In operation since 1846, Lake Compounce (lakecompounce.com) is the oldest theme park in the nation, combining classic rides with thrills, shows and a full water park for recreation geared toward entire families. It is located in Bristol, Connecticut, in close proximity to a number of different campgrounds although only one is mentioned on the park's website. Still, there are three additional campsites less than half an hour's drive from Lake Compounce.
The only campground listed on the Lake Compounce website, Hemlock Hill Camp Resort (hemlockhillcamp.com) lies 24 miles from the theme park in Litchfield, Connecticut. In 2011 Hemlock Hill offered tent campsites from about $30 to $40 a night, with weekly rates at around $200. The Resort also offered RV hookup sites although these were slightly more expensive at $40-$50 a night. When booking holiday reservations, guests must pay in full in advance. For those who also want to spend some time away from the park, Hemlock Hill offers themed-weekend activities, including free donuts and community games during Father's Day and a Mexican-themed weekend complete with a pinata for kids, a sombrero-decorating contest and an annual chili cook-off.
Although not mentioned on the Lake Compounce website, Gentile Campground (gentilescampground.com) is actually closer to the theme park than Hemlock Hill. Located only 13 miles away in Plymouth, Gentile Campground campsites are available from April 1 through October 1. Daily rates ranged from $35 a night or $180 weekly in 2011, with some increased charges depending on electric usage and whether a site had visitors. Guests are welcome to camp using a tent, trailer or RV, and each group may bring one pet. The campground also offers a number of amenities, including a swimming pool, sand-volleyball court and a miniature golf course. Although families from all religions are welcome, the campground does feature a chapel for practicing Christians.
Also located only about 13 miles from Lake Compounce, Branch Brook (branchbrookct.com) lies in Thomaston, Connecticut. Its 2011 rates ranged from $40-$45 a night, with added fees for additional guests or air-conditioner use. Campers are welcome to stay in a tent, camper or RV, and the campground observes quiet hours from 10:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. daily. Additional amenities offered to guests free of charge include an in-ground swimming pool, laundry facilities, a fishing pond and wireless Internet access.
A state park located very close to Branch Brook in Watertown, Black Rock State Park (ct.gov) is only about a 25-minute drive from Lake Compounce. In addition to recreational opportunities such as fishing, swimming and hiking, Black Rock also offers 96 different campsites open daily from mid-May through early September. Rates are cheaper here than at many other nearby campgrounds, ranging from $17 a night for Connecticut residents to $26 a night for non-residents. A significant drawback for some campers is that Black Rock does not allow any alcohol on the premises.
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