If you are looking for an untouched paradise for RV camping, Meacham Lake Campground in northern New York is the place for you. It is a beautiful destination for fishing enthusiasts, and it also features a range of activities for the whole family, including volleyball, horseshoes, and swimming beaches. Meacham Lake is an impressive 1,203 acres and offers over 200 campsites for campers looking to get away from city life. This lovely New York campground has been a popular destination for nature lovers, anglers, and hikers since 1934 when the first campsites were constructed. The campground is the only development around the lake. Otherwise, it is a scenic wilderness surrounded by the astonishing Adirondack Mountains. You will be able to see their stunning silhouettes straight from your lakeside campsite. The campground itself has many towering trees that house an abundance of local wildlife. Some of the species of birds you can spot include gray jays, spruce grouse, black-backed woodpeckers, common loons, and crossbills. In terms of larger animals, you can occasionally see a scuttling raccoon, beaver, deer, or river otter in the lake. There are two separate campgrounds to choose from. The campsites on the west side of the lake have some primitive walk-in sites with fewer facilities available. The main campground on the north side of the lake is designed to accommodate tents and RVs. There, facilities include an amphitheater, toilets, basketball courts, and picnic areas.
Thirty-four miles from Lake Placid, less than 100 miles from Adirondack, and an hour away from the Canadian border, you don’t have to go far to get to Meacham Lake Campground. No matter which way you are coming from, you will drive on NY-30 because Meacham Lake Campground is right off the highway in Duane, New York.
The closest town, Malone, is about 27 miles away from where you should be able to get all your basic needs, including gasoline. There are also some fast-food restaurants and grocery stores in town. While you are in town, don’t forget to buy some ice to keep your drinks and food cold. The roads heading into the campground are clearly marked, with the paved turn off quickly turning into a gravel road as it enters the forest surrounding the lake.
The campground roads are gravel, and most campsites are pull-through. Navigating in the campground should be no trouble for any vehicle configuration. In the winter months, however, its proximity to the Adirondack Mountains means the roads can get icy, so take caution while driving during the winter and early spring.
If you are interested in sites that are a little farther away from people, you might want to opt for the smaller campground on the west end of the lake. Each of the campsites has a campfire ring with a grill for cooking, a picnic table that seats six, and a large cleared space for hanging out around the fire. This campground includes some hike-in waterfront sites where you will have to leave the RV in the lot and camp under the stars. Many of the sites can accommodate RVs and trailers up to 30 feet in length.
Each waterfront site is separated by trees, allowing you to have a private beach experience just a few feet away from your camping spot. You will also have your own private outhouse if you stay at one of these beachfront sites. There are modern restrooms with running water in the loop and drinking water spigots scattered throughout the campground. Pets are welcome but must be accompanied and restrained at all times. You will also have to provide proof of rabies vaccine for your pet before you set up your camp for the night.
As you pass by the clear Scenic Pond on the way in, you will notice the thick canopies of mature trees that make this campground so rustic and rugged. There are 224 campsites located around the 1,203-acre Lake Meacham that are open from May to October. The campsites located at the main campground are closer to the playground, picnicking areas, and Wi-Fi. Most campsites provide privacy; however, you can choose to stay in more open and social campsites located near the gates. Each of the campsites has its own picnic table and campfire ring with a grill for cooking. This camping area also includes RV-friendly sites that accommodate vehicles up to 40 feet long, but the majority of sites range in size from 20-30 feet long. Hookups are not available, but you can use a generator for up to five hours a day.
Campground amenities include hot showers, flush toilets, a dump station, picnic areas, a recycling center, and plenty of on-site friendly staff available to answer any questions you may have. You can also buy certain supplies at the camp store like ice, firewood, and bait. Pets are welcome, too, although you must provide proof of rabies vaccination before setting up your camp for the night.
One of the best things about Lake Meacham's unspoiled wilderness is the enormous variety of birds that call the surrounding forests their home. You can see many species, such as the American bittern, ring-necked duck, and the hooded and common merganser. On any walk around the campsite, you will be able to hear and see a large variety of warblers and other songbirds. During the nighttime, you can expect to hear the hoot of a barred owl or the auk of a nighthawk.
If you want to go on a hiking adventure, all you have to do is take your RV to one of the many trailheads. Hikers will enjoy the trails around Lake Meacham because the lake is surrounded by forests such as Debar Mountain Wild Forest, Saranac Lakes Wild Forest, or Paul Smith's VIC. Some of the best hikes in the area include Debar Mountain, Azure Mountain, Ampersand Mountain, and Loon Lake Mountain. Several of these hikes begin quite a distance away from the campsite, so it might be best to drive to the trailhead.
Fishing is a favorite pastime for Lake Meacham visitors. Anglers can expect to catch catfish, northern pike, smallmouth bass, and yellow perch as well as other species. Before heading to the campground, purchase your fishing license online or by phone, as they are no longer available at the campground. In the eastern half of the lake between Roaring and Winnebago Rocks, there is a large population of smallmouth bass. Meanwhile, if you fish on the southern end of the lake, you can expect to find some northern pike in the weedy areas. While the yellow perch can grow to an impressive size, it is advisable not to eat them due to health concerns. It is recommended not to eat any fish over the size of 12 inches due to high levels of mercury.
Go ahead and pack your cross-country skis in the RV before heading out because there are quite a few trails at the campground where you can ski. The 4.7-mile Debar Mountain Trail is a popular hiking path during the summer and ski trail during the winter with an elevation gain of 1,751, so you will be working up a sweat on this one. Try the 6.2-mile Saint Regis Mountain Trail for an even bigger challenge as it takes you up 1,538 feet.
If you have kids or if you want to learn something new about the nature in and around Meacham Lake Campground, check out the recreational programs. From June through Labor Day weekend, campground staff organizes daily recreational programs. These programs include picnics, animal visits, movies, games, crafting, and even some live entertainment. At other times the recreational programs may consist of hiking, swimming, fishing, and even boating. There are also horseshoe pits, volleyball, and a small playground, available in the main campground.
Don't forget to pack your swimsuit and your beach toys in your rig because you are headed to the lake with a huge sandy beach. At Meacham Lake, there are designated hours when a lifeguard is on duty when you can partake in supervised swimming. During the times when lifeguards are unavailable, the beaches will be closed to ensure your safety. If you brought your pooch to the campground, you can't bring it to the beach, so you will have to get someone to stay back at camp.
Lake Meacham allows motorboats, rowboats, and canoes, so be sure to hook the boat trailer up to the RV if you want to spend time on the water. There is a new concrete boat ramp with floating docks on the eastern shore of Meacham Lake. If you do not have your own boat, there are rowboats and canoes for rent at the campground. On the northwestern corner of the lake, you can use the old boat launch to launch canoes, car-top boats, and kayaks. The lake’s size makes it ideal for relaxing on the boat, water skiing, swimming, and fishing.
Just 10 minutes from the campground, you can find Paul Smith’s Visitor Interpretive Center, which is a fantastic place to spend the day. The park is over 3,000 acres, and the center facilitates a variety of activities within the land area, such as workshops, art exhibits, nature walks, guided paddling trails, and even a butterfly house. The center is near 25 miles of Adirondack Mountain trails that lead hikers through bogs, brooks, ponds, and marshland.