This was an interesting place to camp. Its right on the side of the road, next to Grand Lake. Being on the lake, it made sense that most of the campers were there to play on the water. The campground is really three campgrounds. Each one is a little bit down the road from the next. I think the best picks were either the one that overlooks the dam ( Pensacola Dam) or the one on the other side that is more wooded and had less asphalt. Both of these options had a bath house, but the one with more trees didn’t seem to have been taken care of as much as the bathhouse by the dam. There is a marina (not sure if it was public or private, didn’t walk down that way to check it out as I was traveling without a boat) behind the dam campground. Beyond the asphalt, another downside of the dam campground was that it had the boat ramp right next to the campground as well as the road and the dam highway, so it was loud during the day, and while traffic eased up after dark, if you end up with a site close to the road you also get headlights right in your tent. If you have the time and get there at the right time, apparently you can take a tour of the dam which is very interesting to look at from the campground. Things were really quiet in late October, but I suspect these sites are booked solid in the summer months. I think they take reservations.
Nice little park on a peninsula by town and the highway. This is more of a place to stay for a night than to enjoy a whole weekend, unless you are planning to fish all weekend.
Yay: clean and easy to get to.
Nay: not very private sites. The park itself isn’t too special but there’s nothing wrong with it.
Surprise: A few miles up the road are a museum and cultural center about the Cherokee center, definitely worth the trip.
As another reviewer mentioned, this is a popular area for rock crawling and 4-wheeling. We were not prepared for that when we visited. If you're into high-octane, loud exhaust, and big tires - have at it. For us, we were looking to enjoy some quiet time by the water.
The park itself is very beautiful and I want to note how exceptionally kind our Ranger was. He visited with us for a while, brought our dogs treats, and was an excellent host.
Although the park was really very pretty and the water was clear, we will likely not be visiting again because of the 4-wheelers - just not our thing.
This place is usually busy and loud with 4-wheelers and rock-crawlers… the tent camping area only had porta-pottys and they were full when we were there. You can drive to the RV area for bathrooms and showers. Camping areas are open (not designated), making it convenient for groups to get together.