Date of Stay: November, 2014
This rural campground is typical Corps of Engineers as far as design is concerned. Check-in was prepaid through Recreation.gov, so it was fast and efficient. Hosts were friendly and offered good pointers to nearby restaurants. There are three camping sections: Old Mill Road (Sites 1-50), Marina View (Sites 51-71), and Pine Island (Sites 72-104). Almost all sites are back-in, and waterfront (although there is often some distance of separation from the water). Old Mill Road has no playground, no laundry, and is the most forested environment along a backwater of the lake. Marina View is the sunniest environment, and is also on the backwater. It has a laundry room for $1.25 per load), and a children's playground. Pine Island is open treed and semi-sun, and faces the lake, looking west into Alabama, and in my opinion had the best views. It has a laundry and children's playground, in addition to a concave sandy beach. Sites 95-104 in Pine Island are walk-in tent sites, but still have water and electric. There was a large and tall seawall along sites 101 to 104, could be dangerous for children. We stayed in Pine Island in November, and it was windy and cold. Would opt for Old Mill Road if we came again in colder months to avoid the wind. Bathrooms and showers were spotless. Sprint service was weak, but doable in Pine Island. No data service. But as we moved to Marina View and Old Mill Road, service dramatically improved to 3 bar and 3G. DTV service was outstanding, with PBS, CBS, ABC, and NBC, along with other minor networks, easily available on the batwing antenna with little turning necessary. Many sites are somewhat close together for a COE park, so privacy was not at its best. Most of the sites will have you back down hill. This causes stormwater to drain to the concrete pad, and created a muddy veneer across our pad. Roadways in the park were in very good condition, sites could use an asphalt resurfacing. Each site has water, sewer, and electric. We had no issues with any of the services. Nearby shotgun hunting was noisy in the morning and evening, breaking the quiet at times. Hiking trail around the pond was nice. No dumpsters in any camping loop, only one dumpster area located near the entrance station, about 1/2 mile away from our site, a bit inconvenient, but nothing troublesome. A bit of advice: Given the location of the swimming beach and playground in Pine Island, in the warm months I could imagine sites 83-94 becoming a circus, with people walking through those campsites to access the beach. We would camp here again if in the area, but would opt for Old Mill Road loop in winter, and sites 72-81 in Pine Island in the summer to avoid or take advantage of lake breezes, respectively.
Date of Stay: June, 2014
Arrived well after dark, and the road from Luling to the park is a dark, narrow road. But, we had scoped the park earlier in the teip, and knew where we were going. Sites are asphalt paved and easy to back in to. Level, although we saw one site on a significant slope. Perfect utilities. Camp host registered us with no hassle. Beautiful tropical forest setting. Had to leave early because of an emergency. Will return again one day to see the CCC structures and hike the wide, beautiful woodland trails.
Date of Stay: June, 2014
We stayed in the "pecan orchard" part of the campground, not the upper portions near the airport runway. I am not sure there is a level site in this campground because it is constructed on a slope. Although the hookups were fine, the sewer connect was placed at an odd location, making connect nearly impossible. We used the dump station instead. A previous reviewer commented on the odd end-to-end pull through/back in sites, and it is peculiar. The design of the campground was developed by someone who knew little about RVs, and there is evidence the city has been attempting to retrofit. We were highly disappointed the pool was not yet opened (half way through June?). Part of the reason we chose this campground was because of the chance to cool off. Office staff friendly, efficient. Bath house was clean, but someone needed to take some time to clean the cobwebs from the ceiling. Looked like the stuff you hang out on Halloween. A mix of sun and shade, nice. Grassy lawn, with a few grass sticker spurs. Only two Digital TV stations on the antenna from San Antonio, you'll need the cable. C spire phone service was 4 bar 3G. Adjacent ball park practices and games were fun to watch. Nature center with extensive hiking trail system is about 1000 ft away. Speed limit at entrance to park is 70 MPH, so you have to be careful when exiting onto the highway. The LBJ home and Old Tunnel State Park bat watch were great stops for us. Fredericksburg shops were cute, friendly, and pricey. Farmers Market in the town square had some great fresh foods. Nearby laundromat across from the hospital was clean and good place to catch up on clothes.
