UPDATED NOV 25, 2019
There’s nothing like a day (or a weekend) in the wilderness to provide a little R&R from the daily grind. So pack your bags, and head to one of these incredible campsites in the Dallas area.
Only 45 miles outside of Fort Worth, Lake Mineral Wells State Park sits in the middle of cattle country and boasts a 640-acre lake, a rock climbing center, lots of areas to pitch a tent, and 12+ miles of hiking trails. Bonus: many of the campsites offer clean water and electricity and are available for just $10-$30 a night. But if you prefer to rough it, they also have four primitive campsites about a 2.5-mile trek away. Once you’ve claimed your spot and settled in, experienced climbers can check out Penitentiary Hollow—one of the few natural rock climbing venues in North Texas—and swimmers can take advantage of the no jet skiing policy.
Bonham State Park is loved by Dallas locals for its cozy, family-friendly environment, clean lake, and convenient setup. Bathrooms (with showers), picnic tables, and upright grills are at just about every turn, so you can get a legit camping experience without the hassle. RV hook-ups are a bit scarce, though, so call ahead if you prefer a roof over your head.
Planning a romantic getaway for two? Look no further for your home away from home. With gorgeous lake views, tranquil surroundings, Wi-Fi, volleyball courts, and complimentary coffee, this is “glamping” at its finest. Rent a decked-out cabin or park your RV and kick back for a cushy camping experience. The best part? The Vineyards Campground campsites are situated on the shores of Grapevine Lake, less than an hour from the city.
While it may not appeal to the faint of heart, Murrell Park on the north side of Lake Grapevine is a minimalist camper’s paradise. If you enjoy utter seclusion, this might be the campsite for you — and for only $10 a night, what have you got to lose? Hikers and bikers will appreciate the North Shore Trail’s 9.5 miles of uninterrupted wilderness, and for those hoping to catch their own dinner, fishing banks are abundant.
Loyd Park, a 791-acre stretch of land on the southwest side of DFW, is the perfect place to escape and reconnect with nature. Each individual campsite is huge (approximately 1,000 square feet) and includes a picnic table, pavilion, grill, and fire ring. Make sure to snag a spot right off Joe Pool Lake, and rent kayaks for a fun day on the water before your evening kumbayas. And if tent camping isn’t your style, you can always opt for one of their lakefront cabins.
Just a short drive from Fort Worth, you can walk where dinosaurs once trod and uncover ancient fossils along the way. Dinosaur tracks are regularly found in the bed of the Paluxy River, and lucky for you, a variety of campsites are available close by. Choose between sites with running water and electricity, or lace up those hiking boots and set up camp at one of their primitive or backpack spots. Whatever you choose, you’re in for a historic weekend.
Cedar Hill State Park might only be 20 minutes from Downtown Dallas, but it’s also among the most beautiful places in North Texas to sleep under the stars. Both RV and primitive campsites are available, all of which include running water, electricity, showers, picnic tables, fire rings, Wi-Fi, and a grocery store. When you’re not exploring the limestone hills or relaxing on the gravel beach, tour the old Penn Farm for a history lesson in Texas farming.
If you’re up for a bit of a drive (three hours), add Colorado Bend State Park to your list of must-see attractions. Outdoor adventurers will adore this middle-of-nowhere nature oasis for its rocky terrain, wild caves, and racing river. Pitch your tent along the riverbed, or set up at one of their limited-footprint sites for a true backcountry camping experience (i.e. no water or bathrooms). Just don’t leave without visiting Gorman Falls, a 70-foot spring-fed waterfall that is well worth the three-mile hike.
Make your way up to Pilot Point (about an hour’s drive from Dallas) to sunbathe on the sandy beaches of Ray Roberts Lake State Park. Known for its clear blue waters, swimming is a great option — as is windsurfing, boating, and fishing. If you prefer to stay on dry land, take advantage of the 12 miles of winding trails on horseback, or simply set up camp and roast a couple hot dogs on an open flame. There are plenty of spots to choose from, but we suggest the Isle du Bois Group Walk-In Campsites; the area includes scenic riverfront views, a fire ring with a grill, and bathrooms you can easily walk to.
Come for the tranquility, stay for the amazing wildlife. Lake Bob Sandlin State Park tops our list for the most lively of campsites in Northeast Texas based on the sheer variety of plants and animals you are likely to encounter during your stay. We recommend visiting during the cooler months, when the pine leaves are changing colors and the air is crisp. Oh, and keep your eyes peeled for bald eagles!
When planning a camping trip, you may not imagine it will involve a 25-mile historical train ride through the Piney Woods of East Texas. Yet that’s exactly what you’ll get when you hop aboard the Texas State Railroad. The four-hour round trip begins and ends near the Rusk Depot campground, where a place to rest your head for the night only costs $25 and includes water, electricity, showers, and clubhouse access. What’s not to love?
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