Best State Parks to Pitch a Tent

It's hard to beat sleeping under the stars and enjoying the great Texas Outdoors. Here is a list of the best Texas State Parks to pitch a tent and camp for a couple days or longer. One of these State Parks is bound to be near you, so grab the tent, your cooler, and some fun outdoor toys (like your bikes, kayaks, fishing poles, frisbee) and head to a nearby State Park to pitch a tent and enjoy all that nature has to offer. Have fun.

Best Texas State Parks To Pitch A Tent

To reach the most spectacular sites in the Guale Mesa you need a four-wheel-drive vehicle as it is one of the most remote campsite in one of the most remote parks in the state. A park guide describes it as "It has it all: millions of years of volcanic geology to study, views into Mexico, solitude that is deafening and sunrises and sunsets that will change the way campers think about color forever."
If you are a canoeist or kayaker this extraordinary ecosystem in the Big Thicket is for you. The scenic sloughs wander through the park offering intriguing places to explore. There is a unique blend of plants and animals coming together as the magnolia trees mix with the pine, oak, sweetgum and maple. The bald cypress trees add their beauty to the swampy areas, home to frogs, turtles, fish and alligators.
As you wander down from the prairie uplands to the red-rock-canyonlands you begin to encounter the drama of this Panhandle park. One turn off the main road, passing a prairie dog town and historic state bison herd, you are in the Little Red Tent Camping Area. Here your campsites offer views of rock outcrops, the Caprock escarpment and the Little Red River Canyon.
This mystical place holding the secrets of those who were there long ago feels old and beautiful. The campsites provide the perfect place for the beauty and mystery of East Texas to capture you. A few of the sites sit on the edge of the water where you can dock your canoe which can be rented by nearby rentals. As you sit around your campfire and watch the light filter through the moss covered trees you will realize how beautiful this area is. Read Texas Outside's review of Caddo Lake State Park to learn more.
This park in East Texas is a favorite among hikers, bikers, paddlers as well as swimmers. Tall pines tower over the shoreline of Lake Raven that is in the center of the park. To have the lake at your doorstep of your campsite is ideal with the shade of the trees and views across the lake. Take an evening canoe trip for a bit of relaxation and adventure. Read our review of Huntsville State Park to learn more.

Devils River State Park

Devils River State Park

To get to the primitive campsite on the rugged Devils River you need a canoe or kayak. It is many miles of hard paddling on the river and so the amazing setting is spectacular on the banks of the clear river surrounded by mountains and canyons. Nearby you will find springs springing out of the ground in contrast to the dry desert area all around.

 

