Posted July 7, 2019 – Narrated by Carmen
*see our 5-Bambi rating legend at the end of this review.
We love Maumee!
Maumee Bay State Park is a cycling, paddling, swimming and dog-friendly suburban campground situated on Lake Erie just a twenty-minute drive from Toledo, Ohio.
The 1,336 acre park is developed over an old coastal neighborhood that was devastated by a storm in 1972.
To minimize storm surge and toxic blooms due to farm run off, the designers of this expansive state park created a series of wide riparian buffer strips which perform like machines, supporting the delicate Lake Erie ecosystem.
The result is a spacious campground with wide shady loops featuring 252 back-in sites with large lawns and long tract-home style driveways.
Maumee Bay is a fabulous place to pitch a sprawling and comfortable camp and then relax, kick back and enjoy your new lake home in the burbs.
Eight loops situated between the buffer strips, provide lake views, woodland views, and meadow views so expansive they seem to stretch into the horizon. This is a large, open design.
It feels like a public park where free-roaming is encouraged. Fences and walls seem to be forbidden in Maumee.
For us, Maumee Bay State Park is a promising example of the future of urban camping. The comprehensive outdoor recreation plan is the closest thing we’ve experienced to RV camping utopia.
These days, as traditional housing pulls away from shorelines on sensitive coastal areas, state and local governments would do well to consider eco-tourism developments like Maumee Bay State Park. When pockets of wild lands are coaxed out of dead zones, attracting wildlife and supporting low-impact tourism, everyone wins.
Welcome to Maumee Bay State Park …
…where each generous RV site features a solid asphalt pad, a fire pit with a grill and an electrical hook-up. Most of the sites are well off the wide paved loop road, making it easy to keep pets and toddlers a safe distance from traffic.
Dense shrubbery – mostly indigenous – forms a natural blind to other campsites. Due to our low profile Airstream and the thick foliage we lost our way more than once while walking back to our campsite. The natural landscape also functions as noise barrier.
Even filled to weekend capacity the park was quiet. On weekdays the isolation was bliss – so we played our annoying old-people music outside on our Bose and no one complained.
Maumee Bay is as clean as Disneyland.
Everything is raked, mown and trash free. The complimentary yard service team did a great job keeping our perfectly level, lush green lawn maintained.
And we were thrilled how brilliantly our new Quickset Clam Shelter with outdoor panels in place held up like a champ in twenty mile per hour winds with thirty mile per hour gusts. Our bikes, outdoor equipment and even our tablecloth were perfectly safe and dry.
Every site can accommodate any size RV. Both 30 amp and 50 amp service is available depending on the site. Currently, there are no full-hook ups (but camp-hosts rumored that full-hook up sites are on the way).
There are no water or sewer hook-ups at any of the sites, only electricity. So, we made daily use of the clean and modern shower building and laundry near our campsite. Each loop has several gray water receptacles for dumping kitchen and bath water.
We found the laundry clean and well maintained. The machines were fairly new, operable, and very hot water was provided.
Potable water, dump station, trash and air for tires are grouped together just inside the park entrance. The dump station is equipped with hoses to expedite the big job.
Dumpsters for trash and recycling are only at the utility station.
At first, we stored trash in the back of our truck, but quickly decided to make daily visits to the dump …
There is no WiFi at Maumee, but our Verizon cell signal was functional and with our cell service booster we were able to live stream on rainy afternoons and evenings.
Maumee Bay State Park is teeming with wildlife. Birds, deer, rabbits, raccoon, frogs, turtles … We didn’t even have to leave our campsite to enjoy critter visitations.
The lodge, cottages and golf course are nestled within scenic meadows, wet woods and lush marshes.
The Lodge, has 120 rooms, each with a private balcony overlooking Lake Erie. Inside, two restaurants, a souvenir shop and a full bar are open to the public.
Other amenities, such as the indoor and outdoor pool and tennis courts, are only available to guests of the lodge and the cottages.
Twenty-four modern cottages are spaced acres apart on the east end of the park, and some are right on the golf course. Maumee Bay State Park is an idyllic gathering place for family reunions, conferences and large weddings and for secluded lodging with easy 20-minute access to Toledo.
Each cottage is equipped with a gas fireplace, heating and air conditioning. Kitchens are fully equipped. Each has a living area with two bedrooms and a loft, or four bedrooms. Cabin guests may use all lodge facilities and pets are permitted in select cabins.
The beach on Lake Erie is open to all. Parking is free. In good weather the beach is the place to be in the summertime.
We watched active Ohioans fish, swim, wind surf, and kayak. The Lake Erie beach is only a 1.5 mile walk or bike ride from the campground.
Wave runners, small boats and sun shelter rentals are near the lodge. A small inland lake in the center of the park is a popular place for safe swimming and beach activities. Nearby, there is a large playground and family picnic areas.
Maumee Bay is the walleye capital of the world. Fishing is allowed along the shoreline or on the lake – except at swimming beaches, in swimming areas, and where “No Fishing” is posted. Permits are required.
Trails, paved and unpaved, for cycling and walking, weave in and around the park for miles. And even the park roads – because they are wide and have low traffic and low speed limits – are reasonably safe for bikes and pedestrians.
The main campground reservation office has bikes and beach equipment for rent and also a well stocked camp store.
Throughout the park, miles of freshly mown unpaved walking trails encircle the lakes – but due to the heavy rain, our daily walks were usually cut short.
The major hikes are:
- Inland Lake (paved-biking & jogging) – 3.0 miles
- Interpretive Boardwalk (hiking) ADA accessible – 2.0 miles
- Multi-Use Trail – 2.5 miles
- Mouse Trail (hiking) – 2.5 Miles – Easy
It rained so often that we never had a chance to go kayaking, but we saw plenty of safe places to put in near the Lodge.
We had a lovely afternoon pub crawl in Toledo – but we missed Handlebar Toledo. Oh well, next time!
The Nature Center
The Nature Center near The Lodge – has inter-active displays, viewing windows to observe wild birds feed, and the nicest rangers we’ve ever met.
We took a chance and it didn’t rain! On our last day in Maumee, we put ourselves way out there … walking several miles on the raised-board trail through the estuary to view one of the last remnants of The Great Black Swamp which was drained in the late 1800’s. What an amazing outdoor experience!
The rangers are so helpful and happy to provide all the educational information needed to spot wildlife and protected species and plants.
Even though the campground is large and the spaces feel private, the camping community is a friendly bunch of regulars and volunteers. We were often invited to the “Shelter House” for bingo, and for Saturday morning doughnuts, and ice cream socials and to just hang out, complain about the rain and listen to hits from the 60’s.
We arrived to Maumee Bay State Park without reservations, but sites can be booked up to 6 months in advance. Camping Reservations can be made by calling (866) 644-6727 or logging in at Reserve America. Lodge & Cabin Reservations can be made by calling (800) 282-7275.
There is a 14-day maximum stay and no first-come, first-serve sites. With tax, we paid just under $31 a night.
So, there ya go. Our Maumee is your Maumee.
Have fun and stay cool in Ohio.
|Our “BAMBI” rating system explained:
– One Bambi: Should’a boondocked.
– Two Bambi’s: Better than a Cracker Barrel or Walmart.
– Three Bambi’s: Adequate for a short stay.
– Four Bambi’s: Great place! Met our expectations for an extended stay. Needs minor improvements or is not ideally situated for all our preferred recreation (walking, cycling, swimming, kayaking) without driving.
– Five Bambi’s: Destination Camping at it’s best! Critical as we are, there’s nothing we’d improve, and you can bet your sweet Bambi we’re going back!