Thursday , August 24 2017
Home / Reviews / Campground Reviews / Hersheypark Camping Resort — Hershey, Pa.
HP 7

Hersheypark Camping Resort — Hershey, Pa.

The sour spot in America's Sweetest City
  • Editor Rating

  • Rated 2 stars
$55 to $75
  • 40%


Summary:

The only thing deserving of resort status at this campground are the exorbitant fees charged to people who use the facility. Hersheypark is the reason why the outdoor hospitality industry needs to develop criteria before a campground can label itself as a "resort." Building upon the Hershey brand, this campground is no different than thousands of other RV parks, yet in some ways, it is considerably worse.

Resorts escort new arrivals to their sites and help them get situated. Hersheypark hands people a map and leaves them to navigate a confusing maze of unnamed streets to find their campsites. Frequently during the week I stayed there, I would see confused RVers map in hand trying to figure out where they were and where they needed to go. If you wind up on the wrong street when towing, there are no turnarounds, which means you need to unhook, and backout of the street.

Resorts offer online reservations. Hersheypark only allows telephone reservations, and then they allow people to languish on hold for 20 minutes or more before campers are allowed to speak to a representative. Even after arriving, when I needed help getting into my site, I was put on hold until I hung up, got out of the RV and into my towed vehicle and drove back to the office in the rain.

Resorts offer wireless Internet connections. Hersheypark claims to offer free wireless, but it false advertising at its best. Affiliated with Tengo Internet, the system is so bad I was never able to connect at any time during my stay. One night when I was working late, I attempted to connect at 2:30 a.m., and still the system was so slow that it would load three webpages in 10 minutes. While I could "connect" to the system, there wasn't enough bandwidth to fully open the webpage we use to test connection speeds. Fortunately, my Verizon Mi-Fi clocked in at 3.69 mbs download and 3.81 mbs upload.

Resorts offer 50-amp service, but Hersheypark Campground offers 30-amp service in most areas, except those serviced by 20-amp connections. There are 42 sites without any hookups at all. However, many sites offer cable TV hookups and most have water. About half the sites have sewer connections available.

Resorts email reservation confirmations to guests. Hersheypark sends nothing. So, when I showed up expecting to stay from Saturday to Friday, they had me checking out on Thursday -- with no options other than dry camping for the final night. Thankfully, someone pulled out that the last minute and I could extend for one day.

Resorts offer areas where pets can run free. Hersheypark makes no special accommodation for pets, other than paying a fee to hold them in a kennel at "The Barking Lot" at the amusement park. In fact, rules clearly state that pets are not permitted in tents for some reason, and must be kept on a 6-foot leash.

Resorts offer food options to RVers staying at the park, even if it's pizza, hotdogs or burgers. Hersheypark has nothing available onsite, outside of candy and s'mores ingrediants sold at inflated prices within their campstore. Fortunately, there are several fast food and full service restaurants within a mile of the campground.

Resorts offer swimming pools, but Hersheypark keeps theirs open only from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and it is only open when a lifeguard is present.

The only thing level on my site was the 6-inch-by-3-inch site depicting the site number. To get onto the site, I had to back down a hill and turn the motorhome up a hill which resulted in my slamming the towbar into the dirt several times. I finally had to drive back to the office to ask the staff to send someone to help me back into the space. The people pulling into the space next to me admitted they broke a towbar under the same circumstanes a few years ago. Walking through the site, I observed MULTIPLE RVs jacked up with wheels off the ground trying to get a level position, which creates a dangerous situation.

There is one section of the park that is relatively level, but the spaces are so tight, it is barely possible to fit an RV onto the spot, let alone leave room for a car. There are very few spots at Hersheypark that can comfortably accommodate an RV and another vehicle. However, the park is absolutely ideal for tenters, pop-ups and Class B motorhomes.

Be warned that Hersheypark Campground is built right next to a major railroad that stretches from one end of the park to the next. Train whistles are blaring day and night.

So, what does Hersheypark Campground do well? It is a pretty campground with lots of grass and trees. There are two playgrounds, basketball, volleyball, horseshoes and a decent game room. There are five shower and restroom facilities, three of which also offer laundry machines. The park has an outdoor theater that operates nightly during summer months. It does have a nice store that offers limited food selection and RV parts, but a wide selection of souvenirs and, of course, Hershey candy. People can buy propane on site, and a shuttlebus operates throughout the day to take people to and from the amusement parks and other Hershey attractions.

The campground's saving grace is its proximity to Hersheypark amusement park and the Giant Center. All other campgrounds are located at least 10 miles away, if not 20 miles.

Hersheypark Camping Resort should be a $30 per night campground at best. There is nothing at all to justify the $75 nightly rate it charges to RV owners. Even dry campers pay $55 per night for the privilege of parking at the campground with no water, electricity or Internet. Rates are discounted by 34 percent in winter months.

HP 2 HP 3 HP 4 HP 5 HP 6 HP 8 HP 9 HP 10 HP 11

Pros

  • Pretty campground with lots of grass and trees
  • Conveniently located near Hersheypark amusement park and Giant Center
  • Shuttle bus service to amusement park and area attractions
  • Has two playgrounds, outdoor pool, basketball, volleyball, horseshoes and game room
  • Camp store offers Hershey brand candy, souvenirs and limited supply of food and RV items
  • Free cable TV
  • Outdoor theater plays movies during summer nights

Cons

  • Outrageous rates for level of service and amenities offered
  • Most sites aren’t anywhere near level, except in one area where spaces are especially close together and limited in length to fit RV and car
  • No Internet service. But, Verizon clocked in at 3.69 mbs download and 3.81 mbs upload
  • No online reservations — must call in and wait on hold for considerable amount of time
  • No email confirmation of reservations to ensure reservation was accurately made
  • No food service of any kind at the campground
  • No escorts to site. Guests left to maneuver through confusing maze of unnamed streets
  • 30-amp service only at most sites
  • No special accommodations for pets, like a running area. Pets restricted to 6-foot leash.
  • Excessive railroad noise day and night

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

One comment

  1. Very timely article, and I could not agree more. This notion of “Resort” camping is causing a huge financial problem for the young family crowd. The offerings of this campground are basic, and certainly do not qualify it as a resort. I made reservations for next year’s RV Show, but at $99 per night, I’m certainly having second thoughts.

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