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Chickasaw National Recreation Area, OKLAHOMA
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Most Recent Chickasaw National Recreation Area Camping Reviews
Ski jump

We stayed at Ski Jump, which is right past Buzaards Roost. Small campground, tents only. Beautiful and quiet (minus a couple of geese who like to honk at each other.) vault toilets.

Rustic

Love the creekside sites but watch out for raccoons. Large campground with 100+ sites but zero electric hookups. Dated bathrooms(same ones from 50 odd years ago). This is where I camped as a kid and it still draws me in. A bicycle trail runs along the creek towards little Niagara. 2-3 miles long. Love this campground.

RANGER REVIEW: Aftershokz Trekz Titanium At Eisenhower State Park

Campground Review:

For Full VIDEO Review: CLICK HERE

I decided to visit Eisenhower State Park during the last part of November, just before Thanksgiving when the leaves were putting on their final showcase of the season and casting their amber and red tones everywhere. It was absolutely breathtaking to pull into the park and start to see this area unfold around me.

Eisenhower is named for our former president, Dwight D Eisenhower, who was born in nearby Denison, Texas. Opened in 1958 to tourists as a Texas State Park, the area is divided amongst lake activities and wildlife preservation. In more recent years they have added ATV trails to accompany the bike and walking trails, the swimming beach and the outdoor amphitheater and pavilion.

Day use here is only $5 or for those camping you can easily find a perfect fit for your needs between $12 and $25. I noticed depending on the loop of camp you are enjoying amenities do vary as to site sizes. All sites except primitive and a single specialty reservation lot were equipped pretty standardly with a metal picnic table and fire ring with grill. The biggest differences were in that some had electricity and water while others had neither. (You can book your campsite online by clicking HERE )

I really enjoyed the spacing of the campsites, though the area I was visiting for the day had neighbors the spacing managed to mask any noise that might come from their camp. The tree coverage in the area was amazing and shady, I can only imagine this to be a necessary feature during the hot Texas summers.

Since I was only able to enjoy the park for a day, after enjoying one of the campsites for a lunch, I took to the hiking trails and explored the many areas there are to check out. I was most excited about the swimming beach, it reminded me of the beaches I had seen in Nevada nestled along the Colorado River in groves of mountainous rocky mountains. It felt secluded and while the beach area itself was a mix of rocks and sand, it could be a great retreat on a warm day for some fun with the family. The steps down to the beach captured my attention, I later noticed the same steps repeated by the marina and also by the amphitheater. They were unlike poured concrete and made for a more organic feel to the landscape. Created by bags of concrete hardened then used as pavers the surface provided a perfect step that was both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

A few things to remember about Eisenhower:

In this area throughout camp and other parts of the property you might see bats, armadillos, beavers, coyotes, deer, opossums, rabbits, bobcats, raccoons, foxes, squirrels and roadrunners. In addition, during warm months you can see a variety of snakes hiding on rocky surfaces so always be aware of your surroundings and remember to keep your food items secured inside your vehicle.

  • The Lake is a BIG draw. This is one of the more popular stops along the massive Lake Texoma. Because of this you can take advantage of fishing, utilize the boat ramp and boat houses or rent one of the many watercraft they have to offer. CLICK HERE for more information about the lake, requirements of fishing and boating, activities available and any current advisories.
  • There is an interpretive guide online which will completely give you a better perspective of the park and some of what it has to offer. CLICK HERE

Rating:

Overall I would give the State Park a 4 of 5 stars. I feel as though the park is large enough to accommodate large groups, essential during the busy lake season including holidays such as the 4th of July, Memorial Day and Labor Day. With the spacing it provides, not only can it accommodate crowds but it can make for a still enjoyable experience when visiting on these busy seasons.

Activities vary for those seeking non-lake related things to do, this is of great interest to me as a traveler who does not often hit the lake on one of my adventures. I like that there is an option for someone like myself to be able to if I choose however it isn’t the sole focus of the site.

PRODUCT REVIEW:

For Full VIDEO Review: CLICK HERE

As a part of a program I belong to in conjunction with the website The Dyrt, where I serve as a Ranger, sometimes I am sent items to test along my many travels. I recently received an exciting package from Aftershokz to test their Bone Conduction Technology provided in their Trekz Titanium. I was very excited to find a product that answered some of my most pressing questions when camping, hiking, working out and adventuring.

How can I hear what is around me if I have in an earbud?

How can I comfortably listen to music for extended lengths of time?

Can I have something which is reasonably fashionable to listen to my music?

