Herkimer Diamond Mine KOA
Camping season has started again for my family and our first trip of the season was to Herkimer Diamond Mine KOA in upstate NY. This was our first visit because, to be honest, in the past when we stayed at KOAs we didn’t like them as much as staying at state parks. This KOA was so much better than ones we stayed at in the past. There will always be things we like better about state parks than KOAs but we officially have a place that we discovered that has things that we like better than state parks and that place is Herkimer Diamond Mine.
Let’s get the bad things out of the way first because they are minimal compared to the good things.
The first thing we noticed that is typical of KOAs we’ve stayed at in the past is that you are parked right next to each other with little to no privacy. For instance we walked out our door to our neighbor’s poop hose, not ideal. Some sites do have some trees which allows for shade and privacy so you may want to try to get into one of those sites if that is something you are interested in, those sites are to the left of the office when you arrive.
The next thing we noticed is that the water pressure was not good. There is a possibility that this was just our site so if you have stayed here and didn’t have this same issue please comment and let everyone know (nicely please). This was not a big deal until we went to shower.
The final complaint which is something that is avoidable was how expensive the firewood was compared to state parks. In New York (I don’t know about other states) there are rules for bringing in your own firewood. Because of this it is not always easy to bring your own, but it is possible and highly recommend because we were joking that we might better had burned the $20+ bills we used to buy the wood and it would have lasted longer.
OK, complaints over, onto the description of our trip.
The park was easy to find and our check in was quick and it felt like we were parked and leveled in no time. Almost all sites face the creek which is lovely. We made sure our bed was facing the water so we could wake up to the view every morning. Little did we know that we would constantly be seeing people floating down that creek all day on tubes. There is an entrance at one end of the park and you bring your own tubes and float to the other end, we honestly didn’t do it but we talked to a lot of people who did and they said it was great.
The kids immediately went off and did their own thing, It was easy to ride bikes around the grounds which the kids did a lot. One of the great things we have found at the KOAs we’ve stayed at is the K-9 area. It might not be huge but it is nice to take our dogs who are use to being off leash at home and allow them to run. Our big dog even surprised us and did the agility course which shocked us.
We spent our first night relaxing and playing in the big open field. Our next day was spent going to the mine. It was very hot but we really liked it. Make sure you bring your own hammers and chisel, a bucket, safety glasses and gloves. Both kids loved doing this but our 11 year old didn’t want to leave and she was finding the diamonds like crazy just by walking around. (Tip: wait until the sun is at your back and walk around and look at the ground and you will see them sparkle.) We washed our rocks out front and walked around the store before going back to the site. You will likely want to drive to the mine. We talked about taking our tools in the wagon but putting everything in the truck was a way better idea.
My husband and son went in the pool after we returned which they said was FREEZING. We spent the rest of the day walking around and talking to fellow campers and hanging out in the K-9 area and the kids went on the hay ride which also involved being asked trivia questions for candy. We finished the day by playing bingo in the pavilion (we didn’t win).
Our last day we decided to be involved in as many of the activities as we could. We made pinwheels, my husband and a bunch of kids played wiffle ball, the whole family played volleyball with a giant beach ball, we did a family relay (which we failed miserably at) and that night we went to the ice cream social and dance party. I think almost everyone who was camping was there. There was a DJ and even the staff started dancing behind the counter and started a conga line. It was a great time and you could tell everyone was enjoying themselves.
All in all, we had a lot of fun, our kids had fun, our dogs had fun and we had a great time starting off this year’s camping season at Herkimer Diamond Mine.