the dyrt
Secluded

The state park boasts several lakes, a mountain bike trail, views, playgrounds in the day use area, and many campsites. There is a RV area at Lea Lake, which is half reserved and half first come. There are tent pads in that area also, showers and flushing toilets are there also. If you are tent camping you are missing out if you stay at lea lake, camp in the primitive areas around the smaller lakes. They are isolated, and have abundant wildlife. Vault toilets are nearby, nasty venomous spiders hide in the vaults but like all unpleasant creatures they dont like the light, so take a flashlight. If you come with pops you should consider footwear for them, the goat heads prevent them from going off road otherwise.

The norm

The state park has several camp sites, cabins also. Sites range from water only to water and electric. The campground was quiet and isolated, it may not feel this way in the summer of it gets crowded. Many of the camp pads have an awning and picnic table, several are lakefront (although the lake is very low), all are flat. There is a restroom with showers, fishing pier, and playground. Trail access is easy and the short trail is very well marked and worth the trek. The roadrunner loop is poorly marked and clearly not well maintained or used.

Has the amenities

Campground is available for RVs, tents, and large groups. There are showers and toilets available. Water/electric/sewer hook ups are also available. The grounds have a fence that indicate it is a private area. It borders Lake Hawkins, has a boat dock, fishing pier, and an improved swimming area. Sites are somewhat private but the tent side is frequented by local groups such as scouts or churches. There is a walking path that is called a trail by the park, it is mostly an access service road that a golf cart can drive on. The are is popular for daytime use in the summer because of the improved swimming area. There is a day use fee, per person, and a camping fee. The grounds are county owned and operated. Dogs are welcome.

Primitive

There is no fee to camp in this area. No reservations are necessary.

Camp sites are not marked, the county park is basically an open field that is somewhat wooded and permits camping. You can show up and set up camp anywhere you would like. There are flushing toilets, picnic tables, and boat loading areas on both sides of the dam. The grounds do not have actual fire pits, generally people build them as desired. There is phone service but no electric or water hookups. The area is easy to access but there are not any signs that indicate you have arrived where you can camp, mostly locals come out during the summer months. Pets are welcome.

RV camping

The camping area is mostly occupied by long term RV campers. Many of the campers are employed in the nearby areas. Grounds offer water/electric/sewer hookups, there are also toilets available but no showers. The RV grounds are part of the city park which offers a splash pad (seasonal), large playground, pavilion, picnic areas, arboretum, and a short hiking trail (approximately one third of a mile). The RV sites are backed up by the sheriff's office/county jail the courthouse is down the road, and there is a police department across the street. This isn't to suggest that the area is dangerous, its a small town and everything is pretty much right there. Shopping and restaurants are within walking distance.

Lake Fork, a popular fishing lake is within a ten minute drive. Lake Quitman is less than ten minutes, generally this is where water sport activities occur. Pets are welcome.

Soothing

The campground is tricky to locate, I would recommend familiarizing yourself with the directions especially if you are arriving after dark. There are several miles of driving on a gravel forest road between the main highway and the campgrounds.

The campsites are relatively private, we pretty much had the campground to ourselves until after the first night. A very large family arrived and decided that the best campsite available was immediately next to us. Had it been full this wouldn't have been irritating, but there were more than a dozen other sites to choose.

Each campsite has a picnic table and a fire pit, there are toilets available but no showers and phone signal is sparse. River access is within a very quick walk, this section of the river is very calm. Overall the campground is isolated. Its about a fifteen minute drive to the park headquarters, popular trails, and other activities. The park is dog friendly, the surrounding trails are accessible for dogs.

Wooded camping

Campground offers modern sites with tables, fire pits, electric, and water hook ups. Facilities are nearby and always clean. The campground offers privacy and is generally well shaded by trees. There is a large playground and pavilion on the facility. The park also offers some of the best mountain biking trails in the state. There is also a lake with a swimming area and a paved walking trail around it. Since the campground is not secluded there are generally no issues with using phones or accessing shopping and restaurants.