The Backstory:

So why is it so important to have your ears free when you are performing activities outside? Well in my personal experience I have found that awareness of your surroundings can make all the difference.

SCENARIO 1:

When I travel with friends many times we have a speaker we travel with, and while we enjoy it, not everyone around us typically likes the same music we do. This poses a problem.

SCENARIO 2:

When I travel alone, it doesn’t matter if I am hiking or just exploring an area, I always need to know what is going on around me. From hearing the stops on the METRO clearly to hearing the leaves rustling around me to signal a potential animal in the area, there are so many reasons that knowing what is going on around you can come in handy. But from my vantage point hearing traffic and people is the most important because you never know what is going on when you completely block out the world.

I saw a study conducted over 7 years (2004-2011) which stated there were some 116 people who died as a result of wearing earphones of earbuds and not hearing what was going on around them. While 68% of those effected by this were men under the age of 30, I still was really disturbed to see that the number was so high considering it is something we don’t typically consider to be something dangerous. That got me really wondering if I could solve both my scenarios and the potential issues by simply trying a new style of listening device.

Information & Specs:

  • Name: Aftershokz Trekz Titanium
  • Retail Price: $99.95
  • Includes: Carrying Bag & Charger Cord (cube/plug port not included)
  • Color Options: Slate (Grey/Black), Pink, Ocean (Blue/Black), Ivy (Green/Black), Red

Shipping Information:

Shipping on this item was pretty rapid. From the initial order to delivery at the door was only 4 days. The package arrived via USPS and was in great condition. The box itself was well packaged to prevent denting or tearing of packaging. The product was secured well in the container with the remainder of the items which were included packaged behind the item’s plastic packaging.

First Impressions:

Packaging of this item was very well thought and attractive. I was pleased to open the box and discover the item inside. The see through boxing really made for an exciting reveal when I initially opened the packaging. The bold blue color I selected was much brighter than I had even expected and presented a very vibrant look which I really wanted to get right into using.

As I continued unboxing I did find it a bit odd that there was no charger port, only the cord was included. Still, I like most phone users, have more than a couple extras so I didn’t find this to be a deal breaker on my feeling of the product.

Field Testing:

I was ready to get these right out of the box and start using them, I was a bit disappointed that there was no charge to them whatsoever. Usually an item like this at least provides a bit of charge for you to start off using it straight out, however with these I had to wait. And not just a bit, I had to leave them charging for several hours before I could actually begin the process of utilizing them. This was a bit discouraging.

After the Trekz Titanium had fully charged I was able to finally initiate the connection process. As there are no cords on these headphones, they need only a device which can be connected via bluetooth, for me this meant my IPhone. I have connected devices previous, so for me this seemed to be a very simplistic process to set up. Simply holding down the “+” button on the headphones for 5 seconds activates the power. From this point you simply go into your phone settings, turn on Bluetooth and find the discoverable Trekz Titanium option.

Wearing the Trekz Titanium was pretty comfortable. Fitting just over the ear and in front of the drum itself, the phones kept that irritating feeling of pressure from building over time through use. I found the fit to be comfortable, though one size fits all did become a little looser feeling when I was running and bouncing in contrast to walking or hiking at an even pace. The back of the Trekz do not fit flush with my head personally, I do have a smaller head however so this might not be the case for all users.

The technology behind the Trekz Titanium and other Aftershokz products utilizes Bone Conduction Technology. This simply means, they sit on the outer ear to provide sound while also allowing the user to still hear what is going on around them. Unlike earbuds which fit inside the ear and create pain over time or earphones which are bulky these are designed to be streamlined and provide a more comfortable wear.

When I was wearing them I noticed that the sound was a little light in the bass when I turned it on and as I turned up the sound to get more of the bass it lowered the amount of sound from outside I could actually hear. The sound quality was very crisp and did not muddle the sounds of my music. Another negative about turning up the music was that others could then hear what I was listening to if I was standing near them. I don’t know if that is the best experience for others around me when wearing them if I really want to crank up my volume to get a good workout pump if out and about. Certainly it didn’t make me the most considerate person on the hiking trail when I encountered someone else, I felt like I needed to turn down my volume.

PROS:

  • Comfortable on ears
  • Able to hear outdoor sounds when volume is at moderate level
  • Variety in colors and styles
  • Simple Set Up
  • Compatible With Most Devices (I could not however connect to my MacBook)

CONS:

  • Fit a bit large on my head personally, although this did allow for plenty of space for a hat or headband
  • When listening at louder volumes less ability to hear outdoor sounds and also can be heard by those around you
  • Does not come charged

Rating:

Rating this item is a little difficult because the technology behind them is pretty genius and fits all my needs as a person who spends a lot of time in the outdoors. However the few small things which I could see as areas of possible improvement do bring them down a bit.

