There are many sides to the vast and beautiful state of Texas. Being the largest state in the US mainland, Texas not only engulfs a wide variety of landscapes but also climates. Unlike many other parts of America, Texas doesn’t necessarily have an off-season for camping.
Sure, in parts, the Lone Star State can experience extremes. Whether it be snow falling in some regions in winter or the blistering heat of summer. However, for the most part there is a mild climate that allows for year-round adventuring.
Before you plan your camping trip in Texas it is best to familiarize yourself with the four seasons. There is something for everyone all year round and each season carries its own special allure.
Camping in Texas in Spring
Spring, for many, is the perfect time of year for camping in Texas. The temperatures are rising but not uncomfortably so. It is busy, but not overcrowded.
There is also a treasure trove of activities available for you and your family, no matter your interest. There are also a lot of reasons to celebrate in springtime - ‘St.Patrick’s Day in March, ‘Cinco de Mayo’ in May, and, of course, ‘Spring Break’ around Easter. This is a great time to dust off the family tent and have the first outing of the year.
For all our campers, spring camping in Texas offers a huge amount. For wildlife enthusiasts, it is the peak season for birding. This is mainly due to the avian migration, which brings all manner of birds through the Lone Star State.
The state flower, the ‘Bluebonnet’, blooms in spring which is a brilliant attraction all in itself. For water lovers, activities such as scuba diving, canoeing, tubing, and fishing swing into action.
If water sports and birding aren’t your thing, the warm climate is perfect for hiking, river camping in Texas, mountain biking, and all other outdoor excursions. There really is something for everyone.
Great Spring Camping Spots
Hill Country State Natural Area
The limestone hills of the Hill Country State Natural Area are a true monument to the Old West. Hill Country is an excellent choice for those who want to get away from civilization. There is no phone service here, so you won’t see crowds of spring breakers.
The Hill Country State Natural is great for primitive camping in Texas. The campsites are non-reservable; they are available on a first-come, first-served basis, it is a place where you will likely need your hiking tent.
Monahans Sandhills State Park
Tucked away in West Texas, the mesmerizing Monahans sand dunes are one of the best, hidden gems of the Lone Star State. Spring is the best time to go camping in this unique setting.
To make sure you will have a safe and great deep dune adventure, bring sun protection, drinking water, and a GPS device.
Seminole Canyon State Park
The campsites of Seminole Canyon State Park offer some of the most beautiful views of the Lone Star State. The area is famous for ancient rock art made by early canyon dwellers.
There are about 10 miles of trails in the park. You can hike along the Seminole Canyon rim or bike to the majestic Rio Grande. There are over 40 sites in the area, ranging from campsites with electricity and water to primitive drive-up sites.
Camping in Texas in Summer
The summer months bring huge numbers of vacationers to the Lone Star State so be sure to book your campsite well in advance. It gets warm out there folks so your best aim to get a site near the water if possible and bring a great summer tent.
All the activities outlined above for spring are still available but water sports and water activities become even more prevalent in the summer heat. With canoeing, water-skiing, swimming, tubing, and more, there is a lot of fun to be had in the Texan waters.
It has been said that summer camping in Texas is not recreation but a test of character. If you do not come prepared for the searing heat, that may well be true.
Rain is rare but the climate can be unpredictable all the same. Temperatures during the three months consistently sit around the 90F mark. It is particularly dry out West and tends to cool down considerably at night.
Out East tends to be significantly more humid with very little respite. These, of course, are factors that must be considered before deciding on your destination as they can play a key role in your overall enjoyment.
There is no reason to fear the Texas heat but our advice is to be prepared. Below are our top tips to help you enjoy camping in Texas in the summer.
Stay Hydrated - Make sure you have access to plenty of water and stay hydrated. If you are heading off on an afternoon of hiking, be extra careful. The heat combined with exercise means that the typical 5-8 glasses per person might not be enough.
Set Up Camp In Shaded Areas - An obvious one but extremely important nonetheless. If you are out in the sun all day, you want to be sure you get a break at day’s end.
Do Your Housekeeping Duties Early - Temperatures are highest in the middle of the day so plan ahead. Get all your daily chores such as chopping wood and filling up water supplies out of the way early.
Be Prepared - Most importantly, be prepared. If you are going out in the sun make sure you carry sunscreen, sunglasses, insect repellent, and even a light jacket to contend with the unpredictable changes.
Insulate! - Insulation works not only in the cold to help keep you warm but also in the heat to help keep you cool. This is why Crua’s range of insulated tents are truly all-season products.
If you want to learn more, be sure to read our Ultimate Guide to Camping in Texas as well.
Great Summer Camping Spots
Village Creek State Park
The Village Creek State Park sits along one of the most beautiful free-flowing waterways in the Lone Star State. It is perfect for fishing, paddling, and relaxing.
The dense forests of the park are shady and serene, offering you a refuge from the summer sun, and can be a good place to hang a hammock. The area is also home to a big network of biking and hiking trails.