Eisenhower

Campsites offer fire pits, water, electricity, easy access to facilities and trails. There is a swimming area that can be easily accessed. Sites are modern and not so far from a town that you are isolated and without phone service.

Hiking trails are challenging, they are also available to mountain bikes however the trail is challenging. You can also hike on the cliffs, which is the parks unique feature.

Calm

Campsites are modern, many have a waterfront view. The campsites are well shaded by trees, all have fire pits. Many sites have water and electric and facilities are easily accessed.

There are many things to do at the state park that are appropriate for all ages. Hiking trails are well shaded and not terribly difficult. Kayaks and canoes are available to rent, there are water trails mapped as well for those who enjoy boating. There are programs available for children as well.

The park is not far from town so there are many things to do nearby as well.

Desert camping

Campgrounds are modern with electricity, water, tables, and facilities nearby. The park is subject to being under a burn ban for a significant portion of the year. I forgot my shoes (this sounds crazy but it happens when you pack for five people and a dog), I really recommend having shoes at this campground. There are a lot of biting bugs and the trails are not easy to hike in flip flops. Trails are listed as being accessible for mountain biking, however they are not necessarily maintained for mountain biking. There is also a swimming area which makes the kids very happy.

Copper breaks is acknowledged as an International Dark Sky Park meaning that stargazing is spectacular. Kids can also catch fireflies, which are abundant in the evening and after dark.

Eight legged critters welcomed

The campgrounds are secluded and quiet, sites offer electricity, water, easy access to facilities. There is a swimming area and several miles of trails available. There is a small store that offers minimal supplies and fishing gear. Trails are easy and do not require much skill. Dogs are welcome.

This park is known for having one of the largest spider webs that have been located within the United States. The web is built by thousands of spiders and during the right time of year you can shine a light into the web or wooded area and see the eyes of the spiders reflect.

Rustic

Campgrounds are a little dated, however they are very well maintained. Sites offer shade structures, fire pits, nearby facilities, running water, and electricity. The area is subject to extreme temperatures and is under a burn ban for a large portion of the year due to the dry climate. The state park offers some of the most ideal trails in the state that are perfect for hiking, trail running, and mountain biking. The canyon is relatively isolated, however the nearest town is approximately a fifteen minute drive so if you forget something, stores are within a reasonable distance. The park is popular and campsites can be difficult to obtain, check the TPWD reservation site and plan your camping in advance. Dogs are welcome in the park, they can also access the trails.

Fantastic

We preferred the less modern camping areas to the ones that have water and electric available. The more primitive sites were more isolated and offered better views of the park. There are toilets available at all campgrounds except for the hike in sites. Each camp site offers a type of shading, tables, and fire pits. This area is subject to burn bans early in the camping season that generally last through the summer and into the fall. Dogs are welcome and are permitted to access the trails. There is a wild bison herd within the park boundaries, you can also view prairie dogs. Hiking and mountain biking are available, although I believe the trails are more appropriate for hiking and trail running rather than MTB. Not far from the park is an old rails to trails trail which allows for some interesting features. The local town is very small and does not offer much for shopping, try to have everything you need before getting into the area because it is very isolated.

Secluded

This state park is challenging to locate, especially at night. Familiarize yourself with the directions and try to arrive before dark.

There are many campsites available in many different areas of the park. Most of the sites are very private, have nearby facilities with showers, fire pits, tables, and trash bins. The sites all have access to trails and are close to water activities. The trails that are available are challenging, offer spectacular views and some history. There is back country hiking available, the park prefers that you register for a permit 24 hours in advance to accessing the back country trails. Some trails available are appropriate for mountain biking, however depending on the popularity of the trail is the level of maintenance that the trail receives. This state park is excellent for families because there are plenty of activities available that interest young kids.