After really going back and forth on which of these things were really deal breakers and which were just things which obviously come with the territory of Bone Conduction Technology, I settled upon a rating of a 4 of 5.

While I do feel like fit was a factor for me personally, I do not feel it would be to every individual user. The main area which I feel should be improved upon would be the bass sound being more clear at lower levels. I feel like had it have been I would have never had to turn up the volume to cancel the sounds around me, nor would I have been “that hiker” who has their music up loud.

Overall the idea of the Aftershokz Trekz Titanium is something which meets a lot of my needs as a solo hiker and camper. It provides a great service which otherwise I was hesitant to explore due to safety while in remote areas with animals and other warning sounds of which you need to be fully aware.

Additional Reviews For This Product Featured On The Following:

BunnyPlaysHere.com

REI

Aftershokz

Family friendly

Perfect place to camp. Very nice facilities.

RANGER REVIEW: VIVO Barefoot Primus Trail SG at Cold Springs Campground

Check Out The Campground: CLICK HERE

VIVO BareFoot: CLICK HERE

My Full Video Review Of The The VIVO Barefoot Primus Trail SG: CLICK HERE

Campground Review

Pulling into the Chickasaw National Recreation Area several camping options jump out just begging for you to choose them. I selected the Cold Springs Campground on this trip because its great location and access to the many falls of the area.

Along this turn out you can find many of the most popular stops for cool waters, hiking and natural beauty including most arguably the best stop to take a cool dip on a hot day, Little Niagara, a spring fed waterfall system which traverses some 2 mies downstream. With this being one of the first campgrounds in the area you are also just moments from the Chickasaw Cultural Center, a location which hosts many Native American educational events, stomp dance exhibitions and festivals for the community of Sulphur.

The campground has been partially modernized in comparison to other camps around the state, with a digital kiosk pay station as you enter camp, you can come any time, find a site and easily pay using any payment method. By far this surpasses the traditional honor box system which sometimes can be a bit tricky when you don’t bring exact change.

I found that campsites were large and welcoming when pulling into this camp. Big enough for RVs but ideal for tents, a variety of campers could call this space home with 65 campsites. In addition to this being the perfect site for individual campers, a group camp is located just a few hundred yards away for those needing a bit more.

The site I selected was right inside the opening loop, close to the restrooms, shaded in the rear from the road and with a large flat pad for my tent. The pad was constructed from small gravel and took little to no time to clear from fallen debris.

While the sites are dry camping, there are water spigots scattered throughout camp. Sites are equipped with a picnic table, fire ring with grill and lantern post, pretty typical of any government site, however these did look to be much more well maintained than others I have visited in the area. Restrooms at this site were well maintained and had nice flush toilets.

The only downside I found to the particular site I selected was its proximity to the gate itself and the influx of in and out traffic. Typically I would select something a bit further into the campground for privacy, but this site was so welcoming I went against my gut and with it. But for only $14 you could not beat the feeling this place offered with the woods engulfing your site and in the evening the deer roaming around ever so cautiously.

A few things to remember about this campsite:

  • Seasonally open from May through September.
  • Pets are welcome here but do require a leash at all times.

Rating:

I would give the Cold Spring Camp a 4 of 5 for its proximity, overall spaciousness and amenities. This site was only a short 5 minute drive from the Nature Center, had access to many hiking trails in the area and was secluded from the major highway just enough to make it feel much further away from town than it actually was.

Product Review

  • Name: VIVO Barefoot Primus Trail SG
  • Retail Price: $150.00
  • Size: 7.5
  • Color: Olive

As a Ranger for the Dyrt, I am sent items to test from time to time to give real feed back about how these items work within my active lifestyle. On this trip I was closing out my review cycle for the VIVO Barefoot Primus Trail SG shoes. These shoes are a part of the vast line of minimalist shoes VIVO Barefoot has released utilizing recycled bottles and other materials to keep in line with a Vegan outlook. The shoes are the “soft ground” version of their outdoor line, designed to grip comfortably the ground below you and provide both support and traction when running, hiking or simply walking.

Shipping:

I placed my order for these shoes and within 5 days they arrived at my home. Shipping for the package arrived in a VIVO red reinforced bag with bold branding on the outside. Inside the box was a hefty box containing materials about the shoe, shipping receipt, 1 pair of shoe laces, 2 insoles and the shoes neatly wrapped in branded tissue paper.

