My wife planned a trip to Nacogdoches more than a month ago for our kids and ourselves. We purchased tickets to the local Zip-Nac zip-line place and planned a tour of a few sites in town as well as visiting the cold spring at Camp Tonkawa and a wonderful meal at Auntie Pasta’s.
She called Camp Tonkawa park and spoke to a woman named Francis whom my wife believed seemed to be being fed the responses she was giving her because she could hear someone else talking and what she could make out from the other person was then repeated over the phone by Francis. Francis took our name, wrote it down for the dates in question and that was that.
When my wife and I discussed the call, I told her I wasn't very comfortable with the idea that someone who may have been getting trained or new or didn't seem to know that much given she was being told what to say actually had set a solid reservation for us. I asked if she paid and my wife said she had not so she called back a day or two later to try to pay and firm up our reservation.
Francis answered again and when my wife offered to pay Francis told her that she did not know how to charge her(perhaps because it was over the phone?). She offered to write down the card number and have someone else do it later. My wife was not comfortable with that what with credit card fraud being so rampant and already going through cancelling a card once this year. Francis said we could pay when we came. My wife decided to follow up on our details again. This time they discussed our arrival time as being around 8pm. Francis said that we could not come in after 7pm. My wife indicated that there was no way we could get there by as we are nearly 3 hours away with no stops. She informed Francis that she would talk it over with me and see if we could perhaps get the kids out of school and leave a little earlier.
After we spoke about it, I suggested making alternate plans; however, my wife had already sold the kids on the place and was genuinely interested in seeing the springs. She decided to call back a 3rd time and offer to pay(using a one use card number from our credit card company this time) and see if we could come just a little late.
When she called again, Francis was in her car this time and said she definitely could not handle the payment right then. Francis again talked about closing time at 7 and my wife told her that we could not make it. Possibly the best we could do was 7:30 but that was a stretch. Francis talked about how hard it was to get someone to stay even until 7 so she didn't see how it would work out. She further explained that when people come late they often set up outside and wait until morning to come in however when she realized we were coming with a pop-up camper she concluded that we probably couldn't do that. My wife agreed indicating that this probably was not going to work out. Francis then said ok well look, I’m going to let you do this one time but don't tell anyone I let you do this(Sorry Francis). She told us to just come in because they do not lock the gate, take one of the first two spots A2 or A3, and come and check in the next morning. In fact, my wife could again hear someone in the background in the car giving Francis those site numbers that she repeated to us. My wife was thrilled and thought we were good to go. She thanked Francis and hung up. She told me the news but I was still not convinced this was going to work out.
Fast forward a few weeks and days before we are set to go our kids ask if we will be able to have a fire. I don't see info on fire rings etc.. on their website so I call the day before we are leaving and get their"assistant" as she was described to us later. I tell her our name, and the sites we were told to pick from. The assistant tells me she sees our name on the calendar but not on the sites. She says some sites have fire rings but not all but from where she is in the office she cannot see if either of those two have a fire ring because there is a big camper in the way right now. For some reason I bring up our arrival time and she immediately informs me that after 7 isn't allowed. I tell her that we were given permission to come in and pay in the morning. She tells me that was what they"used to allow" but no longer as they were under new management and continues to explain that they have"sugar sand"?!? on some sites and they prefer to guide people in to the spots. She further tells me that she is not a decision maker and that I should call back at 4:30 pm to talk to Francis.(at that time I did not know the name of the person my wife had been talking to)
I get off the phone and tell my wife what was said via text and she replies,"Oh, Francis is who I have been talking to and she is who said we could come in". She doesn't feel the need to call back and talk to someone that has already told us what to do but I still really don't have a great feeling this is going to end well:/ I ask her to look and see if there are any state parks nearby we could use which she does but they are all full for the weekend.
