Texas State Railroad RV Park & Campground Review & Rating

Texas Outside Rating: 7.7

Rusk ยท 903-683-2561
Texas State Railroad RV Park & Campground Website
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Texas State Railroad RV Park & Campground Overview:

Review and Rating of Texas State Railroad RV Park & Campground in Rusk, Texas

Texas State Railroad RV Park is currently closed and undergoing significant changes under new management.

Texas State Railroad RV Park & Campground is located about 5 miles west of Rusk. This small park was formally Rusk-Palestine State Park and was acquired from the State by American Heritage Railways as a part of their effort to preserve the campground and Texas State Railroad. The Park is home to the Rusk depot where you can catch a turn of the century steam engine with vintage coaches that runs between Rusk and Palestine. Some of the railroad tracks run through the campground.

In May 2017 we got the following comment from a Texas Outside visitor:  "The campground is in poor condition, restrooms do not work and some sites have no 50 amp hookups due to poor maintenance. It is overgrown and has not been mowed. I would not pay the fee again if it is like this."  We can't confirm or deny the comment.

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Amenities and Fun Things To Do:

The Texas State Railroad RV Park has 32 pull through sites with full hookup sites with water, electric (30 and 50 AMP), and sewer. A number of the sites are a little tight and big rigs may have a challenge getting set up and level. Each site has a fire pit, grill, lantern hanger, and a picnic table. This loop of pull through sites has a playground, restroom with showers, and all the sites are heavily shaded.

Another loop in the park has 16 water and electric sites that are suitable for tents or small pop-ups or trailers. Around the Dining Hall, there are 23 side-by-side sites with water and electricity in the parking lot for Dining Hall. This area is a designated group camping area.

Some of the other amenities that you will find at Texas State Railroad RV Park include:

  • office and gift shop
  • very nice open air group dining hall with full kitchen and BBQ grill
  • 15 picnic sites and a pavilion by the lake
  • 2 tennis courts and a basketball hoop
  • half mile nature trail
  • fishing trail and some picnic tables around a portion of the lake
  • dump station
  • paddle boat and canoe rental

The Park is home to a small lake stocked with catfish, crappie, and largemouth bass. Boating is allowed but motors are not allowed and there no boat ramp. By the lake is the depot/terminal for the Railroad and you can get tickets for the vintage train ride to Palestine and back. You can see some vintage coaches and visit the gift shop and movie theater with a film about the railroad.

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A Typical Texas Outsider Day:

Most campers, including us, stayed in Texas Railroad State park because we wanted to ride the railroad. Before taking the train ride (read about our ride on the Great Pumpkin Patch Express) we biked the short nature trail and around the lake. We forgot the tennis rackets or we would have played a set or two.

A trip into Rusk didn't yield a lot to see and do outside of a fun golf course - see below. We did enjoy playing golf in Jacksonville at The Woods at Jacksonville - read our review of The Woods At Jacksonville to learn more. In the middle of Rusk is "the hardest little course in Texas", the nine-hole Birmingham Forest Golf Course - a fun track, read our review of Birmingham Forest.

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Cool Nearby Activities:

The small town of Rusk is 5 minutes east and the town square has some shops and a restaurant. Just down from the town square is a museum and the longest footbridge in the United States. Near Jacksonville is Cherokee Trace which is a drive-thru safari park. There are a couple mud bogs and ATV tracks in Jacksonville and Palestine is close, but we didn't find a lot to do there either! If you want to play golf, check out this golf course locator map.

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Campground Information

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Area Map
Campsite Map
Location Map
Texas Outside Favorite Sites: 71, 26, and 18

Campground Rating

Overall Rating:
Scenic Beauty:
Things To Do:

Additional Pictures of Texas State Railroad RV Park & Campground

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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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