Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Campground Review: Canal Park Delphi, IN

After about a month of enjoying Michigan's scenery and mild summer temperatures I decided to head back down to Houston where some business awaited.  My first layover on that long journey was at Delphi, IN, which is about 15 miles northeast of Lafayette.  On the north side of the town is Canal Park, which is named for the Wabash and Erie Canal which passed through Delphi in the mid-1800's.

Boat rides, museum, outdoor exhibits...there's a lot to do.
The Wabash and Erie Canal was constructed to link the Great Lakes (at Toledo, Ohio) to the Ohio River at Evansville, IN and, by extension, to the Gulf of Mexico.  At 460 miles it's the longest canal ever built in North America.  It was dug by workers with hand shovels no powered equipment was used!  Construction started in 1832 and the canal opened operations in 1846 but after only a decade of operation it became apparent the canal wasn't economically viable and the last boat ran in 1876 although long portions of the canal had shutdown long before then,  Railroads were a much quicker way to move goods than the canal's 3 mph horse-drawn boats.

From Toledo all the way to Evansville.
You self register to camp at the park at the "Gray Barn" which is a replica of the barns the canal horses were housed in about every 10 miles along the length of the canal.

Each set of horses only pulled for 10 miles then were relieved.
The park has three full-hookup RV sites and then a huge grassy field with power poles where campers can plug into 20 amp hookups for their tents or RV's.
Here's the Canal Park data sheet:

Hookups:                                 20, 30, 50 amp water and sewer
Fire ring:                                  Yes
Water Access:                         Yes (river)
Fresh Water:                            Yes
Trash Service:                          Yes
Toilets:                                    Yes - flush
Showers:                                 Yes
Dump station:                          No
WiFi:                                       No                  
Level sites:                              Yes
Laundry:                                  No
Store:                                       No
Pool:                                        No
Shade:                                     Yes
Verizon reception:                   Spotty – 1 bar of 1G
Millenicom reception:              Spotty – 1 out of 5 bars
Cost:                                       $14 per night for a 20 amp hookup, $22 for a full hookup

I stayed two nights at Canal Park over Labor Day weekend and surprisingly there were only two other RV's there along with a single tent camper.

Replica of a canal boat set up as playground equipment.
 There is a recreation of what early Delphi looked like set up in the park that you can tour through.

Plaques throughout the park describe what  you are viewing.
On weekends there are boat rides in an electrically propelled canal boat available for purchase.

Boat rides!
This is the Gray Bridge which was built over the canal in 1913 in another Indiana County.  The park commission had it disassembled and reassembled in Canal Park.

The bridge now links pedestrian trails on each side of the canal.
To enable the canal to pass through changes in elevation along the 460 miles it ran locks were emplaced much like the locks in the Panama Canal although on a smaller scale.

A non-working replica canal lock.
I originally chose to camp at Canal Park because of it's reasonably priced campsites but I came away impressed by the canal exhibits.  I learned a lot about the canal which, frankly, I didn't even remember from school days.  I'd recommend Canal Park as a great family weekend camping/educational destination, it was really peaceful camping there.

Thanks for reading!


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