Camping in the wild outdoors is an enduring memory for many. Whether that memory includes a small leaky tent, a rustic wooden cabin, a travel trailer or a luxurious motorized coach, chances are it brings a smile each time it happens across your consciousness. Places of relaxing quietude become meshed in our life script, regularly returning us to moments when life truly was wonderful, even when the recollection dates to a time decades removed.
Moving away from home and youth, particularly when that move entails a new urban environment, life and time easily draw new stimuli and persons into our existence and fond memories of time spent in the quiet solitude of camping abate. Out of sight out of mind as the adage has it.
Yet, it’s still there. That place, that moment, that sunset, that rushing river carrying rafts, kayaks and swarming schools of fish, that soaring mountain peak capped with snow and draped with chutes of scree and soaring cliffs hovering above tree lines patiently awaits the next person to hold it in their awe.
Now there is gay camping. Places set across the nation without plan, sometimes a thousand miles apart, others moments away exist to return us to distant memories wrapped in our current expectations of quality, entertainment, and access.
We have known of gay camping for a long time and each year more and more gays discover it for themselves. More and more gay men and lesbians are rediscovering the pure fun of stepping away from their everyday lives and if only for a weekend, choose to relive times long forgotten.
Twenty-four, of almost 150, gay campgrounds in North America are represented in an online poll of gay campers where I asked respondents to name their favorite gay campground. The top ten favorites are ordered by the raw number of responses.
Many of the winners are proud program participants of Friends With Benefits, a program offering half price memberships at participating properties with a valid membership at another.
A commonality that runs through each of the top gay campgrounds is the sense of family that campers engender. That sense of family is perhaps the single greatest draw LGBT have to their campgrounds across the U.S.
The poll was open to anyone though responses were limited to one per IP address. Open for five months, the poll reports on gay campgrounds from across the U.S.
Sawmill Resort in Florida came out on top as the favorite gay campground in North America, perhaps not surprisingly as it is one of the largest, is open year around and actively markets in many channels, working hard to improve a once lagging image.
Freedom Valley in Ohio surfaces as the second favorite, again no surprise, it being a well-run facility conveniently located to much of Ohio and operated by committed owners who truly value their seasonal campers. Jones Pond in New York rounds out the top three gay campgrounds in North America primarily driven by a deep sense of community in its seasonal campers, its commitment to quality of operations and its verdant property.
All of the 24 campgrounds and resorts represented in the poll data are good to great outdoor venues and overall winners are as much a result of the quality of their operations as their willingness to get their supporters to vote for them in the poll. Some great gay campgrounds, such as Vitambi Springs in Florida, simply chose not to promote the poll to their supporters.
Each of the following articles is summarily written from comments that respondents made in their survey entry. Though I have visited each of the 10 favorite gay campgrounds, the articles describe them as campers see them, in their own words.
Now let’s see what makes a great gay campground and how each stack up with the others.
Other favorites and comments respondents made about them:
928 Valley Road
Washington, NH 03280
Nestled in the New Hampshire woods, this is the best gay campground because you really feel welcome by Joe and Rich, who are great hosts.
The Rivers Edge
2311 Pulliam Mill Road
Dewey Rose, GA 30634
The staff is superb, the owners are continuously making improvements, and the campers are friendly and diverse. There is a real sense of family.
Bluff Creek Falls
11225 Loop Road
Steele, AL 35987
Very rustic, not a lot of bull going on.
8670 Spearsville Rd
Morgantown, IN 46160
Campers and staff are great and make you feel at home.
2000 S Bishop Point
Inverness, FL 34450
Always fun and easy to get in and out of with a big rig.
Oneida Campground & Lodge
2580 East Lake Road
New Milford, PA 18834
A very friendly and inclusive place. You’ll feel right at home on your first visit.
Crooked Lake Resort
2225 6700 Road
Horsefly, BC V0L10 Canada
Located off the grid in the Caribou country in British Columbia, you need to love the wilderness, see the wildlife, hear the loons and enjoy a rustic outdoor adventure.
948 Creek Road
New Milford, PA 18834
Amazing guys, fantastic time in the best gay campground in PA.
Circle JJ Ranch
1104 Amsterdam Rd SE
Scio, OH 43988
Very friendly owners.
268 Catfish Lane
Collins, GA 30421
Very friendly staff, always a great time.
Southern Comfort Campground
50 SE 74 Ave
Cross City, FL 32628
The owners are very caring. The grounds are kept nice and neat and the pool is always wonderful.
Starlite Trailer Lodge
5955 Globe Rd
Lenoir, NC 28645
Nestled in the mountains of North Carolina, a favorite campground. The staff is friendly and helpful, it's quiet, the other campers are friendly, and the facilities are well maintained.
Triangle Recreation Camp
47715 Mountain Loop Hwy
Granite Falls, WA 98252
28280 Etumakee Way
Clewiston, FL 33440
The staff is awesome the facilities are well maintained and the campers are welcoming to everyone. There’s a great bar and restaurant.