them becoming a bit messy during a heavy rain. These sites are all across from the path leading to the comfort station and common area, so there is easy access to that. Along with sites 40, 42, 44, 46, 51, and 52 these are the places that you want to camp in this circle for maximum enjoyment. Campsites 56 through 60 are a bit more shaded, a lot more stone, a lot more brush, and they are much closer together. Because of this we would only recommend a popup, or a cabin here but these spots could be quite lovely in the hotter months. Note we did not include campsites 61-64 in this group, try to avoid those.
In the Beaver Creek Circle we really liked campsites 70, 72, and 73. These sites are just across the way from the path leading to the bathrooms/showers but then behind the sites you have a huge common area with a stream behind that. Again certain items were removed due to the pandemic, like swings, but they are large grassy areas big enough to play whatever you like, walk your dog, etc… The only downfall is that just beyond the stream is Rt 20 but this is a back road that doesn’t seem to see a lot of action, at least it didn’t while we were there.
That’s it friends, simple and sweet but here the sites are again in one easy to find group so you don’t have to keep jumping back and forth. We could talk about this place a lot more, but we are afraid we would just be repeating ourselves. In short we recommend that you visit this campground and for the maximum experience try to get one of the sites listed below.
- Site 8 (Cabin)
- Site 10
- Site 13(Cabin)
- Site 16
- Site 19
- Site 22
- Site 24
- Site 26
- Site 29
- Site 31
- Site 33
Red Pine Circle
- Site 35
- Site 39 (Cabin)
- Site 40
- Site 41
- Site 42
- Site 43
- Site 44
- Site 45
- Site 46
- Site 51
- Site 52
Beaver Creek Circle
- Site 68
- Site 70
- Site 72
- Site 73
- Site 80
- Site 87
We both give this place a very big thumbs up. We had a great time and we will be back here before the season is out, for sure. We just can’t say enough about this place, this campground is definitely going at the top of our list. As always if there is anything you would like to see, extra information, any advice, comments, or are just dropping by the say “hi” we would love to hear from you in the comments below. Until next time, stay safe, stay healthy, and as always happy camping.
–Kimberly and Spencer