Serenity B.
Dallas, TX
Joined August 2019
Camper, hiker, MB’r, kayaker, nature lover
Clean, quiet and convenient

I don’t normally stay in these types of campgrounds, but this was a pleasant overnight stay and reasonably priced for full hookups at $35. Plus they have propane for sale and a little store on site. The campground is open year round and there looks to be some year round residents, but it’s a clean, well tended campground and the care the owners give it is apparent.

The camp hosts were efficient and helpful. I was led directly to the site and was literally guided in by one camp host. Another sent me a welcome message via a camping group to which I belong. Nice touches. 

The campground sits on a hill so the sites are terraced and there are mature trees everywhere. The trash bins were located up the hill from my site. Not a problem for me to access, but someone with mobility issues might find the location less than ideal. Perhaps you could drive to them. I found the campground roads navigable but narrow, and they appeared to be one way, but I didn’t see markings. So it could be confusing to figure out how to drive there. 

My site was gravel, fairly level and the hook ups were conveniently located and in great condition. Some of the sites are spaced apart rather tightly. They each come with a picnic bench. There are larger sites and pull thru sites available too.

The highlight for me is the convenient location of this campground as a layover on the way to another destination. That being said, Poplar Bluff looked like it would be an interesting little town to visit at some point and perhaps Camelot would serve as a good jumping off point for this and other points of interest in the area as well. I wish the checkout was at noon instead of 11 am, but that’s just my personal preference. 

I would stay here again.

Shaded sites right on Rend Lake

This COE campground is conveniently located and just a quick off ramp from the Interstate. I stayed here one night as I headed south from Chicago. The one night only ultimately turned out to be a blessing. It seemed that I inadvertently booked a site in the middle of a family reunion. I don’t mind a good party, but when you leave your dog tethered to visit at other campsites and your dog is barking for hours, well, that’s not okay. 

I was in site 30, located directly on the water in the Nighthawk campground. Site 29 is very close and the picnic bench is literally 8 feet away from the back of the pad of site 30.  The class A rig in the video belonged to my neighbor, so you can see how close the sites were. Don’t expect much in the way of privacy. Otherwise, the site is shaded and fairly level with a nice lake view and direct access. 

Unfortunately, I didn’t awake to sounds of nature. Early in the morning the sawing and woodchipping began. To make matters worse it was windy. All the woodchopping and sawdust was flying in the air which required us to close windows and hunker down inside until the park crew finished their work. I understand that maintaining the park is important, but why on a busy camping weekend? 

The restrooms were a short walk across the road and up the slope from site 30. I didn’t use the facilities, so can’t speak to their functionality or cleanliness. I like to camp at lakes because I enjoy kayaking and this lake would allow for all kinds of water activities which is a plus. 

Also, if you haven’t made a reservation and decide to do a walk up make sure you have cash. A couple was turned away and told to get cash because they don’t take credit cards or checks. 

I might stay here again as a layover spot because of its convenient location to the interstate, but it wouldn’t be a destination for me.

An Arkansas jewel!

I was so excited to stay here based on this being voted as one of the best state parks in this region. The reviews were spot on about the hiking and other amenities. This park is charming right down to its CCC roots. During my stay the new park visitor’s center was being built and it looks to be a lovely addition. 

What I was surprised to discover was my disappointing campground experience. I picked my campsite early and carefully and was hoping to have a quieter experience since I decided to avoid the swankier lakeside full hook up sites. I was wrong. Unfortunately, the park allowed a group of tent campers to camp in sites that were not in the group campground. There were 4 tents per site, some of which were camped on the ground right near the restrooms. 2 campers per tent x 4 per site x at least 6 sites. Well I’ll spare you the math, but Campground D literally turned into a church camp complete with air horns blasting to alert the camper kiddos that it was time to eat, shower, wake up etc.  Nothing against church camps. Just saying Campground D is not a group campsite! Thankfully, I spent most of my time hiking and biking. So I was away from the campground a majority of my stay. 

Site 98 was located adjacent to public property and backed up to the gravel road that serviced the neighborhood. There was a street light that illuminated the road and this didn’t add to the ambiance. All said, the campground didn’t really afford the experience I was hoping for. However, the hiking trails did not disappoint! As many previous reviewers have mentioned, hiking here is awesome. I definitely recommend the Bear Cave trail and the Cedar Falls trail.

Grabbing a bite at the Lodge is recommended too. The food was good and the view was outstanding! 

I’d go back, but I would choose Campground A, pay more and stay right on the lake. The sites are nicely spaced and I think the cost of full hook ups might deter a large group of tent campers from overtaking the campground. Again, nothing against tent campers or church camps. I just thought this is why parks have group campgrounds. I’d prefer not to repeat the group tent camping situation and air horns I ran into on my visit to campground D.

Shaded lakeside camping in Deer Haven

The South Sulphur campground is about half an hour north of Interstate 30. It’s under a 2 hour drive from the DFW area so, I find it’s a nice weekend getaway. I camped here on a Sunday to Monday and it was very quiet. I was one of only 5 campers in the Deer Haven section (aside from the 3 camp hosts). I’m giving the park 5 stars but this is based on my experience of having camped here when there were few campers around. I image this place could be loud and busy on a weekend.

