By Alicia Dziak
With school out for the year and the holiday weekend upon us, the height of camping season has arrived! Whether you prefer roughing it under the stars, being deep in the woods or in a heated cabin near your neighbor, there’s something within a short driving distance of Springville to suit every camping style.
Head to Allegany State Park (ASP) for a hotbed of camping activities. ASP is New York’s largest state park, and boasts hundreds of camp sites and cabins on a variety of trails. There are even full-service cottages that include bathrooms for those who want to try camping but not quite ready to give up the comforts of home. Try to sneak in a couple nights before school lets out when the park isn’t as busy, or make plans to get there in the summer when there is an abundance of planned activities. Starting in late June and running through Labor Day weekend, visitors can enjoy a full schedule of programs during the week, such as guided hikes and educational programs. Each week, an artist in residence is featured, performing throughout the week around the park, and don’t miss Sally Marsh’s Thursday night Hootenanny sing-along at the Quaker Amphitheater, an ASP tradition. Of course, there are plenty of opportunities for hiking, biking, fishing, boating and laying low by the beach, as ASP offers amazing lakes, scenery and 65,000 acres to explore. For more information, visit www.reserveamerica.com.
Letchworth State Park also offers cabins and camp sites, and variety of other activities, the highlight of which include hiking along the gorge rim and checking out views of the three major waterfalls.
Evangola State Park features camp sites and yurts on the bluffs of Lake Erie, with trails leading down to a large sandy beach.
Reservations at state parks can be made at www.reserveamerica.com.
If you’re looking for something closer to home, Sprague Brook Park in Glenwood offers 123 campsites. Camping reservations can be made at www2.erie.gov.
Arrowhead Campground, located off Route 16 in Delevan, is a family owned and operated campground offering 200 sites and two deluxe cabins. There are plenty of things to do – rent a paddle or rowboat, go swimming or fishing, and enjoy one of three hiking trails. There is a large recreation hall with video games, pool tables, and more, plus horseshoe pits, volleyball and four playgrounds. For more information, visit www.arrowheadcamping.com..
Onoville Marina Park, located on the Allegheny Reservoir, offers camping in the largest inland marina in New York State, as well as views of the sparkling water and the lush green forested hills of the Allegheny Mountains. You can experience 91 miles of non-commercialized shoreline with secluded bays, as you take advantage of campsites accessible only by water. For more information, visit www.OnovilleMarina.org.
Head to Franklinville’s Shamrock Pines Campground, which is under new ownership this season. The campground offers large lakefront or wooded sites, fishing, hiking, a playground, a pool, horseshoes, a recreation hall and an arcade. For more information, visit www.shamrockpines.com.
The Woods at Bear Creek in Franklinville, offers “glamping”—glamorous camping in deluxe cabins or floored tents. Amenities include an Olympic-sized pool, a large lake for swimming and boating, and an on-site, full-service restaurant. For more information, visit thewoodsatbearcreek.com.
EVL Yurts and Recreation is a brand-new campground offering a furnished yurt and game areas, with hiking trails and scenic spots to relax. Visit them on Facebook for more info.
Of course, depending on your camping style, there are dozens of other area campgrounds to choose from. Combine your adventure with a waterpark and roller coasters at Darien Lake, book a night in the cabin at Beaver Meadow, where you can be one with nature and take evening strolls around the beaver pond, head to Jellystone for a full lineup of planned activities, or take a road trip and check out the many places across the state.
If you’re like me and think that there’s no better way to spend a summer weekend than waking up late, breathing in the fresh air, hiking, biking, kayaking and filling the day with active, non-electronic fun, then ending the evening with a campfire and great conversation, then camping is for you. The season is short, so don’t miss out on your chance to go this season!