Best Texas State Parks for camping – If you love camping, the outdoors and sunshine as much as we do, then you will love this guide!
In our super guide, you will discover the best Texas state parks for camping for families, nature lovers, adventure seekers and whoever just loves relaxing in nature.
We have also included park activities, best times to visit and when to avoid the crowds.
Texas Weather For Camping
In case you didn’t know, Texas is the second-largest state in the USA and it is in the South Central Region.
Texas weather is also very pleasant! You can enjoy nice sunny days and its winter is mild compared to other states.
By the way, camping in Texas is affordable! You won’t have to pay an arm or leg to enjoy all these State Parks have to offer.
Ready to escape to the wilderness of the Lone Star State and have the time of your life? Let’s get started!
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Best Texas State Parks For Camping
#1 Garner State Park
This park is located in Concan, TX. It is also a popular choice among families because of the variety of things to do in this park. Rest assured, you won’t be bored when visiting this park!
The best time to visit is in the summer season as they have the dance floor and you can join in the fun. Ever since the 1940s, the young folks head to the park’s concession building every summer evenings for a jukebox dance. If you’d like to watch, be sure to arrive early as they close the gates at 8:30 PM. Apart from dancing, you can also enjoy a wide variety of activities here!
In the summer months, you can also enjoy putt-putt and ace your skills! And why not lay on the ground and stargaze! Which is a sight that’s not to be missed!
Visitors love to swim in the cool waters of the Frio River which is 2.9 miles long.
Rent a paddleboat or just simply relax and tube down the river to explore it. You can also canoe, kayak and fish in the Frio River. This way you can still enjoy it.
This park has a lot of natural beauty that’s you must see! You can hike or bike through 11 miles of scenic trails. Even better, why not enjoy it while horse riding!
Families can also enjoy their educational programs, such as learning about park history, geology and geocaching.
If you want to enjoy the park to the fullest and explore every inch of it, then you can stay overnight or as long as you want. They have campsites available, cabins and screened shelters that you can reserve.
When to Visit
If you’re an introvert and don’t fancy crowds. You can hang out by the deep pools below the dam past the main camping area and enjoy some quiet time. You might even be lucky enough to have it all to yourself!
This park is also busiest during the Memorial Day weekend, Labor Day and other major holidays.
#2 Inks Lake State Park
This is another family-friendly park that can be enjoyed in the water and on land. It is located south of Lake Buchanan, one of Texas’s largest lakes.
You can visit and enjoy this park all year round. The busiest times are in the spring, summer and fall seasons. Whether you want to visit for the day, weekend, or a few days, this park is ideal!
There are almost 200 campsites and 22 cabins at this park which you can book and reserve. These camping sites also have electricity and water for RVs and it also one of the best Texas state parks for RV camping!
You can buy food, snacks, camping supplies and even souvenirs at the parks store. Now, for the fun part! You can enjoy 9 miles of scenery and observe nature at its finest! Hike through shady forests and enjoy the wildlife watching!
Bike your way through the hiking trails or trek through it. Don’t miss out on exploring Devil’s Waterhole, you can swim in the cool water here. You can also enjoy waterfalls in Valley Spring Creek.
Apart from swimming, you can also rent a paddleboat, kayak, canoe and even fishing equipment. You can also scuba dive! To get more information about fishing, you can request a detailed fishing sheet along with some tips. They also offer Ranger Programs some of these are: canoe tours, nature walks, geology hikes and more!
Grab an explorer pack for your kids and enjoy the educational programs!
#3 Dinosaur Valley State Park
Are you looking for something more unique? Or maybe you want to learn about our amazing prehistoric species that once roamed the earth?
At this park, you will experience the thrill of walking in their tracks? You and your family will love this park and everything about it!
This is probably one of the best Texas State camping parks.
Millions of years ago, the dinosaurs left footprints in the mud at the edge of an ancient ocean. The theropod and sauropod.
Now, you can walk along their tracks on the bed of the Paluxy River! Please note that the tracks are not always visible and when it’s rainy, the trails might be closed.
So, before planning your trip, you should call them and ask them about the trails and the visibility of the tracks. You can also download maps on your smartphone and map out all the tracks and info about them.
Here, your location will be marked and you can see where the dinosaurs walked. Even when their footprints are not visible.
