Caddo Lake State Park was our first stop on a Thanksgiving road trip, that would take us to 4 different State Parks. My youngest was not quite 4 months old and my oldest not quite 2 years old at the time of this trip. It was quite the experience and a great trip and I hope you enjoy my write up of our events and itinerary.
Heading For Caddo Lake State Park
We left Metamora, Illinois around 6:00 pm after I got out of work on Thursday evening. We had reservations for Friday night at Caddo Lake State Park in Karnack, Texas and figured we would drive as far as we could Thursday night before stopping. We attempted to pull into Trail of Tears State Park in Jackson, Missouri but we were a little late and the gate was closed. I was feeling pretty good and the kids were sound asleep, so we figured no big deal, lets just keep on driving. About 2:00 am I was starting to get real tired and had to pull off for gas anyways. There happened to be a couple of RVs at the back of a Walmart parking lot near the gas station and we decided to join them for some rest. We pulled in and climbed in the back of the camper to catch a few zzzs. Keep in mind the temperatures were pretty close to freezing and I quickly realized that the camper propane tanks were empty. This was a rookie mistake for sure… At any rate, we bundled up to keep the kids warm and were able to catch a couple hours of sleep.
Day 1 At Caddo Lake State Park
Arriving At Caddo Lake State Park
So, we were back on the road again around 4:30 am with not much sleep, but the couple hours was a great refresher. There is something about being on the open road with no traffic at that time of the morning while headed across the country that puts a feeling of freedom in you. The sun eventually started to rise and I was getting pretty excited, especially because we were getting closer to some warmer weather. We ended up pulling off the expressway in Little Rock, Arkansas to fill up our propane tanks at a UHaul facility.
We finally arrived at Caddo Lake State Park in Texas in the afternoon with plenty of daylight left and set up camp on site #45. I was pretty tired by now from the drive and lack of sleep, so we decided to just relax at the campsite and I even took a short nap. We eventually did a little wondering around the campground and I took a walk down to the fishing pier, but it was getting dark by this time. I tried to get some pictures of the lily pad filled pond and the moss filled trees, but it was too dark for my photography abilities.
Day 2 At Caddo Lake State Park
Kayaking And Fishing From Caddo Lake
Saturday was another nice relaxing day. I took the kayak for a ride down the Cypress Bayou in the late morning by myself. Lynn dropped me off at the boat ramp within the park with my kayak and gear. I was able to head a mile or two down the bayou before turning around and kayaking right back to the campground through Mill Pond. I had mainly used the kayak in Northern Michigan and Illinois on little lakes in the past. This was my first experience on some southern water in a somewhat remote area. I swear I saw an alligator swimming on the bayou after I had turned around and was headed back. I thought there was a log floating out in front of me, but then I realized it was not a log as it was moving across the bayou and eventually disappeared below the surface. An alligator was the only thing that could make sense.
If you get a chance to stay at this campground, I highly recommend a trip down the bayou. At minimum, you should kayak or canoe around in Mill Pond. Mill Pond is filled with lily pads and Bald Cypress trees with moss hanging off them and is very majestic. After seeing what I swear was a large gator on the bayou, I was a little nervous about one popping up in front of me in the lily pads, but I didn’t see anything. There is a little store on the bayou that rents out canoes, kayaks, boats and also has pontoon boat tours down the bayou if you don’t have your own boat and want to get out on the water.
We relaxed around the campsite for a while in the afternoon and then Kyle and I took a short drive to check out the area and stop into the Ranger Station to ask about fishing. This area of Texas is considered the Piney Woods region and rightly so. There are many pine trees and quite honestly, driving around reminded me of Northern Michigan pine tree country.
After returning to camp, we grabbed our fishing gear and walked down to the Mill Pond pier and tried our luck at fishing. We didn’t have any luck, but we had some good quality family time. Kyle can get real serious about his fishing. Actually, he gets pretty serious about anything and could fish for hours. We stayed till dark before heading back to camp for an evening campfire and prepared to pack up in the morning for the next leg of our adventure.
Day 3 At Caddo Lake State Park
Leaving Caddo Lake
We packed up in the morning to head for Pedernales State Park. It doesn’t take us much to pack up. We have all the amenities of the camper, but try to pack so we can road trip easily without having a big hassle of loading and unloading stuff.
We enjoyed the short time in the Caddo Lake area and I would come back again to do some more exploring. I’d like to get out on Caddo Lake for some bass fishing. Stay tuned for the Pedernales Trip Report. I’ll get that one posted up here soon as well.