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“Campground Safety Issues & Trailer Rental Problems!”

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Searsport Shores Oceanfront Campground
Certificate of Excellence
Bethlehem, New Hampshire
Level Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Campground Safety Issues & Trailer Rental Problems!”
Reviewed June 29, 2012

Although the campground has gorgeous ocean views and is conveniently located, the experience we had June 11th-18th justify this rating and others should know about safety issues before booking. First, when choosing a campground we wanted one that had new trailers with two bedrooms that we could rent. The floor plan shown on the website shows a kids bunkroom with a slide which is what we wanted given that our son is already 5’4” -- we wanted the kids to have plenty of space for the week. However, when we arrived a trailer with a small bunkroom with no slide, very cramped, was setup on our site. We figured that others must have reserved the larger bunkhouse models we saw parked across the lot so we moved our stuff in. The next morning, no one was in either camper so I went to the front desk to speak to Steve or Astrid and was told by Astrid’s father that they had gone away for 3 days. I explained that when booking with Astrid we discussed that we were excited for renting this camper with the slide because we are looking at buying one just like it and asked if someone else had those campers reserved. He told us that no one had them booked, that they show both on the website and that you didn’t get to pick a certain trailer, and that the Hornet was already in the front row so they had just moved it over. I checked the website and it does mention a Hornet trailer but the only floor plan shown on the site shows a bunkhouse model with a slide, so that’s what we were expecting when we booked. He agreed to move the Springdale over but we first had to unpack all of our stuff and run it over to the new camper - a waste of our vacation time.

Things were fine for 2 days until we were saying goodnight to the kids one evening and the scissor jack on the right side of the camper folded and the blocks fell out from under it. My daughter started screaming as the slide with their bunks in it was tilting downward and within seconds, the other scissor jack folded. My husband ran out to make sure that nothing else would be dropping and since it was 10:30 at night, we got the kids to sleep and waited until morning to go to the office. We were told that “these things happen”, asked if we were alright and that they would fix it when we went out. The fix was piling up pieces of wood in various sizes and shapes which left the camper leaning to the right for the rest of our stay but it was secure.

These were just inconveniences at this point, but on Monday morning, June 18th the events turned dangerous. It was 8:30 in the morning and we heard a popping sound, followed by our daughter announcing that the camper was filling with smoke. I jumped up and flung open the door to let the smoke out to see the guy next door trying to unplug his camper from the GFCI breaker - it was seriously hot and he had to pull his hand away before burning it. He told us that they had been eating breakfast and their microwave turned on by itself and their camper filled with smoke too. His smoke detector was going off, but ours wasn’t because -- IT HAD NO BATTERIES!!! He ran and got a pot holder and unplugged his camper while my husband went and unplugged ours. The GFCI breakers didn’t work sending electrical current into all of the campers. Our son ran up to the office and got Steve. We all got dressed and went outside while we let the smoke out of the camper. Steve and his crew began walking around to see what was wrong. I noticed that the area all around our fire pit, the metal box that they setup on each site to make a campfire, was surrounded by water. I asked them if they saw this and was told that they thought we had poured water on the fire to put it out. I told him that we didn’t pour water on it and that’s when they found the water coming up from the ground under our firepit. They got a shovel and dug up the ground to expose the electrical and water lines that were running directly under the firebox. As the photo shows, these lines were buried only 2” under the ground and the heat from the fire the night before had melted the coating on the electrical wire as well as the water line which had shorted out the electricity. I asked how they could have water and electrical lines running beside each other not in conduit buried just 2” below ground that any kid could have poked with a marshmallow stick and one of the guys said it was fine because the wire has an in-ground rating. My husband being a contractor and having built our own 12,000 sq. ft. B&B, we know that underground means that it is rated such so long as it’s 18” below grade. He said this wasn’t the case, it was fine. They began repairing the lines while we packed up to leave. Not the way we had intended to end our vacation. As we were about ready to leave, one of the guys actually said “Boy, you guys didn’t have the Camping Gods with you this trip.” What a stupid thing to say to a family who has experienced the events of the week and given that all of these events were the fault of the campground owners, not us.

Because this could have been even worse than it was given that the GFCI breakers didn’t work on the sites, that they are renting campers with no batteries in the smoke detectors and the wires didn’t appear to be up to code, the next day I contacted the Maine Dept. of Safety and spoke with an investigator named Rebecca. She took all of the details and called us back saying that they were getting an electrical inspector to join them for a safety inspection later that week. I reiterated that they just need to check the ground between campsites 12 & 13 and that they’d find the disturbed ground to inspect how the wires were repaired. I waited to post this review not wanting to tip them off to the inspection. I hope that whatever electrical issues the campground has they fix immediately to ensure guests safety. It’s a shame, because the campground is beautiful and our one week vacation that we’ll get this year had so many issues, especially ones that could have turned fatal had we all been asleep since the smoke detectors didn’t have batteries.

