Along with the weather, Texas camping season is heating up. Memorial Day weekend is not far off, when so many campgrounds are filled with families who want to get away from civilization and enjoy the outdoors, fresh air, and relaxation. If you're looking for a quick weekend trip, there are a lot of choices around west Texas.

In Texas, each region of the state has something unique to offer. Some places are best for primitive camping, others are ideal for RV's and campers. Some are great for boating, others for fishing. Some have more kids activities than others. If you're looking for a campground you've never been to before, your search can can be time consuming. Gathering information about the features each campground has to offer can be tough.

A good place to start is the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department official website. It's easy to research information on the one hundred-or-so state parks in Texas, and you'll see there are dozens of parks within a couple hours of Abilene. On this site, you can search for state parks on a map from the same website, so you can see what parks are in the Texas region you want to make your destination. Each park has its own page on the site with a good description of what activities are available, what time of the year certain aspects of the park are open, special events calendars, and other notes of interest to potential campers. The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department is pretty good at keeping their website updated, but be careful when searching other camping guides online, because some aren't updated regularly.

All state parks are different, and offer different features and activities. Websites are great for preliminary searches to narrow down your final decision, but always call the park and ask questions before packing up the family and hitting the happy highway. Questions like:

  • How busy is the park expected to be?
  • Are there any special events or activities going on that I should know about?
  • Is there a burn ban in effect? (this information is noted on the state park web pages, but this is an important factor, so double check)
  • What are the rules about pets in the park? (even if you don't plan on bringing any, it's good to know the rules your camping neighbors will be following)

Like most things in life, word of mouth goes a long way. Be sure to ask friends and coworkers if they recommend a particular park. Websites and phone calls are informative and useful, but cannot take the place of someone you know giving you a real-life account.

Is there a Texas camping experience that you would recommend?

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