The kids will enjoy large structures and statues of dinosaurs at this park, so ensure you carry your camera along.
You can also view bones on the eastern side of the park while you’re hiking through.
If you plan on hiking through the park, ensure that you wear comfortable shoes. You should also have a set of extra clothes as you can get wet along the way!
In addition to hiking, you can also enjoy a variety of other activities.
One of the best activities is horse riding. If you’re an advanced rider and you own a horse, you can bring him along for a good ride! Or you can take a guided horse riding tour from the Eagle Eye Ranch Carriage Company. You can saddle up and ride or take their horse-drawn wagon rides.
Whichever option you choose, you can still enjoy views of the scenic park. The equestrian tour is also available for kids.
If you plan on taking the equestrian tour, be sure to make reservations in advance to avoid missing out!
When you want to cool down, you can also enjoy a swim along with other water activities. Such as kayaking, paddle boating and fishing.
They also have a variety of fun Ranger Programs at this park.
Other fun actitivies:
- check their upcoming events and programs or contact them to set up a special one or tour just for you
- learn new skills in their programs such as fishing, archery and geocaching
- observe the dinosaur tracks, wildlife and even the stars!
When to Visit
Feel a day visit is not enough? Want to explore this park to the fullest and make the most of it? Not a problem!
You can make bookings and stay at their campsites. as the park is usually busy between the months of March and November. Make sure to bring your own tents if you don’t have a RV or truck camper.
On their campsite, there are toilets, showers, water and even picnic tables.
If you’re planning on visiting the Dinosaur Valley State Park, then the best time to go would be in summer or when it starts warming up.
The worst time to visit the park is in the winter because the temperatures are chilly! That’s between the months of November and mid-March.
#4 Cedar Hill State Park
If you want to enjoy some nature, relax or explore a little, then this park is perfect for you! You can visit for the day or the weekend.
It is also an affordable option and is very cheap! However, you will still need to make reservations. Bring your tent along or your RV and truck camper. They also have showers on the camping spots.
This park is also quiet which is ideal for those who want to enjoy some peace. They also have picnic tables and grills.
Pack a picnic basket and relax by the lake! Or take a swim in it! There’s also a gravel swimming beach. But it is closed until 2022.
You can also enjoy the hiking trails on foot or on a bike. Explore 1200 acres of land! Please note that when the trails are wet, then it is closed. So, make sure to call the park in advance if you want to enjoy the trails.
Bring along your fishing equipment too! Enjoy fishing in the 7,500-acre Joe Pool Lake. Your kids can also enjoy some fishing in the perch pond.
This park also offers:
- guided hikes in which you can learn about history and nature
- outdoor skills workshops
#5 Palo Duro Canyon State Park
Enjoy the rich history of Texas and it’s rugged beauty at this park!
It is the second-largest canyon in the country that lies in the heart of the Texas Panhandle.
Explore and enjoy this canyon by hiking through it. You can also explore it on a bike or horse (you’ll have to bring your own).
Ride through 1500 acres of trails that are only for horse riding. Or you can join the hikers and bikers on their trails.
You can also camp in luxury at this park! Which they call glamping. Each of their glamping sites is equipped with air conditioning and rustic furniture. The kitchens are also fully equipped.
The glamping sites also have bikes, coffee makers and games. When you want to relax, you can also chill on the porch swings.
Their ranger programs also educate you about the park’s history and natural beauty which are all very interesting!
You can take a driving tour with one of the park’s rangers. You will learn about Longhorn cattle and birds. If you’re interested in taking this tour, you will need to schedule it with them.
When to Visit
The best time to visit this park is in summer. That’s if you don’t mind crowds.
During this period, they have the Texas Outdoor Musical – which is family-friendly! This show is super fun with dancing, singing, fireworks and even some Texas humor which will have you rolling on the floor in laughter! However, during the summer, it can be rainy which leads to the trails being closed. So, plan your trip carefully.
If you’re looking for quieter, then the best time to visit would be in spring or fall.
#6 Colorado Bend State Park
Enjoy the wilderness at its finest when you visit this park! It is located two hours away from Austin. This park is also another affordable option.
Enjoy hiking through this park which stretches approximately 35 miles and appreciating nature’s beauty! The biking trails are also 14 miles long.
