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One of the newer parks in New York, Oquaga Creek State Park, was established in 1979. Dense, tall oak, maple, and birch trees blanket the rolling hills that makeup Oquaga Creek State Park. The hills ring a small 60-acre lake, Arctic Lake, which is a poorly kept secret. It is favored by many local fishermen for not only its robust fish population but also for the rugged beauty. Miles from the closest town, Oquaga Creek State Park, is the perfect spot to get away from it all. Bring a good book. Cell service is very spotty in this area.
The closest town is Bainbridge, NY, about ten miles north. The small town of around 1,500 residents boasts a grocery store, a few restaurants, and retail shops. However, for emergency health care, as well as a greater variety in shopping options, Sidney, is just under 15 miles to the north. Search for an RV in Chenango County, NY, and plan the perfect RV camping trip in New York’s countryside.
Covering just under 1,400 acres, Oquaga Creek State Park is a nearly untouched piece of wilderness. For several years, its woodlands were plundered for lumber, but at the turn of the century, it laid dormant. Trees and native plants retook the razed hills with swift ferocity, and today, the woods are as glorious as ever. Six miles of trails wind through the woods, ascending the hills. The neighboring state forests, Arctic-China State Forest, Melondy Hill State Forest, and Steam Mill State Forest, add several more miles of recreational hiking fun. Oquaga Creek State Park encircles the small Arctic Lake, at which fishermen enjoy casting for black bass, bullhead, and rainbow trout year-round. Lightweight boats like kayaks and canoes glide across the glassy surface of the lake effortlessly.
When winter rolls around, covering the wild hills in deep, soft snow, the fun doesn’t stop. Stubborn fishermen drill holes into the ice in hopes of catching a fish that continue to swim within its inky depths. Children and adults alike enjoy sledding and tobogganing down one of the dozen hills. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, though challenging on the slopes, also is enjoyed by many.
Springtime brings an influx of fresh, sprightly green leaves that bloom riot with colorful blossoms. Depending on the time of the year, adventurers can find blueberry and raspberry bushes. Wild strawberries and wild grapes also grow rampant.
Rent a camper and get closer to nature. Far from hotels and noisy cities, the sounds of the wind and birdsong in the trees dominate the ambient background sound. RV camp at Oquaga Creek State Park and get away from it all. Cell service and WiFi are nonexistent in this area (and the neighboring state forests, too). Spend time with people. Read a book. Enjoy sunsets over the lake.
There are around 90 RV sites to choose from at Qguaga Creek State Park, and though there are no hookups, there is a dump station. Restrooms with hot showers are a short walk from most sites. Up to two dogs are allowed, but they must be leashed and supervised. The campground is open May through October; however, off-season RV camping at Oquaga Creek State Park is allowed provided that the camper calls ahead to obtain permission.
Should space run out, which does happen occasionally during the peak season, there are several other campgrounds in the area. Near Afton, Kellystone Park boasts several amenities such as an indoor pool, planned activities, and a 9-hole golf course.
Though getting a break from technology and civilization is nice, it’s equally nice to explore small-town charm that proliferates the central New York countryside. Hop into a rental motorhome and roam the twisting roads in search of the perfect souvenir to take home. Many towns operate small museums that honor their heritage and the local culture. The Phelps Mansion in Binghamton is a stately example of the Gilded Age architecture. Built-in the late 1800s, the ornate home is open to tours and visitors. The halls are lined with exquisite artwork, statues, and period fixtures. Note: ASL tours are available with two-weeks notice.
Central New York is also known as the wine country. Several wineries and vineyards dot the rolling landscape. Black Bear Winery near Chenango Forks, NY, is an award-winning wine producer that specializes in fruit wines and ciders.
Put away your smartphones and laptops, rent a camper, and get close to nature as you find your retreat when you go RV camping at Oquaga Creek State Park.