This post was most recently updated on June 22nd, 2021
There’s no family activity better than camping. You’re spending quality time in nature with your kids, exploring the surroundings and soaking in the sun and fresh air, away from computer screens and city bustle. The best places for family camping help your family unwind and reconnect.
Fortunately, Texas has a variety of campgrounds suitable for this occasion. There are National Parks, LCRA (Lower Colorado River Authority) parks, private parks, and many more options. However, State Parks are especially great for families with children as they have Junior Ranger programs. These programs offer explorer packs to the youngest and activities to make their camping trip a true adventure.
So go through your family camping checklist, pack up, and explore one of the best family camping spots in Texas.
Garner State Park
Arguably the most beloved family spot in the whole of Texas, Garner State Park gathers hosts of visitors, both for picnics and overnight stays. Its scenic nature and the clear Frio river offer opportunities for rest and relaxation.
However, there’s also plenty to do here for an active holiday. You can swim, geocache, ride a bike, hike, play mini-golf, and much more. You can also rent a variety of outdoor gear and a cabin or a screened shelter for an overnight stay. During the summer, the park gathers a variety of visitors for evenings of family-friendly dance under the stars.
Big Bend Ranch State Park
If you really want to connect with your family surrounded by the peace and quiet of relatively untouched nature, Big Bend Ranch State Park is the place to be. This is the best spot to unplug, reset, and be humbled by the nature around you.
Big Bend is the largest Texas State Park, so there’s plenty to do and explore here. It’s an International Dark Sky Park, which means the night skies are breathtaking and ideal for stargazing. You can enjoy all the usual outdoor activities and even go primitive camping if you want a more rugged experience.
Ratcliff Lake Recreation Area
Ratcliff Lake Recreation Area is located within the Davy Crockett National Forest. It sits on a beautiful, serene lake that used to be a log pond. The park features a large campground with all the amenities and even a reservable amphitheater.
You’ll enjoy fishing or swimming surrounded by tall pines and other hardwoods. Camping is available throughout the year, and it’s a great spot for camping in the summer since the trees form a lovely shade. The kids will enjoy exploring nature and playing in the designated kids’ playground.
Dinosaur Valley State Park
All children go through “the dinosaur phase,” and we can’t blame them because these prehistoric creatures are cool! If your kids are going through this phase now, then it’s the right time to visit the Dinosaur Valley State Park. The children will love literally walking in the old giants’ footsteps.
Apart from exploring fossilized dinosaur tracks, there’s plenty of other activities to enjoy with your family. You can swim in the river, bike, paddle, geocache, and more. Your family may also enjoy guided tours, such as wrangler-assisted kid-friendly trail rides.
Shaffer Bend Recreation Area
If you’re looking for a beautiful lakeside spot that isn’t too crowded, look no further than LCRA Shaffer Bend Recreation Area in Marble Falls. This place is a hidden gem your family will enjoy greatly and gladly come back to year after year.
The area has numerous designated campsites with all the amenities you may need. Most activities are water-based, including swimming in the crystal clear lake, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, etc. But you can also hike, bike, or simply enjoy a picnic. If your kids are animal lovers, they will be able to observe plenty of wildlife here, including deer, frogs, and many kinds of birds.
The Lost Lagoon
This El Campo-based gem is an RV campground that features the biggest RV resort swimming pool in the world! The Lost Lagoon is a water park all family members can enjoy, with waterslides and swim-up bars, rope swings and a jacuzzi.
The Lagoon is an absolute children’s paradise. There’s a kiddie lagoon for smaller kids and the magnificent wibit watercourse, i.e., an inflatable obstacle course. While you chill by the pool and chit-chat with other adults, your kids will have a blast and meet a ton of new friends here.
Canyon of the Eagles
This nature park and resort on Lake Buchanan is a true family paradise. It’s a bit on the pricey side, but it’s absolutely worth every penny. Canyon of the Eagles boasts breathtaking scenery and plenty of wildlife to observe. There are guided educational tours and plenty of activities to do here.
The light pollution is extremely low here, and the starry night presents a magical picture. You’ll love the view from the Eagle Eye Observatory. During the day, you can hike, kayak, go on a cruise, and much more. Friday nights are reserved for watching movies under the stars (all movies are family-friendly).
Meridian State Park
This small park at the top of the Hill Country is a serene place where you can enjoy a peaceful family weekend. Meridian State Park offers all camping styles, from primitive to RV hookups and cabins. It features the magnificent Bosque Hiking Trail taking you past limestone outcroppings and gorgeous views. This is yet another place where you can stumble on dinosaur tracks in the limestone.
You can also enjoy water-based activities on Lake Meridian, including swimming, fishing, and paddling. The place is great for birdwatching, and you may even be lucky enough to spot a golden-cheeked warbler (an endangered species).
Pick a spot and enjoy your family camping adventure
Family camping is a lot of fun! Hopefully, some of the places I have mentioned have caught your eye. As you can see, there are many options for different kinds of fun and adventures, and the ones I have listed are just the crème de la crème of Texan camping spots for families.
So no matter whether you’d like a quiet weekend of relaxation with your family or a more active camping trip, you won’t be disappointed if you visit one of the best places for family camping in Texas!
I’m Rebecca, a translator, avid traveler, and bookworm. My job has given me the amazing opportunity to travel to dozens of countries around the world, and writing on Rough Draft gives me a chance to try to showcase some of them.