Best Camping In Texas

Are you planning a camping trip in the Lone Star State? We are excited for you. Texas is known for its unique, rolling landscape and offers some of the most beautiful and vast national parks and state parks in the United States.

Everything is bigger in Texas so it is important that you know where it is best to go for your upcoming camping trip. Whether you want to stay in the middle of the wilderness with only the stars for company or if you would prefer somewhere with a bit more going on this list will have something for you.

In this guide, we look at the 5 best places to go camping in the state of Texas. Let’s jump in!

Best Camping In Texas

The 5 Best Places To Camp In Texas

1. Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park is the largest national park in Texas and it could provide you with a different camping experience every night for a week with its treasure trove of camping sites. While not all sites facilitate RV’s they do all accommodate tent campers.

Whether you want to camp near the Rio Grande or take a hike to your spot for the night you have endless choices within this vast area. Big Bend National Park is known for its stunning starry night skies, with no light pollution there is nothing to interfere with your views.

The cooler months are the most popular here as the park’s barren landscape does not provide much relief from extreme weather, including soaring temperatures during the day and cold nights. 

2. Guadalupe River State Park

This beautiful, popular camping spot has over 100 campsites and shouldn’t be confused with the Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

You can choose whether you want to stay in a more luxurious campsite with showers, restrooms, and electricity or you can stay in one of the many campsites that require a short hike and pitch up and be at one with nature.

Some campsites require longer stays than one night so be aware of this condition when booking your stay at staffed campgrounds. There is a day-use fee for this park which is used to maintain the beauty of this natural oasis.

3. Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Texas’ answer to the infamous Grand Canyon, spend the night under the stars in the second-largest canyon in the United States. Expect to see views that are sure to take your breath away.

This majestic space offers tent camping areas as well as spaces for RV’s and also equestrian camping grounds giving you the opportunity to horse ride through the spectacular trails spread across this state park.

Camping is available year-round but be aware that temperatures can soar up to 100-degrees in the summertime.

4. Caddo Lake State Park

For the canoeing enthusiasts out there this is the perfect place for you to spend a night or two. Campsites within this space can cater to RVs, tents, and pop-up trailers making it a favorite for Texans looking for a weekend getaway.

Rent a canoe and set out to navigate the paddling trails that can be discovered on Caddo Lake. Canoeing is a popular activity so book in advance to avoid disappointment.

5. Padre Island National Seashore

The perfect place to escape for beach lovers set up camp along the Gulf Coast and fall asleep listening to the waves gently crashing along the shoreline. Take a stroll along the sandy beach or get involved in some water activities. There are year-round camping grounds that are available for public use.

Bonus! Dinosaur Valley State Park

We had to include this fun place to camp, perfect for a family camping trip and also one for the history buffs. This park gives a unique glimpse into what the world looked like nearly 120 million years ago when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

You can walk in the actual footprints of dinosaurs along the limestone bed of the Paluxy River. It is best to head to this fun camping spot in the summertime when the water flow is lower in the river.

Basic Camping Tips

Before heading out on your camping trip there are certain things you need to consider and know to make sure you can have the best experience possible while also staying safe.

Research 

Whether you are an experienced camper or it is your first time you should always be taking the time to research where you are going.

This can help make you aware of any dangers in the area, spots to avoid as well as what wildlife you may encounter. Research can take as little as ten minutes and could keep you safer in the long run.

Weather

Checking the weather before going on a camping trip can save you from being stuck in a tent, in the pouring rain, in the middle of nowhere.

When checking the weather you will want to focus on temperature and wind pressure also. Knowing what Mother Nature may throw at you can help you to be more prepared for your trip.

Supplies

Often campsites will have the very basics like a small convenience store but usually, the best camping spots will be in the middle of nowhere and so you will need to bring enough water, food, and gas to do for your entire trip.

2 liters of water per day will be needed for consumption alone, you also need to consider water to cook with if you are bringing a gas stove. If you are driving to your destination, fill your tank so that you can complete a round trip and it is also worthwhile bringing an extra canister so that you will not be left stranded. 

Equipment

While it can be fun to just be at one with nature, the more rural camping spots in Texas can have huge ranges in temperatures between daytime and nighttime.

Make sure you have the appropriate type of tent as well as a sleeping bag. Having a sturdy tent is important as often it is the only thing protecting you from the elements. Check that the pegs you have will be able to penetrate the ground so you aren’t blown away in the middle of the night.

We also recommend bringing a torch as it can get pretty dark in the wilderness. A small shovel can be useful if you are staying somewhere without a restroom as it allows you to bury your business. Lastly, ensure you have the right means of carrying food and water.

If you are hiking for a number of days a water filtration system could be useful as carrying enough water to last could make your backpack extremely heavy.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know the best camping spots in Texas and what you need to do before your trip you are ready to go! While out in the great outdoors remember to respect the space and take nothing but good memories home with you.

Be safe and enjoy camping out under the vast, starry skies that Texas has to offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are lots of opportunities for free camping in Texas but you can’t just set up camp anywhere, unfortunately.

Camping is available in public lands, national and state parks as well as national forests but due to wildlife and private ownerships it is always best to research and check that camping is allowed wherever you are planning to go.

If you don’t have access to the internet simply speak to the locals as they will have invaluable information on the best free camping spots and will be able to offer advice on where you can and cannot camp.

Camping on beaches for the most part is legal but again there are some beaches where camping is illegal or you need to seek permission before pitching a tent.

Is Camping Free In Texas?

Depending on where you are camping you may be able to camp for free or you may be charged a small fee. If you are staying in a large public space, where you can legally camp, often these areas will have free camping.

If you are staying at an official campsite with amenities such as restrooms and a store then you will often be charged a fee per night of your stay. The fees go towards maintenance of the campsite as well as paying staff. 

How Much Of Texas Land Is Privately Owned?

Texas is the state with the highest percentage of privately owned land. Texas as a state spans almost 270,000 miles and 95% of that space is privately owned. This poses challenges for tourists who want to go camping as camping is illegal in the vast majority of privately owned land.

This is why it is always important to check the laws that apply to the area you are going to as you may need to seek permission to camp, pay a small fee or go elsewhere.

Robert Miller
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