Choke Canyon State Park -- Calliham Review & Rating

Texas Outside Rating: 7.7

Choke Canyon State Park -- Calliham Website
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Choke Canyon State Park -- Calliham Overview:

Review and Rating of Choke Canyon State Park - Calliham Unit

Choke Canyon State Park is located on the 26,000 acre Choke Canyon Reservoir which supplies water to Corpus Christi.  The State Park has the 385 acre South Shore Unit which is for day use and the 1,100 acre Calliham Unit.  The Calliham Unit has tent and RV camping, shelters, hiking and biking trails, group pavilions for rent, boating, softball and volleyball, and more.  

The Calliham Unit roads are all paved, the sites and shelters have both shaded and open sites, and the facilities are clean and well maintained but a little dated. 

The Choke Canyon Reservoir was down 28 feet but the boat ramp was still open and the fishing is still pretty good.  Because the lake level is so low, the day use area and the campsites are quite a ways from the water.  The 75 acre lake by the primitive sites was bone dry. 

The terrain is very gently rolling with dense thickets of mesquite and blackbush acacia and lots of dense brush which is great for a variety of birds and wildlife.  There isn't much to see and do outside the Park but Three Rivers is about 10 miles away and has a couple restaurants.  Corpus Christi is the nearest (a hour or so south) place with lots to see and do.

The Reservoir is good for fishing and boating but it's not one of the prettiest in Texas and there isn't anything to see or do on the lake.

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Amenities and Fun Things To Do:

Choke Canyon Calliham Unit has 16 walk-in tent sites that are about 50 yards from the primitive area parking lot and each site has a picnic table, BBQ grill, fire pit, and water -  restrooms are nearby. 

There are 40 sites with water, electric (30 and 50 AMP), fire pit or BBQ grill, and picnic table.  The sites are about 40 to 50 feet long and level with convenient hookups.  Most of the sites have some shade trees and several have views of the Choke Canyon Reservoir.  The lake is 500 yards or so from the sites and since the lake is down, brush has take over.

Away from the campsites there are 50 screened shelters with A/C, water, electric, and picnic tables. The screened shelters are built out of brick and have three windows.  Each one has 3 cot like beds - dogs and RVs are not allowed in this area.  Restrooms with showers are nearby.

Choke Canyon State Park has several group facilities that will handle from 50 to 75 people, a couple of which are in the campground, and they have covered picnic tables, water, electric, BBQ grill, and restrooms near by.  For larger groups the following are available for rent:

  • Group Recreation Hall with tables and chairs, water and electric, toilet, stove and refrigerator, A/C, and a volleyball court
  • Dinning Hall, located in the Sports Complex area, that will hold 100 people and has two stoves plus ovens, refrigerator, restroom, water, electric, A/C, and more
  • The Gymnasium can handle 300 people and it has AC, heat, a sound system, stage, bleachers, tables and chairs

In addition to the above, some of the other amenities at Choke Canyon State Park include:

  • an RV dump station
  • beach area on the lake with picnic tables
  • basketball and volleyball court plus a softball field
  • a little over a mile and a half of flat easy biking and hiking trails
  • fenced-in bird watching area
  • boat ramp and plenty of trailer parking
  • a couple swing sets
  • fish cleaning stations

Choke Canyon Reservoir is down 28' but the ramp in the Calliham Unit was still open during our visit and the lake is still good for boating and fishing for largemouth bass, white bass, striped bass, white crappie, bluegill, longear sunfish, green sunfish, flathead, channel and blue catfish, carp, freshwater drum and gar.  You can get loaner fishing tackle at the Park Office and kids don't need a fishing license if they fish within the Park.  The small 75 acre lake at the primitive camping area, which has a boat ramp and fishing cleaning station, was bone dry.

Choke Canyon State Park is well known for bird watching and throughout the year the Park schedules a number of events including guided bird walks. The crested caracara (Mexican eagle) can also be seen in the area.

If you're lucky, you might spot a variety of wildlife including Rio Grande turkey, white-tailed deer, javelina, coyote, opossum, fox squirrel, raccoon and various skunks are among the most common animals.   And keep an eye out for some huge alligators.  

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A Typical Texas Outsider Day:

During our short stay here we had a rousing game of whiffle ball, played some 4 on 4 volleyball, and rode bikes around the campground and on the trails. 

We cooked some great burgers and ribs and played a lot of games around the campfire.  Of course we couldn't hit the sack without some s'moores around a campfire followed by some word games. 

A fun relaxing camping trip.

Cool Nearby Activities:

There isn't a lot to see and do nearby unless you head to Corpus Christi (about 40 minutes south) which is loaded with lots to do - restaurants, the beach, shopping, golf, the Lex, museums, aquarium, and more.  The pictures are from Corpus.

Three Rivers is down the road about 10 miles and has  a couple restaurants and a movie theater but not much more.

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Campground Information

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Area Map
Campsite Map
Location Map
Texas Outside Favorite Sites: 17 and 13 are good shelter sites and 131 and 133 have lake views and trees

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Additional Pictures of Choke Canyon State Park -- Calliham

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Texas Outside Campground Rating System

Texas Outside uses a tough rating scale and it’s difficult for a campground to get a “10”.  Each park is rated on:

  • Scenic Beauty: a campground that is flat with no trees or character gets a “1” and hills, lots of trees, beautiful lake site, and lush ground cover gets a “10”
  • Park Condition:  the cleaner, well kept, and maintained campgrounds receive high scores
  • Amenities: we are looking for lots of amenities like restrooms, dump stations, playgrounds, boat ramps, shelters, concession stand, rental toys, and more.
  • Campsites:  low scores are given for sites that are right next to each other (good for getting to know your neighbors, but not what we’re looking for when we’re camping); have no lantern holder, no water or electricity, no fire pit, no grill, or no picnic table (or it’s rotten wood); have no trees and no view; the ground cover is crushed rock (my bare feet hate that stuff!); and they require a lot of work to get your rig level.
  • Things To Do: Bonus points are given for campgrounds that offer lots of fun things to do at the park or very nearby – this includes: biking, hiking, climbing, boating, entertainment, golf, swimming, fishing, volleyball, horseshoes, and more

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