Napunani

Pro

San Antonio, TX

Joined October 2020

Overused and it shows it

Pros:

• Super friendly Park Headquarters personnel

l• Great aluminum floating fishing pier with a covered fish cleaning pavilion

• Site aluminum picnic table on concert pad under a tree

• Park entrance gate closed 10 pm to 7 am, but an access code was provided at check-in

• Toilet/shower clean, but just worn out and desperately needing renovation

• Great CCC-constructed pavilion

• 3 bars AT&T cell service

• Howling coyotes nightly 

Cons:

• Overused park that desperately needs some infrastructure improvements

• Unlevel side-to-side concert site parking pad was in poor condition and barely long enough for 28 ft trailer

• Septic system cleanout pipe smack in the middle of our campsite causing a tripping hazard

• Metal fire pit with cooking grate was overflowing with ash upon arrival

• No vegetation between sites= no privacy from neighbors

• Constant vehicle traffic through campground loop• Toilets were difficult to flush and clogged easily.

• Toilet/shower building interior walls crumbling exposing the structure

Quiet & Private

Pros:

• Quick check-in

• 176-acre park with 40 campsites on the south shore of Lake Bastrop.

• Level site concrete pad surrounded by crushed granite.

• Aluminum picnic table, lantern pole, BBQ grill and fire pit with cooking grill.

• Cleaned BBQ grill and fire pit upon arrival.

• Very private as the site was surrounded by heavy brush.

• Even though Spring Break and the campground was packed, it was quiet.

• Firewood is available for purchase from Park.

Cons:

• LCRA $6 on-line reservation fee.

• Long waits for toilet/shower. All are family type facilities with the toilet, sink and shower as one unit behind a lock door, so one showering person ties up a toilet. There are 8“units” for 40 campsites PLUS cabins.

• Toilets/showers could of used more frequent cleaning as they are heavily used.

Colorado River Waterfront Camping

Pros:

• Quick and friendly check-in

.• Large parking area that is rig-friendly for check-in.

• Knowledgeable park personnel

• Nature center with interactive exhibits and gift shop

• Well maintained. Daily we saw the camp hosts working diligently, even hosing down and scrubbing bird poop from campsites.

• Saturday morning 1.5 hour guided Gulf beach walk($5/pp) by Paige and Whitley. Paige knew her“stuff” as she was pelted continuously with questions and she never missed a beat!

• Complimentary early Saturday morning coffee and pastries.

• Along the Colorado River but you can hear ocean roar where the river meets the Gulf of Mexico.

• Level concrete parking pad surrounded by grass. Back-ins and drive-thrus.

• Two sewer hook-up outlets.

• Large concrete picnic table.

• Very nice and clean toilets/shower building in an elevated building accessible by a ramp. Must have code to enter.

• Laundry facility in toilet/shower building with code entry.

• Nice Colorado River fishing piers with fish cleaning tables with freshwater spigot and a super pier over the beach/ocean.

• Primo sunsets

• Bay City, 20-minute drive, for the closest Walmart, HEB and other retailers and restaurants.

Cons:

• LCRA $6 on-line reservation fee.

• Absolutely no trees or vegetation between sites which equals NO SHADE and NO PRIVACY.

• Ocean“breeze” made it impossible to deploy trailer awning.

• No fire pits, but if you bring your own with a screen cover, you may have a fire, if you bring wood as no wood is sold at this park.

• NOT A DARK SKY FRIENDLY CAMPGROUND due to way too many street lights throughout the campground, along the river bank and on the fishing piers.  This would be a 5 star campground if there was more darkness!

• Complimentary LCRA WIFI was weak and unreliable.

• When the ocean"breeze" died down and the humidity was up, we were attacked by swarms of mosquitos which required us to heavily apply repellent in mid-February

• Not much in the town of Matagorda, basically a fishing village, and of those businesses, not many operating in mid-February.

Not a DARK SKY Friendly Campground

Pros:

• Very small park

• Great view of the lake as trees/shrubs are minimal

• Clean campsite except for the trash in the fire pit

• Most sites had 2 sewer hookups.

