Kenisee Lake, Jefferson, OH

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Yeah, those are my truck ruts in the grass
Truck ruts in grass

We visited the Thousand Trails park, Kenisee Lake in Jefferson, OH over July 4th of this year. It held quite a portion of our Comedy of Errors. What drew us Kenisee Lake is that it is approximately equal distance from Baltimore, MD as it is the Indiana-suburbs of Chicago (where my aunt just so happens to live!). This gave us a nice point to spend some time together.

My camper advertises that is sleeps 11 or 12 and let me tell you- which tested it. All told, we have 4 adults; 2 almost adults (16 and 17), 3 kids (8-10) and 1 infant (in a pack and play!). I have to say- it’s good to be king. We got to sleep in our master bedroom away from the insanity. 🙂 Other than some excitement getting parked, we had a fantastic trip and I’ll gladly go back to Kenisee Lake!

Sites (Grassy gravel covered pads, spacious and level)

View of campsites
View of campsites

There are 4 different “areas” of the campground- creatively named, A, B, C, and D. We stayed in the B area. The sites along this row were nicely spaced between each other. We had a great “yard” – especially for the number of kids that we had along with us. Across the road were the pull through sites (which were incredibly long). The “C” area was similar, though I’m not sure how well the big rigs would fit. The “D” area was definitely for smaller campers. The “A” area was more of a traditional RV park with close together sites and a quaint feel to it. Different strokes for different folks, definitely. The seasonal folks were through-out the park and definitely took pride in their sites- they were the nicest landscapes sites that I’ve ever seen.

We had an exceptional amount of rain this spring. That made the grassy areas of the site very soggy. Be cautious if you go here and end up driving your truck or camper off of the pad- I had a mess on my hands when I almost got stuck.

I was "this close" to getting stuck
I was “this close” to getting stuck

My only real complaint about the site was the fire rings. They were old clothing washer basins. It made keeping a fire very difficult and it really didn’t allow it to throw heat in any direction (not that we needed it for this trip). On top of that, my site didn’t have a fire ring- I ended up borrowing my neighbors when he offered it.

Big Rig Friendly (Yes)

Driving the rig through the “A” area would have been a little snug, but I honestly wouldn’t have too many worries. There were plenty of pull-through sites in the “B” area and the spots in “B” and “C” were all sufficient in size for a big rig.

Bathrooms and Showers (Pretty distant from each other, but clean)

Shower
Bathhouse shower

To be honest, I only stuck my head into the bathhouse by the pool and that to make tinkles and get some pictures (for this post). This was our closest bathhouse in the “B” area and it was a pretty good hike. In fact, the bathhouses were fairly limited- this is definitely the kind of place where you’re expected to use your own facilities (which is fine by me). To that end, all of the sites are full hookups.

Amenities (Quite a bit for a small campground)

Mini golf
Mini golf

The pool was “quaint” (aka “small”) – it is advertised as being heated, but it was pretty chilly when we were in. The minigolf was in decent shape and all of the stuff was out to help yourself to a game. I and the kids enjoyed fishing on the ponds with 90% of our time spent catching sunnies right off of the dock for the fun of it; we must have caught 30 or 40 of them! We canoed on the lake for a few hours one sunny afternoon- first with just 2 of us and then the 3 little kids wanted in on the action.

There were also organized activities- tie-dying shirts one day, a dance party one evening (that the kids LOVED) and a 4th of July parade around the campground. All told, we had a fantastic time and weren’t bored at all!

A note- WiFi was none existent where we were and cell coverage will be talked about next. I did get WiFi in their welcome center, but that is a far ways away from any of the sites.

Cell Phone Service (Poor to spotty)

Between an iPhone 4 and 4S on AT&T and a 4S on Verizon – we all had crappy service. It would go in and out randomly (I think it really varied depending on how blue the sky was at that moment). Pulling down data was a life dragging event and my ability to work using my hotspot was almost non-existent.

Over-the-air TV Service & Cable (Over-the-air had a channel; no cable offered)

The channels were pretty slim pickings. I think we had a few channels for a day or two and then all but 1 went away for the remainder of our stay. I did see people with satellite TV setups and assumed that it worked well for them.

Camp Store (None)

If they had a store, I surely didn’t find it!

Surrounding Area

We went and did some limited sight-seeing while we were there. We went to Geneva on the Lake for July 4th fireworks. The little town was great fun- lots of little dive bars with music coming out into the street, a couple of decent restaurants, play areas and it was overall fairly inexpensive. The fireworks were pretty decent, but they weren’t over the water surprisingly. We weren’t close enough to really enjoy them. And then traffic was horrendous getting out. But, we had fun none the less!

We also spent some time at Lake Shore Park where we went onto the “beach” (which wasn’t quite “sand” like we’re used to) and enjoyed the cars at their car show.

Finally, we enjoyed touring the covered bridges of Ashtabula county way more than I think any of us expected. We enjoyed the friendly host at Olin’s Covered Bridge Museum; the proprietor was a descendant of the Olin family and helped answer questions that we had.

Overall Rating/Comments (4 out of 5)

Little man approves!
Little man approves!

The staff was extremely nice with all of our interactions with them-

  • From check-in,
  • To helping refund our 50-amp fee (when we mistakenly setup on a 30amp site),
  • To my admission that I tore up the grass almost getting stuck,
  • To working with the kids during tie-dying,
  • To getting us setup with canoe stuff,
  • And all points in-between.

I did have one beef in that the advertised ice cream social actually costed money. Seems silly to expect it to be free- but the paper didn’t have a price, I didn’t have cash, and I made a bad assumption.

I give 4 out of 5 stars mostly due to the lack of trees (I prefer a wooded campground), the whole fire ring situation and the limited number of 50amp sites. All told, I really enjoyed this campground and would gladly return.

Website/Address

Kenisee Lake Thousand Trails

2021 Mill Creek Road
Jefferson, OH 44047
(440) 576-9030

Important travel note- check the web site. There is a bridge/tunnel a couple of miles from the campground that is extremely low (like 9′-10″ low). Check their site and avoid it!

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