Family Camping Review: Bald Eagle State Park

M ran in the Rothrock Challenge this weekend, so we decided to plan a little camping trip to Bald Eagle State Park, which is about 20 miles north of State College. It was really nice to be in the mountains.

The pros....
It was a standard PA state park campground. Clean bathrooms, including hot showers, firewood for sale in the park and a swimming beach. You aren't allowed to drink alcohol at the state parks, so even if people do indulge, they do it discretely. No loud partying types. I saw a lot of different birds.

The cons...
I could hear noise from the highway until pretty late into the evening (audible not deafening). The swimming area is in the same lake where motor boats are allowed, so the water is a bit, err, filmy. Nothing worse than swimming in the Atlantic, but no pristine mountain lake, either.

A bit about the weather...
Last weekend, it was in the 30s....this weekend it was near 90! I prefer camping in cooler weather. It just seems a lot easier to add layers to keep kids warm than to worry about sunblock and shade. However, Laurel really did like swimming at the beach and playing in the sand. The nice thing about man-made lakes in the mountains is that there are trees on the beach! Mark O and I just hung out there in the shade and he happily practiced rolling off the blanket.

On camping with kids....
It's kind of hard to make them sleep, especially in the summer when it is light so long. Mark O is still at an age where he'll conk out when he gets tired, but Laurel had a lot of trouble. If your kids will sleep in the car, try and plan some of your drives to coincide with nap time. We also need to get a bike for Laurel. All the kids ride their bikes around the campground and it's the perfect place since the traffic is slow and sparse.

I need to do some research on baby-friendly bug repellent ideas. My parents got us this awesome screened in dining canopy, but whenever we were out and about, Mark O had a lot of bugs on him. I ended up spraying his clothes with this Deet-free bug spray we have, but I wonder if I can put something directly on his skin.

The Marks.

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