Whether you’re looking for where to go hiking, fishing, camping, or just plain enjoying nature, we’ve listed the best places to go camping in Texas.
Texas is one of the most popular states for camping and with good reason. Camping in the Lone Star State is a great experience. With the beautiful scenery and its vast amounts of lakes and rivers, Texas offers a multitude of camping options of all types.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing weekend away with your family, or an extended camping trip with your friends or a group of your favourite camping buddies, there is a variety of trails in Texas that can accommodate your needs.
14 Best Places To Go Camping in Texas(Both Free & Paid)
Texas is known for its many great parks and state-owned camping grounds. Whether you want to get away for a few days, or a few weeks, there are plenty of great campgrounds and camping areas to choose from.
If you cannot find a spot for you, here is a list that we have compiled to help you find the best spots around the state. Try them all, and find the perfect place to go camping.
1. Big Bend National Park
Big Bend National Park is one of the popular destinations to go camping in Texas as it offers numerous camping locations near the Rio Grande River and the U.S./Mexico border.
Within the park, the National Park Service operates four developed campgrounds. This includes the Rio Grande Village RV Campground, which has 25 full-service campsites. Big Bend’s other three campgrounds are geared toward tent camping and dry RV camping.
The Rio Grande Village Campground, Big Bend National Park’s largest tent campground, has over 100 sites close to the river. Half of the campsites at Rio Grande Village Campground can be reserved in advance. Each campsite is situated close to a camp store and a shower facility.
Some of the best hiking trails in Big Bend surround the Chisos Canyon Campground, which is located near the park’s centre. This makes the campsite popular among tent campers who enjoy day hiking.
Big Bend National Park covers an area of over 800,000 acres. Within this vast expanse of canyon landscapes, visitors have several options for primitive camping. Campers can access Backcountry campsites by backpacking, horseback riding, river rafting, or driving an off-road vehicle. Before camping outside developed campgrounds in Big Bend, visitors must obtain a permit.
This park attracts large crowds during the cooler months of the year, particularly during spring and December break from school. Some private campgrounds located in the vicinity of Big Bend provide a respite from the park’s congestion.
These campgrounds range from RV resorts to those that are exclusively for tents. Additionally, the adjacent Big Bend Ranch State Park features several primitive drive-in campsites.
2. Guadelupe River State Park
This river-centred state park is located less than an hour north of San Antonio and features nearly 100 campsites. Guadalupe River State Park has three campgrounds. The Turkey Sink and Cedar Sage Campgrounds are home to the majority of the state park’s campsites.
These campsites offer full electric hookups and are popular with RV campers in the Texas Hill Country. On weekends, campgrounds require a two-night stay (Friday and Saturday). Turkey Sink and Cedar Sage campgrounds both have flushing toilets and showers.
Additionally, the state park’s Wagon Ford Campground features nine primitive campsites that are accessible via a short walk from a parking area.
These walk-in campsites are located directly adjacent to the Bald Cypress Trail and the Guadalupe River. Wagon Ford Campground has restrooms but no showers.
3. Palo Duro Canyon State Park
Palo Duro Canyon State Park, located in the Texas panhandle, is home to the country’s second-largest canyon. Stay at one of their numerous campsites, which include RV sites with water and electricity, equestrian sites with horse pens, basic campsites with picnic tables, shade shelters, and fire rings, or hike-in primitive sites, while exploring the canyon area’s 30 miles of trails.
The campsite can serve as a base camp for exploring the canyon on foot or horseback, either independently or as part of a guided tour.
4. Colorado Bend State Park
Colorado Bend State Park is one of the best places to go camping in Texas and features several camping areas. The park’s 15 drive-up campsites are popular with self-contained RVs.
Additionally, the park features 28 walk-in campsites that are suitable for tent camping. Potable water and restrooms are available to all campers at Colorado Bend (no showers are available).
At Colorado Bend, popular activities include exploring the 35-mile network of multi-use trails. The Gorman Falls Trail is one of the park’s most popular trails.
Colorado Bend State Park features two backcountry camping areas accessible only via a mile-long hike. Additionally, Colorado Bend offers group campgrounds that can accommodate up to 48 people.
5. Caddo Lake State Park
Caddo Lake State Park is one of the best camping spots in East Texas, located less than ten miles from the Louisiana border. This sprawling state park provides easy access to Caddo Lake’s bayous and features a variety of campsites.
There are eight RV-exclusive sites with full hookups available, as well as 18 partial hookup sites suitable for tent camping.
Caddo Lake State Park also offers an additional 20 tent camping and small pop-up trailer sites close to the water. Navigating Caddo Lake’s numerous paddling trails is a very popular activity, and the state park offers canoe rentals.
Toilets and showers are available to all campers. Additionally, the state park has screened shelters for overnight use.
