10 Best Camping Sites in Texas

Texas has the best places to camp. Here, you will have a pleasant experience from ancient camping to breathtaking spots to park an RV. Texas offers beautiful landscapes to sleep near. The Texas Panhandle, the Texas Coast, the south, the central, and the state’s western parts have great places to camp. Some sites have unique features like spring-fed swimming pools, prehistoric caves, and wild rivers.

Colorado Bend State Park has some of the best tent camping in Texas. The Guadalupe River State Park has a magnificent RV park near Austin. These two state parks are within the Texas Hill Country close to Central Texas making, it is the primary destination for RV camping and tent pitching. The Texas Hill Country has many of the best caves in the state. 

The other parts of the state also have great places to camp. Padre Island National Seashore is located off the Texas Coast. It features magnificent beach camping on the coastline. In the East of Texas, the Cypress swamps determine the places to camp. In West Texas, the rugged mountains give a scenic backdrop.

Reserve a site in advance during school breaks and other peak times. Each campsite shares the same amazing sunsets and sunrises. They all also have unique differences. We are going to discuss the best camping sites in Texas in this article.

1. Big Thicket National Preserve Camping Site

Big Thicket National Preserve Camping Site
© Dear Texas

If you would like to either paddle or hike, Big Thicket National Preserve has primitive and countryside camping all over the park’s largest parts of lands and waterways.

Every camper should get a free permit for camping in the preserve. The licenses are issued at the visitor center. Provide the following information to obtain permission:

  • The entry or exit trailhead you will use and where you plan to camp.
  • When you are planning to visit.
  • If planning for a group camping, provide the number of people in it (maximum of 8 people).
  • Mode of travel (foot, kayak, canoe, horse, or bicycle).
  • When using a vehicle, provide its description.
  • Your contact information (name, address, phone number). Provide emergency contact information too.

When you complete your camping trip, you have to call the visitor center to check out.

At Big Thicket National Preserve, camping is allowed all year round in units that do not allow hunting. In the units allowing hunting, camping is only done from March to September. To see the location of each unit, check the park map.

The all year round campground include:

  • Turkey Creek Unit
  • Big Sandy Creek Unit at FM 1276
  • Canyonlands Unit
  • Sandbars on Neches River and Village Creek

The spring and summer-only camping sites are the Big Sandy Creek Unit south and west of FM 1276, Lance Rosie Unit, Beaumount Unit, Beech Creek Unit, and Neches Bottom & Jack Gore Baygall Unit.

In some areas of the preserve, camping is prohibited. They include:

  • Within 350 yards of the Pitcher Plant Trail.
  • All the areas south of the bridge over Village Creek and the Kirby Nature Trail in the Turkey Creek Unit.
  • The Little Pine Island, the Loblolly Unit, the Hickory Creek Savannah Unit, and the Menard Creek Corridor Unit
  • Sites Posted as Day-Use Areas.
  • Open hunting areas.

Campsites should be at least 200 feet from all roads, trails and preserve boundaries. They should also be at least 100 feet from the water. Those campsites on sandbars on the Village Creek and Neches River should be no more than 25 feet from the water.

All the trash should be packed out. Do not bury or burn it. Human waste should be buried 6 to 8 inches deep. Do not cut trees or branches. Campfires are allowed except during establish burn bans. Ensure that the fire is properly tended and fully extinguished. Campers should follow the guidelines for campfire safety.

Bicycles are only allowed on the Big Sandy Trail. Vehicles are prohibited on trails. Campers should not possess glass containers when on all water waterways and sandbars.

2. Big Bend National Park Camping Sites

Big Bend National Park Camping - SkyAboveUs - Outdoors
© SkyAboveUs – Outdoors

The Big Bend National Park neighbors the U.S/Mexico border and the Rio Grande River. The park provides friendly alternatives for camping in West Texas. The developed campgrounds in the park are four. The National Park Service operates them. They include the Rio Grande Village RV Campground, with a 25 full hookup site. The other three campgrounds provide tent and dry RV camping.

The Rio Grande Village Campground is the largest tent campground featuring sites close to the river. You have to reserve some parts of this campground ahead of time. You should also get a permit before spending the night in Big Bend. The campground also has a camp store and a shower facility. There are within walking distance from every campsite.

Some of the best hiking trails near Big Bend Park’s center are neighboring the Chisos Canyon Campground. This makes the site more famous for the tent campers who would like to hike during the day.

In this park, you will have an opportunity to do ancient camping within this extensive stretch of canyon landscapes. You can access the Backcountry campsites through backpacking, horse riding, river rafting, and off-road vehicle driving. 

During holidays and the cooler months of the year, including spring break and December breaks from school, the campgrounds are always crowded. Some private campgrounds around Big Bend provide relief from the crowded park. These campgrounds range from RV resorts to tent-only options. The Big Bend Ranch State Park nearby features numerous drive-in ancient campsites.

3. Guadalupe River State Park Camping Site

Guadalupe River State Park Camping - The Dyrt
© The Dyrt

The Guadalupe River State Park has almost 100 campsites. The park is less than an hour north of San Antonio. The campsites at Guadalupe River State Park are divided into three campgrounds. Cedar Sage and Turkey Sink campgrounds have a large number of campsites in the park. They are close to flushing toilets and shower facilities. The camp has complete electric connections. They are famous for Texas Hill Country RV Camping. They necessitate a two-night stay on Fridays and Saturdays.

Guadalupe River State Park features nine ancient camping sites at the Wagon Ford Campground. They are within walking distance from the parking area. In these walk-in campsites, you can immediately access the Bald Cypress Trail and close to Guadalupe River. At Wagon Ford Campground, you will have access to restrooms, but there are no showers.

