There’s always a first time for everything, so we thought of adding a chapter of camping in our travel anthology. We did camping at Watkins Glen State Park with kids. And it lived our expectations to the fullest.
Camping in Watkins Glen State Park
We were lucky to have experienced friends who did a lot of pre-planning for us – from booking the campsite at Watkins Glen State Park, NY to making the checklist.
With our excitement now soaring, we set out shopping for the most vital thing – a tent for our car camping adventure. We purchased a Columbia 4 person tent. It is within budget and great and durable to start off with.
Are you puzzled?
Wondering if we are going to camp in the car…..I was also inquisitive when I heard this term.
Car camping basically means driving up to the campsite rather than walking and carrying the gear. Thereby you have the luxury to pack extra stuff which can be intimidating though.
Since it was the first time, we planned on a 1 night stay to get a feel and see how the kids adjust. We reached our destination in the afternoon and started to set up our tent foremost.
We had tried it once back home to appraise ourselves. Our biggest helpers were our kids who had no limits to their exhilaration.
Watkins Glen State Park
Located in the village of Watkins Glen, Watkins Glen State Park is counted among the most scenic and most popular of the Finger Lakes State Parks. Its waterfalls and gorges leave you spellbound. Camping is the best way to admire the beauty of Watkins Glen.
The park has over 305 campsites with facilities like restrooms, showers, dumping station and firewood shop that make it easy for you to set your camp.
The State Park offers campsites and wooden cabins to book, although the cabins are fewer than campsites.
Other Facilities at the Watkins Glen State Park:
The State Park is beautiful with 19 waterfalls in the course of the stream through the gorge making it worth the hike.
There are food concession shops and gift shops inside the park.
The kids are in for a treat with playgrounds and huge swimming pool inside the facility that can be used.
Note: During the peak season the campsites do get booked very fast, so better to book them in advance. We booked our campsite nearly 3 months in advance.
Hiking the Gorge Trail at Taughannock Falls State Park
After getting our abodes ready, now was the time for some exploration.
Hiking seemed a perfect way to unfold the beauty of nature. We drove nearby to the Taughannock Falls State Park. Since we had kids, we chose an easy trail to the base of a waterfall.
It’s a 0.75-mile Gorge trail that leads to the base of the main waterfall. Gorge trail is open all year round and can be done easily with kids.
We had the company of a beautiful stream flowing, cool breeze blowing, a rustling of trees all along our trail. As we reached the base of the waterfalls, we were drenched by the mist and nature’s marvel.
After the adventure now was time for a hearty meal to satisfy our appetites. While heading to a campsite, we bought the firewood and filled the fire pit ready.
Why should kids be left behind?
They had fun collecting some wood from around for the grill. While the kids settled in to play some games and cards, the dinner was getting ready – corn, grilled veggies, baked potatoes.
The beautiful day had to definitely end on a sweet note, and what best by making S’mores. Slowly roasted marshmallows, oozing chocolate, sandwiched between graham crackers, so simple yet divine….you keep wanting for Some more.
What an evening – sitting by the campfire, relishing the food, affable company, lots of giggles, unplugged, under the blanket of twinkling stars… getting a glimpse of our ancestor’s life. This experience is so simple yet so profound.
We headed out to our tents to recede into our dreams and to wait for the glorious dawn.
Staying in the Watkins Glen and not exploring it would be wrong. So we head out in the morning for hiking The next day
Our Camping List for Watkins Glen State Park
- 4 person tent (since we are a family of 4)
- Footprint/ Tarp – a strong waterproof sheet to spread under the tent to prevent wear and tear.
- Air bed or sleeping bags – We prefer Intex air beds. If you plan to camp in all kinds of weather then prefer 3 season or all weather sleeping bags.
- Camping Light or rechargeable camping lantern
- Insect repellent
- After bite cream and After Bite for kids
- First aid kit
- Firewood/charcoal, lighter/matches/lighter fluid
- Food items, water
- Cooking Utensils, skewers, Disposable tableware, aluminum foil
- Garbage bags
- Games, cards, books for entertainment
The village of Watkins Glen has Walmart for your last-minute camping supplies.
Watkins Glen Camping Tips
- The campsites, especially at national and state parks, get booked fast, so plan and book well in advance.
- The nights can get a bit cold, hence pack extra layers/ full-lengths.
- Better to reach your campsite during the daytime, it will help set up your tent and get acquainted with the place. If it is your first experience, try to pitch the tent at home.
- If you plan to cook on the grill, get the coal or wood. Be aware of the regulations as most places only allow to get firewood locally. Don’t forget to put off the fire before sleeping by adding water.
USA travel guides and itineraries on our blog:
- New York 2-Day Itinerary for First-time Visitors
- The American Southwest Road Trip Itinerary
- Antelope Canyon, Arizona
- Free Things to do in Las Vegas, Nevada
- Death Valley National Park, California
- A Magical Weekend at Watkins Glen State Park
- Ocracoke Island in North Carolina
- Things to do in Outer Banks NC
- Kitchen Kettle Village in Lancaster PA
- Road Trip from Miami to Key West
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- Philadelphia Flower Show
- Indeblue Restaurant in Philadelphia
- Best Things to do in Philadelphia with kids
- Best Day Trips from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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