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.


Sawmill Camping Resort

Freedom Valley Campgrounds

Jones Pond Campground & RV Park

Oz Campground

Lizard Landing

Camp Mars

The Woods Campground

Roseland Resort

In The Woods Campground

Campit Outdoor Resort



Other favorites and comments respondents made about them:


Joe’s Hideaway

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.


Camp Buckwood

8670 Spearsville Rd

Morgantown, IN 46160

Campers and staff are great and make you feel at home.


Camp David

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.


Hillside Campgrounds

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.


Roy’s Hideaway

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

Member-owned nonprofit.


Vitambi Springs

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.