Even though there is no BLM (Bureau of Land Management) campsites or Public Land in Texas for boondocking like New Mexico and Arizona, reason being dates back to history. However, there are a couple of national forest and national monuments now in Texas. Meaning, it is possible to find free camping in Texas, but they are far fewer options than in some states. Also, the free land most RVers go to in Texas are managed by the corps of engineers.
10 Budget Friendly RV Parks in Texas that can Accommodate Big Rigs
1. Colorado Bend State Park
In the rugged Texas hill country, when the Colorado River runs free, lies a park full off wonder and hidden beauty. Colorado bend state park sits two hours away from North of Austin. And worlds away from city life. The park is relatively undeveloped however it is a chance for you to go out there and experience nature, and see what Texas used to look like.
The park starts with a windy 8-mile road, that like every good journey, leads to unexpected discoveries. Gorman falls, spills 65 feet, as pure spring water makes its way to the river, making every visitor a special witness to their splendor. A series of caves, honeycomb the area, waiting to be explored. Through the parks cave tour. The park is a good place for hiking, paddling, swimming, biking, and camping. This park only allows for rigs up to 30′. Click here for more info…
2. Garner State Park
Located in the southern edge of the hill country, the Garner state park is one of the most popular destinations in the state of Texas, and there are lots of reasons why. There is the spring-fed Frio river, there is hiking, there is camping and also, nightly dances.
During the summer the Garner state park is one of the busiest places in Texas. But beyond the summertime crowd, especially during the fall, you can see the if you go up the hills, you can see the complete outline of the Frio river because of the colorful bald cypress trees. And also experience the softer, and quieter side to the park. Click here for more info…
3. Galveston Island State Park
Galveston island park is a popular place to get away from it all. All the nature in the park makes it easy for you to relax. The main attraction at Galveston is the beach. Also, there is the Strand historical district, a county museum, and a lot of historic homes. There is a lot of history in Galveston and people do go there for that.
However, for that peaceful island getaway, Galveston state park is the only natural area left on the island that spans from the Gulf of Mexico to Galveston Bay. Most people that go there want the campsite close to the beach, however, there are campers that come there for the birds and fishing and those stay in the bay side of the park. Click here for more info
4. Pedernales Fall State Park
This park is about 35 miles to the west of Austin, just off of highway 290. What makes this park unique is the clear blue-green water, cascading over the twin falls. This is also the biggest attraction in the park. The water running over the rock is very peaceful and tranquil. Another popular feature is that the park has stations which provide a wide view for bird and wildlife viewing. Pedernales falls features a scenic hill terrain country, perfect for picnicking, swimming, horse riding, biking, camping, and hiking. This Park only has 30amp hookup. Click here for more info…
5 .Tyler State Park
Located in East Texas and right of i-20, the Tyler State Park is about an hour and a half from Dallas, and an hour and a half from Shreveport. Because of it’s proximity to Tyler Shreveport, it has a lot of traffic, and people have to book in advance.
One trademark of the Tyler State Park is it’s mountain biking trails, which people from both far and near come to ride. From grocery stores on the lake to a convince store just outside the park, the Tyler State Park has pretty much all you need. It has a 64-acre dam with extremely clear water, with a ton of aquatic vegetation, and fishing, which can be a place of pleasure for people who love to swim, or fish. For more info click here…
6. Enchanted Rock State Natural Park
Enchanted Rock State Natural Park is not for RVs, but still worth mentioning because of the things to see and do. If your up to roughing it, this is the park for you. A very popular park. The Enchanted Rock State National Park with its massive pink granite namesake is also a favorite of hikers. Campers can also take in the surrounding flora and fauna, and do not forget to head up summit trail for a breathtaking panoramic view of the hill country at the ripe age of a billion years. Enchanted Rock is a perennial destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Click here for more info…
7.Big Bend State Natural Area
I put this in the list because this park has been designated as an International Dark Sky Park , the Ultimate Stargazing Park. Also not for RV’s. It ‘s as secluded and remote as it gets for wilderness in Texas. The Big Bend State Natural area, is the largest of the state parks, as it has something for each and every one. Campers can bike, hike, canoe, and fish, at different settings. However, if activities aren’t your aim, there is also a good old fashion nature viewing to the tune of some 300,000 acres of land. Click here for more info…
