OK, here’s the scoop. If you need an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, a game room, mini-golf, a snack bar, camp store, and golf cart rentals (God help us all), then DON’T COME HERE! If you need a cable TV hookup, internet access of any kind, cell phone service – if you will undergo spontaneous human combustion if you cannot check your e-mail and voice messages, then DON’T COME HERE! If you have children who absolutely need to be entertained by any of these things, then definitely please DON’T COME HERE. If you enjoy the hustle and bustle - the constant activity of many commercial campgrounds; if you enjoy being packed in side by side with other campers – so close that you can smell if someone in the next site breaks wind, then by all means, GO SOMEWHERE ELSE! However, if you want a campground where the sites are far apart, where there are a lot of trees and vegetation so that you have some privacy, then you might like it here. If you find that sitting around a roaring campfire while sipping on a hot drink on a cool evening can be a substitute for television, then you might like it here. If you want a place where you can disconnect from “real life” while enjoying a beautifully wooded setting – if you like the sounds, sights, and smells of the forest, then you might like it here. If chirping birds and crickets are music to your ears, then this might be the place for you. If you enjoy bicycling and particularly hiking, in what I think are some of the most beautiful mountains east of the Mississippi, then this is definitely your place. Aside from that, there is nothing here. Stay away if you can’t handle it. Oh yes, the obligatory bathroom review. The web site says there are warm showers. So, don’t expect “hot” and too much of it. They were old but kept clean. I saw them being cleaned twice on the weekend – once in the morning and once in the afternoon. That was fine with us. As long as there isn’t a lot of mold on the walls, and as long as I don’t catch a communicable disease, I’m OK with the facilities. This campground quickly rose to one of my favorite places, but once again, if you need entertainment either for yourself or your children, you might want to look elsewhere.
What an absolutely beautiful park this is – almost pristine. The state of Virginia definitely knows how to take care of their campgrounds. We camped here for five nights in late September, in the “B” loop. There were never more than six other parties on any given night. It was very quiet and peaceful – just the sounds of birds, crickets, and the wind through the trees. Just what the doctor ordered. Though I imagine that on warm fall weekends and during the summer, this place is probably filled and bustling with activity. Though closed during our stay, there are canoe and paddle boat rentals on the lake, a very nice beach with a diving board, a concession stand, and a restaurant on-site. I understand that the restaurant serves a country buffet on the weekends during the off-season, but I’m not sure about their hours during the summer. There are about 30 sites in the “B” loop with a few pull-throughs and a few with long pads to accommodate big rigs. But since specific sites cannot be reserved here, area “A” and “Camp Burson” may be better suited for the big guys. We camped in one of seven sites which backed up to a creek which was very nice. The water level was very low due to recent drought conditions, but when the flow is greater I would think the sound to be very soothing if you like that sort of thing. The pads are level and paved, and though not too thickly wooded, there is still a good measure of privacy to be had. What a great facility this is. If you own a mountain bike, definitely bring it. The ride around the lake is very nice – scenic and well maintained. Though I didn’t do any hiking on this trip, I was told that the hike to “Molly’s Knob” is well worth the effort. There is also a paved walking path which connects the campground to the other areas of the park. Since many folks seem to make an issue out of the bathroom and shower facilities, here’s my review. Yes, the facilities could use some updating, but they were clean. The configuration was a little strange in that if someone was using the urinal, I could have shaken hands with them, (Well, maybe not!) Anyway, for what it lacked in aesthetics was made up with hot water and PLENTY of it. The pressure was high which made for a great shower. My wife went to shower one evening and another lady came in to use the second stall. My wife explains that this lady began moaning – whether it was in pain or pleasure she didn’t immediately know. The other lady eventually commented that it was the “best shower she ever had”. I wouldn't go that far, but it was quite refreshing. I guess the other good thing about Hungry Mother is that the town of Marion, only six miles away, has just about any services you could need. I counted three food stores, a laundromat, fast food joints and other restaurants, auto parts, and yes – even a Wall-Mart. I will definitely return to Hungry Mother at some point in the future. If you’ve never been here, you should give it a try.
This campground is like a small city!! So if you don't like the hustle and bustle, lots of kids, fireworks, speeding golf carts, and a crowded beach, you should probably look elsewhere or come back during the off-season. We camped here in late September '04, and then it was actually a totally different place. Considering that at that time the average age of the clientel was probably approaching 70, it was a lot more laid back and relaxing. One problem with Ocean Lakes is that the week we were there, the golf cart numbers had reached a critical mass. It's funny...the people just seem to ride around and around with nowhere to go. Has the art of walking been totally lost. No wonder Americans are so fat. Riding a bicycle became almost impossible because of those fools, and walking our dog was no less a chore. During the week to the point where I decided I was not going to jump out of the way of a golf cart. Go ahead and hit me. Can you say "lawsuit"? And I was sure that if a bunch of kids hit me, then "Da-dee" in his fourty foot RV bus would surely pay me a large out of court settlement. Previous posters mentioned the "whistle-happy" lifeguards. Miss "God's Gift to Lifeguarding" whistled me twice for being in the water barely above my navel. I felt like inserting that whistle into a major orafice. There were no rip tides - that water was as gentle as it usually is at Myrtle. Give me a break. Also the jack-booted Umbrella Gestapo gave me a bunch of crap about setting up in front of their umbrellas. Most of them weren't even being used - probably because they were charging an arm and a leg. What a crock! I suppose that when you rented an umbrella and chair you were also renting three feet of beach in front of them. One other disturbing sight was seeing a member of Ocean Lakes finest - a security officer, downing several amber colored bottles of liquid refreshment. Maybe it was root beer. It was hard to miss as he was visiting friends in a site one row to the right of ours. Don't get me wrong, Ocean Lakes is a well run place with good facilities. But the only way I will return here again is if I am bring my 10 year old niece on vacation, or if I come during the off season. After this trip I need a couple weeks in a nice secluded, wooded campsite.