Field Testing:

I tested these shoes over 5 different wears over two weeks of doing typical things I do in my day to day life. With my stop at Cold Springs I put them to the final test, navigating on slippery rocks as I traversed the many waterfalls in the area, trekking through boggy wet grounds as I visited the neighboring Fall Festival at the Chickasaw Cultural Center, climbing on steep gravel banks and walking on various types of surface. I can only say that the shoes never seemed to miss a beat or make me feel the slightest bit uneasy in my footing.

For someone like myself, finding a shoe which suits my lifestyle is multi-fold. I have had issues with chronic sciatica over the years which has nearly grounded me from travel multiple times, my joints tend to build pressure and pop often and over time and though playing sports as a child I just wasn’t the most friendly to my body as I could be. I had seen information about minimalist shoes helping retrain your step and get your body more in line with its natural feel by extending the muscles you typically are shrinking wearing highly padded shoes, by allowing your toes to rest more naturally and less hindered while in the shoes and by allowing your joints to naturally cushion your walk. I didn’t know what exactly to expect from the shoes and was not expecting a miracle, but I was curious I will say.

Over the first 4 wears I noticed that taking the shoes off I did not experience the same pain after long days that I typically would in a standard pair of running shoes. Pain is perhaps a strong word, discomfort would be more appropriate. Instead I simply felt like I had removed the shoes. I know that sounds strange but considering I didn’t even know I had an issue it was a strange feeling indeed when I had the ah ha moment. Not only that I noticed following removal, typically I stand and stretch and hear my joint popping, however with the VIVO Barefoot shoes I didn’t have the tension release.

With these I can walk around feeling the ground below me in a comfortable way. On stones and uneven surfaces I feel like I can grip better with my feet to secure my balance and though they are taking a little adjustment I am really enjoying the overall feel of the shoes.

Pros:

  • Water resistant - When I was walking on the rocks and around the waters edge at Cold Springs, I noticed that while I could feel the water, I didn’t feel like it was sloshing inside my shoes. They are water resistant, and while that does not mean I could fully submerge my foot I felt with the hiking around the rocks I was safe.
  • Flexible - When you get this shoe you are inclined to test the shoes flexibility considering it is made from recycled plastic bottles, something I feel is much more rigid by nature than what I feel my shoe should be. They completely roll up end to end! Any shoe that will do that is a shoe I know will move and grip in any direction I am moving for sure.
  • Tight Ankle - It was great for keeping debris out of my shoe and assisted in my shoe not slipping on my foot when I was wearing it throughout the day or competing with my sock.

Cons:

  • Tight Ankle - It was very difficult to get onto my foot because it was not stretchy enough to easily slip on. Over time I know it will loosen a bit, but that by far is the worst thing about the shoe in my opinion.
  • With or without insoles - Inside the box an insert insole is provided, to get the full barefoot experience you can opt to not use these or you can use them for a bit of cushion. I was a bit conflicted by the choice. Without the insoles the shoe slips on much easier but it also is a bit more of a rough ride feel when getting used to them.

Rating:

Of 5 stars I would give the VIVO Barefoot Primus 4 stars. I love the shoes but the process of putting them on being so difficult (almost 10 minutes the first time I put them on). I feel like it will continue to take some warming up to them to really know how I like that aspect. I have found that when using them to workout that tight ankle does make a small red impression on the top of my foot and while my feet themselves do not hurt, in the long run I would not want the to be the continued outcome. I will continue wearing them and testing them and I assume this will pass.

Paradise

This place is beautiful and the staff is wonderful! Bathrooms are very clean.

Nice Campsite On Busy Boating Area

Of the campgrounds around the water, this one is perhaps one of the more busy. When visiting we noted numerous boat trailers just waiting for their owners to return to them. Despite it being so busy it was pretty quiet as a whole. Lots of trees around this location make for plenty of shade during warmer months and sites are large enough to easily accommodate rigs of all sizes or tent campers.

Sites are well priced at $14 which wasn't bad considering how the campground was set up. Despite it being a primitive camp and only having vault toilets it was surprisingly comfortable feeling and does have water spigots around. It is also one of the smaller campgrounds at the Lake of the Arbuckles so during summer it can fill up quickly.

The site I checked out here had a picnic table and fire ring and was fairly even. There was a nice grassy pad which was ideal for tent camping like I enjoy.

