photo by Alicia Dziak
photo by Alicia Dziak

By Alicia Dziak

There’s a reason why so many people have been spending their summers at ASP for so many years. It’s a magical place where memories are made.

Even though summer just ended, if you’re a camper, it’s not too early to start thinking about summer 2014. Camping reservations can be made up to nine months in advance, and for those in the know, now is the time to start planning your ASP visits for next year.

For starters, it’s important to know that starting in late June, and going until (but not including) Labor Day weekend, all cabins and cottages inside the park must be rented for a minimum of one week and maximum of two weeks. That means if you love the cabins, but can only commit to a weekend, you have to book it for no later than mid-June.

Tent and trailer sites can be rented for a minimum of two nights throughout the summer months. There is an exception. If you make your reservation within three days of your arrival, you can book a one-night stay online or through the Call Center.

Whichever way you’re camping, pay attention to the details provided on the reservation website. With hundreds of cabins and campsites, it can be overwhelming to choose the one that’s right for you, but you can get an idea of what ones will work by doing some quick research.

Do you need electricity? Do you prefer cabins with more than one room? As you click on the details for a specific cabin, you can easily view information such as the number of rooms inside a cabin, whether there is heat, a fridge, a stove, a porch. Each cabin or site also shows a “condition rating” that indicates the condition of the cabin, which may or may not be a factor in your decision. The interiors of the ASP cabins vary greatly as some have been recently remodeled and others are very “bare bones.”

Details for tent and trailer sites include useful information such as driveway length, driveway surface material, whether it’s a back-in or pull-through site, and whether it has an electric hookup and if so, the number of amps. An “Alerts and Important Information” section provides additional details, such as whether the site is in an open field or in full shade.

The Pitt Cottage on Red House and the Fancher cottages on Quaker are full-service cottages that include a bathroom, stocked kitchen and hot running water. The cottages book up very early, but are worth setting your clock for midnight exactly nine months in advance if these amenities appeal to you.

Once you decide what kind of site you’d like, the next step is to decide what trail to stay on. The best way to make an educated decision is to drive around the park when you’re visiting in the fall and write down the sites and cabins you like. The best time to do this is before Columbus Day weekend since all the sites are still open.

“We never leave the park without driving around and writing down some sites that we like,” said Emily Lineen, 36, of Hamburg. “We have our favorites, but we also like to explore the park. We have so many different but great memories from each trail.”

Of course, there’s not always time to drive around and see all the trails and sites for yourself. In this case, the maps found on the reservation website can give you a general idea of where each site is in relation to other cabins or campsites, bathrooms and other points of interest within the park. If you really can’t decide and need some guidance, the wonderful staff at ASP is always more than willing to answer some questions over the phone and can be reached at (716) 354-9121.

Keep in mind that the most popular sites in the park book up fast, but that the most popular ones might not be your favorites. Save yourself from disappointment by having a couple backup sites in case you don’t get your first choice, knowing that wherever you end up, you’ll have a blast because this is ASP, after all!

For more information and to make reservations, visit or call the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation & Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation 1-800-456-CAMP (2267).