Date of Stay: July, 2008
Silver Strand goes down in our logbook as the worst camping experience we've had. Up to now, the worst was being caught in Yellowstone in 20F temps in a pop-up without a working heater. Silver Strand is not camping. It's a cross between tailgating and a Nascar infield. Very cramped spaces, generators running nonstop, and lots of adult language and beverages in use during all hours of the day. The generator in the site backing up to us ran so long that the carbon monoxide alarm in our coach was going off. With little space between units, this is apparently a very common problem. I'm surprised nobody has died from this yet. Volunteer hosts were very nice, but the state park staff were fairly rude and a little too by-the-book. One of them had my seven year old son in tears because she told him he would be arrested for riding his scooter without a helmet. (Despite the fact that 80% of the kids riding bikes and scooters were without helmets.) The sites which back up to the beach are nice, odd numbers between 49 and 105 if I recall. If you can't get one of those, don't bother. You'd have a better time camping in an RV dealer's parking lot.
Date of Stay: April, 2008
Best kept secret in South Central Oklahoma. Less than a three hour drive from Oklahoma City & Dallas, so it's very popular for boating. Half the sites are reservable, and the other half are first come-first served. Chickasaw is run by the National Park Service, which is a much higher standard than you find at many state parks in Oklahoma. Just about every site is in shade under oak trees, and there are only a few sites where you feel right on top of the neighbors. Most have a fire ring and a place to stake down a tent. All sites are blacktop and fairly level, and have a lantern hook and picnic table. A few sites back up to water, and it's not uncommon to see people's boats tied off there for the weekend as opposed to trailering at the end of the day. Park is open year round, although only one loop remains open for the winter months. Shopping and restaurants are only about 15 minutes north of the campground.
Date of Stay: January, 2008
I'm not a big fan of hookup sites at national parks, but we were at GCN during January, and knew that overcast skies and inclement weather might be an issue. We were right. One of the two days were up at the canyon was a white-out, and we received seven inches of snow. As such, we were more or less trapped in the motorhome all day, so having hookups meant we were able to watch a lot of movies, and run the furnace without too much worry over the batteries or generator running out of fuel. Water was only working on a handful of sites due to freezing temps. Unfortunately ours wasn't one of those. Other than that, the campground met our expectations. It was a close-in place to park for our visit. During summer months, it would be a great alternative to the primitive camping. Only downside to Trailer Village is that there's not much to physically separate sites other than a few trees here and there. Very close quarters, but people don't go to the Canyon for the camping experience as much as they do for the view at the rim. Very convenient for catching the bus to/from popular vistas and tourist sites. During summer months, you might find the rare cancellation; other than that, it's usually best to book several weeks or months ahead of time. If you can't book Trailer Village, Mather Campground is next door, but there are no hookups and they can't accommodate too many rigs longer than 35'.