Steve & Ashley G.
Austin, TX
Joined May 2019
We love to travel in our 4x4 Sprinter Van and explore new places. We have travelled all over the world and love trekking, mountain biking, and kayaking. Great to be part of the Dyrt Community.
New Camping Experience

This is an interesting concept for a campground. They have cool trailers and campers and traditional teepees with comfortable amenities. We were here in November and the place was nearly empty. I liked the idea but could not help to think this place lacked authenticity. They are owned by a successful boutique hotel chain operator that markets to the upscale young urban sector. So, you can decide if this is your thing. It’s on the south side of town in a large open space. You will need to plan your visit if you are camping. Marfa can be quite chilly in the late fall and winter and very hot in the summer. The site is also fairly open and dusty, especially when the wind kicks up. The main attraction here is the proximity to Marfa and the arts scene. It’s one a few places to stay in Marfa and can be a good pace meet others in some of the community spaces and events.

High Desert Camping

We camped here one night on our way to Mammoth from San Diego. We accessed via Emigrant Canyon Road off of Highway 190. The winding road is about 20 or miles off the highway to the site. The campground is a small gravel parking lot with a pit toilet and sites with fire rings. This place is way off the beaten path. It’s high above the desert floor and was actually cool at night in September. The highlight here are the incredible desert vistas. You get a little window from the site but a short hike or drive and you are looking at Death Valley below.

Awesome Views Tahoe Emerald Bay

This is by far the most beauty area on Lake Tahoe. The site is just a few miles north of South Lake Tahoe on the western side of the lake. The campsite is best suited for tent campers or those traveling in small camper vans. Our sprinter van was able to park in the site ok without the need for levelers. The site is a great first night stop for those looking to back pack in the National Forest. Emerald Bay is just across the highway and will no disappoint. You fee like your looking at a fiord in Norway. Great option backpackers and tent campers in the Tahoe area. Camp has good tree cover and was cool even in the summer. This is a popular option for camping you will need to plan your visit to avoid the crowded summer hiking and tourist season.

Overcrowded Glacier National Park

We flew into Portland Oregon and drove through the Pacific Northwest to Glacier National Park. The park is renowned as one of the best national park in the US. We visited during August in the peak season and the crowds were huge. You had to wait over 1 hour just to enter the park. The have new visitors center which is very informative. But the parking lot and roads on the western side of the park near our camp at fish creek were crowded beyond belief. Fish creek campground had some good cover for the sun. However like many large national parks the sites were packed in like sardines. The have 178 sites in this camp alone. The site had portable water in the camp and toilets. Our van was too tall to drive on the highway to the sky, so we took the public transport. The experience was a bit like visiting Disneyland and very very touristy. The highway was crowded with weekend bikers clogging the road and impacting the experience. The mountains are stunning and I would love to revisit and perhaps do some trekking into the mountain walk in sites to get out of the crowds. We are planning a trip this Fall to enter from the Canadian side and focus on hiking and back country camping. This is worth round two.

Great Small Campground

We entered Yellowstone through the Northeast from Silver Gate Montana to avoid traffic and locate a smaller campground. Pebble Creek was great for tent camping. There are about 30 sites at this location which is best suited for tent campers or those traveling with a small camper or van. The have the toilets and fire pits. They don’t take reservations at this site. You need to be here early to get a site. The wildlife is the area is amazing. We saw plenty of bears and bison everywhere. Yellowstone did not disappoint. The summer crowds were overwhelming in some of the more popular area. I would like to come in the off-season and do some more hikes.

Great Natural Science Park

The Lower Colorado River Authority’s Nature Park is a very special place for learning about the environment in Texas. The park has a wonderful driving into the science center and visitor facility. They have made the building look like an old fashioned Texas farm. This facility has yet to add camping sites but would make a great day out with children and young adults. It’s located between Austin and Bastrop TX on Highway 71. If you are camping in Bastrop this would be a must see for families. We were lucky to film a deer on our visit today. The wildflowers are blooming even in June. This is a high recommendation if you are in this area.

Nice Fishing Spot

Buescher State Park is about 40 miles outside of Austin and a short drive from Bastrop Texas. The park is great for campers who like to fish. The 25 acre park lake offers some great shoreline and kayak or canoe fishing. You can rent a canoe or bring your own. You can use the boat launch or enter the lake from the Lakeview Campsite. The campsite have flat concrete pads for campers and RVs. The sites have good tree cover and a nice level of privacy which can be rare at state sites. They have all the facilities you need from group recreation facilities to new cabins on the lake. The campground was less than half full in June. They have a tackle loaner site and a small camp store.

Great Local State Park

The State Park is located within the city limits of Austin Texas. It has two waterfalls and a number of cool hiking trails. They have great camping options with sites for everyone including tents and camper vans. They have 7 designated hiking trails which range from easy to moderate. Onion Creek provides great fishing and swimming. The campsites offer some cover and privacy. You need a reservation during the busy times of year in the Spring and Fall. They have some boulder features for rock climbing and a bald cypress tree that is 500 years old. This is a good option for new campers or families that wanted to get out for the weekend. They have ample facilities from restrooms to visitors areas. I have it 3 stars because of overcrowding. Otherwise a nice place for the Travis County Area.