I lot of people, as I mentioned before, take advantage of the lake from this campsite area so it is pretty noisy during the day at some of the sites and getting in the water can be a bit hard when its super busy because the boats really kick up the waves and there is no designated swimming area, however a bit further away it wasn't to bad. Nighttime, pretty quiet.

TIPS:

  • These sites are not reservable so it is first come first serve. Arrive early during busy times of year to ensure your space.

  • If you have a boat, make sure your registrations are cleared by the State of Oklahoma before entering the water, this site is a very active site for game wardens to inspect so if you are hauling anything which does not fit guidelines to the water, you might want to reconsider doing so here.

Huge Campground With Group Camping

My first impression of this campground was a little fear…. but let me explain….

When I pulled into this campground it looked like a festival had set up shop right inside the gate with dozens of tents in a clearing. It was a little overwhelming and I was afraid that with the closure of one of the local camps, I felt the overflow had come mostly to this camp and that it was not going to have an ounce of privacy.

But… turns out that it was just a Boy Scout group in the group camp which is positioned right inside the gate. So my fear of overcrowding subsided and as I traveled a bit deeper into camp I noticed it wasn't to bad, in fact there were tons of places because this campground has over 100 sites, spread over several loops. This gave me not only a great confidence that I could find something perfect, but also something removed from the sounds of the populated group camp and enjoy a little time away from it all.

Sites at this camp vary, there are both pull through and back in sites. The strange however, was that online on Receation.gov (where you typically book any sites located on government lands) this campground is known only to be a "group camp". However clearly there are individual sites, and you can access these through the kiosk just inside camp.

The site I selected had a strange configuration for parking, you park beside the spot, but in a large truck it seemed to be a bit in the way of the road, in my car it would have by far been a bit better fit. I was positioned on a corner which meant I had a lot of space and my campsite had both a picnic table and fire ring with attached grill in addition to the lantern post. Overall minus the parking the site was pretty ideal with big shade trees and a pretty even place to set up a tent.

I did notice around camp not all sites are created equally, while my site had a nice even space not he table top some of the sites still were utilizing the older tables which were warped from weather.

TIPS:

  • If you aren't a group wait til you get here to select a site because online there doesn't seem to be a good reservation system for regular campers.

  • If you are a rig which uses solar, the sites on the furthest loops might be a better fit, the first loop of camp is pretty tree covered.

Loop C & D Large & Spacious

When I went to check out this area it was mid-October and the campground was limited to only the loops C & D while the A & B, the first you see when you arrive were barricaded for the season. While I did see a few rogue campers who had parked at the entrance and hiked into these spaces, I chose to go ahead and explore the actual open spaces.

Pulling into the second loop of camping, you first arrive at Loop C, just before the pay station this area has a clearly posted sign that you need a reservation to stay here when you enter. I could see why when traveling through the loop, it was a pretty day and the spaces all seemed full with the exception of one. Toward the end of the loop, the road narrowed and made any passing impossible. Some of the spaces were pretty close to the water line toward the end and one even seemed to be a floating island all its own.

Spaces were open for both tents and RVs in this area for between $16 and $24 a night depending on the amenities you are looking for. All of the spots I looked at on loop C were $24 and had full electric and water in addition to their nice even pads, large paved drives, lantern hooks an both picnic tables and grills. I did notice on the map however there were a few scattered smaller sites without electricity.

The nice thing about the sites on Loop C were that they seemed large, especially toward the beginning and end of the loop, while these were not waterfront they were within yards of the water front and backed up to the wooded areas which made for a quieter evening and also for more space in the sites themselves.

TIPS:

  • Book in advance if you are wanting to stay at this campground, you will have a full listing of all sites and be able to chose from your amenities you are looking for. In addition, you will be able to assure you will have a space at the campground. For those not able to do so, try Loop D during fall and winter.

  • Beware of snakes in brush near shoreline and raccoons which often can be spotted trying to pillage through camp. Make sure you take precautions to keep animals from your camp by storing food inside vehicles when not in use and utilize dumpsters near camp instead of leaving trash near camp.

  • Cell phone coverage might be spotty in this area. Though with AT&T I had good coverage reports from other providers have netted a less desirable signal.

Cramped Quarters

This place is to close for comfort. When we visited and drive through it was a busy weekend to say the least.

Checking out the three campgrounds on this turn off this one was the least appealing. Why? It looked like every spot was occupied by RVs that were large and accommodating large families. Ok so that in itself isn’t bad, but what was bad is each of those families seemed to have multiple vehicles cramming into camp, parking on the narrow roadway and littering the space.

