Best Texas Campgrounds for Families in 2020

Ratcliff recreation area

Camping with kids in Texas is fun with these family-friendly tent campgrounds and RV resorts.  We profiled the best Texas campsites that make it easy for families to camp with young children and teenagers alike.

Here are the top 11 campgrounds in the great State of Texas for family camping in 2020.  Whether you are looking for a luxury RV resort, a private tent site with running water, a primitive campground for your whole group, or a Tipi or Cabin – these campgrounds have it all!  Camping with the family doesn’t have to be stressful or boring for the kids!  (Read this if you haven’t camped with little kids before) There are many campgrounds in Texas that have all sorts of activities aimed to keep the whole family enjoying their vacation and experiencing quality family time together.

As parents ourselves, we know what’s important for a successful family camping trip.

  1. CLEAN BATHROOMS – so important for tent campers who rely on clean, well-maintained bathrooms and showers! Even if you have a bathroom with your RV, its essential to have nice bathrooms when you are out and about exploring the parks.

  2. KIDS’ AREAS & ACTIVITIES. While it isn’t essential to have organized activities for children, they are nice to have as an option.  In addition – playgrounds and kid-friendly hiking trails are a must.  Camping with a toddler or preschooler?  Read this.

  3. CAMPSITE PRIVACY. No one wants to drive a couple hours from home with all their camping gear to just be crammed into a campsite practically on top of their neighbors!  We know we aren’t exactly back-packing into the wilderness, but bonus points for those campsites who have a measure of privacy so you can at least pretend you are miles away from society.

With these criteria in mind, here is our suggested list of best campgrounds for families listed from North to South:

Caprock Canyons State Park – Quitaque, TX

Lake Mineral Wells State Park – Mineral Wells, TX

Dinosaur Valley State Park – Glen Rose, TX

Ratcliff Lake Recreation Area – Kennard, TX

Inks Lake State Park – Burnet, TX

Tipis on the Guadalupe – New Braunfels, TX

Garner State Park – Concan, TX

Splashway Campground – Sheridan, TX

El Campo Lost Lagoon – El Campo, TX

Jamaica Beach RV Resort – Galveston, TX

Padre Island National Seashore – Corpus Christi, TX

map of texas campgrounds

Caprock Canyons State Park

Caprock Canyon by mlhradio

Location:

850 Caprock Canyon Rd
Quitaque, TX 79255

Phone:     806-455-1492

Website: Caprock Canyon State Park

Bison roam freely on the rugged beauty of Caprock Canyon State Park.  Families can explore the 90+ miles of hiking trails that range from easy to very challenging.  Lake Theo offers all water sports (no-wake) and there is also opportunity for geocaching, horseback riding (bring your own horse), and a robust Ranger program (including Junior Rangers for kids).  Each September the park helps host the Texas State Bison Herd Music Festival in downtown Quitaque which raises funds for maintaining the bison herd.

Horse owners can even use the Equestrian Camping grounds which feature stalls for horses!

Caprock Canyon State Park offers families the chance to enjoy wide-open spaces with tranquility.  This is a great option for families looking to get into nature and enjoy what the Texas State Park system has to offer.

Facilities 90 miles of trails for hiking & biking
Geocache
Horseback riding (drinking water available for animals on trail)
No-wake boating on Lake Theo (120-acre)
Fishing
Swimming
Group picnic facilities
Ranger programs
Jr. Ranger program
Bison Fest

Camping with 50 amp Electricity

Campsites: 10
Site features: Max people per site = 8.  Picnic table, fire ring, water hookup, shade shelter, lantern post.  Restrooms nearby.

Campsites with 30 amp Electricity

Campsites: 25
Site features: Max people per site = 8.  Picnic table, fire ring, water hookup, shade shelter, lantern post.  Restrooms nearby.

Campsites with Water Only

Campsites: 10
Site features Max people per site = 8.  Fire ring/grill, covered picnic table, organic toilet.

Primitive Campsites (walk-in)

Campsites: 30
Site features Max people per site = 8.  Fire ring/grill, organic toilets.

