Friday, February 19, 2010


Mustang Island CampingI just finished up a review of Buckhorn Lake Resort, our “home” for three days in Kerrville, Texas, earlier this week.  Buckhorn Lake is a true resort, with facilities deserving of the name: well manicured and beautifully maintained, with spacious sites and resort amenities.  Still, we would not be likely to return, because it didn’t meet some of our top priorities.

Now we are at Mustang Island State Park (click here for a review), along the Gulf Coast of Texas, just south of Corpus Christi.  The campground is just an asphalt parking lot, and the state’s budget problems mean that campground amenities are beginning to look a little “iffy”(or worse, like the day use area’s unusable restroom, below) – but we’d return here without a second thought.

It’s all about priorities.

Day use restroom is no longer maintained.As I write this, I am looking out on a big asphalt slab, with RV’s parked side by side, each next to a deteriorating wooden shade structure and picnic table.  I can see beach dunes behind the rigs across from us, but the primary feeling is of a somewhat neglected parking lot.  This is not a visually appealing campground. 

Yet: we have a strong Verizon signal here, so our phones and aircard work.  We can easily communicate with friends and family, and research upcoming travels.

A wonderful beach, with miles of entertaining walking in either direction, is right behind those dunes.  All we do is step out the door and head off.

Parking is level, access is easy, and we have 50 amps of power.

So, in spite of the lack of visual appeal, life is simple here, and all of our top priorities are met at a reasonable price.

Stormy morning on the beach

Sunny afternoon on the beach

Friday Beach Scene Beach on Tuesday

Buckhorn Lake Resort (photo below right) is quite beautiful, with graceful mature trees and well manicured lawns.  Sites are much bigger (and don’t flood in a rainstorm), and many very well maintained amenities are provided.

Buckhorn Lake Resort Yet: Verizon service is very poor in that location, so our phones and aircard didn’t work (not the park’s fault, of course).  The park’s free WiFi was unable to handle the traffic – speedy at times, then slowing to a frustrating crawl.  Ease of communications and research is a high priority for us – and we didn’t find it here.

Taking a long walk without driving somewhere first wasn’t an option, unless you wanted to do laps around the park.  Ready access to safe, interesting walking/hiking is another high priority for us – and we didn’t find it here.

As with Mustang Island, parking was level, access was easy, and we had 50 amps of power.  We have satellite and local TV stations in both parks, and local NPR on the radio – lower priorities, but they do affect how long we want to stay – and on those issues, the parks were evenly matched.  No sewer hookup at Mustang Island, but that isn’t a concern to us for a 5-day or less stay.

The campgrounds could hardly be more different, and staying at the two back-to-back really opened my eyes to our current priorities!  Since we bring our own amenities (don’t need to use campground restrooms or laundry), reasonable price, good phone and internet access, and walking/hiking opportunities trump visual appeal.

Sunrise on Wednesday morning, reflected on our side window.

View from our doorway on Friday morning, after a stormy night of constant rain.

Sunrise Morning View in the rain


  1. Since you were here in Austin the Texas Parks & Wildlife has submitted their 5% mandated budget cut. Go here ( to see the effected areas. You can see the biggest cut is in capital improvements/expansion area.

    This has not been approved yet. Our director made sure it didn't have layoffs or park closings. All parks including Mustang Island will not have needed maintenance unless volunteers and outside funds do the improvements.

  2. We also would pick the dunes/beach and good internet over other "amenities" any time. If we can't stay in touch with friends and family it affects our enjoyment of anything else and nature, especially water, is always the most desirable view.