Camping at Cedar Point

As we have for most of the last few years, we took the kids to Cedar Point at the end of August as kind of a last-hurrah before summer's end and the school year begins. And, like other years, we camped at Cedar Point's Camper Village (more on that later).

This year, our youngest son, Ben, cleared the magical 48-inch height mark. That meant he could get onto many of the roller coasters, including the 310-foot high Millennium Force. He also rode, for the first time, the Mine Ride ("lame") and the Gemini ("too rough"). Our older son, Luke, also rode a few rides for the first time, including the 30-story tall Windseeker and the thrilling Maverick roller coaster. Our oldest kid, Hannah, has ridden everything in the park at least once, and most of the big coasters she's been on many, many times.

So that leaves me and my weak stomach to watch from the safety of the asphalt far, far below. I'll get on most of the coasters and thrill rides, but anything that goes high into the air or spins around really fast - fuhggedaboutit.

But this post isn't to bore you about our trip to Cedar Point. Instead, it's to review our experience camping in Cedar Point's Camper Village.

First and foremost, camping at Cedar Point should not be confused with camping at, say, a state park. If you are expecting a camping experience like you'd enjoy at a state park, then you will be extremely disappointed.

Camping at Cedar Point is more about convenience than it is about camping.

The conveniences are these:

Early Admission into the Park: Resort guests, which includes those staying at Camper Village, can get into park one hour early. Many of the most popular roller coaster, including Top Thrill Dragster and Millennium Force, are open at that time.

Discounted Admission Tickets: Resort guests this summer only had to pay $29 for admission tickets. That's $21 off the full price, and the best deal I've found anywhere.

Sleeping, Not Driving Home: At the end of a very long day inside Cedar Point, after having walked for hours and hours, the last thing I want to have to do is drive home. Camper Village is just a short walk from a little-used side gate entrance, so you can go from amusement park to dreamland in a little more than 15 minutes.

Healthy Lunch/Dinner That Won't Break the Bank*: Cedar Point has many, many restaurants and food vendors scattered throughout the park. All of them offer something deep fried, and most of them offer only something deep fried. And after you're done shelling out $10 for a $5 foot-long (seriously), you'll need to request a government bailout. Oh, the asterisk is because after you've saved money eating healthy food back at your camper, then you can afford to eat the Toft's Ice Cream inside the park ($3.50 for a single scoop of thigh-packing goodness.)

A Tale of Two Cities
A campsite in the Chippewa Circle section of Camper Village
Camper Village is divided into two sections: the Chippewa Circle (sites 1-112) and the Circle B (sites 113-224).

Situated near the very picturesque Ligthouse Point, Chippewa Circle sites are grassy and more spacious, you're closer to the swimming pool and this is where the full-hookup, pull-through sites are located. If you have a big rig, you'll want the Chippewa Circle.

The Circle B section is a parking lot, especially on weekends. The Circle "B" section of Camper Village (the concentric circles on the map, near Soak City water park) is tight and well-used. The bathrooms are probably as clean as they can be, given the amount of use they receive. In some cases, there's barely enough space to roll out your awning before you hit the camper next to you. However, the sites are level and most are shaded by mature trees. We prefer the outer circle sites because you don't have someone behind you, but beware: some sites are close to Soak City water park and the tail end of the Magnum XL 2000 roller coaster. Also, other outer ring sites are alongside the road leading to the Sandcastle Suites hotel, putting you in direct contact with every vehicle's headlights.

For both sections: Dump stations and water are available; Ground fires are not permitted, although a grill (and picnic table) are at each site; Bikes are not allowed.

Our campsite in the Circle B section of Camper Village
The Chippewa Circle is a million times better than the Circle B. However, if you're like us and you only intend on sleeping there because you're going to spend all morning, day and night at either Cedar Point amusement park or Soak City water park, then the Circle B section fits the bill. Chippewa Circle campsites are also considerably more expensive than Circle B, which are pretty steep to begin with.

Bottom line: The Chippewa Circle section is better, but the Circle B section is fine, provided you have the right expectations.