Address: 417 Thousand Trails Dr, Whitney, TX 76692
Phone: (254) 694-4269
# of sites: 268
Full hookup price: From $51/day
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Warnings: No access to lake
Lake Whitney RV Campground is an old-fashioned park with many sites in various loops. Whitney sits slightly closer to Waco than Fort Worth, but both towns are within easy driving distance.
It's not as bad as we had heard. If that sounds odd, we had several comments from people who just don't like this park. We approached it with open minds and found a park that was very similar to one of our favorite Texas campgrounds at Medina Lake. Like that park, it is full of mature juniper and cedar trees and has a great deal of space, greenery and privacy between sites.
When not in pandemic mode, there are a good number of amenities available, including clubhouse, shuffleboard, swimming pool, whirlpool/spa/hot, restaurant, store, hiking trails, mini-golf, restroom/shower and laundry facilities, game room/billiards and a library. Unfortunately, most of these were closed during our stay, so I have no opinion as to their quality.
The campground's location in Central Texas makes it a natural stop for visiting the area. We drove to Waco a few times, including a stop at the Silos and Magnolia Farms, and during our next stay we'll probably visit Fort Worth. Dallas is only about a 90-minute drive away and within two hours you can find a myriad of lakes, rivers and creeks on which to go boating or fishing.
One of the downsides we were warned about was true- there are several sites and partial loops that have been closed for maintenance for quite some time. The spot we ended up in was in such a loop. If we had driven any farther we would have had to back out of the loop with no hope of turning around. We were fortunate that the site opposite of us was empty so I could use the space to exit.
There are very few 50-amp sites and those are almost always taken by seasonal campers. If 30-amp won't due, then skip this park.
They listed a dog park on their website but I never saw one. Perhaps it was in a closed section or near the pool and clubhouse, which I never visited since everything is locked up. But, their campground map doesn't show one either.
Though Waco and Fort Worth are within an hour or so drive of Whitney, the surrounding rural highways and ranch towns are as depressed as many areas of the South we have driven through. Waco itself is not a booming metropolis, with many sections of town to be avoided. I could have spent dozens of hours taking photos of abandoned and dilapidated houses and businesses.
Probably my biggest complaint would be that access to the lake is cordoned off. There is a primitive, rutted parking area near the trails that lead down to the lake that might hold 5 or 6 cars, but those trails were blocked. I crossed the ropes and walked to the lake for some photos and it looked like there was plenty of space for an enhanced parking and viewing area but no plans or marking for such construction was apparent. There was a mile or so of bank that would make for easy fishing, if one were so inclined.
The bottom line is that Lake Whitney RV Campground is worth staying in, especially if you need a respite on your way through Texas. The campground feel of the RV sites is a great improvement over the neighborhood-style resorts that are so popular, and being surrounded by trees and nature is calming. There are many downsides here, as I have mentioned, but enough positives to rate it a 3 out of 5 stars and give a measured recommendation.
Address: 11720 Thousand Trails Rd., Willis, TX 77318
Phone: (936) 856-7888
# of sites: 360
Full hookup price: From $55/day
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Warnings: Hot summer months
Lake Conroe is a large Texas lake that lies on the West Fork of the San Jacinto River, just west of Interstate 45 in Montgomery and Walker counties. The lake is a popular attraction for boating, jet-skiing, and fishing. We have stayed in the Lake Conroe RV and Camping Resort twice.
Lake Conroe is about 50 miles from downtown Houston and 100 miles from Galveston and the Gulf of Mexico.
This section of the country is very mild during winter and is a good alternative to Florida or Arizona for snowbirds. Though it is often in the mid-90's during summer months and rains, on average, six days every month all year long, I think you'll find the climate very agreeable most of the year.
Being in proximity to the Houston metro area gives access to all the shopping and restaurants you might be longing for, and the Gulf of Mexico is a couple hours away via Interstate 45. We really enjoy visiting Galveston and sightseeing on the Texas coast.
The Lake Conroe RV Resort is one of the Thousand Trails parks that is expansive, giving sites plenty of room, which we always appreciate, and most have full hook-ups. There was easily 30 feet or more between RV's in the sections we have stayed in. Most sites in the resort has 50 amp power and a few camping loops have only 30 amp. There is an extra charge for the higher power. Although there are a great deal of trees around the sites, there is ample access to sky for star gazing and satellite dish setup.