Large County RV and Day Use Park

The park is located on the southern end of South Padre Island. It’s a very popular RV campground with hundreds of sites and multiple loops. This very large site is a little overwhelming in size but offers a number amenities for the RV and camper community. The park has a new outdoor picnic pavilion with the bathrooms, outdoor showers, grills, and a huge picnic table area under a large canopy. They offer parking areas for boats and the camp has ample restroom and shower facilities. The sites have picnic tables, water, and electric. The sandy beach is huge and great for families. They provide lifeguards during the summer months. This park is very crowded on weekends and holidays and reservations for RV sites are highly recommended. Just outside the cafe they have pub but most of the restaurants and other sites are a few miles to the north by car or bike. This is also the dock for ocean site seeing boats. This may be a good choice for RVs looking for long term stays or locals enjoying a day at the beach.

Awesome Beach Camping

This is one of my favorite places to camp in South Texas. Cameron County recently made this into Edwin King Atwood Cameron County Park. The site is just a few miles north of the convention center on the northern end of South Padre Island. They have a controlled gate at the access #5 gate and charge a $10 fee. Before you drive onto the beach they have bathrooms and a picnic facilities at this entrance. You can camp anywhere north of this entrance. We like to camp here in the off-season during the week to avoid the busy periods. We have a 4x4 which can come in handy for the soft sand areas. You can access with a truck or higher clearance passenger vehicle. This is dispersed camping without designated sites. They provide trash barrels but no other amenities. We like this setup and appreciate the freedom of camping at this type of site. You will need to pack everything in to this site and bring your water, food, and toilet. You camp along the beautiful seashore next to tall sand dunes with incredible views up and down the beach. They have been making efforts to pickup trash on the beach which has been an issue in the past. You can drive for miles down the beach which eventually ends at a jetty. Beach drivers should monitor tide levels and check the NOAA tide tables. We have been trapped after dark once with rising tides. The sun and wind can be unforgiving along this beach. So you need to time your visit and have the right equipment to protect against the elements. The Laguna Madre is just to the west. This is great for kayaking, kite surfing, fishing, and bird watching.

Nice Place for Big RVs

KOA do a nice job catering to the RV and family camper community. This location is no exception and is loaded with amenities and a great location as a full service RV resort. This place is nearly full most of the year. So, reservations are a must here. The campground is located on the Laguna Madre side of the island near the bridge leading to South Padre Island. They have a variety of camping option for RVs, campers, tents, and cabins. The site has a great boat dock for those wanting to try their luck at fishing. The ocean is about 1/2 mile walk across a couple of busy roads. The sites have sewer, water, and power for even the largest RVs. They even have spaces to walk your dog and a pet playground. Like many RV resorts, you do not have any privacy and most of the sites are in the direct sun. Tenters and campers without AC will need to time their visit around the hot spring and summer temperatures. The night time temps average around 85 degrees and over 90 in the daytime in the summer. The Pier 19 restaurant is next door. Otherwise, you will need to bike or drive to restaurants.

Seashore Camping

Andy Bowie County Park is one few public camping facilities on South Padre Island. If you love the beach and want some sunshine this may be a good option. The camp has good facilities and caters to camper trailers and RVs. They have bathrooms, showers, and picnic facilities. The park is across the street from a popular bird watching center and sea turtle rescue facility. The park has some beautifully restored sand dunes and the beach is mostly unoccupied during the weekdays. Of note, the camping sites are adjacent to each other with no privacy or shade. The sun on Padre Island can be brutal. So you will need to time you visit or have good AC and cover. The bay across the street is great for fishing and kayaking. On windy days the Laguna Madrid is a popular spot for kite and wild surfing. The campground is next to their large day use area which can get crowded on weekends. I would strongly recommend making a reservation at this site. The park rangers are based at the camp which can be good for safety. Holiday weekends tend to draw large crowds to the island from the Rio Grande Valley. The beach is the highlight here. You can drive your off-road vehicle on the shoreline north of the park. We have been cutoff by tides in the past. So, you should check the NOAA tide tables before going to the end of the shore drive. If you are into bird watching, Padre Island is a great place as well. You see birders visiting from all over the country to catch the seasonal migrations. Great site for the traveling camper or folks who love the beach. The price is high due to demand and location. So this could be an issue for those on a budget.

Cool Urban Campground

This is a cool urban RV park in the heart of Austin Texas. The park is located along Barton Springs road in the coolest part of town. It’s next to a brewery, food trucks, and great pubs. It’s also very close to. Barton Spring Greenway and Zilker Park where the ALC music festival takes place in the Fall. The RV park has laundry facilities and bathrooms as well as full sewer, water, and power hookups. The residents are a collection of hippies, lost souls, and people just having fun in Austin. If you can get a reservation this would be the ultimate urban RV experience in Austin. Although many of the sites are taken by long term residents, some sites closer to Barton Springs Road.

