While staying in the San Antonio area in March 2008, we spent a day at the Fort Sam Houston Recreation Area at Canyon Lake. However, my timing to write this in-depth review is a little late. The RV Park portion of this Recreation Area is closing down for 30 days to perform some great upgrades. In this review, I'll describe what we observed and what we felt needed improvement, but I'll also describe what improvements are being started as I write this. Perhaps the Recreation Area is psychic and knew I was going to write this review.
Finding the Recreation Area wasn't difficult. The directions posted here are accurate, and there's plenty of signs pointing the way. Just be careful that you're entering the correct military recreation area, as you'll see the Randolph AFB Recreation Area first on the left (there's an in-depth review for that recreation area already available). Just a little further down the road on the right is the Fort Sam Houston Recreation Area at Canyon Lake. When you approach the recreation area, you'll first encounter the reception booth. There's a $5 a day entrance fee to Canyon Lake. As an option, you can purchase a $40 annual pass.
The Recreation Area is fairly large and spread out. Here, you'll find an small store, the RV Park, a marina, lots of lakeside beaches with picnic and play areas, plenty of rental "cottages" and cabanas, with lots of space for tent camping. Although the RV Park isn't on the lake, it appeared there's one section of the lake where tents and some RV's can dry camp right at the waters edge. There's also a wooded area for tent camping. The rental cottages and cabanas are also not directly on the lake, although it's within walking distance. For group events and picnics, there's plenty of beach areas. The marina also seemed pretty busy.
The RV Park seemed a bit cramped and confusing. With larger RV's, sites faced in all directions and were close together. The 33 RV Sites each had water and 30/50amp electric, but no sewer. Many of the RV sites had either the water or electric connections on the wrong side, sometimes far from their site. However, most of this is being fixed in the upgrades strarting this month (January 2009). 16 sites are being leveled, new concrete patios, and utilities moved to be in the proper location. 6 of these sites will be back-in with lake views. All sites have gravel parking pads, with a concrete patio. There's a picnic table, BBQ, and fire ring at each site. The streets are paved. During our visit, there were many RV sites available. A badly needed new bath house was recently built in the RV Park. During our visit, the old bath house was old and clean, but was falling apart. Free WiFi is also available in the RV Park.
Tent camping in the Recreation Area was spread out all over the place. You can either just pick a spot of land on the beach, or select any of the identified tent sites either in a woods or near the beach. The designated tent sites have picnic tables and fire rings. There's 35 "cottages" available for rent, with 2 of them being ADA compliant. These "cottages" are actually mobile home trailers, but in good condition. Nearby in a wooded section are 10 small "cabanas" that can be rented. The marina has rental boats, a boat ramp, and paddle boats for rent.
From our initial contact at the wlecome kiosk to the camp store and office personnel, we always felt welcomed. All of the employees were firendly and helpful to us. ALthough we didn't spend the night with our motor home, we wouldn't hesitate returning and spending some fun and relaxing time here. With the RV Park upgrades, this will even be a more appealing location to visit. During our visit, RV and tent sites were only $10 a night. These are the nightly rates we expect for ANY military camping and are well worth it. I'm sure when the upgrades are completed, the rates will probably also be increased. This will remain a good deal, as long as the nightly rates remain fair.