 

Primitive Campsites (hike-in)

Campsites: 40
Site features Max people per site = 4.
1-mile hike to camping area.  Bring drinking water.  Hike all trash out.  No ground fires allowed.  Composting toilets nearby.  Pets on leash only.

Primitive Campsites (hike-in – along trailway)

Campsites: 40
Site features Max people per site = 4.  Minimum 7-mile hike/bike to camping area.  Bring drinking water.  Hike all trash out.  No campfires allowed.  Containerized fuel stoves OK.  Chemical restrooms available.

Equestrian Camping
All horses must have negative Coggins test less than 12 months old

Campsites: 12
Site features Max people & horses per site = 8.   Picnic table, fire ring/grill.  2 10’ x 20’ horse corrals.  Tents, trailers & RVs OK.  Water for horses.  No restrooms.  No electricity.

 

Lake Mineral Wells State Park

Sunset at Lake Mineral Wells by Julie Delio

Location:

100 Park Road 71
Mineral Wells, TX 76067

Phone: 940-328-1171

Website: Lake Mineral Wells

map of lake mineral wells

Best known for its rock climbing at Penitentiary Hollow, Lake Mineral Wells State park sits in the midst of cattle country.   The lake is over 640 acres and you can either bring your own boat or rent one at the park.  Kids will enjoy swimming and fishing on the lake too.

Horse owners can bring their own horses and camp at any of the 20 equestrian campsites.  In addition there are hiking and mountain biking trails, Geocaching, and Jr. Ranger programs.

Facilities Geocache
Amphitheater for rent
Group hall for rent
640-acre Lake Mineral Wells
Boat ramp
Boat rentals available (flat-bottom boats w/trolling motors, canoes, kayaks, paddle boards, and rowboats)
Fishing (catfish, crappie, sunfish, largemouth bass)
6 fishing piers (no fishing license necessary)
12+ miles of trails
Rock climbing – Penitentiary Hollow
Ranger Programs

Camping with 50 amp Electricity

Campsites: 47
Site features: Max people per site = 8.  Picnic table, fire ring, outdoor grill, water, lantern post.  Restrooms & showers nearby.

Campsites with 30 amp Electricity

Campsites: 30
Site features: Max people per site = 8.  Picnic table, fire ring, water, outdoor grill, lantern post.  Restrooms & showers nearby.

Campsites with Water Only

Campsites: 11
Site features Picnic table, outdoor grill, fire ring, water, lantern post, and restrooms nearby.

Primitive Campsites (hike-in)

Campsites: Not defined
Site features Max people per site = 4.
2.5 miles hike to camping area.  No reservations – first come/first serve.  No ground fires.

Equestrian Camping

Campsites: 20
Site features Pull-through.  Picnic table, outdoor grill, fire ring, water, lantern post.  Restrooms & showers nearby.  Max 4 people & 4 horses.

 

Screened Shelters

Shelters: 15
Site features Max people per site = 8.  Tents outside of shelter OK.  Picnic table, water nearby, electricity.  Restrooms & showers nearby.

Dinosaur Valley State Park

dinosaur valley footprint by randall chancellor

Location:

1629 Park Rd 59
Glen Rose, TX 76043

Phone: 254-897-4588

website: Dinosaur Valley

map of dinosaur valley

Dinosaur enthusiasts of all ages will love this state park!  You can find fossilized dinosaur tracks left in the mud at the edge of an ancient ocean.  In addition you can explore miles of trails, ride your own horse, and even take guided tours on a wagon.  Close to the park you’ll find Glen Rose (the ‘dinosaur capital of Texas’), Fossil Rim Wildlife Center and Comanche Peak Visitors center.  Plenty to do for all ages and interests!

Facilities Guided tours – horseback, wagon rides, and wrangler assisted trail rides for children
Ranger programs
20 miles of trails
Park store (souvenirs, camping/fishing supplies)
Geocache
Interpretive center
Dinosaur tracks (by river)
100-acre primitive area for horseback riding

Camping with Electricity

Campsites: 44
Site features: No horses allowed.  Picnic table, water hookup, 30 amp electric, fire ring/grill.

