Knoebels Campground - Elysburg, PA- Off Season

Dave Moz

Member
Jul 15, 2021
54
The main thing to remember about Knoebels Campground is that you're not really there for the camping. With the amusement park just steps away from the main campground, that is the major draw to staying here.

We stayed Friday, May 13 to Monday, May 16, 2022 on site Rhode Island 7. This was our 5th trip previously staying on Louisiana and Manitoba.
RI7b.jpg

The excellent -
Location - We were in line for rides in less than 5 minutes. That simple. If you don't know Knoebels, it's a family friendly amusement park that has no admission fee. From RI-7, you can walk to the main campground park entrance (near the camp store) or take a smaller path right into another area of the park.
For sites further out, there is a shuttle that runs frequently. However even the furthest site from the entrance is maybe a 15-20 minute walk.
In the park, they sell ride tickets or (when available) all-day ride passes. Since it's "off-season", the park was open 12-6 on Friday, 12-8 on Saturday, and 12-7 on Sunday.
Friday after setting up, the kids hit some rides with tickets. Saturday and Sunday, we bought the all-day passes to enjoy as many rides as they wanted.
Knoebels is home to some of the best wooden rollercoasters in the world and the lines were not outrageous during the off season. Longest wait was 25 minutes for The Phoenix.

Price - Basic sites are $62 a night with electric. 50amp sites are $66 per night. The rate only went up $2 for 2021.

The Staff - We originally booked with 5 other families (they all ended up cancelling for different reasons.) My wife and I were the point persons for choosing the sites and spent part of the day we booked texting our friends and calling the office to talk about the sites. The staff was very knowledgeable and by the end of the day knew our phone number. When our friends called to book, the staff knew them already.
You can not book a site online. You have to call. Also, sites can be booked up to a year in advance. Many families book on season for the next year as they are leaving.
The staff at the park is also excellent. The restrooms are kept very clean. They come around the pick up trash each day if you leave your bags at the front of your site. They've helped us move sites when we had an issue. We've never had one bad interaction with staff there.

Long weekend - Because the campground was not full, they waive the usual check in time of 3pm and check out time of 2pm. While we book to stay until Monday, friends who have camped with us have packed up and stayed on the site until the park closes on Sunday.

Firewood - For $8, you can fill a bucket of firewood from their huge supply near the office. Staff even comes by to pick up the bucket if you don't get a chance to return it. The wood burns great and the only problem we've had is trying to carry the bucket back to the site. (I bring the truck anymore for that.)

Camp Store - Reasonably priced with a good stock of items from food basics (eggs, hotdogs, bacon, milk, etc.) to toys, to souvenirs only sold in the store (such as campground branded shirts.) They also have a slushie machine, coffee, drinks, and more.

Food - This is the only campground where I usually skip making breakfast at least one day. The International Food Court starts serving at 8am and is very reasonably priced (as is the rest of the food at the park.) The chipped beef is excellent and my wife loves the French Toast breakfast sandwich. Kiddos enjoy the pancakes, sausage, and bacon. The rest of the food at the park is excellent and very reasonable. Some friends don't bother with cooking at all while here.

Food court.jpg

The good -
Site RI-7 is pretty good. Spacious and wide with good depth. We put the camper back a bit further than we normally would as the campground wasn't full. The sites around RI, Arizona, and Texas are in a hilly area and not that level, so make sure you have a good leveler with you. While we got the camper level, other gear remained at a slight slant for most of the trip.
RI7a.jpg
RI-7 has some space between it and RI-11. There is no space between it and RI-5, which has a tent platform begin basically where RI-7 ends. All sites are well marked on the road to show spacing and where your site begins and ends (more campgrounds need to do this.)
For tents, there are platforms set up on multiple sites to get around it not being level.
We preferred Manitoba and Louisiana as far as the sites being level. If you want tree cover, stay away from sites in Virginia and Wisconsin, these are mostly RV sites that have no tree coverage at all.

Sights and Sounds - From RI-7 you can see and hear the park in all its glory. They start testing rides around 9am and the lights stay on well after closing. It is cool though that from the Twister and some other rides, you can see this site through the trees.

Bathrooms - There are plenty of bathhouses in the campground. All have separate men's/ladies rooms with stall and showers. Most also have lines of single stall showers and toilets that are kept very clean by staff. There are also washers and dryers at most bathrooms along with dedicated dish washing sinks.

The meh -
Other campers - Again, this is not your typical campground as the main attraction is being able to be in the park in minutes. So there is a lack of 'camping etiquette' at times. Site next to us was blaring music until I asked them to turn it down and then ignored quiet hours (8am to 11pm) with very loud conversations until I again asked them to stop. They also left their radio on all day while they were at the park. (Only bothered by this because our friends cancelled the site a day before and since there were so many other spots open, having loud neighbors who just booked annoyed us.)

On Season Crowds - While this trip was off season, we have stayed at peak times such as 4th of July week. The campground is fully booked and many sites have multiple pups/tents/other set up with groups in adjoining sites. It can get pretty loud and busy. But then again, it's the trade off for the location. If you know this going into it, then you assume the risk.

Overall, we love staying at Knoebels during the off/early season. The campground isn't full, the check in/out times are flexible, the location to the park is great.
 
Last edited:

Osgood

Member
Dec 15, 2021
15
The main thing to remember about Knoebels Campground is that you're not really there for the camping. With the amusement park just steps away from the main campground, that is the major draw to staying here.