In addition to all of the normal amenities, the park has an extremely nice boat launch, with parking, boat docks and even boat rentals in their private marina. This makes using the lake for fishing and water sports as convenient as possible.
The Lake Conroe RV Resort is dog friendly, allowing pens and fences, and they have a small-ish off-leash dog park in a central location. A larger dog run would be desirable.
This part of Texas receives a lot of rain, as I had mentioned, which can put a damper on outdoor activities, especially on a shorter stay. You need to be flexible or fortunate to have the sunshine and warmth to accompany an outing.
Although this is a massive resort, it can still fill up during peak seasons and holidays, meaning you should put in your reservations as far in advance as possible and be prepared to put up with loud family activity into the night. For example, we were restricted to a day shorter stay than we requested on our last reservation and a neighbor couple wanted to extend their stay a few days and were turned down.
There is a downside in being so close to the fourth largest city in the country -- traffic. City traffic begins just about seven miles from the park and can be a clogged-up mess during rush hours, even that far from Houston. The highways and business routes just haven't kept up with the population growth, it seems.
Being so large a park means that walking to an amenity of the lake can be cumbersome and we ended up driving to them instead. This is a minor complaint, but long-term or seasonal residents are scattered around the camping loops, so us interlopers can receive attitude if we are staying nearby some of them, and they seem to congregate on the weekends late into the night.
Scenes from Galveston, TX
All-in-all, we rate this park 4 out of 5 stars, and Lake Conroe RV and Camping Resort is one of our go-to parks when we are in this part of the country. We highly recommend it to snowbirds, outdoors enthusiasts and RV'ers with families.
Address: 2690 Arena Road, Unadilla, GA 31091
Phone: (478) 627-3254
# of sites: 186
Full hookup price: From $395/month
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Warnings: Interstate noise
Unadilla, GA, is a small town about 45 minutes south of Macon and nearly two hours from Atlanta. It is an RPI park, an add-on for Thousand Trails memberships, and we paid a discount price of $12/night for 30 amp and full hookups. Its convenient location heading southwest from Virginia and visiting a friend in Byron were our primary purposes for choosing this campground.
This resort is open year-round and Unadilla has milder winters, meaning you can wait just a little bit longer in the year before heading to your usual winter home or region, such as Florida, Texas or Arizona. The campground has a small fishing pond onsite (catch and release) and the sites are above normal in width.
Southern Trails has several of the expected amenities, such as laundry facilities, bath house, swimming pool, miniature golf, and clubhouse, though most of those were closed during our stay due to the pandemic.
The biggest negative aspect of this park is its proximity to I-75, which was literally a stone's throw from our campsite. Tractor-trailer traffic is continuous, 24/7. There was no noise barrier at all (barbed wire doesn't block much sound), so, even though we were so close, the entire park is a noise pit. The campground caters to monthly customers, and a few of the longer-term residents mentioned that they had gotten used to the noise, but if you are staying a few days, this won't happen.
This resort looks well-past its heyday, with perhaps the exception of its newest loops. Amenities and buildings are old and dated, dirt pathways narrow and uneven, and any landscaping an afterthought at best. I mentioned that they cater to long-term residents, and we find that this type of guaranteed revenue focus tends to dissuade owners from spending much for improvements or maintenance to attract new campers. There just aren't any outstanding qualities.
There was plenty of space to have an off-leash park for dogs, but they did not have one. Speaking of dogs, we had a canine welcoming committee (the black dog in the photo), which was skittish but friendly and was wearing a harness and collar, so I was pretty certain he belonged to a camper in the resort. He wanted to play with our dogs but wouldn't let me see his tags, so I leashed up Rosie and Sadie and he followed us to the office. I tied off our dogs and stepped inside to give the park manager the scoop of a loose pet and the woman couldn't care less. She basically said that it was my problem, not hers, and she couldn't do anything about it. Fortunately, as we were walking back to our site, a young girl ran up and apologized for my having to deal with their dog. She had a leash with her and took him away with a smile. I was pretty put out with the staff not stepping up.
As an example of our noise problem, I took the video below at 3:30am from my bedroom window (next to my head when lying down), still awake due to the cacophony from the highway.
