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Champlain Adult Campground – Grand Isle, VT

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (41 votes, average: 3.32 out of 5)
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Champlain Adult Campground is in an excellent location and has great facilities, but we do not expect to return because camping should be enjoyable and relaxing.

We are a NYC-based professional couple in our 30’s, we drive a VW Westfalia, and we have camped all over the U.S. -Martha’s Vineyard, Glacier National Park, Bahia Honda, Big Sur. We’re experienced.

In August of 2009 we booked a week of outdoor fun at Lake Champlain Adult Campground. It seemed like the nicest property in the area. Hands down the facilities and location are outstanding: manicured grounds, spacious sites, gorgeous views, clean restrooms, nice fellow campers. But by the end of our (shortened) stay we decided not to return.

The posted speed limit is in this campground is 5 mph. And 10, even for the first 100 yards upon on arrival might as well be a felony. -We learned the hard way. It was 4 pm, we’ve been driving for 6 hours, we’re anxious to get to camp, and we almost miss the turn because the road sign is a bit small. No biggie, we think, and we turn in at about 15 mph. A man (JC) was cutting the lawn, and right away he yelled at us to slow down. We slowed down quickly, but safely, and continue toward the office. When he got to the office he reminded us: “Five MPH is the cardinal rule!” and “seasonal campers are number one around here, and they don’t like dust!” Despite our apologetic response, this is how things began.

After realizing who we were and that we had paid in advance for most of our stay, JC took us to our site. Very nice. Since it was getting dark, our focus was setting up, but JC returned twice in the space of two hours to collect the rest of the fee. And he could not accept a debit or credit card payment. Cash or check only. We apologized again and explained that we would get cash as soon as we had a chance to go to an ATM, and we continued to set up camp. Then we departed to visit some friends nearby. Dinner at our friend’s home turned into an overnight stay, so job one upon our return to camp the next morning was to pay the fee. Cash. In full.

The next few days we had a good time swimming in the beautiful lake and dock area, running, biking, cooking out, and enjoying the spectacular sunsets and other scenery. But JC never seemed far away. I felt like we were under constant surveillance.

Our friends. She is 70 and he is 80. We met them on the beach of the Bay Islands on our honeymoon. They have owned an historic camp in Grand Isle for 40 years. Since they were so gracious on our first night in Grand Isle, we wanted to return the favor: Home-made paella cooked over an open fire in my Dutch oven, and a good Malbec. Things were fine until JC showed up just dinner to let us know that our guests had “parked in the wrong place” and “Who are you? Why haven’t you registered? I pay $35,000 per year here in liability insurance, and guests are required to pay a $6 visitor fee”. We enjoyed the rest of the evening, but in the morning my wife and I decided to cut short our stay.

We departed unannounced two days before we had planned to go and we spent an impromptu additional two days in Montreal before retuning to our home in New York City.

We represent the future of upscale camping. This campground is in a gem of a location but we will not return. Our suggestion: raise your rates a bit, hire professional to manage your resort, and stay out of the way. Until then, we’ll camp elsewhere.

2 Comments

  1. I think you folks are spoiled rotten! This owner works very hard to keep this place clean, pristine and in order for everyone. The folks in the westfalia should have gone to thier friends camp to set stakes. Why not you spent the first night away? This place is great AND the owners are perfectly friendly!

  2. We had a similar experience at this campground this summer. While I must say the grounds are beautiful and the location is great, our experience with the owner was less than pleasant. We couldn’t put down a mat, couldn’t use our awning, couldn’t put stakes in the ground, couldn’t park a second car near the camper and couldn’t use the air conditioner unless we paid some outrageous fee per day. We were given no map of the campground. When we arrived we had to walk down a path, through a field to the owner’s garage where the “office” was only to find a very unfriendly welcome. When the “seasonal” occupant next door arrived and turned on her lights it kept tripping the breakers so our power kept going out. Again, another encounter with the grumpy owner. I can assure you, we will never go back!

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