Are you trying to find the best State Parks in which to go camping? Well, it turns out that Texas has quite the collection of awesome State Parks for this!
Sure Texas beaches are nice, and there are some cute beach towns, but if you are outdoorsy their State Parks may be just the ticket for you.
Texas State Parks are awesome and there is so much good about choosing Texas as your travel destination.
Today, we will walk you through all of the many options for a great camping trip in a Texas State Park. No matter who you are or what you are seeking, Texas State Parks have it all.
Whether you are looking for a family adventure, if you are a nature lover, a thrill/ adventure seeking, or someone who just loves the tranquility of the great outdoors, there is something for you here.
Oh, and we have also decided to look through the activities at these parks and when you should visit if you want to miss the crowds and busy times, of course!
Ready to get into it? Let’s get digging!
What Is Good About Camping In Texas?
Texas is the second-largest U.S State , with the largest being Alaska. However, Texas beats Alaska when it comes to weather, unless, of course, you enjoy the cold temperatures that come with the most Northern tip of North America.
This means that Texas weather is gorgeous, it is sunny, warm, and the winter is mild in comparison to other states. Its only downside is that it can be a victim to some extreme weather in the fall, during hurricane and storm season.
But, go the rest of the year and enjoy gorgeous sun and hot temperatures. If you go in August though, make sure to take plenty of liquids as it can get really dry!
Texas camping is also some of the most affordable camping, you won’t have to sell any organs to go camping in their State Parks, which is a brilliant bonus for those on a budget!
So, if you want to take your camping gear down to the natural scapes of the Lone Star State, and enjoy some sun, relaxation, and calm, enjoy our list as it turns out that this could be the place you have the time of your life!
Which Are The Best Texas State Parks For Going Camping?
So, which of the state parks you can find in Texas is the best for camping? Well, we cannot necessarily choose the best one, so instead we have put together a list of the 10 best choices for you.
Check each of these choices out and see which one sounds like the best fit for you!
1. Inks Lake State Park
Inks Lake State Park is a family-friendly State Park which can be enjoyed beside the water or in the water. You will find this location south of Lake Buchanan, which is one of the largest lakes in Texas!
This park is open to visitors all year round, so you can go whenever the feeling takes you. However, if you want to avoid crowds, spring, summer, and fall are when it is busiest, so for those who want to avoid too many people, perhaps a winter trip is more ideal here!
You can visit for the day, for a weekend, or for a vacation, whatever the case this place is perfect!
In this state park alone you will find nearly 200 different campsites and 22 cabins that are available for the reserved and booked.
Each site will have water and electricity available for RV’s, which also makes this State Park one of the best for RV camping too!
There are supplies for campers, food and snacks available for purchase on site, and you can even buy souvenirs if you loved your trip so much you want something to remember it by!
So, what’s the best part? Well, you can enjoy a beautiful 9 miles of nature and scenery, and take the time to really soak it all in. Hiking is popular here, as the hikes through shaded forests and nature watching are just awesome.
You can swim, but if that is not your thing, you could rent a kayak, paddle boat, canoe, or even rent out fishing equipment and maybe discover a new water-based hobby!
Oh, let’s not forget scuba diving! There is that too!
There are some Ranger Programs here as well, you can get a nature walk, canoe tour, or a geology hike to explore nature.
Grab yourself an explorer pack for the kids (or yourself) and enjoy learning about the local wilderness!
2. Garner State Park
Garner State Park is found in Concan, Texas, this is often a popular choice for families as there is just so much to do. It is pretty hard to get bored here!
The best time of year for visiting is during the summer, as they have a dance floor where you can dance your troubles away.
Since the 40’s, young people have taken their groove to the concession building at the park in the summer to have a good jukebox dance, and boogie their troubles away.
If you want to watch the dancing, you should arrive pretty early, as gates close at 8:30pm. However, if dance is not your thing, there is so much else going on here!
In the summer, try out some putt-putt and show off to friends and family, stargazing is also an option, as summer Texas skies are clear and hard to forget.
Swimming in the waters of the Frio River is also a great way to spend some time. It is a 2.9 mile long river you can enjoy a good cool dip in. If you aren’t the swimming type you could also rent out a paddle boat or tube down the river slowly to relax and explore.
Kayaking and fishing is also an option, as is canoeing.
There is so much natural beauty here, it is a must-see, and a perfect opportunity to really relax.
Biking, hiking and so on are great ways to explore the 11 miles of gorgeous trails, but if you want something that gets you even more outdoors, horse riding is also an amazing way to enjoy the scenery.
If you love to learn, there are educational programs as well, enjoy geology, park history, and geocaching too!
Stay at the park overnight, or for extended vacations to explore the whole area and enjoy every part of it. There are plenty of campsites, screened shelters and cabins available for reservations, it is an opportunity you do not want to miss!