• Most sites had a nice distance from neighbor sites.

• Crushed granite surrounds the site parking pad so no muddy mess after rain

• Lantern pole, BBQ grill, fire pit with grilling grate and wooden picnic table at each site.

• Extremely clean restrooms/shower facility.

• Heated restrooms/shower facility(we camped the week after Christmas).

• Restroom/shower facility sink had hot water and soap dispenser

• Mini golf course in the park.

• 2 bar signal AT&T

Cons:

• With reservations made 153 days prior to arriving for our 4-night stay, we encountered confusion by a rude check-in clerk who told us to come back at 3 pm (it was then 230pm and we could clearly see our campsite was vacant). Since the entry lane was down to one lane, we tied up traffic for nearly 20 minutes until the check-in clerk finally realized that we were camping and not checking in for their cabins. I’m not sure why she didn’t see our truck and 28 ft bumper pull trailer.

•$6 fee to reserve on-line.

• No mention on the park website there was a burn ban in effect, so no ground fires permitted, not even for cooking.

• No site privacy due to minimal trees/brush throughout the park.

• Campsite BBQ grill and fire pit were next to each other, so it would have been difficult to gather around the fire pit.

• Good condition asphalt site parking pad was uneven side-to-side as we noticed nearly all sites in that condition with all requiring leveling.

• NOT A DARK SKY FRIENDLY CAMPGROUND! Numerous street lights throughout this camping loop and unfortunately we had one directly across from our site#11 which lit up our site like daylight! Who camps under a street light???

• Non-stop highway noise, even throughout the night, from Texas 261.

• Doors on toilet stalls were only 5 feet tall.

• Lots of large roadway speed bumps.

• No hiking trails.

• No park WIFI 

We used Black Rock as our “jumping off point” for various Hill Country Holiday Light displays, which worked out very well. Kingsland is closer to the park than Burnet where there is a HEB, Ace Hardware, Dairy Queen and local restaurants. Closest Walmart to Black Rock is in Marble Falls, along with a HEB.

Weirdly Spaced FHU Sites

We camped in Loop A during the week of Thanksgiving 2020 by making reservations 134 days prior to arriving. Very friendly volunteer gate attendants, but not sure when they work the gate as we tried to find them twice in one day and no one around and no info on how to contact/find someone, even tho there are four different campsites marked“attendant”. Overall, very quiet campground the week of Thanksgiving except for the highway noise from Highway 255, which was loud! Nine site FHU loop where sites are crammed together, weirdly and poorly laid out and spaced. No vegetation between sites so no privacy here what-so-ever! We could hear everyone’s conversations, even some that were inside their RV! Back-in site 12 was a tricky challenge to get into due to the terrain. First a dip before a narrow entrance over drainage ditch pipe, then a steep grade which almost had us scrapping the asphalt as we saw evidence of many that had previously. The narrow asphalt parking pad is deteriorating on the utility hook up side leaving a 6-8 inch drop off, so not very forgiving! Most asphalt site pads in this loop are in poor condition. Site 12 was not level side-to-side. Site 12 also has two wooden enclosures(wooden fence) that house utility panel boxes. At first, we thought we had our own outhouse! There is a slight view of the lake from Site 12. Recreation.gov states this site is"full shade", which we disagree. Our concrete picnic table on a concrete pad was fairly close to the parking pad. Our site also included a rotting shelter over the table, a rotting wooden bar-height prep table(aka fish cleaning table), a wooden lantern pole and a metal fire pit with a grilling grate that was one big tripping hazard due to the concrete slab the pit was placed on was broken up and huge hunks of concrete displaced around the metal fire pit. What a mess. Toilet/shower facility just for this campground loop fairly clean, but not serviced every day(during the week). Tent sites are along the lake in Loop A. There is a significant drop-off down to the water’s edge. Evidence of tent campsites that had been washed out/destroyed in recent flooding. Not a good stargazing location due to other close by campers with numerous outdoor lights burning all night! Super friendly squirrels that ate from our hands. No other wildlife sighting during our 4 night stay the week of Thanksgiving. Sam Rayburn Lake is beautiful. Park has a boat ramp and a large ramp parking area. No firewood for sale in this park. A bait shop, Valero fuel station, liquor store and a couple restaurants within a 5-minute drive of the Park entrance. Jasper has a Tractor Supply and a small Walmart. Lufkin has most chain restaurants, Lowes, Super Walmart, etc. Two bars AT&T signal

More Camp Hosts Here than Deer!

