I really enjoy this campsite before and decided to return and stay in a different site. I opted for a site right next to the restroom with a pull in for my small van. I arrived later in the evening on a the Thursday before Memorial Day weekend and it was surprisingly not yet packed. It was rather quiet at camp that evening. The next day however people started to arrive early to get their spots.
Check out is not until 2 so you could see a few people trolling for the best sites to reserve and return.
My site was very nicely shaded and had all the typical amenities. The restrooms have flush toilets and running water and the campground has dumpsters near the main entrance.
The pay kiosk has to be one of my favorites at a site as it takes debit cards and is very easy to operate.
Another great stay in the area!!
I stopped here to enjoy the waters which had recently been on the rise. The campsite was very nice, well shaded and with lots of spaces. I opted for a site on the peninsula portion that had water views but still was safe from the rise.
The site had all the standard amenities but also had power and water which is a huge bonus at a campsite! My small van easily fit however larger rigs were pulled into several of the upper sites with no issue. There is a boat ramp nearby so many use this as a hub for their fishing camps.
It was quiet and serene.
Restrooms were near the entrance and included showers.
Driving from Mena to Talihina along this stretch of highway is a treat when it comes to the spectacular views. But stopping at places like this campground even further explain just how much of an amazing place this part of Oklahoma really is! This area was once logged to the point that it was basically worthless before the Forest Service took it over and started to replenish the land and create public spaces like this campground. It now is a thriving place for recreation and viewing.
The campground is a series of pull ins and thru sites which vary in size allowing for tent camping with single cars or even some larger rigs. There are vault toilets centrally located at the entrance in addition to extra picnic tables for those wanting a little extra space to enjoy.
A few spigots are around camp that are not in the best of shape, but they do still work, so don't be fooled.
The roadways through camp and the sites themselves are very well taken care of, however because of recent rains the grass was a bit more wooly than it typically would have been. Despite this the sites were still clear of grass for the most part.
Each site was equipped with picnic tables, fire rings, lantern hooks, grills and prep stations and large spaces for tents, should you have one. Additionally you can find trash cans around camp in a few places.
From the campground you can easily access the scenic point which additionally has more picnic tables with a view, definitely suggest checking it out!!
Campground is first come first serve and does have a senior discount with the park pass. Envelopes are provided at the main kiosk.
When I visited this campsite, it was a pretty decent drive down a small gravel road, nothing crazy. I noticed a couple of tents set up at the entrance area but no cars, figuring that people were out exploring I went into the site and quickly noticed the water level was very high.
Signs were posted that this is currently a day use area, however you could also see on these signs that some of the things mentioned campground, a bit confusing, and obviously why the people were likely set up in tents.
The area was well shaded and very nicely maintained. Picnic tables, fire rings, lantern hooks and even pull ins. However flood warning signs were posted throughout the "camp" and with recent rains, the water level was very near to the top of the bank with visibly covered trees several feet out on the what I assume to be embankment. This area looked very questionable for camping, so I am not sure if that is why the signs were indicating only day use at this time.
I looked on the NPS site and this is listed as a campground, so perhaps this is a seasonal campground? Not sure. There are vault toilets, kiosks with information and additional things to lead you to believe that people do in fact camp here still.
I might have taken a chance had it not have been for the rising waters, but better safe than sorry. Cell service is pretty limited here so I did not feel comfortable staying.
Check the weather ahead of time, check the NPS site and upon visit look at the kiosk to see what it says at the time of your visit.
I have seen a lot of properties through my travels which are available to all those who choose to explore. While many sites have a pro and a con, I couldn't find a single con with this site from the size of the campsites to the popular cool off destination for summer in the swimming hole, this campsite was a perfect COE site.
Price point was reasonable for day use or for overnight with day use coming in at only $5 and overnight under $20. (I did notice that the sign had been changed a few times from what looked like $11 to $16, not sure what this was about) The section for day use and nightly stay was slightly separated to avoid overflowing traffic in campsites and also to limit some of the noise made by those coming to swim for the day at the main pool. This created a almost retreat like setting for escaping the heat into the tree covered canopy above but also provided some great views of the waters below.