I have given you all this detail so far to put you in our shoes so you know how thorough we tried to be making these arrangements and understand our shock at what follows……
Now it is arrival day. I take the day off work to prepare so we can leave as quickly as possible after the kids get home from school. I even dropped my wife off at work and picked her up since she is a high school teacher and often has a hard time getting out quickly due to traffic from students. We did everything we could to try to arrive as early possible. We had a 15-minute delay because we had a last minute power problem with the trailer. We stopped once for a restroom break and arrived at the campground just after 8pm. We drove in and I walked up to the office because the sign said"Open" but it was indeed locked. We drove up to the first sites~60 yards from the office and looked for A2 or A3. We did not realize we had already passed it so we kept going all the way around the loop and came back to the front and I saw"A2" on a pole/box. We stopped and my wife and I got out with flashlights to inspect the site before pulling in so we could be sure we would not hit anything of have a problem. While looking we hear a golf cart with lights on the front start moving our way from about 20 to 30 yards away. My wife has a headlamp on and looks in the direction of the golf cart and I hear this surly voice yell"Get that light outa my eyes" as he rolls up. Perhaps that set the tone for our encounter with Francis's husband but what follows is truly unpleasant and uncomfortable. He starts in with"Now listen…" and proceeds to man-splain to my wife and I that we can't just come in here and pick any site we like and just set up. He said he believes we were the people who talked with his wife, Francis, on the phone because we have a popup so it must be us and we said we told them we would be there by 7pm. I reply,"No sir, every time we spoke with someone on the phone about arrival times we made it clear 7pm was not really possible". My wife tries to explain that we were told we could use A2 or A3, register, and pay in the morning. His response"No one told you that…"(That is 1). She tries to explain again but he again cuts her off and says you said you would get here by 7, its dark now. You see, he says, people come in here after dark and run over these power boxes or the water and break them and then I have to get out here at night and fix them!(To which I wanted to reply that we were trying to be careful and inspect the site when he rolled up rather than just carelessly pull in but I let my wife handle it as she was talking). She apologized and said we thought we were OK and that we were just doing what we were told to do to which he replied again that we weren't told we could just come in after 7.(that is 2) He further informs us we can go find another place to stay and continues to speak and say we would never have given us A2 as a site because we were in a popup and he would have put us closer to the restroom.
I watched as he continued to tell us what was what and saw my wife's face as she, for the sake of our children, bit her lip and let this man unload on us about our egregious act of daring to enter the campground after 7 pm. He further says in his gruff, terse, unpleasant way“Tell me if you have heard this before, you we close at 7 and you can’t come in after 7.” He explains we would have only spoken to him, his wife or their assistant and no one told us that we could come in after 7”(that is 3). Looking at the frustration on my wife’s face, I speak up and say that I spoke to their assistant yesterday and she did indeed say we could not come in after 7. I said though that I told her what we were told about coming and paying in the morning and she informed me to call back at 4:30 and talk to( I forgot the name and misspoke at that moment) but it was Francis. I further say that when my wife and I spoke about that call she said Francis was who said to do this so we didn’t think we needed to call back. His response again“no you weren’t told that”(that is 4)
He finally says after another minute of berating,"I'm going to let you stay though but no one told you that you can come in here after 7(that is 5) and don't ever come in here again after 7”. My wife replied that he wouldn't have a problem us again as we wouldn't come back. He said,"I didn't say you can't come back". She stated that because we live too far away we would never get here by 7 so we simply wouldn't be able to come back. He then said to"follow him" to the site he had for us but couldn't just let it alone though and had to have his final say by berating us one last time saying"Now just tell the truth, nobody told you to come in this late" and then again“just tell the truth”.(that is 6).
At this point I had had enough of this surly, unpleasant, unhappy man. Truthfully, I was ready to leave about 20 seconds after he began to speak to us the way he did but like I said I took cues from my wife to try to keep the peace for her and the kids sake. I stopped walking to our van and turned and said in a calm, reasonable manner unlike this jerk had been towards us,“I think that is uncalled for, I don’t really appreciate you repeatedly calling my wife a liar.” Had I been allowed to continue to speak I would have added“at best this was a miscommunication or misunderstanding and that we would have never just come in to a park if we weren’t wanted to/allowed because after all we would have had to face the music eventually and risk being thrown out then so who would do that?!”
Instead we were told to“Get out” and“Leave” followed by“No one called you a liar”. If this super sleuth of the truth ever reads reviews, he will see he did so no less than 6 times but I doubt he cares either way. From my read of other reviews they only want older retired folks there and don’t want/hate kids as they seem to classify kids as unruly and misbehaved. He seems to treat everyone as if they are GOING to be his worst customer destroying the place rather than expect good things and address bad ones If they happen. The worst kind of manager/owner who rules with an iron fist.