Small

The campground is small with limited pads. Each site is close to the next and are generally occupied with RVs or camper trailers. I would suggest that this campground is most appropriate for the camper who prefers a more modern feel. There is ample cell phone service, WiFi is nearby, facilities are clean and modern. It is approximately a 15 minute drive into Mena, AR where you can find significant shopping. The campground is also near a large hotel. There are many hiking and mountain bike trails available in the area. A few miles down the road you can find an old fire tower which is interesting and can be accessed if you are daring. This area is dog friendly, dogs can access the trails as well. There are also some very neat driving trails, the bypass is a popular destination for motorcyclists which can offer some noise during the day. The park is also approximately a mile from the Oklahoma state line. This is a nice area for the avid cyclist, hiker, and motorcyslist.

Pleasant

Campground was alongside the highway, however the highway divides the state park, sites up the hill are farther away from the highway. We stayed on a site that was basically parallel with the main highway, however the trees offer privacy and noise reduction. There is water access and many trails that are available. Some campgrounds are closer to the state park's main geological feature which are the caves that infamous bank robbers used. This state park offered what I would consider typical of Oklahoma state park trails. They are poorly marked, more challenging than advertised, and not appropriate for certain types of activities. Generally when in Oklahoma I prepare for the worst to avoid a negative experience, and it works well for me. Horses do access some of the trails so horse flies are prevalent in those areas, I recommend bug spray.

We do intend to return to this area to camp again in the future.

Quiet and calm

Beavers Bend is a local "go to" for weekends, spring break, and summer. The park has had some set backs over the years do to significant flooding and funding for repairs. Campgrounds are mostly decent, and can become crowded. They are modern and large, however there are not showers available at all campgrounds, nor are there flushing toilets. There are many trails for hiking and mountain biking, for the most part the trails are not beginner friendly. Water activities are abundant, people often come to the area to float the river because the water is cool.

We generally do not camp here, but have. This is more of a day trip location for our family. If you plan to access the trails I would recommend over preparing as they are not generally well marked and in some cases they aren't passable as a result of flood damaged bridges which may not have been repaired.

Busy

Big Bend modern campgrounds are first come first serve, during popular seasons make sure that you arrive early and are prepared to not find a campsite. This can be very frustrating if you aren't prepared for it.

The campgrounds are modern and offer tables, access to facilities, running water, electricity, fire pits, and improved camping pads. Many of the sites are very small, so setting up a large tent or more than one small tent may be difficult. It gets hot and cold very quickly. The campground also has access to a store which is a short hike uphill, or an even shorter drive, however there is also a hotel up the hill so parking may prove to be difficult. Campground has trail access to one of the most popular trails in the park. The campground are dog friendly, however dogs are only permitted in areas where vehicles are permitted. There is no mountain biking permitted on hiking trails in this park, however the state park does provide MTB trails - dogs are still not permitted on state park trails.

We went during spring break, this is evidently a very popular spring break destination. We were very fortunate to secure a campsite.

Modern and quiet

Campsites are modern and very well shaded. They offer water access, electricity, are near facilities, have tables and fire pits. Many of the sites overlook the lake or have easy access to the lake. The area is unique because it is within minutes from Dallas but offers the quiet and solitude that an area farther away from a major city would provide. The trails in this area are fantastic, great for mountain biking, trail running, hiking with small children, etc… It does get relatively dry and hot during the summer, and despite the abundance of trees the trails remain relatively exposed to the sun. There are swimming areas available. If you forget something you have easy and relatively quick access to shopping.

This was our first camping trip as a family, we have learned a lot about camping since staying at this park a few years ago. We do regularly visit but don't camp here often.

Sunny and hot

We kicked our summer off with this campground a few years ago. The grounds are abundant with wildlife, and shade was not easy to come by. Fortunately, the river offers an excellent source for cooling off. While I frequently grade an area based on the trails, I realize that this state park offers a unique geological feature. This is an excellent place to camp during the summer if you prefer water activities that can be offered by the river. The campgrounds are modern, with nearby facilities, fire pits, tables, and easy to access trails. Given the dry environment, the area is subject to burn bans. Dog friendly and has a Jr. Ranger program available for kids.