the dyrt
Meandering Life
Crestview, FL
Joined September 2018
Dispersed or Campground Camping

This is a county park in Travis County, Texas. We stayed one week in the middle of March 2019. We decided to stay outside the campground in the dispersed area. Technically, you can camp anywhere in the park; however, we believe there are only a few decent spots for RVs. Camping is limited to 7 days in a 30-day period. We stayed at Mudd Cove Mesquite Point and found a great spot right by the lake. We were able to get level without leveling blocks after some trial and error. There were several spots in that area that would be great for a RV of any size. As of April 1, 2019, they are closing the Tournament Point area to camping, so Mudd Cove Mesquite Point will have some of the only RV spots (IMO). Those spots are off Grisham Trail. The areas down Pace Bend Road were not RV friendly. Most were a tight squeeze, and many did not have turnaround spots. Great areas in there for tent camping, but not RVs. On Grisham Trail, you will find potable water. It is easy to miss and in a horrible spot on a curve and hill. It will be on left if you are coming from the park entrance. The dump station is outside of the park, right before the entrance on the right.  Easy in and out when leaving. Since we were in the dispersed area, we relied on our solar for electricity. The area we found was perfect for that. We were able to find a nice open spot with no trees and the weather cooperated, so we had no trouble with electricity. The park was quiet and empty for most of the week. Things did pick up Thursday and over the weekend, but most people were respectful and quieted down after 11pm. We walked the trails a few times, but overall there is not a ton to do here unless you are swimming. The cost for us was $20/night. $15 for the truck and $5 for the travel trailer. Day use fees are $7 a person which is included in the camping costs. The employee working when we arrived was not friendly or helpful at all, but the other employees we encountered were very helpful and nice. Overall, we will likely not be back. The price seemed steep for no hookups and the park just didn’t offer enough for us to want to stay again.

No frills, cheap campground near Houston

We stayed here for a week in early March 2019. The park is a bit on the dumpy side. They have some full-time residents with a few questionable practices. To each their own, but it makes the campground look trashy in spots. However, the campground was very quiet and very cheap. Full-hookup with free 3 mbps Wifi (faster speeds are paid) and cable. It was $154 for the week. We didn’t try the cable since we were only there a week. We did not use the Wifi either as our internet hotpot connection with AT&T and Verizon was excellent. They also have a laundry room with machines that accept credit card. The manager, Donna, was very nice. She made sure we had what we needed and that we understood the rules of the park. It was around 40 minutes or so to the things we wanted to do in downtown Houston which was great. It met our expectations as a non-frill RV park. Overall, we would stay here again due to the cost and the easy access to downtown Houston.

Stay for the camp hosts

After a failed attempt to stay on the beach for free (search Bolivar Flats for more details), we ended up at this RV park for a week in late February 2019. The camp hosts Brenda and Ben are awesome! We loved them! They made the experience enjoyable despite the horrible weather we experienced while there. The park is right off the main highway, so there is a bit of road noise, but nothing too bad. A short walk behind the RV park and you are on the ocean. Sites seemed a bit close together, but when we were there, we had no neighbors on either side and it seemed spacious to us. Did not have any trouble leveling and internet access for AT&T and Verizon was solid. We were there for their Mardi Gras parade and that was fun. Did have some issues with the electric, but they helped us out and they were getting an electrician out once the rain let up. They were also putting in a new laundry facility, but we never checked it out. Spots are $40/night or $200/week. Keep in mind, they only consider 6 nights a week. First time I have ever seen that in an RV park. Like I said, the camp hosts were wonderful, and we will go back just because of them.

Free Florida camping

Stayed here two nights in the middle of January 2019. Free campsite maintained by the Southwest Florida Water Management District. To camp, you need to obtain a permit ahead of time on the website. https://www.swfwmd.state.fl.us/recreation/hampton-tract . You get your approval almost immediately. You need that because it will have your gate code. Without the code, you cannot get back to the campground. The road leading in is gravel, sand and dirt, but we have no trouble at all. The gate is locked with several combination padlocks. The permit will tell you which lock to use and give you the combination to open it. The campground is about a mile from the gate on the left. 

We were the only campers there both nights we stayed. A few hunters/walkers were there in the morning of our second day, but they didn’t bother us. It was incredibly quiet and there are no lights in the campground, so it was nice and dark too. We had 2-3 bars of AT&T and Verizon, but the internet was almost unusable most of time we were there. There would be small pieces of time that it could be used, then other times it was horribly slow or non-existent. We had to cut our stay short because of that since I work from the road. The downside to this campground is there is no hookups, no potable water on-site, no dump on-site and no dumpsters. The campground is very wooded which is normally great, but we have solar for our electricity and there were probably only 1-2 areas we could get any use out of it. One was right by the pit toilet which is where we setup. There are not really designated spots, but some areas have outdoor grills. We had no trouble leveling and the entire campground seemed level. There were several spigots, but all were non-potable water and there was a trough for water for horses. 

There are lots of walking, biking, equestrian trails in the area. There are maps at the entrance. We road our bikes down to the lakes and that was about a 3-mile bike ride from the campground. There was also a nice trail we walked right by the campground. We saw beautiful trees, a gator, lots of birds and a deer while walking one early evening.

