One of the criteria we had when looking for places to stay this winter in Texas was that they needed to be close to shopping, particularly Walmart, and medical services so that we could get COVID vaccinations when available or other medical care if needed. We found it difficult to get into a State Park for more than a few days at a time and in particular weekends were pretty much fully booked. We found Brazos Valley and it offered a small Walmart and a Brookshire’s grocery in nearby Caldwell as well as Walmart Supercenters, restaurants and numerous other stores in nearby Bryan and College Station. We thought surely we could find enough things to do in the area to stay busy for a month so we booked our stay without knowing quite what to expect. To our surprise we really liked the park and the area.…
We spent two months (January and February 2021) at Tyler Oaks RV Resort north west of Tyler. We originally planned to go back to New Mexico for the winter but due to COVID and continued lockdowns there that were causing long lines just to get in a grocery store we decided to go back to Texas where we would have better medical care due to our insurance. We thought it might be easier to get vaccinations (which I was able to do but not Anna quite yet) and also that it would be warmer. Well, we should have known better about that one. Even as we left Colorado there was snow ahead of us going through Texas.…
As I write this we are on the 8’th day of extreme winter weather in North East Texas. During this week, we’ve had temperatures below 0°F (-5°F at the nearby airport) and it has snowed multiple times resulting in about a foot of total snowfall. At 201 hours below freezing, we beat the prior record in this area which was set sometime in the late 1800’s. While I realize many people from the northern states will say, so what – we get that all the time – I have lived in Texas for most of my life and I can tell you this much snow and the low temperatures is very unusual for this part of the country. We just don’t have the infrastructure to deal with it as well as other states might.…
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐+ (For an overnight stop)
Site Quality: Gravel roads and grass pads. Even though they had received quite a bit of rain the day before we arrived the pads were mostly dry and no major mud. There were a few muddy spots on the internal roads.
Access: Right off Highway 287 at College Dr. in Vernon Texas west of Wichita Falls. When coming from the West it is a bit difficult to turn left and go under the highway to circle back to the park because there was no traffic light at the intersection.
Staff: There is a husband/wife team who manage the park and they were both friendly and helpful. She checked us in and he escorted us to our site.
Amenities: Propane available on site. There is a playground and dog park for those who need these facilities. There is also a small store on site. In the summer a pool is available.
Cellular/WiFi: Both AT&T and Verizon were acceptable – for Verizon the signal level was only 2 bars but both upload and download speeds were in excess of 22 Mbps. WiFi was available at the park but we did not use it.
Restaurants: We only had an opportunity to eat out on a Sunday and due to that and the fact that many restaurants seemed to have changed their hours due to COVID, we only had an opportunity to stop at Fred’s Corner Grill. This place looked like it had been a Dairy Queen at one point and it had a similar menu. We both had a burger and they were good basic burgers.
What we liked: Access to the park was right off Highway 287 so it was convenient to our route. There was also a Walmart right next door to the park which was convenient for supplies. There are some nearby activities including a museum as well as some things related to Roy Orbison who was born in Vernon.
What we didn’t like: The park roads were somewhat muddy and could be a real mess if there was a lot of rain. The same situation could occur with the pads although they seem to be packed gravel with grass (or weeds) and they did not appear to have much of a mud problem.
Nearby Parks: We did not look into any other parks in the area this time although we did stay once before at Lake Arrowhead State Park in Wichita Falls about 70 miles further east.
Verdict: We would definitely stay here again for a night or a few if we are travelling through the area again.
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (for an overnight)
Site Quality: Gravel pads and roads. The site (115) was plenty long enough for our RV and truck.
Access: Right off of I-70 on US 83 north of Oakley Kansas. There is a convenient gas station / truck stop right across the street from the park where we could fill up on the way in so we didn’t have to unhook to go get fuel. It was a good thing as we were down to 50 miles of fuel left along with a low fuel warning.
Staff: Due to COVID and being a small park, we didn’t need to interact with staff. We just picked up our envelope at the front door.
Amenities: Onsite restaurant, splash pool, hot tub and public fire pit. There was also onsite laundry facilities and restrooms although we didn’t use either one.
Cellular/WiFi: Verizon and AT&T were both very strong. AT&T reached 12 Mbps while Verizon was about 19 Mbps.
Restaurants: One of the places mentioned on the park website was Cap’n Jack’s Pub which is onsite. We weren’t completely sure but Cap’n Jack and his wife may be the same ones who run the RV park. It was highly rated, particularly for seafood and steaks (although they have burgers and other things) which surprised us since this park is in the middle of nowhere. We decided we’d try it not expecting much but to our surprise it lived up to the hype. Anna got a steak that was one of the best we’d had in some time. I had crab cakes and they were equally awesome. It came with a price (each meal was about $26) but both were as good as you would find in a large city. As mentioned there are also less expensive options as well. If you stop at the park or are just driving by, you have to stop here!
What we liked: Easy access to both the park and fuel right off I-70. Cap’n Jack’s Pub.
What we didn’t like: There is a good bit of road noise from I-70. There are also numerous “Kansas” thorn bushes in the grass between and around the sites.
Nearby Parks: None
Verdict: We would absolutely stay here again when travelling through. This park although basic and gravel was much better than the places we stopped in 2019 in Hays and Limon.