Camping

The 8 Best Texas Lake Camping Destinations

best lake camping in texas
Cypress trees at Caddo Lake near Uncertain, Texas. // Photo: Nicholas Geraldine, Shutterstock

While Texas is lucky to have great coastal destinations and warm islands, you shouldn’t overlook the fun possibilities offered inland at one of the state’s many lakes.

Fun fact: Did you know that most of the lakes in Texas are actually human-made? Many were formed by the building of dams along rivers for flood control and drought management. But human-made or not, it’s hard to find a better activity when the weather gets warm than spending some time at a lake – and these Texas lake camping destinations ensure you’ll never have to walk too far to take a dip.

As you plan your adventure, you may be surprised to know just how many lakes there are to choose from across the state. But you’ll be able to narrow things down a bit with this list of the best lake camping destinations in Texas.

Related: 10 Cozy Romantic Getaways in Texas for Couples

1. Inks Lake State Park

Inks Lake Camping Texas
Photo: Silvio Ligutti, Shutterstock

Why you should camp here: An easy place to camp on the water in Hill County.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best season: Spring, Summer, Fall
  • Campsite type: Tents, RV’s
  • RV hookups: Yes

Just an hour outside of Austin, Inks Lake State Park is known for its beautiful blue water and rocky outcroppings. There are campsites aplenty here (nearly 200, actually) and many are either lakeside or offer easy access to the water.

Since the water level stays pretty consistent year-round, this state park has ample opportunity for water recreation. You can swim, go boating, water ski, fish, and scuba dive. One of the most popular places to go for a dip here is Devil’s Waterhole on the park’s northeast end. There are also paddle boats, canoes, and kayaks available for rent at the park store. For something to do on land, explore the nine miles of hiking trails.

Being close to Burnet, the “Bluebonnet Capital of Texas,” Inks Lake is an excellent place to find an abundance of the state flower when they bloom in the spring.

2. Caddo Lake State Park

Caddo Lake Camping Texas
Photo: Xiu Yu, Shutterstock

Why you should camp here: With its winding channels, this beautiful, swampy area feels like another world.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best season: Spring, Fall
  • Campsite type: Tents, RV’s
  • RV hookups: Yes

Located close to the Louisiana border in East Texas’ Piney Woods region, Caddo Lake is one of a few natural lakes in the state (or at least it was natural, until it was artificially altered by a dam.) Along with the 46 campsites, Caddo Lake State Park also has historic cabins and screened shelters available for booking.

This area is special for its enchanting, twisting landscape of bayous and sloughs, which is beautiful to explore by canoe or kayak. As you’re exploring underneath the towering bald cypress trees covered with Spanish moss, keep in mind that alligators do live in the park. It’s a good idea to read up on alligator safety beforehand. Lake camping in Texas is fun, having alligators outside your tent, well, not so much.

Anyone who plans a trip here in the autumn will get the chance to see some beautiful fall foliage as the park’s trees change color.

3. Eisenhower State Park – Lake Texoma

Lake Texoma Camping Texas
Photo: Donna Beeler, Shutterstock

Why you should camp here: Expansive park with plenty of room to explore on the lake and along the shoreline.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best season: Spring, Summer, Fall
  • Campsite type: Tents, RV’s
  • RV hookups: Yes

One of the largest reservoirs in the country, Lake Texoma stretches across the Texas-Oklahoma border. From the Texas side, Eisenhower State Park is the place to base your lake adventures. This site spans over 400 acres and is named after former President Dwight. D Eisenhower, who was born nearby in Denison.

There are more than 150 campsites on the cliffs overlooking the lake. That means that even though the park is right on the lake’s shores, you might have to do a little hiking to get down to the water. But it also makes it one of the best Texas lake camping destinations if you’re after morning coffee with a view.

While here, fill your day with swimming, fishing, and boating. If you don’t have your own, you can rent a kayak, canoe, or boat from Eisenhower Yacht Club, a private marina in the park. There are also four miles of trails meandering along the rocky bluffs.

4. Pace Bend Park – Lake Travis

Photo: Ric Schafer, Shutterstock

Why you should camp here: Peninsula park in the Highland Lakes region with limestone cliffs and designated swimming coves.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best season: Spring, Summer, Fall
  • Campsite type: Tents, RV’s
  • RV hookups: Yes

Pace Bend Park is on a peninsula tucked into a bend of Lake Travis, which is part of the Colorado River. Given this prime location, the park has more than nine miles of shoreline, and you can get excellent views of the lake from the park’s limestone cliffs.

