User Rating: Very Good
Pros:Has most facilities a camper or day tripper would want.
Cons:Not overly picturesque for a NY Sate Park
The Bottom Line: This is a park I feel is more suited for locals or an overnight stay. Though clean and well maintained, I wouldn't go out of my way for this one.
Up near Binghamton is a state park that I have been to a few times. One reason was because a childhood friend of mine worked and lived very close by. I made it a point to stop by and say hello when on one of my outings going up to Syracuse or Buffalo. I stayed over at the park once with my wife and a couple of the kids. We stayed in one of the 24 cabins.
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Chanango Valley State Park is nearby Binghamton NY which happens to be at the cross roads of many NY and Pennsylvania destinations. A number of US Interstates intersect the area. The park is a wooded area that offers two lakes and bogs that afford excellent bird watching and good fresh-water fishing. You do need a NYS license to fish.
One of the lakes has a beach and up-to-date facilities including playgrounds, boat rentals and showers. Life guards are on duty in the summer and weekends in spring and fall. Hiking trails are good for summer hikes and cross-country skiing in the winter. I'm not one for lake beaches but this one is just fine and offers a refreshment stand that is open in season. It also offers many facilities that make it perfect for families. This includes a few fine picnic areas.
Reservations are a must for weekends. There is a chance of getting in weekdays during the summer months on a first come first served basis. The cabins must be reserved through the reservation system "reserve america" on the nyspark web page.
We liked our two room cabin. It was in a loop with a few others. They are kind of rustic with no heat and no hot water. A fireplace can be used for heat. They sell wood. All the cabins have that open fire odor as you walk in. It's not overbearing, though some may think so. You get used to it pretty quickly. The cabins are about a six minute walk from the lake but almost double that to the beach/boathouse area. I should be more specific because there are a couple of cabin loops. One is much closer to the beach. We were at the further one.
The 216 tent and trailer sites are also spread out in different loops. It's a bit different than many other campgrounds we have stayed at in that there are a number of different loops that surround two side of the lake. These sites are much like all NYS sites with water available nearby and restrooms scattered around. Most sites are partly shaded.
The other side of the lake is boarded by a golf course that is maintained by the NY State Parks. I have never golfed there so I can't give you much info about it. There is a club house.
Whenever going to NYS parks, residents should consider purchasing the Empire Pass. This pass allows unlimited access to any NYS park for one full year between April 1 and March 31. I wish they did it by date of purchase but...they don't.
Last year it was about $60 for the pass that is good for only one car and cannot be transferred. We go to our local Jones Beach and Robert Moses Beach often enough that the pass pays for itself in a dozen or so trips. There is no common price for all parks. They do differ so you will have to see if it's worth your while. The pass is not needed if you are paying for camping or cabin privileges.
This park isn't all that attractive to me, not landscape-wise. Though it is wooded and attractive in that sort of way, it doesn't have vistas of mountains and hillsides like some other parks do. It does have some fine hiking trails. I liked being at the cabins away from the beach because it was much quieter. It's also closer to the clubhouse for those willing to walk a short stretch. I should also mention it's closer to the second lake that has better fishing areas.
Being close to Binghamton, I'm sure they get many locals for day trips although getting reservations for camping and cabins on weekend is nearly impossible if not set up ahead of time.
The parking for the beach is fairly close though not right on it. A short walk gets you there. I happen to like parks where I don't have to haul our blankets and such so far.
The park is very well maintained and looks fine. The restrooms and other facilities have always been in tip top shape. That was all I used on my last trip there. Alas, my buddy was not around on my last visit. I will continue to stop in on him when I can but as far as state parks, there are others I enjoy more and like the looks of better.
I have never been there when this park was crowded, on the other hand I have been here a number of times when I didn't see many cars at all. During the winter months it is desolate. I remember one year coming to the park and stopping by my friends home to see if he was in. He wasn't. His wife said he went to the lake with his son. It really was a beautiful scene when walking up to them after driving to the lake and parking the car. Not a soul was around nor a sound be heard that day except for the sounds of laughter of my childhood buddy's son's while playing with his dad.
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MY favorite Map.
2005 American Map Road Atlas: Large Scale - Large Type
Review Topic: Overview