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Camping Guide

Camping Destination-Texas

Texas offers campers a variety of camping opportunities. Texas has a varied landscape and no matter where you travel in Texas, you can always find a great camping spot.

West Texas has both desert and green with many national parks that have campgrounds. North Texas has lush with green and campers will enjoy the many lakes available. South Texas has many national parks with mountains and rivers to explore. East Texas has national forests for camping.

The Texas National Forests are mostly located in East Texas. The Texas National Forests the Angelina, Sabine, Davy Crockett and Sam Houston National forests. These forests make up “Piney Woods” area of East Texas. The forests offer timber, water, forage, wildlife and recreation. Primitive camping is allowed in marked areas. Most camping grounds don’t have water, sewage or RV hook-ups. In some places, motor vehicles are not even allowed. The forests are worth the rustic camping though.

The Guadalupe Mountains are located near El Paso, Texas and Carlsbad, New Mexico. This historical area includes many artifacts from ancient Indian tribes. The park has a mild desert climate suitable for a variety of family and outdoor activities. The mountains offer many hiking and walking trails, camping, backpacking, wildlife viewing and horseback riding trails. You can see an abundance of wildlife such as mule deer, elk, jackrabbits, and occasionally a mountain lion. Javalinas and black bear also live in the Guadalupe Mountains. Bypassers on the road often overlook the park. If you look forward to getting away from the world for a while, the Guadalupe Mountain offer privacy and a rustic feel.

Big Bend National Park includes the Chisos Mountains – just off the “big bend” from the Rio Grande River.

On the Texas and Mexico border, the river unites with the desert, where the water helps to make a spectacular flora and fauna.

The Chisos Mountains and Big Bend National Park can best be explored by hiking or mountain biking. Other activities you can try at Big Bend National Park include river rafting, camping and wildlife watching. The hiking and biking trails make it easy to backpack.

Camp can be set up along the trails and the mountains offer an opportunity for rustic camping.

Looking for a more comfortable stay while in the mountains? The Chisos Mountain Lodge offers a comfortable hotel stay and provides comfortable overnight stays year round. Food services, convenient stores, gift shops and guest services can be found near the trailhead. They offer variety of rooms and cottages for your overnight stay.

RV and campsites are available in the Chisos Mountains and all have well-defined campgrounds.

The mountains have 25 RV hook-ups in the Rio Grand Village Campground with water, sewage and electricity. The campgrounds have water and lighted bathrooms, but don’t have showers.

The Palo Duro Canyon offers more even more camping spots. Palo Duro Canyon for example, is located south of Amarillo, Texas. Accommodations include cabins for rent as well as tent sites. RV sites with electric and water hook-ups that make your Texas camping a little less rough. The park has many public restrooms and some with showers.
All sites have small grills for your use. At the entrance to the canyon, horseback riding is available for guided tours through the canyon. Daily entrance to the Palo Duro Canyon is $4.00 with children 12 and under free. There are many overnight options available from backpacking sites to equestrian sites. Two vintage cabins may be rented for overnight stays as well. Palo Duro Canyon also offers great hiking and biking trails for day use.

Most of the park locations in Texas offer trails and wildlife viewing. The Palo Duro Canyon State Park has an outdoor amphitheater and they have a summer show that is produced annually called “Texas.” The cities nearby the parks are also great for side trips while camping. Not far from the Mexican border, Laredo offers shopping for both American and Mexican goods. Carlsbad, New Mexico has the Carlsbad Caverns that feature family fun all year.

While camping in Texas, you should be prepared for a variety of weather. The weather in Texas is unpredictable and sudden storms can come from nowhere. Rain gear is an essential while in Texas. In the West Texas dessert, you should be prepared for it to get chilly at night. Northern and Eastern Texas, and parts of South Texas can be very humid in the summer months and you will need lots of water during the day. It is best to have extra clothes available for sudden weather changes as well.

Most campgrounds have running water and public restrooms. Many of them will also have small grills, so you may only need to bring charcoal to build a cooking fire. Adequate wood can be hard to find in West Texas and you may have to bring some logs with you. The small sticks and tall grass in West Texas is generally very dry and will help keep your fire going. Be aware that in certain parts of Texas, they have been experiencing severe droughts and enacted fire bans over the summer.

Texas in general offers a variety of options while camping. Most of the Texas lakes offer campgrounds for your fishing trips with nearby marinas and bait shops. The fall and spring provide the best camping weather in Texas, while summers can get hot and humid. It may get cool at night but the days will be great for hiking and wildlife viewing.

Contributed By Valerie Mellema

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