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Review Count: 9
States Visited: 5
Helpful Reviews: 5

Manatee Hammock Campground, Titusville, Florida

Date of Stay: January, 2016 - $25.00
Overall Rating:

Located a few miles south of Titusville, Florida on highway 1 and just across the Indian River lagoon from the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, this Brevard County campground is nicely situated as a base camp for Space Coast explorations. The familiar giant launch site buildings are clearly visible from the park's shore and pier, just a few steps from the camping area. Launches happen periodically (not while we visited); information is published on the Kennedy Space Center site. We chose this campground as an intermediate stop on our first wintering voyage from the West Coast, conveniently situated between Orlando and points further south (Miami area), and to compare and contrast the Kenndy Space Center with Houston's Johnson Space Center, which we saw earlier in the trip. Cocoa Beach and Satellite Beach on the Atlantic are also a short drive away (~25-45 minutes or 22-30 miles respectively). We were a bit naive on January weather in this part of Florida, with some cool and very wet storms encountered during our week (perhaps influenced by El Niño), dropping Oak and Palm branches onto camps and roads. Generally, a picturesque if compact coastal campground with tight spaces and noise if you are too close to the highway or train. Mostly level, sandy dirt driveway surface with OK positioned basic utilities and picnic table. WiFi signal strong with something like 9 hotspots, not too high speed as expected but was able to stream somewhat. Nice dog park, newish fishing pier, and canoes available. Apparently quite a few longer-term residents, including families. Two good sized and well maintained shower/restroom/laundry facilities not counting ADA restrooms, plus pool and rec room. We would consider staying here again if in the area, though more as a way station than a destination per se and being more careful about time of year next time. We camped at Manatee Hammock Campground in a Motorhome.

Value
Clean Restrooms
Service
Clean Showers
Cleanliness

Site Details

Campsite
Site Number
135
Site Surface
Dirt, Sand
Campsite Features
Picnic Table

Campground Details

Space Between Lots
Very Close
Sun & Foliage
Mostly Shady, Covered Forested
Tips for other Campers:

Besides several tourist destinations nearby like the Kennedy Space Center and Atlantic Ocean Beaches (Cocoa/Satellite), a supermarket is located nearby. We did laundry at the laundromat south of the campground on the way in, but really the machines and capacity in Manatee seems fine. Choose the sites away from Highway 1 and train tracks to minimize noise.

Review Count: 9
States Visited: 5
Helpful Reviews: 5

Cagle Recreation Area, New Waverly, Texas

Date of Stay: January, 2016 - $19.00
Overall Rating:

Cagle Recreation Area is located about six miles west of the New Waverly, Texas turnoff from Interstate I-45. The turnoff onto the state road is a pleasant, straight drive on an excellent road through part of Sam Houston National Forest, and portends the native greenery to come. Situated on the eastern shore of Lake Conroe, Cagle is deservedly highly reviewed for its escape with all the basic hookup amenities. Not sure when this was created, unlike another Sam Houston recreation area named "Double Lake" nearby that was built during the CCC days, Lake Conroe itself has only come into being as a Houston drinking water reservoir and recreation area in 1973. The lake is 21 miles long and 21,000 acres in area. Campsites are situated away from the roads generally though one can hear some state highway traffic during the day, especially on the bridge across the northern part of the lake nearby. Verizon signal extremely weak as was AT&T cell phone service, so only minimal contact with outside world feasible here. While the inner loop sites for Sweet Gum have no shrubbery to speak of, and we value privacy, we nonetheless chose to move upon our arrival from an outer to inner site due to almost nobody else in the campground besides friendly hosts during our early December stay, wider spacing and most of all much more level sites. The larger Sycamore campground has a few choice lake front sites that were occupied and more campsites generally, whereas the Sweet Gum loop is more modest, quieter and seemingly tucked away in the forest more.

Explore the paved trail with 3 bridges across streams for marvelous shady views of lake & native vegetation. The longer unpaved trail is ~1.5 miles, OK for 1-2 hr walk. From USFS: "The smaller loop, Sweet Gum, is more open... Although widely spaced, there is no middle story, providing poor privacy... Sycamore Loop... campsites are closer providing minimal privacy." Actually, outer part of loops are widely spaced & offset both geometrically & by elevation, pretty private.