Room Tip: Make sure that you're getting the new Springdale Camper that they show the floor plan for - the...
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank CarolKNH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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109 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
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  • Value
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (17)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Bangor, Maine
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed June 28, 2012

My wife & I stayed here June 19-22, 2012 and really enjoyed our stay. The campground is very well maintained, bathrooms & showers cleaned 3 times a day, nice views & spacious sites. When we were there is was in the 80's and very humid, the breeze off the ocean was a nice relief. They also have a nice play area for kids and a couple goats for them to pet, which my grandson thought was great. Everyone was very friendly and helpful. We'll be back!

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank JeffO8036
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed June 5, 2012

My family stayed here last July. We found the owners very friendly and helpfull. The property is very clean and kids area well looked after. The view is amazing and you are able to take the whole family dog included on the beach. This is by far our favorite spot to camp.

See you in July!

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank vacaguy9966
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hermon, Maine
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed May 30, 2012

Have camped at Searsport Shores three times over the last three years. Have camped there in boboth a pop-up and a 24' camper. Lots are on the smallish side. Not completely cramped but Minot really enough space to not feel somewhat cramped. Beautiful views of Penobscot Bay. The beach is rocky but that's just a typical Maine beach. The kids enjoy it and it is nice to take a lawn chair down to the beach and relax and watch the waves. If you're looking for a party place this is not for you. Quiet day and quieter nights. Nights around the campfire can be a challenge. Small fire rings on small camp lots. I suspect that's by design so you can't have too big of a fire. Don't bring any firewood as they will not let you burn it. The State of Maine government is against bringing any wood in state lest it has emerald ash borers or other non-indegenous species of insects. This campground would rather confiscate your wood and sell you their overpriced bundles of firewood. I did bring wood that I cut on my own property NORTH of Searsport. They wanted to confiscate. We settled on keeping the wood in the back of my covered truck. Lots are pricey but I understand you're paying for a view. I'm just not sure that $70 a night is worth it. Great location for a campground. Close to many activities. Just not my cup of tea after three visits.

Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
Helpful?
3 Thank Eric F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
warren me.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed September 7, 2011

They were very helpful here for us being a first time rv'r. Steve was very helpful with my eve questions and even came and helped me dump it! Now that's service!!! Grounds were clean and the beach area is pretty. We were there during the hurricane and they had a bonfire that night to welcome it. My only complaint would be that you sent allowed to bring in fire wood you have to buy theirs at seriously inflated price of $6 a bundle. Thank the state for part of this they don't want wood brought in from other states. This was our test trip with our camper..... i live 8 miles from them, i didn't buy my wood out of state????

  • Stayed August 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
10 Thank gillagon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Zionsville, Pennsylvania
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed August 13, 2011

I've been to a good bunch of campgrounds in Maine through the years, each has its pros and cons....we were very very pleased and happy to have found Searsport Shores and thoroughly enjoyed our stay there...Steve was very friendly and accomadating as well as the other staff...from the gorgeous views, complete peace and quiet at night, and tons of activities for the family to do (I got two young children) and areas to hang out/play in/explore..the gardens are beautiful, and the weekly artist studio is a pretty cool idea, unfortunately I missed the wood turning expert by a week...they have lots of information on current local events to keep you occupied the whole time there, we missed out on the lobster bake unfortunately..we'll definitely be returning there next year...traveled in a pop-up

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
13 Thank bighoofty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Illinois
Level Contributor
21 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed August 7, 2011

Many campgrounds I have been to in the past have been loud and full of screaming kids, this was not. This campground is quiet, clean and very peaceful. The sites right on the ocean are pretty close but the others (oceanview) are really nice. We stayed 5 days and traveled in a pop-up and it was great. The showers take some getting used to being that you can shower and hear a mans voice if one is in the shower bays but they are very private. There are only 5 shower bay but we never had to wait. The facilities are cleaned often and the staff is very helpful. Price for wood and ice are a bit high but it is what it is. Great place to stay and if I ever do go back to Maine I would definately stay here

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
14 Thank bubba-tsn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Searsport Shores Oceanfront Campground

Property: Searsport Shores Oceanfront Campground
Address: Rt. 1, 216 West Main St., Searsport, ME 04974
Location: United States > Maine > Mid Coast Maine > Searsport
Amenities:
Beach Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in Searsport
Number of rooms: 125
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Searsport Shores Oceanfront Campground is our home, passion and livelihood. We enjoy 40 acres of ocean gardens with 1/4 mile private beach. There are 125 sites...Some just for huge RVs, others for backpacking tents and most for else...Lobsters too. The campground also offers another 120 acres of wooded area with trails for hiking or mountain biking. Fishing and kayaking are also available from the campground. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Searsport Shores Oceanfront Campground Hotel Searsport
Searsport Shores Oceanfront Campground Maine

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