If there’s one thing we Texans can’t live without in the summer, it’s camping. Call us crazy, but we get a strange sense of enjoyment out of spending the hottest months of the year in a primitive tent with no running water, air conditioning, or electricity. We’re just that tough. But in all seriousness, if you’re going to spend a few days sweating buckets and feeling like you’re living in Satan’s armpit, we know the best places to do it. Texas might have tons of campsites, but these 10 will definitely give you an experience you’ll never forget. Happy camping!
1. Big Bend National Park
Big Bend is easily the best spot for camping in Texas. Whether you're experienced and can hike the entire 8,000 feet of the Chisos Mountains or simply prefer to pull off on the roadside, you're in for the most isolated, primitive adventure in the state. And those West Texas night skies just never get old.
2. Colorado Bend State Park (Bend)
This gorgeous park southwest of Austin looks like a magical scene from Tarzan. You'll be camping amid lush greenery and a nearly 70 foot tall waterfall, Gorman Falls. It will take your breath away in the sunlight and gently lull you to sleep at night in your tent with the sound of its trickling. The park also has swimming holes, trails for hiking and biking, and even spooky caves to explore.
3. Garner State Park (Concan)
Garner state park is the single most popular state park in Texas. You can choose from primitive campsites or cabins when you stay overnight - and trust me, you'll want to. One day simply isn't enough time to enjoy the Frio River, 11 miles of trails, and water sports like canoeing and tubing.
4. Palo Duro Canyon State Park (Canyon)
The Grand Canyon of Texas is a beautiful place to camp. Waking up surrounded by towering red rocks is an amazing feeling. You might even forget what state you're in for a second! The park offers numerous trails of various lengths for hiking, biking, and even horseback riding. In the summer, you can enjoy the highly praised musical, "TEXAS!", that's sure to leave you grateful as can be for our wonderful state.
5. Lost Maples State Natural Area (Vanderpool)
This breathtaking spot is right on the Sabinal River, so you can catch a few fish on your camping trip like us Texans love to do. I highly recommend going in the fall so you can see the vibrant foliage in all its glory. You can also swim in the river to cool off because Lord knows Texas still feels like a furnace in October. There are plenty of hiking trails to enjoy as well.
6. Davis Mountains State Park (Fort Davis)
If you've got a horse, saddle'er up - horseback riding is one of the most popular activities here, with trails up to 5,700 feet high. If not, no worries. There are plenty of hiking and biking trails, too, as well as bird watching and star gazing spots. Camping in the solitude of the West Texas desert is just such an amazing feeling every time.
7. Big Thicket National Preserve (Southeast Texas)
This preserve is spread out across seven counties, so there are countless campsites and access points. Most of them are primitive, but the solace you'll find in the middle of the forest is worth the lack of modern amenities ten times over.
8. Enchanted Rock State Natural Area (Fredericksburg)
This humongous natural landmark was once inhabited by Native Americans who believed it to possess supernatural powers. While that may not be true, it definitely has the power to captivate anyone who visits it. Standing at its peak provides a panoramic view of the Texas Hill Country like nothing you've ever seen. Plus, most of the campsites have plenty of shade, which is crucial during the unforgiving Texas summers.
9. Inks Lake State Park (Burnet)
Inks Lake State Park is home to the popular Devil's Waterhole swimming hole, which, despite its name, is incredibly cool and refreshing on a hot summer day. There are also over seven miles of trails to hike and several campsites by the water.
10. Krause Springs (Spicewood)
Krause Springs has both a spring-fed, man-made swimming pool and a spring-fed, natural swimming hole (pictured above). The waterfall is 30 feet tall and the cypress trees are estimated to be up to 1,000 years old. There are plenty of campsites both near and further away from the water, so as long as you arrive early you shouldn't have any problems reserving a spot.
Have you ever camped at any of these parks? Which one is your favorite? Are there any other awesome campsites in Texas that we should’ve mentioned?