The best camping in
Texas

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Camping Texas

Nothing thrills the heart of a true explorer like the stunning diversity of outdoor adventure that awaits in the state of Texas! From the beauty of the Gulf Coast to the High Plains, Texas offers terrain that varies between mountains, woodlands, rolling hills, semi-arid plains and high desert. With more than 78 state parks and numerous wildlife areas, historic sites and natural attractions, Texas truly has something for everyone.

Insiders know that camping in Texas is much more than just hanging out around the campfire. In a state that boasts everything is bigger, natural features as well as wildlife areas are vast and rich, begging the weary traveler to indulge in all the sights and experiences this type of diversity provides. The variety of parks, campgrounds and backcountry offers the full range of adventure for those looking to ‘rough it’ all the way to those who choose to enjoy nature with a few more comforts.

South Central Texas is a prime area of the state to explore. Known far and wide as the Hill Country, it is so named for its rolling hills and woodlands. Famous for its excellent wineries, historic small towns and natural beauty, the Hill Country also boasts a unique offering for campers known as Enchanted Rock State Park.

Enchanted Rock is a large pink granite dome that rises 425 feet above the surrounding terrain and is the largest granite monadock in the United States. Indians, Spaniards and early settlers all had stories of magical, spiritual or unexplained happenings around the rock which gave the feature its name. These days, one of the most intriguing sights is at night, after a rain. The wet dome seems to glitter in the moonlight and while regarded as a simple play of light on the granite, the effect adds to both the mystery and enchantment of the area.

Another intriguing site in the Hill Country is Jacob’s Well, a short 78 miles southeast from Enchanted Rock State Park. Fed by a natural artesian spring, Jacob’s Well consists of a large pool connected to a vast underground cavern system that sprawls more than 4300 feet. The spring is connected to the Trinity Aquifer and emits thousands of gallons of water each day where visitors can enjoy the cool 68 degree water. Jacob’s Well is a popular and welcome retreat from the famous Texas heat!

Texas is the second largest state and for some, camping in Texas can, and does, turn into a life-long pursuit. With so many hidden gems, and areas to explore, it could take decades to experience it all. The Dyrt has you covered though! For the secret hideaways and must-see adventures in Texas, check back often to see the latest insider tips and places to explore!

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Recent Reviews in Texas
Wonderful Hike

One of the best short bike near the DFW area. Good for a day picnic lunch/BBQ there are many picnic table with a grill. Pretty cool overview you can see the whole park.

Beautiful Hidden Gem

I'm from Texas, and I've never thought, "Let's go to Mineral Wells!".  My daughter who lives in Ft. Worth suggested we go the Lake Mineral Wells State Park for a weekend camping get away.  We wanted to spend the weekend hiking and hanging out at our campsite.  This was the perfect combination. 

We stayed on the Live Oak campground loop which has 30/50 amp/water.  We were lucky to snag the very last spot for the weekend.  Our site was right on the lake on a little 20 foot bluff that was perfect for watching the sunrise and drinking coffee each morning.  We spend our only full day hiking.  We visited the rock climbing area and also hiked to the primitive camping area.  The weather was perfect, blue bird skies and breezy mid-60's.

We felt very safe at this park.  The close the gate at 10 pm and you must have a code to enter after that.  The park host is also a ranger.  He and his wife were directly across from our site.  The whole park seems to be heavily patrolled.  Always a good feeling.  I would recommend camping here!

Great campground. Friendly camphost

Very clean and we'll maintained. Large v spaces.

First to Review
Good rate but very tight.

Stay for one week. Rv's so close couldn't put out canopy. Parking was very very tight. Lots of very old rv's. Good rate but never could get cable to work. Loud train near by.

Lots of trees

Beautiful campground.  There are a few full hookups. There is a swim area and boat dock.  Some sites have double concrete, most just single.  Many of the sites are surrounded by trees and very private.

First to Review
One Night Stop

Great place to stop. Very clean. Wifi and cable TV are perfect. All gravel level sites. Lots of space between sites. Easy on/off I10. Friendly staff. Cafe on site too. Will definitely come back.

Nice clean park not to far from Dallas..

