Texas State Park Basics for RVs

The Seven C’s of Camping

  1. Care – We will care how we camp by being considerate of others.
  2. Caution – We will use caution in the use of camping equipment both on the road and at the campsite. We will handle fire and flammable fuels so as not to endanger others or ourselves. We will improve our camping skills, knowing the right way is the safest way.
  3. Courtesy – We will practice politeness because it enhances the camping experience. We will respect the privacy of others, control our children and leash our dogs.
  4. Cleanliness – We will be clean in our camping habits and teach our children the importance of cleanliness. We will pick up litter no matter who left it and be proud of the campsites we leave behind.
  5. Cooperation – We will observe the letter and sprit of camping regulations and rules established to protect our enjoyment of the outdoors. We will work cooperatively with others to make it better for everyone.
  6. Conservation – We will protect the environment in which we enjoy camping and help those whose job it is to guard and wisely manage our country’s natural resources. We will endeavor to leave a better outdoors for those who follow us.
  7. Common Sense – We will apply common sense to every situation, knowing that reason, understanding and humor make camping better for ourselves and others.

AUSTIN RV SPOTS

 

Texas

Texas is, if I may be so blatant, friggin’ rad. Libertarian ideals in the rural areas, and liberal bastions of natural playgrounds in cities like Austin butter the bread, but for our money it’s all about West Texas. The entire Big Bend region is full of rustic, sometimes crusty, small towns and open vast endless Chihuahuan desert. It’s gorgeous, and it’s tough living, but the rewards are there for those who don’t mind dirty boots and quickly warming beers.

The Best State Parks in West Texas

As noted, when it comes to Texas, like the rest of the nation, the west is the best. Most of my first year on the road was spent in West Texas, and much of the second, too. This past winter we hung around there for over month. Here’s a little hint at why…

Balmorhea State Park

A massive clear and natural pool are the highlights of the park itself, but the surrounding cliffs–a black rock covered in green lichen–make the drive here from Fort Davis as worthy as the state park itself. Notice! The wind here will knock over a small child…

Davis Mountains State Park

This park boasts Indian Lodge, a full service hotel in a state park, not always an easy thing to find. But like the drive from the above mentioned Balmorhea, this state park is all chocolate colored mountains and vegetation between. While no cell service exists in the campground, you can drive up Skyline Drive to a vista spanning all of the town of Fort Davis, the National Historic Site, and miles beyond, and as a plus full service AT&T and Verizon reception meanders it’s way on in. The nearby town is not exactly plentiful in resources, but a hardware store, post office, a few Mexican restaurants and a bar open every day but Wednesday made it worth the visit. While this is probably our least favorite corner of West Texas, or Big Bend anyway, it’s the edge of the all of the good stuff.

Big Bend Ranch State Park

Easily our favorite state park so far in the Continental US. It’s puzzling why it isn’t part of the National Park, as it would be an addition that would easily double Big Bend National Park’s value. In fact, the state park is even better than the national, as the River Road makes our #1 spot on best drives in the US and everything is just so much more easily accessible.

Instead of driving half an hour between destinations as you need to in the national park, there are trails and ruins and interesting spots to pull over and play in old movie sets or dip your toes in the Rio Grande at nearly every mile marker in Big Bend Ranch State Park.

 

Texas also has a pretty good state park pass, which gets you discounted camping fees.

Caprock Canyon State Park

Caprock Canyon State Park was selected by us only because it was somewhat along our route. But when we got there we were surprised at how beautiful it was! As soon as we pulled in, we saw a sign indicating the park is home to the Official Bison Herd of Texas. And a couple of miles later…we saw the herd! The camp sites here are very large and spacious and we had plenty of room to stretch out. There are several miles of trails for hiking in the park. We only did a couple of them but I’d love to return someday and hike some more. The red rocks and canyons are really stunning and it’s definitely a park I’d recommend.

McKinney Falls State Park

Our other favorite Texas state park is McKinney Falls. For one thing, it’s right outside of Austin, which is one of our favorite cities. But in addition to that, it’s just a really great park. The sites are well spaced and offer water and electric (but no sewer). There are hiking/biking trails, swimming, and waterfalls. We were also treated a field full of the iconic Texas blue bonnets during our April visit.

In / Out Rules

While some parks do allow for monthly rentals during the winter months, the official stance of most parks is 14 days in, 14 days out. Some parks are less strict about this than others. Inversely, some parks enforce a “14 days in the entire park system, 14 days out of the entire park system”, so if you stay in Brazos Bend for 14 days and try and show up at McKinney Falls the next day, they will inform you that you can’t come back until you’ve been completely out of every Texas State Park for 14 days.

Junior Ranger Program

Texas has a great Junior Ranger Program where kids fill out the typical booklet where they learn about the history and nature of the state. Their are three levels, and kids can earn a button for each level they complete.

 

List of Texas State Parks with RV-friendly Campgrounds

Texas State Parks with Full Hookups

  • Abilene
  • Atlanta
  • Bastrop
  • Blanco
  • Caddo Lake
  • Cleburne
  • Daingerfield
  • Davis Mountains
  • Eisenhower
  • Falcon
  • Fort Richardson, Lost Creek Reservoir State Trailway
  • Goliad
  • Lake Brownwood
  • Lake Corpus Christi
  • Lake Livingston
  • Lake Whitney
  • Lockhart
  • McKinney Falls
  • Meridian
  • Mission Tejas
  • Stephen F. Austin State Park
  • Tyler

Texas State Parks with Water & Electric Sites

  • Balmorhea (cable TV hook-ups)
  • Bonham (Some sites are tent-only)
  • Brazos Bend
  • Buescher
  • Caprock Canyons Trailway
  • Cedar Hill
  • Choke Canyon
  • Cooper Lake
  • Copper Breaks
  • Dinosaur Valley
  • Fairfield Lake
  • Fort Parker
  • Galveston Island
  • Garner
  • Goose Island
  • Guadalupe River
  • Hueco Tanks SHS
  • Huntsville
  • Inks Lake
  • Lake Arrowhead
  • Lake Bob Sandlin
  • Lake Casa Blanca
  • Lake Colorado City
  • Lake Mineral Wells Trailway
  • Lake Somerville Trailway
  • Lake Tawakoni
  • Lake Texana
  • Lost Maples SNA
  • Martin Creek Lake
  • Martin Dies, Jr.
  • Monahans Sandhills
  • Mother Neff
  • Mustang Island
  • Palmetto
  • Palo Duro Canyon
  • Pedernales Falls
  • Possum Kingdom
  • Purtis Creek
  • Ray Roberts Lake
  • San Angelo
  • Sea Rim
  • Seminole Canyon
  • South Llano River
  • Village Creek

Texas State Parks with Primitive Camping Only

While offering no hookups, these parks can still accommodate RVs for the most part.

  • Big Bend Ranch
  • Colorado Bend
  • Devils River State Natural Area
  • Franklin Mountains
  • Hill Country State Natural Area

 

BURNING MAN TIPS

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