April 2012 UPDATE: Since I wrote this blog post Fransted Family Campground has been sold and is now managed by the new owners.
There are many camping choices in New Hampshire and the experience can vary greatly.
For example, the state campgrounds offer a low cost, no frills value in prime locations. Perfect for Deb and I when it was just the two of us. That said, the reservation system can sometimes be a pain to deal with and alternatively the first come, first served sites often leave your vacation to chance.
There’s also all kinds of private campground alternatives. One that sticks in my mind promotes themselves with this, “Come experience the difference of no alcohol, no pets and no radio.“…OH JOY! While I can appreciate this concept, it’s not for us.
Then there are what I call resort style campgrounds, with pools, boats, beaches, mini-golf, arcades, ice cream shops, hayrides, and playgrounds all in an attempt to keep guests occupied from dawn to dusk. Although not in New Hampshire, Point Sebago in Maine comes to mind as an example. This is where I went camping as a kid, the place was awesome, but has since grown into an over the top RESORT, at least in my opinion. It now has a “Nationally Acclaimed 18-Hole Championship Golf Course” , offers cabins, fist class entertainment…it’s a resort .
For us Fransted Family Campground offers a perfect blend of all the examples above. The reservation system is easy, with a wide variety of sites from private tent sites to RV sites with all the services. The campground allows dogs, responsible use of alcohol is permitted, they have a nice playground, mini-golf, and a modest beach area. There’s also a fair amount of activities to keep you busy, especially on holiday weekends, but they don’t aim to keep you busy ALL day. We really like this, kids and families should be able to enjoy the area without spoon feed entertainment all day.
1. JACK & RITA (and don’t forget the family)
Without question, owners Jack and Rita are the number one reason Fransted is so special, and better than most campgrounds. The couple is deeply engaged in the business and seem to always be looking for ways to improve the campground. We’ve been going for more than seven years now and we still get escorted to our campsite upon arrival…it’s so funny. But it’s one of those little things that makes you feel like the owners care about your stay.
Jack and Rita also maintain good control over the campground. They are very friendly, but don’t hesitate to remind campers of quiet hours if they get too loud. We think this is good, it’s a family campground and we enjoy the quiet and peaceful atmosphere.
Jack & Rita’s family are also a big part of the campground, many of them work on weekends and major holidays to help run the many of the activities. It really is amazing how efficient the whole operation runs.
2. THE BATHROOMS!
Let’s be honest, good CLEAN bathrooms are critical to an enjoyable camping experience, especially if you have children. ALL the Fransted bathrooms are CLEAN, the cleanest I’ve ever seen in a campground! They always have a fresh coat of paint, hot water, and free hot showers. The staff checks and cleans the bathrooms all day long, it really is nice!
3. WOOD CHIPS
AH, THE WOOD CHIPS! OK, so this one might sound a little strange but wood-chips are HUGE! A few years back Jack had wood-chips placed on almost all the campsites, except for maybe some of the RV sites. A very generous amount of wood-chips, and I think he adds more each year. Imagine pitching your tent on a soft bed of wood-chips….no rocks and no packed down dirt that feels like asphalt. HEAVEN! At first I thought it would attract a lot of insects or start to decompose after a few years and smell, it just seemed like a strange idea. Well, we’ve not experienced any of those issues, it was a great idea, and everyone seems to love it. In fact, it’s such a good idea that I can’t see myself camping anywhere else, the thought of hard packed dirt is a turn off now.
4. THE OTHER CAMPERS
The culture within Fransted Campground is extremely friendly, many of the campers are regulars, some have been going to Fransted for 10, 15, 20+ years. We have met so many great people, heck some of the folks now attend our kids birthday parties and other social gatherings. That’s awesome!
- Santa’s Village
- Hobo Railroad
- Clarks Trading Post
- Whales Tail
- Pollys Pancake Parlor – Franconia, NH
- July 4th Weekend – Town of Franconia Parade & Fireworks Display
It’s true, I’ve become a fanboy of Family Fransted Campground, but for good reason. We often complain about the products, businesses, and companies that do us wrong, but it’s not to often that we acknowledge those who provide superior service.
THANK YOU JACK & RITA for running such a great campground and for making our family vacations so enjoyable and memorable!