The Texas Highways guide to

Camping in Texas

An illustration of a tent underneath the stars and moon

The landscapes of Texas are remarkably diverse. From the sandy shores of the Gulf Coast to the piney woods of East Texas and the desert Mountains out west, the Lone Star State harbors a range of distinctive topographies and climates. You don’t have to go very far to feel like you’ve arrived in a whole new place. For many, camping is the ideal way to experience Texas’ great outdoors. And during the COVID-19 pandemic, camping can provide a rare change of scenery while also allowing safe distance from others.

There are a plethora of places in Texas for pitching a tent, retreating to a cabin, or parking your RV to revel in the fresh air of the outdoors. But if you’ve never been camping—or it’s been a long while—the prospect of a night under the stars might be a bit intimidating. Here we’ve prepared a guide to camping in Texas, both to help the newbies get started and inspire the experienced. We’ve compiled a database of campsites, along with activities and tips to make sure you are prepared to make the most of Texas’ abundance of camping opportunities.

We look forward to hearing your tales from the trail.

Where to Camp

Texas is home to a variety of types of campgrounds, public and private. This directory lists only facilities administered by federal, state, and local government authorities in Texas.

Commercial campground information is available from the Texas Association of Campground Owners, 910 S Crowley Road, Suite 9-504, Crowley. 877-518-1989, texascampgrounds.com

The information in the map and database below are based on the Texas Public Campgrounds guide published by the Texas Department of Transportation. This guide, among other travel literature, is available at Travel Information Centers across Texas.

Browse all public campgrounds in our guide:

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A indicates the campground has a dump station.

An illustration of a route sign, map and binoculars

From the Texas Highways archive

From the Texas Highways archive

How to Prepare

A great camping trip starts with the right preparation. Make sure to consider things like how long you will be camping, what the weather will be like, and how much you can carry when planning what to take with you. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has prepared these tips for camping safety, etiquette and preparation. More information can be found on the Texas State Park camping and lodging page.

Safety

Camping is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and make sure your trip is safe.

  • Keep watch on children! You are responsible for the safety of your children. Make sure you know where your kids are and what they are doing.
  • Be aware of the natural surroundings. There may be plants with thorns or stickers.
  • You are a visitor in wildlife’s home. Keep a safe distance from wild animals. Although they may look cute, they are wild and can carry diseases.
  • Never feed the wildlife! Feeding wildlife can encourage bad behavior by animals and is against park regulations.
  • Be careful with fire. Never leave a fire unattended and be sure your campfire is out when you break camp.
  • Axes, knives and saws are useful tools, but be sure you know how to properly use them.

Etiquette

Courteous behavior makes camping more fun for everyone.

  • Think about your fellow campers. Keep noise levels down, especially at night.
  • Leave the area clean. Pick up your trash and make sure to check the area for items you may have forgotten.
  • Keep food out of the reach of animals. Put food items away after use. Raccoons and other animals will take advantage of your carelessness.
  • Dispose of wastewater properly. Dumping gray water can pollute waterways and attract unwanted pests.
  • Camp in designated campsites. Use a tent pad if provided and keep vehicles on the pavement.
  • Leave your campsite cleaner than you found it.

The Seven C’s of Camping

  • Care – Show care at the campground by being considerate of others.
  • Caution – Use caution in the use of camping equipment both on the road and at the campsite. Handle fire and flammable fuels so as not to endanger others or ourselves. Improve our camping skills at all times, knowing the right way is the safest way.
  • Courtesy – Practice politeness because it enhances the camping experience. Be respectful of the privacy of others, control children and leash dogs.
  • Cleanliness – Be clean in your camping habits and teach your children the importance of cleanliness. Pick up litter, no matter who left it, and be proud of the campsites you leave behind.
  • Cooperation – Observe the letter and spirit of camping regulations and rules established to protect the enjoyment of the outdoors. Work cooperatively with others to make the camping experience better for everyone.
  • Conservation – Protect the environment in which you enjoy camping and help those whose job it is to guard and wisely manage the country’s natural resources. Endeavor to leave a better outdoors for those who follow you.
  • Common Sense – Apply common sense to every situation, knowing that reason, understanding and humor make camping better for everyone.

In addition to maintaining the more than 630,000 acres of parkland in Texas, Texas State Parks publishes an official guide and state park app to make the most of your camping, hiking or exploring journey.

Who to go camping with

An illustration of a camp chair, hiking pack and sun hat

From the Texas Highways archive

Things to Do

Sleeping outdoors is only half the fun of camping. Fishing, hiking, birding, stargazing, or cooking a meal outside all add to the adventure.

From the Texas Highways archive

An illustration of a guitar, fishing rod and hiking boots

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The October 2020 issue of Texas Highways Magazineq


Get the Magazine

Save up to 62% off the cover price

True Texas in Your Inbox

Sign up for magazine extras, upcoming events, Mercantile specials, subscription offers, and more.

The October 2020 issue of Texas Highways Magazineq


Get the Magazine

Save up to 62% off the cover price

True Texas in Your Inbox

Sign up for magazine extras, upcoming events, Mercantile specials, subscription offers, and more.