This is an inexpensive dry-camping location just next to San Antonio. It’s not exactly a boondocking location, but doesn’t really qualify as a campground either, so I’ll rate it as a boondocking spot. Unfortunately it doesn’t make our favorites list.
Location: Calaveras Lake, San Antonio, TX
Coordinates: 29.305861,-98.298798. Link to map location HERE.
How We Found It: Using Don Wright’s “Free Camprounds” book.
Nearest Dump/Water: ?? Not sure.
- Access – 4/5
Very decent access here, but sites are mixed. The road into Calaveras Lake is paved and access inside the campground is decent. You can set-up anywhere around the lake once inside the facility. Most of the banks are very uneven/sloping, but there are a select number of flat areas and a few nicer spots right on the water.
- Nature – 2.5/5
Nature-wise this is a bit of a mix. On the positive side you are right by the Lake with access to fishing and water activities, but your view is marred by a large power plant on the right-hand side and the area around the lake has limited space/activity. A small nature trail on-site, but no real hiking.
- Isolation – 1/5
The Lake is outside of town and so does get bonus points for being “away from the city”, but its location makes it extremely popular with the locals. The park doesn’t seem to limit how many people access/camp here so don’t expect to be alone.
- Pet Friendliness – 3/5
The park is pet-friendly, but there’s very limited area to hike/walk pooch. A strip of green along the back power-lines and a small nature trail pretty much make up the lot. Pooch does have access to the lake.
Overall Rating = 2.6
Summary: So, this was one of those spots that looked great on paper, but didn’t work out for us. Our experience was no doubt marred by the fact that we camped here during Spring Break, but there were also other aspects which made it less than great. Location-wise it’s a good spot -> only 10 miles from San Antonio, right on a lake with access to fishing and green for a mere $4/person/night. Camping is “free access” to wherever you can park on the banks of the lake. There are a select number (8) of designated sites on the North side that you can reserve beforehand. However the overall area is limited in size, there is a large power plant across the lake (mars your view) and the management doesn’t seem to limit how many people can camp there. So in busy times it literally packs in with as many folks as can possibly set-up on the banks. When we first arrived it was fairly quiet and if we’d come here mid-week during low season we might well have found a nice (and somewhat peaceful) spot to enjoy the water and the area. However our experience that evening with the big build-up of people was, unfortunately, downright uncomfortable and we decided to leave. If we come back we’ll probably try a different location.
Extra Info: On-site flush toilets, but no water or other facilities. Verizon smartphone and aircard worked.
NOTE/ All below pics we taken when we first arrived (before the big build-up of people in the evening):