Primitive Campsites (walk-in)

Campsites: 8
Site features: Max people per site = 8
½ mile to camping area.  No horses allowed.  Fire ring & lantern post provided.  No restrooms.

Primitive Campsites (hike-in)

Campsites: 7
Site features Max people per site = 8.
1 – 2.5 mile hike to camping area (with wading across river).  Pets on leash OK.  No ground fires.  No restrooms.

Group Camping

Campsites: 1
Site features Max people per site = 20.
140 yards from parking.  Drinking water nearby.  Restrooms & showers about 400 yards away.  Fire ring, lantern post, 2 picnic tables.

 

Screened Shelters

Shelters: 15
Site features Max people per site = 8.  Tents outside of shelter OK.  Picnic table, water nearby, electricity.  Restrooms & showers nearby.

Ratcliff Lake Recreation Area

Location:

18551 State Highway 7 East
Kennard, TX 75487

Phone: 936-655-2299

Website: Ratcliff Lake Recreation Area

map of ratcliff

Ratcliff Lake Recreation Area was built in 1936 by the Civilian Conservation Corps.  The facility is opened year-round and features a 45-acre lake where visitors can fish, swim, boat, and bird watch.  The park is heavily wooded and perfect for hiking and hunting.

The campsites are older and electric only – but overall the campground is well maintained.  RV sites have plenty of room between neighbors and tent sites are private too.  Families looking for a peaceful get-away will enjoy their holiday at Ratcliff.

Facilities Boat ramp
Dump station
Swimming site
Hiking
Fishing (largemouth bass, bream, and channel/blue catfish)
Hunting (squirrel, deer, quail, dove, turkey, waterfowl)
Historic & cultural site
Boating
Picnic shelters & amphitheater for reservation
Playground

Camping Tent only

Campsites: 27
Site features: Max 8 people per site.  Flush toilets, hot showers, trash bins nearby.

Group Tent Camping

Campsites: 3
Site features: Max 10 people per site.  No electricity. Flush toilets, hot showers, trash bins nearby.

Camping with Electric

Campsites: 25
Site features Max 8 people per site. Flush toilets, hot showers, trash bins nearby.

Inks Lake State Park

picnic table by inks lake campground by the austinot

Location:

3630 Park Road 4 West
Burnet, TX 78611

Phone: 512-793-2223

Website: Inks Lake State Park

map of inks lake campground

Only an hour SW of Austin, TX, Inks Lake State Park offers RV spots, tent sites, and cabins for your stay.  Activities are plentiful with hiking, geocaching, and picnicking being the favorites on land.  Hikers can explore a small canyon, swim at Devil’s Waterhole, or explore scenic waterfalls upstream from the lake (when Valley Spring Creek is running).

The real draw to the park is Inks Lake itself which has sunfish, catfish, and several species of bass.  There are 2 fishing piers, fish cleaning stations, and a boat ramp.  No fishing license is necessary when fishing from the pier or the shore in Texas State Parks.  If fishing isn’t your thing, you can swim, scuba dive, water ski, and rent paddle boards, canoes, and kayaks.  Just don’t forget your sunscreen!

Many of the 200 campsites are lakeside and/or have easy access to the lake.  22 Cabins are also available if you prefer.

Facilities 9 miles of hiking trails
Bird blinds
Group picnic pavilion for rent
Swimming
Boating, waterski, scuba dive
Fishing (sunfish, catfish, bass)
2 fishing piers (no fishing license necessary)
Borrow fishing gear
No-wake area for paddling
Rent paddle boards, canoes, kayaks
Park store
Youth group camping area
Devil’s Waterhole
Ranger programs

Camping with Electricity

Campsites: 125
Site features: Picnic table, water hookup, fire ring/grill, 30/50 amp electric, restrooms & showers nearby

TENT only camping with Electricity

Campsites: 4
Site features: Picnic table, outdoor grill, fire ring, water, No RVs.  Restrooms & bathrooms nearby.

