RV Camping In the Pennsylvania Dutch Country At Circle M - My Family Travels

RV Camping at Circle M RV & Camping Resort in the Pennsylvania Dutch country is one style of outdoor living we tried this summer while figuring out our camping style.

Along with glamping in the Poconos (read more about Keen Lake) and tiny house living in the Catskills (Jellystone Park at Birchwood Acres reviewed here), camping here gave us an opportunity to explore this fascinating region.

RVs in campground with kids on bikes.
Kids on bikes is part of daily life at the Circle M RV resort.

Circle M’s in the Heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country

Circle M RV & Camping Resort (717/872-4651) in Lancaster, Pennsylvania is one of the Thousand Trails resorts located in 25 states.

Once a farm, the property’s large trees, meandering Conestoga River and rolling lawns were visually in sync with the authentic Pennsylvania Dutch villages that surrounded it in the Amish country. We saw a number of Amish and Mennonite horse-drawn buggies on the quiet back roads.

Circle M is also only a 10-minute drive from the Lancaster Market – a wonderful place to stock up for cookouts – and near several Amish farms selling eggs, poultry and other farm-fresh goods.

As history buffs, we lucked out because it was within an hour of Valley Forge National Historical Park and the Gettysburg Battlefield, which provided fun bike tours to bookend our camping experience.

Also close by, Strasburg is home of the huge Pennsylvania National Railroad Museum. This very cute town has distinctive red brick houses with shutters and peaked roofs. Don’t miss the Strasburg Creamery on Main Street, where we gorged ourselves on peanut butter chocolate and cherry vanilla ice cream.

Circle M RV Camping & Sleeping Options

We went there to sample comfortable Park Model RVs that look like small houses and can be rented, fully stocked.

Our Loft Park Model RV could sleep eight in a queen bed, pullout couch and two carpeted loft areas upstairs. It was easy to prepare meals in the compact kitchen with its stove, oven and microwave when we didn’t barbecue outside.

The living space had a nice dining area with four chairs and a TV opposite the couch. For added convenience, we rented their linen package to have bedding and towels; there was no need to supplement the kitchen essentials.

Some units had patios; we had a picnic table on the lawn which was great for dinner and watching the fireflies. Life was complete.

Interior of 29-foot Park Model RV
This 270-degree view of a 29-foot Park Model RV shows how six can sleep on bunk beds, a sofabed and in a queen bed in the bedroom.

We also toured a well-designed, 29-foot Park Model RV close to the Circle M pool. These smaller rental units sleep six and rent for about 30% less than the Loft units. It’s easy to see why Go RVing recommends them as a great way to experience camping if you’re not ready to purchase an RV or all the gear that goes with tent camping.

Circle M’s Layout in the Pennsylvania Dutch Country

Kids with inner tubes on lawn.
The lushly wooded Conestoga River is an ideal place for inner tubing for young Circle M residents.

Circle M is a large, established RV community with seemingly hundreds of RVs parked on rolling lawns encircled by the Conestoga River, some woods and in the distance, mountains. Some campers were in fancy rigs with pop-out sides and elaborate screened dining areas out front. Others brought in small tow trailers for cooking and sleeping; golf cart, kayak, standup paddleboard and bikes were parked alongside.

Once inside the Circle M property, unpaved roads give it a very casual feel. We loved the deep shade and breezes of the camping sites near the Conestoga River, where young children ran around with inner tubes looking for easy in and out river access.

Although there are few natural barriers between sites, the Circle M layout seemed more neighborly than intrusive. We found long-time campers were generally quiet and kept to themselves, even at the pool. People did wave from their golf carts but adhered to a respectful social distance.

Facilities & Recreation at Circle M

Circle M Campground swimming pool and main activities building.
Social distancing is maintained at the Circle M pool on weekends but weekdays, it’s not a problem!

In addition to the riverfront, Circle M had a large indoor pool (closed at our visit) and a large outdoor pool and sundeck, with attendants keeping an eye on everyone. Guests took advantage of takeout from the café, loaner equipment for horsehoes and minigolf. Many regulars were involved in the camp’s Footgolf games, a hybrid soccer/golf game they had gear for.

High-speed WiFi and cable TV are available for a fee. Our favorite amenity: at 7 pm nightly, a golf cart playing a familiar jingle emerged from the main lodge to sell ice cream at each campsite.

A Special Note about Casual RV Camping

Golf cart at RV campground with people talking.
When the music starts at 7 p.m. it’s ice cream time at Circle M!

This campground was the epitome of casual. When we broke the ceiling smoke alarm in our Park Model trying to turn it off, we called the maintenance supervisor, who started laughing. Then he came to install a new one in a few minutes, at no charge.

Everyone was like that, friendly and helpful. 

Casual also means some things were worn or faded, and so it goes. The scuffs and stains I would worry about at home rolled off us here like a pat of butter on a grilled ear of corn. And it felt good.

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