Me and my family as well as two other camping parties decided to spend the Canada day long weekend at The Living Forest Oceanside campground and RV park. The three of us were tenting so we booked well in advance. We stayed in sites T-21, T-23 and T-24. I'll give a quick summary of the pro's and con's of this campsite.
-friendly check in, friendly and fairly prompt communication via email when booking
- beautiful view's from specific sites, especially ours (T-23)
- flush toilets as opposed to outhouses, fairly clean
- hot coin showers ($1 for 5 minutes)
-nice little ice cream stand on grounds, convenient for hot days
-small little beach access area and numerous trails throughout.
-paved roads throughout, great for kids riding bikes and chalk drawing
-decent little playground for younger children.
- not a lot of partying going on considering the crazy number of camp spots.
- NOISE!!The campsite does not allow any "outside" music which means no stereo's or boom boxes etc. This was great in the "keeping with nature" theme the park seems to have but we were unable to enjoy the sounds of the birds chirping etc due to a screaming child in site T20. We were camping with four kids of our own. I am normally a very empathetic person especially when I hear a child crying but this kid SCREECHED at the top of its lungs for hours on ends and the parents did NOTHING to console him/her. And this wasn't just once in a while. It was ALL day and ALL night. I know this is more a complaint about the parents of this child but even if this shrieking child had not ruined two nights of our trip, surely the close proximity of the campsites would have been a deal breaker anyways. I am used to "condo camping" side by side but you could hear everything your neighbors said or did.
- bathrooms. I dislike outhouses and would be willing to stand in line for 45 minutes to use a flush toilet and that's often what I did... Waited in line for the bathrooms. The people to bathroom ratio was not even. They need more toilets.
- wood. They charged $7 for 7 WET pieces of wood. I don't think wood should be something that they make a big fat profit from, it should contribute to the enjoyable camping atmosphere that you are paying for.
- lack of garbage cans. They ask that you not put your campsite garbage into their bathroom garbage cans yet the only garbage cans I could find were near the office. If one is walking their dog on a leash (as we often did) it would be nice to put the dog poo bags we carried somewhere rather than having to carry them all the way to the entrance of the campsite.
- They don't sell a lot of necessity items in their office. While they have ice and overpriced chips or marshmallows, they have no tooth brushes, aspirin, suntan lotion, tooth paste, sanitary supplies, bars of soap or shampoo... Just the little things that one might not think to pack. There is a dollar store a short drive away but again, that involves leaving the campground.
- bugs! We really enjoyed the view from our campsite and the forest area is lovely but the bugs are INSANE. My son had more than 30 bug bites on his body despite rubbing ourselves with fabric softener sheets (which is supposed to keep bugs away) using "off" bug spray and wearing long sleeved shirts and pants! It was insane.
- The cost. $26-$48 a night is the summer price range. Not a steal by any means but not outrageous. Just know before you go, the campsite cost includes only TWO guests, any additional people cost: children 6-17 are an extra $1, extra adults are $4 PER night.
Needless to say, we will not be back anytime soon!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thanks for your review Canshy. Obviously it's nicer to respond to a wonderful review, but that's what TripAdvisor is all about. And I appreciate you taking time to outline the positives of your stay too. Let me speak to some of the things that made your stay less than stellar, just to give you an idea of why' some of the things are the way they are at Living Forest, even if they're not easily changed. Our park is continually being upgraded and fine tuned, and camper feedback is almost always where ideas for our changes come from.
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First, it sounds like the biggest issue of your stay was the noise from the neighbouring kids. Some folks have different styles of parenting, and that's a tough one to deal with on a long weekend, made worse when we don't have any other sites to relocate you, which we would normally offer in a situation like that. Our staff and owners all camp too, and know what it's like to be next to people accustomed to 'living out loud'.
When the park is completely full, the number of bathrooms seems like it's never enough if you have to wait. We try very hard to cater to our campers' needs by making sure our showers and the 22 flush toilets located around the park are well constructed and maintained. Two new bathrooms were completed in the last year also, but on long weekends there's going to be a strain on resources, and I know that's not fun.
I do apologize if the firewood you received was wet. I wish you would have brought that to our attention- we would have exchanged it for dry wood. I have no explanation except to say that we spend several months each fall stockpiling wood so it's seasoned for the camping season- we hate wet wood when we camp too! As for pricing, will tell you that because we pay fair wages to our staff, and because buying/splitting/stacking/bundling/transporting to office of the firewood is so labour intensive, even at the $7/bundle price, firewood is only a break even proposition. We actually encourage campers to bring their own! We also rent propane campfires and, similarly, encourage folks to bring those too if they own one.
And speaking of profit, you may have noticed that our cafe is donating ALL profits from that part of our operation to charity. Any profit we make comes from the camping fees, and overall, we feel our rates are in line with many other campgrounds in our region according to our ongoing research. Our pricing policy on extra adults and kids is posted on our website and rate brochures, so I'm hoping there wasn't any misunderstanding about that.
We have scaled back the number of products we sell in our office. We can't begin to compete with the prices offered at the shopping centre half a kilometer away, as you noticed with our marshmallows! For that reason, we encourage campers to grab supplies on their way in, or take the short walk/cycle/drive over to take advantage of their superior selection and pricing, if they forget something.
Garbage collection is something that is never perfect. We used to have individual site cans which was more convenient, but had serious drawbacks too- if lids got knocked off, dogs, crows or raccoons would make a mess. Also, the noise involved in twice weekly rounds through the park was always a half day unwelcome intrusion. Having to carry garbage and recycling to our central bins near the entrance was preferable to the majority of campers according to our surveys before we switched to this system a few years ago. The lesser of two evils shall we say.
And after a record wet June, I'm afraid the first couple weeks of July are going to see the peak of the mosquito season, before the dry part of the summer allows nature to curtail those pesky things. I've been up and down the Island over the past 10 days, and I can tell you, we haven't cornered the market on 'mozzies' at Living Forest- they're everywhere right now.
Canshy, I know you didn't have a great time on the long weekend, and I wish there was more I could do, but I will make sure your review is seen by owners and management as we are constantly trying to make our park a better place, and hearing the good and the bad is the only way to make that happen. Happy camping on your next adventure!
- respectfully, Scott Littlejohn
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.