It’s summer time, and you can hear the call of the wild beckoning you and your family to come on out and play for awhile. Now, your idea of playing might not be wrestling bears or sleeping in a field of cow patties. Leave that to the old cowboys and buckaroos! Here’s a list of the 10 best camping spots in Texas that ought to whet your appetite for sleeping (safely) in the great outdoors!

1. Padre Island National Seashore

Campers are welcome year round at various campgrounds along the shore. Malaquite Campground has an astonishing view of the Gulf of Mexico, and is located just a half mile north of the Corpus Christi Visitor Center. Campers can set up right on the beach or at the campsite at one of 48 semi-primitive designated sites. Bird Island Basin campsite is located just a skip and a jump away from the Laguna Madre boat ramp. Your family will be thrilled to go birding or fishing, boating, kayaking or windsurfing there. North Beach has primitive tent and RV camping on the northernmost section of the National Seashore. Campfires are allowed only in fully contained barbecue grills or in pits dug in the ground, unless a fire ban is in effect. South Beach runs from the south end of Closed Beach up to the Mansfield Channel. Tent and RV camping only. All driving is on the beach since there’s no paved roads.

2. Caprock Canyons State Park

Located next to Palo Duro, this park is famous for its abundance of wildlife and its fantastic hiking. Watch the State of Texas’s magnificent Official Bison Herd roam over 10,000 acres. Campsites for people only and equestrian campsites are available, as well as walk-in tent camping and campsites with water and electricity.

3. Big Thicket National Preserve

Located in Kountze, TX, campers can enjoy over 100,000 acres of bird flyways, 40 miles of hiking trails, and various boating areas, like the 5 mile Cooks Lake Paddling Trail and the 21 mile long Village Creek Paddling Trail. Primitive camping is permitted in many areas.

4. Big Bend National Park

Big Bend is God’s country, located in far West Texas, and offers the best primitive and roadside camping in Texas. Search for fossilized dinosaur bones, and get up close and personal to 4000 species of insects and animals! Camp at the Chisos Basin, surrounded on all sides by picturesque rocky cliffs. Nearby is Terlingua Ghost Town, once a mining town that has become a mecca for tourists.

5. Colorado Bend State Park

Located an hour and a half west of Austin, adventurous campers can experience miles of swimming holes and wild cave tours that include rappelling! Home of Gorman Falls, a 65 foot waterfall that is arguably one of the prettiest falls in the US.

6. Canyon Lake, Texas.

There’s an award-winning campground called Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Hill Country, located half a mile from the Guadalupe River and 2 miles from Canyon Lake in New Braunfels, TX. Experience 28 acres of family-style fun, including laser tag, pools, a jumping pillow, and much more.

7. Enchanted Rock Natural Area –

Discover one of the largest natural rock formations in the US at this park located just north of Fredericksburg in the Hill Country. Its dome rises 425 feet into the air! Hiking is the big activity here, followed closely by rock climbing and bird watching. Night hikes and stargazing tours are also popular. Tent camping only, with restrooms with showers, fire rings, pavilions and grills available.

8. McKinney Falls State Park —

Only 10 miles away from Austin, it has 81 campsites available. Some sites have water, and 6 updated cabins are reserved for $86 a night. Hike or bike to “Old Baldy”, a 103 feet tall bald cypress tree which is estimated to be over 500 years old. Fishing, swimming, picnicking and wildlife observation are also popular.

9. Arkansas Bend State Park —

Located 38 miles from Austin, this 323 acre park on the north shore of Lake Travis offers primitive camping with restrooms available. Two beautiful miles of shoreline are perfect for camping, hiking, fishing and lake access.

10. Guadalupe River State Park — 

81 miles out of Austin, this is a perennial favorite for river tubing. It boasts 4 miles of river frontage and is ideal for tubing, swimming, picnicking, hiking, fishing, and canoeing. Don’t miss the Honey Creek State Natural Area, with its 2 mile walk through a beautiful mostly untouched wilderness.

With these 10 great camping sites, your summer will be full of adventures all around Texas. Make sure to take it all in!

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