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Tobyhanna State Park, Tobyhanna, PA- a big hassle


Finding a campground in the northeast that will accommodate our 31 ft motorhome over the Labor Day weekend almost left us spending the holiday in a Wal-Mart parking lot. We don’t have anything against Wal-Mart parking lots, or those of Cabela’s or Cracker Barrel, but the heatwave that this part of the country was experiencing, and a recently discovered oil leak in our onboard generator, meant that we really needed to stay somewhere with electricity.

As full-timers, weekends and holidays are simply days of the week to us. We’ve never paid much attention to a calendar to actually plan far enough ahead to ensure we don’t get stranded because of all the weekend warriors flocking to local campgrounds and RV parks. That’s exactly what happened this particular Labor Day and we found it nearly impossible to find a site. Using our trusted AllStays iPhone app, we stumbled upon a park in eastern Pennsylvania that had 140 sites and electricity.

Tobyhanna State Park sits on 5,440 acres and use to be an artillery training range. In fact, visitors are warned that if they should find any rusty, unexploded ordinances, to leave it be and contact park officials immediately. Not coincidentally, the park is located adjacent to the Tobyhanna Army Depot.

I quickly logged onto our Reserve America account in hopes of finding an available site for Saturday and Sunday nights. Luckily, we stayed at a Cabela’s in Connecticut Friday night so we only needed lodging for 2 of the 3 holiday nights. I lucked out and was able to secure a nice site with electricity. I had forgotten that state parks in Pennsylvania only allow pets in certain designated sites and somehow didn’t indicate that we had a dog when I made the reservation. That little mistake almost put us back into a parking lot for the weekend!

Upon our arrival, check-in was quick and easy – right up to the point that I said we had a dog. The friendly check-in staff’s face turned somber and she immediately picked up the phone. I was told that our site, #17, was not a pet-permitted site, which is kind of ironic since all the sites around #17 were. The staff member asked me to wait for the park manager, as the park was completely booked and they had no other pet sites available. Additionally, park staff were busy “chasing” a bear out of the campground thanks to campers who had left food out.

I returned to the RV to wait and to research our other lodging possibilities. After waiting for nearly 30 minutes, we set out in the Jeep to find the park manager, who never responded to the office to speak to us about our predicament. When we finally found her, she was adamant that dogs were not allowed in our site. After more discussion, and a phone call to the adjacent state park, she determined that we had nowhere else to stay and agreed to bend the rules this once. She warned us that if she received any complaints about our little poodle, we would be asked to leave.

On our way to the site, we stopped at the dump station and filled our fresh water. We felt the park’s water had a very chlorinated taste so we suggest that any you plan on using for cooking or drinking be filtered. The station has two tanks you can dump into, as well as trash and recycling bins. Our site was spacious and private, even though it was directly across from the public bathrooms, showers and laundry room. The site is next to the dog area so if you’re not a dog lover we suggest you reserve a site further down the loop.


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