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Hi all. What are your favorite Texas parks and spots? My “druthers” are:

1. Safe, QUIET, must be dawg-friendly

2. Not $50 a night or more than $500 a month

3. 30 AMP, water, sewer (or even NOT if the place meets my other wishlisty “preferences”; because I am interested in some boondocking if there is any Verizon signal?)

4. Not toooo far (20-30 minutes?) from “civilization.” At least food and such. 

Just curious. And I have not been in TX but one time so I assume there are no pine forests or woodsy spots but if there are I’d love to hear of your faves if you care to share!

I have all the apps and a bunch of memberships and can search those, yes. This is about where you guys have personally stayed and loved. I see that TX is a rather large state so this is a crazy question, heh, I know. 

Thanks!

 

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Wooooo....  Texas is a big state. Tip to tip (E-W, W-E)  about 40+ times in the last several decades. Lots of piney woods - if that's your thing, _ East Texas - Lake  of the Pines has few places, All the way down the LA/TX border, just too many to mention. Some cool places around Big Bend. It would be much simpler to know which part of the  Lone star state you will be exploring. Other than a few places in West TX - Verizon is everywhere - can't remember last time I lost a signal - perhaps  - Big Bend I think.

I love the term  civilization - one persons sample is another's desolate wasteland.  

One area I have on my list to explore -NW corner of the panhandle - above Amarillo. And one winter down on the SW coastal areas. 

You asked for specifics I know - One can spend many months there and still have much to explore. 

I once lost a Winnebago MH  in Houston - long story -  but we found it later that night - right where we left it. Ha Ha it involved Rugby and - well 

you can imagine. 

RB

 

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FYI boondocking (and hunting, backpacking and other outdoor activities) is always a whole lot easier when you are located near Federal lands - BLM, Forest Service, BOR, COE, etc etc.. and to a much lesser degree, State lands. Unfortunately that does not include Texas; when it became a state in 1845 the government began selling off almost all of the 200,000,000 acres of public lands to pay for expenses, like a new Capital building. So most of those blank areas on the map, with the exception of designated parks, are privately owned.

https://www.adventure-journal.com/2016/04/texas-as-model-for-public-lands-think-again/

For true boondocking meccas, you need to shift further west and north.

A2B732B7-D99E-447D-870A-A6A33420D07C.thumb.jpeg.3a5d66a6a7a8ea78c3337d173cc3762a.jpeg

1E8DEF03-B31D-41A9-9FBA-6F7819011B7A.thumb.jpeg.9c2bdcb6875cd15315f315db8d5051c4.jpeg

I am not putting Texas down as a destination, but you will have fairly limited camping choices compared to the very red states.

BTW, do you have a Federal Senior (aka Geezer) Pass? I will not ask your age, but if you are 62+, that will save you a TON of money, with free admission to National Parks, and half off camping rates at almost all Federal campgrounds, like the most excellent COE ones. Around here those are typically $18 per night, no hookups, and the rate drops to $9 off season, and you only pay half of that. A great bargain!

https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/passes.htm

John Davies

Spokane WA

 

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Texas is large and diverse.  West Texas has dry arid areas plus mountains - Davis Mountains, Guadalupe Mountains, Franklin Mountains.  Up near Amarillo you have Palo Duro Canyon (second largest in US behind Grand Canyon) and Caprock Canyons.  You have beaches and saltwater coast starting at Houston going across to Corpus Christi and on down to South Padre Island.  Pine woods are in east Texas near Arkansas and Louisiana.  Texas Hill Country is where we live, between San Antonio, Austin and Fredericksburg. 

We’ve stayed mostly in Texas State Parks, probably about 25 so far.  Some have FHU, some W/E and some nothing.  Some are close to civilization and some in the middle of nowhere.  It depends on how you define civilization.  Texas State Parks are reasonable, the highest you’ll pay for a FHU site is $30. We stayed at Franklin Mountain State Park for $7/night (no hookups).  There are a bunch in between.  Caddo Lake State Park in east Texas, near Uncertain, has huge pine trees and lots of water.  Davis Mountain State Park is just north of Big Bend National Park and is near Marfa.  We liked Palo Duro State Park and Caprock Canyon State Park.  It all depends what you are looking for.  There are state parks around Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, El Paso, Amarillo, etc.  

