The campground was just ok. When we arrived, I was told we had site 219, across from the office. I looked at the site and was concerned about a tree on the edge of the site, which, combined with a set of stairs to the office across the street, would make backing in difficult. The manager stated that I could take 218 or 220 if those were better, inferring that other sites might be occupied. I took 220 as it was the easiest to get into, plus it was the only one of the three with a picnic table, rough as it was. The irony was that the campground was only 10% full all weekend, so I'm not sure why I was restricted to these three small, poor sites. All the sites were grass only with no paved parking area, and the lawn was pretty uneven with potholes, making footing sometimes difficult. We could see the lake from our site which was nice, but the launch ramp made for some irritation. There were lots of boats coming and going, many of them high powered speed boats, who seemed to find it necessary to rev their engines to high speed as part of their startup ritual. The campground, as empty as it was, was pretty noisy. I had read that some folks call Lake Elsinore "Lake Smell-some-more" because of occasional fish die-offs. There was no die-off currently, but the lake did have a slight odor. We still had a good time, but the campground felt a bit run down, so because of that and the other issues above, we don't plan to be back.
Overall, this campground was a pleasant experience. Here were the pro's and con's. Pro's: nice clean facilities (although we did not use bathroom or showers); very friendly staff; reasonable size sites, mostly grassy and shaded with mature trees; some permanent residents but they were friendly. Con's: our site had hookups on wrong side; wind was excessive during the day (common at this location); train tracks are about a mile away, and could be heard at night. We plan on going back.
Nice campground, friendly staff. Great location if your mission is to get away from it all. No TV reception, no cable, no cell coverage, and wireless only by the front office. It's a 25 mile ride to Julian and even further to anywhere else. But if you want peace and quiet, you'll find it here. The only sounds we heard were thunderstorms, coyotes, their horses, and once in a blue moon, a passing car.
The campground was very nice. The place is 20 miles from any significant town. We couldn't even find a small mom and pop restaurant or store nearby. So it's important that you plan ahead (including gas: none nearby). Tucalota is great if you want a "throwback" camping experience. The campground has a fishing pond, a petting zoo (with emus and ostriches), horseshoe pits, a basketball court and a ball field. There were a few folks catching fish at the catch-and-release pond. There's also shaded areas with picnic tables. Also a real nice pool out front. Lots of things to do to keep the kids busy. However, those addicted to the modern conveniences of cell phones and Wi-Fi will not be happy. Cell coverage was non-existent and the owner has shut down Wi-Fi access as it was through a Hughes Satellite link and "people kept tying it up downloading pictures and stuff" (quote from owner). So, if you are willing to walk to the lounge out front (open 24 hours), there is a computer that can be used, but the connection suffers from the typical satellite issues: high speed downloads but with latency due to the satellite distance. Usable but not great. The lounge is well appointed and also has a TV with DirecTV service, and a coffee pot available with free coffee while the adjacent store is open. The sites range from tight to roomy and about 70% are back-ins and 30% are pull-ins (hookups to the left). I'd avoid those latter sites. They are clearly labeled on the map downloadable from the web site. The place was very quiet for a summer weekend. I'd say about 20% occupancy. We had site D5, which had adequate shade and was very big with great privacy. Nice folks running the facility, and for us, a very pleasant overall experience. We plan on going back.
Lake Hemet is a picturesque campground, but with a few problems: 1) Has very narrow camp access roads made backing into the site difficult. This was compounded by large boulders placed in front of each site. 2) Has lots of full time campers with semi-permanent set-ups, including storage sheds, porches, etc. This is not my cup of tea as it looked kind of shanty-town like. 3) It was surprisingly buggy, mostly at dusk. If you like fishing, folks were reporting good luck fishing the lake. Boat rentals are available. If you're into high tech, you'll be disappointed by the lack of cell coverage and Wi-Fi. If you can live without communications to the real world, and have a maneuverable rig, you may enjoy this campground.
We spent three nights here. They use an usual cul-de-sac layout, which packs a good number of sites into the space, but we did not feel crowded. The staff is really friendly, as were most of the campers that we met. Price was fair for a campground with easy beach access. Our only annoyance which was minor, is that they take reservations, but will not guarantee a specific site. We had been told that we had site D9 when we reserved two months ago, only to find out when we checked in that we were moved to C1, despite us wanting to be at adjacent sites to our friends. Otherwise, we were pleased with our experience.
Very nice campground with spacious sites. In the RV section (sites with hook-ups), the ones on the south loop are a bit more shaded. A great place for getting away from it all. Only negative, and it's a minor complaint, is that there is a school next door with an outdoor field where there are sometimes nightly games or functions. The night lights and sounds of these functions are definitely noticeable, particularly on the east side of the south loop.