November 2020 ALERT! Due to Interstate 10 construction, the eastbound exit for San Felipe is closed so the navigation system took us further East and then backtracked on some horrible condition rural roads. Recommend going to Brookshire and using FM 359 and then FM 1458 to reach Park Road unless you want to really beat up your rig. West bound entrance onto Interstate 10 was a bit crazy also so you may want to do some recon before finding yourself down a horrible back road. No notice of this on the State Park website. 40 FHU sites here under Spanish moss-draped trees. Good spacing between most sites, but no privacy from neighbor sites. The site required leveling side-to-side. Quiet campsite. No highway noise. Train whistle in distant. Saw lots of deer that came fairly close to us. Nice trails but very busy on weekends as Houstonians escape the city for some country fun! A brand new toilet/shower facility opened in early November 2020 in this FHU campground that includes 2 family restrooms. Toilet stalls are very narrow with residential toilets which are water-saving that required 4-5 flushes to empty the bowl. Dyson hand dryer. In the FHU loop, there were 3 camp hosts and one campsite marked for the 4th camp host. Another site has a firewood wagon and an ice machine. Then another site is coned off. So 6 sites gone from the inventory! There is a camp host site also in the tent loop. Wow- 5 camp hosts?? That has to be a record for this size park! We did see Park Police drive thru the FHU loop very frequently. A new toilet/shower facility is under construction in the tent loop. Construction just began so probably another 6-9 months to finish. In the meantime, there are 4 job johnnies and campers from the tent loop utilizing the new toilet/shower facility, with 3 toilets for women and 2 for men. AT&T 1 bar signal.

Katy Texas is a 20 minute drive where you will find all types of stores and services.

X-Texas State Park Operated by City of Kerrville

This is an X-State Park that the City of Kerrville assumed operation in 2004. Very popular, nice park, but it’s really beginning to show its heavy use. Bandera Highway splits this park with check-in on the Guadalupe riverside of Bandera Highway. FHU sites in Deer Field Loop, which require a gate access code for access, are a good distance from the next site, with the site across the road are closer. Asphalt parking pad fairly level. Wooden picnic table, metal fire pit with cooking grate. Utility hook-ups in good condition at our campsite. The picnic table is at least 50 feet from the camper parking pad, which is chained to the concrete pad it sits on. Noise from Highway 173 and the approach pattern for the Kerrville Municipal Airport, so lots of low flying aircraft. Otherwise, campers were quiet and respectful. Deer came very close to us while sitting at the fire pit. Toilet/shower facility clean; women had 2 sinks, 2 toilets and 3 showers. There are two washers and two dryers on the backside of the Deer Field Loop toilet/shower facility, but the washer lids were ripped off, but lying there. Easy day trips to Hill Country towns from this park to include Fredericksburg, Austin, New Braunfels and San Antonio. In Kerrville, don’t miss Grape Juice Restaurant, brand new HEB open November 2020, Belks and Gibson’s Store.  Camp Verde General Store and Restaurant is only a 20-minute drive.

RATS at Sweetgum Loop Host Site

We arrived at the Sweetgum loop 181 after making reservations. Sites nicely spaced, but open view to all campsites, so no privacy. No lake view from this loop. Level asphalt site with metal picnic table and unusually high sided metal fire pit. No site grill. Screaming kids running through the campground until 10am made our campfire time less enjoyable. During our Thursday, Friday and Saturday night stay, we noted the women’s restrooms were without toilet paper most of the time. We spoke to the camp host about it and they said that restroom maintenance was performed by a contractor, not the camp host. There are two camp hosts in this Sweetgum loop and the host in site #11 has a hideous collection of STUFF everywhere– around the site, into site #13, out onto the side of the campground roadway and even continuing behind the site into the woods! Looked like a junkyard complete with numerous rats we saw running around the mess. Obviously, USDA permits this as we saw this same collection of stuff and junk at one of the camp host sites in another Cagle campground loop. This kind of hoarding mess makes the entire campground look hideous not to mention the unhealthy conditions presented by rats running about!