We really enjoyed the park it is pretty wide and spread out on lake cooper. We stayed in the Brightstar area of the park and had a great time. The bathrooms were very clean and in good working order. Was a great getaway not to far outside of Dallas TX. We will come back for sure. Has a beach area for swimming in warmer weather and a dock and boat ramp if you take your boat.

Relaxing and fun but small!

This campground is located in my home county. We enjoy this park a lot though it is quite small so you can hike the trails and "see the sites" within the day. Really nice location though tucked away in a quiet part of the county!

Nice little forest in the city

Great campground within miles of downtown Austin.  Two scenic waterfalls for frolicking in warm weather camping.  Many tree ringed rv sites for privacy. Well marked hiking trails and grills for day use.

Maintains the KOA Quality

Spent a night here on my way back from the coast. Nice KOA with everything you could need to be a happy camper. Very friendly and helpful office staff as well.

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Beach Location

Nice sites by the beach. Tables could use some work but the sites are level and functional. County park close to the pier with a place to eat and drink.

Beautiful Gulfview Park

Enjoyed a night here before visiting USS Lexington and Port Aransas. My site was right on the gulf and the view was great. Very friendly office staff. Level site with full hookups. I recommend and will return.

Serene setting at dusk

Cranes mill is a National Park. I purchased the senior lifetime pass and was able to stay every night for half price at this serene park. We arrived on the afternoon of Columbus Day weekend and we're happy that the park cleared out a bit on Monday. The views were spectacular at sunset. I appreciated camping on a small peninsula being able to see Canyon Lake on both sides of our campground. Most of the pads were fairly level though ours was a bit steep. We were disappointed that there was a burn ban at that time. The small town of Startzeville is very near with adequate grocery and forgotten item facilities. We found this a very nice, clean and quiet camp site in near proximity of home.

Nice quiet campground

Lake McClellan Campground is a nice campground in the middle of the Texas panhandle. Signs on the interstate direct you to the exit, but after that don't expect any other signage to help you find the campground, the only other sign you will get is the National Grasslands sign when you reach the area. Use your GPS or Google Maps to find you way and you will not have any trouble. After entering the Grassland do not take the first entrance you see on the left(dirt road leading to East Bluff#1 campground), but take the second paved entrance. Neither have a sign. The road is paved all the way to the campground. Once you turn off the main road their will be a road to the right which leads to the dump station. Just past this is a fork in the road with a sign for Lake McClellan. Take the road to the right for Lake McClellan Campground, going to the left will take you to McDowell Campground. Pay station will be on your left as you drive in, continue past the pay station to the camping area. The campground has hook up sites with electric and water($15), and non-hookup sites($10). The first 8 sites are just a large parking area for RVs, the remainder of the sites sit on small loops in the trees. All sites are nice and level. A few sites are missing their site numbers which made it a little difficult to figure out which site we were in. Campground has flush toilets with hot showers, one of the two restroom/shower building was locked. Site could use a little upkeep but for$10 for a sight with flushing toilets and showers, this is a good deal. Only a few other campers mid week in October. This are has ATV trails, so I am guessing it might get busy on the weekends. All sites have picnic tables, metal fire rings and most have pedestal grills as well.

Hidden gem near Austin

Nice park and campground very near Georgetown, Texas. Berry Springs is a local county park and preserve. The Park is located just north of Georgetown Texas about 1 mile off Interstate 35 the main highway between Dallas and Austin. It’s a Great location with loads of open space. They have basic sites with covered picnic tables, fire rings, and hooks for hanging items. The former ranch has a lot of history dating back to the Texas Pioneer days. The park is located next to clear spring fed river for swimming and fishing. This may be a great option for those looking for a location close to Austin or a local family weekend. The camp was nearly empty in October this year which is the peak season for camping in Texas. The sites are best suited for tent camper, vans, and smaller trailers.

Rancherias Spring Campsite on the Rancherias Loop

Rancherias Spring is a dispersed primitive campsite on the Rancherias Loop Trail. 

The main attraction of this site is the unique opportunity to walk through a cottonwood forest grove in the high mountain desert. There is not much water in this region, but there is apparently sufficient water to sustain a grove of trees. You also have the opportunity to cross over a high desert mesa. 

