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Old 07-11-2009, 02:32 PM   #1
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NYS Parks, Fair Haven, Cayuga, Sampon, Darien Lake need info

Hi Fellow New Yorkers

Need some help on a NYS campgrounds

This September we are working our way thru NYS on the way to Nicks Lake in for the fall M & G.

We have 3 state park campgrounds in mind and wanting to know if anyone has been to either and any feed back etc. Both look nice and not enough time to do both...

1. Cayuga State Park on the top of Cayuga Lake in the Finger lakes region. http://nysparks.state.ny.us/parks/info.asp?parkID=9

2. Fair Haven Beach State Park up north of that area on the shore of Lake Ontario. http://nysparks.state.ny.us/parks/info.asp?parkId=34

The NYS parks site really does not give any picís of the campground. So I have snuck in using Virtual Earth and seen sort of what they look like. Both look very nice and both are wooded. Which is our kind of camp ground. Fair Haven looks more in the woods and the Bluff area electric section looks very nice. At least what you can see from an air plane view.

And now on edit, I'll add a 3rd one. Sampson State Park on the north east side of Seneca Lake. I see a few campsites down by the water that look really nice.
http://nysparks.state.ny.us/parks/info.asp?parkId=100

Anyone ever camped at either or visited them to help break the tie?

Also as part of our return trip we are looking at Darien Lake State Park. Anyone ever camped there?
http://nysparks.state.ny.us/parks/info.asp?parkId=63

Thanks

John and Cindy
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Old 07-11-2009, 05:43 PM   #2
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John--I've spent the day in Cayuga and Fair Haven, and camp every year at Sampson.

Sampson has benefitted from its 25 year long association with a huge dog show circuit that takes over the park during the last week of September every year (this year, we're there from Sep 23-27, and I think the park is closed to outside reservations from Sep 20-27. The dog show revenue has meant that all of Sampson's shower houses, most of its fire-rings and picnic tables and most of its campground loops have been redone. The campground has also doubled its capacity from 200 sites in 1989 to over 500 sites for the dog show. Loop 6 is the loop the dog show built--essentially campsites for fully contained vehicles or tenters, with a great view of the lake and ready access to the marina, but no hookups.

Aside from loop 5 (the loop with waterfront sites), I think loop 3 is prettiest. It has the most trees, the largest sites, and it's an easy walk down to the water and the marina. The waterfront sites at Sampson down in Loop 5 are WONderful. There is a treeline between the campsites and the shoreline, and trees along the road around the loop, so you get some shade and protection from the wind off the lake but for the most part have large open areas on each site. Seneca Lake is beautiful, but it can be tough to walk down to the water from most of the campsites. It's easiest from sites 222 and 224, both of which are huge with open areas and trees around the edge, and a relatively easy walk down to the water if you're nimble. Water access from sites is NOT handicap accessible; you need to go down to the marina/beach for handicap-accessible waterfront.

Also, even though it's a bit distorted on the ReserveAmerica map, sites 230 and 232 are directly across the road from the shower house and restrooms. The area behind sites 234-245 isn't exactly a full treeline. The treeline along the shore continues, but the treeline along the road angles up creating a large open (unmown) field between two treelines (one on the water side.) There are no water hookups on the lakefront side of the loop. And it can be very windy on the lakefrong sites; when we're on site 230 or 232, we place the trailer perpendicular to the lake to help with wind control. When the wind comes up, I've seen it take out some very big awnings; we camp in a rented trailer at Sampson, so we're always pretty careful.

Make sure to visit the Soldiers and Sailors museum at Sampson.

I hope to camp at Cayuga later this summer; after I actually camp there, I can give you a better description. I've only been in the day-use area.

Fair Haven is sort of wooded, but the Bluff area is pretty far from the waterfront. Cayuga is a lot more wooded.

Never been to Darien Lake, so no information.

Hope this helps.
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Old 07-11-2009, 07:34 PM   #3
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John,

Like Gaelen, we love Sampson SP and try to get over there at least once a year.

It was a hastily-built basic training center for the US Navy in WWII. It got mothballed for a while after the war, and was at one time or another a college and a center for convalescing veterans. There was a large military hospital just to the south, and that property is about to be converted to a new military cemetary.

For the Korean Conflict, it was re-activated as basic training for the Air Force and a large runway was built inland. The inland area to the east and north of the base eventually became the famed Seneca Army Depot. Sampson closed after the Korean war ended, and by the late '50's or early 60's, it was handed over to New York State. Most of the buildings were removed and the land was allowed to revert to forest. Thus was born Sampson State Park.

