Fall makes for prime camping time in Texas. It’s no longer miserably hot, leaves are changing, and it’s the perfect season to gather around a campfire and enjoy the crisp autumn air. Pack the flannel and a few extra blankets and hit the road to explore some of the best places for fall camping in Texas.
Located in the mountains of West Texas, Davis Mountains State Park offers gorgeous views and a perfect spot for stargazing. Spend the day bird watching, hiking on the 4.5- mile Skyline Drive Trail or horseback riding. Spend the night finding constellations in a star-lit sky unobstructed by city lights.
Pedernales Falls State Park is in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, just 30 miles outside of Austin. It’s the perfect place to take in the fall foliage while hiking the half-mile Twin Falls Nature Trail or the more challenging six-mile Wolf Mountain Trail. Campsites range from sites with water and electricity to primitive spots.
Buescher State Park is located in the small Texas town of Smithville, a 50-minute drive from Austin and a two-hour drive from Houston. The 12-mile paved road between Buescher and nearby Bastrop State Park is the ideal ride for experienced cyclists. Buescher also provides canoe and tandem-kayak rentals. Hiking trails are closed while the park recovers from the 2015 Hidden Pines fire, but there’s still plenty to see and do in the beautiful and quaint state park.
Enchanted Rock is one of Texas’ great natural wonders. It’s also a beloved camping destination. The State Natural Area offers rock climbing, bird watching and hiking on 11 miles of hiking trails. Enchanted Rock State Natural Area has walk-in campsites, primitive backpack campsites and group primitive campsites. The park tends to fill up on Saturdays and Sundays in autumn, so a weekday trip is probably your best best.
Two hours northwest of Austin, Colorado Bend State Park offers drive-up campsites, walk-in tent sites and primitive hike-in sites. Hike to the 70-foot spring fed Gorman Falls or explore on-site caves with an experienced guide. The cool weather makes for the perfect time to take in the Texas gem.
Who says you can only hit the beach in the summer? Fall in Texas is the perfect time to visit the seashore. And the Padre Island National Seashore, the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island in the world, is the perfect place to set up camp on the beach. Kayak, canoe or fish on the Laguna Madre and spend the night in one of the five designated camping areas on the seashore.
Inks Lake State Park in Burnet, Texas is another Hill Country beauty. The 3.3-mile Pecan Flats trail offers plenty of opportunities to see Texas fall colors. The park has 200 campsites and 22 cabins, making it one of the state’s most accessible camping destinations and one of the best places to camp in Texas.
Incredibly, Big Bend National Park is one of the country’s least-visited national parks. That’s a shame because it’s also one of the most breathtaking. The park’s isolated location and rugged landscape make it the perfect camping site for the adventurous Texan. Big Bend is beautiful all year round, but autumn is a perfect time to explore the park. Avoid the brutal summer heat and take your pick from over 150 miles of trails for day hiking or backpacking expeditions.
Garner State Park in Concan, Texas may be known for its summer visitors floating the Frio River, but the park comes alive in new ways in the fall. The beautiful Hill Country terrain is splashed with a sea of gold and orange across the park’s 1,774 acres. The park offers multiple campsites as well as screened shelters and cabins for your coziest fall vacation.
The Lost Maples State Natural Area in Vanderpool is hands down the favorite fall destination for Texans. Lone Star State residents have been flocking to the park for years to see the fall foliage. In addition to the gorgeous scenery, the park offers plenty of opportunities for bird watching and hiking on over 10 miles of trails. According to the park’s official Facebook page, the leaves usually start turning in late October. The park tends to fill up fast on weekends in the fall, so make plans to get there early.