When You Should Visit
For the introverts who do not want their nature vacation ruined by excessive crowds, you could hang out in deep pools past the main camping area, and below the dam to get some peaceful time to yourself.
You might even be lucky to have the whole area to yourself, especially if you go when the park is quietest!
The busiest time of year for this park is on Labor Day, Memorial Day weekend, and similar major holidays, so to avoid the rush of tourism, you should definitely look at booking when most other people are at work!
3. Cedar Hill State Park
If you fancy a relaxing, encompassing nature, or even just a little outdoor exploration then this park is the ideal park for you. It is open for visitors during the day, or during weekends! It is also a pretty cheap option for those on a budget.
That being said you will still need to make a reservation as it is a pretty popular spot. Be sure to bring your RV, tent, or truck camper, but note there are showers available on the camping spots if you need them!
This is a quiet park, which makes it an ideal place to get away from the chaos of city life, enjoy a picnic or a grill around their seating areas. Or if you want something a little more calm and chilled, take a picnic basket and have a meal by the lake.
You could also swim in the lake, and there is also a gravel swimming beach which recently reopened.
Check out their hiking trails on a bicycle or by foot, but note that when the trails are wet they will be closed. You should always call up in advance if you want to use the trails to make sure that they are open for use!
If you enjoy fishing, do not forget to bring your fishing gear! You can go fishing in their gorgeous 7,500 acre Joe Pool Lake, and the kids can even learn to fish in the perch pond as well!
Here you can also get some outdoor skills workshops and guided hikes to learn about nature and the history of the area!
4. Dinosaur Valley State Park
Maybe you want something a bit more… unique. Or perhaps you just love dinosaurs and prehistorics.
At Dinosaur Valley State Park you couldn’t ask for more! You get to experience the adrenaline rush of walking in the tracks of prehistoric creatures long gone from our world.
This is probably one of our favorites of the Texas State Parks for camping.
Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, they left huge footprints in the mud at the edge of an old ocean, both theropods and sauropods alike.
Now, in the present day, you can walk alongside their footprints on the Paluxy River bed. However, these footprints are not always visible and when it is wet and rainy the trails can be closed off for safety reasons.
Before you start planning your print to see some awesome dinosaur footprints, you should always call up and ask whether the trails are open and how visible the footprints are.
It is also not a bad idea to download a map app on your phone and map out where the tracks are and gather information about them.
Doing this can mark your location and you will have an idea of where the dinosaurs walked, even should the footprints not be visible when you go.
If you have kids, they will surely enjoy the statues and structures of dinosaurs here, so be prepared to take plenty of photographs!
On the Eastern side of the park you will find bones as you hike the paths. If you choose to hike you should ensure you wear appropriate, comfortable footwear, and bring along some spare clothes as you may get wet during your hike.
What Else You Can Do There?
A Dino Park with so much to do. You do not need to go hiking, you could also go horse riding! If you are advanced and have your own horse, why not take your hooves buddy out for a ride here. You can also take the guided horse tour from Eagle Eye Ranch Carriage Company.
Saddle up and ride, or take a trip on one of their horse-drawn wagon rides!
Whatever you choose, you won’t be missing out on scenery, and it is available for kids too! However, if you do take the equestrian tour, make reservations beforehand, or you could miss out, they are quite popular.
For a cool down, swim along with kayaking, fishing, or paddle boating!
Ranger Programs are also great fun here! Always check up on their programs and events, you can even set up special events and programs just for you! Take the chance to learn new skills such as geocaching, fishing, and archery, or observe tracks, stars, and wildlife here!
When Is It Best To Visit?
We have to admit, just one day is hardly enough time to spend here, so if you want to spend longer we do not blame you, and you can.
You could make a booking to stay at a campsite there, but since the park is busy between March and November it is always good to pre-book. If you don’t have a truck camper or an RV bring your own tent!
On their sites there are water, toilets, showers, and picnic tables to enjoy your lunch at.
The best time to visit here is in the summer, but it will also be busy, so why not go as spring turns to summer for warm weather but fewer crowds.
While the winter months are less busy it is also worse to visit in these times as it is very cold, so we recommend booking when most other people won’t be able to. Try to avoid holidays and the middle of summer if you want to avoid crowds!
5. Colorado Bend State Park
You can enjoy the true beauty of the wilderness when you visit Colorado Bend State Park. It is only 2 hours away from Austin city and is another cheaper option for those on a budget.
It is a beautiful park to hike through, and has 35 miles worth of show-stopping beauty. If you want to take a biking trail, you can enjoy it for the whole day as their trails are 14 miles long for cyclists.
If you need a good cool off after a long hike, swim in the Spicewood Springs to refresh yourself. However, while you can enjoy the river, you could also enjoy some of their swimming holes and waterfalls fed by springs.
If you want to see one of Texas’ most glamorous waterfalls – Gorman Falls, you can hike here also and take in this show stopping beauty!
Be aware, however, that you are not allowed to swim in Gorman Falls, but you can enjoy the views all the same. You could fish in the river or paddle though.