8. Palo Duro Canyon State Park.
Located in the Panhandle, this rugged stretch of terrain lies at the northern end of the canyon and features some of the best scenic views in the Lone Star state. The best time to visit it during the summer, where visitors can venture over the pioneer amphitheater and watch a dazzling performance of a musical play, Texas, which is completed with a barbecue dinner. Click here for more info…
9. Fort Anahuac Park
This park has a three-day stay limit, and you would have to register for free at the commissioner’s office which is a mile away from the park. There are a lot of amenities available, such as restrooms, and tons of trash cans. Besides that, the place has a great cellular signal, which makes streaming possible with no interruptions. Anahuac is surrounded by a large lake which makes it the perfect place for those obsessed with kayaking. Click here for more info…
10. Junction City Park
This park is next to a river and a dam, giving you a serene and calm environment. For those of you interested in sports, there is a nice little baseball field, a Frisbee golf, and things of such. There are tons of water spigots to fill up water, across the park, and also there are sites for any size rig, so if you have a class A, a trailer, or any type of rig, you can definitely get a waterfront spot at Junction, Texas. And not forgetting the park has great cell coverage. Click here for more info…
Here are Some Tips If You Are Planning to Camp in Texas.
- When planning your trip through Texas, you need to make reservations even if you plan on going to a commercial RV park.
- You can stay in State parks. There are a lot of state parks in Texas. And even though you will have to pay, it is still an option. The good thing about State parks is that you probably wouldn’t need reservations.
- Another tip for state parks in Texas is that, in addition to the camping fee, you will have to pay a daily entrance fee in addition to your nightly stay fee. However, if you have a state park annual pass, veteran pass or a disabled pass, you are exempted from paying the daily entrance fee.
The annual Texas state park pass can go for $70. This waives the daily pass and you also get a discount on everything you buy at the state park. So, if you’re doing more than 4 or 5 nights in Texas, the state park pass is worth it.
- Another thing you might want to consider is, most of the state parks do not have full hookups. There are a
few of the state parks that do. So, you will have to go to the dumping ground when you need to or when you’re leaving.
- Well, if you do not want to make reservations, and you do not need full hookups, what you can do is to stay at a roadside rest area. But you should note that the State only makes the roadside rest areas available for only one night of staying. However when staying at a roadside area, make sure not to set up your grill, put your slides out and do not leave a mess.
- Finally, there are city and county parks you can camp at. These might be free, on a donation basis, or maybe you might be required to pay a fee of $10-$20 per night, with various degrees of services. This could be an option for you if you need a place to spend the night when driving through Texas.
How Do You Save Money When Camping in Texas?
In the above tips, we mentioned the state park pass, and this is something a lot of people do not know about. If you’re looking to save money when camping in Texas, then this is the most recommended way to save money. If you haven’t heard about all of its benefits, I will give you detailed information about the state park pass.
To begin with, the Texas state park pass is an annual pass you can get at any Texas State Park. You can get one by going to the headquarters and telling them you want to acquire the state park pass. Currently, the price is $70 per year. Some of the benefits of the Texas State Park Pass includes:
- Free entry to every Texas State Park for everybody in your rig. On average, parks charge $5 per person daily, as an entry fee or day-use fee on top of your camping fee. So if you have a family of five and you’re staying in Texas for five days you can do the math. However, the entry fee is free for children under 12.
- You also get 4 discount coupons off of camping. So what happens is, when you renew your annual pass, you get 4 coupons for half-price camping for the second night of your camping trip. So meaning if you camp in four state parks, over the course of the year, you can save 50% on your second night of camping, either a shelter, an RV spot, a tent site, 4 times during the course of the year.
- As a Texas State Park pass holder, you get discounts in the gift shop, and even on equipment rentals. Saving you a lot of money.
One tip you might need when purchasing a Texas membership is that, when you go to the Texas State Park website, and you look at information about the pass, it will tell you that you can order the pass via the phone and it will be mailed to you. If you want to do that, great. However, you should know that the membership of the card begins, immediately when you order or buy the card. So, to get the maximum benefit of the pass, I recommend you buy it when visiting your first state park.
Most people complain about how expensive staying in state parks in Texas is, so I hope to throw more light on the State Park Pass, to help you save some cash.
Another suggestion I will like to make is if you are visiting the National parks, or the U.S forest service parks, you might want to look into their annual pass called an America the Beautiful pass. This is what we have. This also gets you free entry into all the US forest service parks, national parks, and all federal parks across the country.
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