6. Inks Lake State Park
Inks Lake State Park is located less than two hours northwest of Austin and features nearly 200 campsites. Each campsite is within walking distance of the park’s name-bearing feature, and the park’s 125 RV-friendly sites include electrical hookups.
These electric campsites, which are unique to Inks Lake, offer weekly and monthly rates. As a result, Inks Lake State Park is a popular RV camping destination in the Texas Hill Country.
Additionally, Inks Lake State Park has nine primitive campsites that are accessible only via a 1.5-mile hiking trail. These campgrounds require campers to bring their own water. At Inks Lake, a park store sells camping essentials such as firewood and snacks.
Also, Inks Lake State Park is also popular with campers who want to be close to Longhorn Caverns State Park, which is only open for day use.
7. Maples State Natural Area
Lost Maples State Park offers thirty back-in campsites with electricity and fifty hike-in primitive sites. Hike the 10-mile path through the Uvalde lost maple forest, which is particularly vibrant in the fall. Without leaving the campground, you can go fishing in the Sabinal River or Can Creek.
Climb to the 2,200-foot cliff’s summit to participate in nightly stargazing Events. While communing with nature in this park located less than 30 miles from San Antonio, Texas, keep an eye out for the endangered golden-cheeked warbler.
8. Caprock Canyons State Park
Caprock Canyons State Park in the Texas panhandle is home to rugged trails, red rock canyons, and wild bison. On Lake Theo, there are 80 miles of hiking trails, horseback riding, mountain biking, water sports, and fishing.
This state park features campgrounds with water and electricity, as well as nearby restrooms, fire rings, picnic tables, and shade shelters. There are also equestrian campsites available, as well as primitive and backcountry campsites.
9. Davis Mountains State Park
Spend a night in Davis Mountains State Park’s 2,709-acres and you’ll feel completely transported. Vast mountain ranges and southwestern desert combine to create unmatched views of the landscape and adobe motel.
From primitive camping to full hookup camping, the state park has you covered. Add some hiking, mountain biking, or birdwatching to your adventure.
10. Balmorhea State Park
Balmorhea State Park, located 30 miles north of Davis Mountain State Park in West Texas, offers a respite from the Texas heat. The state park is well-known for its 1.3-acre spring-fed swimming pool, which is one of the largest in the world.
The Civilian Conservation Corps also constructed the adjacent San Solomon Springs Court alongside this spring-fed swimming hole. This historic edifice now houses a modern motel for those who do not wish to camp.
Apart from staying at the San Solomon Springs Court, RV camping at Balmorhea State Park is also popular. The state park has over 30 RV camping sites with electricity. Half of the sites also have cable television hookups. All sites are within walking distance of flushing restrooms and the spring-fed swimming pool.
11. Dinosaur Valley State Park
At this unique state park near Fort Worth, campers can explore the footsteps of dinosaurs. Dinosaurs left their footprints in the Paluxy River’s limestone bed here, about an hour southwest of the city. Visitors can explore the dinosaur trackway and spend the night in the nearby campground during the summer months when the water level is low.
Dinosaur Valley State Park has 44 electric campsites and 15 primitive campsites. Additionally, the state park has two group campgrounds that can accommodate up to 40 people.
Half of the primitive sites are accessible only via a one- to three-mile hike. Along with dinosaur tracks, campers can ride horses in the 100-acre South Primitive Area.
12. Tyler State Park
A 64-acre lake is the primary attraction of this famous state park in East Texas, which is located in the Rose Capital of America. The state park is located around one hundred miles east of Dallas.
Additionally, there are multi-use pathways, big trees, and various locations to park an RV or pitch a tent that is popular natural attractions. The park also offers boat rentals for those who want to get out on the water.
Tyler State Park has approximately 100 campsites, so there are plenty of places to stay the night. There are RV-only campgrounds as well as tent-only camping in the state park. Tyler State Park has toilets with showers at every site, and it’s only a short walk to the beach. Additionally, Tyler State Park offers six cabins and roughly 30 screened shelters for overnight stays.
13. Mills Creek Reservoir
At Mills Creek Reservoir, you can save money and enjoy some of the best free camping in Texas. You can camp near the water or in the shade provided by nearby trees.
Take pleasure in sailing, fishing, and swimming. You may stay for up to 14 days. This free camping spot features garbage cans and a boat launch but lacks running water and restrooms. Water and air are available from the nearby water station.
14. Walling Bend
This shady free camping spot features ten campsites equipped with fire rings, picnic tables, a pavilion, a boat launch, and facilities.
It is open all year and allows stays of up to 14 days. The Army Core of Engineers maintains this property, which is kept immaculately clean.
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
Here you have your answers to common questions on choosing the best places to go camping in Texas and other related topics.
What is the Most Popular Campground in Texas?
Big Bend National Park is the most popular campground in Texas with a Google review rating of 4.8 from 3,852+ previous visitors.