The bottom line is that we do not recommend this campground for anything but the shortest of stays, and even then we might suggest a couple nights Cracker-docking. Because the park wasn't trash-filled and the hookups all worked, I decided that two stars out of five was more appropriate than just one.
Address: 12014 Trails Ln Gloucester, VA 23061
Phone: (804) 693-6924
# of sites: 465
Full hookup price: From $58/day
Open: May 22-Dec. 31
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Warnings: Muddy after rain
On the eastern coast of Virginia, the Chesapeake Bay RV Resort sits on the bank of the Piankatank River, several miles upstream from the Chesapeake Bay. Nearby are three well-known towns of historical significance, as Colonial Williamsburg, Yorktown and the Jamestown Settlement make up Virginia's "Historical Triangle." Gloucester Courthouse, Mathews Courthouse and Urbanna are within a half hour's drive and offer historic museums, quaint shops and interesting dining, including on the waterfront. Virginia's central location along the East Coast gives residents and visitors easy driving access to the Outer Banks of South Carolina, Washington DC, Baltimore, the Jersey Shore and even New York City.
The first thing you notice when picking out a site is the considerable size of most of them. The 20-30' between rigs is a far cry from the ten feet from our neighbors we recently experienced. That has several benefits, such as space for large dog fences, less intrusion into neighbors' personal space, and even less noise from other families.
Speaking of dog fences, there is a nice, brand new off-leash park now set up behind the camp store. Our dogs really enjoy being off leash occasionally, and this garnered their approval.
This campground is not only on a wide river, but it is also supports a rather large pond, with at least one camping loop and several cabins nearby each body of water. The park has built a couple of docks and a few strips of beach on the Piankatank for its residents for boating, swimming and fishing. The river is of significant size and gives access to Chesapeake Bay nearly year-round, though the park is closed from January to May. It was also the site of numerous actions during the Civil War, adding even more historic places to visit.
Though we did not have the opportunity to use the amenities, everything you would expect to see in a quality resort is here, including a swimming pool and hot tub, mini golf, a clubhouse, a camp store and restaurant, laundry facilities, a game room, a banquet room, playgrounds and more.
The entire state of Virginia provides history buffs with unique opportunities, as it was one of the original thirteen American colonies, with Jamestown having been settled by the English in 1607. The home state of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and other founding fathers, Virginia obviously occupied a place of importance in the American Revolution. The city of Richmond became the capital of the Confederacy during the Civil War and more than half of the war's battles were fought in the state.
This park, like many older campgrounds, can quickly become a quagmire during and after rain, with more slop than grass or gravel in all of the camping loops. We were fortunate to arrive just after a rainy period and could select a site that was less muddy, even forgoing a 50 amp connection for 30 amp. It seems like more could be done to mitigate the problem, and perhaps there are plans underway. Even more gravel would help.
Only about a third of all campsites in the park have 50 amp power connections. While this is less important in the fall and winter, the east coast summer heat and humidity might require some to have it for air conditioning. Like most Thousand Trails resorts, sites are first come, first served, so there's no guarantee of getting the hookups you want.
We would highly recommend this resort during all but the mid-summer months. The low chance of 50 amp hookups in the the most populous and humid months of summer and the sometimes excessive amount of mud are the primary reasons I have not rated this park five out of five stars, though higher quality sites with pads wouldn't hurt either. We will keep this park as our go-to eastern midway point between north and south and return nearly every year.
Address: 405 Mollies Creek Rd, Gladys, VA 24554
Phone: (270) 749-2891
# of sites: 223
Full hookup price: From $52/day
Open: May 22-Oct. 29
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
The Lynchburg RV Resort lies in the heart of Virginia, is bordered by rolling hills and farm lands, and features a small lake. While its mailing address is in Gladys, the closest town with services is Rustburg, about 11 miles away. There are varying degrees of space between sites and most have gravel covering the clay-like ground that becomes sticky mud during and following a rainstorm. Some of the sites are pull-through, but most are back-in.
The resort has most of the amenities you would expect, such as laundry room, clubhouse, showers. miniature golf and seasonal pool, but they also have a splendid beachfront area along part of Grandview Lake's shore. The lake offers canoeing, fishing and swimming, as well as a pretty view. Outside of the pandemic restrictions, there is usually a restaurant operating on the grounds.