Running water and flush toilets were available and something which distinguished this site from others was that it actually had services available at some campsites. This is a HUGE change from other similar sites in the area which have nothing and only vault toilets. And perhaps one of the biggest surprises when arriving here was that they have showers!! They are push button to conserve water but the pressure is good and the water felt nice.
Camping area as well as recreation day use area is well designed with picnic tables, fire rings and paved parking and roadways and the little bridge between each side is clearly marked to allow you to cross when waters are not to high to do so.
All in all this site is a new personal favorite and I will return!
Driving through this part of Arkansas you can quickly get taken aback by the winding roads the ample beauty, but until you visit the campground and park you will only have a portion of the beauty of the region. High atop the mountain, with a near perfect view, you can see for miles and miles.
I visited this park arriving late in the evening, in perfect timing for a sunset which painted the sky with colors that filtered down onto the mountainside below. A dense fog began to roll in and it seemed magical.
Typically I am not as taken aback as I was by this park but its views and shaded campsites complimented each other so well it made for the perfect evening.
Not needing for electricity I opted for one of the tent sites, which includes a large tent pad, large parking space and standard amenities such as picnic table, lantern hook, fire ring and grill. However unlike many primitive sites, this site did also include water. Site pricing was about $20.
Bear warnings abound, but there are no bear boxes, and upon checking in the desk attendant mentioned that they don’t often see them but to proceed with caution in regards to food. She also noted that in her lifetime she had never encountered a bear on the trails and would instead be aware of snakes.
The campground is only one of the many features with others including a lodge with a restaurant open each evening until 9 p.m. A narrow gauge train, large enough for the entire family to ride on the 2 mile track and mini golf are available seasonally. Plenty of hiking is available both in park, where there are 3 trails, and just outside where you can find the much larger trail system which runs for some 200 miles through Oklahoma and Arkansas.
Cell Signal With AT&T- 1 Bar at campsites but 2 bars in lobby area if you are in need of making a call in case of an emergency.
All in all I would put this campground on the top of my Arkansas list for the beauty of drive and sunset location, however the sites themselves despite being very nice were average for a state park in the region.
When I visited let me start out by saying there were a lot of signs saying day use only. However when I looked more closely I realized that the areas by the dam are day use only and this small camping area is available seasonally. All reservations are done through the state's pay line and can be easily done however if you are struggling I was told you can also stop at the Corp site for some guidance (office just at entrance).
This are is a great and more quiet option for camping as opposed to the much more busy state park just across the dam. Limited sites and no direct water access to the lake, but this side in my option was a bit more chill and if you are interested in fishing would be a much better option.
Sites varied in size with my van easily fitting in a pull in site and I noticed a couple which could accommodate a larger RV. Amenities were pretty basic with tables, lantern hooks, grills and a water spigots located at each site. Restrooms were no frills and shared with the parking area which was filled with those fishing from the bank. I also noticed there were a few hook ups, although when I visited they did not appear to be functioning.
I really enjoyed the overlook just as you turn into the park, a nice view of the dam site and lake as a whole, though the services are no longer remaining, they do have a picnic structure.
All in all, I would stay here again!
I had always wanted to stay at this park after passing it a million times on the highway. I was very excited only to arrive and the office had closed early. Cell signal was sparse so I could not book online where I was so I opted to drive the campsites and find a spot in hopes of improved service or finding a campground host or park ranger.
I quickly noticed that the upper loop for camping was not very improved and sites seemed a bit close together. The restroom was not terrible it had both a shower which I find to be extremely helpful since it is a lake property. The grass was a bit overgrown, in large part likely to the recent rains.
I drove on to the next loop and found that the Circle loop had a few more improved sites near the water but the ones further inward lacked proper parking and were again overgrown. By the time I made it to the RV loop, I noticed this is where there had been massive improvements. Slabs were poured for each site to keep sites level, grass had been maintained providing a nice lawn area for recreation. Much like the other loops each site came standard with picnic tables, lantern hooks and fire rings, but these were by far much more desirable when it comes to a paid site.
I do hope that in the future they continue to make improvements to this campsite because it was in need of a little TLC in the first loops and also some of the picnic shelters and restrooms.
I would like to give this one another shot in the future.
When I visited the park I was very excited having seen some of the trails and also the lodge area. Unfortunately much of that was closed as a result of improvement projects, sadly limiting some of the things which were accessible to me upon my visit. I instead settled into a campsite and checked out the beach area.