I would compare the cramped feeling of this campground to being in an apartment where your neighbors are right on top of you versus a subdivision like Elephant Rock (neighboring camp) which has spacing between sites which do not feel cram-packed.

The camp ground itself had decent restrooms and paths to them which cut through the camp, but I would not imagine this to be a comfortable camp ground if you wanted something a bit more removed or secluded. This would never be a recommendation for someone who enjoys camping in a more removed setting or in a tent, simply to much in and out traffic.

I felt like also, this camp had to many loose children running through campsites, while I do enjoy a good family campground, there simply wasn't enough space for them to do so without being in someone else camp space, taking even further away from the seclusion feeling I enjoy when camping.

There was a playground before you enter camp and there were several people there, this would be ideal for families camping, however many did not seem to be taking advantage of the large spacious area.

TIPS:

  • Even if you reserve a space arrive early. With this camp filling up the way it tends to navigating can be difficult and would become more and more so the more filled it becomes. If you are attempting to drive through with an RV later in the evening you could easily become frustrated trying to get around those parked on the road.
  • This area has some amazing trees for hammocks so if you enjoy spending time kicking back you will enjoy stringing up your hammock and taking in some of the views of the waterline.
Large Open Tent Camping

On this turn out of the Lake there are three campgrounds, this being the most Tent friendly of the three. There are spaces equipped with electrical connections or primitive sites in an open area which are comparable for tents. Both of these sites allow a wide open feel close to the shore line with plenty of room to move around comfortably.

After entering Tipp’s point you first find the day use pavilion and vault toilets. Just beyond that on the left is parking for the open tent area which has scattered grills and a couple of community picnic tables set in the open area. This is ideal for groups that are larger or just the person who wants to dry camp.

to the right are a group of non-primitive sites for RVs and tents. While these are closer together they are not as cluttered feeling as the sites at both the cover or elephant rock. Beyond this point are more RV sites, a shower house and playground.

This campground when I visited was the least used of the three on this turn out. While there were probably a dozen or so campers in the firSt part of the section if was very wide open feeling. The water levels were pretty high and had encroached upon some of the sites near the shower house while higher level sites remained safe.

TIPS:

  • If staying in this section in the open camping tent area you might want to bring a fold out table. There are only a couple in this area for group use and to eliminate having to share better safe than sorry.
  • Bring shower shoes. this should be a given but the showers here aren’t terrible but aren’t something you would want to be barefoot in
Great site. Great park. We will be back

We found a nice secluded tent site, despite it being fall break weekend. There are many campgrounds at Lake Murray to choose from. We chose this site which was conveniently located near a nature trail with a beautiful lookout point, as well as a hiking trail. Did not use the restroom facilities, but judging from the nature center, lodge and other park facilities I am sure they were nice. The recently built lodge is beautiful. The staff we met were friendly and helpful. Seems like a very nice and well rounded park even if you aren’t planning any lake or water activities. dog friendly. We will be back!

great hiking park

in the summer it gets very hot, nice hiking

Cool, clear creek was perfect for a cooling soak. Camped next to the falls

The waterfall added the perfect background. Clean restrooms and large shady sites. Convenient water spigots for filling tank. Very relaxing.

Nice place

great place awesome water

Secluded Camping At Lake Murray

If you are looking for special place at the lake that is a bit more secluded feeling this is the campsite for you at Lake Murray.  There is no swimming here so that is a big detour for a lot of those visiting with larger families looking to enjoy that aspect.  While there is boat access, it is not the most popular launch area so again, you will find it to be more wooded and peaceful than other areas.  

This campground is one of those you have to walk up and grab your spot first come first serve style.  With great sites for tents or RVs you would think that would mean it fills up rapidly, but I have seen this campground during various times of year and it always seems to be very relaxed and not over run, with the exception of course of the big lake holidays where every campsite is a little nuts at Lake Murray.

The restroom facilities here are nice but the improvements at this facility do not stop there with large concrete style picnic tables, an improved playground and nice pavement around camp for driving or bike riding.

Something that makes this place even more attractive to me is that they also allow primitive tent camping!!  I love not having to pay for amenities I am not typically using.  I can take advantage of nice facilities without having to pay for large amp hook ups which is a huge bonus for someone who does a travel blog about budget travel and cutting corners and being resourceful.   

