where to go camping in texas

Top Texas Camping Spots – Where to Go Outdoors

Planning a camping trip in Texas? With its vast and diverse natural landscapes, Texas offers a range of camping experiences for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you’re seeking peaceful solitude in the forests or the calming sound of waves by the beach, there’s a campground in Texas that will fulfill your camping dreams.

From the lush Pineywoods to the mesmerizing Hill Country and the captivating Gulf Coast, Texas has something for every type of camper. Whether you prefer primitive campsites nestled in the heart of nature or campgrounds with modern amenities, the Lone Star State has it all. And if you’re an equestrian enthusiast, you’ll find campsites tailored specifically for horse lovers.

When planning your camping adventure, it’s important to book your campsite in advance, especially during peak seasons and holidays. This will ensure that you secure the perfect spot in your preferred Texas camping destination.

Key Takeaways:

  • Texas offers diverse camping opportunities across its seven natural regions.
  • From the Gulf Coast to the Pineywoods and Hill Country, there are campgrounds for every type of traveler.
  • Make sure to book your campsite in advance, especially during peak seasons and holidays.
  • Whether you prefer primitive campsites or modern amenities, Texas has camping options to suit your needs.
  • There are even equestrian sites available for horse enthusiasts.

Palo Duro Canyon – The Second-Largest Canyon in the Country

Palo Duro Canyon, located in the Texas Panhandle, is an awe-inspiring natural wonder and the second-largest canyon in the country. Spanning over 120 miles long and 800 feet deep, this rugged landscape offers a wide range of outdoor activities for nature enthusiasts.

Exploring Palo Duro Canyon is a treat for hikers, bikers, and equestrians alike, with 30 miles of picturesque trails meandering through its stunning terrain. Whether you prefer an adventurous hike to one of the canyon’s overlooks or a peaceful horseback ride, there is something for everyone.

The canyon’s unique rock formations, known as hoodoos, add to its charm and provide a fascinating sight for visitors. These towering spires and pillars of rock create a surreal atmosphere and make for excellent photo opportunities.

When it comes to camping options, Palo Duro Canyon offers various spots to suit different preferences. From primitive tent sites for those seeking a more rustic experience to modern campgrounds equipped with amenities, there is a camping spot for every camper. For those who want a touch of luxury, glamping sites with air conditioning and covered porches are also available.

“Palo Duro Canyon offers a unique camping experience surrounded by breathtaking beauty. It’s the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts looking to connect with nature.”

Don’t miss the opportunity to witness the stunning sunsets that paint the canyon walls in vibrant hues, creating a truly unforgettable experience. The combination of golden sunlight, dramatic cliffs, and vast open spaces make Palo Duro Canyon a photographer’s dream.

Highlights of Palo Duro Canyon:

  • Spectacular hiking, biking, and equestrian trails
  • Unique rock formations known as hoodoos
  • Various camping options, from primitive to glamping
  • Breathtaking sunsets over the canyon walls

Immerse yourself in the beauty of Palo Duro Canyon and create lasting memories amidst its awe-inspiring landscapes. Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast or simply seeking tranquility in nature, this majestic canyon is a must-visit destination for camping in the Texas Panhandle.

Balmorhea State Park – Dive into the World’s Largest Spring-Fed Swimming Pool

Experience a refreshing oasis in the high desert of West Texas at Balmorhea State Park. This hidden gem is known for its extraordinary natural wonder – the world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool. Dive into crystal-clear waters and immerse yourself in the beauty of this unique destination.

The Balmorhea State Park swimming pool is a true marvel. Fed by the San Solomon Springs, the pool offers an incredible experience for water enthusiasts. Its vast size and pristine clarity make it perfect for snorkeling, scuba diving, and swimming. Explore the underwater world and discover the diverse aquatic life that thrives in this spring-fed paradise.

Swimming in the Balmorhea State Park pool is a year-round delight, thanks to its consistent temperature of 72 to 76 degrees Fahrenheit. Whether you visit in the scorching heat of summer or the cooler months of winter, you can always enjoy a refreshing dip in this natural wonder.

Where to Camp near Balmorhea State Park

If you’d like to extend your adventure, Balmorhea State Park offers campsites with water and electric hookups. Set up your tent or RV and immerse yourself in the tranquility of the park’s surroundings. Wake up to the crisp desert air and be the first to dive into the swimming pool in the mornings.

Texas Camping Destinations with Swimming Pools

Camping Destination Facilities Location
Balmorhea State Park Spring-fed swimming pool West Texas
Palmetto State Park Oxbow lake swimming area Gonzales, TX
Inks Lake State Park Sandy swimming beach Burnet, TX
Village Creek State Park Swimming area on a sandy creek bank Lumberton, TX

Snorkeling in Balmorhea State Park

For those seeking underwater adventures, Balmorhea State Park is the ideal destination. Grab your snorkeling gear and dive into the pristine waters of the spring-fed swimming pool. Explore the enchanting underwater ecosystem and encounter various fish species, including endangered fish such as the Comanche Springs pupfish. It’s a snorkeler’s paradise waiting to be discovered.