The campsites were pretty close together in most loops and because it is a very popular lake, it was a bit loud for my liking still I had shade a picnic table, fire ring and some basic amenities. The restrooms were in decent shape but a bit outdated, a part of the improvement project is to create better facilities throughout the many loops also.
I enjoyed the sites which were a bit further from the waterfront itself because they seem to have less noise from trucks with loud pipes.
The beachfront was vast and amazing I could easily say this was what made it worth the trip. You could walk the beach, get in the water or enjoy a picnic through one of the shaded areas. A couple of small trails were accessible however because many were not these were very crowded also. In addition the nature center was currently closed.
I would like to return to this site after renovations are complete and give it another shot. It had all the makings of being able to be a really nice place to stay and enjoy lake activities.
When driving through this section of Oklahoma I was pleasantly surprised to have found this FREE campsite. The area looks pretty flat with only rolling hills then you take a turn and the land really opens up here with the lake and the views are quite impressive for this region.
I stopped in on a very windy day and the water was to choppy to have been any good for recreation despite having a fishing pier and boat ramp. It was even a bit strong to enjoy exploring the trail that was on the far side of camp. I checked out the upper area of the grounds near the day use area and tent camping area then made my way to the pull in sites located a bit before the main lake area, these were much more sheltered from the winds and pleasant.
Each site had access to picnic tables, fire rings and lantern hooks in this area although the layout itself was still very reminiscent of a tent site with parking then open spaces for placement. You couldn't pull in next to the tables. Parking varied with some places appearing much more level than others.
The red dirt of Oklahoma transfers everywhere I will say that, so if you are visiting when it is muddy, be prepared to be tracking it inside your rig or your tent. It does stain so keep that in mind!
For me this ended up being a great place to enjoy a night in the quiet, no noise and very few people in the day use or camp area. It was well maintained, the restrooms were clean vault toilets and I noticed that there were a few centrally located trash cans available.
I pulled into the location provided and there is a housing development here with mobile homes and rvs that looks as though they have been here a while. This is no longer a campground at the gps provided.
Blanchard Springs is one of those campground that you visit and have plenty of things to explore around camp. From hiking trails of several different difficulties and distances to fishing, water wading and cave exploration this site is one which offers many opportunities.
When I visited the main camp was not open, only the group camp by reservation. They were currently underway with working on some improvements in the main loop. I opted to check out the group camp which is a larger reflection of the smaller sites. I could see the regular sites from atop the hill and they looked very similar.
Campsites all come standard with fire rings, lantern hooks, picnic tables and camping pads. They additionally have common spigots within a short distance of each site. Parking for the sites is well placed and freshly resurfaced with medium size gravel which is easy to drive over.
Campsites are all within walking distance of flush toilets and have access to the flowing waters nearby which are both beautiful and peaceful to visit.
Just up the way from the campsites is one of my personal favorites, the Blanchard Springs itself, a thundering water fall which emerges it seems from the mountain. During rainy season especially this is quite the amazing place to visit. Down a boardwalk you will hike to the spring and once there it is amazing to see and explore.
When visiting Arkansas you quickly can get a sense of just what makes the Natural State so spectacular. But with over 50 state parks each one is very distinct. Daisy State Park is one which has a large focus on the lake activities.
But while the lake might be a large part the camping offered here in the wooded forest areas along with the hiking and biking trails can really set it apart from other camping areas nearby.
I opted to check out the various camping looking and noticed a few common occrances. Each is equipped with a picnic table, lantern hook, grill and fire ring. However there is a vast difference for those who choose to stay in the improved camping loops and the primitive loops. Improved camping is elevated and includes both electricity and water at the site.
Many of these sites still have water access although some of them are a bit more steep. The primitive sites all are equipped with tent pads which are very large 12x12 elevated gravel pads but they share water spigots with other sites. These sites are all walk-in and have nice parking only a short distance from the sites. IN addition they do have Yurts available in one camping area. These were available for 2 day rentals only at the time of my visit.
The restrooms at camp are in very good shape and include flush toilets, a full sink and vanity area and well taken care of showers. Additionally there are water stations at the restrooms which have drinking fountains and bottle fill areas.
