Monday, June 25, 2012

Tolland State Forest, East Otis, MA

Our most recent camping trip brought us up to Tolland State Forest in East Otis, MA.  This is hands down my favorite place to camp!  I like it so much that I had actually considered coming here and writing a terrible review, just to throw everyone else off the scent and free up more camp sites for us in the future.  Ha!  Fortunately for you guys though, I play fair.  :)

Otis Reservoir, Massachusetts largest recreational lake, is truly awesome.  It's huge!  And the campground is located on a small little peninsula that juts out into the lake, meaning they have plenty of waterfront sites.  Some are better than others, some are tent only sites and ALL of them are popular.  Watch the 6 month booking window closely and have a plan in place and you should be able to get a pretty decent site on the water.  Photos of all the sites at Tolland State Forest can be found at

We arrived on Thursday on the tail end of this year's first heat wave.  Setting up in 90 degree heat is NOT fun.  Having a waterfront site during a heat wave is though!  We were on site 23, the same site we stayed on last year, and it was great.  The site slopes a bit toward the water though so it took some handy work to get the camper level, but once we had everything set up we were pretty happy with the results!

The view from Site 23

Knowing ahead of time that we would have good access to the water, we decided to bring along the canoe. The kids had a great time paddling around the lake with Dad.  The bigger boats going by can make it challenging, but it was well worth it.  We will definitely be bringing it again next time!

Ed & Alex, canoeing!
We dodged a HUGE weather bullet Friday afternoon when severe storms passed to our South.  This meant cooler weather for Friday night and Saturday, which was wonderful!  On both Friday and Saturday we spent time at the beach.  Dogs aren't allowed, so one of us always had to stay behind with Shelby, but we took turns.  The beach was very nice - sandy and the swimming area was pretty shallow which was perfect for the kids.  The many boats going by during the day made for some fun waves too!  

But when we weren't at the beach, we spent time swimming off of our campsite.  Shelby was in heaven!!!  She spent so much time in the water on Friday bringing back sticks that I had to carry her into the camper later that night.  She was so tired she couldn't make the leap up the stairs!

Ed, Shelby and Alex swimming off of our site

Shelby and Alex

Another thing we did on both Friday and Saturday was visit Katie's Country Store in East Otis - not only because I needed eggs for breakfast the next morning, but also for their fantastic ice cream!  They have a cute little fast food take-out stand around the side of the building that serves breakfast items, sandwiches, burgers, wings, ice cream and all kinds of fried goodness.  Here's a picture of Alex enjoying one of their ginormous hot fudge sundae's:

We were hopeful and pleased when we were finally visited by the ducks on Friday!  They came around several times last year and we made sure to bring an extra loaf of bread for them this time.  Mom came by with 7 "barely" babies and we had fun feeding them for the 1/2 hour or so while they stuck around!

And we finally got in some geocaching!  There were 3 caches close by - 2 were on an island out in the reservoir and we didn't get out there. But that's ok, because it just means we have something to look forward to on our next trip!  The other was a micro cache down by the boat launch that we decided to check out.  There were no goodies inside because it was so small, only a very wet cache log, but we still had lots of fun tracking it down! (I'll be honest, we never would have found it without using the "hint" feature!)

When it came time for us to leave on Sunday morning, we were all dreading it.  We packed up reluctantly, but knowing that we will be back for Columbus Day weekend helps!  This is one of those campgrounds that I see us going back to over and over again.  We have several favorites, but for me this one takes the cake.  I'll be honest - the interior sites don't do it for me.  The waterfront sites are where it's at.  Watching the boats go by all day and swimming at your leisure in this spectacular lake for $14 a night is such a treat.  I promise you if you visit you won't be disappointed!


  1. That is a beautiful locale.

    We are looking forward to camping ourselves but we are in the process of buying our first house and had to cancel June and July camp trips and may have to cancel August as well.

    Since you do this often would you mind taking a look at one of my blogs and offer some constructive criticism? I wont post it here but if you follow my profile or send me a PM I can send you the link. Its a blogger site and its in my PopUpPortal signature.

    1. Sure Brandon! I'll check out your signature over at pop up portal and check it out! I hope you guys are able to get in some camping time this Summer!

  2. Beautiful place. i want to visit this place.

    Camping Trail