State/National FORESTS versus State/National PARKS
Have dog will camp? If that’s you, then you’ll want to prick up your ears for this article. Getting outside and camping with my dogs is one of my favorite things to do. I’ve discovered some key differences between camping at state parks versus state forests, though, and I think you’ll be keen to hear about them.
I have now camped at one of each of these categories: state park, state forest, national park, national forest. In my experience, state parks are busy. Very busy. Even the smaller campgrounds usually have multiple campers, RVs, and people everywhere. I’ve had to find backpacking or walk-in sites to get away from the hustle and bustle (and to get a decent night’s sleep). There is an upside, though. They typically have great amenities like showers, modern restrooms, fresh water plentifully available, and even wifi.
The best camping experience I've had so far was at a state forest rustic campground. It was serene, secluded, quiet, and you could actually hear the sounds of nature at night. Best sleep of my year!
If you’re looking for the condensed version, here’s a quick run-down on pros/cons of camping with your dog at State/National Parks vs State/National Forests:
National or State Parks
Amenities (showers, modern restrooms, wifi, several water sources, electrical hookups, hosts, firewood for sale on site, rangers)
Access to trails
Lots of people
Dogs not allowed in cabins
Kids, bikes, busy
Loud at night
More expensive fees
National or State Forests
Less Expensive fees
Not often hosted
Not all sell firewood
Rustic amenities (pit-style toilet, hand pump for water)
Not always trail access