My Favorite State Park
  • Great rock climbing
  • Awesome hiking trails and nature…love the quiet solitude
  • Watching the sunsets from the viewing blinds
  • Lots of wildlife..Deer, Robin's
  • Multiple fishing piers and one of lit fishing pier
  • Park store that sells bait and rents kayaks & canoes

This is my favorite State Park. As you drive over the dam to get to the camp site, there is usually a big sigh and you can feel your body relax. The hiking trails are awesome, wooded and peaceful. Usually as the dad, I am the one pushing the kids to go on a hike, but at this park it is the other way round. My eight and six year old's, wake me up wanting to go hiking and rock climbing. One weekend we counted that we had seen at least twenty-four deer.

Watching the sunset from the viewing blind is mesmerizing. We love the lit fishing piers, after the kids are in bed, can indulge in some "me" time with a nice cigar and a couple of beers in a folding chair.

And stop by Outlaw BBQ in Weatherford while you are there. They have some of the best breakfast burritos.

A Campground for full time RV..ers
  • Sites are first come first serve - there is no holding sites especially if you are going as a group
  • No open fires - only propane or charcoal
  • Bathrooms were nice, clean and air conditioned…definitely a couple of notches above the Texas State Parks   
  • No wildlife here…just the human kind
  • Nice shady sites but not a lot of elbow room (pretty cramped)
  • Take lots of allergy medicine if you are allergic to Red Cedar
  • 30 AMP sites with full hook ups
  • A lot of kids activities - water melon eating contest, face painting, etc.
  • Could see a lot of stars in the night sky
  • Don't hang anything from the trees..will get in trouble
  • No place to hang a garbage bag outside
  • Overflowing trash dumpsters
  • Propane filling station on the campground property
  • Cell service with T-Mobile was sparse. Verizon seemed to work fine.

We got a free Thousand Trails membership from the dealership when we purchased our new camper so we decided to use it for Labor Day at Lake Whitney RV Campgrounds. We went with our camping buddies (theDyrt Ranger Jenny S and family) who also pulled their camper. The sites are first come first serve and there is no holding sites, so if you go as a group finding sites that are together is tough (several sites were bagged and not usable).  We picked Sites #6 and #83 on Loop B. Luckily these sites back up to each other and the kids could roam between the two sites. The sites were 30 AMPs with full hooks up and that part was nice. Didn't have to watch tank levels every time someone (kids) flushed. 

The campsites were pretty shady with red cedar trees which created havoc with my son's allergies. Poor kid was stuffed up the entire time we were there. The sites were pretty cramped, we were not able to extend our awning without hitting the tree branches. The road inside the campground is pretty beat up with lot of bumps. The amenities were nice - a family swimming pool, shuffleboard, washers, putt-putt golf. The campgrounds had several activities for Labor Day such as a water melon eating contest, frozen T-shirt contest which kept the kids entertained.

Don't hang anything on the trees. We had some LED light up and the park ranger had us take it down.  Was actually a little harsh about it. Following that encounter we took down the clothesline that we strung up to dry our swimming suits and wet towels. No place to hang a garbage bag either.

Politeness in customer service was hit or miss.

Our stay was free because of the Thousand Trails membership but otherwise each site goes for about $45/night. I'll do it again for free, if I have to pay…I will go down the street at Lake Whitney State Park for $25 with full hookups.

Piney Forest
  • Hills in Texas …Nawh
  • Some good can work up a sweat, loop D is the most challenging
  • Dense shady forest
  • Fire wood can be purchased at the park or at the gas station right outside the park
  • Small lake with a couple of lit fishing piers
  • Awesome park store that rents paddle boats and canoes

Ever have the feeling you are being watched especially at night. At Tyler State Park you may well be. Take a walk at night on the park road and shine your flashlight into the trees. A glowing pairs of eyes will be staring back at you. It is the Raccoons living in the trees. There are smart and persistent, so don't leave any food coolers outside unless it has a lock. They helped themselves to 2 lbs of fajita beef and another 1 lb of chicken. Also be prepared to jump when opening the park trash dumpster.

We went with some friends who also pulled their pop-up camper. We picked Sites #14 and #15 because they were connected and the kids had a lot room between sites to play. We love the lit fishing piers, after the kids are in bed, can indulge in some "me" time with a nice cigar, a couple of beers and a folding chair.

First to Review
Primitive as it Gets

Sycamore bend is on the west side of I-35E at the South end of Sycamore Bend Road. The park has a good pavilion with a basketball hoop and good playground equipment.  The park has a boat launch and a pier to tie off. This park only has primitive camping with several camping sites along the shores of Lake Lewisville.  This park is leased from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and operated by the Town of Hickory Creek. They charge $7 a night (pretty inexpensive) with a maximum 3 days. This camp site is very popular with the boy and cub scout troops in the North Dallas Metroplex area. So if you looking for a nice quite place to commune with nature this may not be your cup of tea.  There are some good hiking trails and a lot of wildlife from water fowl, deer and woodpeckers. There are no water or electricity connections. Hold your breadth while using the toilet or the closest Walmart is 2 miles away at the intersection of I-35E and Teasley Dr.

A Piece of Texas Heaven
  • Burn Ban in Effect - No firewood or charcoal - Only Propane
  • Night sky is awesome
  • If you are expecting shade…forget it
  • Bison roam free and they are bigger than you
  • Horse flies are everywhere and according to my wife they do like gray leggings
  • Watch out for critters, large and small
  • Watch where you mines (Bison poop is everywhere)
  • Fishing at Lake Theo - No license needed
  • Really nice park store
  • Ranger led Bat Tours in the summer

We went with some friends who also pulled their camper. We picked Sites #22 and #24 because they were connected and the kids could roam between the two sites. The park has a lot of wildlife…in addition to the Bison and the Prairie Dogs we saw Road Runners, Jack Rabbits, Horned Lizards. If you are a first time visitor going hiking in the summer, plan and heed the warnings of the park rangers. The park has very limited cell service (AT&T works better than Verizon) and canyon floor is much warmer than up top. We hiked early in the mornings and the kids were awed by the red rock and the quartz. After sunset it is very comfortable outside and the night sky will leave you breathless. Quitaque is the closest town 3 miles away and has a gas station. Amarillo is a hour away and we went for a day trip taking TX 207 N through Mackenzie Lake. It is a scenic drive. We stopped at the Cadillac Ranch, had lunch at Tyler's BBQ and made a trip to Palo Duro Canyon State Park to watch "TEXAS". Next time we pull a camper, I will definitely carry a tent and go primitive for a couple of nights. Also, take a telescope if you own one. You won't regret it.

A Quick Weekend Getaway
  • Several sites have covered picnic tables
  • Really nice beach area but water shoes are recommended because of Zebra Mussles
  • Bank Fishing - No license needed
  • Kite Boarding
  • Paved hiking/biking trail
  • Clean bathrooms and showers

Juniper Cove sites with good shade 18, 19, 20, 21, 23, 24,

Juniper Cove sites with very little shade 1, 2, 3, 4, 38

If you want a quick weekend from the busyness of the Dallas Metroplex, Ray Roberts State Park is about an hour north from downtown. Ray Roberts consists of two state parks on opposite sides of lake, Ray Roberts - Isle Du Bois Unit and Johnson Branch Unit. Johnson Branch is on the west side of the lake closer to I-35E. Johnson Branch (Juniper Cove) does not feel as claustrophobic and congested as Isle Du Bois as the various campsites are a little more spread out and offset.