One of the few buildings left is the old brig. It has been converted into a wonderful museum. Half is devoted to the naval presence in WWII, and the other half to the Air Force period. Thousands of soldiers passed through and many come back to visit.

Most of the roads are still there, but no buildings. The area above the camping area is just miles and miles of roads to nowhere intermingled with forest. My then 5 year old grandson and I spent hours riding those roads a couple of years ago. That's where he really learned how to ride a bicycle well. It is still a great place to bike, hike, or run. There's no traffic on most of the roads.

The large airstrip became part of the Seneca Army Depot which was reputed to be THE storage area for much of our nuclear arsenal for many years. It was not uncommon to see really big military aircraft coming and going at all hours of the day and night.

The depot has been decomissioned and much of the land is now being developed for light industry, the county prison is now there, and several youth development programs are now housed there. The ordnance storage areas are being cleaned up. And that huge airfield has been turned over to the county for their public safety training center. The New York State Troopers and many other law enforcement agencies use the airstrip for high speed pursuit training among other things.

Oh yeah, inside the old depot property which is still fenced resides one of the largest populations of albino white tailed deer in the world. They are pretty much protected there, and and any drive around the place will result in many sightings of these beautiful creatures.

We only live about an hour or so to the west of Sampson, and it's just a great place.

Fairhaven is reputed to be very nice, but we've never camped there. Of course if you want to go to the Renissance Faire in Sterling, that's just down the road. I don't know if there would even be campsites available on Faire weekends as it is just super popular.

Cayuga and Darien Lake both have good reputations, but I can't vouch for them personally.
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Old 07-12-2009, 08:19 AM   #4
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Gaelen

WOW!!!! Super thanks Thank you so very much for taking the time to help me out with such a great review. Had no idea about the dig show. We have 2 options for the Sampson area, one on the Sept 12/21 time frame. So it look like we will just miss the dog show. Iíll check out the loops you discussed if we end up going there.

Steve

Super WOW and thanks to you too I read some of the history of Sampson on line but notin the detail you provided. You want a part time job working for NYS park service? LOL. I also saw Honeoye on the map in central NY as I was hunting over the state for parks and directions. I saw Honeoye (unique name and a nice lake too) and thought no that canít be the same one, it had to be a different one. Some how I had you more NE NY. Why, have no ideaÖ.preconceived notions. So your in the finger lakes region. Remember that area as being very beautiful like a lot of NYS. When we use to go to the State Fair years ago we would stop into that area. Plus I know Rt 20 well and it goes thru that same area.


Sunline Club is truly unique. Fellow campers taking time to help fellow campers. Itís amazing!. Thanks again and any more responses gladly welcome. It seems all the parks are great to go too, just need more time to go camping and check em all outÖ. Still undecidedÖ

Thanks Folks

John and Cindy
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Old 07-12-2009, 09:43 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnB
GaelenWOW!!!! Super thanks Thank you so very much for taking the time to help me out with such a great review.
no problem...Sampson is one of my favorite state parks. It's also right in the middle of the Finger Lakes Wine Country, so if winery tours are something you like...

Quote:
We have 2 options for the Sampson area, one on the Sept 12/21 time frame. So it look like we will just miss the dog show. Iíll check out the loops you discussed if we end up going there.
I also should mention that this year's Tin Can Tourist's NE Rally will be at Sampson on September 17-20, which looks like one of the weekends you're considering. In that case, you'll have a lot of entertainment right in camp. My Sunspot qualifies as 'vintage,' and last year I went to their 1st rally at Sampson, met some great folks and saw some amazing trailers. I had to go camper-less last year because it was an after-chemo week and I wasn't up for camping, but I really want to go this year!

The TCT rally campers will be in loop 2, which is nearest to the camp office and the big indoor room they use for morning and evening gatherings, films, videos, and teach-ins. At this time, their rally is close to full for the sites they've reserved in loop 2, but the park itself is NOT full (plenty of sites left.) I am hoping to be at the rally, but not yet sure if I'll be in a rally site in loop 2, or in a loop 4 site that backs up to the sites in loop 2. ReserveAmerica hasn't confirmed me yet... ;(

TCT forum rally thread: http://preview.tinyurl.com/kjao8w
rally info: http://www.tincantourists.com/2ndnortheast.pdf
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Old 07-13-2009, 04:07 PM   #6
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We have stayed at Sampson and loved it. We were on site 226, closest loop to the lake. Nice wide and deep sites. We do plan on returning some day. Just remember that you have to bring your own water or fill there in the park before you set up.

If you are looking for other options to stay in NY, check out Golden Hill SP. It is about 30 miles east of the Niagara River, right on the shores of Lake Ontario. One of our favorite spots to camp. I did a post for it on this site.

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