Dallas, Texas is a big city, and there are times you simply need to get away from city life. The good news is, the peace of mind only camping can give is closer than you think. Camping reconnects you with your spirit, and it also can reconnect you with your family.
There are many state parks around the Dallas/Fort Worth area, but let’s take a look at eight of the best for RV camping.
Lake Mineral Wells State Park
Just about an hour west of Dallas, this magnificent state park has a beautiful 640-acre lake for fishing, boating, and swimming. If you don’t have your own boat you can rent one at the marina. The expansive lake is full of sunfish, crappie, catfish, sunfish, and largemouth bass, and you don’t need a fishing license. The park will even loan you fishing equipment.
There are also miles of trails for biking, hiking, and horseback riding. There are trails for every fitness level, from easy to challenging. Hiking, biking, or riding the trails is the perfect way to enjoy the green meadows and forests, and see some of the plentiful wildlife that lives in this beautiful corner of Texas.
Lake Mineral Wells State Park has more than 100 campsites, some with 30-amp and 50-amp service. You’ll need to reserve an RV site, but the primitive camping sites are first-come, first-serve. Camping fees range from $10 to $36 per night.
Dinosaur Valley State Park
Eighty miles west of Dallas is a state park encompassing more than 1,524-acres and renowned for its dinosaur tracks. Be sure to download one of the park’s fossil maps before you head out to help you find the best dinosaur tracks.
However, there is much more to do in Dinosaur Valley besides hunt for dinosaur tracks; the park has many miles of incredible nature trails perfect for hiking and biking. Your horse is also welcome at the 100-acre South Primitive Area. The rocky Paluxy River runs through this wooded area, and while potable water is not available, your horse is free to drink from the river. You are also free to swim and fish in the lovely, lazy Paluxy River.
Best of all, you can camp at any one of the park’s 60 sites. Camping fees range from $15 for a primitive site to $25 a night for an RV site with water and 30-amp electric service.
Lake Whitney State Park
Seventy-five miles south of Dallas, you’ll find pretty Lake Whitney State Park. Nestled in the Brazos River Valley, the park is steeped in natural beauty and rich in wildlife.
Lake Whitney spans 237 square miles and has more than 225 miles of shoreline. It’s a great place to go boating, fishing and swimming. The lake is jumping with largemouth and striped bass, as well as big, blue catfish. You don’t even need a fishing license and the park will even loan you fishing equipment.
You can also explore mile and miles of hiking and biking trails, and of course, go camping. This fabulous state park has more than 140 campsites that offer water only, electric-only, and full hookups. There are also restrooms with showers, making even a primitive camping trip here enjoyable. Camping fees range from $14 to $24 per night, making this a very affordable weekend get-away.
Cedar Hill State Park
Cedar Hill is just 10-miles southwest of Dallas; this impressive state park spans 1,826 acres, surrounding the 7,500-acre Joe Pool Lake. The park is home to native, endangered tallgrass prairie, and portions of a limestone escarpment that runs from Mexico to Kansas.
In the wooded hillsides, you’ll discover more than 200 different bird species, as well as all kinds of native animals. The massive lake is open for boating and fishing, and you’re very likely to catch a variety of crappie, bass, and catfish.
You can also immerse yourself in the pioneer life of Texas, at the Penn Farm Agricultural History Center. Here you’ll find historic and reconstructed farm buildings dating from the mid-1800s through the mid-1900s.
You can spend plenty of time at Cedar Hill State Park at any one of the 380 primitive, full hookup and electric-only campsites. The campgrounds all have restrooms and water spigots nearby. Be sure to make reservations for the RV sites, they book up fast. Campsites range from $25 to $30 per night.
Eisenhower State Park
Just an hour north of Dallas, Eisenhower State Park along the rocky shores of Lake Texoma offers visitors all kinds of outdoor activity. You can explore the trails running along the high, rocky cliffs overlooking the lake or enjoy the lake’s sandy swimming cove.
This 463-acre state park features two fishing piers, including one lighted pier for fishing at night. You don’t need a fishing license here, and the park will even loan you fishing gear. You can also rent a boat and grab a few snacks at the marina.
Bring along your side-by-side, ATV or dirt bike, and enjoy riding along the OHV trails through the park’s backcountry woodlands.
Be sure to make a reservation for one of the 150 campsites. There are water spigots and restrooms throughout the campground, and around 100 RV campsites have electricity. Camping fees range from $12 for overflow dry camping to $23 per night for full hookup RV sites.
Fairfield Lake State Park
Drive around 100 miles south of Dallas to enjoy a weekend at the remote 2,400-acre Fairfield Lake and State Park. There’s a lot to do here, and of course, fishing and boating take center stage. If you don’t have your own boat, you can rent a kayak at the marina. When it comes to fishing, the lake is swimming with catfish, bass, and perch.
Bring your horse and enjoy riding the park’s 15 miles of equestrian trails; you can also camp out with your horse at the Big Brown Primitive Camping Trail.
There are more than 18-miles of hiking and biking trails and even a playground for the kids. Best of all, there are 126 campsites for RVs. There are restrooms with showers nearby and 93 campsites have 30-amp electricity. RV sites range from just $15 to $20 per night.
Colorado Bend State Park
Drive 185-miles south of Dallas to find an unspoiled wilderness along the Colorado River. This is where you want to go to really escape city life. Take the challenging 3-mile hike to the thundering Gorman Falls, take a cool dip in Spicewood Springs, take the guided tour of Wild Caves, or simply swim and fish in the Colorado River.
All of the camping at Colorado Bend State Park is primitive, but there are 15 drive-up sites that can handle self-contained RVs up to 30’ in length. There is no dump station and no hookups, but freshwater and restrooms are available. Best of all, these campsites are less than 100-yards from the river.
Cleburne State Park
Just over 30 miles southwest of Dallas you’ll find the secluded, 528-acre Cleburne State Park. It’s a pretty patch of pure natural beauty. The centerpiece of Cleburne State Park is the spring-fed 116-acre Cedar Lake, where you can swim, fish, or kayak. If you don’t have a kayak you can rent one at the from the self-service kiosk to paddle the clear, cool blue water.
The land around the lake is heavily forested with fragrant cedar, mesquite, oak, and many more varieties. The park is rich in wildlife, including coyote, deer, bobcat, and the state’s iconic armadillo. Cleburne is a great place to hike and bike, and there are trails for every level, from easy to strenuous. The ground here is quite rocky, so be sure to wear your hiking boots.
There are 58 campsites, including full hookup RV sites with 20, 30 and 50-amp electric. Camping fees range from $16 to $30 per night.