for the good folks who live or play at Lake Sweetwater

Lake Sweetwater Camping

By I.L. (Major H) Holdridge,, 23 July 2010

There are two campgrounds at Lake Sweetwater.  “Lake Sweetwater Municipal Park Campground” is the larger and is located at the base of the north face of the dam on Farm to Market Road 2035 (3.9 miles south of I20 exit 249).  The other is on the shoreline next to “Pappy’s Bait & Grill” at the east end of the dam (4.3 miles south of I20 exit 249).  Pappy’s is also on Farm to Market Road 2035 but it is a half mile “up the hill” and east of Municipal Campground.  Google online maps and most paper maps do not show either campground.  You can find “home made” maps that do show the campgrounds on this website’s map page.

Pappy’s Bait & Grill (shown above) has seven adjacent lakeside camping spots with water and electric hookups that are suitable for RVs and tenting.  Call (325) 235-1223 for availability and reservations.  The cost is $20 per night with hookups or $10 per night without. MasterCard, VISA, and Discovery credit cards are accepted.  These sites are literally on the shoreline.

Setup is easy for even large RVs, with a straight approach into each site from a very large parking lot.   Pappy’s also often has one or two small, furnished camping trailers for onsite rental.  Live bait, ice, soft drinks, light groceries, fishing tackle, certified fish weighing, fishing platform, five lane boat ramp, courtesy dock, large boat trailer parking area, and a grill galley with a dining area are available at or adjacent to the store. Pappy’s sells City of Sweetwater required lake recreation permits for the day, week, or year but does not sell State fishing licenses. 


Each hookup station at Pappy’s has a standard water faucet and a 110/120 volt 30 amp circuit breaker with a three prong RV style outlet, but no household style outlet.  Tent campers will need to bring a RV to household outlet adaptor cord in order to plug in their electrical devices.

A public restroom is available inside the store from 8 AM till dark, except on Mondays when the place is closed.  A 24/7 public restroom can be found a half mile away at Municipal Campground below the dam.  It’s a good idea to first locate that restroom during the day as it can be easily missed in the dark.  Although the larger campground’s restroom is right on the road leading to Pappy’s, it  is not well lit at night.

Lake Sweetwater Municipal Park Campground (shown above) has 32 RV or tenting sites with water and electric hookups, plus dozens of unmarked RV and tent spaces without hookups.  Call (325) 235-8816 for availability and reservations. The cost is $10 per night for sites with hookups or $6 per night for spaces without.   Holders of a Lake Sweetwater annual recreation permit ($10) pay only  $8 per night for sites with hookups.  Five of the sites with hookups are available at a monthly rate of $240 each. MasterCard, VISA, American Express, and Discovery credit cards are accepted.





Check-in and payment is done at the “Lake Sweetwater Municipal Golf Course” pro shop, which is located 1.6 miles west of the campground on Farm to Market Road 1856.  There is a large white sign at the campground that displays a “you are here” map route to the pro shop (campground to FM 2035 to FM 1856 to pro shop).   You can find a similar map on this website’s map page.  The pro shop is open daily from 8 AM to 8 PM.  If you arrive later, you can set up in the campground and then check-in at the pro shop the next morning, however if someone has a pending reservation for that spot you will need to move to another.  There are no formal hours for check-in and check-out – the rule of thumb is just a rolling 24 hour period.

The campground has a central restroom building, but no showers.  There is an unmarked RV dump station a few feet from the northeast corner of the restroom building.  Look for an oval metal cover incorrectly labeled with the words “water meter” next to a three foot high, arrowed shaped pipe.  Be careful to not overflow the drain trap when using this dump station.  It leads to a septic tank that can become full or sluggish if unusually heavy park use combines with recent heavy rain.


Each hookup station at Municipal Campground has a standard water faucet, a 110/120 volt 50 amp circuit breaker with a four pole RV style outlet and a three pole RV style outlet, and a 110/120 volt 20 amp circuit breaker with two household style outlets.

Municipal Campground has a small pavilion that can be reserved for $50 per day and an old rock amphitheater that can be reserved for $50 per day.   Both have electricity, but only the pavilion has water.

The entire campground can be reserved by a “non profit civic organization” for $75 per day, which includes all camping spaces, hookups, the pavilion, and the amphitheater.   This is also handled by the golf course pro shop but the golf course employees must get approval well in advance from the City of Sweetwater.  Contact the golf course pro shop for more information on the group use rental policy.

The use of bottled water for drinking and cooking is advised.  The well water in the hookups at Pappy’s and at Municipal Campground is clear and safe but it is hard water that many find distasteful.. 

Open ground fires are not allowed in the park or campground areas at Lake Sweetwater, you must use a BBQ grill, metal fire bowl, or a metal fire ring.  Occasionally, dry conditions may exist that cause a complete  ban on any kind of fire, open or not.  Notice of such “burn bans” will be posted on a red and white sign located at the “Y” intersection of Farm to Market Road 2035 and Farm to Market Road 1856.  The lake parks and campground are patrolled one or two times a day by the county sheriff.  Violation of a county burn ban is a serious matter.

The City of Sweetwater requires the purchase of a recreational permit for lake use.   They can be bought at Pappy’s Bait & Grill and at the lake golf course pro shop.  If you intend to put a boat, a fishing line, or a toe into the lake then you need the recreational permit.  The lake use permit is not included in the campground fee.  An annual permit costs $10, a weekend permit costs $3, and a daily permit costs $2.  A permit covers all immediate family members.  In other words, if you head to the lake with the wife and kids you only have to buy one permit.

Happy camping ... I.L. (Major H) Holdridge