Saturday, March 3, 2012

Pennyrile Forest State Park: A Yellow Jacket's Paradise

Pennyrile Forest State Park Campground
Location:  Western region, Dawson Springs, KY.

Two words for ya:  Yellow Jackets.  If not for these vicious, numerous, horrid little creatures all over the place, and I mean all over -- our campground, the miniature golf area, and the beach, then I'd rate this park a little higher.  I completely understand that pests are part of nature, but this park seemed to have a strange infestation of them.  I couldn't enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning outside, nor a soda in the afternoon without a swarm coming for the scent of sugar.  Majority of our meals had to be eaten inside the camper because of this problem. 

The campground itself was okay.  It could have been cleaned up a little better.  Our campsite had almost no grass, lots of dirt patches from high traffic I presume.  Cigarette butts were all over the ground at our site.  Weeds were sporadic around the campfire ring, which was on a hillside.  We had to get our chairs just right or we'd tip over from the uneven ground.  The description of the site as far as grade was "slight", so I must say I disagree with that description. 

Mini-golf at campground
The bathhouse was clean but in desperate need of updating.  The shower heads were busted and sprayed at an overpowering pressure that made it nearly painful to shower.  There was no grade for the drain nor separation from the dressing area and the entire shower/dressing area became flooded with water, making it very difficult for drying off and dressing. 

On a lighter note, the staff was very friendly, and the rustic lodge offered a fun game room for the kids.  There were old school arcade games such as Ms. Pac Man.  A table sat by a window with a large checkers game.  In a nearby sun room, there was comfortable seating that offered a quiet setting and books on shelves available for guest's reading pleasure.  The lodge does not appear to have changed much since the 1950's, but that is part of its charm. 

We got lucky as it was camper appreciation weekend, where campers were allowed to swim at the lodge's swimming pool for free.  I've seem some other state parks offer this as well.  Check each park's calendar for this upcoming season by clicking here.

The pool was large and clean with a fantastic view overlooking Pennyrile Lake.  This brings me to a really great aspect of this park which are the hiking trails.  We took the loop trail around the lake, which is mostly wooded.  That was a good thing for a hot summer day.  Be careful with little ones when hiking because there are some areas with sudden drop offs. 

On another afternoon, I rounded up our three kids and we rented a paddle boat.  This was a first for all of us, but the boat was easy to maneuver and we had a lot of fun.  There are also canoe rentals available.  No motor boats allowed on the small lake. 

There's a section of the lake that is covered with hundreds of large lilly pads and is surely a sight to behold.  I wished I'd had my camera, but I wasn't about to take my Nikon out onto a boat with three kids. 
Pennyrile Lake, view from the lodge's pool.
  • Great recreational activities for families or any outdoor enthusiast
  • Friendly staff
  • Accommodating lodge with a great pool
  • Cell phone reception
  • Playground on site at campground
  • Coin operated laundry
  • Quiet nights, felt safe; was patrolled a few times by park rangers.

  • Campgrounds could be better maintained
  • Camp sites are very close to one another, shared electricity hook-ups
  • Horrible yellow jacket population
  • Bath house at campground needs updating
  • I do NOT recommend this campground for large RVs

I would probably visit this park again, but never in the summer, and at a different site than we stayed.

Click here for more park details.

Happy camping!

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