We didn’t need to go into town at all, but Lakeland was not too far, and I assume you could get whatever you need there. Overall, we would not stay here again due to the internet issues. If you don’t need to worry about connectivity, this is a great free spot.

State park that needs a bit of work

This park is old and needs some work, but we enjoyed the stay. We were there mid-February 2019 and stayed for a week. It rained almost the entire time we were there so didn’t get to explore as much as we would have liked. However, one day we were able to walk the trail beside the river which was very nice and well-maintained. The campground is small and for the weekend it was full. During the week there were very few campers. We were in spot #53 and I would highly recommend that spot. We only had one neighbor to one side, and it felt a bit more isolated than the others. When things are full on the weekends, it can seem a bit crowded with spots being close together. It never felt like to cramped for us because we had (IMO) one of the best spots in the campground. Some spots have full hook-up, while others are electricity and water only. Ours was electricity and water only. The dump station is nearby and if you need to dump with a tote you could easily do so. Most of the campground is not level, but nothing bad enough that you can’t get level with blocks. There is a very nice laundry room that is free. That was a great perk. There are 3 washers and 3 dryers. Several of the units seemed brand new. We took advantage of that and did some laundry during our stay. Like I said, it rained the entire time, so the site was muddy, but not as bad as we thought it would get. Internet access was good. We had 3-4 bars of AT&T and Verizon. Lake Charles and Sulphur are not far away and have anything you need while visiting. The park has some nice scenery and the trail provided some good wildlife. The main things they need to do to improve it would be fix some of the roads/camping spots that have significant potholes. Also, the camping spots could benefit from some grading to make them a bit more level. It is my understanding that the park has made vast improvements recently and it shows. Give it a bit more time and it will be a great place to stay. Overall, we would probably camp there again.  Cost is $20/night during the week and $28/night on the weekend. These price are for off-peak season.

Lovely state park

We stayed here a little over two weeks in mid-February 2019. We really enjoyed this park. It does get very busy on the weekend, but the area we were in was still quiet and peaceful. We were in an area that is deemed long-term and some people around us were staying several months. There is only water and electricity hookups, but there are two dump stations throughout the park. We used our tote to dump grey water while there. We were on spot #138 and were close to the dump and the camp host. Very convenient for using the tote.  This is a bit older park, but we liked it. There are a few walking trails and you can walk along the road as well. There is a long bike trail that takes you into town, but we didn’t do that. There is a cute little beach and pier at Lake Pontchartrain. Would have loved to have a beach day, but the weather did not cooperate. We walked around the park most days and enjoyed the birds and the wonderful trees with Spanish moss. As with most things in Louisiana, the park is low-lying so with rain there are puddles and mud. The campground did not get bad even though it rained several times while we were there. Internet access was good. Strong signal with AT&T and Verizon. The park is close to Mandeville and Covington if you need any essentials. Access to New Orleans is about an hour. We went twice while there. This was our second time staying here and we enjoyed it more this time because we had extra time to explore the park. We saw numerous deer and several wild boars which was fun. We were there during the off-season, so rates were $20/night on the weeknights and $28/night on weekends. We will definitely be back when in the area again.

Lovely, older state park

The roads and campsites are a bit narrow since this was built long ago before big rigs, but we didn’t have any trouble navigating with our 30’ travel trailer. The campsites are relatively level and have beautiful trees and scenery. There’s a good bit of distance between you and your neighbor which is always nice. The campsites have electricity and water and there is a dump station on-site. We only stayed a few days in January 2019 to visit some friends in the Gainesville area, but would love to come back to explore the area more. Easy access to the park and to Gainesville. We had good internet service for AT&T and Verizon. From the park, you can see the Santa Fe River flow below the ground to the Santa Fe sink. Overall, it was a very nice state park and we will definitely stay again.

Good, Florida campground

We enjoyed our two-week stay here in late January 2019. Most of the sites are full-hookup, but they were full, so we ended up in the tent sites with no sewer. We still had 30-amp electricity and water and they have a dump station on-site. We liked our spot because it was tucked in the woods and we had no close neighbors. The rest of the campsites were in the open, but the distance between rigs was reasonable. The campground is mostly sand, but that is expected in Florida. Most was compact and there were no concerns of getting stuck. Very easy to get to this campground. It’s about 2 miles from I-10. We had good internet service for both AT&T and Verizon. It’s a small town so we went to Crestview for anything we needed which is about 15 minutes away. We originally booked for one week but stayed one more week to get some brake work done on the rig. The office staff were nice, and we were also able to get a package delivered while we were there. Overall, it was a good stop over to get some errands done. Not a ton to do in the area and the weather was not great when we were there. Had it been better, we would have visited the beach a time or two. We would stay again.

