Niagara Falls area
We left the Finger Lakes area just before the rain came. The weather forecast was looking good for Niagara Falls. We had a quick overnight at Lakeside State Park, then we headed to Four Mile Creek State Park, which is on Lake Ontario and about a 25 minute drive from Niagara Falls State Park. I forgot to photograph the campsite, but it looked very much like the campsite at Lakeside State Park, posted below.
We set up camp and went to check out Devil’s Hole State Park and Whirlpool State Park. After a lot of walking and hiking, we went to the town of Lewiston, which is about halfway between the falls and our campground. It is a very cool small town. They were just packing up after their fall festival. There was a microbrewery/barbeque place with a nice outdoor patio. It was a perfect way to top off the day.
The next day we went to Niagara Falls State Park. Neither of us had ever been there and we were just blown away by the size of the falls. There were no brochures or maps, just a large sign with a map on it, labeling all of the sights. We just assumed if something was on this map, we should see it (once again, New York State Parks not providing much information). That strategy worked for us. We walked everywhere, all day. We walked to the visitor center, to see if there was any info or history. There was no information, only souvenirs. The popular viewing areas were pretty crowded, even on a Monday in September. I noticed a lack of safety features, some crowded rickety stairs and loose hand railings. We limited our visit to the American side, not wanting to deal with a border crossing. We didn’t track our mileage, but we figure we walked at least 7 miles. The food concessions didn’t look too appealing, so we headed back to the barbeque place in Lewiston.
Allegheny State Park
After two nights at Four Mile Creek, we headed to Allegheny State Park. It was somewhat on our way home and the photos online looked beautiful. We spent two nights there. We hiked, checked out the historic administration building, the fire tower, the dam, Thunder Rocks and drove around the park. The park has a lot of cabins and some very nice paved bike paths. They were not on the map we received at check-in, but I think they are new. The map we had was drawn by hand and probably 30 or more years old. There was no cell service or internet, so we were thankful to have it. We happened to get a campsite that wasn’t difficult to back into. One highlight for us, was hearing an owl while we were hiking late afternoon, the first day.
We had never been to Eerie, so we decided to check it out for a night on our way home. Our brewer friend, Kristy, moved there a couple of years ago from Detroit, so we planned to try to meet up with her. Unfortunately she was traveling for work, but gave us some tips on where to go and what to see. Lampe Campground, run by the Eerie Western PA Port Authority, was very nice. The sites are easy, paved back-in sites, perfect for a quick one-night stop. We apparently “won the lottery” by getting a site there. It is very popular with fishermen, as it is located on Lake Eerie, near Presque Isle State Park.
Eerie has a nice waterfront area with outdoor bars and restaurants. It looks like a fun place to spend time in the summer. Mid-week in September, there were no people there and many places were not open. We drove around the city and checked out a couple of microbreweries recommended by Kristy. We had a pretty good impression of the town and would definitely return.
Maumee Bay State Park
We wanted to go someplace new in Ohio, on our way home. We also did not want to tow the fifth wheel through downtown Detroit on a Friday afternoon, when rush hour starts early. Maumee Bay State Park is about 11 miles east of Toledo. It is located at the site of Niles Beach, a community of vacation cottages that was destroyed in a storm in 1972. The campsites are level, well-spaced and have plenty of foliage between them. All of the campsites appeared to easily accommodate large rigs. We did not check out the beach area, but the entire campground was really nice. We were fortunate to not be near some large groups and families, meeting up for the weekend. Best of all, we had a short, easy Saturday morning drive through Toledo and Detroit.
The second half of our trip ended up being very different than planned, but it was pretty fun! After 118 nights of camping, we planned to watch the weather and head north again or even camp somewhere near home. After a couple of weeks at home, the weather did not cooperate, so we winterized the rig and stored it for winter. Next camping trip – Florida!
We spent one night at Lakeside State Park, which is about 50 miles east of our Niagara Falls campground. It is on Lake Ontario. It allowed us to arrive fairly early to start sight-seeing the next day. We met a friendly camper there, who told us about Whirlpool State Park and Devil’s Hole State Park, which we had never heard of. We otherwise might have missed them.