Campsites with Water

Campsites: 49
Site features Picnic table, water hookup, lantern post, fire ring/grill, restrooms & bathrooms nearby.

Primitive Campsites (hike-in)

Campsites: 9
Site features Hike 1.5 miles to camping area.  No ground fires or pets.  Bring your own water.  Primitive toilet.

Cabins

Cabins: 22
Site features Sleeps 4 (2 sets bunk beds).  No linens provided.  A/C, ceiling fan, picnic table, outdoor grill, fire ring, water hookup, 30 amp electrical.  Table & chairs.  Restrooms & showers nearby.  No pets.

Tipis on the Guadalupe

tipi set up in campground

Location:

12821 River Road
New Braunfels, TX 78132

Phone: (no phone number listed)

Website: Tipis on the Guadalupe

map of campground tipis on the guadalupe

We included Tipis on the Guadalupe for two reasons, 1) its FUN!!  Who hasn’t wanted to try out sleeping in a tipi?  And 2) this campground gets consistently high reviews from travelers.  If you are looking for a different sort of camping trip with the kids, you can rent a tipi that’s decked out in a Glamping sort of way.  Real beds, kitchens and BBQs, all linens and bathrooms.  No – you won’t be roughing it – but guaranteed this will be a family vacation that is memorable!  A family of 6 can comfortably sleep in the beds provided in the tipi – and you can squeeze a few more little ones on air mattresses on the floor.

For activities, kids will enjoy the game room (in a treehouse), and there is endless fun on the Guadalupe River.  If you haven’t spent the day tubing down the Guadalupe (with a nice beverage), you haven’t fully experienced all life has to offer.

Facilities Community game room
Adjacent to Guadalupe River (fishing, swimming, tubing, bird-watching)
Tube rentals

Tipis

Campsites: 8
Site features: Sleeps up to 6 people.  Fully furnished – including TV, DVD player, cable, wifi, A/C, kitchenette with sink, dishes, utensils, cooking ware, mini-fridge, electric stove top, toaster oven and coffee maker.
Outside tipi is BBQ pit with utensils, seating area, and fire pit.
Private bathroom with shower.  All linens provided.

Garner State Park

fall colors at garner state park by Knowsphotos

234 RR 1050
Concan, TX 78838

Phone: 830-232-6132

Website: Garner State Park

map of garner state park

Families love to visit Garner State Park to enjoy Frio River floating trips, camping, and outdoor recreation.  With over 1744 acres, this park is home to almost 3 miles of Frio River where visitors can tube, paddle, fish, and swim.  In addition they have Mini golf, geocaching, and a variety of ranger programs suitable for the whole family.  Hiking families can trek to the top of Old Baldy (.5 miles to the top – steep) where you can see for miles around the Texas Hill Country.

Summer evenings are filled with jukebox music at the park’s concession building for dances.  (tip: arrive early to get a parking spot).

Facilities 2.9 miles of Frio River
Miniature golf course
Geocache
Concessionaire (meals & snacks)
Pavilion for rent
Dancing (summer evenings at dance pavilion)
Rent paddle boats, kayaks, innertubes
Tube shuttle during busy season
Lockers for rent near boathouse
Ranger programs
Fishing
Swimming
Biking

Full Hookup Campsites

Campsites: 12
Site features: No tents allowed.  Pull-through, picnic table, water & sewer hookups.  Lantern post.  20/30/50-amp electrical, fire ring & grill.

Campsites with Electricity

Campsites: 211
Site features: Picnic table, outdoor grill & fire ring, water hookup, electric hook up, lantern post, restrooms nearby.

Campsites with Water

Campsites: 124
Site features: Picnic table, outdoor grill & fire ring, water, lantern post.

Group Camping (Cypress Springs)

Site features: Dining hall + 5 bunkhouse shelters.  Pets, tents & RVs not allowed.
Picnic tables, A/C + heat, large 4-burner commercial stove, 2 ovens, upright freezer, commercial refrigerator, prep area, large BBQ grill, folding tables & chairs.  Kitchen utensils NOT provided. Restrooms + showers nearby.

