Sampson State Park Campground
Centrally located in the Finger Lakes Park Region, Sampson State Park slopes gently above the eastern shore of Seneca Lake. Formed over 12,000 years ago during the Ice Age, Seneca Lake is the largest and deepest of the Finger Lakes with charted depths over 630 feet. It is rated as excellent for fishing and is especially known for lake trout with a National Lake Trout Derby held on Memorial Day weekend.
Sampson State Park encompasses nearly 2000 acres including just over 5.5 miles of lakefront providing beautiful scenic views and abundant recreational opportunities. Located in Seneca County, the heart of Finger Lakes wine region, visitors to the park can enjoy the Seneca and Cayuga Lake Wine Trails as well as many historic points of interest in the nearby towns and villages.
Prior to World War II the area within Sampson's boundaries was predominantly farmland but the outbreak of war brought a large need for facilities to train military personnel for the war effort. On May 14, 1942 President F.D. Roosevelt approved construction of a Naval Training Station. The base was named in honor of a local native, Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, from Palmyra, NY, a hero of the Battle of Santiago during the Spanish-American War. At the peak of construction, there were 15,500 people employed here. The base was constructed in 270 days, contained 498 buildings, over 50 miles for roadway, covered over 2500 acres, and cost S56 million. The largest drill halls were 600 feet long and 120 feet wide. The base closed in May of 1946 after training 411,000 sailors. At the end of the war there was a demand to provide facilities for service personnel seeking a college degree under the GI Education Bill. To meet this demand the State of New York opened a number of colleges at former military installations including Sampson. Sampson College opened in October of 1946 and closed in June of 1949. During the Korean War the land was converted to the Sampson Air Force Base and over 300,000 airmen received their basic training here from November 1950 until April 1956. In 1960 the land was transferred to the State of New York for use as a State Park.
Former military buildings, drill halls, parade grounds and roadways have given way to grasses, wildflowers, shrubs and trees on flat, rolling woodlands surrounding ravines. Sampson State Park now boasts 245 electric and 64 non-electric camping sites and a 103 slip marina for both seasonal and transient boaters. The marina has a large boat launching area and is equipped with a sewage pump out station. The park's attractions also include a large modern playground, swimming beach, ball fields, courts for tennis, basketball and volleyball, bicycling (rentals available), hiking and a recreation building with video games. To help preserve the park's proud military history, Navy and Air Force veterans have established a military museum in the original base brig (jail) facility. An excellent opportunity to learn about the proud history of Sampson and to see many outstanding exhibits both indoors and out doors. Visitors can look through an actual periscope from a nuclear submarine, sit at the controls of a WWII 5 inch gun or take a seat in the cockpit of a jet simulator. The museum is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, 5 days a week, Wednesday through Sunday 10:00 AM to 3:30 PM and weekends only from Labor Day until Columbus Day. For more information you can call the Navy museum at 315-585-6203 and the Air Force museum at 315-585-9555.
|Within 10 Miles|
6096 ROUTE 96A
Romulus NY 14541
From the north, take New York State Thruway exit 41, south on route 414. Turn right onto route route 5 & 20 follow to Geneva. Turn left onto route 96A. Go south on 96A for 10 miles to the park entrance. From the south, take route 96 north from Ithaca or 414 north from Watkins Glen. At Ovid take route 96A north to the park entrance.
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