Date of Stay: June, 2014
This state park is mostly campground. There are some trails around the entrance station where you might avoid the crowd, but for the most part you will always be within sight of people. Since Texas state parks take reservations but not sites, you are in the unknown with regard to what site you will get, so it was annoying being told by the entrance station attendant to pick a site from those available, sight unseen. We picked one, drove in, did not like the site, went back, and picked another. I aked if they had pictures of each site, and the answer was "no". Summary: Check in is cumbersome. Campsites are a narrow strip of asphalt, with a relatively spacious area to spread out in. Sites on the lake side of the road are very open with trees, sometimes open with no trees, and little shrubbery to separate sites. On the non lake side, it appeared campsites had some vegetation separating sites. our site, #81, was superb for birdwatching. Hookups were perfect. Site was sloped, but easily leveled. C Spire phone service was 4 bar 3G. OVer-the-air was terrible with only 3 channels received. Bicycling was okay, running along with traffic on the main park road and through loops. We rented a canoe for $15 per hour, and it was nice out on the lake. Camp store was pricey. Star gazing event was $4 per person, but we did not attend since we already have a a telescope. The best part of being here was the bird life and wildflowers. Roadrunners rule! Cuckoos, vireos, painted buntings, numerous doves, and screech owls were constantly in the campsite. We would camp here again, and try to get site #81 because of the shade, brush, birds, and lizards.
Date of Stay: June, 2014
Nice Corps park, RV sites totally new, level laterally but not necessarily level on the backin. Each site has a metal picnic table and metal roof. Lots of space between sites. Only some sites have shade. Look closely at Recreation.gov when selecting. Cranes Mill Park is primarily a meadow with a few forested pockets. There are several fishing points, and a boatramp, but it was closed due to the drought and low water levels. I am not so sure you could call the campsites "waterfront" because of the height of grass and cacti and distance from the weedy shoreline. Roadways in the park were great for short bicycle rides. Outside the park, the road was hilly, narrow. Neighborhood outside the gate appeared to be downscale, but guard gate apparently limits entry by those who might otherwise cruise through. Windy, and that made even summer evenings pleasant. The park has some not so stellar design problems. If the campground loop circulated counterclockwise, back in sites would have allowed the awning side of campers to face the water. The design on the ground causes service sides to face water. The dump station is on an elevated curb platform, so if the RV dump valves are low, you will need to make water run uphill and into a non standard hole. Frustrating. Finally, the exit out of the RV area has a turn with a culvert very close to the turning radius. Markers warn drivers, apparently a few drivers have cut their campers into the ditch. Nevertheless, we would definitely camp here again. Just bring your sunscreen!
Date of Stay: June, 2014
After driving in the traffic nightmare of the Katy Freeway, we were glad to get to our campsite at this lovely state park. There are numerous camp sites, but only sites 1-40 have full hookups, but only 30 amps. Sites 1-40 are also all pull through. Other sites have water only, and others are tent only. The campgrounds are vast, and forested with open meadows under the trees, making for a lot of shade. Each of the pull-through sites had a picnic table with a mowed area like some type of yard and patio, really unique. Lots of hiking and biking opportunities. Tons of deer. Rich in bird life. Hawks literally picking squirrels out of trees at our campsite. Purchasing a Texas State Parks Pass costs $70, but all future daily entrance fees are waived, and you get four second night 50% discounts, a good value. Staff was friendly. Trucks on I-10 some three miles distant could barely be heard, but were not annoying. Trains can also be heard from nearby Sealy. We bicycled out of the park, past a nice golf course, to visit the San Felipe State Historic Site. Museum was really nice and informative. For supplies, I would suggest a locally owned grocery store in Sealy called Bills. Great produce, meats, and Latino foods. Relaxing place, and we would camp here again.
Date of Stay: June, 2014
This state park is located in a suburban environment. Traffic coming to the park was heavy and at times at a standstill on a Tuesday around 6 PM. Once in the park, we found an open lawn and tall pines environment with lots of available campsites. Relatively quiet. Gated with combo lock for night entry. Host was friendly, and all business. Water and electric worked fine. Trees close to the campsite made it challenging for backing up our RV. Pad was new asphalt paving. Out in the lawn, it was black soil covered by well-mowed grass, and very wet. We could not set up chairs because of the dampness of soil. Bathrooms were spotless, modern, and private. Cspire phone service was four bar 3G. About 40 DTV over the air stations. The "waterfront" campground is nearer to the Tchefuncte River, but they are not truly waterfront. They are located next to a boat ramp. River was in flood and influenced by tides, so the road to the back camping area was covered in about three inches of water. Several nice boardwalk trails available. Lots of insects, but it is June. Numerous upscale suburban restaurants nearby in Madisonville and Mandeville. Beware of online reservations, there is an added fee making it $8 more expensive to camp versus driving in, but you take a risk of not getting the site you want. We will return again to explore the area.
