6 Texas State Parks With Spectacular Outdoor Recreation & Camping

When it’s about camping and outdoor recreation, nothing can beat Texas. It is so diverse that it would be hard for any other state to compete with it in any aspect. Camping in Texas has something for every camper. You just name it, and you’ll find it here.

More than 20 million visitors enter Texas state parks each year. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department operates more than 140 state parks.

There are many spectacular state parks in Texas to camp in your RV. One just can’t fully experience Texas without camping in an RV.

Following are five Texas State Parks with spectacular outdoor recreation and camping.

Goose Island State Park

Goose Island State Park is popular with Winter Texans during winter months, birders during spring and fall migration, and campers year-round. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Goose Island State Park is popular with Winter Texans during winter months, birders during spring and fall migration, and campers year-round. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Lapping water and Gulf breezes: We must be on the coast! Bounded by the waters of the St. Charles, Copano, and Aransas bays, 314-acre Goose Island State Park is a coastal delight.

Goose Island State Park is best known for two celebrated residents, one of which is the Big Tree—an enormous 1000 year old coastal live oak that has survived prairie fires, Civil War battles, and hurricanes. The other resident is the rare endangered whooping crane that returns to the area every winter.

Things to do at Goose Island State Park include:

  • Camping (101 sites with electricity and water)
  • Birding
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Hiking
  • Picnicking
  • Geocaching
  • Wildlife observation

Goliad State Park

The Goliad Massacre occurred at Presidio La Bahia where Colonel Fannin and 341 other Texian men were executed within and surrounding the fort’s walls. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Goliad Massacre occurred at Presidio La Bahia where Colonel Fannin and 341 other Texian men were executed within and surrounding the fort’s walls. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The major historical sites in Goliad make this town worth remembering and well worth visiting. Start at Presidio La Bahia, a Spanish fort that became the location of the Goliad Massacre when Colonel Fannin and 341 other Texian men were executed within and surrounding the fort’s walls. While in the area, also check out the Zaragoza House which was the birthplace of the Mexican hero of Cinco de Mayo.

Goliad State Park is located on the San Antonio River. The park offers a floating dock and river access for kayaks and canoes, and is a take-out point for the Goliad Paddling Trail, a 6.6 mile stretch of the San Antonio River.

Things to do at Goliad State Park include:

  • Camping (20 sites with 50-amp electricity, water, and sewer; 14 sites with electricity and water)
  • Historical study
  • Hiking
  • Canoeing and kayaking
  • Bird-watching
  • Fishing
  • Picnicking

Galveston Island State Park

Located on the west end of Galveston Island, Galveston Island State Park now offers RV and tent camping with water and 30/50-amp electric service. Photo above pictures a campground on the beach side. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Located on the west end of Galveston Island, Galveston Island State Park now offers RV and tent camping with water and 30/50-amp electric service. Photo above pictures a campground on the beach side. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Come to the island to stroll the beach or splash in the waves. Or come to the island to go fishing or look for coastal birds. No matter what brings you here, you’ll find a refuge at Galveston Island State Park. Just an hour from Houston, but an island apart!

With both beach and bay sides, Galveston Island State Park offers activities for every coast lover.

Things to do at Galveston Island State Park include:

  • Camping (56 sites with 50/30 amp electricity and water)
  • Swimming
  • Fishing
  • Bird watching
  • Hiking
  • Mountain biking
  • Geocaching
  • Relaxing

Blanco State Park

Pecan, common bald cypress, sycamore, cottonwood, box-elder maple, and other trees growing along the edge of Blanco and in the campground provide shade and a comforting presence for families who rest, play, barbecue, hike, and camp within the park’s compact 105 acres. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Pecan, common bald cypress, sycamore, cottonwood, box-elder maple, and other trees growing along the edge of Blanco and in the campground provide shade and a comforting presence for families who rest, play, barbecue, hike, and camp within the park’s compact 105 acres. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Despite its small size, Blanco State Park a one-mile stretch of the spring-fed Blanco River. The river’s name comes from its white limestone ledges and river bottom.

Things to do at Blanco State Park include:

  • Camping (8 sites with 50/30-amp electricity, water, and sewer; 9 sites with 30-amp electricity, water, and sewer; 12 sites with 30-amp electricity and water)
  • Swimming
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Boating
  • Picnicking

Monahans Sandhills State Park

Once inside the state park, rent a sand saucer and head to the back of the park (1.8 miles from the visitor center) where you’ll find huge 30-foot-tall sand dunes reminiscent of the Sahara Desert. Your youngsters will have a blast surfing the big dunes and climbing the sand hills. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Once inside the state park, rent a sand saucer and head to the back of the park (1.8 miles from the visitor center) where you’ll find huge 30-foot-tall sand dunes reminiscent of the Sahara Desert. Your youngsters will have a blast surfing the big dunes and climbing the sand hills. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Monahans Sandhills State Park is a small portion of a dune field that extends about 200 miles from south of Monahans westward and north into New Mexico. Most of these dunes are stabilized by vegetation, but the park is one area where many dunes are still active. Active dunes grow and change shape in response to seasonal, prevailing winds.

Shin oak is one of the plants that stabilize the dunes. When fully mature it usually stands less than 4 feet tall and bears an abundance of large acorns.

Things to do at Monahans Sandhills State Park include:

  • Camping (26 sites with electricity and water; 8 basic equestrian )
  • Sand surfing
  • Hiking
  • Horseback riding
  • Wildlife watching
  • Nature study

Balmorhea State Park

San Solomon Springs is home to varied species of waterfowl and two thumb-size species of endangered fish: the Comanche Springs pupfish and the Pecos gambusia. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

San Solomon Springs is home to varied species of waterfowl and two thumb-size species of endangered fish: the Comanche Springs pupfish and the Pecos gambusia. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Dive into the crystal-clear water of the world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool. Swim, scuba dive, or just relax under the trees at this historic park in arid West Texas.

The largest in a series of interconnected springs in the Balmorhea area, the San Solomon Springs currently flows at a rate of about 15 million gallons per day. It could fill over 300,000 bathtubs! The water is the same temperature as the rocks through which it moves—between 72 and 76 F year-round.

Things to do at Balmorhea State Park include:

  • Camping (11 sites with electricity, water, and cable TV; 16 sites with electricity and water; 6 sites with water)
  • Swimming
  • Scuba diving
  • Nature study
  • Geocaching
  • Bird watching

Texas Spoken Friendly

Worth Pondering…

No matter how far we may wander, Texas lingers with us, coloring our perceptions of the world.

—Elmer Kelton

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