It’s Fall and there doesn’t get to be a better time to go camping in Texas! Cool mornings and comfortable afternoons lead into chilly evenings gathered around a campfire roasting smores. Dust off your hiking shoes and pull those sleeping bags out of storage, because I have 17 of the most amazing Fall camping sites in Texas!
1. Lost Maples State Natural Area, Vanderpool During the Fall, cars line up to drive through the beautiful scenery of changing colors, but the best way to experience these Big-Toothed Maples and the surrounding foliage is on one of the hikes in the park. The park offers over 10 miles of trails, including a beautiful view of the cliffs of the Sabinal River! They offer 30 camping sites with electricity and 50 hike in camping sites for those more adventurous! Camping sites fill up quickly in the Fall, so make reservations early.
2. Franklin Mountains State Park, El Paso I love the desert in the Fall! The monsoon season runs from late August – October but often goes on into November, and there is nothing like the smell of the desert after a rain! Franklin Mountains offers over 100 miles of hiking trails, just minutes from Downtown El Paso. Camping is primitive, with only a handful of drive up sites, but well worth the effort.
3. Daingerfield State Park, Daingerfield Texas puts on her best for Fall in East Texas, when the changing leaves shine against the backdrop of evergreen pines! This State Park offers great camping sites and even a few cabins set around a peaceful lake with a beautiful 3-mile hike that circles the lake, perfect for a morning walk! The camp store rents canoes and kayaks for fishing or just exploring the lake!
4. Big Bend National Park Visitors to Big Bend National Park will find some of the most beautiful views in the state here! Late fall is the best time to visit the park, when the cooler weather is perfect for enjoying the park’s many hiking trails, as well as rafting on the Rio Grande through the canyon! The park is huge, with destinations often 100 miles apart! Campground camping is offered in 3 campgrounds, as well as cabins and a lodge. Reservations for the cabins are hard to get, but worth it!
5. Brazos Bend State Park The cooler and drier fall climate is often the best time to visit Brazos Bend State Park, when you can enjoy a hike around the park’s incredible lakes that are the home of the most famous of the park’s residents, the American Alligator! The park offers numerous campsites for both tent and RV camping, as well as primitive cabins and screened shelters.
6. Palo Duro Canyon, Canyon The 2nd largest canyon in the U.S., Palo Duro Canyon offers incredible camping along the rim and deep in the canyon! The incredible hiking trails in the park are popular year round, but especially in the Fall!
7. Jellystone Parks. Kerrville, Burleson, Canyon Lake, Fredericksburg, Waller and Tyler These fun parks offers great themed weekends during the Fall, and offer activities all day long for campers! Visitors can choose from tent and RV camping to cabins.
8. Tyler State Park, Tyler Another great East Texas State Park, you can enjoy shaded campsites overlooking a quiet lake, canoe and kayak rentals, and several great hiking trails! This is the perfect park to practice your hammock resting skills. The park offers tent and RV camping, primitive screen shelters and cabins.
9. Caprock Canyons State Park, Quitaque For the more adventurous, this Texas High Plains Park offers amazing scenery, incredible hiking trails and a chance to observe free-roaming American Bison and prairie dog towns! Campsites include RV and tent camping sites, plus some primitive hike-in sites and one cabin.
10. Fort Griffin State Historic Site, Albany Several different things draw people to this park in Texas’ Big Empty; the incredible dark skies offer amazing stargazing, especially during the Fall’s 3 major meteor showers, the Historic ruins of the Fort and the official Texas Longhorn herd. Campers can reserve RV and tent campsites, and they offer various programs in the Fall, including a Living History weekend. Situated on the Brazos River, there is fishing and canoes for rent.
11. Lake Somerville State Park, Somerville You’ll find fun for the entire family at this state park, located between Houston and Austin, minutes from both College Station and Brenham!
12. Kerrville-Schreiner Park, Kerrville Get ready to fall in love with this unique city park on the Guadalupe River! The park offers RV, tent, cabins and a Ranch House camping, with lots of great activities such as fishing, 10+ miles of hike and bike trails, kayak launch and kayak rentals from Memorial Day – Columbus Day, river access and much, much more!
13. Guadalupe Mountains National Park I love our National Parks, and the Guadalupe Mountains National Park offers incredible hikes, including the climb to Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas! Backpacking and primitive campsites offer a chance to preserve the beauty of the park, while still enjoying it! The Fall colors are a large draw during the season.
14. Mustang Island State Park, Port Aransas Is there ever a bad time to visit this incredible coastal state park? I think I enjoy Fall because the crowds are fewer, the water is a little cooler, there’s great fishing and things to explore in the park, especially on the bay side, and a dryer Fall season means fewer mosquitos! Camp in a designated campsite or on the beach, and build a big fire, which is really nice in the cooler months.
15. Caddo Lake State Park, Karnack Fall is definitely the BEST time to visit this East Texas lake, when the moss hung trees shadow the lillypads and quiet waters. The haunting stories of the season are a little easier to remember and repeat as you sit around a campfire in the evening.
16. Hueco Tanks State Park, El Paso It’s hard to explain the beauty and mystery of these rock outcroppings to someone who hasn’t been, but Hueco Tanks may be one of the most unique geological formations in the state! A world destination for bouldering and birders, access to the park is limited so make your reservations in advance. The Indian Art Guided Hike to see the pictographs and petroglyphs is truly amazing!
17. Government Canyon State Natural Area, San Antonio Plan ahead to visit this popular San Antonio State Park, with both front country and back country hiking trails.
18. El Cosmico, Marfa For a real out of this world, bucket-list camping adventure, check out El Cosmico!
For the Late Birds that still want a worm…
I get hundreds of messages each year from people who waited too late to book a camping reservation, asking if there’s any place I can recommend. Of course, there are!
LBJ Grassland National Recreation Area offers dispersed camping (camping without a campsite). It’s primitive but you can just camp anywhere. They also have some first-come campsites on Black Creek Lake and backcountry camping if you prefer to backpack. Heads up that hunting is allowed in the National Grasslands, so if you’re out early hiking, which isn’t recommended in the Fall, wear orange or have loud kids.
Llama Land near Tool lets you primitive camp in their llama pasture, and it’s pretty amazing! Reservations are required but you should be able to get one.
Berry Springs Park and Preserve, Georgetown Again, reservations are required but this little campground isn’t very busy and really just a treasure!
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