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Mike, how are all those TX state parks in Summer? Booked up, or do they keep some sites available for “walk-ins”? The western WA State parks are hopeless unless you are off-season or have reservations. Eastern WA is bad, but not quite as bad. And they are really expensive.

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35 minutes ago, Mike and Carol said:

Texas is large and diverse.  West Texas has dry arid areas plus mountains - Davis Mountains, Guadalupe Mountains, Franklin Mountains.  Up near Amarillo you have Palo Duro Canyon (second largest in US behind Grand Canyon) and Caprock Canyons.  You have beaches and saltwater coast starting at Houston going across to Corpus Christi and on down to South Padre Island.  Pine woods are in east Texas near Arkansas and Louisiana.  Texas Hill Country is where we live, between San Antonio, Austin and Fredericksburg. 

We’ve stayed mostly in Texas State Parks, probably about 25 so far.  Some have FHU, some W/E and some nothing.  Some are close to civilization and some in the middle of nowhere.  It depends on how you define civilization.  Texas State Parks are reasonable, the highest you’ll pay for a FHU site is $30. We stayed at Franklin Mountain State Park for $7/night (no hookups).  There are a bunch in between.  Caddo Lake State Park in east Texas, near Uncertain, has huge pine trees and lots of water.  Davis Mountain State Park is just north of Big Bend National Park and is near Marfa.  We liked Palo Duro State Park and Caprock Canyon State Park.  It all depends what you are looking for.  There are state parks around Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, El Paso, Amarillo, etc.  

I was in TX once (airbnb) and stayed near Cibolo. My friend said Canyon Lake area is cool. I will look at all the places you mentioned but yeah has to allow dogs and I won’t likely stay in TX in summer (I like colder weather, pines). Cost is a factor. Right now looking for anything w the “wishlist” above in any area really. Thank you! Personal recs mean much more than just blindly checking the apps etc. Availability in Feb Mar April would be good. Not crammed together too much. Not sure yet how much true boondocking I will be doing til I see how things go!

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SherMica, Hope you don't mind me asking questions about camping in some TX State Parks, too.

We're planning to camp in SW Texas during the next month.

Does anyone have additional information on the following Texas State Parks?

Monahans SP TX & Lake Colorado SP TX

Thanks,

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26 minutes ago, rideandfly said:

SherMica, Hope you don't mind me asking questions about camping in some TX State Parks, too.

We're planning to camp in SW Texas during the next month.

Does anyone have additional information on the following Texas State Parks?

Monahans SP TX & Lake Colorado SP TX

Thanks,

Bill, I don't mind AT ALL! I hope you get some good replies, as I am interested in all areas that even sort of meet my main wishlist (must: dog ok) criteria, but also any OTHER TX places that people personally stayed at and loved. I joined the TX State Parks membership thing, on their website, annual pass. Also have a few other memberships. There are so many apps and sites it's unreal. But I wanted to ask Ollie owners in particular (obviously) or I would not have posted here. :-)

Sheri

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1 hour ago, John E Davies said:

FYI boondocking (and hunting, backpacking and other outdoor activities) is always a whole lot easier when you are located near Federal lands - BLM, Forest Service, BOR, COE, etc etc.. and to a much lesser degree, State lands. Unfortunately that does not include Texas; when it became a state in 1845 the government began selling off almost all of the 200,000,000 acres of public lands to pay for expenses, like a new Capital building. So most of those blank areas on the map, with the exception of designated parks, are privately owned.

https://www.adventure-journal.com/2016/04/texas-as-model-for-public-lands-think-again/

For true boondocking meccas, you need to shift further west and north.

A2B732B7-D99E-447D-870A-A6A33420D07C.thumb.jpeg.3a5d66a6a7a8ea78c3337d173cc3762a.jpeg

1E8DEF03-B31D-41A9-9FBA-6F7819011B7A.thumb.jpeg.9c2bdcb6875cd15315f315db8d5051c4.jpeg

I am not putting Texas down as a destination, but you will have fairly limited camping choices compared to the very red states.