The campground has rental equipment for those looking to enjoy the lake ranging in price from a single hour to a full day of usage, but they also have boat ramps near the campsites with some trailer parking, this could get a bit crowded during summer however.
For Full Video Review. CLICK HERE
While traveling through this portion of Arkansas I stumbled upon a small roadside for Gunner Pool Recreation Area just a short distance past Blanchard Springs. 3 miles down a gravel, but well maintained roadway, the campground sat nestled between to sections of the water way. On one side, slow moving water is met by the dam forming the blue toned pool and on the other a gentle flowing stream flanks the massive mountain side.
Along the camping loop, spaces are well separated and have plenty of room to spread out. Each site is equipped with standard camping amenities such as picnic tables, lantern hooks and fire rings. Vault toilets are centrally located in several areas of camp both on the upper and lower loops. In addition locking style garbage cans are placed near restrooms.
When I visited the Forest Service was on property trimming trees and clearing debris from recent rain. Their office is located just a short distance from the entry of the roadway, so they are often here to work on the property.
A little gem in the midst of the campground is located just across from the pay kiosk, the story of the property and the CCC camp which actually created not only this property but also worked on neighboring sites at Blanchard. Definitely check out the story!!
- Bring your own envelop for the pay kiosk, when I visited the paper envelops were soggy and unable to be used. You can easily pull one but putting money in them they simply fell apart.
- Bring everything. There are no stores in the camp in addition to no fire wood available at the campsite so make sure you come prepared. The closest store for major things is located over 15 miles away.
For FULL VIDEO Review CLICK HERE
Great campground just a short distance into Arkansas from Oklahoma. This campground offers more quiet sites in the larger numbered loops and closer proximity sites with additional amenities.
The water here is perfect for fishing or kayaking but can rise quickly with rainy season(warnings are posted throughout different areas of camp indicating this). Near the waters edge you will find grouping of cypress tress which are interesting to explore when the water is down a bit like it was on my visit.
Each site is equipped with a concrete picnic table, lantern hook and fire ring, however in the main loop sites you also have a prep station and and grill at each site. Water spigots are available at the main loop sites only in addition to a restroom which is near the front entrance. Trash cans are available throughout camp and are picked up regularly.
Sites are perfect for camping in smaller units with a few that would accommodate larger RVs.
On my visit the water was a bit lower and it was not crowded at all. I noticed there had been improvements since my last stay here a couple of years ago. It is a very quiet campground overall and nice to enjoy a bit of nature without being directly beside a community with lots of amenities.
Really enjoyed this site and will be back yet again!!
- Bring everything you need so you do not have to leave camp. There is no firewood available on site.
- If you have an America The Beautiful Pass this campground is half off making it only$4 per night to stay.
Rhea Springs is a wonderful free campsite in central Tennessee which permits stay up to 14 days. As a part of the TVA the property as a whole is well maintained despite some obvious wear and tear on the restroom facilities.
I pulled into Rhea Springs later in the afternoon on a Wednesday and found a waterside site with ease. Though there were several other campers there it did not seem crowded at all as spacing of sites is well thought. I camped in my van near the waters edge in a semi flat area, though I will say some sites are much more uneven than others. I was on the main entry area as opposed to the peninsula are for camping as that seemed to be attracting more group camps and louder crowd at the time of my visit.
All sites are equipped with a fire ring and picnic table, but additionally they have a trash can which is picked up every few days by the TVA maintenance. Additionally you can find trash and recycling near the restrooms.
The restrooms were large enough for a couple of stalls and a very large kind of dingy looking shower. The shower had no curtain so a bathing suit or a buddy would be needed to use this and have privacy. The water in the showers does get very warm, so that is a bonus. There are also no mirrors in the restroom so if you are counting on one to get ready for the day pack one in with you.
When I visited my initial goal was to stay a single night but I really enjoyed the waterfront positioning of my campsite during the rains, it was very peaceful and coaxed me into a second night’s stay. I would definitely return to this campsite again in the future!
Full Video With Drive Through Of The Campground CLICK HERE
When visiting the smoky mountains you might be tempted to try something a little bit more off the beaten path. Sometimes the path being rocky and windy makes the campsite all the more worth it. As is the case with the Cataloochee campground.
