Camping along a river where dinosaurs roamed 113 million years ago?! Yes, please!Read More
OFF FOREST DEVELOPMENT RD 67
FRANKLIN NC 28734
Standing Indian Campground is located in the Nantahala Forest in Southeast North Carolina. Located just south of the Great Smoky Mountain Range within the Nantahala National Forest, this campground served as our viewing site for the August 21st total solar eclipse. Here you'll find great hiking, fishing, hunting and primitive, improved, RV and group campsites. It is well-know to hikers due to its access to the iconic Appalachian Trail.
What We Loved
There are some really awesome campsites here. Most sites are close together like you'd find at most parks, but a few, like the one pictured above, offered space and privacy and a break in the trees that was perfect for eclipse viewing! Standing Indian also offered great hiking. In addition to access to the Appalachian Trail, there were several trail systems within the park with great views and beautiful waterfalls. The camp store was well stocked and the park staff was friendly and helpful. The clean restrooms and hot showers were a much appreciated amenity as well.
What We'd Like to See Instead
There isn't really anything you could ding this park for so if we have to pick something, we'd choose the lack of a swimming hole. There were plenty of waterfalls to view and places where splashing in the creek was refreshing and fun, but an actual swim location would have been nice as well. Although, the water was pretty cold, so we probably would not have lasted long!
Krause Springs is a popular Hill Country destination situated on 115 acres that has been privately owned and operated by the Krause Family since 1955. The many springs feed two swimming pools (one natural, one man-made) with a near constant flow at a cool 68 degrees. throughout the property you'll find areas for RV and tent camping, fishing, numerous picnic tables, restrooms, a bathhouse (don't let the chilly, spring-fed showers surprise you!), butterfly garden, and pavilion perfect for large gatherings and weddings. For strong and adventurous swimmers, there is a rope swing and cliff diving spot that is not terribly high.
What We Loved
The groundskeeper at Krause Springs has done a wonderful job with the Butterfly Gardens. I was amazed at how lush the greenery was even in the middle of the Texas summer. The flowers were blooming, it smelled wonderful and secured from sprawling oak trees were the largest wind chimes I've ever seen. You can tell the family takes great care to ensure this part of the property is well-maintained. We also found a great, shaded spot to relax along the brook which flows into Little Cypress Creek. In this area of the park you'll find a short trail connecting the swimming area to the camping area. We did enjoy a nice swim in the natural pool which didn't feel too cold to us until we sat underneath the waterfalls in the grotto!
What We'd Like to See Instead
The website says there is plenty of space for camping and consequently, they do not accept reservations for tent camping. RV site reservations can be made over the phone. We found, however, that with the exception of a few large sites, the campsites were rather close to one another and groups could easily find themselves in close quarters on a busy weekend. The same can be said for the swimming areas, which are beautiful, but on the small side. Camping fees are a bit expensive at $15 per adult per night ($10 for kids ages 4-11) and the amount of trash left at our campsite was surprising. It is definitely worth a day trip, but if you have your heart set on camping on a popular weekend, I would head over to nearby Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area or Pace Bend Park instead.
Ever since Curby and I went caving and rappelling at Colorado Bend State Park, our boys have been begging to go on a spelunking adventure of their own. They've been working on their climbing skills at a local indoor rock gym, but last week they finally had the chance to check out some of the awesome formations they have been obsessed with learning about.
We took them to a great spot in Georgetown called Inner Space Cavern. Many kids in central Texas will at some point in their elementary school careers make a stop here (or at Natural Bridge Caverns near San Antonio). It was discovered in 1963 during drilling surveys related to the construction of an overpass on Interstate Highway 35. A portion of the overpass is actually built directly above the cave! Three different tours with varying degrees of difficulty are offered at the caverns. The Adventure Tour was perfect for our young beginners. It is an hour long excursion on a man-made, lighted path. Not exactly wild cave exploration (though you can get your fix on the four-hour Wild Cave Tour), but perfect for families or people with physical limitations. There is no crawling or climbing involved and all of the rooms are open and spacious.
During the tour, the boys were very excited to point out many examples of the formations they had seen in pictures and videos. They also enjoyed learning the names of some formations our guide showed us including soda straws, cave bacon, flowstone and the kissing column, a stalactite/stalagmite couple that will grow the last half inch needed to be considered an official column in a short 50 years. We also saw the original man-made entrance to the cave, an excavation site (the fossils and bones of more than 40 species of animals have been found inside the cave, including eleven that are now extinct!), and experienced total darkness—I’m not sure how much the boys appreciated that part!
They did appreciate Temptation Rock. Since this cave system is considered live, or active, you are asked not touch any of the formations in the cave to minimize the risk of depositing foreign dirt or oils that might threaten the growth of a the beautiful formations. Temptation Rock is a dead spot within the cave that the boys (and everyone else on the tour for that matter) were excited to be given permission to touch. Probably our least favorite part of the tour was getting cave kisses, a nice way of describing the droplets of water that sometimes fall right on top of your head from the cave ceiling. It can be quite surprising and cold!
We had a great experience and for folks that are interested in exploring a little bit of the underground, Inner Space Caverns is a great place to do it. The employees were friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. For more information on these amazing structures, visit the Texas Speleological Society webpage. They also have links to more of Texas’ show and wild caves. Happing Caving!
~The LIN Crew