Cabins with Fireplace

Cabins: 13
Site features: Fireplace, kitchen, bathroom, 2 double beds.  Central heat/air.  No utensils, dishes, or linens provided.  Fire ring & grill.

Cabins without Fireplace

Cabins: 4
Site features: Kitchen, bathroom, 2 double beds.  Central heat/air.  No utensils, dishes, or linens provided.  Fire ring & grill.

Screened Shelters (Old Garner)

Shelters: 21
Site features: No RVs allowed.  Electricity, light & outlet, Picnic table, fire ring & grill, water spigot.

Screened Shelters (New Garner)

Shelters: 16
Site features: No RVs allowed. Electricity, light & outlet, Picnic table, fire ring & grill, water spigot.

Splashway Campground

RVs parked at splashway campground

Location:
5211 Main Street
Sheridan, TX 77475

Phone: 979-234-7718

Website: Splashway Campground

map of splashway campground

Staying at the Splashway Campground is a fun-cation for all ages.  The campground is clean and organized.  There are so many activities that kids cannot get bored.  The main attraction is Splasyway Waterpark – but the fun doesn’t stop there.  The stocked fishing pond (for catch and release), playgrounds, gaga ball pits, mini golf, laser tag, paddle boating and more – there is really something enjoyable to do for everyone.

You can find different promotions and offers on the campground website – so check there first before making reservations.

Facilities Splashway Waterpark
Miniature Golf
Laser Tag
Full-service restaurant
Pedal carts
Fishing pond (fully stocked, catch & release)
Kayaking, paddle boats
Playgrounds
Dog park
Basketball & volleyball courts
Tetherball
Mega chess, gaga ball
Laundry facilities
Showers & restrooms
Camp store

RV Sites

Campsites: 188
Site features: Full hookup (sewage included), pull-through or back in sites.

Tent Sites

Campsites: 6
Site features:

Cabins

Cabins: 37
Site features: Sleeps 10.  Heat/AC, fully furnished kitchen, couch, microwave, refrigerator, oven and stove, satellite TV, private bathroom, screened in porch with table and chairs, fire pit, picnic table.

Cottages

Cottages: 15
Site features: Sleeps 5.  Heat/AC, private bathroom with shower, satellite TV, mini-fridge, coffee pot.

Bunk Houses

Bunk houses:
Site features: Sleeps 20.  1 bedroom has a queen bed, another large room has bunk beds and queen beds.  Fully equipped kitchen, 3 bathrooms, living area, satellite TV, heat/AC, covered porch with picnic table, fire pit.

El Campo Lost Lagoon

people at a swimming pool at el campo rv resort

Location:
655 County Road 451
El Campo, TX 77437

Phone: 979-275-1600

Website: El Campo Lost Lagoon

Map of El Campo Lost Lagoon

El Campo Lost Lagoon prides themselves on being considered a ‘True Luxury RV Resort’ – and reviews back that claim up.  The pool is 700,000 gallons with slides, a kiddie area, an adults-only area, a swim-up bar, and one of those giant buckets that dumps tons of water onto waterpark visitors below.  There is also a lazy river and what they call a ‘Wibit’ which is an inflatable obstacle course.

‘Gangs’ of excited children ride their bikes all over camp – so make sure you’ve brought some wheels!  In fact, if your kids are old enough to hang out with other kids unsupervised (say…ages 6+) – don’t expect to see them much during your stay!  Its too much fun playing with all their new friends and doing all of the activities available.  Don’t worry, you can relax at the swim up bar and enjoy some adult time.

Facilities HUGE pool with waterslide, rope swing, waterfalls, lazy river, swim-up bar, and jacuzzi
Cabanas available to rent
Kiddie lagoon
Wibit (floating obstacle course)
Free wifi
Arcade
Park
Fenced dog park
Fishing pond (catch & release)
Fitness center
Laundry facility
Convenience store
Café
Remote control car track
Golf carts for rent

RV Sites

Campsites: 255
Site features: Full hook-up, 30/50 amp electric, onsite water, onsite sewer, wifi.  Many sites will accommodate oversized rigs (ask at reservations)  Pets OK.