Nice and Quiet Under Tall Pines

We arrived for our 4-night stay at this COE campground 177 days after making reservations and were greeted by friendly camp hosts. Our FHU site was spacious but weirdly laid out that had our fire pit just two feet from the neighbor's sewer hookup. Who designs these sites?!?! Level D loop site with sewer hook-up at the rear of parking pad, so bring your loooooooooong stinky slinky!  Heavy-duty concrete picnic table and a bar-height wooden prep table next to a BBQ grill, or as we saw many using it as a fish cleaning table. No vegetation between campsites in the D & E loops. Very clean park! Since our four-night stay was during the week, it was extremely quiet, no road noise, with more than half of the campsites vacant. At 6am we experienced a no-warning total power outage throughout the park for nearly 3 hours. Wildlife viewing was only a couple of deer at dusk 

We read warnings about ANTS so we prepare all items where our trailer touched the ground with ant repellent. We didn't experience any ants what so ever, so not sure if it was because of the repellent or the cooler October temps or we just got lucky!

Quaint Wooded Poorly Maintained Campground

This is an X-Texas State Park that really needs some overdue TLC.

After making reservations over the phone 163 days prior to arriving and prepaying the entire amount, we were told at check-in there was no record of our reservation. Once we got through that confusion we were had to ask for directions to the campground. No map provided. Even with a reservation campsite are selected once you arrive and drive through the campsite. FHU loop roadway was difficult to maneuver due to the roadway being covered with pine needles which blended it into the non-roadway. We saw most people driving thru campsites thinking it was the road as the FHU loop were mostly pull-thru sites. Limited sites for RVs longer than 30 feet. Most sites were designed for 20 feet or smaller. Not a slide-out friendly campground as most sites were very compact. Minimal vegetation between sites. At our site the wooden picnic table was partially rotted. Parking pad broken up by roots so very uneven surface. The firepit ring was mostly rusted away and was completely filled with ash so our fire was on the pi ash. Sulphuric smelling water. Highway noise. On our last night, the 30 amp breaker kept tripping without a full load. Happened twice within an hour so we scaled back our amp use under 20 just to have some heat during the night. Campground WiFi was probably one of the best we’ve experienced.

Highway noise even in our campsite the furthest from the highway.  Of course, lots of train whistles during depot operations.

Tight RV loop w/smelly drinking water

We camped here for 3 nights with reservations made 151 days prior to arriving. 19 RV sites in the RV camping loop with sites"inside" the loop fairly close to one another. Outside loop sites had nice distance between sites. No vegetation between sites to shield from neighbors. Park headquarters check-in is in the village of Ottine. There are no security gates. Quiet campground- no road noise. A distant train whistle from time to time. Coyotes howled every night. The only wildlife we saw were squirrels. Narrow roadway from FM 2091 to RV campground. Water had a sulfur smell. The toilet/shower facility was VERY clean. This facility is not only utilized by the 19 campsites but also day users of the trails and CCC pavilion. So a lot of traffic thru this facility, especially on weekends. This speaks volumes of the camp hosts who we saw cleaning frequently. Shady campsites are narrow, fairly level asphalt pads with trees near the edges causing creative parking for those with slide-outs. We were unable to deploy our awning due to the number of close trees. Ice and firewood for sale at the camp host site. Eight different trails available within this park. Longest 1.25 miles. Very good condition. Crushed granite and boardwalks. Beautiful CCC constructed pavilion with a terrific view of the San Marcos River from the back patio. Never saw a park ranger drive through the RV campground during our stay.

