Lake Meredith National Recreation Area, Texas

I’ve discovered something I never thought I would ever find again. Free camping in a National Park-administered site.

Amarillo was about the right distance for the first day’s drive on our trip to Belton, Texas. Camping choices around there included a commercial RV park in town, Palo Duro Canyon State Park south of town or the Lake Meredith National Recreation Area north of town.

Commercial campgrounds have less appeal to me than bunking with relatives and Palo Duro is a place where one needs to spend multiple days. That left Lake Meredith.

Now, Lake Meredith is not a lake, it’s a reservoir, and the land around it is administered by the National Park Service. They’ve built several campgrounds, the largest of which is a 51-site loop atop the canyon rim with a good view of the earthen dam. Each site has one or two new picnic tables shaded by canopies.

There’s a trailer dump station with fresh water. The restroom building features four individual, any gender you want to be private units with flush toilets and free showers. They were clean and well stocked with toilet paper.

Fortunately, it wasn’t crowded during our visit. Fifty-one camping families sharing four toilets with showers could lead to some soiled situations.

So, there we were, drinking wine while watching the sun set over the reservoir and realizing that we were getting all this for simply the money we pay in taxes.