This is one of the smallest Texas lake camping options. There are only 20 improved campsites here and they’re known to get booked quickly, so it’s in your best interest to make a reservation in advance. The numerous primitive camping spots, some of which offer easy access to the lake, are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Boating is the thing to do here, and there are two main boat ramps you can launch from. Not that into boating? You can head to one of the three coves designated just for swimming or hike the 15 miles of trails.

5. Lake Livingston State Park

Photo: Kasey Englehart

Why you should camp here: Hang out by one of the state’s largest lakes, particularly great for fishing.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best season: Spring, Summer, Fall
  • Campsite type: Tents, RV’s
  • RV hookups: Yes

Totaling 635 acres, Lake Livingston State Park is in the state’s Piney Woods region, just an hour and a half north of Houston. The campsites here are plentiful, and there are peaceful trails that meander through the pine and hardwood forest.

Fishing is a popular pastime at Lake Livingston, and the lake is home to white bass, catfish, crappie, and perch. To make your fishing adventures even easier, there are boat ramps, fish cleaning stations, and a fishing pier. If you didn’t bring your own equipment, you can ask for loaners at the park store. The store also has canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards for rent.

Another thing to note: this is another spot where you may see alligators, so brush up on your alligator safety tips if you haven’t done so recently.

6. Lake Mineral Wells State Park & Trailway

Photo: Shutterstock

Why you should camp here: It’s an outdoor playground with horseback riding and rock climbing.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best season: Spring, Summer, Fall
  • Campsite type: Tents, RV’s
  • RV hookups: Yes

Camp in cattle country at Lake Mineral Wells State Park, about 45 minutes from Fort Worth. Back in the day, Mineral Wells was a renowned health resort that billed itself as as “where America drinks its way to health.” These days, you can enjoy the rejuvenating powers of nature at the park’s campground, which also has 20 equestrian campsites for anyone who brings their horse along.

Like boating? Bring your own boat or rent a watercraft here to enjoy the park’s large lake. Want to hike? There are 12.8 miles of trails that vary in difficulty, and there’s the 20-mile-long Trailway, which is a reclaimed railroad bed with flat grades suitable for pedestrians, cyclists, and horseback riders of all abilities. Love rock climbing? Make your way to Penitentiary Hollow, a natural rock climbing area where you can find many routes up sandstone formations.

7. Lake Whitney State Park

lake whitney camping texas
Photo: Shutterstock

Why you should camp here: Top-notch lake for anglers known for its clear water.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best season: Spring, Summer
  • Campsite type: Tents, RV’s
  • RV hookups: Yes

In between Fort Worth and Waco, this state park lies on the banks of Lake Whitney, a reservoir on the Brazos River. As this spot is on prairie land, you can expect rolling grasslands and oak woodlands. There’s a nice sandy swimming beach within the park and even scuba diving sites around the lake.

While the state park has just two easy hiking trails, the lake itself is a dream for anglers. You can fish for smallmouth, largemouth, striped, and white bass, and you also have the chance to reel in a trophy blue catfish. Word to the wise: You don’t need a fishing license if you’re fishing from shore in a state park.

8. Possum Kingdom Lake

Photo: Brandon Smith, Shutterstock

Why you should camp here: One of the prettiest lakes in the state with activities for everyone.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best season: Spring, Summer, Fall
  • Campsite type: Tents, RV’s
  • RV hookups: Yes

Drive west out of Fort Worth for a couple of hours, and you can get to Possum Kingdom Lake, where there’s over 300 miles of shoreline and more than 18,000 acres of clear, blue waters. With options for swimming, boating, fishing, diving, and hiking, you may have a hard time deciding how exactly you want to spend your time. The 16-mile hike-and-bike trail also offers access to a peak with great views of the lake.

Possum Kingdom Lake is one of the best Texas lake camping destinations if everyone in your group wants to do something different for the weekend but still gather for s’mores at night.

At Possum Kingdom State Park, there are more than 100 campsites, and they even have air-conditioned cabins if you want a little bit more comfort. An interesting bit of history: this park was the last project the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) worked on in Texas.

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