Best places in Texas for a camping getaway with your Toyota Tacoma
Which 4wd vehicle will you take your family of four on your next vacation road trip? A Toyota Tacoma with a 3.5 L V6 engine is a definite possibility. Of course, you’re not going to be able to pack up everything and still travel in comfort. Therefore, hauling a truck camper is a great option.
10 Great Camping Spots in Texas
Palo Duro Canyon State Park
The Texas Panhandle is home to the second-largest canyon in the country: Palo Duro Canyon. Explore the rugged landscape on 30 miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails. Keep an eye out for hoodoos, large rocks balanced on top of thin rock spires. Don't feel like roughing it? Snag one of the glamping sites complete with air conditioning, microwaves, and covered porches.
- Balmorhea State Park
The star attraction of this high desert oasis is the crystal-clear waters of the world's largest spring-fed swimming hole. The 1.3-acre pool is perfect for snorkeling, scuba diving, and swimming. This isn't just a summer respite—the water temperature ranges from 72 to 76 degrees year-round. To be the first in the water in the mornings, book one of the 33 campsites with water and electric hookups.
Padre Island National Seashore
Wake up on the beach to the sound of waves at Padre Island National Seashore, a narrow barrier island with 66 miles of pristine coastline. One of the highlights is driving on the beach—a high-clearance four-wheel drive vehicle is needed to reach some destinations. Plan your visit to align with one of the sea turtle hatchling releases that take place between mid-June and August. Camping is first-come, first-serve year-round.
Photo: Joe M. O’Connell/Getty
Pedernales Falls State Park
Located only 30 west of Austin, this riverfront Hill Country haven feels much more remote. The Pedernales River winds through 5,212 acres of a former ranch and provides ample opportunities for swimming, paddling, and tubing. Explore the ten trails on foot, mountain bike, or horseback. The 5.5-mile Wolf Mountain Loop offers scenic views. Solitude seekers should opt for primitive campsites that require a minimum two-mile hike.
Big Bend National Park
The Lone Star state's oldest national park is an outdoor adventure paradise with over 200 miles of hiking trails and 250 miles of roads (100 paved and 150 unpaved) to explore. The southern border of the park abuts the Rio Grande River for 118 miles offering a plethora of opportunities for rafting, canoeing, and kayaking. Advance planning is a must for campers—the park's four developed campgrounds often sell out from February to April.
Caddo Lake State Park
Paddle through a spiderweb of bayous, sloughs, and ponds lined with bald cypress trees draped with Spanish moss at this East Texas hideaway. The 26,810-acre lake boasts over 50 miles of paddling trails and is home to over 70 species of fish. *A fishing license isn't required in state parks to fish from shore. Snag one of their 46 campsites or ten historic cabins. Choose one of the Mill Pond Camping Area sites, which are closest to the water.
Photo: EARL NOTTINGHAM
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Hugging the border with New Mexico, Guadalupe Mountains National Park is a true wilderness park and hiker's wonderland. The park is home to eight of the ten highest mountains in Texas and not a single paved road. The trek to top the 8,751-foot Guadalupe Peak, the state's tallest mountain, is the biggest draw. If you're looking for a place to unplug, there's no better spot than the park's three developed campgrounds—only one has cell reception and none have showers.
- Big Bend Ranch State Park
The largest state park in Texas encompasses 238 miles of multi-use trails prime for hiking, mountain biking or horseback riding. After a day of exploring, spend your evenings relaxing and stargazing. *The park is one of four International Dark Sky Parks in the state and the only one with a Class 1 Bortle Scale ranking making it one of the best spots for stargazing. All campsites are primitive, but most are accessible by car.
- Colorado Bend State Park
Colorado Bend State Park is a rugged, unspoiled wilderness along a six-mile stretch of the Colorado River. It's an adventure lover's dream with a series of spring-fed swimming holes, 35 miles of hiking trails, including the three-mile roundtrip hike to the 70-foot Gorman Falls, and some of the best mountain biking trails in the state. The most famous attraction is a series of 400 caves. All the campsites, even the 15 drive-up spots, are primitive.
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
This enormous pink granite dome is an oasis for rock climbers with over 40 climbing routes and a plethora of other activities from hiking to geocaching. Attend one of the regular nighttime Rock Star Parities to stargaze and learn about the night sky. *The park is an International Dark Sky Park and updates its website every 15 minutes with data from a sky quality meter. The park draws more than 250,000 visitors a year, making it one of the most visited parks in the state.
Photo: Peter Tsai Photography/Getty
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