I just came home from a trip to Pennyrile State Park in Dawson Springs, and overall, a nice time was had. We brought our 3 kids, ages 12, 8, and 6 and stayed at the campground, site #10 in a pop-up camper.
Here are the CONS we experienced:
The site was not level for placing lawn chairs around it. The fire pit wasn't even level and sitting around it in the evening was somewhat of a challenge. The site was paved, however, my husband still had quite a hard time getting the pop-up level at this site. There was a very rocky, dirt patch (no grass) off the pavement for our chairs. Luckily, it did not rain while we camped or it would have been a muddy nightmare. Cigarrette butts were everywhere from previous campers - which I felt was either poor ground maintenance/management or lack of funding for such. Weeds were growing all around the campfire ring. The bathrooms were clean, but there was no air conditioning -- there were approximately 5 small box-size windows that were cracked open. It was like an oven in there on a 90 degree afternoon. The showers were nearly unacceptable. The shower heads in the women's bath didn't appear to have been changed in many years. Keep in mind, this state park opened in 1954 and doesn't appear to have changed much -- AT ALL -- since that time. Firewood was pretty expensive (in my opinion) at $5 per small bundle.
Here are the PROS:
Staff was friendly. The lake is lovely and we really enjoyed the paddle boat we rented. At $6.50 per hour, I thought that was very reasonable. The beach was OK. Park rangers patrolled the area regularly, and it felt safe. I did see other sites that I thought I would like better. I just don't recommend site #10. The kids enjoyed the mini golf on site at the campground.
HIKING is wonderful here. My family and I enjoyed a 2.25 mile hike around the lake and through the forrest. The path was easy to follow, except for a few downed trees and some up hill climbs. I felt somewhat challenged, which is good! There are also other shorter trails in th park, but I did not get a chance to experience them. The lodge isn't anything fancy but it was nice. The kids enjoyed some of the old-school stand up arcade games from the 80's in the game room and I picked out some helpful brochures. We got lucky because they held Camper Appreciation on Sunday afternoon, and welcomed the campers to come and swim at the pool. My daughters loved that part. It was very refreshing on a hot summer day. The pool area was very clean, but the patio furniture could certainly use some updating. No shade, and only one table with an umbrella that was broken. From the pool area, you can enjoy an amazing view of the lake below.
We probably won't be back, but that's only because I know there are several other campgrounds we still want to experience and enjoy. Maybe someday down the road...many years from now. A trip in late October to see the dazzling colors of the forrest might be worth the trip. It you want a very clean, well maintained campground to visit, especially if you have a pop-up or a large RV, you will love Columbus-Belmont State Park. The views of the Mississippi River and the surrounding grounds are amazing.
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- Also Known As:
- Pennyrile Forest State Hotel Dawson Springs