After having been to this location several times previously I have noticed that following a holiday it can take a bit longer to get it all clean because people do not seem to understand honoring the trash in trash out policy of general respect, but in recent years I have notice a vast overall improvement of maintenance of all the facilities in this area.  They have made effort to continually improve and I look forward to seeing how far they come in the future!

Best site this close to Dallas

The premium sites at the Elm Point area of the state park campsites is by far the best for views and quiet. Especially in the winter. They do get a lot more wind though, being right at the edge of the lake. But all campsite areas at this park are lovely. I always meet friendly people, and have had great luck with weather conditions. I've camped there in Feburary 2015, March 2017, and January 2018. What can I say, I love the cold. The lowest temp i've camped here was in January 2018, it got down to 14 degrees with the wind chill. I ended up sleeping in my car that night haha! This park has a lovely swimming area and some huge rocks to play on. Just be careful, they are pretty chossy.

Scenic hikes & kayaking

Very pretty state park with fairly private sites and standard facilities. Nice swimming area and cool little fishing areas. Large lake good for boating with a busy boat ramp; there is a marina within park boundaries that has a store & rents boats. Nice for kayaking and medium length hiking. Stayed at a shelter surrounded by anthills all around perimeter and have several bites to show for it. Owls and coyotes sounding off at night. Overall good experience and would return (with ant killer).

Quiet and Clean

I just spent two days at this campground and really enjoyed it. Clean bathrooms and campsites, nice neighbors and plenty to do. Swimming is plentiful and the campground host was present and friendly. Can’t wait to go again!

Nice place! Close to casino!

This is s great campground. Lots of well manicured spaces. Mainly pull though but some back in spots, primitive and tent camping spaces. It has. Great pool, great covered picnic area, horseshoe pit, basketball court and play area. WiFi is better in certain streams. Just ask during registration. There is a seated area at the casino shuttle bus stop. All and all, a nice safe campground.

Great getaway close to Dallas

We loved the proximity to north Dallas. It makes for a nice getaway weekend. We enjoyed exploring the different areas of the park. We noticed most of the trailer/tent sites are almost in pairs. So two sites, have a common grassy area. Makes this park great for camping with friends or for making new friends, as we did! The store are the marina was a great break for ice cream on a hot day. Our friends have a boat on Lake Texoma and their home was only a 15 minute drive from the park.

Only 2 stars

We had a nice time there and weather helped out, not 110F, though there is a big BUT.

Portapotties were in great shape. They were cleaned every day and mostly restocked with toilet paper. Blue Moose did a great job

The on-site built restroom/shower house were terrible.

Every trail we hiked was struned with trash.

9am Saturday they closed the park to new arrivals. 5000 person capacity.

The overnight camping fees are a little ridiculous. We stayed Friday, Saturday, and left on Sunday 10am (must leave RV spot by noon). We arrived after 4pm to avoid the day fees on Friday. We had to pay for the Sunday day fees whether we stayed all-day or not.

Two adults, one 30amp RV spot for two days and two nights = $150!!

Dispersed Camping

This place can be a bit hit or miss depending on the season because of the water levels. If you catch it during the right time of year though it can not only be a great place to do a little dispersed camping but also to enjoy some fishing. We used to go here to do some bank fishing and pulled some nice sized catfish.

There are no improvements because it is dispersed and your campsite will be based on where you elect to stay. We chose to set up for night fishing along the banks and set up just a bit back from that not to far from the bridge. There was a small pull in area and from there you would have to hike in a short distance.

There is plenty of space to spread out and material for a campfire but you will need to create your own fire pit or ring to safely burn in this area. The night skies here are vast on a clear night and you will hear a lot of animals moving around this area as there are large populations of deer and other smaller animals. You will want to watch out for wild hogs which migrate through the area at times. Do not go here without some kind of protection against those if staying overnight.

TIPS:

  • Do not leave food out at your camp because of the amount of wild animals in the area or you will be overrun by morning.

  • Bring a headlamp or lantern because there is no outdoor lighting whatsoever.

  • Consider an ATV, this area can get very muddy and an ATV can be very helpful if you are trying to explore very deep into the area.

The Crowd Favorite Of Lake Murray

Going out to the Lake you will find several sites and during the busy season this one is always the one that is booked solid! This site is where it all happens from big barbecues to family reunions.

Sites here are large and able to facilitate a lot of people. They include a picnic table and fire ring and often find themselves being the heart of the lake action. During the 4th of July these are some of the most coveted spaces due to the large fireworks display over the lake.

This campground is close to all the amenities the lake has to offer including the Lake Murray lodge area with mini golf, swimming pool, marina and restaurant.

