Campsite of the Month-Standing Indian Campground, NC

OFF FOREST DEVELOPMENT RD 67
FRANKLIN  NC  28734
(828) 524-6441
https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/nfsnc/recreation/ohv/recarea/?recid=48668&actid=62

The Scoop

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. 

View from campsite #34 overlooking hill, grassy area and campsites 22, 23 and 30

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.  

View from bridge crossing Nantahala River. 

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! 

Campsite of the Month-Krause Springs

Natural falls and swimming hole

Natural falls and swimming hole

The Scoop

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. 

lying in the hammock in the butterfly garden

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! 

 

 

Quiet spot along the brook

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. 

Campsite of the Month-Pace Bend Park

Don't let the name fool you! kid's cliff is not for little ones!

Don't let the name fool you! kid's cliff is not for little ones!

The Scoop

Another Hill Country gem, Pace Bend Park does not disappoint. This scenic 1300-acre park run by the Travis County Parks Department offers 20 miles of multi-use trails, 9 miles of shoreline (boat ramps and swimming only coves), improved and unimproved campsites, restrooms and showers for overnight guests, and numerous picnic tables, barbecue pits and fire rings sprinkled throughout the park. Boating, fishing and camping are among the most popular activities here. It is also a popular cliff diving spot! 

Improved lot with water and electricity

Improved lot with water and electricity

What We Loved

The trails here are a great combination of technical and scenic. You'll constantly find your attention being tugged between concentrating on your footwork and taking in the views. Campsites on the east side of the park offer views of the sunrise and easy access to the lake for swimming and fishing. On the west your campsite will sit atop ledges that overlook the lake and offer prime views of the evening sky. The northern section of the park is tucked away from the main park and is a great place for a large group to claim sites near prime swimming coves. Pace Bend currently only offers camping reservations for its 20 improved lots, so be sure to arrive at the park early on prime weekends to get the best pick of the unimproved sites.

Unimproved Lots along Levi cove

Unimproved Lots along Levi cove

What We'd Like to See Instead

Evidence of the real estate development in the area is apparent in the number of structures that are visible in the hills across the lake. The park is quiet and there is still a lot of green on the horizon, but you are definitely reminded of your proximity to the city. Our only other negative observation was how very close together the improved lots are to one another. Campers in this area will find privacy lacking. All of the lots circle the restrooms and showers and the convenient location is nice, but the steady steam of traffic near camosites is not as appreciated. Regardless, we encourage you to check out this great park and if you're brave enough, take a jump off of Kid's Cliff!

Campsite of the Month-Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area

2820 Co Rd 414
Spicewood, TX 78669
512-473-3366
http://www.lcra.org/parks/recreation-areas/Pages/muleshoe-bend.aspx

The Scoop
 

Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area is an LCRA (Lower Colorado River Authority) park located on Lake Travis. It is best known for its mountain biking trails, but boating, camping, horseback riding, swimming and fishing are popular actives within in the park as well. All camping (including RV sites) in this park is primitive. There are composting toilets within walking distance of all campsites. Flush toilets, potable water and outdoor showers are located at the entrance to the park. 

View of lake travis from our camsite

View of lake travis from our camsite

What We Loved

We were amazed at the size of the campsites here. There was enough room for our tent, a picnic table, fire ring, and BBQ pit. Our dogs were staked onto 30-foot tethers without any obstacles in their way and the boys rode their bikes all around our set-up without even going near our camp neighbors. We were grateful for all of the space and loved our unobstructed view of the lake. The bike trails were fun and scenic. They were a little technical for our young riders, but we enjoyed exploring them anyway!

best patch of bluebonnets in the park

best patch of bluebonnets in the park

What We'd Like to See Instead

We have been spoiled by great campsites with lots of trees and while the sites here were spacious, they were not very private. Plenty of trees did provide shade, but no real "living fence" between camp neighbors. Our other minor disappointment was the bluebonnets. After seeing some gorgeous photography of Muleshoe's 2015 bloom, we'd hoped for a thick, lush field. Fortunately, the Texas drought is a distant memory and the entire field is back underwater.  We did still get some great pictures along the shoreline. Muleshoe is a wonderful park and we'll definitely be back!