Jamaica Beach RV Resort

RVs parked at Jamaica RV Resort

Location:
17200 Termini-San Luis Pass Rd
Galveston, TX 77554

Phone: 409-632-0200

Website: Jamaica Beach RV Resort

map of Jamaica Beach RV Park

Jamaica Beach RV Resort is located right across the beach and has unobstructed views of Galveston Bay area and the Gulf of Mexico.  All RV sites are pull-through and feature full hookups.  Campers report that the pools, common areas, and roads are all well-maintained and clean.  Kids of all ages are kept constantly entertained with the many activates available – from 700 foot lazy river to pickleball courts, to mini golf, and more.  There are restaurants for when you don’t want to cook and movies each night for the family.  This is a holiday resort where you can relax knowing that there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Facilities 700 ft Lazy River
Beach pool with swim up bar
Family pool
Hot tubs
Splash pad
Shuffleboard
Horseshoe pits
Pickleball & Basketball courts
Lifesize Jenga
Outdoor chess
Bounce house (summer)
Community area
Pool table
3 Shower houses
3 Laundry facilities
Community kitchen
Restaurants
Mini-golf
Propane sales
Camp store
Movies at night

RV Sites

Campsites: 181
Site features: 30 & 50  amp electric.  Water, sewer, cable TV, wifi, all pull-through sites, concrete pads.  Picnic table at each site.

Padre Island National Seashore

RVs on beach at padre island

Location:

P.O. Box 181300
Corpus Christi, TX 78480

Phone: 361-949-8068

Website: Padre Island National Seashore

padre island map

Padre Island National Seashore is a national park located just outside of Corpus Christi.  It includes 70 miles of undeveloped beaches and natural habitat and is the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island in the world.  Most camping is primitive and there are no RV hook ups at all.  If you are looking for a peaceful destination to get back to nature – you can’t find a better beach location than here.

There are tidal flats, dunes, nesting grounds for sea turtles, and a bird haven of over 380 species.  Bring your own gear and plan to explore the miles of coastline.  Families can swim, boat, build sand castles, and have bonfires on the beach.  Camping on the beach is a little sandy, but an incredible adventure.

Facilities 70 miles of coastline, dunes, prairies & wind tidal flats
Safe nesting area for sea turtles
380+ bird species
Canoe and kayak on Laguna Madre or Gulf (rentals available)
Ranger programs
Seat Turtle hatchling releases
Beachcombing, swimming

Fishing (need valid TX fishing license)
5 Camping areas – no reservations
NO RV HOOKUPS

Malaquite Campground (currently closed due to COVID-19)

Campsites: 48
Site features: Semi-primitive designated campsites.  Tent campers can set up at campsite or on the beach.  Flush toilets, cold-water rinse showers, paved parking.  Each site has a picnic table.  No hook ups, but there is a gray/black water dump station as well as potable water filling station.

Bird Island Basin (currently closed due to COVID-19)

Campsites: RV and tent camping – dry camping only.  (no designated sites)
Site features: Chemical toilets only.

North Beach

Campsites: No facilities and no designated campsites
Site features: Primitive RV and tent camping.  You can camp anywhere along a 1 mile stretch of beach.  Set up near the dunes in order to avoid blocking traffic.

South Beach

Campsites: No facilities and no designated campsites
Site features: Primitive RV and tent camping.  You can camp anywhere along a 60 mile stretch of beach.  Set up near the dunes in order to avoid blocking traffic.  No paved roads – all driving is on beach.  Chemical toilet available at the entrance to South beach.

Yarborough Pass

Campsites: No designated campsites.
Site features: Access to this campground is possible only through the 4-wheel drive area of South Beach and by boating down Laguna Madre.
Primitive camping – no facilities.

Jennifer Hillberg is the Founder and Creator of Mountain Mat, LLC, the USA’s first 100% recycled polypropylene, reversible outdoor recreation mat.

Jennifer and her family have a passion for travel, hiking, exploring and spending time outdoors.  They’ve camped and hiked throughout the USA as well as Nepal, Greece, and the British Isles.

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