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.

Types of Camping

“Dirtbagging” the Public Lands of Texas

“Dirtbagging” the Public Lands of Texas

There are roughly 800,000 acres of federal land in Texas, available ...

Expert Tips for Camping With Your Family, Backpack, or RV in Texas

Expert Tips for Camping With Your Family, Backpack, or RV in Texas

The first time I seriously considered buying an RV was in the aftermath of a family tent camping trip to Kerrville-Schreiner Park ...

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 ...

Two Ways to Expand Your Horizons on Texas’ Private Lands

Two Ways to Expand Your Horizons on Texas’ Private Lands

I have sidestepped prickly pearand creosote to crest a rugged ...

11 Texas RV Parks and Campsites to Plug in and Unplug

11 Texas RV Parks and Campsites to Plug in and Unplug

In 2014, my wife and I sold our house and spent two years on the ...

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 ...

An illustration of a route sign, map and binoculars

Recent Camping Stories

Find Unexpected Adventures in the Rugged Canyonlands of the Texas Panhandle

Find Unexpected Adventures in the Rugged Canyonlands of the Texas Panhandle

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Conservation Effort Holds Promise for a New Park to Protect Honey Creek in the Hill Country

Conservation Effort Holds Promise for a New Park to Protect Honey Creek in the Hill Country

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New Safari-Style Tents Offer Hassle-Free Camping at Lake Bastrop North Shore Park

New Safari-Style Tents Offer Hassle-Free Camping at Lake Bastrop North Shore Park

Five minutes after arrival at Lake Bastrop North Shore Park, my ...

Bass Anglers Go Big on Lake Fork in Northeast Texas

Bass Anglers Go Big on Lake Fork in Northeast Texas

Texas history buffs have the Alamo. Peak baggers have Guadalupe ...

Got Land? The Making of Palo Pinto Mountains and Other New Texas State Parks

Got Land? The Making of Palo Pinto Mountains and Other New Texas State Parks

Seventy-five miles west of Fort Worth, a hilly parcel of ranchland

Woodville’s Refurbished Big Woods Nature Trail Is a Hidden Gem Worth Discovering

Woodville’s Refurbished Big Woods Nature Trail Is a Hidden Gem Worth Discovering

In the vastly rural southeast Texas landscape north of Beaumont and ...

Big Bend National Park Announces Plan to Build a New Hiking Trail Around Lone Mountain

Big Bend National Park Announces Plan to Build a New Hiking Trail Around Lone Mountain

A new trail at Big Bend National Park will take hikers on a 3-mile

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Preparing to Camp

Field Guide to Camping Dangers

Field Guide to Camping Dangers

One of the things that keeps potential campers in the great indoors is

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

Camping Companions

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 ...

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 ...

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

Local Groups Work to Reconnect the Black Community to the Joy of the Outdoors

Local Groups Work to Reconnect the Black Community to the Joy of the Outdoors

The Violet Crown Trail weavesthrough 13 miles of Austin’s landscape, ...

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.

An illustration of a guitar, fishing rod and hiking boots

From the Texas Highways archive

Tracking Time on the Caprock Canyon Trailway

Tracking Time on the Caprock Canyon Trailway

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9 Divine Hill Country Hikes

9 Divine Hill Country Hikes

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Explore the Lone Star Hiking Trail in East Texas

Explore the Lone Star Hiking Trail in East Texas

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

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

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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 ...

Scale Five Peaks in One Week on This Epic West Texas Road Trip

Scale Five Peaks in One Week on This Epic West Texas Road Trip

A mile or two into my hike to the top of Mount Livermore in the Davis ...

Where to Find 4 Hidden Gems off Big Bend’s Beaten Path

Where to Find 4 Hidden Gems off Big Bend’s Beaten Path

Jaw-dropping hikes like the Window Trail and South Rim draw visitors ...

Hike from Texas to New Mexico on This 100-Mile-Long Trail

Hike from Texas to New Mexico on This 100-Mile-Long Trail

Pieced together from several existing trails, the GRT begins near the ...

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

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, ...

Camp Cooking

Some things just taste better outside — one of the many joys of camping is preparing food to share. Make sure to check local guidelines regarding burn bans before planning what to cook. During dry seasons, campgrounds may limit the use of wood or charcoal, even for cooking.

An illustration of a large brown cooking pot hanging from poles

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 ...

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 ...

Recipe: Corn Dodgers Are the Perfect Cowboy Snack

Recipe: Corn Dodgers Are the Perfect Cowboy Snack

When professional horseman and cowboy Pete Lichau was growing up in ...

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The November cover of Texas Highways Magazine, with a title reading "Food Worth Traveling For"


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The November cover of Texas Highways Magazine, with a title reading "Food Worth Traveling For"


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Save up to 62% off the cover price

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