Some absolutely beautiful days spent there at this time of year, mostly vacant though there was a surge during the weekend as nice weather prevailed and apparently enticed Houstonians to come (a bit unnerving, just a week later a tornado touched down at New Waverly and caused some damage, so be aware of weather changes!). Overall, one of our more enjoyable intermediate stops as we made our way across the country. We camped at Cagle Recreation Area in a Motorhome.

Value
Clean Restrooms
Service
Clean Showers
Cleanliness

Site Details

Campsite
Site Number
015
Site Surface
Asphalt
Campsite Features
Fire Ring, Picnic Table, Patio

Campground Details

Space Between Lots
Spacious
Sun & Foliage
Some Shade, Covered Forested

Review Count: 9
States Visited: 5
Helpful Reviews: 5

Topsail Hill State Preserve, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida

Date of Stay: December, 2015 - $42.00
Overall Rating:

We triangulated on this resort in the Florida panhandle guided by this website's favorable consensus reviews for our first substantive stop, maxed out at the two weeks permitted around Christmas and New Year's, during our months long expedition seeking to escape the cold, dark, dreary, and wet Oregon winter where we call home. Luckily, we got a few days of uncharacteristically warm and partly sunny if breezy weather in the mid 70's, part of this year's record setting temps in the East though feeling at the fringes some of the tornadoes rocking states to the north, perhaps related to the El Niño. This part of Florida though is not reliably warm at this time of year, as we learned. This state park has a beautiful clean, white sand beach and mossy green Gulf seas that extends for miles on these barrier islands, about 0.7 mile 20-30 minute flattish walk through unspoiled native Florida forest or trams run every 2 hours (5x daily) at this time of year. With tax and reservation fee, worked out to $48 per night, on the high side. We stayed in site 161 and 002, former nice but the latter a mistake as close to hi way 30A and apparently older area not maintained well. Reserved months in advance and I'm fastidious about site choices but missed this as photos and maps don't give full picture. A significant fraction of sites have broken, uneven asphalt or concrete, not clear why these aren't fixed given park revenue and pride are so high, so plan carefully. Utilities ok and included robust cable, unusual for state park. WiFi limited to camp store area so par for state parks, behind curve though for a higher standard Florida seems wanting to achieve. Laundry ok, 8 washers and 7 dryers (a couple broken) $1.50 per cycle. Restrooms and showers ok, clean but dated with broken or missing fixtures. Annoying leaf blowers during day interfered with enjoyment in campsite. Nonetheless, while imperfect, an overall pleasant natural location with good amenities and lots to see. We camped at Topsail Hill State Preserve in a Motorhome.

Value
Clean Restrooms
Service
Clean Showers
Cleanliness

Site Details

Campsite
Site Number
161
Site Surface
Concrete
Campsite Features
Picnic Table

Campground Details

Space Between Lots
Spacious
Sun & Foliage
Mostly Shady
Tips for other Campers:

Across the highway but driving distance is a Walmart. Nearby but a bit further are grocery stores and restaurants supporting a very touristy area, though state park is a vast natural preserve and oasis.

Best and newer, more private sites are in the Palm loop 100's. Avoid lower numbered sites. Some older sites situated on a lake, which appear nice (might be mosquitoes though). Choose sites carefully months in advance.

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Review Count: 9
States Visited: 5
Helpful Reviews: 5

Stephen F. Austin State Park, San Felipe, Texas

Date of Stay: December, 2015 - $32.00
Overall Rating:

This state park is about 3 miles north of I-10. We stopped for a couple of nights as a brief stay over on our way from San Antonio to the Houston area, sandwiched in time between the last part of the very busy Thanksgiving weekend and deer hunting season, in which they clear the park completely. As noted on their website, they are rebuilding the main bridge into the park and will require campers following the usual check-in at their front gate, to backtrack a bit to Peters San Felipe Road and come in a temporary detour to the camping areas themselves. Looks like folks didn't factor in the "daily admission" fee of $5pp, which brings the rate close to $32/nite (annual pass may economize some). The park is a scenic forest that includes large trees (a few native pecan) and Spanish Moss, and the Brazos River. We encountered an extremely wet period that was good for restoring Texas' aquifer following years of drought, but made for dreary camping with closed trails. During more seasonal weather, the ample campsites with tables and fire rings provides space for enjoyable if not completely private camping, with quiet nights (and lots of deer grazing nearby). Park staff at the front office were congenial and efficient, hosts not seen much. Diminishing the parks attractiveness in our view were the single small, outdated bathroom / shower facility servicing all the spread-out campers with no paved or gravel trail (if you are not nearby it is effectively useless as it can entail hiking along the road a fair ways), and the tight, unlandscaped, rough not-quite-level asphalt road pull-outs (there are no back-ins here). Buildings appear in need of a repainting or at least application of a good de-mossing agent. Probably nice enough when weather is cooperative and not crowded but dated facilities, camp layout and infrastructure bring this down a notch compared to other similar Texas lake facilities rated on rvparkreviews. We camped at Stephen F. Austin State Park in a Motorhome.

