We have been camping here for the past few years, and the kids absolutely love it. Every weekend has a theme (see their website) and our kids are at the right age to fully enjoy the events. All winter long, it is all that they talk about. "When are we going to Bucktail?!"
Sure, it's not a fancy place. The roads are all dirt and the sites are gravel. I always clean my truck before taking the rig out on a trip, but it will be covered in dust by the time you leave. Most of the sites are not level, and be sure you bring an extra long sewer hose, water hose, and power cord. The rides are older, but every single one of them has a current inspection sticker from the state of PA. The rides don't run very long or very often, but they have the schedule on a board every morning in front of the arcade letting you know what will be running and at what time. When the arcade game takes your quarter and doesn't work, just let the staff know (there is always someone at the arcade desk) and they will give you a quarter back. I personally enjoy the way the campground is set up and the older "rustic" setting. There is plenty of shade all around the majority of the sites.
We have visited the campground tens of times over the past few years and only had one bad experience. It had rained and there was flooding, and many of their sites turned into complete mud. My fifth wheel sank up to its axles in mud. We didn't let it get to us though. We are tough campers! We stayed the whole weekend and built a sidewalk out of cardboard from the door to the road! Since then, all of those sites have been built up very high with gravel, and I have not seen it happen to anyone since. Obviously there was nothing they could do for us that day (besides getting us more cardboard!), but they did fix the problem so it won't happen to anyone else in the future. Then, during a different visit, a severe storm rolled through and broke one of my slide toppers. I went down to the office to ask if someone had a ladder so I could reach and she told me someone would be right up. A maintenance man (same one I see every year!) came right up (seriously, less than 5 minutes) and not only let me use his ladder, but got right up there with me with his tools and helped me make the repairs. It was greatly appreciated!
Even the park owner walks around the campground speaking with people and helping with the events. She drives the Jeep Grand Cherokee you see all around the campground and parked near the pavilion. It would appear that she enjoys seeing the kids happy. Just about everything at this place is included in the price. All the events, projects, rides (train, carousel, sky tower (which was new in 2013), Fire truck or hay wagon), mini golf (both courses) - all free. I haven't seen that at any other campground. The other campers that visit here are also very friendly in my experience. I usually end up making friends with our neighbors before we go. Sometimes you get a group of kids or teens that are picking on the other kids, but if you just say something to them about it, they disperse and go somewhere else. Nothing major. Also, it can be noted that the pool was new in 2012, and has been very clean (but very cold!) every time we have been there.
If you have a golf cart, be sure to bring it to this one! They do golf cart poker and other events, plus if you know all the areas (from the North Pole down to Bucky's fishing hole and over to the train) it can be quite a bit of walking. We also enjoy the hiking trail that seems to go up to the middle of nowhere. Can't take the golf cart on that trail - actually have to hike. The fishing hole is stocked with (small) fish.
In summary, this is one of our favorite campsites. In part, because it is somewhat-near to our house, but also because of the friendly, rustic atmosphere that they have created. I would not recommend the campground to couples without children, as everything is geared toward the kids. Even mid-teens would probably be too old to fully appreciate the park (which is why they seem to get into trouble). There is always something going on and things for our kids to do. We have already booked several trips there for 2014!
Side notes in response to some of the other reviews:
- I've run both of my air conditioners every year (or the electric fireplace during Halloween III) and never had a problem or been told it was against the rules.
- I will confirm that people do smoke around the campground. There is no smoking in the main pavilion, restrooms, or the arcade. They should not be carrying alcohol outside of their sites, and the staff will ask them to return to their sites when it becomes an issue or someone points it out.
- I see something new every year - pool in 2012, sky tower in 2013. I see near the main entrance that there are some other amusement park style rides that I would imagine they will install at some point. The staff is hinting toward numerous rides being installed down by the train entrance in the future.
- I agree with "Jennifer" - "Wendy the Witch" can be a bit much. She helps with the events but is very controlling with lots of rules and LOVES the mic. The kids can't stand around and wait for the fun to start. Let's just get to it already! She also made us walk back to the pavilion just to walk back down to the store for the ice cream raid. Then we were in line for that and had to move back six feet because we were too close to the door I guess. Hey, I'm just there to have a good time so I just go with it. The kids still enjoyed the ice cream! The Halloween festivities are great with plenty to do, but it does give you that "run down" vibe as many of the rides are closed or only run once in a day or weekend. The leaves are all off the trees, it's cold outside. Just in general, it feels run down. The impending doom of winter might have something to do with that.
- Quiet time starts at 10 or 11 at night. We don't stay in a tent, but we are usually up until about that time and I've never been kept up because of loud neighbors.
- Teens do get in the ball pit. I ask them to leave so my kids (2 and 5) can play and they do. The same group of teens are also the ones that break the animals on the train ride. The staff fix them back up all the time, but the teens keep breaking and/or stealing them. It happens. The staff will get involved with unruly teenagers if need be. They make regular walks down through the ball pit and buck-y-ball area. Give the office a call or stop by and they will send someone up there right away.
- Ask Mr. Cooper (the engineer) anything about the trains! He will gladly answer! His train rides are my kid's favorite part! They love his jokes!
- Their wireless internet is terrible. Unusable during bigger weekends or when the weather is bad. There is full bars of Verizon 4G service available, and we just use that instead.
- People (kids especially) will cut through your site to get to the playgrounds. They just do. It would be a good idea for the staff to set up designated paths, possibly roped off, so they will not cut through the sites. I don't really blame the kids though. It's either walk through my site or all the way down and around the other side. Some ropes and stakes could fix this minor issue though. In my opinion, it's not a huge deal, but some people get very upset if someone disrespects them by walking through their site. To each his own. I find that if you spread out your chairs and table in such a way that it looks like you're using all of the available space, they will cut through your neighbor's site instead. We just make it a game!
I hope you will consider what I have shared here and will give Bucktail a try. Don't go there expecting a five-star resort and amusement park with paved roads and rollercoasters. Instead, expect a relaxing stay in an old-fashioned, friendly, family owned campground. Let the kids have a great time, tiring themselves out on the playground, enjoying all the events, projects, and rides, and creating rivers and sandcastles in the gigantic sand pit. Your vacation is what you make of it! Just relax and let it happen!
- Also Known As:
- Bucktail Camping Hotel Mansfield