Eagle Bluff Resort -- Rafting, Kayaking, Canoeing, and Camping on the Illinois River in Tahlequah, OK
This is a great set up especially later in the season when other places are closed. We camped along the river mid October and had plenty of privacy and campsites to choose from. The woman in the front shop was extremely kind and helpful, and I like that they have a separate late-night campground for partiers. Volleyball nets and basketball courts, plus balls you can rent make it a great kid-friendly social spot too.
There aren’t really any fire rings, just rock circles here and there, so you might want to bring a grill or grate for fire cooking.
We arrived at 3 O'clock(an hour before check in) at Carsons cabin and they told us they were working on the showers. We waited until 5:30 to finally get the keys just to find that the showers were ice cold and NO ONE had even showered yet around 8pm! Then Saturday for our float the clerks were lost and kept trying to over charge everyone that paid in our group, even when I already paid my float deposit of$100 and was to go towards my own 4(2 adults 2 kids), she kept saying I owed. Then Saturday night we kept feeling things crawl on us, just to wake up to bites all over my 8 year olds body and a squished bed bug on my pillow that was full of blood and had just fed before getting squished! The supervisor apologized over and over but the owner still has yet to call me and fix this! I had to take my son to Urgent care because he had a severe allergic reaction to the bites and now I'm out even more money due to their bed bug problem! On top of that, we had to throw everything away so that we didnt bring any of them home! PLEASE DO NOT STAY HERE AND WASTE YOUR MONEY! Vacations are suppose to be relaxing and this was not even close!
Nice sites with easy river access.
I called ahead to reserve a site at Eagles Bluff Resort on the Illinois River in Tahlequah, Ok. Off Rt10 surrounded by several other resorts is was pretty easy to find. The area is obviously river based recreation and very busy at peak season. We arrived in the middle of October and all the other resorts appeared to be closed for the winter.
Eagles Bluff was holding out for one last HURRAH! named the "The Pumpkin Holler Hunnerd" a 100 mile, 100K, 50K, 25K and 10 mile dirt trail race.
We arrived late (1930ish) but there was still someone at the gate who gave us a map of the campground and even directions to our site. Needless to say we easily got lost in the dark through no fault of the attendant. ( I'm sure when we drove back by 15 minutes later he was shaking his head at the two women and five dogs wandering through the campsite)
I did not get a choice of site other than full hook up, electric or primitive. (Which cost a 1/2 star) We were in the middle full hook up site F16, of the middle aisle of three. Had the park been at capacity there would have been room for our camper, vehicle and a strip of grass with picnic table and fire ring. The neighbors would be easily seen all around( 1 full star subtraction!) Being crammed in like sardines so the Resort can make a buck is not cool.
There were primitive sites right on the river with nice views but no direct access to the water behind the showerhouse . There were three aisles of tent sites packed on top of one another, with water access nearby. You would be hard pressed to fit your vehicle, watercraft and tent/hammock in your area and you would get to know your neighbors well.
There were other electric sites closer to the water, in the trees with direct water access within walking/carrying distance for water craft. But when we had a "monsoon" the night after the start of the race that entire area was flooded.
The next morning there were several areas sitting in large puddles throughout the resort. (Another 1/2 star gone)
The showerhouse was a little creepy and not well maintained. No hot water, it may have been off due to end of season BUT I paid full price and expect full service. The collection of webs and insects in the vaulted ceilings made me hesitant to shower. I have no issues with bugs in general I am just aware of people getting bitten or stung by resident spiders or flying insects in such structures. Then there was the restroom area with wooden brown smeared doors ( I told myself it was mud) that did not lock…..(another star)
IF the resort did some maintenance and a few upgrades it could easily be a 5 star rating but I got the feel that they were happy as they were and the visitors willing to over look the few flaws and get on with having fun. SOOOOO pack your Lysol , use your own facilities and enjoy the river .
Stayed during off season, so maybe it's better during peak season. RV camped, and the slots are only 30 feet wide, which puts your outside dining & Family area directly next to the next camper. Tent and RV areas are separate, and tent areas can be found right on the Illinois river. This is not a good campground for Tree tent (Tensile) camping, unless you are setting up on the ground. Campground is very close to Telaquah, which is convenient.
Stayed here in off season to run in Pumpkin Hunnerd, so I am believing this would be a better choice during peak camping season.
Floating the river is a popular pastime among us Oklahomans, especially those of the hormonal, sex-crazed age groups. On that important note, if you want to take your family or scout troop, do it on a weekday. Otherwise, you will be delivering narration to a live screening of Girls--and Boys--Gone Wild. Don't even think about what's swimming in those waters with you. If that's your cup of tea, get yourself on over!
That aside, the campgrounds at Eagle Bluff are fantastic! Clean, mostly shaded, and easy to get to from town. You can gather firewood and kindling or purchase at the shop for $5 a bundle. Travel trailers are in a separate part of the area. During the week, it is peaceful and quite enjoyable.
During peak season, it is extremely crowded on the weekends. Bathrooms can overflow, and it can be difficult to get an unreserved site or even float the river. Be aware of weather, as they will close as a flooding precaution during and after heavy rainfall.
If you go to float, get there early. All rafts/canoes have to be in by a certain time in the evening, and you don't want to be rushed. If you're doing the 12 mile, you keep your raft/canoe over night. There are plenty of sandbars to pull off the river and enjoy some time playing in the water or staging an impromptu dance party. In some parts, it's deep enough to jump off rocks, and there is a rope to swing off of.
Children under the age of 12 require a life vest at all times.
Recommended: get yourself some water shoes. Those rocky bottoms can hurt! Stow personal belonging--phones, key fobs, wallets, smokes & lighters--in a place other than your boat, if at all possible. If it is necessary to take them, store in durable, waterproof containers or Ziploc baggies. Be careful. I've seen too many people lose their stuff because they were too wasted and tossed a boat with everything in it.
No glass bottles. They frequently have river police out, so watch out for underage drinkers.