Date of Stay: April, 2014
This Blackwater River State Forest campground specializes in being a campground for the equestrian community. It is a combination campground and horse stable facility. It is accessed via paved and unpaved roads. The campground is level and mostly sunny and grassy with unpaved sites. Reservations are required for campsites and horse stalls (850-957-6161). Very woodsy, and miles of equestrian trails. Also nearby is the put-in site for canoeing on the upper/middle reaches of Big Coldwater Creek, so this is a great base camp for paddling the river, if you can find a way to bring your kayak or canoe back upstream. Nearest store and fuel is about 8 miles away, some come prepared.
Date of Stay: April, 2014
Operated by Blackwater River State Forest, this campground focuses upon the freshwater swimming and wading opportunities available at Krul (often called "Munson") Lake. Campsites are generally level in a beautiful pine forest setting, well separated in most cases, and are paved or clay mixed with gravel in a grassy environment. Bathhouses were quite clean. Campsites are mostly further apart, compared to nearby Bear Lake CG, where everything is crowded and not private. Roads paved throughout. There are two loops within the campground. Access is one mile east of Munson at the junction of SR 4 and CR 191. A staffed pay booth greets you to collect day use or overnight fees. The swimming area is clean and life-guarded. Algal mats are around, but not in the swim area due to the amount of swimming. A large dock allows access completely across an arm of the lake. Interestingly, there is a long boardwalk trail with a replica grist mill (not in operation) and a beautiful suspension bridge over Sweetwater Creek (beautiful sandy bottomed river). There is also a replica sawmill, again not in operation at the time of our visit. No fishing at this lake. CSpire/Sprint phone service was 0 bars/0 data. DTV coverage included CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, and some indies. A small store is a mile away (very limited supplies), but there is no gasoline for about 10 miles in any direction. This is our campground of choice for Blackwater River State Forest, and we will come here again.
Date of Stay: April, 2014
Of the two Hurricane Lake campgrounds at Blackwater River State Forest, this is the more developed campground. But although the roads are asphalt paved in the campground itself, the roadways to the campground are graded clay/sand/gravel treks, and they can be a bit potholed after rainy weather. You might want to call ahead for road conditions. The campground is across the lake, but about 5 miles by road, from the primitive Hurricane Lake South CG. Some sites are paved, others sandy gravel, others somewhat grassy. Many sites are adjacent to the lake. No swimming due to alligators. Bathhouse very clean. No C-Spire/Sprint voice or data phone service. DTV caught in the middle of Dothan, Panama City, and Pensacola markets. Quiet, far from civilization. Be sure to bring food and fuel, there is nothing around for miles. We would camp here again, but check on road conditions first.
Date of Stay: April, 2014
A primitive campground located northwest of Baker in the northeastern part of Blackwater River State Forest. All paved road access to and within the campground (unlike Hurricane Lake North CG, where access is via several miles of clay/sand/gravel roads). Simply follow the signs from SR 4 between Baker and Munson. No hookups, but water spigots are located throughout the campground. Dump station available. No swimming area due to alligator presence. Most people here were on a mission to fish the lake. We would consider coming here again in cooler months, but certainly not in summer with no electric for the AC unit.
Date of Stay: April, 2014
This mostly lakeside campground is operated by Blackwater River State Forest, part of the Florida Forest Service. It is located about three miles east of Munson, where SR 4 intersects CR 191,or eight miles west of Baker. Although the scenery of the area is nice, the campground attempts to cram a quart into a cup with regard to RV spaces. Asphalt roads had speed bumps greet you, and one bump is so large that our truck scraped (highly unusual). Most of the campground (32 sites) is on a paved loop with W&E (including 50 amp service), while 8 sites are near the boat ramp and have water spigots available, exclusively for tenters. In the W&E sites, many of the hookups are on the wrong side of the camper, so every time we exited the RV, there was the electric box and water spigot to greet us. The hookups were fine, but the location was poorly designed. Dump station was a bit leafy and muddy, but worked fine. Sites are crammed together, and privacy is hard to come by. Sites were level to slightly sloping back. Leveling was easy with the hitch, no blocks needed under the tires. Some sites were dirt, some were asphalt, some were ground up asphalt that had reconstituted itself, complete with ground up highway reflector buttons. You pay at an unmanned pay kiosk, that was easy, and rules were posted. But, no one enforces rules. Dogs were sometimes loose, or put on 20 foot leashes, allowing them to come way over into our campsite, where we kept our dogs on a six foot leash. No one but us picked up dog poo. Cars, cars, everywhere, no limits to cars or boat trailers at the sites. Combined with the small site space between RV's, and the place looked more like a parking lot. Yet, there was an overflow lot that was void of cars. People were parking in part of our campsite and never thought a thing of it. Camp host drove through on the motor cart, but never stopped, and enforced nothing. You could tell the host had been there a while given the amount of "stuff" around that camper. Bicycle trail was in terrible condition, actually impassable and trail blaze trees had been harvested. Hiking trail system was nice, pretty. Prohibitions separating hikers from bicycles were posted, but no one enforced. Never saw a county law enforcement vehicle or state forest personnel the entire weekend. DTV coverage on the batwing included strong CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, and some indie signals. CSpire/Sprint coverage was 0 bars/0 data. No swimming in this lake, but it is allowed at neighboring Krul Lake Recreation Area two miles west. Most campers here are interested in fishing and kayaking in the lake. Only trolling motors allowed. The fish were biting. Lots of bear warnings, but there were no bears here, and you could tell it was a non-issue because the dumpsters had no bear-proof latching. People were quite friendly. Based upon the many sites we have visited around the U.S. and Canada, this CG rates just barely average, primarily because of the small sites and tremendous numbers of vehicles and boat trailers. We will camp in Blackwater River State Forest again, but will opt for other campgrounds, not Bear Lake.
