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!

Camping With Dogs

Last weekend was a first for the LIN Crew-we took our dogs camping with us....

For many people, sharing their experiences in the great outdoors with their pets is a calm and relaxing experience, but when one dog's standard MO during thunderstorms is to gnaw on door frames (we've had to replace three) and the other tucks his tail and runs when someone sneezes, you swallow your outdoorsy pride (and a couple hundred bucks) and drop the pups off at the doggie hotel.  So, when Curby suggested that we bring the dogs with us for this trip, I was a little nervous but knowing we'd put it off long enough, I didn't object.  We packed the car and headed out-two adults, two kids, two dogs.    

The dogs' view of Lake Travis from our campsite.

The dogs' view of Lake Travis from our campsite.


Our wonderful dogs' lovely list of personality traits and accomplishments:

~Failed obedience school

~Won't poop on a leash

~Afraid of manholes and storm drains

~Been in a dog fight

~Jumps fences better than most fleeing criminals

~Unfazed by shock collars

~Escapes electric fences

~Digs up gardens and shrubs


The four-hour drive was pretty non-eventful.  Aside from the random barking at people on motorcycles or walking along the street, the dogs were pretty quiet, sleeping most of the trip.  When we arrived at our campsite we knew we'd made a good decision to bring them with us. The sites were spacious, shady and set back about 25 yards from the road.  We staked the dogs to the ground on a 30 ft chain, began to unload and set up camp. It wasn't long before "the barking" began.  Zilla (yes, like Godzilla, a name we'd chosen before even bringing her home) barks at leaves blowing in the wind, so we knew that keeping her quiet was going to be an issue. While there was a lot of space between campsites, you could still easily see people (and other dogs) moving around and Zilla was determined to let everyone know that we'd arrived. And so began the weekend-long chorus of "Quiet, Zilla. No, Zilla. Zilla, hush. Zilla, that's enough." It wasn't long before the boys were shushing her so much that we had to tell THEM to keep their voices down!

Saturday morning started off a little rough when an un-leashed dog on his morning walk, decided to come and check us out. We're still a little apprehensive when unknown pups approach Zilla since she was attacked and bitten pretty badly about a year ago. Thankfully, the situation was under control quickly and the owner was very apologetic. Plus, I couldn't help laughing at the dog's name, Ricky Bobby! The rest of the weekend went, surprisingly well.  The dogs enjoyed morning walks along the lake, sniffed the bluebonnets, and joined us on a couple of bike rides.  Since they were so active during the day, I noted to Curby late in our second day that the dogs hadn't napped at all, they slept soundly at night. 

On the Mountain bike trail

On the Mountain bike trail

zilla walking along the lake, looking for something to bark at

zilla walking along the lake, looking for something to bark at

Texas BLuebonnets!

Texas BLuebonnets!

Astor cooling off-This was about as far in as he would go, though! 

Astor cooling off-This was about as far in as he would go, though! 

We decided to have the pups sleep in the garage attachment of our Kingdom 6 tent. Staking them on their leashes kept them in the garage with all barking targets out of sight.  They were close enough to us to sense our presence (read: didn't howl all night) and we didn't have to worry about restless pups waking up sleeping kids or long doggie nails tearing holes into the tent.  

All in all, I must say that our experience was positive.  We had no major mis-haps, saved a bit of cash and everyone enjoyed having our furry family members with us.  We'll definitely bring them along again! 

 

Spring Break Camping Reservations?

Spring break is right around the corner and if you're like most people (most people that actually get a spring break), you are really, REALLY looking forward to it. Camping is a popular spring break activity and campsites often fill up well in advance.  So what should you do if you're thinking of planning a trip, and haven’t made a reservation yet?

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Get off the beaten path.

The most well-known, "must-see" places will almost assuredly fill up before people have even turned the calendar to the new year.  If you have your heart set on seeing a particular park or landmark, the busy season might not be the best time to enjoy it anyway. Save those trips for the off season and avoid the crowds.  

Consider a site that does not require advance reservations.

Now for some the thought of showing up somewhere in hopes that you will find accommodations makes your heart beat much faster than is probably healthy. However, there are many cool sites around Texas that are first come, first serve. To maximize your chances of success, have a few different locations in mind, call the evening before your arrival to ask how many spots the park anticipates being available and plan to arrive at the park early in order to get the best pick of available sites.  If possible, send one or two people from your group “advance party” to hold sites for the rest of your group.

Be flexible with your dates.

If you're not working around anyone’s school schedule or vacation dates, try bumping your trip up or back a week.  Fewer people will be traveling the weeks before or after spring break and your chances of getting a great site are much higher. 

Think local.

National and state parks are wonderful resources, but people often forget that many city and county parks welcome campers too.  Check out your local city and county websites for park info.  It may take a little digging, but with a little perseverance, you may stumble upon a hidden gem.  Privately owned campsites are also a great alternative and they often also offer additional amenities that you may not find at government parks. 

If all all else fails, pitch your tent in the backyard, roast those marshmallows and make some memories.  Explore nearby trails, lakes and rivers and enjoy the hot showers and flushing toilets!

~The LIN Crew

Campsite of the Month-Canyon of the Eagles

16942 Ranch Road 2341
Burnet, Texas 78611
512-334-2070
Canyonoftheeagles.com

photo: canyonoftheeagles.com

photo: canyonoftheeagles.com

The Scoop

We chose the Canyon of the Eagles Resort as the location for our Thanksgiving Campout and we were thrilled with this choice. Don't let the title of 'resort' turn you away if you're looking for a rustic, homey feel.  The private park, situated on the northeast shore of Lake Buchanan, offers cabin-style guest rooms with lake views, a full hook-up RV park and tent camping sites (water only or primitive). There is a restaurant, bar, fishing pier, hiking trails, amphitheater, observatory and seasonal bird watching. 

Sunset at camp
morning at camp

What We Loved

Park management does take on the resort-style persona by providing an all-emcompasing experience for visitors. Daily activities including live music, movie showings, kids' crafts, nature walks and star-gazing fill the calendar. Our favorite thing about the park was the access to the Eagle Eye Observatory. Operated by the Austin Astronomical Society several nights a week, guests have to opportunity use  a 16-inch Ealing Cassegrain telescope and a 12.5-inch Newtonian telescope. Had it not been super cold the night we went, we might have stayed for hours!

What We'd Like To See Instead

Our only complaint about the park was that the water wasn't working at our campsite.  This wasn't a deal breaker for us as we had brought plenty of drinking water and the staff offered a daily credit for the inconvenience.  We can't wait to camp here again!