Best Camping in Texas
As a state that is larger than many European countries, 75% of which is considered to be rural,
Texas is a heavenly destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
State and National Parks, beaches and nature reserves can be found in abundance, meaning that all you’ll need is the right equipment to enjoy a stunning and picturesque break in nature.
This guide will talk you through five of the finest locales open to anybody seeking a rural refuge in the Lone Star State.
Big Bend National Park
If you're looking for an escape from the pressures of the world, you could do far worse than the vast expanses of Big Bend National Park.
Bordering Mexico and covering over 800,000 acres, Big Bend belies its desert surroundings by playing host to an excess of 1,200 different forms of plant life and over 500 varieties of wildlife.
Naturally this means that you'll have to be a little careful if you plan on camping in the park, as many of these animals are nocturnal – and can include cougars, bears and coyotes. Pretty exciting though!
Take an RV for a family vacation, however, and you will have no shortage of adventures open to you.
Big Bend is fabled for its many hiking trails, as well as providing the opportunity for fishing, cycling and nature watching - much of which can be partaken in at high altitude, allowing for some breath-taking views.
Formerly a desert wasteland, Big Bend National Park is now of the most popular tourist destinations for any outdoor enthusiast in Texas.
For this reason it gets pretty busy during the peak season, but given the size of the park you'll have plenty of space to escape into and enjoy some privacy.
As usual, remember any emergency supplies – this area encompasses three different terrains of desert, river and mountain spaced over 118 miles.
Bordering Mexico, you can experience the delight of the US and South America. Prepare for all weather types, it can be very hot, but equally so, nights later in the summer and autumn seasons can be a little chilly.
Balmorhea State Park
If your passion is for aquatic activities, then Balmorhea State Park should be high on your list of potential destinations.
Photo Credit: PunkToad
Covering 36 acres in Reeves County, this park is fully equipped for RV parking and charging as well as traditional camping, but the real selling point is the freshwater pool which pumps in excess of clear blue water from the San Solomon Springs daily.
Perfect for allowing anybody to cool off from the sometimes-oppressive Texan heat, the pool is suitable for swimming or diving, and visitors can dry off by taking advantage of nearby picnic tables to relax.
Four-legged family members are welcome throughout the site too, though understandably dogs are not permitted to enter the pool.
If you plan to spend a night on-site and a day frolicking in the water you'd better arrive early, though; the Balmorhea State Park is very popular, and day passes will be assigned by rangers on a first-come first-served basis in the interests of visitor safety.
Photo Credit: Brad Fults
Don't worry if you can't get into the pool first thing though - there's still plenty to do, including opportunities to observe wildlife rather than engage with it.
The Balmorhea State Park contains a recreated desert wetland that acts as a conservation center for a variety of rare and endangered fish and marine life.
If you have an interest in anything aquatic, this is the destination for you. If you want to swim in the spring-fed water, take suitable water shoes, as it can be slippery.
Even though there are some cafes on site, better to rely on your own food, as opening hours can be a little strange and frequently unmanned!
Dinosaur Valley State Park
If you're looking for a traditional Texan campsite where you can pitch a tent and keep younger vacationers entertained, surely the Dinosaur Valley State Park should be the first place you think of.
The name alone is enough to fire the imagination, and thankfully the surroundings live up to such a moniker. Found close to Glen Rose in Somervell County, alongside the Paluxy River, the park covers over 1,500 acres.
Photo Credit: Russ
Heaven for budding paleontologists, there are fossilized dinosaur footprints located throughout the area and the opportunity to take a guided tour from a well-informed local ranger – during which you may also spot some wildlife native to the area.
As you can probably tell, this is an extremely child-friendly camping location, typified by the giant dinosaur-themed play parks dotted throughout the park.
Once you're all done with the dinos, however, there is still plenty to enjoy, including numerous trails for mountain bikes or hiking throughout spots of natural beauty.
You can even bring a horse along and ride it throughout the designated tracks. You'll also find picnic tables and RV parking, but as befits a Jurassic-inspired location, there is no electricity in the Dinosaur Valley State Park.
Those looking to embrace traditional camping will best enjoy this site. If you are looking for ‘an out in the wilds experience’, this site may not be for you, but seriously enjoyable for the younger ones.
Ray Roberts Lake State Park
Some campers will be looking for the best of both worlds, seeking a rural site in which they can relax without feeling too adrift from the comforts of the big city.
Located just an hour's drive from Dallas, the 1,500-acre Ray Roberts Lake State Park is an ideal spot for campers and adventurers.
The park contains hiking trails for all levels of ability, as well as various spaces designed for cycling and horseback riding, and plenty of chances to swim, waterboard, kayak or windsurf in the clear blue waters of the nearby lakes.
Photo Credit: Robert Nunnally
If you're more interested in relaxing in nature there's plenty for you to enjoy, too – wetlands and wildlife preserves are plentiful, and you can also enjoy a spot of fishing.
RV drivers can utilize the Ray Roberts Lake State Park, finding themselves fully equipped with facilities and charging stations (as well as helpful rangers that will assist in the event of a problem), but don't write off traditional camping in this spot of natural beauty.
Be a little cautious about snakes, but pitching a tent at the edge of the water and watching the sunset is an experience that you'll never forget.
Davis Mountains State Park
Texas is one of the most distinctive territories in all of the country, and the Davis Mountains State Park provides a unique experience for any visitor.
Located in the mountains of Jeff Davis County, horseback riding is a popular activity here, but there's plenty more to do once you're out of the saddle.
There are countless trails for hiking or riding a mountain bike, but if you're looking for something a little more tranquil, try a little bird watching.
This is a celebrated activity in the Davis Mountains, and to this end, a number of enclosed and outdoor viewing stations are provided - along with guides from knowledgeable rangers.
If you prefer your wildlife with four feet on the ground, you'll also find all kinds of deer roaming around the woodland.
Alternatively, you simply take advantage of the high ground and watch the night sky.
The altitude of the David Mountains State Park also impacts positively upon the climate, ensuring that the campsite does not grow uncomfortably hot during the peak of the summer.
Available for both RV camping and traditional tent pitching, it doesn't get much more Texan than a stint at the Davis Mountains State Park.
Additional features offered here are the Indian Lodge built by the CCC and you are also pretty near to the Ft. Davis Historical Site and McDonald Observatory, if you enjoy a little culture and history.