There are no facilities nor amenities at this campsite. Leave No Trace principles should apply. Purchase gas and supplies in Fort Stockton, Alpine or Terlingua before entering the park because there are no supplies within the park. Prior to visiting this site it is required that you check in to the Barton Warnock Visitor Center from 8am to 4pm and secure a backcountry permit. Sites must be at least 1/4 mile from any other existing campsite; at least 300 feet from water sources and prehistoric or historic cultural sites; at least 3/4 mile from trailheads or roads. 

At the trailhead and once you enter the trail, there is no cell phone signal. This is a remote area of the park which has few visitors, so take appropriate safety precautions for self-rescue if needed. 

This site is about 7 miles from the West trailhead entrance of the Rancherias Loop Trail. The spring itself was just a trickle when we visited. We were able to collect and filter water. Some in our group camped in the river wash. Others and I elected to camp up the hill on the rock surface. The surface on the hill was almost all rock, so instead of tent spikes I used large rocks to secure down my tent. 

The main attraction of this site is the unique opportunity to walk through a cottonwood forest grove in the high mountain desert. There is not much water in this region, but there is apparently sufficient water to sustain a grove of trees. You also have the opportunity to cross over a high desert mesa.

Casa Reza Farmhouse and Creek on the Rancherias Loop

Casa Reza Farmhouse is a dispersed primitive campsite on the Rancherias Loop Trail. 

The main attraction of this site is the ability to see a bit of pioneer history at the farmhouse. Also, having a perennial water source in this remote area is a nice luxury. You’ll also scamper over rock formations, through desert brush and around a myriad of desert flora. 

There are no facilities nor amenities at this campsite. Leave No Trace principles should apply. Purchase gas and supplies in Fort Stockton, Alpine or Terlingua before entering the park because there are no supplies within the park. Prior to visiting this site it is required that you check in to the Barton Warnock Visitor Center from 8am to 4pm and secure a backcountry permit. Sites must be at least 1/4 mile from any other existing campsite; at least 300 feet from water sources and prehistoric or historic cultural sites; at least 3/4 mile from trailheads or roads. 

At the trailhead and once you enter the trail, there is no cell phone signal. This is a remote area of the park which has few visitors, so take appropriate safety precautions for self-rescue if needed. This site is about 7 miles from the East trailhead entrance of the Rancherias Loop Trail. It is recommended and encouraged to not camp at the farmhouse site, but rather collect any needed water from the spring and walk further down the trail to camp. Reportedly this spring is a perennial water source. When we visited the water was freely running and we were able to collect and filter water easily. 

The main attraction of this site is the ability to see a bit of pioneer history at the farmhouse. Also, having a perennial water source in this remote area is a nice luxury. You’ll also scamper over rock formations, through desert brush and around a myriad of desert flora.

Seep Spring on the Rancherias Loop

Seep Spring is a dispersed primitive campsite on the Rancherias Loop Trail. 

The main attraction of this site is that it is relatively close to the trailhead entrance. Also, camping in the river wash on soft sand with high bluffs surrounding us was a fun experience. On route to this site you will pass through desert brush, see a variety of high mountain flora and weave your way through ocotillo forest. 

There are no facilities nor amenities at this campsite. Leave No Trace principles should apply. Purchase gas and supplies in Fort Stockton, Alpine or Terlingua before entering the park because there are no supplies within the park. Prior to visiting this site it is required that you check in to the Barton Warnock Visitor Center from 8am to 4pm and secure a backcountry permit. Backcountry sites are$10 per night with a limit of 6 people. Sites must be at least 1/4 mile from any other existing campsite; at least 300 feet from water sources and prehistoric or historic cultural sites; at least 3/4 mile from trailheads or roads. 

At the trailhead and once you enter the trail, there is no cell phone signal. This is a remote area of the park which has few visitors, so take appropriate safety precautions for self-rescue if needed. This site is about 4 miles from the East trailhead entrance for the Rancherias Loop Trail. Along the trail you will cross over mountains, valleys and river washes. During our trip there had not been rain and there was a forecast of zero rain. We elected to set up camp and sleep in the river wash on the sand. This is not advisable if there is rain or a forecast of rain because this area could flash flood. 