The camping loops wind through wooded grounds and green space. Most sites have full hook-ups, with a few offering 50amp service, and all spaces have sturdy picnic tables and some had grass. The grounds were clean and well-maintained. There are several nature hiking and bike trails around the grounds and between the camping loops and the lake and clubhouse.
Central Virginia has many historical landmarks and battlefields to visit. A short drive northeast gets you to Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, where Generals Grant and Lee met to bring an end to America’s Civil War, and the American Civil War Museum is just down the road from the Park. A longer jaunt will get you onto the Blue Ridge Parkway, known as “America’s Most Popular Scenic Drive," or to the Natural Bridge, a Natural Wonder of the World, both within a three-hour drive.
There were very few sites with sky access for a satellite dish, though I was able to place my dish tripod up on a picnic table and the signal barely cleared the treetops from my space. Like many campgrounds, the lake and clubhouse are a bit of a walk from the camping loops.
There were green spaces available for it, but they did not have an off-leash dog park. Walking the dogs after it rained meant traipsing through that sticky mud I talked about. Pets are welcome, but a dog park would be excellent.
There is really nothing that sets this campground apart from others. Perhaps they go above and beyond with activities when not in a pandemic, but, honestly, we stayed here for a few days a couple of years ago and I did not remember the park at all when we returned. For these reasons, I have rated this resort a 3 out of 5 stars.
Address: 1878 Mammoth Cave Parkway, Park City, KY 42160
Phone: (270) 749-2891
# of sites: 68
Full hookup price: From $52/day
Open: Year Round
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Warnings: Smaller campground
Tucked inside the Mammoth Cave region of Western Kentucky, Diamond Caverns RV Resort is one of the few tourist-oriented parks we have stayed in. On the resort's grounds (and walking distance from the campground) are the Diamond Caverns attraction and an 18-hole golf course. It is about a 75-minute drive to Nashville, Tennessee.
The closest supermarket is 12 miles away in Glasgow, and the closest restaurants are in Cave City, about an 8-mile drive up the Interstate.
Nearly all sites in Diamond Caverns RV Resort are full hookups and many have 50 amp. It is well-maintained and there is an abundance of green space throughout the park. Being a smaller park than most in the Thousand Trails family, most of the amenities, and even the dumpsters, are within easy walking distance. They have a pool, an excellent miniature golf course and, outside of pandemic times, what looks like a nice clubhouse and quiet room.
If you play golf, this is also one of the few Thousand Trails parks with a golf course attached. As far as the region, the resort is located six miles from the longest cave system in the world, Mammoth Cave National Park and the National Corvette Museum and Corvette Plant are just 20 miles south. The luscious Barren River Lake State Park is about 40 minutes away. When we checked in we were given a map with a list of over 100 attractions and destinations in the I-65 corridor, all within convenient driving distance.
The resort's reason for being, of course, is the cavern and it cost $20 per person to take the tour. As caverns go, Diamond Caverns don't compare to Luray in Virginia or Crystal in South Dakota, but it is an easy walking tour by comparison and it does offer enough of a variety of cavern structures to make the tour interesting. After looking at the guided tours online, we chose to see Diamond Caverns over Mammoth Cave, which was $18 per person, though either would probably be enjoyable.
As a photographer who enjoys taking shots of old and abandoned houses and barns, there was no shortage of subjects, with probably hundreds of photo opportunities during each drive around the region.
The counter help and business managers throughout Western Kentucky all seem to speak as sweetly as possible, even more than we noticed in other areas in the south. It's easy to get used to.
Sites in Diamond Caverns Resort are long and narrow, meaning that you are very close to your neighbors. With so few RV sites, in peak season reservations may be scarce. While the resort has plenty of green fields, all mowed and maintained, unfortunately they did not utilize any of them for off-leash dog space.
The Mammoth Cave National Park isn't anything like other national parks we have been to. There is no gated entrance, no entrance fee or park pass required, but also very little to see or do. The National Parks Passport gives no discount at all on tours or anything at all in the National Park. There are hiking trails, but my 1/4-mile nature walk to Sand Cave was not impressive and the woods are too thick to allow much scenery to enjoy.
