Wednesday , September 13 2017
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American Wilderness Campground — Grafton, Ohio

  • Editor Rating

  • Rated 3 stars
$33 to $45
  • 60%


Summary:

American Wilderness Campground is a large park with 149 tent and RV sites -- and two cabins -- located on a property boasting a fishing lake and swimming lake. The park is convenient to Cleveland and offers a rustic camping experience.

First, there is one bathhouse serving the entire campground. It's small (about four stalls for men and four for women, and it is located as far away from the campsites themselves as it can be while remaining on the property. We're talking almost a half-mile away from the furthest campsites. There are three pit toilets situated in the campground's "overnight" camping area.

There are two washers and two dryers available for campers to use. The cost is $1.50 per load, but the washers are supposed to take 25 minutes and the dryers run about 45 minutes, which creates quite a backlog for use. The only thing further away from the campsites than the bathhouse is the trash dumpster.

A security gate controls access to the park, but the reason behind its existence remains unclear. People coming into the park during business hours must press a button on a speaker, state their name and site number -- then hold up their car pass before the gate is opened. When the office closes, the gate is left in the up position all night long until the office reopens in the morning. The gate must be at least 100 yards from the office, and certainly not in line of site of the people working there.

The sites themselves are nice and large, with older picnic tables and fire rings. They feature 30-amp electrical and water connections. The campground offers free Wi-Fi at a download speed of 2.36 mbs and upload speed of 0.63 mbs, when the park is empty and is available only to the sites closest to the swimming lake. The Verizon connection in that area clocked in at 7.84 mbs download and 2.29 mbs upload. Those sites in the wooded area will not connect to the campground's Wi-Fi system, nor would my Verizon Mi-Fi connect at download speeds higher than 0.35 mbs even with an antenna connected. The upload speed would not register. Camp staff readily admits the Wi-Fi system will not work on weekends when the park is full.

The fishing lake is well stocked for catch-and-release fishing, and kids will enjoy the game room, two playgrounds, a basketball court and volleyball court. The biggest attraction is a swimming lake with a fountain in the center that is surrounded on three sides by a sand beach. A hiking trail extends off a primitive tent camping area close to the railroad tracks. I was not bothered by train noise during my one-week stay and remember only hearing a few trains each day.

There is a small store that sells a few RV supplies, food items, toys and fishing supplies. They do sell some pretty good locally made meat products as well. There is a moderate size meeting hall adjacent to the office, and a large outdoor pavilion and smaller pavilion available for campers to use. Use of electric heaters is prohibited on all sites. The park is open from May 1 to Oct. 15.

The campground's website stresses the need for RV insurance before a reservation can be made, but proof of insurance was not required upon check in.

Pros

  • Located close to west side of Cleveland, Ohio, and is billed as the closest campground to Cleveland.
  • Easy access to highways
  • Large sites with choice of being in open area or wooded area
  • 30-amp power option for overnight sites
  • Large catch-and-release fishing lake
  • Swimming lake with sandy beach and play area for children
  • Campground Wi-Fi clocked in at 2.36 mbs download and 0.63 mbs upload when park was empty. Wi-Fi not available on weekends.
  • Verizon connection clocks in at 7.84 mbs download and 2.29 mbs upload.
  • Overnight sites are all pull-through.
  • Several playgrounds, volleyball, basketball and large game room plus mining attraction for younger kids.
  • Large pavilion and small pavilion available for guest use as well as moderate size banquet room near office.
  • Small store sells food items, RV supplies, fishing supplies, toys and souvenirs, as well as pretty good locally produced meat items.

Cons

  • About 80 percent of the sites are reserved for seasonal use.
  • One small bathhouse services the entire campground and it is located on the opposite site of the park from most campsites — nearly half a mile away from some overnight sites.
  • Most of campground serviced by three pit toilets.
  • Wi-Fi connection is not available in wooded area of park, neither is Verizon connection.
  • Only two washers and two dryers for 149 campsites. Wash cycle is 25 minutes, while drying cycle is 45 minutes, which creates backlog for use.
  • Security gate only in operation during business hours. Gate open after office closes.
  • Campground map is crudely drawn and difficult to read.
  • Website indicates RV insurance required to make reservation, but proof of insurance is not required on check in.
  • Electric heaters prohibited.

About Greg Gerber

Greg Gerber is the editor of Let's RV and the editor of RV Daily Report. A Wisconsin native and father of three grown daughters, he is now based out of Arizona and travels the country in his Winnebago Adventurer motorhome interviewing industry professionals and interesting RVers alike. He can be reached at editor@letsrv.com

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