There is a beach here that people drive to the lake just to enjoy so parking can get a little crazy along this area. I noticed mostly RVs here but there were a few tent campers as well staggered. For me to get a regular site at Lake Murray without any hook ups it was $15 while RVs or tents with hook ups are closer to $25.

This campground is close to a couple of hiking trails as well so I was able to check those out briefly, however the main focus of this place is the beach!!

* UPDATE** I revisited this campground on 10/20/18 after the recent rains and the beaches are completely submerged. The head of the elephant rock is almost entirely underwater as well and the overall level of the lake has closed some of the lower laying sites right on the shore. Because of this the already busy camp was filled with boaters camping on the shores and simply backing in straight from their campsites for fishing which is going crazy right now on the lake.

TIPS:

  • Bring your own firewood, there are not a lot of resources to pick up out here because they do keep the grounds up so you will not find a lot of fallen branches to burn.
  • Arrive early if you are wanting to stay on a weekend, it gets packed!!
  • Check out the Lake Murray Lodge area for other activities if you have your family with you, you will not regret it!
Try A Weekday

If you have the luxury of checking this place out on a weekday as opposed to weekend you will be a lot more pleased with your stay during late Spring or Summer. The campground is very popular because it has a lot of room to spread out and with campsites only $12.50 per night for primitive camping the price is right for most.

Turner Falls is a popular swimming spot so naturally the campground instantly has a built in following of people who come out. A lot of families but also a lot of younger thrill seekers just wanting to get their feet wet. By coming during the week you avoid a bit more of the party type crowd and get more of the fun.

They do also have spaces for RVs however that wasn't ever where I personally was staying so my knowledge of that area is a bit more limited. It always seemed a bit more claustrophobic than the primitive tent area.

When I was there last I noticed an influx of security from previous visits, I am sure it is because the busy campground tends to entice those summer style parties and they want to keep the incidents down to a minimum.

The area I stayed in was well shaded and had no real amenities. It is the furthest from the falls itself but has creek swimming and more hiking. I enjoyed it because being a bit away from the falls it was a bit more quiet than the closer sites. It was still accessible to the action without having to be in the middle of it all. This was considered to be the "Green" area according to the maps at the park.

A short walk into the "Blue" area and you could find restrooms and showers. I was just off Butterly Road which is literally right up from this zone. I will say however, this section of road is more heavily trafficked than others because it is the main road into the primitive camp area. I noticed that a lot of people were coming and going in the attempt to turn around because they had passed the Blue section somehow so it made for a little more noise than I had anticipated even on a regular day, I can only imagine what it would be like on a weekend.

TIPS:

  • Arrive early on weekends for any type of site.
  • Check park maps for the best route to your destination, they are placed throughout the park and clearly marked.
  • Drink Responsibly! There are plenty of patrols out for safety but also to make sure you aren't getting unruly so if you are bringing the party to Turner Falls don't get out of line.

UPDATE (10/2/18)*

This park and its flow of water along the river which is sits experienced abnormal flooding which closed the park as swells of water engulfed much of the lower pool area including roads and some buildings. At the time I visited again to witness the powerful waters of the flood I took the attached videos and photos. Signs were posted that the park would remain closed until further notice, so if attempting to camp here in late 2018 make sure you check the website or call. (Photos taken from upper vantage point where zip line is located just past camping area)

Not designed for tents

Facility is nice however is not equipped for tent campers. I called in advance to see if I could camp here and was told at this time it was not offered. They were polite and said it is being considered.

nice place close to Dallas

Some of the camp sites are close together. The trails are good but there are some steep spots and it is rocky too. They do have a cool Beach area but you cant bring your dogs to it. Which I understand but still sucks. Overall a nice place. The park rangers are frequently out to ensure everything is in order. There is a grill on the fireplace but not a stand alone one.

Busy, but Quiet

The camp grounds were packed, but the staff was helpful and everything was very organized. The campgrounds were extremely clean.

Excellent hiking trails, though no opportunity to explore off the trails. The star of the campgrounds is the spring fed water. Cold and refeshing after hiking in the heat.

My favorite campground on Texoma

If you want a good spot, reserve early.

Lovely Campsites/ Abused Park

Turner falls is gorgeous park with plenty of room for everyone to swim and lots to explore. There is also a castle you can explore but the park has gone a little downhill. People have spray painted all over the place and there is trash everywhere.

The campsites are awesome for someone who enjoys spread out and more secluded sites away from others. You can find some that are fairly spread out and hidden if you look hard enough.