Unlike our experience in Tennessee, where we saw virtually nothing but middle- and upper-class neighborhoods, there are many lower-income neighborhoods and farmlands in this part of Kentucky. Similar to what we saw in Louisiana and Alabama, there are houses and mobile homes that in most regions in the country would be abandoned and/or condemned, but here they have occupants. We surmised that with the economy of these counties being based on tobacco, which we saw everywhere, the crop's long downturn in America might be affecting jobs and income.
It was overly frustrating for me in attempting to get photos where roads were narrow, without any shoulders, but also as traffic was driving far faster than the roads dictated. I typically drive slowly on picturesque country roads, especially with narrow lanes, but I was tailgated without mercy or letting up, even when traffic was sparse, and I was forced to skip opportunities nearly everywhere we drove.
I would consider Diamond Caverns Resort a nice place for a personal retreat away from the hustle and bustle of city life. We highly recommend it during the off-season, when tourists are not flocking to Mammoth Cave or the onsite caverns, and when campsites are more available. It deserves four stars out of five for the park's cleanliness and serene location, as well as the numerous attractions in the area.
Scene: Competitive brothers-in-law live next door to each other on a suburban street, so when one puts Christmas lights outside his house, the other responds with a bigger and brighter set, unleashing a war of twinkling light-bulbs and neon displays which threatens to ruin both families.
Now, change Christmas lights to national Presidential campaigns, MAGA flags and Biden-Harris signs and you have the makings of a campground battle royale, and not very pleasant for other camping neighbors. Yes, you might be living full-time in your RV and don't have a sticks-and-bricks house in the suburbs to announce your allegiances. Yes, you have a right to post any political statements you want in your space (unless the campground rules prohibit it). Yes, you may well be smarter than everyone around you. And, yes, you might be a jerk.
Just because you can be a political animal in an RV resort doesn't mean you should. You must realize that friends and neighbors don't want to judge you; they want to have fun with you. In this polarized political climate, it makes no sense to alienate half of the people around you for no justifiable reason.
That being said, there are people who just can't help themselves, so I'm here to help them. Here h are some tips for staying out of the political fray:
1. No campaign signs or logos
Not much makes me angrier while traveling than to see décor from opposing candidates from those I support. I can easily ignore the local election materials, since obviously I don't have a dog in that hunt. But regional or national campaigns can be the tipping point for many American travelers. In a campground, that is magnified because of limited space and the unknown mix of out-of-state allegiances. Just say "no" to any political signs, flags or bumper stickers.
2. Have a small list of non-political topics handy
The weather usually makes a great topic for campground conversation. It's one of the subjects that most RV'ers can relate to and have stories about, along with black tank comedies and wildlife experiences. Perhaps a couple of poor experiences in other resorts would be interesting. If someone brings up a political issue, refer to your mental list and change the subject, stat!
3. Keep your TV volume down
Yes, you love the debates and your favorite news network. But why go to all the trouble of becoming apolitical in your park and then let the cat out of the bag via TV?
4. Avoid judgement
There are plenty of points of view to go around, and you don't have the corner on the market. If you, by chance, figure out that someone backs a party that's not yours, fight the urge to think poorly of them. Everyone has reasons for the way they think and for whom they support, and many people are single issue voters. Your party might not have that answer for them. Judge not lest you be judged. Believe me, it's much easier to talk sports or cooking with someone you don't think of as a moron.
5. Avoid becoming a political evangelist
I know what I think when I see a well-dressed couple coming to my door with a Bible in their hands... where can I hide? The last thing I want is a religious discussion at my front door. The campground should be a place of safety and comfort, in my opinion, and no travelers should be subjected to religious, political or marketing discussions that they want no part of, especially as members of a captive audience. Social media has given people a completely safe political space to preach to their heart's content. Your neighbors in the park can't just "unfriend and block" you in the non-digital world, so be kind and prevent the necessity.
So, I'm sure there are many other strategies you can think of. Please feel free to leave your suggestions as comments below.
Address: 14638 Travis Parkway, Caney City, TX 75148
Phone: (903) 489-0639
# of sites: 103
Full hookup price: From $35/day
Open: Year Round
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Shiloh on the Lake is on the shores of Cedar Creek Lake, a reservoir built for recreation and waterfront homes. It sits in a rural county, about an hour from the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area in East Texas. The campground is wooded and has about 2,000' of shoreline. Most RV sites have water and 50-amp power, and many have sewer hookups.