We stayed Friday, May 13 to Monday, May 16, 2022 on site Rhode Island 7. This was our 5th trip previously staying on Louisiana and Manitoba.
View attachment 83913

The excellent -
Location - We were in line for rides in less than 5 minutes. That simple. If you don't know Knoebels, it's a family friendly amusement park that has no admission fee. From RI-7, you can walk to the main campground park entrance (near the camp store) or take a smaller path right into another area of the park.
For sites further out, there is a shuttle that runs frequently. However even the furthest site from the entrance is maybe a 15-20 minute walk.
In the park, they sell ride tickets or (when available) all-day ride passes. Since it's "off-season", the park was open 12-6 on Friday, 12-8 on Saturday, and 12-7 on Sunday.
Friday after setting up, the kids hit some rides with tickets. Saturday and Sunday, we bought the all-day passes to enjoy as many rides as they wanted.
Knoebels is home to some of the best wooden rollercoasters in the world and the lines were not outrageous during the off season. Longest wait was 25 minutes for The Phoenix.

Price - Basic sites are $62 a night with electric. 50amp sites are $66 per night. The rate only went up $2 for 2021.

The Staff - We originally booked with 5 other families (they all ended up cancelling for different reasons.) My wife and I were the point persons for choosing the sites and spent part of the day we booked texting our friends and calling the office to talk about the sites. The staff was very knowledgeable and by the end of the day knew our phone number. When our friends called to book, the staff knew them already.
You can not book a site online. You have to call. Also, sites can be booked up to a year in advance. Many families book on season for the next year as they are leaving.
The staff at the park is also excellent. The restrooms are kept very clean. They come around the pick up trash each day if you leave your bags at the front of your site. They've helped us move sites when we had an issue. We've never had one bad interaction with staff there.

Long weekend - Because the campground was not full, they waive the usual check in time of 3pm and check out time of 2pm. While we book to stay until Monday, friends who have camped with us have packed up and stayed on the site until the park closes on Sunday.

Firewood - For $8, you can fill a bucket of firewood from their huge supply near the office. Staff even comes by to pick up the bucket if you don't get a chance to return it. The wood burns great and the only problem we've had is trying to carry the bucket back to the site. (I bring the truck anymore for that.)

Camp Store - Reasonably priced with a good stock of items from food basics (eggs, hotdogs, bacon, milk, etc.) to toys, to souvenirs only sold in the store (such as campground branded shirts.) They also have a slushie machine, coffee, drinks, and more.

Food - This is the only campground where I usually skip making breakfast at least one day. The International Food Court starts serving at 8am and is very reasonably priced (as is the rest of the food at the park.) The chipped beef is excellent and my wife loves the French Toast breakfast sandwich. Kiddos enjoy the pancakes, sausage, and bacon. The rest of the food at the park is excellent and very reasonable. Some friends don't bother with cooking at all while here.

View attachment 83911

The good -
Site RI-7 is pretty good. Spacious and wide with good depth. We put the camper back a bit further than we normally would as the campground wasn't full. The sites around RI, Arizona, and Texas are in a hilly area and not that level, so make sure you have a good leveler with you. While we got the camper level, other gear remained at a slight slant for most of the trip.
View attachment 83912
RI-7 has some space between it and RI-11. There is no space between it and RI-5, which has a tent platform begin basically where RI-7 ends. All sites are well marked on the road to show spacing and where your site begins and ends (more campgrounds need to do this.)
For tents, there are platforms set up on multiple sites to get around it not being level.
We preferred Manitoba and Louisiana as far as the sites being level. If you want tree cover, stay away from sites in Virginia and Wisconsin, these are mostly RV sites that have no tree coverage at all.

Sights and Sounds - From RI-7 you can see and hear the park in all its glory. They start testing rides around 9am and the lights stay on well after closing. It is cool though that from the Twister and some other rides, you can see this site through the trees.

Bathrooms - There are plenty of bathhouses in the campground. All have separate men's/ladies rooms with stall and showers. Most also have lines of single stall showers and toilets that are kept very clean by staff. There are also washers and dryers at most bathrooms along with dedicated dish washing sinks.

The meh -
Other campers - Again, this is not your typical campground as the main attraction is being able to be in the park in minutes. So there is a lack of 'camping etiquette' at times. Site next to us was blaring music until I asked them to turn it down and then ignored quiet hours (8am to 11pm) with very loud conversations until I again asked them to stop. They also left their radio on all day while they were at the park. (Only bothered by this because our friends cancelled the site a day before and since there were so many other spots open, having loud neighbors who just booked annoyed us.)

On Season Crowds - While this trip was off season, we have stayed at peak times such as 4th of July week. The campground is fully booked and many sites have multiple pups/tents/other set up with groups in adjoining sites. It can get pretty loud and busy. But then again, it's the trade off for the location. If you know this going into it, then you assume the risk.

Overall, we love staying at Knoebels during the off/early season. The campground isn't full, the check in/out times are flexible, the location to the park is great.
We love Knoebels. A family park like the old Crystal Beach Park in Canada accross from Buffalo NY. Kids are grown now. We did camp at Knoebels once when the boys were young in the area that was a 5 min walk. Only issue as you noted was the neighbors; different parenting style, kids up late driving whining motorized radio controled cars around in circles. We figured out to check Pennsylvanias local school calendars so as to arrange our trips after school starts for them, it was earlier than NYS so we'd go on a weekday after Pa started and NY hadnt. Substancially cut down on waiting times for rides. My wife marveled how the park would honor ride tickets we didnt use till the following year, so dont toss them or give them away if you arnt going back. Yes my sons talked me onto the Phoenix Coaster, that thing was a beast, my bottom was not always on the seat. Dont think i could ride it again, but recommend it for the thrill seekers. Plenty of shade too. Waterpark was fun.
 




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