I took a trip to this campground in hopes of finding something spectacular I had heard that the elk in this area around freely and that on a crisp day you could hear the water which runs along side the camp even at the furthest campsite. As I drove down the winding road I noticed that the twist interns grew narrow the bumps grew frequent and then encountering a motorist was a hairy experience. I had been told that large RVs we're not permitted however I saw one precariously going down the mountain side.
The roads suddenly turned from dirt and gravel to a paved section of highway and I was slightly confused.
Just a short distance after this occurred I found the Cataloochee campground jetting off to the left-hand side of the road. It welcomed me with open arms and tall trees casting gorgeous shade that seem to be dancing in the sunlight. I pulled in to speak to the Ranger on duty and then quickly found my campsite. It was something unlike any other campground I had found in the area completely removed from the comforts of community and distanced intentionally from the creature comforts.
This campground is one for making memories and enjoying truly the outdoors. Hiking trails depart from this campground and lead to some of the most historic areas of the great Smoky Mountain National Park including several structures which ones were the homes of some of the first residents of the Smoky Mountains.
Each site was large enough to spread out in with a small camper or a tent. Tent pads are large and size allowing for even the largest of tents. Each pull in was large enough for a large vehicle, though I could see an RV being an issue. Campsites came standard with lantern hooks and picnic tables in addition to a fire ring.
Centralized restrooms and trash receptacles were available in addition to a spigot. These restrooms are very basic however do have a wash sink area in a common area as well to avoid restroom clean up for dishes. There are no showers at this facility.
Since this area is widely regarded for bear sightings in addition to other wild animals, you can find bear safety at the kiosk and locking trash bins. I would advise brushing up on your bear safety before a trip to the Smoky Mountains for a camping trip in general.
Sure enough after settling in this campground was a peaceful and idyllic setting. At$25 per night the waterfront sites more than justify the price point. However, I will say reservations are required for this campground as it is more remote and also more limited on availability.
This campground is frequently effected by weather so planning in advance is a must!!
After staying at Wilson Lake numerous times passing through, I opted to check out the Coneflower loop on this trip. It was a nice change from other sites as it offered a few different views of the park while remaining relatively close to the main amenities.
Amenities of this site included a nice bathhouse within just a short walk, lake access and large shade trees. In addition all sites had their own fire rings and also picnic tables, all of which are very standard to the state park itself.
Something that sets this site apart from others on the various loops is that the parking area is a bit more expansive and allows for larger units to easily park or for those who have a vehicle to have a bit more space potentially for a second smaller one to accompany them. I could see this easily being beneficial to those enjoying the lake for recreation with friends or family.
On this loop you can find sites with both primitive and non primitive access. Cost of camping in the Coneflower loop is only$13 and I do encourage you to book online as currently they are using this system as the recommended source of booking. In person booking is much more limited right now as of(July 2020). There is a kiosk at the entrance point however with envelops and additional information, however this is very limited.
When I visited I opted to check out a weekday and it was much less busy. The larger loops were much more populated as were the sites with higher amp connections for larger rigs. I suggest visiting during the week when possible as this really does make a HUGE difference in the crowds of people you will encounter.
Also when visiting there are several shops which you can rent kayaks, paddle boards, boats and other fun things to do on the lake itself. The lake offers several trails including one which is well trafficked by those interested in biking.
- Make sure to check out the neighboring community of Lucas, known for its unique art and attractions including the World’s Largest Toilet Bowl(strange but actually really cool) and the Garden of Eden(another strange place that will fascinate you)
- When visiting during rainy season, check lake levels before booking sites. Some of the sites on this loop and others are very close to the waters edge and can be subject to flooding.
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Nestled in the foothills of the Ozarks, Natural Falls State Park boasts a unique beauty which is unmatched through other state parks within Oklahoma. Perhaps best known for its beautiful waterfall, there are many other things to do here that make this a great place to visit during camping season.
I visited during the summer months, it was hot and sticky outside, but slightly overcast making it a perfect day to visit and enjoy the park itself as well as some of the camping options.
Exploring this park is fun as trails wind around and meander through some of the most beautiful areas of Oklahoma. If you are a person who likes mountains more than plains, this area of Oklahoma is one for you as lush tree coverage and rocky crags abound.