When you need to cool off after a long hike, you can swim in Spicewood Springs. In addition to the river, you can also enjoy the spring-fed waterfalls and swimming holes. You can also hike to see one of Texas wonders and the most stunning waterfalls, Gorman Falls!
Swimming is not allowed at the Gorman Falls, but you can still admire it! You can also paddle and fish in the river. The best time to visit this park if you want to fish is in the early spring.
One of the highlights of this park is the wild cave tours. You will need to book the tours in advance. The kids will also enjoy the ranger programs! They can become a Junior Ranger and earn badges.
Pack your tent and enjoy camping on their camping sites. You can also come with your RV or camping truck.
The best time to visit would be in the spring and summer. This period is also the busiest.
#7 Big Bend National Park
Big Bend National Park is located by the border of Mexico is separated by a huge bend in the Rio Grande river. It is also said to be one of Texas’s gifts and natural wonder. There is much to love about this park.
You won’t be bored here as they have a variety of activities and things to do. Whether you’re in the mood to explore mountains, deserts, or enjoy the river – you can do it all!
Hike through the most beautiful scenery. There are several trails to choose from. If you’re a fit and experienced hiker, you can choose to go on a longer hike. Once you’ve finished your hike, you can take a dip in the hot springs on the edge of the Rio Grande River. Alternatively, you can cool off in the river!
You can also take a scenic drive through the park and ensure that you make a stop at the Fossil Discovery Exhibit. Here, you can learn about the geology of the park. They also have some interesting displays including the giant alligator Bravoceratops dinosaur and one of the largest flying creatures! So, why not spend some time learning about the prehistoric creatures that inhabited the Big Bend National Park many years ago.
You can also explore the Rio Grande River by canoeing through it. Last but not least, there are also camping spots at this park! Bring your tent along and camp under the beautiful stars.
#8 Pedernales Falls State Park
This park is only 30 miles away from Austin and it is popular for its river. The highlight of this place is the Pedernales Falls!
The beautiful river is also perfect for enjoying with your familyand for taking a dip in after a long day! You can also tube, kayak, canoe and fish in the river. However, please note that this river can be turbulent and it also flash floods. So, be careful and if you notice anything strange or different – leave immediately. You can also call the park to ensure that it is safe for visiting.
More than the river, you can also enjoy other activities here:
- They have hiking and biking trails for both beginners and advanced visitors. Some of the trails are the Tobacco and the Mescal Mountains.
- You can also relax and cool off in the pools along your hike.
- If you have your own horse, you can also saddle up and ride through the trails. You will need to check first – as they close when it’s wet.
The busiest months at this park are in spring, summer and fall.
The worst time to visit this park is in the months of May, August and September. So, avoid going during these months.
#9 Guadalupe River State Park
This state park is not far from Austin and San Antonio and it offers tent camping too! You can rent the camping and fishing equipment at the park. They have walk-in tent sites with electricity and water.
Guadalupe River State Park offers so many possibilities, it is just beautiful to start with!
Look at this super fun acticities you can do there:
- swimming at the swimming hole
- tubing down the river
- if you love fishing you will be pleased to know they offer fly fishing!
Let’s not forget, you can also explore 13 miles of hike and bike trails. Some of the trails also lead to a stunning and scenic look of the river.
Horse riders are also welcome to come and ride through the trails. If you got kids, they will love the Children’s Discovery Center and the playgrounds at the park!
Enjoy geocaching with your kids and bird watching at the park also. Don’t forget to make reservations before planning your camping trip.
#10 Riverfront RV Park
Get your RV ready and spend a night or two at Riverfront RV Park! If you don’t have an RV, no worries! You can also camp in a tent.
This place is so nice and quiet offering beautiful views of Nuece River. It is the perfect place for those who want to take some time off to relax.
You can also enjoy wildlife watching here, beautiful birds and fish! There is also plenty of shade under the large oak trees. The Riverfront Park also offers WiFi so you can skype your friends and make them jealous!
Also, you won’t get bored, the park offers activities such as paddling, boating, or fishing in the Nuece River. If you’re planning a trip here, ensure that you make your reservations in advance so that they can reserve your spot.
That’s it from us, now it’s your turn to tell us your favorite camping spot!