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

Texas Park Officials Say Preparation and Flexibility are Key to a Safe Camping Trip During the Pandemic

Texas Park Officials Say Preparation and Flexibility are Key to a Safe Camping Trip During the Pandemic

Looking to escape your home? Book campsites in advance and bring your own sanitation supplies to make the most of an outdoors getaway. ...

Paddle Your Way to Beauty, Isolation, and Adventure on a Canoe Camping Trip

Paddle Your Way to Beauty, Isolation, and Adventure on a Canoe Camping Trip

Earlier this summer, I strapped my aluminum canoe to the top of a friend’s truck and headed west to the Devils River.

Backpacking 101: Pack Light and Hit the Trail for an Escape to the Far Reaches of Texas

Backpacking 101: Pack Light and Hit the Trail for an Escape to the Far Reaches of Texas

If the recent pandemic has you hankering to get into the backcountry, and you’re looking for an outdoor experience beyond car ...

11 Texas RV Parks and Campsites to Plug in and Unplug

11 Texas RV Parks and Campsites to Plug in and Unplug

Port Aransas Beach Camping Gets Exclusive During the Offseason

Port Aransas Beach Camping Gets Exclusive During the Offseason

After months of quarantining, my wife and I finally bought an RV. We knew exactly where we wanted to take our 19-foot Class C RV: Port ...

12 Glamping Retreats to Make Camping a Little Less Rustic

12 Glamping Retreats to Make Camping a Little Less Rustic

As we continue to adjust to the “new normal,” people are seeking safe ways to enjoy local travel with their families or ...

From the Texas Highways archive

Texas Park Officials Say Preparation and Flexibility are Key to a Safe Camping Trip During the Pandemic

Texas Park Officials Say Preparation and Flexibility are Key to a Safe Camping Trip During the Pandemic

Looking to escape your home? Book campsites in advance and bring your own sanitation supplies to make the most of an outdoors getaway. ...

Paddle Your Way to Beauty, Isolation, and Adventure on a Canoe Camping Trip

Paddle Your Way to Beauty, Isolation, and Adventure on a Canoe Camping Trip

Earlier this summer, I strapped my aluminum canoe to the top of a friend’s truck and headed west to the Devils River.

Backpacking 101: Pack Light and Hit the Trail for an Escape to the Far Reaches of Texas

Backpacking 101: Pack Light and Hit the Trail for an Escape to the Far Reaches of Texas

If the recent pandemic has you hankering to get into the backcountry, and you’re looking for an outdoor experience beyond car ...

11 Texas RV Parks and Campsites to Plug in and Unplug

11 Texas RV Parks and Campsites to Plug in and Unplug

Port Aransas Beach Camping Gets Exclusive During the Offseason

Port Aransas Beach Camping Gets Exclusive During the Offseason

After months of quarantining, my wife and I finally bought an RV. We knew exactly where we wanted to take our 19-foot Class C RV: Port ...

12 Glamping Retreats to Make Camping a Little Less Rustic

12 Glamping Retreats to Make Camping a Little Less Rustic

As we continue to adjust to the “new normal,” people are seeking safe ways to enjoy local travel with their families or ...

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

Take the Family Camping for a Fun Way to Make Lasting Memories

Take the Family Camping for a Fun Way to Make Lasting Memories

Maybe your children can tell stories of playing cards in a soggy tent as raindrops popped against the nylon walls. Or maybe you ...

Find Lovely Silence, along with Inward Focus and Empowerment, on a Solo Camping Trip

Find Lovely Silence, along with Inward Focus and Empowerment, on a Solo Camping Trip

I grew up camping with my family. We spent long weekends at Texas state parks, where we’d pitch our giant blue canvas tent, belly flop ...

Camping with your Canine? 14 Tips to Ensure a Safe and Fun Adventure with Fido

Camping with your Canine? 14 Tips to Ensure a Safe and Fun Adventure with Fido

Camping is made better with friends, including our four-legged ones. I spent many months camping and hiking with my good boy Max while ...

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

From the Texas Highways archive

Field Guide to Camping Dangers

Field Guide to Camping Dangers

One of the things that keeps potential campers in the great indoors is all the unknowns…out there. From unforgiving weather to ...

The Beginner’s Guide to Camping in Texas

The Beginner’s Guide to Camping in Texas

I’d never understood the allure of camping. Perhaps it’s because my family was never very interested in spending time in the ...

This Wilderness Survival Course Teaches Beginners How to Navigate an Outdoor Emergency

This Wilderness Survival Course Teaches Beginners How to Navigate an Outdoor Emergency

Earth Native founder Dave Scott grew up tagging along with his father and uncle on volunteer search-and-rescue missions in Colorado. ...

Shop Local With These Texas Outdoor Gear Shops

Shop Local With These Texas Outdoor Gear Shops

If you want the best gear—whether it's clothing, tents or something else—you don't have to go to a large chain store to get what you ...

A Guide to Handling Illness & Injury In The Wilderness

A Guide to Handling Illness & Injury In The Wilderness

Many of us love to get outdoors to escape the confines of our homes and traffic of the city. But with such freedom also comes distance ...

Camping in Texas Means Being Ready for All Kinds of Weather

Camping in Texas Means Being Ready for All Kinds of Weather

We humans love to talk endlessly about the weather, and when it comes to icebreakers, it doesn’t matter whether you’re facing heat, ...

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

Dutch-Oven Recipes

Dutch-Oven Recipes

The dutch oven is a great way to cook recipes at a campsite, whether on coals from a fire or charcoal. In the March 2015 edition of ...

9 Divine Hill Country Hikes

9 Divine Hill Country Hikes

In the Texas Hill Country, the flat Gulf Coastal plains to the east and the Texas brush country to the south collide with the Balcones ...

Explore the Lone Star Hiking Trail in East Texas

Explore the Lone Star Hiking Trail in East Texas

The sun crested over the tops of the tall pines, taking the chill out of the winter air as my partner and I set out from our campsite ...

It’s Hard to Be Stressed-Out in a Hammock

It’s Hard to Be Stressed-Out in a Hammock

The sky’s a bruised black and a north wind scatters leaves as I step inside the Kammok Gear Shop at the corner of E. 7th Street and ...

Take 3 History-Packed Hikes in the Davis Mountains

Take 3 History-Packed Hikes in the Davis Mountains

The Davis Mountains have long attracted people seeking respite from the surrounding deserts of West Texas. Delivered as magma from ...

A New Hiking Guidebook Scours Texas for the State’s Best Hikes

A New Hiking Guidebook Scours Texas for the State’s Best Hikes

You’d be hard-pressed to find a photographer who’s covered more ground in Texas than Laurence Parent, a leading landscape photographer ...

The Best Way to Cook Your Gulf Coast Catch

The Best Way to Cook Your Gulf Coast Catch

Growing up in a South Texas household of outdoor enthusiasts made fishing along the Gulf Coast a routine family affair. We spent our ...

Brighten Up Your Camping Trip After Dark with Stargazing

Brighten Up Your Camping Trip After Dark with Stargazing

Camping brings to mind full days of activities like hiking, climbing, and swimming. But one of the best parts of a camping trip ...

An illustration of a guitar, fishing rod and hiking boots

The December 2020 issue of Texas Highways Magazine


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The December 2020 issue of Texas Highways Magazine


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 December 2020 issue of Texas Highways Magazine


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.