Dates of Stay: First two weeks of November, 2016
I want to like Emma Long Park more than I do, because it is a park with RV camping operated by a city, on a lake, and a lakeside water and electric site (no sewer) is $25 per night. However, years of deferred maintenance, and the remoteness of the park from Austin, make it unlikely I will ever return there in the rig.
Emma Long Park sits directly on Austin Lake. It is approximately 13 miles and 24 minutes from downtown Austin, which by itself does not sound daunting; however, a large portion of that drive is on very windy and very dark City Park Road. If you intend to do a lot of sightseeing in downtown Austin, or if you like going out to dinner in town, you will become very sick of this drive very quickly.
By the way, when driving on City Park Road, be aware of wildlife. Deer were everywhere! One early evening, at twilight, I saw a spider cross the road in front of me. I kid you not. It was a tarantula. Ick!
Once inside the park, you will think you have gone the wrong way. Keep going. The RVs are at the very end of the park, on one of the worst roads possible for motorhomes. The potholes are huge!
Deferred maintenance abounds at the park. Most toilets are porta-potties, and there are a few restroom buildings. But, don’t think the buildings are better. The one closest to the RV parking was filthy, piles of leaves in every corner, a stainless steel sheet for a mirror, and rusting bathroom stalls. The centrally-located bathroom building with “showers” are really just a few open stalls with no privacy, and cold water only. You would not catch me dead showering in there.
There can be some pretty down-and-out people at the park. I saw tent campers who were clearly living in their tents, and a few rigs that were on their last legs. I want to stress, however, that none of them gave me any trouble, and I never felt unsafe.
One nice thing about the park in November is that it is very quiet during the weekdays. Locals bring out their campers and RVs and park them along the lake all week long, to get the most choice spots for the weekend. (Instead of pulling into the spots, they park parallel to the water for a better view.) Come the weekend, look out! The place is brimming with people and loud music, which is not curtailed in any way.
The park is in the northwest portion of the city, close to neighborhoods and communities in the north end, including North Burnet, Allandale, and Rosedale. You are not within walking distance to anything, so plan accordingly.
Tammy’s Tips: Site #1 gives you a view of the water without having to pull in sideways. Be careful walking your dogs in the grass, as it is full of burrs. Be aware if you park under trees. I doubt they have ever done any trimming, and during a windstorm a limb fell and hit one of my slides and bent it.