Deborah C.
Dallas, TX
Joined September 2018
My husband and I are tent campers and love to hike. We love being out in nature enjoying Gods glorious creation.
Gilbert Ray Campground , May, 2019

May, 2019 we visited Saguaro National Park near Tucson AZ. We had planned to hike into the park at one of their few campgrounds but the office informed us that there was a controlled burn and recommended we not stay in the park and suggested Gilbert Ray as a good option. Gilbert Ray Campground is a great location for visiting the National Park. We arrived to find the office closed for the summer, so self serve option was available, at 10.00 per night for tent camping you can’t beat the price. The bathrooms were clean and as an added plus they have a dishwashing station. We stayed in the A loop. There are no showers and the campsite it all gravel making it next to impossible to put a tent stake in. The sites are fairly close together, for example, I could hear our neighbor unzip his tent. All sites have picnic tables. Cell service is good.

Ranger Review Wenzel/Double Never Flat Fabric Air Pad at Paradise on Lake T

Campground review

Paradise on Lake Texoma is on the Big Mineral Arm of the lake, on the Texas side and only a short 90 minute drive from Dallas. This proximity makes it a great spot for a quick weekend getaway. Texas and Oklahoma’s border share the 89,000 surface area of Lake Texoma which just happens to be the 12th largest Corps of Engineers lake in the U.S. Lake Texoma is home to great fishing for Striper, Catfish, Black Bass and Crappie. Because of heavy rains in the Dallas area the boat ramp was closed. The area has cruise activities if you don’t have your own boat, and for those who prefer, kayaking is also available, or simply swimming. Believe it or not, Lake Texoma has sandy beaches!

The people at Paradise campground were amazing. We got a call the afternoon of our reservation to confirm that we would arrive before closing time and if not, they would give us after hours information. We did arrive in time and our hostess was pleasant and provided us with all the information we needed. We reserved a primitive campsite and were the only tent campers in the campground (it was a Monday night though). The primitive campsite is just a vacant lot on the waterfront across from a bathroom/shower area. Parking in the bathroom lot, you take a very short walk to the primitive site and pitch your tent in any spot you choose. The lot had been mowed and our only issue was mounds of fire ants which are rampant everywhere in Texas.

The bathrooms had not been cleaned and the recent users had left a bit of a mess. The bathrooms did have all the supplies we needed and we always welcome flush toilets and hot and cold running water. 

Being a primitive site, there was no picnic table so we drove over to an empty spot to prepare and eat our dinner. A staff member came by to check our credentials and while we weren’t really supposed to be using that area/spot, he let us since the campground had plenty of room/spots. He was so friendly, he gave us lots of information about the lake and the campground. The RV sites and also lakefront and very roomy. The campground also has the cutest glamping tiny cabins and other regular size cabins to rent. There is a nice hammock garden which we took advantage of. Cell service was strong, no issues and the only noise we dealt with was the sound of the lake and the birds and critters.

We want to encourage our family to come to Paradise on Lake Texoma for a fun family weekend, we will definitely return.

Product Review

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time, today I am testing Wenzel’s Double Never Flat Fabric Air Pad. My husband and I had individual sleeping air pads, but were looking for something that wasn’t so slippery and would allow us to cuddle, this Air pad fit the bill, it was exactly what we wanted. It was very comfortable and roomy. We were able to use an existing pump for inflation which was great as I wasn’t sure about the specs for the pump. Deflating the air pad was easy and great news it fit back in the carry bag easily!  

Www.wenzelco.com

Beautiful beaches

My husband and I tent camped at fort Pickens campground in February, 2019. We were able to use our senior national park pass to get in for free and a discount on our site. This is a busy park due to beaches and the actual old fort Pickens buildings, but the campsites were fairly peaceful. We were less than a 10 minute walk from the beach and walked about 30 minutes to the old fort. The showers were separate from the bathrooms and what you might expect for a beach, the water was nice and hot. There is supposed to be a store, but it was closed when we were there. There is a book store in the old fort. The beach and water were just beautiful.

Beautiful views/highest point in Alabama

My husband and I tent camped at Cheaha State Park in February,2019 as part of our quest to hike the highest point in every state. This park is probably much better for those not tent camping. First the store and staff are AWESOME! We had to change our stay to one night vs two due to the upcoming storm, no, problem. The hiking trails are great and the views are awesome. I think we were the only tent campers in the park. The actual site had no level ground to pitch our tent, we even tried a separate site since we were the only ones there, but no luck. The bathrooms had no shower, otherwise nice. The highest point is actually in the park, so it wasn’t much of a hike, but there is a nice tower and a museum that has much of the history of CCC. There are Pavillions and a restaurant on site. We couldn’t decide between 3 and 4 stars, but for tent campers we chose 3 due to reasons stated.

Like a small city

This park is like a small city, there are over 500 sites, only 11 tent sites. My husband and I tent camped at gulf state park in February, 2019 and it was very nice, they have so many amenities here you don’t ever have to leave. If you were looking for solitude time, this is not the site for you. The bathrooms were nicer than some hotels I have stayed in. There is a store on site, tennis/pickle ball courts, swimming pool, activities center, horseshoe pit, nature center and over 25 miles of very nice hiking trails, oh yea, and less than a 20 minute walk to one of the best white sand beaches in the USA. Also playgrounds for kids. There is a laundromat and they have a church service and other scheduled activities.

Good location

This was a great location if wanting to camp near the Vicksburg National military park. We walked to the park. Very few tent spots and most were in disrepair. The bathrooms were ok, they tried to keep them clean. The staff was friendly. Lots of highway noise, lots of noise from the permanent residents and their dogs. No wifi, no water.

