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Brighton State Park, Island Pond, VT- Save your money


After spending the past year RVing in the west and Midwest, we decided it was time to venture east. We quickly learned that the northeastern part of the country does not seem to be as RV friendly as were other parts of the country, especially when it came to larger rigs. While traveling through Vermont, we had difficulty finding campgrounds or state parks that could accommodate our 31 ft class C, as many state and federal campgrounds either don’t allow RVs or limit their length to 25 ft or less. During the weekend, those few parks that can accommodate larger RVs fill up quickly so I suggest you make advanced reservations when possible and pay close attention to additional fees when doing so.

After calling several state and federal campgrounds and being told they were all full, we were finally told that Brighton State Park, in Island Pond, VT, had a site for us. The park is open from Memorial Day weekend through the Columbus Day weekend and is located on the shores of Spectacle Pond, which, to a Texan, looked more like a lake than a pond. The park has 6 cabins, 61 tent/RV sites and 23 leantos for rent. There are no services at the tent/RV sites so be prepared to dry camp. There is a dump and fresh water hose located at the park office so you can prepare for your dry camping adventure. We paid $30 for a site on the water for our one-night stay.

After dumping and filling our fresh water tank, we ventured to our site. The pavement road ended and we were immediately on a narrow, windy gravel road with low-hanging branches. I quickly noticed that I saw no other motor homes at any of the campsites, which were mostly occupied by tents and small trailer campers. As we rounded a curve and counted the posted numbers to our site, I immediately knew that there was no way I was going to get backed into the site. Although it was plenty long enough for our rig, the narrow driveway sat between two large birch trees, giving me maybe 1 to 1 ½ feet of clearance on each side of the rig.

I quickly decided to pull into the site, which turned out to be a bad decision. Due to the large amount of erosion on the road, there was a trench leading into the site as a result of rain runoff. Once my rear dually wheels hit it, the back of the rig hit bottom and I was stuck. Luckily, we were able to use our levelers to get out of the trench and except for some dirt and gravel on our tow bar and in our generator exhaust, we had no additional damage.

Once in, we noticed the site was not very level and it took some time to get the rig leveled out. Although there were trees immediately in front of us, we did have a slight view of the pond and it was beautiful.

I immediately went to the park office and told them that our site should not have been rented out for a rig our size and told them we would need fill dirt for the trench so that we could get out the following morning. We were assured that they had fill dirt and would have someone come by the site in the morning before we left.

We had no idea how we were going to get out of the site with the two trees, the trench and the narrow road but decided to explore the park and deal with those issues later. The park has a nice little sandy beach for swimming. The water was cool but not too cold and the bottom of the pond was sandy with no weeds. You can rent kayaks, canoes or paddle boats at the park, as well as at the day use area which was located just down the road.

After taking a dip in the pond, we built a fire in the nice large fire pit. The site also had a picnic table and had been raked prior to our arrival. We chatted with our friendly neighbor, who spends 6 weeks every summer at the park in her tent camper. Although the park staff never addressed it, we learned that we could use our generator from 8:00 am – 10:00 am and again in the evening. The park was very quiet overnight and we enjoyed the sounds of a loon as we drifted off to sleep.

The next morning, we were anxious to figure out how we were going to vacate our site via the narrow driveway between two trees. The park employee with the fill dirt did not arrive until after 10 a.m. – and only had 2 buckets of dirt for our use. He indicated that the park knew the road had erosion issues and were “planning” on fixing them. He dumped the two buckets of dirt and rock and left. Using our levelers, it took us nearly an hour to get out of the site, inching back and forth until we were finally square on the road and able to drive out. It was one of the most frustrating experiences we’ve had in over a year of full-time RVing.

We would not return to Brighton State Park in a motor home but would consider camping there in a tent or small trailer. We thought that $30 for a site without any services was expensive, but we did enjoy how rustic the park was and the swimming area. If you have Verizon as your cell phone service provider, you will not have service at the park.


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