BTW, do you have a Federal Senior (aka Geezer) Pass? I will not ask your age, but if you are 62+, that will save you a TON of money, with free admission to National Parks, and half off camping rates at almost all Federal campgrounds, like the most excellent COE ones. Around here those are typically $18 per night, no hookups, and the rate drops to $9 off season, and you only pay half of that. A great bargain!

https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/passes.htm

John Davies

Spokane WA

 

Yes Geezer Passed! Just barely, I will add. Heh. I don't act like a geezer though. Not that anyone asked. This is great info, and I have so much bookmarked and have bought passes and memberships so I can be "prepared." The problem is with everything else I have to do to go FT, I have not had time to read much of anything. This forum is the main place I check. Because, fellow Ollie owners and just a great forum. I am "domiciling" only in TX  (you have to pick a state when you're FT, and tax considerations etc. factored in). Once I know what I'm doing with the trailer/RVing and being FT and have domiciled (that should be done by mid Feb), I will definitely be heading north to check out the types of places you posted about. 

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57 minutes ago, rideandfly said:

SherMica, Hope you don't mind me asking questions about camping in some TX State Parks, too.

We're planning to camp in SW Texas during the next month.

Does anyone have additional information on the following Texas State Parks?

Monahans SP TX & Lake Colorado SP TX

Thanks,

We stayed at Monahans Sand Dunes State Park.  It’s just off the freeway (I-20).  Some of the sites were hard to get into and there is a lot of sand, everywhere!  It was good for an overnight.  We’ve not stayed at Lake Colorado.

31 minutes ago, SherMica said:

I joined the TX State Parks membership thing, on their website, annual pass.

The annual pass is a good idea.

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1 hour ago, John E Davies said:

Mike, how are all those TX state parks in Summer? Booked up, or do they keep some sites available for “walk-ins”? The western WA State parks are hopeless unless you are off-season or have reservations. Eastern WA is bad, but not quite as bad. And they are really expensive.

John Davies

Spokane WA

Normally they are booked on weekends during summer months.  Weekdays are better.  If we’re going to stay over a weekend we make reservations a couple weeks (or more).  If we’re camping just during the week we’ll call a day or two before.  We generally don’t do any long term camping in Texas during the summer.  HOT!  Mike

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That's another concern I have, is things being booked up when I finally do get "time" to research/call and try to reserve something that meets my 'musts' (dog) list - somewhat at least. Gah. Seems the RV world is flooded right now with newbies (raises hand), sales of RVs are skyrocketing, campgrounds are (supposedly) filling up. Read a bit somewhere online about how some of the new people are major jerks, too: littering, and making noise and stuff. No respect for others much less the land, etc. For the record, I am not ONE OF THOSE types at all. I am new to RVing, yes, but always been outdoors-oriented, love to be in woods or hiking or around a campfire. Quietly. Love the night sky.

I don't want to camp in TX during summer either. Nope. So I gotta get up to speed, so to speak, and reserve and plan to be much further north by the time the TX heat happens.  Hope I can find reservations for THAT period of time. That is a big reason I chose an Ollie. Rep says Ollies can handle single digit temps.

Sheri

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I could suggest Johnson Creek on Lake of the Pones in NE Texas.  Lots of green and trees.  The corp of engineers manages several very nice camp grounds around the lake.  Most sites have water front access and are full generally around the big holidays.  They all have boat ramps and beach areas.

I live on the lake just across the bay from the Johnson Creek campsite.  Very beautiful, clean, safe, and low cost.  There are a number of smaller towns near and Longview is about 30 miles away (pop about 80,000).

you should be able to find out much more online.  The lake is about 20 miles long and has a great number of campground sites all managed by the Corp of engineers.

Jefferson is a small town about 12 miles away, it is a real tourist area for weekenders with historic hotels, bed and breakfasts, and saloons.

 

Steve Rangeloff.

Lake of the Pines,  Texas.

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3 hours ago, Mike and Carol said:

We stayed at Monahans Sand Dunes State Park.  It’s just off the freeway (I-20).  Some of the sites were hard to get into and there is a lot of sand, everywhere!  It was good for an overnight.  We’ve not stayed at Lake Colorado.

The annual pass is a good idea.

Mike,

Appreciate info on the park and annual pass.

Bill

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This is reply is not state park related, but if you are not familiar with Texas you should know that we have a chain of gas stations here called Bucees.  IMO they set the benchmark for all other gas stations that I have visited.  You might keep their locations in mind when planning your routes in Texas.

They have started expanding outside of Texas too.

Mike

 

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We haven't camped in Texas in about 15 years, so I have nothing current to add. (Yes, Pete, I  know we're long overdue, and we owe you that stretch of road...)

However, friends who used to camp in Texas told me about the great small town municipal campgrounds where they camped, for tiny fees. Like many Midwest states and the Dakota, lots of small towns build campgrounds to bring people in, and support local businesses.  

