First let me note that in regards to the August 2011 review, we are not miserable nor unhappy with our stay at Bay Bayou. My husband and I moved to the area in May. We chose Bay Bayou because it was close to the city and seemed nice, but also because my conversations with staff before I arrived were always pleasant and helpful. We weren’t planning on staying more than 2 months, thinking we’d look for a place once we got used to the area. However, the folks here took us under their wings (we’re young, 38 and 42) and treated us very nicely. By the end of the second month, we had decided to stay the year and save some money because the rent is very affordable. The GOOD: Park is kept up nicely and it’s clean. We’ve been in two sites, both were level and easy to get in and out of. 80% of the sites are large, with most 28+ feet wide and quite a few 36+ feet and wider. Sites are grass over sand, with some shell on a few sites for driveways (we had extra shell put down for décor) or patio areas. Dogs are lovingly accepted here with only the real requirements that you clean up after them and they aren’t mean or a nuisance. Dog park is completely fenced in with chain link and there’s a warm water tub to wash your dogs in. They care about security and if you have an issue, they take it seriously and act on it. No one that we know of has had anything stolen. People have been in the park for years and still love it here, adding to a sense of community. There are 3 ponds in the park that are very pretty, and there’s a bayou around the park to fish in off the fishing dock, or watch the sunset/sunrise off the viewing dock. There are plenty of laundry rooms and bathrooms, all of which have been spotless when I’ve used them. Although there are some older men on staff who will not give us the time of day, the women all seem to be very nice to us. Someone mentioned undesirables in the park. I have yet to meet the people they are talking about (and I hope they aren’t talking about us) but most people keep to themselves, and if they aren’t overly friendly, they aren’t overly mean either. At night, come 8 o’clock, you wouldn’t know anyone lived here because the place is quiet – very quiet. The BAD: There is a halfway house next door that freaks us out a bit, even as former foster parents in NJ, with the older teens walking up and down the road at all hours, but we feel safe here none-the-less. The entrance to the park is very tight for larger units. We pulled in with a 26’ U-haul towing a car and a pickup towing a 30’ TT, and neither of us a problem with trees, the circle or the gate. However, elderly people ritually pull in here with HUGE RVs and buses, and they’ve hit everything in their paths – from the garden accessories to signs to the gate to other vehicles, etc. For your own safety, stay out of their way. Park rules say that you can’t use your screen room as “storage” and that upsets some folks who don’t want to buy plastic storage sheds/containers or pay for a storage area (we pay for a storage area anyway, so it doesn’t offend us). Bugs were an issue for us closer to the water, so we moved to an interior spot, and although we’re not bug free, we don’t have the issues the negative posts complain about. (We frequently sit outside to cook, eat, play cards, listen to music or let the dogs hang out. And remember – this is FLORIDA.) That said, they fog here 3 times a week and you need to watch what time you are outside cooking/eating dinner because it will interfere with that. We have found the pool water to be very buggy at times in the evening, but they come and clean it up the next morning (or you can use the net to do it yourself). The electric can be a bit expensive, but no more expensive than any of the other parks we’ve seasoned in, and you have to remember you’re air conditioning a leaky box with little or no insulation (and again, you’re in FLORIDA). It does drop under load though, and has shut our AC unit off so watch the pets if you leave for the day. WI-FI is very bad (in both spots). We paid for a phone line to get internet because I telecommute every day and I couldn’t get and stay online without having to pay Verizon for internet access. Water pressure is very high and you need a regulator because without it, you’ll end up with leaks like we did. The WISHLIST: Cable is provided (for free) through DirecTv through the clubhouse dish, but more channels would be nice. Dryers need to have time added to their cycle or be serviced to get clothes dry. Every week, I bring home damp clothes from the laundry rooms (and we can’t hang them outside). Instructions need to be given to some of the older male staff on how to be polite and more friendly. Some of them can be downright rude. (I’ll update if anything changes.)
For weekend camping, this place packed up to the rim. Luckily, we came a day early or else we never would have gotten our 35' trailer into place. It was tough to begin with since the sites were extremely tight. We had to park the truck up on the divider between our camper and the next in order to roll out our awning. We couldn't use the picnic table because it was either that or the truck on the pad, not to mention that the table was falling to pieces from rot. Our camper just fit with a mere 3 inches to spare to the road surface. There were concrete barriers on each pad so we were constantly tripping over them to get to our firepit which was behind the camper. It's very dangerous at night - use flashlights to walk! You can't see the lake from the RV section and have to walk past the dump station to get to a small boat launch to fish. We toured the tenting section and it looked like a refugee camp with people spread out everywhere, and items hanging from poles and trees. It was a considerable eyesore and we were glad we were in the RV section. If you are taking a long trailer/motorhome, be careful which site you pick because you may not fit properly. Some rigs were parked to the left of the pad with their tow vehicles to the right of them so they would fit on the narrow angled slabs. Overall, the rest of the park was nice. There is a nice road that circles the park and the lakes, so you can tour to see everything. There is a nice beach section to swim in the upper lake, but you have to drive there. We may go back again for a 'quick' weekend trip, but there isn't enough around to keep us happy for more than a couple days.
