Located on the southern shore of Lake Ontario is Hamlin Beach State Park, an area as rich in history as it is in recreation. The park was originally established in 1938, but it wasn't known for attracting tourists during those days. In fact, from 1944 to 1946 German POWs were housed at the park in the buildings that the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) used while establishing the park. Most of the buildings in the park were constructed by the CCC, however, most people now visit the park for the exceptional views of Lake Ontario and great fishing and swimming opportunities.
Hamlin Beach State Park offers RV visitors unique natural attractions like the Devil's Nose, which is a beautiful tree-covered bluff. Visiting the park is more than just a day at the beach, getting to experience and explore the unique ecosystem can be a surreal experience for any nature lover. Visitors to the park can also enjoy hiking, biking, boating, interpretive programs, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. It's hard to go wrong when it comes to choosing what to do at Hamlin Beach State Park. With over 250 RV-friendly campsites, there's nothing holding you back from enjoying all that the park has to offer.
RV Rentals in Hamlin Beach State Park
Transportation in Hamlin Beach State Park
Hamlin Beach State Park is located just 25 miles west of Rochester, New York and is fairly easy to locate. It isn't out in the boonies or off of some small dirt road, it is located just off of the Lake Ontario State Parkway. The roads within the park are paved, although some of them are winding, leading many overnight visitors to choose to tow an extra vehicle. If you take advantage of this option you'll probably find it easier to get around and find parking.
There are plenty of areas to park around the park, but not necessarily right by what you want to see. For example, you'll have to hike or bike a good way to see Devil's Nose. You have to pay to tow an extra vehicle, but you can park it at your campsite since each site allows two vehicles. You can always hook up the trusty bike rack to your RV and bike your way around Hamlin Beach State Park. The trails and roads both allow biking, so you can get in a little cardio without totally wearing yourself out. Not to mention, it's faster than walking everywhere.
Campgrounds and parking in Hamlin Beach State Park
Campsites in Hamlin Beach State Park
Hamlin Beach State Park Campground
The campground at Hamlin Beach State Park is perfect for RV lovers, offering over 250 sites with electric hookups. Water spigots are interspersed throughout the campground to make up for the lack of water hookups, and a dump station is located along Camp Road. You can use a picnic table and fire ring right at your site.
The campground is split up into six medium-sized loops, half of which allow pets. The campground itself is just a short walk from the beach, and an even shorter drive. The loops operate from May to September or October.
Most of the sites are 40 feet long, but some are only 30 feet. Nevertheless, you'll likely be able to find a spot to accommodate your rig as long as it's not over 40 feet long. And just in case you forgot to pack some of the essentials in your RV, there is also a camp store located in C-Loop so you can restock.
Hamlin Beach State Park Campground
None of the sites are available only on a first-come, first-served basis. However, if any are available on the day of arrival, they are then assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. But making reservations is your best bet at ensuring you have a campsite that can fit your equipment.
Seasonal activities in Hamlin Beach State Park
Whether you bring your own a boat or rent one before arriving, you can't leave the park without boating on Lake Ontario. Both kayaks and canoes are allowed on the lake and various launch options are available. Venturing out onto the lake allows you to get unparalleled and unobscured views of one of the five Great Lakes. Not only is lake gorgeous, it's also relaxing and grounding for many visitors, reminding you of your own small size.
Hiking in Hamlin Beach State Park is one of the best ways to see the various landscapes and all the wildlife that inhabits the area during your RV trip. Luckily for visitors, six miles of hiking and biking trails are available in the park. A favorite of many visitors is the trail along the shore of Lake Ontario. It starts at the east end of the park by one of the boat launches and continues all the way down to the Devil's Nose.
There are multiple bodies of water within the park, but not all of them allow fishing. However, some areas, like Howden Pond, do allow fishing, so be sure to bring your rods. Fishermen can cast their line out and see what nibbles, usually it's black bass and bluegill, but it's also a popular area for trout and salmon, so who knows what you might snag. If nothing bites, you at least got a spend an afternoon along the scenic lake and see a fair share of beavers, herons, and frogs.
Civilian Conservation Corps Self-Guided Tour
History buffs will love making their way along the CCC Self-Guided tour within the park that takes you through the barracks that once housed the CCC workers and later POWs. Posts are placed along the tour to mark areas of significance, interest, or historical importance, such as small trinkets or artifacts that have remained. Of course, you don't have to do the tour during the off-season, but there's likely to be less crowded during these months, giving you more time to really bask in the history and importance of the area.
Even though camping isn't allowed during the winter, there is still plenty to do at the park. Being along a great lake means the area experiences heavy snowfall, making the hiking and biking trails ideal for cross-country skiing. You can glide along the trails while taking in your snow-covered surroundings and spotting the winter wave of wildlife in the park. Snowmobiling is also allowed during the winter, but you have to have your own snowmobile and the right license to use it.
Hamlin Beach State Park, a recognized Important Bird Area, is the perfect place for any bird lover to see some cool and uncommon birds. Common avian species at the park include the bank swallow, green heron, great blue heron, red-headed woodpecker, and other marsh-nesting birds, as well as more uncommon species such as the least bittern. Whether you're new to bird-watching or a more seasoned watcher, don't forget to pack your binoculars in your RV.