Here's one that I remembered reading about, in the Panhandle. (The name makes it obvious why I remember it, and why the song Luckenbach, TX will be playing in my head for days, now.) 

Waylon Jennings campground, Littlefield,  TX. My surprise today--first photo was an Ollie:

 

 

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1 hour ago, mjrendon said:

This is reply is not state park related, but if you are not familiar with Texas you should know that we have a chain of gas stations here called Bucees.  IMO they set the benchmark for all other gas stations that I have visited.  You might keep their locations in mind when planning your routes in Texas.

They have started expanding outside of Texas too.

Mike

 

bucees.jpg

We make it a habit to stop at Buc-ee’s near Luling on I-10 on our way to/from Houston.  We frequently pick up a pound of brisket to munch on while we drive.  They are going to build one here in Boerne on I-10 next year.  

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2 hours ago, Ghostriderc227 said:

I could suggest Johnson Creek on Lake of the Pones in NE Texas.  Lots of green and trees.  The corp of engineers manages several very nice camp grounds around the lake.  Most sites have water front access and are full generally around the big holidays.  They all have boat ramps and beach areas.

Lake of the Pines is nice as is Wright Patman Lake and the COE campgrounds there.  We recently stayed at Clear Spring COE.  Not expensive lots of tall pine trees and not too far from Texarkana.  

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16 hours ago, Ghostriderc227 said:

I could suggest Johnson Creek on Lake of the Pones in NE Texas.  Lots of green and trees.  The corp of engineers manages several very nice camp grounds around the lake.  Most sites have water front access and are full generally around the big holidays.  They all have boat ramps and beach areas.

I live on the lake just across the bay from the Johnson Creek campsite.  Very beautiful, clean, safe, and low cost.  There are a number of smaller towns near and Longview is about 30 miles away (pop about 80,000).

you should be able to find out much more online.  The lake is about 20 miles long and has a great number of campground sites all managed by the Corp of engineers.

Jefferson is a small town about 12 miles away, it is a real tourist area for weekenders with historic hotels, bed and breakfasts, and saloons.

 

Steve Rangeloff.

Lake of the Pines,  Texas.

This sounds wonderful! Thanks Steve!

 

Sheri

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Shermica,

I haven't read all the comments yet so this may have already been mentioned, at Texas State Parks there is a 14 day limit during one stay. Then you will have to move to another park. All the parks are pet friendly and are welcome on trails. However pets are not allowed in any park owned facility such as the headquarters office, cabins, restrooms, etc.

Most parks we've stayed at have a lake or water feature, thus kayaking, fishing, canoeing, swimming, hiking trails, etc. Pretty much every camp site will have a table, fire ring and lantern pole. We've mostly stayed in the north central Texas parks since we can easily do weekend trips there.

East Texas has lots of pine trees and there are some really pretty parks. West Texas has the canyons and mountains. Texas is huge so there is great diversity in the parks available. The website has pretty good descriptions, photos and maps. Most parks have some full hookup sites available.

Cleburne State Park, Meridian State Park, Dinosaur Valley SP, Mineral Wells SP, Lake Whitney SP, Cedar Hill SP are all within 1-1.5 hours from where we live in Cleburne so those are our go to parks. We have also campted at Lake Tawakoni SP, Fairfield SP, Fort Parker SP, Tyler SP, Daingerfield SP, Atlanta SP, Fort Richardson SP, Inks Lake SP, Mother Neff SP over long weekends.

Download the app for the Texas State Park. 

Also, Texas has a lot of Corp of Engineer Parks built on and around lakes. In my opinion most lack in "extras" as far as hiking trails, kayak rentals etc but the parks and sites are nice.

Cindy

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On 1/18/2021 at 1:01 PM, SherMica said:

Bill, I don't mind AT ALL! I hope you get some good replies, as I am interested in all areas that even sort of meet my main wishlist (must: dog ok) criteria, but also any OTHER TX places that people personally stayed at and loved. I joined the TX State Parks membership thing, on their website, annual pass. Also have a few other memberships. There are so many apps and sites it's unreal. But I wanted to ask Ollie owners in particular (obviously) or I would not have posted here. 🙂

Sheri

Sheri,

With a state park pass you also get 1/2 off your second night camping and don’t have to pay the daily entrance fee per person so that will help a little. 
 

Limit one 1/2 price night per reservation. 
 