The campsites themselves are pretty typical of an Oklahoma campground. 44 RV sites, also which can accommodate tent campers who are in need of power and 17 tent sites are available in addition to yurts they have on property. Yurts are pretty common in many Oklahoma State Parks in this region I have found. The sites are pretty standard with fire rings, picnic tables and some lantern hooks, just the basic ground work laid for you to set up your own unique adventures.
When visiting I noticed that the Yurt section had no visitors during the week day and the campground itself was sparse as well. During the weekends I can imagine this fills up much more as it is a great place to visit.
Visiting is fun with lots to do including the hiking trails however they also have playgrounds, volleyball and disc golf. The one downside for those visiting during the heat of summer however is, unlike many parks in Oklahoma which offer swimming beaches or pools, this park does not have any swimming resources. This was not a deal breaker for me personally but I would think for many it could be.
A few things I noted that apply at the park that could be negatives to visitors passing through. They do currently have a reservation system, this can have both pros and cons. The reservation system is pretty easy to navigate but does state that on weekends you must book for the 2 days of the weekend no exceptions. When visiting the park in person I was told you can also get a site on the day of, however there is no guarantee of sites being available. Unlike many parks which hold a certain number for arrivals they are moving toward a fully online booking system like many other states.
Camping at Robber’s Cave State Park you will quickly discover that no matter what your overall preference for camping style, they pretty much have you covered. On a recent trip I visited the park and discovered that from primitive to improved sites, equestrian areas, atv areas they have a bit of everything. The camp even has options for those who aren’t feeling quite as adventurous and want to live in a bit more of the creature comforts we all have at home with cabins, a lodge and yurts.
The area itself is filled with historic mystery as it was formerly known to be the hide out of some of the West’s most infamous and notorious bank robbers. From Jesse James and the Younger Gang to Belle Starr the area once served as an excellent place to hide their treasures and watch out to make sure no one was coming.
The mountains around this area are beautiful and have towering trees and rolling waterways. You will find 3 lakes here that can keep you occupied wether you like to fish, boat, kayak, peddle or swim. Additionally amenities such a nature center, swimming pool, grocery store and mini golf make this site perfect for families who are wanting to find a little fun and adventure without having to go very far.
Hiking around this park is abundant and there are miles upon miles of trails to explore with some being very easy and user friendly and others posing a bit more of a challenge.
The campgrounds themselves are pretty standard throughout with picnic tables, lantern hooks, grills and fire rings. Many also have prep tables located just beside the grill making dinner very easy.
I found that not all campsites were created equally however in way of restrooms. The primitive sites on loops were not evenly placed near restrooms, and a restroom could be a bit of a tall order if you are camping on some of the loops. You would expect that from the hike in campsites, but might want to plan carefully for a stay at the primitive sites based on your need for these facilities.
Not all facilities offer showers either. Showers are located centrally for all to use and you can easily walk to these or park beside if you are staying a bit further away.
I did notice that there is camping on both sides of the highway with each having its unique advantages and disadvantages. The primitive sites mostly are located on the side with more recreation, while the more improved sites, cabins and lodge are located on the opposite side. This side also offers hiking and has some improved spaces of interest but the vast majority of the popular spaces you will want to check out will be located just across the small highway.
On the improved camping loops you will find most of the RV campers. These sites are placed closer together and have improved pull ins as well, unlike the hard pack of the primitive camping/semi improved camping areas. Additionally, these areas have both water and electrical connections and can really squeeze a lot of size into each spot.
On this side of the park, a grocery store is within walking distance of the improved camping area and easy to access for park information as well as supplies you might need.
Unlike many parks which are a considerable distance from town, the community of Wilburton is only a short drive from this location and has several restaurants, stores and fuel stops. This makes it very convenient if you are spending more than a couple of days out at the park and want to venture out for anything you might need.
- Research your site before selecting one online through the booking system or in person. This will save you a lot of headache if you are needing a restroom that is closer.
- Bring sunscreen!! Despite having wonderful shaded areas, the water is a HUGE draw here and you will want to be able to have fun in it without issues. Don’t forget waterproof sunscreen. Try the trails or rent a boat. The Robber’s Cave trail is the most exciting hike in the park in way of history and challenge, you will enjoy finding the cave that once housed some of the most notorious in the West through a series of inclines and scrambles. Through this is not for everyone, it is able to be navigated by most.