My husband and I are from Toronto and wanted to go "border shopping" in NY (which we do a couple times a year) and we decided to turn it into a little camping adventure as well. Hey, if you stay over the border 48 hrs, you get $400 each allowance in duty! I looked at a whole bunch of State Parks in upstate New York online (mainly finger lakes region) and I picked ASP because the reviews of it online were unanimous - people love ASP! Now I'm one of them.
I've never been camping at a campground before - just at friend's cottages, etc. I really didn't want some place where you were camping pretty much on top of strangers and didn't have any privacy. I was pleased with ASP.
The park was a 1.5hr drive south of Buffalo, so it was very reasonable as a little side-trip from our "border shopping". The drive was very pretty through the Allegany region - and we went when all the trees were green! I imagine it's stunning when the fall colours come in.
They have 2 main park areas, Quaker and Red House, each with its own lake. Quaker Lake is 2x the size of Red House Lake. Because we wanted space and privacy, we chose Quaker (Red House has more amenities, but is busier). I used the online booking system through the NY State Park website, and I selected a campsite in "Cain Hollow" 3 days in advance of our trip - which was during the weekdays in August. We were not disappointed. The Quaker campsites are significantly more spacious than the Red House sites. The entire Cain Hollow area is a series of looping roads that run around a wooded hill - so many of the sites are tucked into their own little clearing in the woods and are very private. If you are looking to select one of these sites, I recommend checking it out on Google Satellite view because you can see the camping area and get an idea of which sites are wooded vs. out in the open. Just compare what you're seeing on the satellite view against the layout of the campsites on the NY State Park booking site and you can pick a specific site that way.
I had heard from reviews that the washroom and shower facilities at Quaker were "rustic", so I was expecting something in worse repair. However, I found that the washrooms nearest our campsite (at least the women's!) were completely satisfactory. 3 bathroom stalls and 2 shower stalls - kept clean and totally functional. My husband did say that the men's bathroom toilets got clogged and it took them 24hrs to fix them though. I took a shower in the afternoon one day and the water was cold - I guess the hot water had just run out. Showers in the morning were warm - but still not totally hot.
The lakes are beautiful, and there is TONS to keep you occupied at this place. Bring your bikes and rollerblades because there are paved paths for use. Also bring your running shoes because there are jogging & hiking trails, basketball courts. We rented a paddle boat for an hour and paddled around Red House lake one afternoon - it was lovely. There are more activities at the Red House area than at the Quaker area, but you can use the Red House activities even if you're staying at the other campsite. Red House lake is the only one with boat rentals & a mini putt course. Both areas have a general store that is open quite late that has all essentials and staff to help you if you need to talk to someone. During the day, both general stores also scoop ice cream and it was delicious! There is swimming in both lakes, and the water is a great temperature for mid-summer cool offs!
We took one of the hiking trails up around Red House lake one afternoon and climbed up a Forest Fire Lookout - it was pretty cool! There was a Park Ranger at the top that taught us about the history of the park and fire watch methods through the last 100 years.
If you like wildlife, this would be a lovely park for you. During our drives through the park and hikes we saw many white-tailed deer and chipmunks. There is a large bird-watching meadow around Quaker lake - if we were there for a longer period of time, I would have parked a chair in the meadow and sat and watched them in the quiet. It seems that fishing is very popular in the creek that runs off of Quaker lake - but not so busy that you would not be able to find your own little bend of the creek to yourself. They were fishing for trout when we were there. We did not see any bears, but we did our best to thoroughly follow the bear precautions.
I think that's all that I can say for that - just wanted to let the world know that ASP is a great camping experience!
- Also Known As:
- Allegany State Park Campground Hotel Salamanca