Shiloh's owners and staff are extremely friendly and helpful. The grounds take up almost 50 acres, so it's a sizable park for only 100 or so RV sites, They have cabins, screened shelters, boat trailer parking, a gazebo overlooking the lake, a roped swimming area, two docks and a fishing pier, and a fish-cleaning station.
Watersports and fishing opportunities are plentiful on Cedar Creek Lake and Shiloh's long waterfront gives campers ample space to dock or moor their watercraft and toys right at the campground. RV sites are not at all crowded in most of the park, and a few of them are close to the water's edge. The grounds are sloped and sandy, so mud is almost never a problem with rain.
Cedar Creek Lake is the fourth largest lake in Texas and has 320 miles of shoreline. The reservoir is 18 miles long and 8.5 miles wide at the widest point which offers plenty of space for everyone. You can rent a boat or take a guided fishing trip from several marinas and boating outlets on the lake. The county maintains three islands on the large reservoir as bird sanctuaries.
We were delighted to see an off-leash dog park, split by a fence between large and small dog areas. Beneath old-growth shade trees are benches for owners to rest, and there is a mix of grass and dirt for dogs to enjoy. Each side has a podium with waste bags and clean water bowls at fresh water faucets.
This campground primarily focuses on family recreation, so in peak season and on many weekends, there will be a large number of children afoot. Over Labor Day week, the park was full and extremely noisy. The thick wooded park also gives little sky view for satellite reception. Refuse bins are also quite a hike from many of the sites.
Like many rural campgrounds, Shiloh on the Lake is a bit of a drive from a larger town with a Walmart and other resources. The small towns around, such as Malakoff, Gun Barrel City or Caney City, do have a smattering of stores and restaurants, but you won't generally find what you're looking for without driving for a bit. Athens (and the nearest Walmart) is only 12 miles away, but it feels like 40, and the next closest city is Dallas, about an hour away.
All of the shoreline of Cedar Creek Lake is either privately owned or restricted by county facilities, with almost no public access open. This means that if you don't know someone on the lake, you'll have to access it from Shiloh. This is not ideal for photographing either the lake or wild birds.
The grounds are sandy, which is helpful for drainage, but also great for ants, which are everywhere through the campground. You will want to mitigate that exposure or you risk an infestation while you are parked, plus you'll have to do something to protect pets.
Shiloh on the Lake has many benefits and any detriments are far outweighed by its advantages. Better grooming, more sites with sewer hookups, a section cleared of trees for open sky, and perhaps more conveniently-placed trash bins would improve the property, but only slightly so. We would easily recommend Shiloh to RV owners, especially in off-season, so a 4-star rating is warranted.
Address: 1385 Old State Line Road, Saulsbury, TN 38067
Phone: (731) 376-0935
# of sites: 186 (140?)
Full hookup price: From $42/day
Open: 4/2 to 11/15
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Warnings: Few sites with sewer
Cherokee Landing is a bit misnamed. A "landing" is defined as "a place where persons or goods are landed, as from a ship." There is no such place on the small pond they call Lake Cherokee, so at best it is named with tongue-in-cheek. I guess they could have called it "Pirate's Cove" with the same effect.o
That said, Cherokee Landing Campground is about an hour or so from Memphis and just a couple of miles from the Mississippi border.
The campground is clean and provides a lot of green space and shade for its RV sites. The lake is picturesque, if not large, and provides opportunities for fishing and canoeing. The park itself is dog friendly, allowing fences and corrals outside of the rigs. Almost all sites have cement pads, picnic tables and barbecue grills.
The park's proximity to Memphis gives easy access to attractions such as paddle-wheel riverboat cruises, Graceland, a Victorian village, and more. Any drive in the region will be scenic and will provide views of a wide variety of small town Main Streets, homesteads and farms. We saw deer and an array of birds every day of our stay.
Sadly, one can easily see that Cherokee Landing was once a great resort. Its Thousand Trails page lists 339 RV sites, but their campground map shows only 186 numbered spaces. When I took a quick walk around the grounds I found that at least one complete loop in the woods has been chained off for quite some time, and the campsites within are fully overgrown and unusable. With various other non-maintained spaces unworkable, I'm guessing there are closer to 130 or 140 available sites in the campground.
