Dallas, Texas is a big, bustling metropolis, and sometimes you need to get away from the stress of city living. The good news is, you don’t need to go very far to find the peace of mind only a camping trip can provide.
Camping is not only relaxing, allowing you to reconnect with your spirit, it’s also a fun way to reconnect with your family.
Let’s take a look at the eight best state parks near Dallas:
Dinosaur Valley State Park – Loved by Kids
1hour 25minutes from Dallas
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West of Dallas is an area spanning more than 1,524-acres famous for its dinosaur tracks. Before you go, be sure to download one of the park’s fossil maps, to help you find the dinosaur tracks throughout the park.
There’s a lot more to do here besides hunt for dinosaur tracks; Dinosaur Valley has miles and miles of beautiful nature trails good for hiking and biking. You can also bring your horse to the 100-acre South Primitive Area. The Paluxy River runs through this rocky, wooded area, and while there is no potable water, your horse is free to drink from the river.
Finally, you can swim and fish in the beautiful Paluxy River. Best of all, you can spend the weekend camping at one of the park’s 60 sites. Camping fees range from $15 for a primitive site to $25 a night for an RV site with 30-amp service and water.
Lake Whitney State Park – Best for Fishing
1hour 19minutes from Dallas
South of Dallas, and 14-miles west of Hillsboro, you’ll find Lake Whitney State Park, definitely one of the most popular spots for camping near Dallas. The Brazos River Valley is not only rich in natural beauty and wildlife, but it’s also been home to people for more than 12,000 years.
Lake Whitney has more than 225 miles of shoreline and covers 237 square miles. It’s the perfect place to spend the weekend boating, fishing and swimming. The lake abounds with largemouth, white and striped bass, as well as blue catfish. Best of all, you don’t need a fishing license and you can even loan fishing equipment from the park.
There are also plenty of trails to hike and bike, and of course, camping. There are more than 140 campsites that offer full hookups, water only, or electric only. There are also restrooms with showers, making a camping trip here very enjoyable. Camping fees range from $14 to $24 per night, making Lake Whitney a very affordable weekend get-away.
Lake Mineral Wells State Park
1hour 15minutes from Dallas
Just west of Dallas, this lovely park has a gorgeous 640-acre lake for swimming, fishing, and boating. If you don’t have a boat of your own, you can rent one. The lake is full of catfish, sunfish, crappie, largemouth bass, and you don’t even need a fishing license at this park and the park even loans fishing equipment.
You can also enjoy miles of trails suitable for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. There are trails for every level, from easy to challenging. It’s the perfect way to enjoy the lush, green forests and meadows, and possibly see some of the abundant wildlife that resides in this lovely oasis.
This state park has more than 100 developed, primitive campsites and equestrian campsites, some with 30-amp and 50-amp service. You’ll need to make reservations for the RV sites, but the primitive sites are first-come, first-serve. Camping fees range from $10 to $36 a night.
Cedar Hill State Park
Only 22minutes from Dallas
Cedar Hill, is one of the most popular state parks near Dallas and only 10-miles away, encompassing 1,826 acres, surrounding the 7,500-acre Joe Pool Lake. The park is well developed, with a playground for the kids, and home to endangered native tallgrass prairie, as well as portions of a limestone escarpment that runs from Kansas to Mexico.
In the wooded hills, you’ll find more than 200 bird species, as well as all kinds of native animals, from coyotes to armadillos. The lake is open for fishing, and you’re likely to catch a variety of bass, crappie, and catfish.
You can also explore the pioneer history of Texas, at the Penn Farm Agricultural History Center. The center features historic and reconstructed farm buildings from the mid-1800s through the mid-1900s.
There are 380 primitive, full hookup and electric-only campsites here, with restrooms nearby. You’ll need to make reservations for the RV sites, which range from $25 to $30 per night.