Date of Stay: March, 2014
Camp here at least once each year. Other reviews are accurate in terms of amenities and beauty of the Gulf and the sugar white beaches. Bird migration was underway during my stay, and the songbird numbers were astonishing. Of note was significant flooding of sites on Loop C, east end. Many of those sites had only the asphalt showing surrounded by water. Very quiet at night. Bath house in the A Loop is going to be remodeled beginning in May 2014, so anyone camping there will need to be self contained or use bath houses in the other distant loops. I will camp here again.
Date of Stay: December, 2013
Campground is located about 12 miles off of I-10 Exit 166. Directions to the park are well marked once off of I-10. The road is hilly and curvy, and a bit narrow until you reach the Liberty County line, where the roads become a bit wider. Some speed limits to the park are really low for such a rural area (35 MPH) because of an uptick in driveways. At the entrance to Torreya, there is a night gate. If you have reservations and are arriving late, be sure to call ahead to get the keypad number. The campground is reached on a packed sand and gravel roadway. Each site is sandy, fairly level, and firm. Sites 1-16 are pretty close with little privacy vegetation separating the sites. Fire rings are located behind each site. Each site has 30A max. Sites 17-30 are a bit larger, further separated, and have more vegetation. These sites have 50A service. Water pressure and electricity operated perfectly. Bathrooms were spotless, and kept that way. Staff friendly. Quiet and dark at night. Coyotes howling. A CCC barracks building serves as a sitting area and office, with a book exchange. Washer and dryer available for $1 per load. Yurt and camping cabin looked clean, each had a nice deck overlooking the ravines. DTV service was outstanding, with all major networks represented two and three times. CSpire phone service was 3 bar voice, consistent 3G service. Cell phones operate confused as to what time it is. The park is in the Eastern Time Zone, while across the river is Central Time Zone. If you have minutes vs. free minute times, you need to be careful. Rangers said Copperheads are a problem in warmer months, and warnings were posted. Torreya is primarily engaged in being the premier hiking park of Florida, especially given the spectacular topography (about a 200 ft range from ridge tops to the Apalachicola River banks). It is also a botanical and birdwatching wonderland, rich in biodiversity. More akin to the Appalachian Mountains than Florida. The Gregory House, an antebellum plantation house, is worth the $3 tour fee. Small but nice gift shop. Group picnic facilities are vast, looked new. Children's playground located there, excellent for family reunions and large picnics. We would camp here again.
Date of Stay: October, 2013
We camp here once every few years, and it is still a great, clean campground. Water and electric worked fine. Sites spacious, fairly level to level. Trails are extensive and abundant. Excellent bicycling roads. Camp hosts friendly. Cannot beat the price. C-Spire phone service was one or two bars with back and forth 1x/3G service. Stargazing very good, easy to see the Milky Way, and galaxies looked bright in my telescope. Unlike a few years ago, the place has been discovered by residents of Pensacola, Fort Walton/Destin, Panama City, Montgomery, and Dothan, and is a packed weekend getaway. With no reservations available and a first come/serve campsite system, arriving early on Friday may be a must, or you might be dry camping in the A Loop, which would not be that bad in nice weather, and it would only be $6.00. About 70% of all campers left by noon on Sunday morning, causing a camper-jam at the only dump station. As an earlier reviewer noted, law enforcement does come through. An irritating part of this particular outing was people playing radios full blast while U of Alabama and Auburn U were playing football. The volume could have been a bit lower. Another nuisance is a handful of motorcyclists revving their motors for the sake of revving. More unnecessary noise. Nevertheless, the Great Horned Owls ruled the night. We will come again, but may take a weekday or two off to avoid the weekend crowds.