Balmorhea State Park offers a unique combination of natural beauty and recreational opportunities. From swimming in the world’s largest spring-fed pool to camping in the serene desert surroundings, this destination is a must-visit for outdoor enthusiasts.

Dive into the Balmorhea State Park swimming pool

Camping Tips for Balmorhea State Park:

  • Book your campsite in advance, especially during peak seasons and holidays.
  • Check the park’s regulations and guidelines for swimming and snorkeling.
  • Pack your snorkeling gear and explore the underwater wonders of the pool.
  • Be mindful of the fragile ecosystem and respect the park’s flora and fauna.
  • Enjoy stargazing in the clear West Texas skies during your camping stay.

Padre Island National Seashore – Beachfront Camping on a Barrier Island

When it comes to beachfront camping in Texas, Padre Island National Seashore offers an unparalleled experience. This narrow barrier island stretches for 66 miles, providing campers with access to stunning coastlines and serene ocean views. Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, partake in water activities, or witness nature’s wonders, this destination has it all.

One of the unique highlights of camping on Padre Island National Seashore is the opportunity to drive on the beach with a high-clearance four-wheel drive vehicle. This allows you to easily transport your camping gear and explore various parts of the island at your convenience.

For fishing enthusiasts, Padre Island National Seashore offers an abundance of excellent fishing spots. Cast your line and reel in a variety of fish species, including red drum, speckled trout, and flounder. It’s the perfect way to savor the beauty of the ocean while enjoying some quiet time.

If you’re an adventure seeker, kayaking along the coast is a must-do activity. Glide through calm waters and witness the diverse marine life that calls this area home. Keep your eyes peeled for dolphins and sea turtles, which are frequently spotted in these waters.

During the summer months, visitors have the incredible opportunity to witness sea turtle hatchling releases. These adorable creatures make their way from their nests to the ocean, and it’s a sight not to be missed. Watching them take their first steps into the sea is a truly magical experience.

Camping on Padre Island National Seashore is available on a first-come, first-served basis, ensuring that you have the flexibility to choose your desired spot along the beach. Fall asleep to the soothing sound of crashing waves and wake up to breathtaking sunrises over the ocean.

Amenities and Facilities:

Facilities Description
Restrooms Primitive restrooms are available at designated camping areas.
Outdoor Showers Rinse off the saltwater and sand with convenient outdoor showers.
Picnic Tables Enjoy meals with a view at the picnic tables scattered throughout the camping areas.
Beach Access Direct access to the beautiful sandy beaches of Padre Island.
Fire Rings Designated fire rings are available for campfires, where permitted.

Whether you’re seeking a peaceful beach getaway or an exciting outdoor adventure, camping on Padre Island National Seashore offers a truly unforgettable experience. Immerse yourself in the beauty of nature, witness sea turtle hatchling releases, and create lasting memories on this stunning barrier island.

Beachfront Camping on Padre Island National Seashore

Lost Maples State Natural Area – Fall Foliage and Scenic Hiking Trails

Lost Maples State Natural Area is a prime destination for fall leaf-peeping. The area is known for its stand of orange-hued Uvalde bigtooth maples, which create a stunning display of fall colors. Aside from the fall foliage, the park offers 2,174 acres of grasslands, steep limestone canyons, and opportunities for hiking, fishing, and stargazing. Birders will also enjoy the chance to spot rare green kingfishers year-round.

fall foliage camping in Texas

Hiking in Lost Maples State Natural Area

The hiking trails in Lost Maples State Natural Area offer breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes. From easy strolls to challenging climbs, there are trails for hikers of all skill levels. The East Trail and West Trail are the park’s most popular routes, leading visitors through dense forests, across picturesque streams, and up to scenic overlooks. Be sure to pack plenty of water and wear sturdy footwear to fully enjoy the beauty of this natural area.

Camping in Lost Maples State Natural Area

Camping in Lost Maples State Natural Area allows visitors to fully immerse themselves in the beauty of the park. The campgrounds offer a range of amenities, from primitive sites for a true back-to-nature experience to sites with water and electric hookups for added convenience. Wake up to the sound of birds singing and explore the trails right from your campsite. Don’t forget to check for availability and make reservations in advance, especially during peak fall foliage season.

Experience the magic of fall foliage, scenic hiking trails, and peaceful camping in Lost Maples State Natural Area. Plan your visit and create unforgettable memories in this picturesque Texas gem.

Pedernales Falls State Park – A Riverfront Haven in the Hill Country

Located just 30 minutes west of Austin, Pedernales Falls State Park offers a serene Hill Country camping experience. The park is situated along the picturesque Pedernales River, providing campers with the perfect opportunity to enjoy riverfront camping in the Texas Hill Country.