There are many shaded lakeside sites in the Deer Haven section. I stayed at site 68. The site was on a cul de sac so there was no campground to the one side. However, the site located on the other side was close. This would be a great spot for 2 camping families to share. The concrete pad at site 68 was level and shaded by a beautiful, mature oak tree. I could walk from the pad to the lake. It would be a great site to put out a kayak, but unfortunately the weather didn’t cooperate on my stay. So I didn’t get to kayak. I did see deer who ventured in from the wooded area next to the campsite.  Deer Haven lived up to its name!

Electric and water hookups were good as were the restroom/shower facilities, which seemed climate controlled because it felt cooler and less humid inside than outside. This usually isn’t the case in these buildings.

A big storm blew in around dinner time. The wind was fierce and blowing out of the north across the almost 20,000 acre lake! I actually called the ranger to find out if I needed to evacuate. The ranger was very responsive and reassuring. Luckily, there were no tornados warnings, so I weathered out the storm and woke to a beautiful crisp morning.

This park is huge and there is much to do. Cabins, shelters, primitive walk in sites, equine sites, a beach, several boat ramps, hiking trails, playgrounds and a fishing pier. I didn’t get to see a fraction of it, but I’ll be returning. 

I stopped in the town of Sulphur Springs on my way back to DFW. The town has a nice historic town square and makes for an interesting side stop.

Needs a little sprucing up

This is a pretty area on the Evergreen Lake with mature trees and open spaces. The area I camped in had large spaces between the sites which was nice, but there was no foliage to provide privacy or sound buffering. I could hear one campers entire angry phone conversation. On the plus side, the stars were amazing.

The pad at site 38 was gravel and uneven with electric only. Good electric though. There was a picnic bench and a fire pit, but the bench had been pulled over the pit which was odd. The dump station was also strangely located. It was down the road from the park. The bathrooms have seen better days and so have the sites I viewed. It’s sad because this park looks like it was a real beauty in it’s prime.

Easy access

I have to preface my review by saying that this isn’t my kind of campground. I like trees and nature around. This park had very little of that. It seems to be new, and there are trees planted, but it will be awhile before they provide any shade. I stopped here because it was the closest location to an RV repair shop that I unfortunately needed to visit on my way to Chicago. 

On the plus side, because it’s new the restrooms/showers were very clean and modern. The site I was in had full hook ups. The water pressure was so strong that I could barely open the water pump! 

I think the best thing this campground has going for it is it’s location. Proximity to historic St. Charles and the bike trail. 

The park host mentioned that the rates would be going up for next season.

A resort of a COE park!

Mill Creek is like a resort! There’s sand volleyball, a basketball court, a beach with a designated swim area and, thoughtfully, life jackets were available to borrow. 

Most of the sites are lakeside. I snagged Site 12 which was perfect for me! However, there are several stairs down from the paved pad to the picnic area, so be aware if you have little ones or mobility issues. As others have mentioned the sites have picnic benches a fire ring and a lantern pole. Hooks up were easy and close. I especially liked the water hook up because it had the traditional valve handle and not the pump handle. It’s the little things. 

The bathrooms were spotless and looked newly remodeled. One of them was also accessible.The drive to the campground might be tricky for larger rigs as there is a sharp curve and steep grade coming into the park. 

This park was quiet, clean and offered a night sky that provided a shooting star!! I would love to come back here again!

Lakeside Camping in Oklahoma

This is a Corp of Engineers campground, which I tend to prefer. If you’re traveling from the DFW area this could be a weekend trip. The drive is about 3.5 hours. I stayed for 2 nights in site E04 which had electric and water hookups, although the water was shared with another site. So the water hook up is a distance from the site. I had to use 2 hoses to reach my RV and only after I turned it around so that the water hook up side was closer to the spigot. Distance between sites is very good, but not much foliage between.

The site was asphalt, which was nice, but very narrow. My RV is only 8 ft wide and it took up the entire width. Also, there were trees which prevented me from putting out the awning. There was a cement picnic table, lantern hook and fish cleaning/grill table. The best part of this site was that it backed up to a sandy beach. I could walk the shoreline of Lake Eufaula for quite a distance. The lake is quiet and clear. There were several fishermen out, but I don’t know what they were catching.

I didn’t realize how large this campground was until the day I left. I saw 2 dump sites. The one in the E campground was older and had an odd bump up which made gravity emptying a challenge. The sites are clean and as I was leaving the campground hosts were already at my site looking for anything out of sorts. 

The restrooms and showers, although clean felt a bit creepy to me. I took photos, but didn’t use. The playground was quaint and offered several play spaces for different ages. Even the big kids! 

One more thing to note, on a clear night the view of the sky here is very good! Saw lots of stars and the Milky Way! I think I’d go back, but try a different site.