Whether you want to enjoy some peace and quiet or camp on sandbars, Village Creek is an excellent place to pitch a tent in summer.
Blanco State Park
Just an hour away from San Antonio and Austin, you will find one of the best state parks in Texas for camping. In summer, It is the perfect destination for a weekend campout full of picnics, fishing, or swimming.
When you need to cool off, you can enjoy a relaxing float down the spring-fed river. There are multiple shaded areas in the park and you can even find screened shelters.
The park isn’t particularly big, but it is very active. It offers more than enough primitive camping sites and RV sites.
Eisenhower State Park
Camping on the shores of Lake Texoma is a great way to connect to nature. Even though it’s nowhere near the sea, Lake Texoma is one of the best spots for beach camping in the Lone Star State.
Boating and swimming are the most popular summer activities here, but there is so much more you can do in the area. The cliffs and rocks in Eisenhower State Park are just as beautiful as the lake.
There’s a 6-mile trail that covers most of the scenic areas around the lake. If you want to escape the heat, but don’t want to get wet, you can explore the small cave by the beach.
Camping in Texas in Fall
Camping in Texas in Fall
Fall’s arrival marks the end of the sometimes over-powering heat of summer. The slightly cooler temperatures tend to make activities that bit more enjoyable.
We don’t want to be too dismissive of the summer heat but in fall, activities that involve extended periods outdoors such as hunting, mountain biking, fishing, and hiking become much more manageable.
Camping in Texas in the fall is a beautiful time for sightseeing. The foliage undergoes an awe-inspiring transformation from green to vibrant red, yellow, and orange. The abundance of color in the state parks alone can be as big an attraction as any activity that is to be had.
Great Fall Camping Spots
Lost Maples State Natural Area
If you love fall foliage, the Lost Maples State Natural Area is one of the best places you can go camping. The bigtooth maple trees, breathtaking canyon walls, and beautiful orange and red colors attract nature lovers from far and wide.
The scenic Sabinal River runs through the heart of the park, making Lost Maples an excellent spot for river camping, a good place for your fishing tent. There are 6 primitive campsites in the area as well as 30 campsites with electricity and water.
Cooper Lake State Park
Cooper lake is one of the most popular summer camping locations in Texas. It is so busy; it can be very difficult to find a good spot. With school back in season, fall is a much better time to visit the park.
Then, you will find plenty of room to roam the area. It is a perfect place for hiking, biking, stargazing, birdwatching as well as swimming, kayaking, and water-skiing. Dotted with many fishing piers and boat docks, the lake is also one of the most peaceful fishing destinations in the state.
You don’t even need a fishing license if you want to fish from the shore, so be sure to bring a fishing rod. There are also a few equestrian campsites in the area, so you can bring your horse as well.
Camping in Texas in Winter
Camping in Texas in Winter
In many parts of America, the winter months bring a lot of rain and snowfall but Texas in winter offers a more eclectic mix.
The state’s 268,000 square miles envelop a wide range of climatic conditions. Northern and western areas of the state can become very cold with some snowfall but the weather is mild in most regions.
The summer crowds and extreme heat become a thing of the past come winter so if you get it right, winter camping makes for a great experience. Our biggest tip for camping in Texas in winter is to be flexible. You can get lucky with great weather but conditions can change at the drop of a hat.
Dress in layers if you are hiking and pack for all types of weather. Bring warm clothes, rain-gear and make sure to read up on the specific region which you are visiting.
If there is a heavy chance of snowfall you might want to consider another region or try a different time of year, or make sure you have a great winter tent.
Great Winter Camping Spots
Palo Duro Canyon State Park
Located near Amarillo, Palo Duro is the second largest canyon in the country. Boasting a beautifully colored landscape of impressive formations, it is a perfect place to throw a picnic blanket on the ground and take in gorgeous vistas.
There are a few scenic trails in the area, dotted with multicolored rock towers, so campers can hike, bike, or ride a horse through the layers of the canyon.
There are campsites with electric and water hookups in the area as well as primitive campsites. The entry fees are quite low. However, if you would still rather camp in Texas for free, the Lake Meredith National Recreation Area offers free camping and it’s pretty close to Palo Duro.
Inks Lake State Park
Inks Lake is an excellent year-round camping destination because the water level stays pretty consistent throughout all four seasons. If you come in winter, you will still be able to rent paddle boats, canoes, and kayaks during your stay.
You can set camp right next to the sparkling blue water. Surrounded by pink granite hills, the shore is a great place to enjoy sunsets.
The park also offers 9 miles of hiking trails that go through rocky hills and oak and cedar woodlands. There are almost 200 campsites in the park, so rest assured that you will find a perfect spot for your tent.
When it comes to camping in Texas, there is no off-season. But, it is very important to do your research before you head out, especially if it’s winter. Be prepared for camping in Texas, be safe, and enjoy everything this great state has to offer all year round.