I felt the worst though in all this for my youngest daughter who announced on the drive up that“This is going to be the best camping trip ever!” and well… you see how it started out. Fortunately, we did find an RV park closer to town that let us come in after 9 with no issues, complaints or a single unpleasant word. In fact, the gentlemen who helped us stayed until we were nearly completely set up offering assistance so apparently not all campgrounds in the area are run by disagreeable, unpleasant, unhappy people who would rather be left alone than actually have paying customers.
So if you ever want to get thrown out of a campground, book here and show up after 7 or just commit any infraction that offends this“new management” and I’m sure your wish will come true. I believe I counted two other RV’s on premises during our drive through(both times since we left that night) besides theirs and it’s no wonder they were nearly empty with their brand of wonderful customer service and attitude. Perhaps it won’t take long for these folks to run it in the ground and someone else gets put in charge with real customer service skills who doesn’t assume everyone is out to get them/break rules or destroy the place.
This is the same as the “Indian Village Campground” also listed on the map. This is a great place. My family has been camping here in tents, RVs and cabins for more than 15 years. Some fairly recent upgrades to the bathrooms and showers have made it much nicer! We’ve always had a good time here and made lots of happy memories! Staff is very friendly.
Shady and quiet camp ground. Helpful camp overseers. Clean too.
Cold water showers. But very clean restrooms and shower areas. Push button shower that turns off every 30 seconds.
If you want lakefront you better stay under the 90s. In camp number. Lots of grassy Lake front not a whole lot of beach area they do have a public beach.very low cell service. Which I loved but don't expect to do any business
Love the covered picnic tables. Tiny crazy ants everywhere so bring some spray to keep your area free of them.
We came in late and left early, but it seems that there is quite a bit to do at the park. The lake is pretty and the tent spots are grassy and large. Clean bath house and nice showers. Mosquitos were out, but that's to be expected.
This was our first visit to Hank's Creek and it won't be our last. First of all, the camp hostess (?) was the best - friendly, helpful, just charming as can be. The camp ground itself is beautiful, even after the recent heavy rains with the water way up into the camp. The facilities were spotless and everything worked well. We had arranged for full hookup with a shelter and the area was spotless. Quiet, even on Memorial Day weekend, with a visible drive through by the Angelina Sheriff's Office on a regular basis. Highly recommended.
Also, the area offers a good variety of restaurants and shopping if you venture away from the lake area. If you're a geocacher, there are lots of interesting caches not too far a drive away. There is one practically onsite but due to the aforementioned rains was in a closed off area this visit.
We tented here on a rainy weekend unfortunately. It was a nice site right near the water, and we saw a lot of wildlife like an armadillo, raccoon, and deer. We got out for a little bit to go for a walk and went to some of the trails which were scenic but super buggy. Bring spray and citronella candles!
Its a classic east Texas state park. The restrooms arent hotel quality but they are for sure better than a hole in the ground. The park itself is pretty and situated on a lake, providing scenic trails and water craft activities
Beautiful park but so many bugs. Did some canoeing, hiking and bird watching. A good park to get away from the city. The landscape is swampy but it was beautiful in its own way. A very good campground to see stars at night. It gets pitch black. Restrooms are very clean and the rangers are very helpful and nice.
Great area. More wooded and peaceful. Fewer views of the lake than Cypress Bend. Huge pool is a plus. Staff are always courteous. Clean bathhouse. Water and electricity only. Dump station is provided. Two lane boat ramp. Fish cleaning station. Playground. Pavilion.
Great place love it Only thing is they rarely have caretakers there and people that camp usually muck the place up either with loud annoying music or kids way past the time everything is suppose to stop for the night
It's a Primitive camping area for Hunters during hunting season. There are no water or electrical hook-ups, but they do have two port-o-potties. It's free for public use, but we like coming to National Forest camp sites so we got a limited use permit to help with maintenance costs. We were here the last day of hunting season and watched a deer being processed. Nice quiet place to overnight.
We always have a good time. We had a shelter site, but also set up a tent. Reservations online were quick and easy, and when we arrived our site was ready for us. The Host soon came around and gave us our passes. It was cool and a little rainy. But we had fun fishing. Thanks for everything.