The main attraction of this site is that it is relatively close to the trailhead entrance. Also, camping in the river wash on soft sand with high bluffs surrounding us was a fun experience. On route to this site you will pass through desert brush, see a variety of high mountain flora and weave your way through ocotillo forest.

Basic National Park Campground

When you camp here in an RV you are basically parking in a parking lot.  It has a bathroom and all, but other than that - just a parking lot.  However, this is right at the trail head for Guadalupe Peak so if you are planning to hike that it is super convenient!!  Parking lots get full really early in the day and you end up parking at the visitor center and hiking down to the trial head.  But, if you stay here it makes it super easy to walk out of your door and hit the trails.  For that reason alone we would stay here!  It's not somewhere I would want to spend a week though.  Just a night to be able to easily jump on the trails the next morning!

Shaded lakeside camping in Deer Haven

The South Sulphur campground is about half an hour north of Interstate 30. It’s under a 2 hour drive from the DFW area so, I find it’s a nice weekend getaway. I camped here on a Sunday to Monday and it was very quiet. I was one of only 5 campers in the Deer Haven section (aside from the 3 camp hosts). I’m giving the park 5 stars but this is based on my experience of having camped here when there were few campers around. I image this place could be loud and busy on a weekend.

There are many shaded lakeside sites in the Deer Haven section. I stayed at site 68. The site was on a cul de sac so there was no campground to the one side. However, the site located on the other side was close. This would be a great spot for 2 camping families to share. The concrete pad at site 68 was level and shaded by a beautiful, mature oak tree. I could walk from the pad to the lake. It would be a great site to put out a kayak, but unfortunately the weather didn’t cooperate on my stay. So I didn’t get to kayak. I did see deer who ventured in from the wooded area next to the campsite.  Deer Haven lived up to its name!

Electric and water hookups were good as were the restroom/shower facilities, which seemed climate controlled because it felt cooler and less humid inside than outside. This usually isn’t the case in these buildings.

A big storm blew in around dinner time. The wind was fierce and blowing out of the north across the almost 20,000 acre lake! I actually called the ranger to find out if I needed to evacuate. The ranger was very responsive and reassuring. Luckily, there were no tornados warnings, so I weathered out the storm and woke to a beautiful crisp morning.

This park is huge and there is much to do. Cabins, shelters, primitive walk in sites, equine sites, a beach, several boat ramps, hiking trails, playgrounds and a fishing pier. I didn’t get to see a fraction of it, but I’ll be returning. 

I stopped in the town of Sulphur Springs on my way back to DFW. The town has a nice historic town square and makes for an interesting side stop.

First to Review
Great location in Terlingua

We wanted to spend time in Big Bend, but also wanted to be able to have cell service for the work week.  This campground mostly rents out trailers, but they do have 2 RV spots.  We were lucky to get one of them!  The owners are really nice and the location is super convenient to check out the bars and restaurants of Terlingua.  We used this as our jumping off point for Big Bend explorations.  It was a bit of a drive into the park, but worth it to us to be able to have a solid work week with cell service.  We also enjoyed checking out downtown Terlingua.  There is a shower/bathroom here and it was kept really clean.  If we are ever back in the area we would absolutely stay here again!

Poor Customer Service - Refuse to Refund Fee

We had a reservation for two camp sites for Oct 25th and 26th. It stormed heavily on Friday, October 25th. Arguably, it was even a safety hazard to go. As such, we did not go and was still charged the camp site fees. When I spoke with the Texas Parks and Recreations central reservations, they could not help and advised me to contact Eisenshower and informed me the park has discretion to refund the fees. When I called and spoke with"Rhonda," she informed me that she could not refund the money despite the rain and told me the park's policy prevents her from doing so. I question whether such a policy exist since central reservations specifically said the parks have discretion. This is the poor customer service. I didn't know state funded parks were under such pressure to squeeze money out of people and make margins since it is tax funded by individuals like me. Amazing how poor customer service governmental entities provide. Governmental workers will be just that…government workers. Sad.