4. Palo Duro Canyon State Park Camping Site

Palo Duro Canyon State Park Camping Site - 52HikeswithMike
© 52HikeswithMike

Palo Duro Canyon State Park is also known as the Grand Canyon. It provides a nice view of the campsites. Camping in this Texas Panhandle state park is laid out between various sectors of Palo Duro Canyon. The campsites with electric hookups are on ends of the park at the Juniper, Hackberry, and Sagebrush Campgrounds.

In Palo Duro Canyon State Park, there are ancient campsites that a half-mile hiking trail can access. There are no designated sites in this primitive camping area of the park. Overnight campers choose the spot they would like to pitch their tent. 

There are cabins available in Palo Duro Canyon for group camping. All campsites are close to mile-long views of Palo Duro Canyon. One of the top to see around Amarillo is the Canyon which is just 30 minutes away. 

5. Padre Island National Seashore Camping Site

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© OfficeEscape

Padre Island National Seashore is on the Texas Coast, and it is the longest undeveloped barrier island in the world. It neighbors the Gulf of Mexico and has over 130000 acres of wild space. The National Seashore offers numerous unique camping options. If you are a camper, take advantage of the ample beach camping available at Padre Island.

The Malaquite and the Bird Island Basin campgrounds are the two developed areas for camping. The Malaquite Campground has 48 semi-ancient sites. Here, you can access flush toilets and shower facilities. 

Bird Island Basin Campground is entirely primitive. They have chemical toilets only available. Windsurfers mainly occupy these campsites. This is thanks to the world-class recreation within walking distance.

At Padre Island National Seashore, there are also three designated areas for primitive and beach camping. If you would like to pitch a tent at North Beach, South Beach, and Yarborough Pass, you must acquire a free permit before spending the night. The campsites may require vehicles to travel on the beach. The users should know how to navigate on the sand. Campers are also required to pack for their self-supported trip since few amenities are available on Padre Island National Seashore.

6. Enchanted Rock State Natural Area Camping Site

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area Camping - Wikimedia Commons
© Wikimedia Commons

The Enchanted Rock State Natural Area Camping Site is located 20 miles north of Fredericksburg in the Texas Hill Country. This is a special place to camp. Enchanted Rock graces the campers in the camps.

The state park has 35 sites with water access for tents only. To access the campsites, you are required to take a short walk from the parking area. You can access the restroom and shower facility from every campsite. Some sites have a modern shade shelter.

The car camping sites also have close access to popular trails in the park. The trails include the Enchanted Rock Summit Trail. When camping here, you can take advantage of this closeness with a spectacular sunset hike.

The Enchanted Rock State Natural Area also has 20 hike-in campsites. To access these campsites, you are required to walk for three miles. You can also camp here as a group at the Enchanted Rock that can accommodate up to 75 people.

7. Inks Lake State Park Camping Site

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© Alyssavnature

The Inks Lake State Park Camping Site is less than two hours northwest of Austin. The campground has almost 200 campsites. Each campsite is close to the park’s namesake feature. There are 125 sites at Inks Lake that serve the RVs with electrical hookups. What makes Ink Lake unique are these electrical campsites that have weekly and monthly rates available. They make Inks Lake State Park popular for Texas Hill Country RV camping.

There are also nine primitive campsites featured at Inks Lake State Park. To access the site, you have to use the hiking trail for a 1.5 walk. Campers have to pack their water supply. The store at the park has camping supplies like firewood and snacks. What makes this park famous for camping is the proximity to Longhorn Caverns State Park, which is used during the day only.

8. Colorado Bend State Park Camping Sites

Colorado Bend State Park Camping - Trial by Trail
© Trial by Trail

Colorado Bend is ranked as one of the best state parks in Texas. It has numerous camping sites. The campsites are self-contained RVs. They tend to navigate towards the 15 drive-up campsites in the park. The park also has 28 walk-in campsites used for tent camping. All the campers at Colorado Bend have access to potable water and restrooms. There are no showers available.

The most popular activities at Colorado Bend include using the 35-mile network of multi-use trails. The Gorman Falls Trail is well-traversed in the park.

There is a two hikes-in backcountry camping area at Colorado Bend State Park. Both camping areas can be accessed with a mile-long hike. You can also camp as a group in the campgrounds, which accommodate up to 48 people.

9. Caddo Lake State Park Camping Sites

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© Dumbfunnery

Caddo Lake State Park is one of the best places to camp in East Texas. It is less than 10 miles from the Louisiana border. The state park is extensive and gives easy access to the bayous of Caddo Lake. There are various campsites in this state park. There are also eight RV-exclusive sites with full hookups available and 18 partial hookup sites for campers to pitch their tent.

The park also features 20 more sites close to the water and catering to tent camping and small pop-up trailers. Campers can access flushing toilets and showers. The park has screened shelters to spend the night.

There are canoe rentals in the park, as navigating several paddling trails at Caddo Lake is a popular activity here.

10. Tyler State Park Camping Sites

Tyler State Park Camping - Meander
© Meander

Tyler State Park is famous in East Texas. It is one hundred miles east of Dallas. Here, there is a 64-acre lake which is the centerpiece of the attraction. Other than the lake, there are multi-use trails, several parking places for an RV or tent pitching, and massive trees.

There are over 100 campsites at Tyler State Park. They offer numerous options to sleep. The state park has an RV-exclusive campground and tent-only camping. Campers have access to restrooms with showers. They are within walking distance from the shoreline. There are also six cabins and almost 30 screened shelters for a sleepover.

Conclusion

There many different great choices of campgrounds in Texas. They have fantastic amenities and natural surroundings for the best camping experience. These are varieties of magnificent options that will help you reconnect with nature in the Lone Star State on a camping trip. You now know where you can camp if you are looking for a luxurious RV, use cabins, or go old school for primitive camping that involves staying in a tent.

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