We had a quick drive through the main park to check it out. The beach access was great from a couple of areas. The snorkeling can be great depending on how recently a storm has passed through. We rented a boat and spent a few hours on Shell Island. Because it is difficult to access there are very few people out on the beech. If you want a spot that is a little quieter than the main park beech access then head over here.
Location: You’ll probably not stumble across this location. It’s remote and you’ll need to be looking for it to find it. Once we arrived the flat farmland opens up before you into an amazing canyon. The first time you descend into the park it is breathtaking and a huge change from up on the rim. summer trips can be extremely hot and winter trips can be extremely cold, it may seem obvious, but temperatures in Texas are usually on the warmer side for the seasons.
Campsites: The sites are broken up into standard RV sites and tent sites with no access to sewer for the RVs. The tent sites are standard car camping sites with a pull-in at each site for your vehicle. Depending on the terrain you may be close to other sites. They also offer cabins on a few sites that were built in the 1930s by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corp). They have been fitted with window AC units and microwaves. It is a single room with full sized bunk beds. The fireplaces rely on airflow in the cabin to ensure the smoke goes outside rather than filling the cabin. Instructions for building fires appropriately are provided.
Activities: There are a lot of hiking trails for various skill levels. Mt. Biking is great fun in the canyon as well. We have been on several of the trails. They are all relatively short at around 4 miles round trip. They do offer back country hiking and camping, but you’ll want some experience before attempting that in this area. There are many great rock formations to explore, but you could get lost quickly if you go off trail.
Location: North of the DFW area and easy to find with good sites to choose from. We have done a lot of Primitive camping here that requires only a half mile walk from the parking lot.
The Sites: The primitive sites in the Hawthorne campgrounds are spaced a good distance apart and really give you a feel of isolation. Sites on the perimeter all have lake access where you can pull a boat up. We have car camped on a few occasions here and each time we saw plenty of deer around camp.
Facilities: There are several playground areas central to the various campgrounds with easy access for your family. Showers and restrooms are close by the playgrounds as well. There is also a fantastic beach swim area for day use or to visit while your camping. Nice sand and roped off swimming areas with large playgrounds.
Location: The location is tucked away in the small lakeside town of Hickory Creek…which is surrounded by Denton to the north and Lewisville/Dallas to the south. Even though it’s in a highly populated area, it feels very remote when you get into the park.
The car camp sites: They have a variety of sites that can be tucked into the trees or more in the open when bordering the lake. The car camp sites are ideal for families with playgrounds easy to access and well maintained. Connections for electric and water at each site are what you would expect.
The primitive sites: There are a few select primitive sites that offer some great views and feel much more remote than you actually are. These sites are all hike in with no close parking to the site. The hike isn’t far so multiple trips to the car are possible.
The primitive locations offer a great way to dip your toes into the world of backpacking.