If you want to make the most of this scenic beauty, go in early spring, especially if you want to go fishing!
Another thing you can enjoy here is their wild cave tours, these do need to be booked in advance, however. Kids also thoroughly enjoy the parks’ ranger programs, where they can become a Junior Ranger and even earn a badge or two!
So, pack up your tent and take to camping on their sites, you could also come in your camping truck or your RV. Come along in spring and summer for the best experience, but be warned, this time is also the busiest as well!
6. Palo Duro Canyon State Park
If you want to discover some of the rich history of Texas, then this park, and its rugged glamor is sure to be what you need!
This is the second-biggest canyon that can be found in the country, and you will find it dead in the middle of the Texas Panhandle.
You can explore and enjoy this canyon by taking a hike through it, or if you own a horse or a bicycle you can explore it this way too!
Take an adventure through 1,500 acres of trails on horseback, designated just for horse riders, or if you are on foot or a bike, find trails just for this too!
In this park you can camp in luxury, or should we say… Glamp! Yes, glamping! You can go glamping at one of their gorgeous sites here, fully equipped with rustic furnishings and air conditioning and fully equipped functional kitchens!
These glamping sites also have coffee makers, games, and bikes all available. But, if you want to relax, chill out on their porch swings!
If you like learning, take a ranger program to learn about the natural beauty and history of the park. Perhaps a driving tour is more suited to you as you can learn about the local birds and Longhorn cattle! Do schedule this in advance, though, as it is very popular!
When To Travel There
Summer is the best time to travel to this park, that is, if you do not mind crowds. It can be really busy in summer due to the Texas Outdoor Musical, a super family-friendly fun show with singing, dancing, fireworks, and classic Texas humor!
That being said, it can also get a bit wet in the summer, which can result in trails being closed off, so plan ahead!
For those who prefer fewer crowds, spring or fall are better times of year to visit
7. Big Bend National Park
This National Park is found near Mexico’s border and is split in two by a massive bend in the river the Rio Grande. It is considered to be one of the gifts of Texas and a natural wonder of the world. There is so much to adore here.
You certainly will not be bored in this place as there is a wide variety of activities you can do and many things to do as well. Should you wish to explore the desert, mountains, or just enjoy the river, you can do all of these things here.
Journey through exquisite scenery, and venture around different trails. If you’re an experienced and fit hiker, you can go on longer hikes, and once you have ended your hike and want to relax, relax in the hot springs off of the edge of the Rio Grande.
You could also cool off in the river as well.
Take a scenic drive through the park, and do not forget to stop off at the Fossil Discovery Exhibit.
In this place you can learn about the park’s geology, look at their displays that show off the Bravoceratops dinosaur (the giant alligator), and also one of the largest flying creatures to live on earth.
You can learn about prehistoric animals that lived there many millions of years ago.
Of course, also explore the Rio Grande by canoe if you enjoy that type of thing, and do not forget to enjoy some of the many camping spots around here, bring your tent and enjoy a life under the stars.
8. Riverfront RV Park
Got an RV? Pack it up and spend a couple of nights at this park! If you don’t have an RV, you can still camp here in a tent. It’s a quiet location that will bless you with views of the Neuce River and is ideal for those who just want to get away from it all.
Wildlife watching here is spectacular, with so many fish and birds. There are large oak trees and plenty of shady spots to cool down from the hot sun.
There is also Wi-Fi, so feel free to upload to your social media and make everyone jealous!
Here they have activities like boating, paddling, and fishing in the river. It can get busy though, so make a reservation in advance!
9. Pedernales Falls State Park
Only 30 miles from Austin, Texas, this park is popular thanks to the river, with the highlight being Pedernales Falls.
The river is ideal for enjoying with family and enjoying a dip in the water. Tube, canoe, kayak, and fish in the river, but be aware this river is prone to flash floods and can be very rough and turbulent.
Be wary in these waters and if you notice anything unusual leave straight away! Call the park if you are unsure if it is safe or not.
Here you can also enjoy biking and hiking trails around the Mescal and Tobacco Mountains. Cool off in the pools around your hike and if you have a horse, saddle up and ride the trails, but do check if this is safe to do first!
It is busiest here in Spring, Fall, and Summer, as you may expect, however, it is worse during September, May, and August, so these are times best avoided.
10. Guadalupe River State Park
Our final State Park in Texas is also not far from Austin, and is also not far from San Antonio either. This location offers tent camping as well, and you will be able to rent from camping and the fishing equipment on the park.
There are walk-in tent sites with water and electricity for comfort here.
There are so many things you can do here including: swimming in the swimming hole, fishing, fly fishing, canoeing, tubing in the river, etc.
There are also 13 miles of biking and biking trails to explore and some of the trails give you an amazing opportunity to look at the river. Horse riders can ride the trails too, and kids can make use of the Discovery center and multiple playgrounds!
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