Where Can I camp for Free in Texas?
There are several locations where you can camp for free in Texas, you just have to pay the park entrance fee.
These locations include:
Where are Primitive Camps in Texas?
There are a number of primitive campsites located around the state of Texas, but there is a concentration of primitive campsites near the Rio Grande Valley.
Where Can I Camp This Weekend in Texas?
If you don’t know where to camp this weekend, try Lake Bob Sandlin State Park. It is full of all sorts of activities and is adjacent to Lake Bob Sandlin.
Can you Boondock in Texas?
While it lacks the vast expanses of BLM or Forest Service land found west of the Rockies, Texas still has plenty of places for boondocking. Your best bets for boondocking will continue to be federal land, which includes national parks, federal recreation areas, and other areas.
Is it Legal to Camp on the Beach in Texas?
Camping on a beach in Texas is legal as long as you do not interfere with public use of the beach. Camping is not allowed during the spring bird nesting season, and camping is not allowed within 150 yards of the high tide line.
Does Texas Have Good Camping?
Unfortunately, there are some places in Texas that don’t have good camping opportunities. For example, if you do a Google search for “camping in Texas”, you will find many results on the list of the top 10 worst states for camping.
However, these types of lists are not accurate because they don’t account for all of the great spots to go camping in Texas.
Can You Car Camp in Texas?
Texas has plenty of great places to go camping, but if you’re not into roughing it or want a bit more comfort at your campsite, then car camping might be the option for you.
Just make sure you have enough space in your vehicle for all the gear you need and remember that there’s no overnight parking in these areas, so plan accordingly.
Can you Camp Anywhere in Texas?
First, you should know that Texas has a lot of great camping spots. When you look at the state, you’ll notice there are various environments to choose from. From the coast to the desert, Texas offers a full spectrum of camping experiences.
Depending on what type of camper you are, you may want to go with a primitive camping experience or a modern campground. Primitive camping offers an opportunity for campers to get out in nature with fewer distractions while modern campgrounds offer comfortable accommodations and amenities like showers.
There’s also no rule saying that you have to go as far north as Canada when it comes to exploring Texas’ many great camping opportunities. Texas has some amazing places near major cities such as Houston and Dallas. You can find campsites in these places too.
So, when it comes to finding your next camping spot, don’t be afraid of travelling throughout the state just so you can find this perfect place for your next trip away from home.
Is Boondocking Legal in Texas?
Boondocking is a term that describes camping without permanent facilities, such as a campsite. It’s an informal term and has no legal definition.
Some people enjoy going boondocking because they like being able to travel by car, which makes it easier than hiking with tents and supplies. If you live in a remote area of the state, this may be a good option for you.
However, if you don’t have access to your car or the roads are too rough to drive over, then this may not be the best option for you.
Can You Live in a Tent in Texas?
You can live in a tent without any problem in Texas. There are plenty of great places to go camping, and some of them even have cabins for rent.
If you’re comfortable living in a tent, then you’ll feel right at home with the opportunities to camp out that Texas has to offer.
Is Stealth Camping Illegal in Texas?
The answer is a bit of a complicated one. It largely depends on the situation, but it’s more likely that stealth camping isn’t illegal in Texas. If you’re going to be stealth camping, then you should make sure to do so at an appropriate time and place.
The best places to go camping in Texas are often those abandoned by their previous owners, so it can be worth your time to go exploring these great spots.
Can you Live in a Glamping Tent?
If you’re looking to go camping in Texas, then glamping is a great way to do it. Glamping is short for glamorous camping and is usually accomplished when someone rents a tent that comes with all the amenities of home. For example, these tents can come with furniture, linens, and electricity.
If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of civilization, then glamping might be just what you need. There are even some places where people can rent out cabins or yurts.
There are many options available for campers who want to try something different. All you have to do is find a place where your style will fit in well so that you can enjoy your time away from the usual routine.
Why is There no BLM Land in Texas?
While the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) gives some land in Texas to the state, there’s no BLM land in the state. So, if you’re looking for a place to go camping in Texas, you may want to look at these great locations.
As mentioned earlier, there are 14 places to go camping in Texas. They vary depending on what type of experience you want. Some are more primitive than others, and that will depend on how much time and effort you want to put into your camping trip.
Is Stealth Camping Illegal in Texas?
The answer is a bit of a complicated one. It largely depends on the situation, but it’s more likely that stealth camping isn’t illegal in Texas.
If you’re going to be stealth camping, then you should make sure to do so at an appropriate time and place.
When it comes to camping, you don’t have to stick with the same old camping spots. Texas has some great places for you to go camping and enjoy the outdoors that are perfect for all skill levels.
From primitive camping experiences to modern campgrounds, these great locations prove that camping doesn’t have to be limited to a tent.