North Texas Gem

Lake Mineral Wells State Park is an absolute standout, but then I’m partial because it combines 4 of my favorite things sublimely and almost in my backyard - camping, hiking, biking and kayaking. Heaven! The drive from the DFW area isn't bad either with rolling hills that are a nice departure from the usual Metroplex flatlands. 

My first trip here I was stumped by how to get to the campground. The friendly folks at the gate house simply said make the first left. When I arrived at the first left, all I saw was a spillway and I thought that certainly can’t be the way.  Well, it is! What a unique experience driving below the lake. Riding my bike on this road was even more fun and refreshing! 

I camped in the Plateau this trip and was lakeside. Campsite 64 has lots of cattails so I didn’t launch my kayak from here. One thing I really enjoyed about this site was the breeze off the lake. It kept a hot July weekend comfortable when sitting outside at the campsite and also seemed to keep the bugs at bay. This site had lots of wildlife and a deer strolled casually and fearlessly through the site while munching on grass. The fish were also entertaining and the frogs serenaded at night. They were loud, but my AC was louder so I didn’t hear them. Nice privacy between sites here. Level pad with good water pressure and a short walk to the clean showers/restroom. There’s a place to put in your kayaks in the Plateau campground and the water is gentle. Jet skis, water skiing and tubing are prohibited on this lake. As great as the Plateau campground is, my favorite sites are located in the Live Oak section. 

I rode the trailway out to the Garner Store and Cafe on FM113, but was disappointed to find that they are closed on Sundays. The trailway between the State Park and the Garner way point is an easy crushed gravel ride, except for the trailhead from the park. Be aware that it’s a bit of a steep grade. Going down is fun. Definitely worth checking out.

Also, hiked in Penitentiary Cove. Awesome rock formations, crevasses, and little shallow caves. Climbers enjoy this spot too. 

Last, but not least, check out Woody’s Bar and Grill just down the road from the park entrance heading into Mineral Wells. It’s a local, hole in the wall landmark and they’re known for their made to order burgers. They didn’t disappoint.

Camping in Suburbia

I like this COE campground because conveniently located near where I live, and if I’m lucky I can snag a site with trees and lake access. But the tradeoff for convenience is proximity to civilization. This definitely isn’t wilderness and as another reviewer pointed out, the campground can be noisy. It’s located adjacent to I-35, just west of the Lake Lewisville bridge, so there’s traffic noise depending on how close you’re camped to the road. The electric was recently upgraded after the flooding this year. So there’s 50 amp available now too. I camped at site 39 and it was an asphalt/gravel pad and fairly level. Water pressure was good and there was lots of shade and ample privacy between sites in this section. Sites on the point have few trees and wide open spaces, but the lake view is expansive. Bathrooms and showers were clean and functioning. There’s a bike/walking path that goes around and through the park and a beach. In my opinion a few of the best sites are on a little peninsula (sites 91, 92, 93 looked prime) with a little sandy beach and access into a cove of the lake. I’ll be back.

First to Review
Waterfront sites. Not much privacy.

COE campground. $22/night which is cheaper than the usual $30 at COE campgrounds closer to the DFW area. About an hour and 20 minutes north of the Metroplex. There are actually 2 campgrounds in JP - Juniper Point East and West because they are divided by Hwy. 377. The road into Juniper East is paved with some curves, but no problems getting into the park even for the big rigs that I saw towing boats too. 

I stayed on the East side 2 weeks after they reopened from the recent flooding which was substantial. It was also over 100 degrees! As far as I could see the flooding impacted many of the gravel sites which were not level and in some cases sloped off on one side. This was the case for my pad, but I just parked farther over. 30 amp hookup and water pressure was good. Sites come with a concrete picnic bench, campfire ring and a grill/camp stove/fish cleaning stand. 

I camped in Site 29 which was at the end of the campground with direct Lake Texoma access and trees behind the site. There’s a mixture of trees, most of which are Junipers, thus the name ;) This makes for scant privacy between sites. I watched my neighbor clean his fish from my camp chair and was delighted by his 3 small dogs barking while he fished from the shore. Sigh…

On the plus side, there was a grassy area that sloped down to the lake which is better than poison ivy or dirt. The main positive for this campground is the location right on the water. Many of the campers pulled their boats up to shore and walked to their rigs. I could put my kayak in from my site as well. In addition, there are 2 boat ramps (one at East and West) and a bathhouse/toliets, but I didn’t use them so can’t speak to their status. I road my bike over to Juniper West. This meant crossing over Hwy 377 with traffic speeding by at 70 mph.  Juniper West appears to be the newer of the 2 campgrounds, with concrete pads. However, the dump station (for both East & West) is located directly across from 4 sites. These sites wouldn’t be my choice. 

Lastly, Juniper West has a rockier shore and a higher elevation so there seemed to be more of a breeze. The video is taken of the Juniper West shoreline. This is also where the Cross Timbers trail head is located.  Great hiking for the area! I’m going to try camping at Juniper West and hike the Cross Timbers trail in the fall when it’s cooler.