Only 21 sites in the park have sewer hookups. There were only two available when we arrived off-season and the last was taken by the next day. I can't imagine a full-hookup site being available very often in the summer. The TT page also lists 50 amp as being available but we didn't see anything but 30 amp anywhere.
Most common buildings, such as the "Comfort Centers" (restrooms and laundry facilities) and the recreation center, are aged and tired. Washers and dryers appeared like they are in their third decade of use, though offered cheap pricing per load. The lake is diminutive and does not have a boat ramp for launching your own small craft.
Though dog friendly, there is no off-leash area, though there is ample lawn space for a fenced dog park in many sections of the grounds. There aren't any dog walking areas, per se, and no pedestals with waste bags.
I went back and forth on my rating of Cherokee Landing between two and three stars (out of five) and decided on the higher valuation, basically because it is a clean and comfortable campground that I would recommend, at least in the off-season or for long weekends when sewer hookups may not be needed. I also try not to let lost potential or a downward slide effect my rating directly.
Address: 1246 Rains County Road 1470, Point, TX 75472
Phone: (903) 598-2260
# of sites: 293
Full hookup price: From $59/day
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Around an hour's drive east of Dallas, Lake Tawakoni RV Campground gives a rural lake camping experience to a good-sized metropolitan area. The lake is substantial, having 36,700 acres of surface area and approximately 200 miles of shore line. It has become a popular lake for swimming, boating, water skiing, jet skiing, fishing, picnicking, duck hunting, and more.
Unlike a few of the Thousand Trails resorts we've been to recently, there are plenty of full hookup sites in this park, and several 50 amp sites for Thousand Trails members. We were able to grab a site on the lake shore, which, again, is unusual for membership resorts. The sites are spacious, with many green spaces scattered between sites around the campground. Our site even had a large rock-paved patio with a sturdy picnic table about 12 feet from our front door.
There is also a great deal of shade throughout this park and, along with all the usual amenities, there is even a driving range for golfers. The shade offers some respite from the heat of the summer and gives campers a forest experience.
Lake Tawakoni itself is a draw for fishing and water sports and several visitors had bass and sporting boats with them, either on their nearby lake shore or in the site to take to the boat ramp. There are watercraft rentals and guided trips available in several of the small towns around the lake. Lake Tawakoni is known as the "Catfish Capital of Texas", but offers good to great fishing for several species of bass and crappie. The average hybrid bass on the lake weighs about 7 to 8 pounds.
As roomy as the sites are, they are also pretty muddy during and after rainstorms. The annual rainfall here is almost 40 inches, so chances are you get some precipitation, especially in the summer months. This section of Texas is a bit south of the primary path of severe storms, but not south enough to avoid them completely. There have been 142 tornadoes reported in and around Point, TX, since 1950 and they average two per year.
The roads through the park are also old and rough, with no smooth driving anywhere in the resort. I don't know if this is the case during winter months, but in August it was very hot and we were inundated with millions of gnats, especially drawn to any lights at night. Just taking the dogs for a walk in the evening allowed hundreds of gnats into the house. We never did figure out a good way to avoid it, however, the good news is that they didn't seem to be biting us.
There is no off-leash dog park here, though they have an huge amount of open space in which to assemble one. I would hope that one is in future plans.
Cell coverage is spotty in this region for all three of our providers -- Verizon, AT&T and Sprint. We have been able to get by for Internet with our booster, but making and getting calls has been sporadic.
A satellite dish will be useless in about 90% of the park. The thick forest canopy exists throughout the park and only the fortunate few who have sites on the north side of the open fields or with an open window above them can get their dish receiving satellite signals. I had one of those windows just south of my site and, after a couple of hours of moving the dish around, I was finally able to get my dish to see two out of its normal three satellites, though one was flaky and neither worked with any rain falling at all.
All-in-all, Lake Tawakoni RV Campground deserves a good rating, and I think of it as one of the better resorts we have stayed in. We plan on returning in the winter months when it's not so hot. The lack of an off-leash park and the condition of the roads and sites are the only things keeping this from being one of my 5-star resorts.
Jack Huber is a novelist with 7 mysteries published, along with several books of poetry and photography. Now retired, he and his wife, Nadyne, are free to travel the country in their 32' 5th wheel and 1-ton Ford pickup.