Tobyhanna State Park

Dave Moz

Jul 15, 2021
Just back from Tobyhanna State Park and a Thursday to Sunday trip. Our rating would be 3 out of 5.

Stayed in modern electric site 61 in the only loop of the campground. Arrived Thursday at 3pm as a thunderstorm hit so we held up setting up. We were going to the park office to check in when another camper stopped us and said the only road into the campground was blocked by a downed tree that also took out the power lines. After the rain, rangers informed us that PP&L had to kill the electric before they could take down the tree. About 7pm, the electric was cut and the tree removed. Power was restored overnight at some point.

The campground has 135 sites with a mix of electric and non-electric. Sites range from smallish (tent and a car is about all you could fit) to expansive (see below about our site). There were many families camping together with multiple sites booked and using the spots for just one activity - all tents in one spot, canopies and tables in another, bikes and hammocks in the third, and so on.) Other sites had some of their equipment set into the woods itself with the pad open. Sites 48 to 67 all seemed much larger than other campgrounds. Sites like #36 and those right next to the bathhouses were much smaller.
Most sites also have some separation from the other sites - trees, boulders, shrubs... Many sites also have no neighbors to the rear of the site, and if there is one, there is separation as noted. Most sites also had some shade coverage with some being fully enveloped in trees.

The excellent -
Site size - Our site 61 (modern electric) was huge. We had room for our pup, screen tent, shade tent, two hammocks, car, firepit, and room to spare. While our site was at the start of a main trail to/from the campground, we didn't have any issues with hikers passing by and jokingly called the larger groups "The Parade." Because of the trail, we had no neighbors to one side and the other side had boulders to separate the sites.

The campground hosts - We talked to the Hosts a few times about an issue we had with a neighboring site, they were very friendly even though they were exasperated by the situation (more in "the meh".) They did a wonderful job cleaning sites and firepits. Many folks do not realize that this is a volunteer position and they do a lot to help keep the grounds clean and safe.

The location - Even though I grew up in NEPA, TSP wasn't on our radar. It is only 25-30 minutes from Scranton, and about the same to Stroudsburg. It's not to far off the major highways. One thing to note is there is only one access road to the campground with a smallish sign. If you miss it, there is no good place to turn around while towing something for a mile or so.

Late check out time - While it might be a negative that you can't check into your spot until 3pm, having all morning and part of the afternoon to pack up is great.

The firewood at the boat rental - It was $20 for 27 pieces of nice-sized, well seasoned firewood. They take cash and Venmo only. They also help you load the wood from their pile to your car. The wood burned perfectly and was some of the best campfire wood we've had a long time.

Lack of cell/internet service - Some might say this is a negative. For me, it was a positive. In the campground itself, there was little/no data connection for running internet on our phones. We were able to make calls out and text at times.

The good -
The sites as far as pads and leveling - Most sites were either grass and/or gravel with not many having pads/driveways. Many sites also seemed to not be that level. We noticed several tents set up on slight slants in some areas.

The ice cream truck - Not sure of their full schedule, however Friday/Saturday night at 8pm and Saturday/Sunday at 2pm, a private ice cream truck rolls through. Cash only. Great treat for kids as there is no camp store on site.

The Lake - The SP offers lake swimming that you either need to hike or drive to get to it. There is also a boat rental area (privately owned) that offers firewood and ice. The beach is sand and the water in the roped in area never goes above 6 feet. The roped in area is pretty big too, so there was room for people to enjoy themselves without getting crowded.
The bathhouse there was bigger than the one in the campground but you had to pay 50cents for the showers.

The meh -
Lake access and fishing - The lake is non-powered or electric motor only and there is a boat launch in the campground loop. This is also the only wide area to access the lake for fishing from the actual campground. I only saw one site along the lake that had an actual path to the lake. The lake itself is very weedy and overgrown. I stopped using lures because every cast kept getting snagged.
The lake is also only 9 feet at its deepest section.

The bathhouses - These are the one major reason we might not book again here. With two bathhouses for 135 sites, they need to be bigger. The one ladies room only had three stalls and two showers.
The showers themselves were the worst we ever encountered. The water temperature would rise/drop constantly and the water pressure just wasn't that good.
The dishwashing area of the one bathhouse had an automatic sink where you could not control the temperature and had to hold your hand in a certain position for water - tough to do when washing dishes. Also, there was no shelf next to it, we had to set our dirty/clean dishes on the washer or dryer while doing dishes.
The one plus is there was a coin operated washer and dryer - never saw that at a PA State Park. There was also a 'family' bathroom with a fully enclosed toilet, sink, and shower.
Also - People... Please!!! Learn to turn the water in the showers completely off when you are done! On each trip to the bathhouse, we were turning off at least one shower that was left as a fast drizzle.

Other campers, The Park Rangers, and site maintenance -
More than one group that booked multiple sites decided it was best to park all their cars lined up along the road in front of one site with all the cars partially in the road. Even though Rangers saw this, they did nothing to have the folks park their cars properly. Also, very few campers came close to obeying the 5MPH... lots of cars zooming through at 25-30 we would estimate.

The site directly across from us was occupied by a couple with a young child. They moved from another site when we were pulling in and then moved to yet another site on the Saturday of our trip. The Rangers knew them and gave them warnings (it seemed) as did the Hosts. Unfortunately, they left food and a cooler out on Friday night, and that brought in two bear cubs that rampaged through their site. We along with the site next to theirs were able to scare off the cubs and luckily did not see momma bear around.
The rangers did not seem to do anything when informed of this. The hosts were beyond frustrated as apparently the couple did this at the previous site. There were numerous other issues with them that I won't delve into here. I did write to the DNCR with our concerns.
(We believe the family was homeless and there were possibly drug/mental health issues involved. Our issue was more the lack of concern from Park Rangers than the family themselves. We don't know their full story.)
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Dave Moz

Jul 15, 2021
TSP - it's almost too close to home for us, so never camped there. We have enjoyed the park and lake via canoe many times.
We would go to Gouldsboro SP for day trips, but never Tobyahnna. Instead we always went to Lackawanna State Park because it was closer to my Dad's work. We would camp in the summer and he would go to work right from the campsite.
If we go again, hoping to borrow a kayak from a friend to explore the lake a little more.