Avoid the crowds at this small campground

East Bluff#1 Campground located on south side of Lake McClellan is a small five site campground. The campground is better suited for RVs than tents as the ground at all the sites slopes down towards the lake. Campsites at the ends are slightly more flat. All of the site sit on the lake shore. Two of the five sites have two picnic tables, every site has at least on picnic table and a metal fire ring. One double vault toilet can be found on the west end of the campground, a dumpster is located in the parking area. Sites are well spread out, plenty of room to spread out. A nice feature of this campground is the large field located across the parking area from the campsites. Their is no water at this campground, so come prepared or fill up at one of the other campgrounds on the other side of the lake. Signs on the interstate direct you to the exit for the recreation area, but after that don't expect any other signage to help you find the campground, the only other sign you will get is the National Grasslands sign when you reach the area. After passing the National Grasslands sign take the first dirt road on the right to reach the campground, pass by the next right turn, this leads to the boat launch area, continue down the toad to the campground. Cost is$10 per night.

Monahans Sandhills State Park + Sand + Wind

My friends and I made a short stay at Monahans Sandhills State Park on our way to Guadalupe Mountains National Park. We made a reservation online because we knew that we would be arriving late considering that we were leaving after work at 6pm and out drive would be at least 5 hours. It is possible to pick up supplies or eat in the town of Ozona or Fort Stockton.

Upon our arrival, it was fairly easy to find our assigned campsite because all of the campsites appear to be located along a loop road.

Each campsites has water and electric hookups. There are also a sun shade, picnic table and grill. The bathroom was located a short distance from our campsite and contained sinks, toilets and showers. 

The main attraction of this park is definitely the sandhills. One can explore the sandhills freely, but I think that it might be a good idea to not venture too far from the main campground unless you are familiar with desert navigation or are equipped with a GPS. One can walk up the sandhills, roll down the sandhills or just stand in awe within them. I was surprised to find a variety of flowers thriving amongst the sandhills. How does that happen?

There are not any marked or designated trails at this park. There are not many facilities or activities to do. The main attraction is the sand, the sandhills and the sunrises. Even though our stay was short, I really enjoyed staying at this park and watching the sunrise in the morning.

Ranger Review HeadSpin Light System at Guadalupe Mountains National Park

A visit to Guadalupe Mountains National Park is not complete without a hike up to Guadalupe Peak which the highest point in Texas at 8,751 feet (2,667 m). This trip was better and brighter because I had the opportunity to test a new light system by HeadSpin Outdoors. 

On your way into the park fill up with gas and pick up supplies either in the towns of Fort Stockton, Pecos or Van Horn. The route passing through Pecos is more direct, but the road is often crowded with large trucks traveling to the oil fields. The route that passes through Van Horn is longer, but more relaxing and scenic. I advise taking the route through Van Horn.

Campground Review: 

Guadalupe Mountains National Parks operates on a first come first served basis and does not take campsite reservations. If you are driving to the park from one of the major Texas cities such as Houston, Dallas, San Antonio or Austin you must leave early in the morning (4am) to arrive early at the park (1pm) in order to secure a campsite. The drive is typically 8 to 10 hours. We elected for a different plan. We left after work at 6pm on Thursday, drove 5 hours and camped at Monahans Sandhills State Park. Reservations can be made at almost all of the Texas State Parks, so we made a reservation at Monahans Sandhills SP.  We knew that we could arrive late and still have a reserved campsite. Then the next day we continued to GMNP at a leisurely pace. We arrive by 1pm and secured one of many available campsites - #12.  

Arriving by mid-day allowed us the option to choose between a number of short trails to acquaint ourselves with the park and acclimatize to the higher altitude. We had the options to explore The Devils Hall trail, The Smith Spring trail or The Pratt Cabin trail. We elected to hike the Pratt Cabin trail. 

The Pratt Cabin trail was a nice introduction to the park for the first time visitors in our group. The trail is a 4.8 miles long out and back hike, relatively flat and the leaves were just starting to change colors. There was water in the creek. And at the turnaround point of our hike there was a historic stone cabin - Pratt Lodge. We returned to camp and had a nice meal. Campfires are not allowed in GMNP so we brought a propane camp stove.The night was cool, but pleasant.