Value
Clean Restrooms
Service
Clean Showers
Cleanliness

Site Details

Campsite
Site Number
3
Site Surface
Asphalt
Campsite Features
Fire Ring, Picnic Table

Campground Details

Space Between Lots
Spacious
Sun & Foliage
Some Shade, Covered Forested
Tips for other Campers:

The recommended area is on the Northern / Eastern outer loop (high 30's), probably due to proximity to river and restrooms. Note though that dump station is also in that area, and a notable hum emanates from a water treatment facility on the Eastern side. Southern sites in the low numbers are close to a children's playground.

Review Count: 9
States Visited: 5
Helpful Reviews: 5

Cheney State Park, West Shore Area, Cheney, Kansas

Date of Stay: November, 2015 - $19.00
Overall Rating:

Cheney State Park is located ~20-30 minutes from Wichita, yet is a world away in rural countryside quietude. Sites are large and mostly well spaced. We arrived in early November, and enjoyed warmer than average fall days that were around 70 for highs. The site hosts were very friendly and helpful. Before we arrived, we were advised by phone to go to the Smarsh campground as having water still turned on, which was the case. Unfortunately, there was no sewer hookup and even more surprisingly as there was a steady stream of campers, all bathrooms and shower facilities were completely closed for the season. There were several dump stations in the vicinity. A pleasant stay during the weekdays was tarnished somewhat during the weekend, where apparently extended family reunions on neighboring sites generated much noise and traffic. If the sites had sewer connections and bathrooms/showers had been open when we camped, this campground would have rated higher, similar to nice Corps of Engineers facilites (though this was Dam built with Bureau of Reclamation). We camped at Cheney State Park, West Shore Area in a Motorhome.

Value
Clean Restrooms
Service
Clean Showers
Cleanliness

Site Details

Campsite
Site Number
Smarsh Campground
Site Surface
Gravel
Campsite Features
Fire Ring, Picnic Table

Campground Details

Space Between Lots
Spacious
Sun & Foliage
Mostly Shady
Tips for other Campers:

During the fall consider using your tank water to choose one of the less crowded sites nearer the lake. Check out the Spring Creek Nature Trail with an extensive boardwalk across forested wetlands.

Review Count: 9
States Visited: 5
Helpful Reviews: 5

Lake Murray State Park / Elephant Rock, Ardmore, Oklahoma

Date of Stay: November, 2015 - $18.00
Overall Rating:

Lake Murray, located near the Texas border of Oklahoma, is Oklahoma's first state park and some say its best. Elephant Rock is located midway along the Western shore, a short drive off the Interstate south of Ardmore and about 1 mile North of the park headquarters, which itself is near the lodge, cabins, and chapel and across from a regional small plane airport and golf course. There are a couple of other campgrounds around Lake Murray and reviewed on rvparkreviews, one evidently permitting ATVs and another adjacent to the marina landing. Seemingly not reviewed (or perhaps considered part of Elephant Rock) is another excellent peninsula campground named "Tipp's Point" with gorgeous lake views adjacent to Elephant Rock, that appears to be less used or known. Not sure why, as there's a number of excellent back-ins and pull-throughs, at least some with full hook-up. Not aware of the history behind the name "Elephant Rock", but there is a large rock sitting just offshore (requires some imagination). The sites next to the shore are nice, though carry a "premium" charge (are clearly marked) and not supporting sewer, so we settled on a site closer to the entrance. The sites are first-come, first-served, and were more than adequate when we arrived late afternoon in November (note gate closes ~10 pm), but weekends got busier and it might fill up at peak times in the summer, so plan accordingly. The sites were very level and well-spaced, with many quite private. Quarters are used for the new shower rooms, but you can still find free showers in the older building away from the lake. A surprise for a state park, there was a laundry available, albeit with only two washers and two dryers (plus one washer was out when we were there). The host was friendly and helpful, and the park was well patrolled by park rangers. Maintenance & cleaning was good though the older bathrooms needed some paint on the doors and floor. It was nicely quiet & dark at night. We camped at Lake Murray State Park / Elephant Rock in a Motorhome.