Free Florida Camping

This campground is a large field where you can pick any spot and is managed by the SW Florida Water Mgmt District. We were able to get a nice spot near the camp host that was perfect for solar. This is an equestrian campground, but there is a section for non-equestrian campers. You do have to get a permit (called a Special Use License) ahead of time to stay. It is a very easy process on the website https://www.sfwmd.gov/community-residents/recreation/sul. The approval will come within minutes. You don’t have to have the permit printed, but make sure you have electronic access to it to show it to the camp hosts. I also wrote the pertinent information on a sheet of paper to leave in the truck, but we never had it out and nobody asked about it. I believe the max stay is 8 days. Make sure you check the website for closures due to hunting and other reasons before you book. We stayed 5 nights in early January 2019.

There are no hook-ups at this camping area, but there is a dump station near the entrance and there are potable water spigots placed around the camping area. Upon arrival, the camp host informed us not to drink the water. I found that advice ironic since this is managed by the water district. There was a sign near the front of the campground that said the water was fine to drink and did not need to be boiled, but we heeded his advice and only used the water for showers and used bottled water to drink. It did have a sulfur smell and a tint to it. 

The campground is at Gate 3. There is a gate with a chain at the entrance, but there is no lock. You just move the gate and close it behind you. Most of the area is level and like I said, you can pick anywhere to camp. There are several trees that provide good shade if you want that. We have solar so needed fully sun and were able to find a great spot for that. We didn’t check them out, but they do have restrooms and possible showers. Overall the campground was well maintained and there was no trash. It did get busy for the weekend with locals and got a bit louder, but overall it was nice and quiet. You are close to a highway that large dump trucks drive down so there is some road noise, but nothing too bad. It quiets down at night. There are several walking trails next to the campground and there is a driving nature trail at Gate 1 and more walking trails at Gate 2. The campground is also close to Lake Okeechobee.

We had no trouble with connectivity as we had 3-4 bars on Verizon and AT&T hotspots without booster. The camp host said there was a small town nearby, Indiantown, where you can get a few essentials and bottled water. We ended up going to Walmart because we needed specific items. There are several about 40 minutes away. 

Overall it was a nice place to stay for a few days. Great service that the FL Water Mgmt District provides, and we are thankful for it. If ever in the area, we would stay here again.

Nice, scenic campground

This campground is in the Everglades National Park but is managed by a third-party. That was good for us because we were able to stay here during the government shutdown. We stayed for 8 nights at the beginning of January 2019.

First, the website shows that sites are first-come, first-serve except for a limited number of sites that can be reserved. I called and was told reservations were not accepted so we took our chances on getting a spot. When we arrived, the agent stated that there were only 3 spots available for the 3 nights we were going to originally stay (we weren’t sure about connectivity). Needless to say, that was incorrect, there were tons of spots available for the time frame we were there. Anyway, we also found out that they do take reservations somewhere on-line, but I couldn’t find the website for it. We stayed three nights in spot #5. It was a good spot, but our solar was struggling because it was in shade most of the afternoon. We decided to stay a few extra days to explore more. Connectivity was not an issue – Verizon has 3-4 bars without booster. AT&T has no service though. With our booster, we were able to get about 1-2 bars of AT&T and thankfully one of our phones as Wi-Fi call capability, so we were able to make and receive calls. Keep that in mind if you are AT&T only. The campground Flamingo about 40 miles from this campground does have AT&T connectivity, but we didn’t explore the campground to see how it compared.

When we decided to stay longer, we were told we had to move because someone reserved spot #5. That was fine because we wanted to move spots for better solar anyway. The agent said she couldn’t look up which spots were available for the time frame we wanted, but we could drive around and find a few spots we wanted and then she could look it up. That seemed weird, but we did that. We found that spot #66 had great access to solar in the mid-late afternoon so chose it. Thankfully that spot was available. There was some confusion about whether we could reserve it or not. Each person we spoke to said something different, but after many tries, it ended up working out and we were able to stay longer. 

We stayed another 5 nights at our new spot #66. Solar was much better there, and we had a nice view of the lake. Both spots we were on were level and it seemed most in the park were level. The road coming in is paved so no issues with accessibility. Since the campground is in the park, you do have to pay the entrance fee, but we have the national park pass. Of course, because of the shutdown there was no one at the gate anyway.

We didn’t inspect the bathrooms or shower houses, but the park was clean and well-maintained. They have a camp host on-site and we did not see any issues that were seen in other parks because of the shutdown.  For some reason, the dumpsters were not emptied until our last day there so some people had put their trash next to the dumpsters, but it was otherwise clean. Very quiet and peaceful as well. 

The campground has a lot of slash pine trees which give some shade, but still allows some solar. There were not a ton of good spots for solar IMO (at least in the winter), but anything by the lake would be good. There are no hookups at this site, but they do have potable water and a dump station near the entrance to the campground.

Tons of things to do near this campground. There are trails and of course exploring the Everglades. Homestead/Florida City is about a 20 min drive and you can get groceries, gas and whatever you need there. Robert is Here is a nice fruit stand in Florida City you may want to check out. Worth a trip to the Flamingo visitor center to see crocodiles and manatees. I would also recommend the Royal Palm visitor center and the anhinga trail.

Overall, despite the confusion and frustration over the reservations, it was a nice place and we would stay again. It is closed in the summer months which makes sense, it would be way too hot, and mosquito infested for the summer. Mosquitos were tolerable when we were there, but you need bug spray.