The next day we woke up early and set off for the hike up to Guadalupe Peak. The hike typically take about 4 hours up and 3 hours down. We left early at 8am so that we could avoid the potential crowds. Our group summited without any problems in about 3:30 hours. We celebrated at the top, took some photos, signed the log book and took in the views. We then descended the trail. On our way down the wind picked up and at one corner the wind was whipping around at what I would estimate 40 mph. We reached our campsite by early afternoon and relaxed. At the Pine Springs campsite the winds picked up speed and for the rest of the day and into the night. Many tents in the campground were collapsing or blowing down. Luckily we had secured our tents with extra cordage and rocks. 

Overall, this is an excellent park to car camp or backpack. On previous trips to this park I've backpacked up to Guadalupe Peak as well as Pine Top. There are many good trails with trailheads near the Pine Spring campsites. There are latrine toilets near the tent camping sites and normal toilets near the RV camping sites. There are no showers in the park so be prepared to embrace nature.The true beauty of this park is not really the summit of Guadalupe Peak, but the rustic nature of the high desert trails and views.

Product Review of HeadSpin Light System 

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, from time to time I am provided products to test. For this outing I was provided a HeadSpin Light System.

For more info: www.headspinoutdoors.com

I was immediately impressed with the HeadSpin Light System when it arrived in the mail. When I unboxed the product I discovered that it was contained within a sturdy semi-hard case. There were five easily identifiable pieces within the kit - the light head, a handle, a headband, a bicycle mount and a wall charging plug. There was also an instruction manual, sticker and USB cord. The system is very intuitive to use.

The light head is the primary unit that can be combined with the accessories to form multifunctional lights. I'm a fan of good design and I liked the rounded square form of the light head. It has four buttons on top. One button turns on the unit. One button increases or decreases the intensity of the light. One button switches the light pattern from wide to spot. And one button switches the light to a flashing strobe. 

I received the light system just prior to my trip, so I wasn't able to charge the unit at home. One of the great advantages of this product is that it is a rechargeable light with a lithium ion battery. I took the entire kit in the car and charged it with the included USB cable plugged into the car socket. The USB cable can also be plugged in to any portable power bank. By the time that we reached our destination, the unit was charged. This came in handy as we set up our tents in the middle of the night.

The next day we hung the HeadSpin light in a tree above our camp kitchen and used it like a lantern to cook. The soft wide light provided great lighting for camp chores.

I also used the light for walking on some trails. Typically I used the lowest setting, because this light is bright. I played around with the higher settings but my friends kept asking me to turn it down because it was too bright. Hahaha, too bright. See the demo video.

I only used the light system with the headband accessory. I didn't use the handle nor the bike attachment. I think that the handle would be useful around the house. I think that bike attachment plus the headband attachment would be great for a bike packing trip. One could attach the light to the bike's handlebar when riding. Then disconnect it and spin it onto the headband for other activities.  

So who might like this light system? Anyone that likes multi-functional lights. I think that I'll find use for it around the house. It would also be useful to keep within a vehicle. This would be ideal for bikepacking. Hunters might like the intensity of the light, but I'm guessing that they would like a red light added. And of course it would always be useful for camping. If you are in to overloading where you need a reliable, rechargeable bright light this product would be a no brainer. The ability to charge the light from a variety of sources makes this a game changer for me. 

Likes:

Super bright light

Super soft light

Multifunctional

Outlet and USB rechargeable 

Nice design

Quality construction

Dislikes:

I'd like to see a red and maybe a green light

I'd like the buttons to be a little more tactile

Overall I am very impressed with the HeadSpin Light System. I have the feeling that I am just starting to discover all of the functions, features and uses. If you'd like to find out more about the light system or buy one visit their website at: www.headspinoutdoors.com

Pretty Area

Nice and pretty area. Operated under the US Army Corps of Engineers

Where my heart finds peace

This park is hands down my most favorite. Living only 15 minutes away from the park makes getting their super easy. The river that runs through this park is remarkably clear. During the summer time it is a popular spot to cool off. In the fall though it is nice and quiet with warm water. The early mornings are the best!

Beautiful scenery

Very nice private campground on a family ranch

Colorado River Access

Excellent river access