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Date of Stay:
March, 2017 -
Urban RV camping can be a disappointing experience. Crowded sites, parking lot aesthetics, bright lighting, and really, all of the things that can ruin a sense of home. Thankfully, when visiting Austin, you have another option with McKinney Falls State Park. Only ten miles from downtown Austin, this relatively spacious park makes for a perfect home base when visiting the city of weird. The spots are absolutely enormous with wooded separation between each site and plenty of land to spread out and enjoy the evenings. The sites come with a picnic table, fire ring with grate and a lantern pole. The sites are relatively level and paved. All sites have water and electric connections, but no sewer connections. However, the dump station is large and convenient. The bathroom facilities are little worn with frequent use. However, they are kept relatively clean considering the amount of traffic. Water pressure is adequate with good access to warm water. The park provides a large number of extremely beautiful hiking trails with ample wildlife spotting opportunities. I don't think I've ever encountered as many deer in one park as I have here, including several bucks. Plenty of birds are also to be found. One night along the river banks, I came across a huge colony of roosting egrets. Quite a sight. The falls themselves are also quite pretty, I personally liked the upper falls the best. Now for the downside, although this isn't really something the park can do much to correct. First, you are in Austin, a college town. You should expect to get some people looking to party in the campsites during the weekends. We did on both weekends we were there. However, during the week the park really empties out and you really get a sense of refuge from the bustling city near by. Secondly, during the days on the weekends, the park is quite popular with locals. This can lead to long lines at the park entrance. We camped at McKinney Falls State Park in a Travel Trailer.
Date of Stay:
February, 2017 -
We spent a week at this delightful small park on the outskirts of Beaumont, Texas in the suburb of Lumberton. While much of the park was severely damaged by recent flooding, great steps have been made in restoring the park and all of the electric/water spots are open. However, the walk-in tent spots are currently closed. The spots that are available are a little closer together than you will find in most state parks, but some are separated by thick growth and trees that provide a good deal of privacy. The spots are packed gravel and relatively level. They all come with a picnic table, benches, fire pit and raised tent platform. Facilties are in good shape and well cared for. There is Wi-Fi in the park, however, it's extremely slow (around 128kbps) so don't rely on it for anything substantial. The park has some wonderful trails through some primoridal bayou country. While you won't get any great vistas, it's quite peacful and beautiful land. However, don't forget this is lowland to be sure, if it rains, the trails can get quite messy quickly, especially with the tracks from the repair vehicles. Be prepared for some messy shoes. We camped at Village Creek State Park in a Travel Trailer.
Date of Stay:
January, 2017 -
We were in Grapevine for a business trip and needed somewhere relatively central to stay for a few days. The Vineyards Campground and Cabins were perfect for our needs. While right in the middle of Grapevine and the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, you can almost believe you are out in the country. The spots are extremely large with many spots looking out onto the water. However, there are very few established trees so you won't get any privacy from your neighbors. The spots are paved and extremely level. The hookups are modern and easy to use. Since we were only there for three days, we never really used the facilities, but everything we saw was extremely clean and tidy. The WIFI is technically only available on the east side spots, but with our WIFIRanger, we were able to easily see the connection. That said, this was pretty standard park WIFI with speeds hovering at 1Mbps and slower. Good enough for light use, but not very practical for work purposes. There is one downside to the campground which will definitely spoil the countryside vibe. If the wind is blowing out of the south, you may find yourself right in the flight path of airplanes landing at DFW airport. This was the case on our first night and it can be a pretty constant rumble. Not deafening, but you will certainly notice it. All in all, this was a very nice campground that met our specific needs. Generally, we don't need or want to camp this close to a city, but it was a nice place when we needed it. We camped at The Vineyards in a Travel Trailer.
Date of Stay:
September, 2016 -
It's located on a somewhat steep slope that is easy to navigate, but because of the layout of the park, doesn't give many trailers a view of the reservoir. Sites are gravel but are pretty level. Ours only required one block to get perfectly level. As an older park, it has the wonderful advantage of having lots of mature trees, in this case very pretty Aspens that line the road and separate the sites.
Less attractive is the doubling up of rigs into single driveways. We had a large diesel rig warm up his engine to depart and because he was backed up within about 2 feet of the rear of our trailer, he was able to force us out of the Airstream to get some fresh air, light headed and smelling of fumes. Thankfully, most people here seem to come to stay for a while so this only happened once.
As on-the-road internet workers, the internet here really was our big issue. There is no real cell phone signal here, just an occasional roaming 1x signal for Verizon. With the booster, we could make phone calls but that was about it. The park does provide Wifi with antennas scattered through out the park to provide a strong signal throughout the park. The speed seems to be throttled to about a 1Mbps speed which is perfectly adequate for us to work. However, they have some pretty severe data caps that come into play that will make it difficult for any road work warriors. They seem to throttle you down to 250kbps after about 300-400 MB in a single day. Don't forget to turn off your Apple photos upload and attempt to upload more than 1GB, they will cut off your connection entirely. However, the office staff was extremely nice and helpful and turned us back on after that little incident. That said, we ended up going into Gunnison to the public library or one of the coffee shops in town to get our work done on several days. If you just need email and light web browsing, this park will be great, but if you need to put in an 8 hour day, this may not be the place for you. We camped at Gunnison Lakeside RV Park & Cabins in a Travel Trailer.
Date of Stay:
August, 2016 -
Affordable RV camping in the Yellowstone/Grand Teton area is hard to come by. We were happy therefore to find a more affordable option just across the Tetons from Jackson, WY in Victor, ID at the Teton Valley RV Park. The regular full service spots are pretty close together and at between $51-$62 a night were a bit pricy for what you get. However, they have several grass-lined water and electricity only sites that are really nicely spaced with a nice view over the fields towards the mountains. Additionally, at $43 a night, this is pretty good rate for the area where spots can go for upwards of $150 a night. Additionally, they have a 10% discount for Good Sams members.
The bathroom facilities are kept extremely clean. The water pressure at the site is nice as well. The WiFi is slow but adequate, with about a 1Mbps maximum speed but dropping down to 250kbps during peak times. They had a pool available, but we didn't partake during our visit. However, it looked clean and well maintained.
The staff is super friendly. When we were backing in, we managed to crush our seven pin connector for the trailer. One of the work campers gave us some fantastic advice for implementing a permanent repair.
Maybe best of all, is that being across the range from Jackson makes this a pretty relaxing place to call temporary home. Victor is mostly a bedroom community for people who work in Jackson, but with some nice restaurants and with access to just about everything you could need. And when you are ready to see Jackson or get to the Grand Tetons, it's just a short 25 minute drive albeit over a rather steep pass. We camped at Teton Valley RV Park in a Travel Trailer.