Camping in Codorus State Park (Hanover, PA)

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Last week we had the chance for a quick, 2-night getaway.  We were dropping Lily Bean and our niece off for a slumber party with their grandparents.  It was either drive 3 hours back home (only to make the trip again two days later) or find somewhere sort of nearby to hunker down.

I was trying to keep costs down when it dawned on me that we could go camping.  We have a small pop-up camper and I have heard amazing things about Codorus State Park.  I was expecting to have to sacrifice some amenities when we decided to give the state park a try versus a privately owned campground – boy, was I wrong!

The campground at Codorus contains almost 200 campsites – some wooded, some out in the open.  Many contain electric hookups, none of them offer water or sewer hookup (though water and a dump station are both available on the property).  A small handful of sites are truly for roughin’ it – no electric and only tents allowed.  We ended up in a non-wooded site and felt like we had plenty of room to spread out.  You are allowed one vehicle per site and there is ample 2nd vehicle parking nearby if you need it.

We arrived at the park just as the sun was setting.  Our site cost a budget-friendly $54 total for a Thursday and Friday night stay.  We made online reservations the week before we traveled and checked in at the ranger station without issue.  Our campsite was in D-Loop, #179.

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We set up camp and got ready to relax around a campfire just as the sun went down.  There was a beautiful sunset shining through the trees!

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Our campsite looked out onto a large field.  There were several tents set up on one end of the field.  The rest of the space was wide open – multiple families enjoyed games of baseball, frisbee, etc throughout our stay.  To the right was a pretty decent sized playground that was full of kids from sun-up to sundown each day.

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Codorus’ campground has several bathhouses throughout the property.  Each facility offers sinks, flush toilets and warm showers (free!).  We found our closest bathhouse to be clean and functional.

As the sun went down on that first night, we enjoyed some music and a crackling fire.  We were pleased to note that all of our neighbors seemed to respect the campground’s quiet hours (9 pm – 8 am).  Even though there were kids staying at almost every campsite, we didn’t hear a sound from other sites after dark.

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Friday morning we woke up to chirping birds and bright sunlight.  We realized the night before that we forgot to bring our “travel” Keurig along with the rest of our camping stuff – DOH!  So we settled for some Starbucks Via, made with water boiled in our hot pot.  If you’ve never tried Via, it’s pretty darn good – Bob kept saying over and over, “MAN, instant coffee has come A LONG WAY!”

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We spent Friday exploring various parts of the campground and the state park itself.  The lake is ENORMOUS – it covers 1,275-acres and has a shoreline that measures 26 miles around!  You can fish, boat and scuba (designated areas) in the lake.  There is a marina with boat slips as well as a separate area for pedal boat and kayak rentals.  We saw many families enjoying picnics, playing Disc Golf, hiking, etc.  There are ample nature trails and even a bridle path if you’d like to bring your horses for a trail ride.

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On our way back to our campsite that afternoon, we took a spin by the campground pool… WOW!  Less like a pool and more like a waterpark, the pool complex was enormous!  There is an admission fee to use the pool but if you are staying at the campground you get a discount.

We can’t wait to return to Codorus and take Lily to the pool – she will go nuts!

Photo credit: eveningsun.com

Photo credit: eveningsun.com

Back at our campground for the evening, we got our campfire started early.  We had a roaring fire in no time and decided to take advantage of the fire ring with built-in grill.  Nothing like some old fashioned campsite cooking!  We grilled up some delicious cheeseburgers and enjoyed a tasty dinner in the great outdoors.

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As the sun went down, we threw on sweatshirts and sat closer to our fire.  Once again, quiet seemed to settle over the park and we weren’t bothered by any sort of noise from our neighbors.  We made sure that we saved part of our appetites so we could enjoy a camping staple – s’mores!

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We thought the campground at Codorus State Park was fantastic.  The grounds were well-kept, the facilities were in good shape and the scenery was just beautiful.  We loved that outside the park the town of Hanover, PA had every store and/or amenity we could have needed.  Restaurants (yes, even a Starbucks!), grocery stores, Walmart, Target, gas stations and more are all accessible within a 10-15 minutes drive from the campground.  You are also within a 20-30 minute drive from historic Gettysburg.  Whether you choose to stay in the park or venture out, there is PLENTY to do!

Check-in and check-out time is 3 pm so you can spend a decent portion of your last day at your campsite if you choose.

We definitely plan to go back to Codorus, maybe even before the end of the summer.  We know that Lily would love it – from the pool and the playground to the woods and the lake, it all made for a wonderful weekend of fun camping!



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