You'd think the Big Oak Campground in El Dorado State Park would be amazing. It's shaded with huge trees, nice sized sites some of which are very spread out, a quick walk to the swim beach and a quick drive to put your boat in the water. Unfortunately these pluses are far outweighed by the negatives. First the bathrooms were horrible. I realize they are older restrooms but they smelled awful, they were never obviously cleaned, the showers were not even a tiny bit private, the door to the restroom was broken and had to be propped open with a tree branch. Just over the bridge at the swim beach they were worse and some of the doors in the women’s room were missing. Yuck! Secondly basic campground rules were not enforced at all. The site across from us easily had 30 people camping and were up until 4am with loud music and a bright light on. I’m not kidding, my daughter was up around 3 to use the restroom and we walked by twice. The family in the site next to us had at least 4 cars and 2 tents set up outside the site on the walking path in addition to their two tents in their own site. The dog free swim beach had dogs on it. We camp with our dogs, one of which loves to swim and even I don’t want dogs on a public beach. Our camping weekend was negatively affected by poor camping etiquette and a sever lack of basic rule enforcement. We won’t be back to El Dorado State Park Big Oak campsite any time soon. Cross Timbers and Fall River are much better!
BeautifIl campgrynd but too crowded and no enforcement of rules. Bathrooms were terrible. all shower stalls face each other with no curtains. smelled awful, stall doors barely closed. we have stayed in many state parks and this was the worst.
swimming area was ok but no rule enforcement. dumpsters overflowing.
This is a popular weekend get-away. It's less than an hour from Wichita, clean, taken care of. There's plenty of options (primitive, water/electric/sewer, picnic use, boat ramps). My experience over the holiday weekends has usually been that's when the rowdy crowd shows up but this campground was comfortable and family-oriented.
Restrooms with showers and dumpsters (for you campsite garbage) are widely available during camping season. The designated swim areas are great for the whole family because there is a wide and far out area that doesn't get too deep while being roped off. NO STICKERS IN THE GRASS AT THE DESIGNATED CAMP SITES!!!!! At some sites, you can fish just feet from your tent. Beware at the box turtle camp site though, a channel runs 3-4 feet out from the shore and drops about 12 feet QUICK so don't swim there! The general store and bait shop at Bluestem is wonderful. If you visit Kansas State Parks frequently, it pays to purchase an annual vehicle permit early in the year when they are discounted rather than pay per day every time you visit.
We will stay here for overnight trips since it's only about 40 minutes from home. We usually stay on the Walnut River side as there is a large playground with tent sites close enough to keep an eye on the kiddos. They also have a swim area on this side. Bathroom and shower are next to the playground which is also convenient for us. There are some cool little hiking spots to explore. We just kicked off camping season last weekend here.
This Park is closer to home so just took my son on a quick fishing/camping overnigh for his birthday. Stayed at the Walnut River Area, the Blue stem area was still closed down for winter in April. Lots of good places to fish on this reservoir, fish weren't biting so we spent quite a bit of time riding our bikes around the area. There is a large playground for kids, a nice swim beach away from the main lake, an archery range, and they are building a pistol/ rifle range next to the ranger station for public use.