Rio Grande Canoe Camping

The is a Big Bend National National Park Campsite. The Camp is adjacent to the Rio Grande River and a popular camping spot for can expeditions. The site is sometimes an overflow from Chisos Basin Campers during busy season. The sites are in a grass meadow in one large loop. During the off-season this campground is usually close to empty. The major advantage is river access and proximity to the Santa Elena Canyon. They have basic restrooms, fire pits, and tables. If you are traveling along the Rio Grande this is a great option. You don’t get the scenic vistas from this site due to its low lying elevation.

Incredible Canyon Drive

We camped at Fish Creek Wash on 3 separate occasions. This place is incredible and a very popular spot for overland community. The camp is at the beginning of the Split Mountain Canyon in Anza Borrego Desert State Park. You access through Ocotillo Wells turning onto Split Mountain Road. It’s about 7 miles to the Fish Creek Wash. At the beginning the washboard dirt rode is a bit rough but smooths out in the canyon. Incredible rock formations all the way and a good trail high on the western side of the wash with some signage. This is my locals place to share with the community. Campground is super basic with no facilities. The is a desert area and conditions can be extreme in the summer. The best time to visit is early Spring

Our Favorite National Park

Where do you start with Yosemite. We have been fortunate to visit and camp at Yosemite on multiple occasions. The approach to the valley is simply magnificent even with stopping with heavy traffic. The valley is incredible and probably one of the best experiences at any National Park. The best time is during the spring melt when all of the waterfalls are working their magic. It’s not uncommon for the waterfalls to dry up in the summer season. We like to come in the late Fall when the crowds have died down. The summer time at Yosemite, like many other National Parks is overcrowded with traffic jams and overrun facilities. Getting a reservation here is a bit like winning the lottery. We have tent camped at all the large valley camps. The camps are on top of each other, noisy, and overcrowded with families and students. Your best bet is to visit the valley and camp outside the Park or in locations outside the valley. The granite cliffs and waterfalls are something to treasure. They have a huge grocery store and gift shop in the village. We’ve attached some of our favorite videos and photos from our last camping trip which was in the Spring and early summer.

Incredible Place

We have camped at Joshua Tree National Park on multiple occasions. This is a very special place never gets old. We lived in San Diego at the time and this made for a nice weekend trip to Palm Springs and then Joshua. You will need to plan ahead and make reservations or come in the off season to get a camping spot. The park is so close to major populations in Southern California it is always crowded. The tent camping sites are close together but adequate. You can get nestled up against the rocks which will help manage the desert sun and winter winds. The trees and rock formations are incredible. They have some historical elements but the towering rocks and desert vistas are the highlight here. Wow, what a place. The camps have pit toilets and you can fill up your water containers. The biggest challenge here is managing the large crowds and the weather. It can be very cold in the winter nights and baking hot in the summer. Late Spring or Fall are the best times to visit. You can get supplies at on the road near the park. This is a bucket list park and a must see.

Reservoir Camping

The site is like a number of other campgrounds we have seen that were created alongside county or state reservoirs. The campground is in a good location in Northwest New Mexico. We ended up staying an extra night here due to the amazing sunsets as well as the peace and quite. They have self checkin and well maintained pit toilets. The camp was about half full on the weekend in August. Each site had some shade and privacy depending on location. The exterior sites on our loop had a great western view to see the sunsets. The water level of the reservoir was very low and some campers were trying their luck at fishing. The have a couple of stores a few miles outside the camp with limited supplies. The roads are well maintained gravel and the sites all a bit uneven if you have a trailer or van. We took the dirt road southwest to exit the park. This was a mistake the road is very rough and requires a high clearance vehicle and 4x4 after rain. We were pulled over by local reservation police who were looking for poachers. It made for an interesting morning. I would give this a try if you need a short stay site on you way somewhere

Huge Campground in National Park

We stayed one night in the park last August. They have hundreds of sites and many were unoccupied during our visit in August. They have huge camp store and restroom facilities. The expansive campgrounds are exposed with little shade. Most of the sites are also very uneven. So you will need levelers if you have a trailer or van. It can becomes very hot in the summer and you will need to plan carefully to manage the heat and sun. The Mesa Verde cliff sites are a bucket list item. Wow! It was very interesting to learn more about the Pueblo Culture and history. Well worth the visit and the long drive from the entrance to the cliffs. The cliff sites require step climbs and ladders to access.

Small Crowded Campgrounds

We stayed on night at the Black Canyon South Rim campground. The check in was self serve as we arrived in the early evening. We were able to find one of the last available sites. The campground has good facilities but its very compact and crowded. Many of the sites are uneven and too small to park a van. The tent sites are more than adequate and provide adequate space, fire rings, and picnic tables, and bathrooms. They have excellent education programs and rangers to assist with questions. The canyon is amazing and worth seeing. You can travel along the south rim and view the canyon. Worth the visit if you are in South Central Colorado.