If you want to escape the hot summer in Texas, I would recommend coming to Brookeland Campground because there is a beautiful lake nearby. My cousins and I took a trip to this campground to enjoy the lake, hiking and of course the outdoors. We brought a 6 person tent, and this fit comfortably in our campsite. There is also a fire ring and table within your site as well. There is only 1 bathroom within the campground, or at least what we could find. It was a porta-potty style, and smelt so bad. Not sure how often they clean it, but it was pretty bad (especially with the heat….made it worse!). Thankfully we came prepared and brought our own toilet paper, because by the 2nd night we were there, there was no toilet paper in the bathroom. We heard a few people complain about this. Although the bathroom was gross, the rest of the campground was pretty clean. There are dumpsters as you leave, so please make sure to clean up after yourselves. We enjoyed hiking in the morning, and then playing in the lake mid morning-afternoon. There were tons of people swimming, boating, tubing, kayaking and stand up paddle boarding. It was a blast, and perfect for the hot weather. Definitely bring bug spray because there were so many mosquitos near the campground. I left with a few pretty big welts. I would definitely come back to this campground! Recommend.
This was one of my friends and my favorite place to visit in college. We would go camping as much as we could because we wanted to escape school. We loved our stay here. We were able to fit 2 tents in 1 spot. I believe it was $12 a night to stay here, so it was super cheap for my friends and I for s fun weekend. We got up early and went hiking with our dogs and enjoyed the fire in the evening in our campsite making s’mores. I remember when we were here the weather was perfect. Too many bugs, but we made sure to keep our tent closed and bug spray on. We bought our firewood from a store about 20’ miles away from the campground, so definitely bring your own or make sure to buy it at the closest spot you see. Bathroom on site and there is also a playground for kids. Horseshoe was also available to play. The rangers were awesome!!
My wife and I have been park hosts here at Martin Dies jr state park for 3 months now. We have been coming here for years. The park has around 200 rv, tent sites, and cabins ( 3 cabins have a/c ). They have trails and rent kayaks and canoes. Plenty of Wildlife like deer, raccoons, gray foxes, birds and of course gators.
This is my husband and my favorite camp ground. Very quiet. Love that the public swimming hole and boat ramp are not inside the park. 2 Pull throughs right on the water. Lots of different spaces to choose from no matter yer your camping needs. Primitive, screened shelters, shelter with full hook-ups, and full hook-ups. Bathrooms are always clean and showers are private.
This park is a great option for those looking for a spot not too far from Houston, but less busy than other parks such as Huntsville State Park, etc. that are a little closer to Houston. It’s also a nice option for those wanting to visit Big Thicket, but seeking a less primative camping experience (the Big Thicket National Preserve has primitive camping only).
Most of the campsites have enough trees to set up a hammock. If you get there while the office is open, they will give you the choice of picking your own campsite (of those still available).
Canoe and kayak rentals are dirt cheap. You might see an alligator while canoeing, but per the park workers they don’t bother people.
Bring bug spray! Especially in the hotter months.
Came here with a big group of family. They were in an RV, I stayed in a tent. Roads are paved, kids can roam, lots of trails and some playgrounds. The showers arent bad either. The lake was fun to kayak on. It was raining so not many people were there. Spiders galore here, fair warning.
Tere is a natural fed spring that is clear and beautiful. There's BBQ pit area and picnic tables. Cell Signal is almost non-existent. Sandy but still a lot of fun for the family.
There's RV camping and I believe tent camping also. We normally make a day trip as Its only a couple hours from home
My family and I stayed here a few summers back and had a great time. The location was great, right off the road and easy to find. You do have to do down a gravel dirt road, and when we went on it it must have rained the day before because the road was pretty muddy but doable. The campground is great, and next to a lake. You are surrounded by the lake and beautiful trees. It is a great place to stay if you love the water, hiking, and fishing. We also saw quite a few people bird watching, so if that is something you enjoy then I would recommend this place. I don't bird watch, but we asked a couple who were bird watching if it was worth it and they said absolutely! There are quite a few campsites, over 100 I would say. They are great size, and come with a picnic table and fire ring. There is also water and electrical hook ups. There also are some great activities on site- like a volleyball court, swimming area, playground, and an area to picnic. Can't say enough great things about this place. Go visit!