Solid park

My husband and I tent camped in Natchez state park February 2019. We were the only people in the park best we could tell. The bathrooms were great (always important to me),very clean, hot running water, all the essentials. The campsite was nice, no firepit, but we were able to make a fire. It was rainy when we were there, so we spent time outside the park. There are almost no hiking trails in the park, there is a nice lake, but no rental ability that we could find. They do allow hunting in the park, so you must be careful.

Garner State Park , November 2018

This park is great for families, so much to do here. We tent camped two nights here in November 2018 and loved it. The Frio river can be heard from most campsites providing a nice relaxing experience. There are many bathrooms with showers, all very clean. There are plenty of stores, a food truck, kayak and paddleboat rentals, mini golf, a laundromat, and great challenging hiking trails. We hiked to old baldy and to both caves, all trails were marked well.

Seminole Canyon State Park November 2018

We tent camped two nights here in November, 2018 and were very pleased. The campsites were great, close proximity to bathrooms with showers, very clean. We did the 8 mile hike around the park and it was easy, beautiful views of the Rio Grande river looking into Mexico. We also took the rock art/painting guided tour (8.00 per person for adults). Sunsets were beautiful.

Be prepared at devils river, but it’s worth it

First, this park is normally only open weekends and is closed some months so check before going. You must book and pay in advance on line as they take no money at this park, there is no store, nothing to buy. This park is VERY remote, a 22 mile dirt road is required to get to the park and it takes about 90 minutes to traverse that road. There are about 7 campsites for tents only, no water, no electricity, no hookups, and the only bathroom is maybe 5 miles away. There is no service is most of the park ( WiFi at park ranger office and service on top on the peak). To get to the river you must cross 3 streams, some 11 inches deep or so, very rocky, many cars cannot make this crossing, but you can cross it on foot. We have a 4 wheel drive truck and had no problem. If you are still interested, the park is amazing, the river is so serene, several waterfalls, beautiful trees, wildlife and some trails. We went in November, 2018 and the weather was perfect. We hiked all the trails, including the 12 mile loop which was challenging including crossing the water. We had a great opportunity to take a tour of the rock art and were so glad we did, Nora was a great tour guide, plus this was free!

Inks Lake State Park November 2018

The facilities at this park have recently been upgraded and they are very nice. A hot shower in cooler temperature was most welcome. We hiked around 4.5 miles, nothing too challenging but very Nice views of the lake. This was our third trip to this park, we love it.

Colorado Bend State Park November 2018

The hiking in this park is awesome. We hiked to the falls which is challenging but worth it. The campsites are nice, many were closed when we were there due to flooding. The facilities are very basic, no running water and a small walk from the campsites. It was super cold when we were there, our tent had ice on it! Ps there is no service in most areas of the park.

Mather Grand Canyon sept 2018

Grand Canyon is a professional setup. They know how to do things, while this is the most popular park in the US, they are very organized. Yes, we had to make reservations and we were camping in a tent 3 nights and had to change campsites each night. Plenty of bathrooms with running water/flush toilets, showers are in a central location close to the check in site, and showers were $2.00 for 8 minutes. Shuttles arrive frequently to take you where you need to go, or the marketplace is a short walk. We got our water refilled at the marketplace for free. Mather is a tent campground, RVs are at a separate site.

Huntsville Texas tent camping March, 2018

We took our family here on a Texas state park camping trip. The park rangers explain basics of camping. It was a great experience for our family. The park is very family friendly and tent friendly. It is on a lake that has fishing, kayaking and paddle boats. The facilities were nice and clean.

Campground at devils tower, August 2018

We were surprised to find we could camp at devils tower. We snagged one of the last sites and got our senior discount to boot! The facilities were good, no showers but clean. Stores outside the park have supplies. It was chilly the morning we woke up. This is a nice stop if visiting devils tower.

Juniper campground at Theodore Roosevelt National Park August 2018

This is a good solid campground that was almost full when we arrived, but we were able to choose a nice spot. There was water available but it had a funny taste, they had recently had some problems and were treating the water. The park rangers here were awesome and so helpful. No shower facilities, but flushing toilets with running water was fine. Lots of great trails and. Is on roam freely. Funny tidbit, the campground is on the border of the time zone border, so my devices would change times and I thought there was a problem, took me a while to figure it out.

Good park on lake sakakawea

We were lucky as we camped here in late August 2018, the week prior they had record highs of 109! We had our choice of tent sites, and were right on lake front. Facilities were acceptable. Lots of bugs and flies, but we managed!

Great park on Lake Sakakawea

While there were very few tent sites available, we had our choice of sites as we were the only tent campers. Bathrooms were great, the trails around the lake were great and the food at the marina was OK. This park is surrounded by beautiful lakes and fields of wheat. Shower was great.

Not very tent friendly

This state park camp site close to Carroll, Iowa was nice, but we were the only tent campers there, it seemed more like a permanent RV home site. The bathrooms while nice had no working showers, they had showers but no way to turn on the water. There was a cute frisbee golf on property, a beautiful lake, and a nice paved walking path.

Bison are plenty, no showersor flush toilets

If you are interested in bison sightings, this is the park for you. If you need water, supplies, shower or a flush toilet, skip this one. The tent sites are VERY primitive, but you drive up to your camp. You really have to go out of the way to get to this camp, but we were rewarded with a scary but fun close encounter with a lone bull bison. We also got some ticks, so be careful!