FHU Lakefront Sites

We love this state park and it's one of our favorites! This was our third time camping here in the Piney Shores Loop. We arrived on Memorial Day for four nights with reservations made 54 days prior. We weren’t loving Piney Shores#52 back-in campsite much due to: Steep drop-off of the concert pad and the narrow roadway making backing in challenging, but not impossible for our 27ft trailer.  Any larger rigs might not be able to swing it.

The dirt area around the picnic table, fire pit and lantern pole was a huge MUD hole! What a mess due to daily rains. 

No concrete pad under the picnic table, so your feet were in the MUD hole! HINT– Park Maintenance needs to apply some medium size gravel around the table and fire pit. 

Picnic table (chained to the ground) and fire pit were right next to each other. WHO DESIGNS THESES CAMPSITES?? 

Power interruptions, albeit short. Very glad we had our power surge protector. 

We loved: 

Very level concrete pad requiring no additional leveling efforts. 

Huge campsite along the lakefront with access to launch kayak/canoe or even swim(which we didn’t). 

Gorgeous sunsets over the lake. It was wonderful to sit at the fire facing the lake and watch the sunsets. 

The squirrels that ate from our fingertips! It was also really amusing to find the squirrels VERY friendly. They just hoped up onto our laps and took peanuts in the shell from our fingertips! 

Super quiet as only 6 full hook up campsites were occupied due to COVID operating restrictions.

Small Tight Campground Along Blanco River

Our third camping stay at one of our favorite Hill Country state parks alongside the beautiful Blanco River. Reservations for a FHU site made 88 days prior to arriving and with a Texas State Park Pass, it cost us$17.25/nightly. Nice and shady campground with a shelter over the campsite picnic table. Level gravel site. Campsites are packed in closely without any privacy from neighbors. Due to this, sadly we witnessed some crazy camper behavior…tent campers cutting tree branches from their campsite for a campfire and another campsite permitting their toddler to run naked most of the daylight hours who defecated throughout their campsite repeatedly. One lane bridge across the Blanco River to the campground. There is no controlled access after hours. Some road noise from US Highway 281. We never saw a camp host or ranger in the campground during our stay. One toilet/shower facility serves 29 campsites PLUS day users swimming at the dam. Facilities were in fairly clean condition. Upon check-in, we were issued a code to the shower stall. It took up to a dozen attempts with the code to gain access. Toilet paper in the women’s toilet was scarce this weekend, so much so, women were going into the men’s toilet and taking it from there. We took advantage of the no-fee entrance and toured both Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site and the LBJ Ranch in Stonewall, approximately 22 miles from Blanco State Park. Even with COVID19 closures of some buildings and displays, we took over 3 hours for this experience. Great shady picnic areas at LBJ State Park.

Quiet

We made reservations 92 days prior to arriving Thursday of the Columbus Day weekend for Horseshoe Loop full-hook-up site, which is a nice elm tree grove. With the Texas State Park Pass, we paid$21/nightly. Our spacious pull-thru site was partially shaded, but there is no vegetation between sites in this loop, so not one site had any privacy from another. Site surface was mostly gravel from deteriorating asphalt. Our site had a deteriorating concrete picnic table on a concrete slab and a fire pit with a grilling grate. There is a possibility that trees make could make site access difficult to deploy slide outs. We witness larger rigs getting creative with pulling into their site because of close trees. Quiet campground with no highway noise. There is no gate closure overnight. This is an excellent dark sky campground, but unfortunately during our stay surrounding campers had excessive outdoor lighting illuminated throughout their site most of the night, which inhibited good star glazing and Draconid meteor shower viewing. Shower/toilet facilities for this loop were clean, but heavily worn and not ADA compliant. Besides a small step into the structure, the women’s had 3 equally sized toilet stalls and 2 equally sized shower stalls neither with any safety grab bars. There are no sites in this loop that are lake front. A few sites can just see the lake from a distance. Trash dumpsters are placed on roadway edge making safe rig egress tricky. AT&T 1 bar coverage in this campground loop. No wildlife sightings during our 4 night stay. Campfire wood available for sale from“lockers” at the Park Headquarters building. Closest restaurants, fuel stations and grocery stores in Whitney and Hillsboro. Waco is 40 miles southeast.