Value
Clean Restrooms
Service
Clean Showers
Cleanliness

Site Details

Campsite
Site Number
24
Site Surface
Concrete
Campsite Features
Fire Ring, Picnic Table, Patio

Campground Details

Space Between Lots
Spacious
Sun & Foliage
Mostly Shady
Tips for other Campers:

Most of the forest was oak, elm, hickory, and red cedar, with a very pleasant and bike-able asphalt trail through it. Verizon LTE and TV signals received with usable strength. Check out the rock tower on the opposite Eastern shore (history on Wikipedia). Ardmore is good for groceries.

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Review Count: 9
States Visited: 5
Helpful Reviews: 5

Alamo River RV Resort, Von Ormy, Texas

Date of Stay: November, 2015 - $37.00
Overall Rating:

This friendly family run campground is located in a nicely rural setting about 17 miles SW from the tourist epicenter of San Antonio, including the historical Alamo, San Jose Missions National Park, and the charming downtown San Antonio River Walk with its old churches (visit the San Fernando cathedral). The 97 acre Alamo River RV Ranch only includes "Alamo" in its name as a widespread SA area marketing tool; the river that flows along it is actually the Medina River (there is no such thing as the "Alamo River," though there is in fact a "Woman Hollering Creek" in the region!). As others have mentioned, the upper part of the RV Ranch is developed as a standard private RV campground, with many pull-through, full-service gravel sites with a picnic table and small grassy area. Semi-permanent residents appear to be parked around the perimeter area, some evidently working in nearby oil fields and mostly in trailers, but they mostly keep to themselves. The first night we arrived a bit after the gate closed, but were able to get quickly ushered in to our site. For most of the week it was quiet, though the Thanksgiving weekend got busy and we ended up with a big family including a trailer and tent adjacent to us. What truly distinguishes this park is the spectacular lower area next to the Medina River, reached by passing by the horse and cattle acreage. Down there are water-only sites reachable by dirt roads, but was primarily enjoyable to us as a marvelous example of quiet, unspoiled South Texas parkland with many deer and birds (look for the white doe). While we typically gravitate to state and county parks, this had some of the feel with a strong WiFi to boot. There is evidence of pride in the maintenance of the restrooms / showers / laundry and congenial staff with engaging stories to tell. We camped at Alamo River RV Resort in a Motorhome.

Value
Clean Restrooms
Service
Clean Showers
Cleanliness

Site Details

Campsite
Site Number
126
Site Surface
Gravel
Campsite Features
Fire Ring, Picnic Table, Patio

Campground Details

Space Between Lots
Very Close
Sun & Foliage
Sunny Open
Tips for other Campers:

If you are without a car to get to downtown, consider a taxi as there is much color to see.

Review Count: 9
States Visited: 5
Helpful Reviews: 5

South Shore Park on Lake Bastrop, Bastrop, Texas

Date of Stay: November, 2015 - $36.00
Overall Rating:

Lake Bastrop is a medium-sized lake (1.4 sq. miles) built by the Lower Colorado River Authority or LCRA in 1964. The LCRA was formed by the Texas legislature in 1934 to manage water and power for the state, and has several parks like this one at Lake Bastrop with information available on lcra.org and reservable via ReserveAmerica.com. Similar on a state level to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers campgrounds and facilities, we found this area beautiful, with spacious and well-maintained campsites at the South Shore area of the park arranged in a couple of loops near to the lake (though mostly not with direct lake views). The nicely-landscaped front office was situated at the gate, with a pleasant check-in from a helpful staff lady. Note that the gate to the campsite is closed at around 6pm, so you will need to contact them if you expect a later arrival. Besides the campsites, there are bunkhouse cabins available and a day use area with a somewhat manicured small beach and plentiful picnic areas with trails that lead around the lake. Rest rooms were conveniently located throughout the park, with two showers plus restrooms next to the campsite (not counting yet another set next to the cabins). Each of the two shower plus restroom buildings had four sets of ADA (wheelchair) compatible large, heated, high-ceiling units each with shower, toilet, and sink with soap and metal mirror. The hot water was plentiful and these were cleaned daily, though I did have to "clear" a few fiddleback spiders and small worms, and did see a few webs at the top (standard critters in campground showers). Hosts were visible with at least two set up at the two loops plus another at the day use area, and efficient and diligent in their cleaning operations, if noisy with the gas (diesel?) powered Cushmans (not sure why they all don't use quieter electric, esp. as the LCRA lake generates power - you will see some power lines over the lake). Needs some erosion control but great overall. We camped at South Shore Park on Lake Bastrop in a Motorhome.