Cindy 

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16 minutes ago, Time2Go! said:

Shermica,

I haven't read all the comments yet so this may have already been mentioned, at Texas State Parks there is a 14 day limit during one stay. Then you will have to move to another park. All the parks are pet friendly and are welcome on trails. However pets are not allowed in any park owned facility such as the headquarters office, cabins, restrooms, etc.

Most parks we've stayed at have a lake or water feature, thus kayaking, fishing, canoeing, swimming, hiking trails, etc. Pretty much every camp site will have a table, fire ring and lantern pole. We've mostly stayed in the north central Texas parks since we can easily do weekend trips there.

East Texas has lots of pine trees and there are some really pretty parks. West Texas has the canyons and mountains. Texas is huge so there is great diversity in the parks available. The website has pretty good descriptions, photos and maps. Most parks have some full hookup sites available.

Cleburne State Park, Meridian State Park, Dinosaur Valley SP, Mineral Wells SP, Lake Whitney SP, Cedar Hill SP are all within 1-1.5 hours from where we live in Cleburne so those are our go to parks. We have also campted at Lake Tawakoni SP, Fairfield SP, Fort Parker SP, Tyler SP, Daingerfield SP, Atlanta SP, Fort Richardson SP, Inks Lake SP, Mother Neff SP over long weekends.

Download the app for the Texas State Park. 

Also, Texas has a lot of Corp of Engineer Parks built on and around lakes. In my opinion most lack in "extras" as far as hiking trails, kayak rentals etc but the parks and sites are nice.

Cindy

Cindy I like mountains too (I mean in addition to pines) so I will def check out West Texas. Thanks!

sheri

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Shemrica,

Just spent a the last few weeks travel NW to East through Texas.  State Park system in Texas it terrific and I did purchase the Annual Pass at $70. You have to decided if its right for yourself...  I used it not only for the camping discounts but no charge day passes for hiking.  Capitol Rock great hiking and buffalo, Copper Breaks good hiking trails west of Dallas but both many not qualify for your distance to civilization. Ray Roberts north of Denton water front sites and Stephen F Austin Park west of Houston nature trails and new bathroom / shower facilities both close to civilization.  I am take note of fore mentioned park for my return trip.

Harvest Host also has some excellent options for over nights stops...  stayed at an Alpaca Farm, Wine/Honey Farm, couple of breweries and museums...  Tonight Lone Star Flight Museum for second stop with Tomorrow a Day at Houston Space Center.  

Availability gets tough on weekends at both Private and Public locations if last minute but there are lots of Cracker Barrel’s which make a better choice than Walmart for an over night.

I have enjoyed Texas it is an awesome and diverse state.

Enjoy!

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19 hours ago, ktmacgoo said:

Shemrica,

Just spent a the last few weeks travel NW to East through Texas.  State Park system in Texas it terrific and I did purchase the Annual Pass at $70. You have to decided if its right for yourself...  I used it not only for the camping discounts but no charge day passes for hiking.  Capitol Rock great hiking and buffalo, Copper Breaks good hiking trails west of Dallas but both many not qualify for your distance to civilization. Ray Roberts north of Denton water front sites and Stephen F Austin Park west of Houston nature trails and new bathroom / shower facilities both close to civilization.  I am take note of fore mentioned park for my return trip.

Harvest Host also has some excellent options for over nights stops...  stayed at an Alpaca Farm, Wine/Honey Farm, couple of breweries and museums...  Tonight Lone Star Flight Museum for second stop with Tomorrow a Day at Houston Space Center.  

Availability gets tough on weekends at both Private and Public locations if last minute but there are lots of Cracker Barrel’s which make a better choice than Walmart for an over night.

I have enjoyed Texas it is an awesome and diverse state.

Enjoy!

Thank you! I have ann pass too. Just need to make reservations at SPs *now* I guess. Move from sp to sp til I l know what I am doing!

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I’ll be picking up my Ollie on 3 Feb and staying a couple nights at Caddo Lake State Park in NE Texas on my way home.  I haven’t been camping there before so we’ll see how that goes.  I’ve been wanting to check that state park out for years so now’s my chance.  There are some National Forest Service campgrounds near where I live on Toledo Bend Lake but the amenities are very limited, i.e. no bathhouses, no electricity, no dump stations.  Of course you’d usually have the campground to yourself and lots of shade from the pines and a beautiful lake view and only 2 bucks a night with the geezer pass!

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