At Pedernales Falls State Park, visitors can immerse themselves in a variety of outdoor activities. The river offers ample opportunities for swimming, paddling, tubing, and fishing, making it an ideal destination for water enthusiasts. The park also boasts ten scenic trails, including the popular Wolf Mountain Loop, where hikers can explore the diverse landscapes of the area.

For those seeking a more secluded camping experience, Pedernales Falls State Park offers hike-in primitive campsites. These sites allow campers to truly disconnect and immerse themselves in nature, surrounded by the tranquility of the Hill Country.

Whether you’re camping, hiking, or simply enjoying the riverfront scenery, Pedernales Falls State Park offers a peaceful haven in the heart of the Texas Hill Country.

Why Choose Pedernales Falls State Park?

  • Stunning riverfront camping in the Texas Hill Country
  • Abundance of outdoor activities including swimming, paddling, tubing, and fishing
  • Ten scenic trails for hiking and exploring the diverse landscapes
  • Secluded hike-in primitive campsites for a more immersive nature experience

Experience the breathtaking beauty of the Pedernales River and the tranquility of the Hill Country at Pedernales Falls State Park. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures or simply looking to relax by the water, this riverfront haven offers the perfect camping getaway.

Facilities Activities
  • Restrooms
  • Showers
  • Water and electric hookups (selected sites)
  • Picnic areas
  • Swimming
  • Paddling
  • Tubing
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Wildlife viewing

Guadalupe Mountains National Park – Wilderness Adventure and Wildflower Season

Guadalupe Mountains National Park is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts seeking a wilderness adventure. Spanning over 86,000 acres, the park boasts an extensive network of more than 200 miles of hiking trails, offering endless opportunities for exploration and discovery. Among the highlights is the hike to Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas, where hikers can relish breathtaking panoramic views.

In addition to hiking, the park also offers a range of exciting water activities along the picturesque Rio Grande River. Adventure-seekers can enjoy thrilling experiences such as rafting, canoeing, and kayaking, immersing themselves in the beauty of the surrounding natural landscapes.

For nature lovers, the wildflower season in March is an extraordinary time to visit Guadalupe Mountains National Park. During this time, vibrant wildflowers, including the iconic bluebonnets, create a picturesque tapestry across the park, captivating visitors with their beauty. It’s a photographer’s dream, providing endless opportunities to capture stunning images of nature’s colorful display.

To ensure a smooth and enjoyable camping experience, it is advisable to make advance reservations, as the developed campgrounds tend to fill up quickly. Whether you’re seeking a thrilling hike, an exhilarating water adventure, or simply the chance to marvel at nature’s wonders during the wildflower season, Guadalupe Mountains National Park offers it all, making it a must-visit destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.


Where are the best campgrounds in Texas?

Texas offers a variety of top camping spots, including Palo Duro Canyon, Balmorhea State Park, Padre Island National Seashore, Lost Maples State Natural Area, Pedernales Falls State Park, and Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

How can I book a campsite in Texas?

To book a campsite in Texas, you can visit the official websites of the state parks or national seashore where you plan to camp. It is recommended to make reservations in advance, especially during peak seasons and holidays.

What amenities are available at Palo Duro Canyon?

Palo Duro Canyon offers hiking, biking, and equestrian trails, as well as unique rock formations called hoodoos. The campgrounds also provide glamping sites with air conditioning and covered porches for those who prefer some comforts.

What can I do at Balmorhea State Park?

Balmorhea State Park is famous for its crystal-clear spring-fed swimming pool, where visitors can enjoy activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, and swimming. The park also offers campsites with water and electric hookups.

What activities are available at Padre Island National Seashore?

At Padre Island National Seashore, you can enjoy beachfront camping, drive on the beach with a high-clearance four-wheel drive vehicle, fish, kayak, and witness sea turtle hatchling releases during the summer months.

What is special about Lost Maples State Natural Area?

Lost Maples State Natural Area is known for its stunning fall foliage, particularly the orange-hued Uvalde bigtooth maples. The park also offers opportunities for hiking, fishing, stargazing, and birdwatching.

What can I do at Pedernales Falls State Park?

Pedernales Falls State Park is a serene Hill Country camping destination, offering opportunities for swimming, paddling, tubing, and hiking along the picturesque Pedernales River. The park features ten scenic trails, including the Wolf Mountain Loop.

What activities can I enjoy at Guadalupe Mountains National Park?

Guadalupe Mountains National Park offers over 200 miles of hiking trails, including the opportunity to hike to the state’s tallest mountain, Guadalupe Peak. Visitors can also enjoy water activities like rafting, canoeing, and kayaking along the Rio Grande River, and witness beautiful bluebonnets during the wildflower season in March.

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