Paynetown State Rec Area
|Last Price Paid:||$15|
|Site Number:||89 106 60|
“Unlike Any ‘Camping’ Experience I Have Endured”
Reviewed Oct 21, 2018
We stayed here on two consecutive weekends, for a total of 6 nights, in mid-late October of 2018, and I really have some mixed feelings about the place.
The reason we chose to camp at Paynetown is simply that it is the closest public campground to Indiana University, and never having been to Bloomington before, we really had no idea what this campground is all about. Since we had tickets for Hoosier football games on both weekends, being as close as possible to campus was our main priority. We made our reservations for the ‘modern’ campground 6 months ago when we bought the football tickets, and it was a good move because because the ‘modern’ campground was occupied to 100% of capacity both weekends.
The campground is divided into ‘modern’ campsites with electric hookups, and ‘primitive’ campgrounds that offer no electric hookups. Both the ‘primitive’ and ‘modern’ campgrounds offer centralized shared potable water spigots and relatively easy access to flush toilet and shower facilities with hot water.
Across both weekends we stayed at site 89 and 106 in the ‘modern’ area and site 60 in the ‘primitive’ area.
You may wonder why we stayed at three sites over only two weekends ... well, the ‘modern’ campground has this vibe that is a cross between keg party and an unsupervised daycare. And, yes .... that is absolutely as unenjoyable as it sounds.
The first three nights we were in site 89 which is an electric site that is the last RV site located on a dead end road spur adjacent to a dedicated ‘tent only’ area. While we definitely picked up on the keg party / unsupervised daycare vibe this first weekend, we were isolated from it by distance and a fairly heavy band of trees which made it tolerable. The site offered easy and direct lakeshore access along with a fairly level gravel pad. The road to this site dead ended in what appeared to be a Parking area for those campers occupying the dedicated ‘tent only’ area. The keg party / daycare crowd obviously travels with many many more vehicles than their individual campsites would hold, because by early Friday evening this parking area was packed completely full of cars even though there was only 1 two person tent in the ‘tent only’ area. So as long as we kept our focus toward the lake, it was beautiful; as soon as we turned around though, it looked like a Walmart parking lot.
And despite the distance and the trees, we could hear music, shouted obscenities and kids screaming well past midnight. Park staff did not seem to care and made no effort to enforce the 11:00 PM start of quiet hours. Very disappointing.
We had site 106 reserved for the second weekend, and unfortunately for us, 106 is right in the middle of party central. Just like the previous weekend, the party raged for what seemed like 20 hours a day, but this time we were not isolated from it and quite frankly, we couldn’t stand it. At 2 AM, unsupervised pre-teens were pounding on RVs and running to hide .... essentially the campground version of ‘ring and run’. All while their disinterested parents were focusing on being as loud, and getting as drunk, as possible. Site 106 itself offers electric hookups and a gravel pad that is on a severe grade. Campsites are super compact and very tightly spaced, so there is no getting away from the neighbors no matter how obnoxious and inconsiderate they may be.
On Saturday morning, while walking back to our site, we passed a pair of guys changing the oil in their truck at one campsite and another guy with a yard sale table set up trying to sell a wide variety of used items from his campsite.
At that point we decided we were not going to spend another sleepless night in site 106 and asked the Ranger if we could move to a site in one of the ‘primitive’ campgrounds. The Ranger said we could have our pick of the ‘primitive’ sites so we chose site number 60 because it seemed the most level and it offered plenty of sun for our solar array.
This was literally the smartest move we made at Paynetown. The ‘primitive’ campgrounds were mostly vacant and are far enough away from the keg party / daycare crowd that you really couldn’t tell they were there. You do not get electric hookups here, but there are shared potable water spigots and you can run your generator up until 11 PM each night if needed.
The ‘primitive’ campsites almost all have a grass pad, picnic table and fire ring. Some are level, some are not. Some are pull through and some are back in.
Each of the three ‘primitive’ loops has its own vault toilets within the loop, and the three loops share a shower house with flush toilets and hot water showers.
Bottom line, if you need a place to camp that is close to Indiana University, this is the closest public campground. It is about a 10-mike bike ride to campus from here. But be forewarned ... the ‘modern’ campground here does not offer a restful or relaxing experience. The ‘primitive’ sites are dry camping only, and in my opinion, they offer a much better camping experience.
We had only one bar of Verizon LTE and one bar of AT&T LTE. Download speeds were in the neighborhood of 1 to 3 Mbps depending upon what time of day you are checking.
This review is the opinion of a Campendium member and not of Campendium.com
WhatsNext_OutWest would stay here again
“Family and boating oriented campground”
Reviewed Jun 16, 2017
Non-electric site, Friday night stay (6/9/17). Note: Paynetown park personnel refer to non-electric sites as "primitive" even though Indiana's Recreation Guide lists them as 2 different classifications and price rates (primitive being lower priced).
The non-electric campground is BEFORE the registration booth here. We were surprised not only by the the amount of traffic, but the amount of speeding vehicles on the main road through the campground. Being that it's a recreation area, mainly for boating on Monroe Lake, it was not surprising this was a busy campground.
The non-electric campground was park-like, with open grassy areas and a good amount of space between sites; most had a tree for some shade. The electric campground had open areas and also wooded sites, but sites were much more packed in. It was definitely a family setting, with noise, kids, people prepping boats for water activities.
Shower house was large & clean with more shower stalls, flush toilet stalls & sinks than normal. We didn't shower there, but I checked them out, and shower heads looked pretty low down on the wall (in the women's anyway). Vault toilet house was open-air type, with screen at the top, two stalls with no doors. Only 1 water spigot for the whole one side of the non-electric campground, so it's a distance away from most campsites.
Areas were clean and grass was nicely mowed, but poison ivy lined the edge of the woods behind campsites in our area. We chose a spot as close to the lake as possible and were able to put our kayaks in right near our site, walking a short trail through the woods (and watching out for the poison ivy).
Facilities: beach, pontoon rental (they come with slides!), boat ramps, 4 hiking trails, fishing pier, playgrounds, picnic areas/shelters, basketball hoop, nature center, camp store, marina.
We would camp there again, but only at a much less busy time like early spring or fall.
This review is the opinion of a Campendium member and not of Campendium.com
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