Value
Clean Restrooms
Service
Clean Showers
Cleanliness

Site Details

Campsite
Site Number
28
Site Surface
Concrete
Campsite Features
Fire Ring, Picnic Table

Campground Details

Space Between Lots
Spacious
Sun & Foliage
Some Shade, Covered Forested
Tips for other Campers:

Don't confuse this with North Shore, another smaller LCRA site at the lake (we arrived there first due to GPS issue). Check directions and don't rely on GPS entirely, as confirmed by park staff GPS assumes a gated dirt maintenance road communicates to the South Shore - it doesn't. If coming from the NE / Elgin area, continue into Bastrop intersection with 21, turn left and watch for signs to South Shore. A nicely quiet and dark park, check out the trails!

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Review Count: 9
States Visited: 5
Helpful Reviews: 5

Emigrant Springs, La Grande, Oregon

Date of Stay: August, 2015 - $24.00
Overall Rating:

The Emigrant Springs State Heritage Area near Meacham, Oregon is a nice stopover, positioned as it is just off the Interstate I-84. Regrettably, adjacent highway noise, at least well into the evening is a nuisance from the main East-West artery, which keeps this park from getting a perfect score in our book. After researching the available campsites and photos on ReserveAmerica, I chose site B07 as one of the spacious full hookup sites (limited availability though planned months in advance), but if it had been available, it would have been better to choose something on the other side of the B loop, which oddly has lights on their electrical hookup (generally we like darkness in our parks to see stars and feel remote), but the light might be a convenience to some. However, even these sites do not provide much better respite from the highway noise and when we were there at least, seemed to have a faint sewer-related odor, perhaps as these are nearer to the bathroom facilities. The showers and bathrooms were spotless, very well maintained even by high Oregon State Park standards, and we were surprised to read this park is decades old, parts of it built during CCC days, as everything is in excellent condition. Site was level, not too busy during weekday August stay (few tent campers in particular). Hosts very accessible and friendly. Verizon MiFi worked very well and a few over the air digital TV channels were found at night (not during daytime) from the Southern Washington Tri-Cities area (not mainstream channels but some local news and weather that kept us posted on regional fires and smoke that have been plaguing the West summer 2015). We would (and will) return for 1-2 night stays on our trips in/out of the state given routing convenience, value, maintenance, few nice (though unmarked) trails, and site size and amenities, but will not make this a destination or extended stay due to highway noise and not as much "heritage" as we thought we might find from early Oregon Trail travelers (such as wagon marks in Idaho and other areas for example, though there was a restored covered wagon, a presidential plaque, a nice historical display and marker). Interesting tidbit: A knowledgeable host informed us that the original "Emigrant Springs" was covered by I-84 when constructed in the 1950's. We camped at Emigrant Springs in a Motorhome.

Value
Clean Restrooms
Service
Clean Showers
Cleanliness

Site Details

Campsite
Site Number
B07
Site Surface
Concrete
Campsite Features
Fire Ring, Picnic Table

Campground Details

Space Between Lots
Spacious
Sun & Foliage
Some Shade
Tips for other Campers:

Our GPS wanted to take us a bit off from the campsite proper, watch the well-marked signs for Emigrant Springs plus campsite pointers as you get close and you will be fine. Don't confuse this park with "Emigrant Lake County Park" which is near Ashland, Oregon, in the Southern part of the state, nowhere close to this Emigrant Springs State Heritage Area in the Eastern part of Oregon. If noise is an important consideration, then look for sites on the opposite side from I-84 (same side as bathroom). However, the noise only diminishes a little there so you might look for something away from I-84 entirely. We found it an acceptable compromise for a short 1-2 night stop, just wouldn't like for extended stay. Chose "concrete pad" as site surface in RV Park Reviews selection list as closest, but more accurately is really an asphalt surface.

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