Eisenhower State Park – BEST for dirt biking
1h 17minutes from Dallas
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👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻 Eisenhower State Park, Texas. 1h15 from Dallas ⭐️⭐️⭐️ . . “Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience.” Ralph Waldo Emerson. . . 📸 by Donna Beeler . #dallaswanderer #tripsfromdallas #dallas #texas #eastetexas #eisenhowerstatepark #laketexoma #texasstateparks #texasnature #texasoutdoors #texaslakes #texastrails #texashiking #texastodo #inspiretexasnow #texasbucketlist #traveltexas #texastourism #dallasfun #dallasweekend #newtodallasguide #dallastravel #dallastravelblogger #texastravelblogger #aftercorona #afterquarantine #inspirationalquotes #inspiration #resilience #staystrong
Just one hour north of Dallas, you can enjoy all sorts of activities along the rocky shores of Lake Texoma. Explore the trails along the high, rocky bluffs overlooking the lake or take a dip in the lake’s sandy swimming cove.
The 463-acre park has two fishing piers, including a lighted pier for night fishing. You don’t need a fishing license, and the park will lend you all of the fishing gear you need. You can also grab a few snacks and rent a boat at the marina.
Bring along your ATV or dirt bike, and enjoy a ride along the OHV trail through the park’s beautiful backcountry woodlands.
There are more than 150 campsites, and be sure to make a reservation. There are restrooms and water spigots throughout the campground and nearly 100 RV campsites with electricity. Camping ranges from $12 for overflow camping to $23 per night for full hookups.
Fairfield Lake State Park – You can bring your horse
1h 35minutes from Dallas
Around 100 miles south of Dallas, you’ll find 2,400-acre Fairfield Lake and State Park. There is a lot to do here in this remote region; of course, boating and fishing take center stage here. If you don’t have a boat, you can rent a kayak or a paddleboard to enjoy the lake. As far as fishing, the lake is jumping with bass, catfish, and perch.
Bring along your horse and ride 15 miles of equestrian trails; you can also camp with your horse at the Big Brown Primitive Camping Trail.
There is a playground for the kids and more than 18-miles of hiking and biking trails. Best of all, there are 136 campsites, 10 primitive and 126 for RVs.
Ninety-three campsites have 30-amp electric, and there are restrooms with showers nearby. Primitive tent sites are just $10 per night and RV sites range from just $15 to $20 per night.
Colorado Bend State Park
3hours 12minutes from Dallas
Go south of Dallas 185-miles to discover a wild, unspoiled wilderness along the Colorado River. This is the place to go to get away from city life. Enjoy the stunning beauty of the thundering Gorman Falls, take a cool refreshing dip in Spicewood Springs, explore the deep caverns of Wild Caves, or simply fish and swim in the river.
All of the camping here is considered primitive, although 15 drive-up sites can accommodate self-contained RVs up to 30’ in length. Best of all, these campsites are less than 100-yards from the river. There are no hookups and no dump station, but freshwater is available.
There are also 28 walk-up tent sites, with water and restrooms nearby, and finally, an unlimited amount of hike-in primitive tent sites for the truly adventurous.
Cleburne State Park
1hour 9minutes from Dallas
A little more than 30 miles southwest of Dallas you’ll find Cleburne State Park, a secluded, 528-acre patch of pure nature. The park is home to the 116-acre spring-fed Cedar Lake, where you can kayak, swim and fish. You can even rent a kayak or paddleboard to enjoy the peaceful, blue waters.
The park surrounding the lake is heavily wooded fragrant cedar, mesquite oak, sycamore, and a lot more. The park abounds with wildlife, including deer, coyote, bobcat, armadillo, and lots more. It’s the perfect place to hike or bike, and there are trails for all levels, from easy to strenuous. The ground is rocky, so wear your hiking boots.
There are nearly 60 campsites, including full hookup RV sites with 20, 30 and 50-amp electric, ranging from $20 to $30 per night. There are also water and electric sites only for just $16 per night.