When we got to the park, we found the office closed since their hours are 10-5 during the week. Looking for our papers in the box outside the office resulted in extreme frustration since they weren't there. We had the site number they had assigned us and we parked the trailer on the site anyway. Long rigs should note that there are trees strategically placed next to the road so that it's almost necessary to jack knife your tow vehicle and trailer to get around them. We were disappointed to find that you can't see the river from the sites, which was fine for us because it was mostly empty and algae had overgrown in what was left. There is a very steep cliff at the back of each site, and since the sites slope back towards the cliff, it's important to make sure you're not rolling anywhere. Bring lots of chocks!Most if not all the trees are pines, so there is considerable pine droppings all over the place. Although the sites are large, you are all in a row with no foliage between sites so you can see directly into your neighbors rig. We parked a 35' rig and 4 cars in the site one evening for dinner, so you have a lot of room front to back. An aunt came to visit to go swimming in the pool, but turned around and brought the kids home...the pool was a very bright green. No explanation or apologies were given for this. Camp store was a few shelves with one or two items in each of the cubbies, a big let down. There weren't any activities, so we found ourselves leaving every day to find stuff to do. The place fills up with campers (including hordes of tenters) on the weekends, so be careful coming and going on the roads as the loop is bi-directional. Although the campground is located behind a cow farm, we didn't smell the usual bovine essence that travels across the hills and that was a plus. However, it's out in the middle of nothing so make sure you have enough gas to get yourself there. The staff was nice, but no one even pretended to remember our names even though we were in and out of the office all 5 days with guests. Oh, and right off Route 11 on the way is Patrick's Chop House (Lock 24 to the locals). EXCELLENT food! Probably best part of the trip, but it's a little pricey so be prepared. We don't think we'd visit again, leaving this place to the seasonals instead.
We camped here last year during our first trip up to New Hampshire and were very disappointed in the accommodations. Upon arrival, the office staff was fairly unfriendly, and didn't seem to want to be bothered by our questions about the area. They directed us back to our site, and it was nothing more than a dirt rut in the middle of an empty field. Within a few days we were surrounded by other campers stuck in their own ruts. There are no trees in the 'pull-through' area, just rotted picnic tables chained to concrete anchors, electric pole panels and rusted tire rims as campfire rings. We noticed a lot of the sites don't have sewer, so there were campers being packed up to have their tanks dumped and then driven back again (no honey dipper service?). People were playing in the activity field, but not in organized activities, so there were balls all over the place and people tripping over each other constantly. The river wasn't more than a trickle, and my husband spent 2 hours on the shore with our teen son watching for at least 1 fish to go by, but noting ever swam through. Pets aren't allowed, except for in the late fall, even though there was nothing there that deserves that rule. And the speed bump in and out completely tore apart our kitchen plumbing; we're lucky we didn't bottom out the hitch. The store was very small, and the rec hall wasn't a hall. There is a gate that locks you in or out, and if you miss 'curfew' or you want to leave early to travel, you can't get in or out. Overall, it was a bad experience and though the location was good, we definitely wouldn't go to this campground again.
Although we loved Cape Cod, we were less than thrilled with this campground. Firstly, we came back from touring on day 2 (of our 10 day stay) to find that someone had planted a line of bushes through our parking area in front of our trailer. They had then strung bright orange hazard tape around the bushes on wooden stakes. When we complained, the owner got very upset with my husband for questioning their 'business practices'. So our truck hung out over the street for the rest of our stay. The whole park is being converted to seasonal sites and this is what had been scheduled for the site we were on, hence the bushes for the new renters. At any rate, the staff was stand-offish, the store was tiny and unkempt and our site was teensy, even though we told them we had a 33' trailer and a 22' truck. There wasn't anything to do for our teen son, and the seasonal campers were fairly unfriendly. We will not go back there again, even if they did open back up to the camping public.
Overall the park itself was pretty nice, considering what we've seen before: spacious, level gravel sites, nice amenities, free and clean showers, nice but expensive camp store, and great prices for visitors! However, there are a few downsides: the back of the park is down hill and it's a long walk up, the golf carts are outrageously priced, you can hear the highway very clearly, and the office staff certainly leaves something to be desired. If they weren't rude or indifferent, they were weird and almost seemed to be making fun of us. When my one teen son asked about a certain type of museum, the girl behind the counter pointed to the wall and didn't even look up to answer him. If you can deal with that, then this is your place. In regards to the noise, we were at the back of the park, in the #300's and it was if we were right on the freeway. At night, with the windows open, it was almost deafening at some points. The pools weren't open while we were there, but they looked nice. And we didn't get to fish or play volleyball, but the kids did venture into the arcade. Someone needs to alert the PA gambling people that the DS game seems to be rigged, though (and are kids allowed to gamble in PA?). My teens went through $48 in change to try to win the DS system, and never even came close to the 'mark'. Had it not been for that and the office staff, our rating might have been higher. But with the traffic, the gravel, the arcade and the hike up the hill, it was too much to rate this park a perfect 10.