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Old 10-18-2014, 01:14 PM   #1
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Angry Patapsco Valley State Park Warning

We pulled in to camp in our RV from out of state at 12:30, two and a half hours before check-in, and were not allowed in the park AT ALL! We weren't even allowed to park in a parking lot and walk the trails! We were told to go park at Walmart and wait until three to come back. I don't know anything else about the park as of now, but if this is the typical treatment of the patrons, I would not recommend wasting your time and money on unfriendly and unaccommodating staff.

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Old 10-18-2014, 01:57 PM   #2
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I feel your disappointment especially after traveling long distance. And I do get that after traveling all you want to do is set up camp so you can relax.

Some of our state parks here in southern CA also don't permit early check-ins. Only 1 of those 3 parks I have encountered this problem will allow you to stay in day-use are while the other 2 are a no go. Not fun but really isn't a big enough problem to allow it to ruin my camping trip. I just visited the local WM and did a little window shopping while picking a thing or two as well. I now know to adjust my arrival time for those two parks.

BTW for those parks that I have stay at which do allow early check-ins I found I'm taking the site in as-in conditions unless I bring something to the attention of the staff.

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Old 10-19-2014, 02:46 PM   #3
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I live in Maryland and rarely camp in our state parks because of similar issues. We have one that we do frequent that is first come first served but the rangers sneak up from the back of your camper to try to get a glimpse inside your cooler. We won't take alcohol but it still takes some of the fun out of camping.
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Old 10-20-2014, 09:51 AM   #4
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Unfortunately, there's not a whole lot of other options in this area. Maybe go up the road to Ramblin' Pines.

After you were there, was there anywhere that you could have parked the truck + camper where it wouldn't have been in the way? I'm curious what their reasoning might have been.
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Old 10-20-2014, 09:55 AM   #5
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Which park has rangers that hung-Ho? We spent a weekend at elk neck and they were great. I did notice th checking coolers coming off the beach but figured it was as much for fish as anything. Didn't see any drinking on the beaches. Always assumed it was one of those rules that is overlooked as long as you are discreet and don't cause any problems. PA state parks are the same way but haven't seen much enforcement.

Our only issue that week was a late arrival. We got there about 9:45 and the office closed at 10. We never even considered that it might be a problem. Almost learned a lesson the hard way but won't cut it that close again.

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Old 10-20-2014, 09:58 AM   #6
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Just my thoughts, if we show up before check in time and your space is empty don't see any reason for them not let you check in, if they don't let you then they have a management problem, it's not like they do a site clean up between campers.
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Old 10-20-2014, 10:05 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by NO3putt View Post
Just my thoughts, if we show up before check in time and your space is empty don't see any reason for them not let you check in, if they don't let you then they have a management problem, it's not like they do a site clean up between campers.

I agree with you, if your spot is empty then what's the big deal. Are they on a power trip or what. And no cold beer means no camping in Texas. LOL
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Old 10-20-2014, 10:26 AM   #8
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Sadly some places rules are rules. The siti might have been occupied and nowhere safe to park in the meantime. I have learned to read rules and reviews before going to a park. In NC the state parks lock the gates from dusk til dawn. Only out is emergency. If you stayed out too pate at dinner well tough luck... Vehicle is staying at the fate and you are walking the long ways back to your site. Doesn't ruin my time bit I'm aware of it and work around it.......

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Old 10-20-2014, 11:11 AM   #9
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I suppose it just depends on how big a jerk some attendants can be. Some folks live strictly by the rules and demand others do, as well. So far, we've never had a problem with the COE ones we've been to here in SC. They also have a no alcohol policy, but they'll tell you to be discreet and not take it to the public areas. As long as you're on your site and don't make a fool of yourself or disturb others all is good.
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Old 10-22-2014, 08:20 PM   #10
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In the park's defense, I've been there three times this year, and I called ahead each time and found out my site was available early, and they let us check in without an issue. And once there, the camp hosts and rangers have been nothing if not accommodating.

I don't know if you got there on an off day or something, but every time I've been to that park it's been a very enjoyable experience.

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