My dad and his wife have a seasonal site for their fifth wheel camper at the Charles Mill Lake Campground, and we wanted to squeeze in one camping weekend with them before the summer got too crazy, so we packed up the camper and headed over to join them for the weekend.
The Charles Mill Lake Campground is a Muskingum Watershed park. At this campground there are a large number of seasonal sites and there are only a few areas of the two campgrounds that can accommodate short-term campers. We stayed at the Eagle Point Campground where the temporary sites are on the southwest side of the park (sites 520s, 530s, 540s, 550s, 560s, 570s, and 580s), which I will talk about later. The general feel of the campground is a mix of state park and private campground.
The one big downside to this campground is the resident Canadian geese population. There is goose poop everywhere–the day before we arrived, my dad and his wife picked up a bucket-full just in their site. We couldn’t let the dogs lay out in the grass because of it. So if you are planning to tent camp, be prepared!
We do think that the Eagle Point campground would be a good place for campers to meet for a rally. Our recommendation would be for the host to have site 567, as it has a large area around the fire pit for all to gather and it is on an inner loop where several campers could be in the following sites: 552-557, 560, 563-567.
Campground & recommended sites:
The campground takes reservations, but the online reservation system was a bit buggy and lacking in descriptions. So I called the park office and was able to talk with a park ranger who took my name and number and then drove over to the campground and looked at sites and helped me select the right site for us. The rangers were awesome to work with, and they patrolled the campground frequently during the time we were there.
I was very glad that I had talked to the ranger as only about 2/3 of the temporary sites have been redone with gravel; the remaining sites are still grass sites. Many of the grass sites would NOT be good RV sites as they generally had a great deal of slope and would be nearly impossible to get a camper level. I thought it would be helpful to provide a list of the sites that have been graveled and would be more accommodating for travel trailers and RVs: 524-526, 537-541, 543-545, 552-557, 563-567, 571-573, 575.
Most of the sites had updated 30 amp service and some were close to water (like our site 567), however there are no sewer hookups in the park. There are two dump stations (one in each campground).
I did shoot a short video of this part of the campground to give you a feel of it and then there are a series of photos that follow:
Correction to what I said in the video: My favorite sites are 544 & 545, NOT 546. 546 is grass and sloped, and would NOT be a good site.
It is also worth noting that when you leave the campground the GPS will most likely have you head east on Mansfield Wooster Road then north on Maine Street. If you are headed back toward Interstate 71 this will force you to make a left onto U.S. Highway 30, which is a divided highway. Typically at this intersection you cross the eastbound lanes, stop, then proceed into the westbound lanes. However, the center area between the lanes is NOT large enough for a travel trailer. While it was a much narrower road, I did the following: headed west on Mansfield Wooster Road, north on Koogle Road, then followed signs to merge onto I-71.
Bathrooms: There are two bathhouses in the Eagle Point campground that were identical. Both were clean during our stay. The showers only had curtains and not doors, which did not offer the most privacy but they still met Kristin’s bathroom standards. 🙂
Amenities: For a public campground they do have a great deal of amenities! Each weekend in the Main Camp area there are a list of activities for both children and adults that rival that of private campgrounds. There are also a whole host of amenities as follows:
In the Eagle Point campground:
- Two playgrounds
- Basketball court
- Horseshoe pits
- Picnic shelter
At the Main Camp campground:
- Boat launch
- Basketball courts
- Bocce court
- Rec center
- Picnic shelters
- Disc golf
We did not find a place to buy wood in the campground so my dad told us to take some from his pile. As I was hauling an armload, the campers next door did not recognize me and asked if I was stealing wood. So after my dad came out of his camper and helped get that settled I headed back to our site. As I was pulling in, there was a ranger parked by our site. He had just finished talking to someone walking their dog. As the ranger approached our site, I guessed immediately that the man had seen me getting wood from my dad’s pile and thought I was stealing wood. So we got that all sorted out with the ranger and had a good laugh with my dad. At least the campers and rangers at Charles Mill are very conscientious!
Touring: Since this was only a weekend visit we did not do a great deal of touring but Kristin and I still squeezed in some touring of Mansfield while the kiddos hung out with their grandparents. We started the day at Buckeye Bakery where we sampled some really great pastries and picked up famous sugar cookies for the kiddos.
Since it was a dreary day it was perfect for an inside tour of the Ohio State Reformatory where we learned about the world’s largest free standing iron cell block. While the history was amazing, most will recognize the Reformatory for its prominent role in several movies, including The Shawshank Redemption and Air Force One.
We finished our touring with a stop at The Coney Island Diner where Kristin had the “famous” pea salad and I enjoyed a coney dog and cheese & bacon fries. Thanks to Tonya from TheTravelingPraters.com for the suggestion!
Other points of interest in the area that we have either previously visited or hope to visit on a return trip include:
- Malabar Farm State Park
- Richland Carrousel Park
- Kingwood Center Gardens
- Johnny Appleseed Heritage Center
Date of visit: May 20-22, 2016
Cost of site: $20 per night with $8 registration fee for total of $48