Date of Stay: July, 2010
Beautiful setting with lots of trees and shade. Even though it was hot and very humid, it was still pretty comfortable. Considering it's a swampy area, you would think there would have been a lot of mosquitoes, but there weren't. We stayed in the electric and water only sites which were not nearly as full as the ones with sewer. The spaces are not too close together. If the family likes to swim, this is not your place. But, if you want a really peaceful unique ecosystem, you must see this: Texas' only natural lake. The rangers conduct nature tours and talks.
Date of Stay: November, 2007
This is our second time back to this park for Thanksgiving. Last year, we had one of the sites with sewer, which was great but they fill up fast and we did not reserve one in time. Even when crowded for a holiday weekend, it doesn't feel too crowded because there are a lot of trees, nature trails and open space. Many of the sites are not level. We saw a lot of larger RVs, but since the reservations are not site-specific, you take your chances. But if you have a small trailer I don't believe there are any bad sites. Some have lake views and some don't.
Date of Stay: September, 2007
I rated this park 5/5 because it isn't what I personally am looking for in a park, however, other people will love it. We had one of the premium sites, and the water and sewer hookups were easy and convenient. The site had lots of gravel and a nice pad to keep the inside of your RV clean. They were reasonably shady. It's in a lovely area and the camp host was very nice. There is a playground, a pool, only in summer, nature centers and of course the lake which has excellent diving, for a lake. It looked like large RVs were able to get in pretty easily. You could make reservations for the Fox Squirrel area which I really appreciate because other state parks in OK in the past didn't allow reservations. However, I like spaces that are more spread out. But, if you were with a group and wanted to be near one another, it would be great. I like to be right on the lake and be able jump right in, and we had to drive to get to the lake. Some of the sites back up to a road and you can hear noise from the restaurants, so choose carefully. I would not have chosen this park, but we were with a group. I personally like more rustic places, with more quiet places to walk the dogs and better lake access. The restrooms still only have 1 shower and 2 toilets in each, so if you are not self-contained beware.
Date of Stay: October, 2006
This is a lovely little campground in a large public park. The sites all appeared to be spacious and shady, and the campground hosts were super friendly. They have no website, so you need to call them up and make a reservation over the phone. It is a nice, basic, natural-setting campground, with wildlife and nice places to walk and bike. When you get out into the larger park there are lots of activities, such as bocce ball, soccer, dirt bike courses -- you name it. The park puts most cities to shame. Best of all (at least to us!) it has one of the nicest dog parks I have ever seen, with three separate very large, shaded and clean fenced areas. This is a long walk or a short drive from the campground and there is a map posted to show you how to get to the various amenities.
Date of Stay: October, 2006
We pulled in here at night and in the rain, because we saw the big neon sign on highway 44. The office was closed but the hosts were super friendly and took us to our site. The hookups (sewer too), free cable TV and free Wi-Fi worked great. This is the type of campground where there is not much to do at the campground itself, (no lakes, hiking, etc.) but with the nice internet access and laundry, I would stay here for a few days to get caught up on 'stuff.' It's convenient to the Joplin area. The campground is clean and nicely landscaped, mostly shaded, and there are places to walk the dog without walking in the middle of someone's campsite. They are very pet friendly and have reasonable pet rules. If you are like my hubby who is too tall for our trailer shower, take note that there are no shower facilities. Almost all of the RVs there were very large motor homes with, I presume, decent showers.
Date of Stay: June, 2006
We love this lake because we it is beautiful, peaceful, quiet and not crowded, with a lot of open space for walks, bike riding, etc. Most of the lake has a sand waterfront, so it's easy to get in the water and on this trip it was actually quite warm. At night, you can hear the critters, rather than a lot of vehicle traffic and partying. We camped at Pat Mayse West but there are also campsites at the smaller Pat Mayse East. Like most Army Corps of Engineers sites, there are no frills here. The bathrooms are pit toilets, and only Loop A has showers and they were not tidy or fancy. However, if you are self-contained this is no problem. You can make site-specific reservations in most cases. Ours site was on the waterfront with lots of privacy and an awesome view but like many of the waterfront sites, not level, not wide, and difficult to get into. So, read the site descriptions carefully and call if you have any questions, especially if you have a large vehicle. Our site was supposed to be good for 45' and under, and our hybrid trailer is only 19' before opening the ends, and it was tough.
Date of Stay: May, 2006
The setting is gorgeous, and the park is well-maintained by the state, with regular trash pickup and clean restrooms. The rangers were very friendly and helpful. Since the park is well-staffed, it seemed better than average, security-wise. The boat ramp is conveniently located and there is easy access to the water for the kids and dogs. The downside is that you cannot select or reserve a campsite in advance. By 5PM Friday on a non-holiday weekend, all RV sites were full. Since we couldn't select a quieter spot and were lucky to get something at all, it was a lot noisier and congested than we like, and had no water hookup. People with large RVs should arrive at an off-time or make backup plans because it does not look like there are a lot of spaces that accommodate large RVs. There are not a lot of places to walk the dogs without walking them past other peoples' campsites and upsetting their dogs. If you want to be in the thick of things and are not picky about sites, this is a great campground because it is beautiful and well taken care of. If you like more quiet and seclusion or have special requirements for your site, I don't recommend it.
Date of Stay: April, 2006
Formerly Silver Lake Campground, has been completely remodeled and re-named The Vineyards. We camped on their grand opening weekend (4/29/06), so a few of the sites were not ready yet. It looked like they are going to have sewer hookups on most of them. Some of the spots are close together, and have brands new trees and therefore, no shade, but you can see the map online and choose one that meets your needs. Our site was very nice and quiet and under mature live oak trees. There are also some little cabins that are brand new. No expense was spared on the landscaping and buildings. Even though it is like new in a lot of ways, there are plenty of mature trees and natural areas. My only suggestion would be to add a swimming beach for the kiddos and wireless internet access.
Date of Stay: April, 2006
There are 3 parks at Bardwell Lake available for camping. We camped at Mott Park and had a nice lakefront site, which we were able to select online. Even though it was a holiday weekend, the spaces are far enough apart that it did not seem crowded or noisy. Some sites require a lot of leveling, and some are 30-amp only, but the reservation system will tell you this. This is a no-frills park, but the scenery is lovely and a perfect getaway if you want to just get out of town, enjoy nature, and relax.