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This is a good campground if you’re looking to spend all day on the lake and go to sleep when you’re back on the land. It’s a pretty busy campground for boaters. There’s a dock near the entrance. It has hook ups for RVs. The facilities are iffy, there’s one set of pit toilets and a poorly maintained shower building.
Very pretty park with lots of trees in the campground, birdwatching and fishing! Family and group friendly. Sweet little wildwood chapel and nice trails. It's a popular park, well kept and friendly. Paved RV sites with water and electric, some a little too close together. Reservations must be made through Reserve America. The only distraction was the morning we left, when several small planes made practice landings and takeoffs at the nearby Jet Airport. They were so noisy when they flew over the campground and river that you couldn't hear anything but the engine noise. Not sure how often this happens. It was a Monday morning that day.
You can’t camp at the actual Salt Plains. We spent the day here and had such an awesome time. I took kids ages 3-12 and they all had a blast. Make sure to bring metal shovels and metal hand shovels bc the plastic ones will break, you will want sand buckets, egg cartons to put the crystals in bc when they come out they are still soft and brittle, sunscreen, lots of water, towels, baby wipes, a umbrella if you have one (we didn’t need it but a lot of people prefer them). I can’t stand sand/salt on me (think nails on a chalk board feeling) so I needed to shower pronto afterwards and couldn’t so lots of water to rinse off with is a good thing to have. You will have sand and salt all over your car inside and out FYI lol.
We tent camped and had a good time. The water is shallow forever so you don’t have to worry much about little ones playing. It isn’t too far from the great salt plains. Had a awesome day digging and was nice to go for a swim go get all the salt and sand off of us. I think next time I’ll drive home bc I can’t stand salt on my body. The feeling is awful to me lol. Def take some metal shovels and metal hand shovels ( the little plastic ones break) take lots of water, baby wipes and towels. You’ll also want to take egg cartons bc the crystals are soft when you dig them up so you’ll want to store them in it to harden up. My kids loves it and had a blast!
Clean campsite. Fire pit had recently been cleaned out. Nice little path down to the water from this spot. Water and electricity available but didn't use this trip. If you hammock camp, the poles on the canopy are perfectly spaced for a great hang. No firewood to buy on premises so pick it up in the near town of Ponca City if you want to light a fire. There is dead wood around as well if you want to source it that way.
This is a county operated park located in Oxford, Kansas which is a few miles east off I 35. So it’s a convenient layover, especially considering the cost! If you don’t use the electricity it’s only $3.50 and if you choose to hook up to the electric, which is located on utility poles, then it’s $10 per night on the honor system. There’s a box next to the bath house where you leave your cash payment.
The park is very well kept and has a lot to offer with disc golf course (be aware that the course runs through the middle of the camping area), a playground, group picnic shelter, a basketball court, and a newer shower/bath house. This is only open between April 15th and October 15th. Water is available to fill your tank and there is a dump station on site too! At site 50 the water was next to the site, so if no one else is camping it could be a direct hook up. When I stayed there were only 2 other rigs here.
There are no specific designated sites, at least that are clearly designated. Just take the road into the park and then look for the poles which hold the electric boxes. You can pull into the grassy areas next to one of these. I was concerned about the ground being soft because it had just rained, but I had no problems in my 24’ class C rig.
Oxford is a small town, but across the main street from the park there’s a gas station/quick mart store and supplies are there. This is a fantastic peaceful spot with great night skies and the price is right! Let’s keep it our secret.
The camping at Great Salt Plains State park is a fine place to park the camper and stay, but most of the adventure is elsewhere in the park/refuge. You'll need to drive to get to almost everything.
We stayed at the Sandy Beach Campground. This review is for that campground. If I had to do it again (I will) I would stay at the River Road Campground. It's much more shaded, more isolated and along the river. Not to mention the awesome Cliff Swallow flights from under the river bridge!
The campsite is clean and simple. The sites on the western edge have more shade than the rest, the sites in the center of the loop can feel strangely exposed with little in the way of natural boundaries between sites.
Noise level: Look… this is a OK stake park lake site. Yes it's attached to a national refuge. Yes there are awesome things to see and do. But it's still a lakeside park. So, expect lots of huge 5th wheels with big outdoor speakers. In the summer I would guess there will be at least one camper who wants to share his music with you. It's a shame… but it's true. There is also a fighter training base adjacent to the park run by the Air Force. It's not as obnoxious as bubba's music, but just know it's there. And most of the time they just fly during the day.
You can walk to the lake and the swimming area near the dam. It's a day use area, so there's some folks that like to leave some trash, but you know… pick it up for them and carry on.
Now… when you leave there and head into the national refuge, that's where things get great. What a beautiful, unexpected landscape. The north side of the refuge has great hiking trails that are full of wildlife. The southwest side of course has the crystal digging area. It's really a great place to spend a weekend. Word to the wise, in the fairer months, get on and off the salt plains early to avoid the heat and the day trippers.
Overall, this is a serviceable campsite that can serve for a great launching point for exploring/hiking/birding in the refuge. The wildlife present is outstanding.
FYI… no, you can't fly your drone here. There is a national refuge, a state park and an Air Force base. It took me a long time to arrange all the clearances required, but my flight was legal.