North Texas might not be at the top of the list for avid campers, but we still have our fair share of great places for roaring campfires and sleeping under the stars. September through November is prime camping season in our state, so now is the time to plan your road trips and buy your supplies.
Need some help planning your next camping trip? Here are seven destinations that will make you feel like you've really taken a step out into nature. The best part? They're all under five hours away from the DFW area.
Caprock Canyons State Park & Trailway
If you're looking for s'mores and campfires, this remote Texas state park isn't the place to go this fall due to their current burn ban. However, don't let the dry conditions steer you away completely. Caprock is home to the state's one and only bison heard, which you're almost certain to spot while camping or hiking. Plus, it's only a short drive from Palo Duro Canyon, the "Grand Canyon of Texas."
You can reserve your campsite (primitive or with electricity/water) by calling 512-389-8900 or by booking online.
Dinosaur Valley State Park
Located just under two hours away from Dallas is a real gem for families with small children. Dinosaur State Park gives you a close-up view of real dinosaur tracks, as well as a forest of beautiful maple and oak trees to camp near. Hiking trails are open year-round, but you might want to make sure the weather looks good before heading to the park because mud and rain can make them inaccessible.
Reserve your campsite (primitive or with electricity/water) in advance by calling 1-800-792-1112 or by booking online.
Colorado Bend State Park
Did you know there's a 70-foot spring-fed waterfall a little over three hours from DFW? Gorman Falls is the biggest waterfall in the state, which makes Colorado Bend a wonderful destination for adventurous campers. Plus, there are guided tours through caverns, Junior Ranger programs and a variety of hiking and biking trails to explore. Keep in mind that there is a burn ban in effect right now, which means no campfires.
Book your campsite (primitive or with water) now by calling 512-628-3240 or by booking online.
Caddo Lake State Park
Described as an East Texas Treasure, Caddo Lake offers a camping experience unlike any other in the state. Kayak through bald cypress trees draped with Spanish moss and fish for a variety of species. While camping at night, you might even glimpse Bigfoot who is rumored to roam the lands. Even if you don't spot a mythical creature, you'll probably see alligators, racoons and other fun wildlife. Like many of the other parks, Caddo Lake is facing a burn ban right now, but hopefully it will be lifted soon.
To save your campsite for this fall (primitive or with water/electricity), call 903-679-3351 or book online.
Robbers Cave State Park
This park is technically in Oklahoma, but that doesn't stop North Texans from crossing the state border every now and then. Fall is the perfect time to go if you want to see the mountainous landscape full of autumn colors, so plan to explore the hiking trails and stay the night sometime in late October or early November.
Reserve your campsite by calling 918-465-2562 or book a site online.
Inks Lake State Park
Campsites can be difficult to come by at Inks Lake if you don't plan in advance, so if your dream is to explore the sparkling blue water and colorful surroundings at the Hill Country park, you'll need to book a site now. Summertime provides excellent swimming and kayaking opportunities, but fall allows you to explore the park's trails without sweating too much. There are more than nine miles of hikable trails, so plan a whole weekend at this getaway destination.
Call 512-389-8900 to learn about their campsites or book one online today.
Eisenhower State Park
Personally, I think Eisenhower is an especially underrated park. There are swimming spots, excellent fishing opportunities, fossils, winding hiking trails and so many other activities to enjoy. Plus, its lack of popularity means there's usually an open campsite ready for an unexpected adventure. It'll only take you about an hour and a half to get the Eisenhower from Dallas, so bring the whole family and spend an evening roasting marshmallows and listening to nature.
Dial 903-465-1956 to learn about the park's different campsites or book one online today.
Bastrop State Park
Ever heard of Bastrop State Park? Probably not since the park has experienced closures due to forest fires and floods over the past years. However, the park is now open for business and ready to host campers all year long. Stay at a nice campsite and spend your autumn weekend strolling through tall pines or biking the scenic road between Bastrop and Buescher state park. There are also fishing and volunteer opportunities.
Call 512-321-2101 to learn about Bastrop's different campsites or book one online today.
Where do you and your family like to camp? Leave other suggestions for adventurers in the comments below!