The campsites jut out on an elevated peninsula overlooking Lake Texoma. The views are spectacular and caves across the cove burrow out of the limestone cliffs. The campsites have a cover of trees to keep you cool but you can still enjoy the beauty of the lake. You have a short but steep walk to the cove below if you care to take a dip. Read Texas Outside's review of Eisenhower State Park to learn more.
There is a shelter on a point on the lake that offers stunning views of the surrounding hills with stone benches built in the 1930's. The shoreline of the lake has large sandstone boulders that rise up. One of the main attractions of Lake Mineral Wells is the climbing area that is a natural playground called Penitentiary Hollow. Read Texas Outside's review of Lake Mineral Wells State Park to learn more.
Inks Lake has a camping area with scenery, shade, privacy and convenience. With the lake on both sides you have a short paddle to the popular Devil's Waterhole. If you own a boat you can moor just off the site. To keep you busy during the day you can experience boating, fishing, swimming and exploring the pink-rock outcroppings. Read Texas Outside's review of Inks Lake State Park to learn more.
If you are looking for plenty to do you have come to the right place. This park in the pineywoods of East Texas has paddling, fishing, swimming, hiking and biking among the beautiful pine forest, a spring-fed lake and some surprising hills. Summer is a popular time of year to enjoy the park and the campsites along the shoreline are quick to go. Read Texas Outside's review of Tyler State Park to learn more.
You will find this beautiful park in the valley of West Texas' Davis Mountains. The rugged terrain is covered in juniper-oak and grasslands with rock outcroppings. Some of the sites back up to Keesey Creek which runs through the park. The park has an abundance of wildlife to watch for such as javelins, mule deer, elk owls, and Montexuma quail. Read Texas Outside's review of Davis Mountains State Park to learn more.
Palo Duro is the second-largest canyon in the country and bursting with scenery and history. This is also the home of the musical drama Texas which has entertained crowds for many years. Hackberry Camp Area is one of the oldest in the park with bigger trees providing much needed shade in the summer months. The Prairie Dog Fork of the Red River runs behind the sites at Cottonwoods. Read our review to learn more about Palo Duro.
The visitors camping at this park its very primitive nature with no water and no electricity. They will be delighted with sunsets across the sky and after dark, the city lights of El Paso. The campsites are just across the valley from the Aztec Caves, a popular hiking destination. Also to entertain is world-class mountain biking and a small area for rock climbing.
If you have lived in Texas very long, you certainly have heard of Enchanted Rock which is a favorite to many. The campsites that sit right up against the Little Dome are some of the best. The granite dome are at your front door and invites exploration through the boulders, caves, hoodoos and outcrops. The covered picnic table provides a great place to gather and discuss your days events.
This East Texas Park has a popular site with seclusion and lake views and the smell of those tall pines. The park offers picnicking, camping, boating (5 miles an hour), fishing, swimming in an unsupervised swimming area, hiking and nature study.
Just an hour from Austin and San Antonio you can come for a picnic, afternoon swim, fishing trip or a weekend campout on the banks of the spring-fed Blanco River. This small park has a one-mile stretch of the river where you can swim, fish, paddle or boat. On land, you can picnic, hike, camp, watch for wildlife, and geocache. To learn more read our review of Blanco State Park.
This pretty lake is the backdrop for the camp site where there are lots of trees for plenty of shade. The lake provides a great place to canoe or kayak (rentals are available, fishing, nature study; hiking, geocaching; interpretive tours, and biking.
The campground which was a former fishing camp has views of the Colorado River and the cliffs on the opposite shore. This a great opportunity for a hike to Gorman Falls or the scenic Spicewood Springs area. Just two hours from Austin allows you to explore this unspoiled wilderness. The drive-up and hike-in sites have water in the area, but no hook­ups. Read our review to learn more about this park.
Sitting on the bluff above the river you can hear the Paluxy River gurgling below. There are regular campsites or backpack in sites. There are 20 miles of trails to explore as well as the dinosaur trails. Bring your horse and explore the 100-acre South Primitive Area. The river runs through this wooded, semi-rocky part of the park. Read our review to learn more about Dinosaur Valley.
There are a few campsites on this lake with grand views and shade trees. The other options are campsites with full hookups and 10 screened shelters. An hour north of Houston gives you the opportunity to hike quiet trails through the forest. Lake Livingston is one of the largest lakes in the state, with white bass, catfish, crappie, bass or perch. The park has three boat ramps, two fish cleaning stations, a fishing pier and bank fishing. Read Texas Outside's review of Lake Livingston State Park to learn more.
There is one pleasant spot that is away from the other campsites in this park. Close to the day use and swim areas and is located on a little lake inlet. The park's 72-acre lake offers fishing in addition to swimming and no-wake boating. Bird-watching is excellent as well as picnicking and bicycling on park roads. Read Texas Outside's review of Meridian State Park to learn more.
If you enjoy waking up to crashing waves and the sunrise over the Gulf, then this park is for you. There are 50 primitive sites and 48 water and electric sites. Activities are plentiful on the Island such as picnic, fish, hike, mountain bike, kayak, bird watch (especially during spring and fall migrations) and geocache.
Flowing over and around huge slabs of limestone, the Pedernales River can be turbulent. But most often it is tranquil, and a great place for an adventure. You can hike to a primitive site or choose one with water and electricity. They have a sponsored youth group site that will make you feel as if this is your own private park. To learn more about this park read our review.
What a beautiful sight to bring your family, fishing pole and swimsuit to the clear blue water and striking scenery at Possum Kingdom State Park. Just an hour from the Dallas/Ft Worth area where you can swim, boat, fish, ski, scuba dive and snorkel. On land, you can camp, picnic, hike, bike, study nature and geocache. Read Texas Outside's review of Possum Kingdom State Park to learn more.

Thanks to the Texas Parks & Wildlife for the idea and content for this page.

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