20 Best Places to Camp Within Two Hours of Dallas, TX

If you’re looking to get out of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, it’s easy to immediately become paralyzed by choice. Texas is home to some of the greatest camping in the country. This is the state where beasts roam free. It’s the largest single slice of the lower 48, so of course, North Texas alone is going to be home to a host of hidden hiking trails, and dinosaur tracks.

Where do you want to go, what do you want to see? Should you camp by the lake? Can you run free with the horses? Do you want to learn how to fish, do you need to bring a rod?

Well take a breather, we’re here with 20 of the best places to camp, we’ll break it all down for you. It’s time to take a drive out of downtown Dallas. 

 

The sea and some cliffs in Texas.

Get ready for lake views and rocky because when you camp in Texas.

 

1. Loyd Park at Joe Pool Lake

Loyd Park is a beautiful campsite built out right on the edge of Joe Pool Lake. It’s open for RV campers, tent rough housers, and there are permanent structures for you to rent if you’re feeling fancy. The campsites are large and set up pretty far from each other, guaranteeing your privacy despite how many campers are bound to be there at the same time as you. There’s a swimming beach and docks for boats as well as plenty of restrooms and showers.

 

Pros:

  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Golf Car & Bicycle Rentals

Cons:

  • Hardcore campers might not feel like this is a great fit
  • Trails are prone to weather-related closures 

 

2. Willow Grove Park

An excellent choice for a day trip, or an overnight camping trip, Willow Grove Park is an easy escape provided to the city by the United State Army Corps of Engineers. This local gem features a convenient boat ramp for launching if you’re looking for a day out on the water. So grab a cold one, and prepare to relax. 

 

Pros:

  • Easy to find, being right off of I-35
  • A kiosk on site makes it easy to get in and out

Cons:

  • The kiosk doesn’t provide any sort of change, so either bring a card or count your cash carefully
  • The fishing pier periodically closes, so you can’t rely on this as an anytime fishing hole

 

3. Alvin Lafon’s RV Parks

Out in the heart of Lavon Lake lies a humble RV park. After a short drive over the East Lucas Road bridge, you’ll find yourself coming across Alvin Lafon’s RV park. With mailboxes, full hookups everywhere, and easy access to the lake you’ve found the perfect spot to take a load off. 

These lakeside RV sites are great for a long or short-haul. There’s a convenient laundromat here if you’re out here for a week, or making a pit stop in the middle of a cross country trip.

 

Pros:

  • Huge secure storm shelter on site
  • Full 30 and 50 amp hookups everywhere

Cons:

  • If you don’t have an RV, you’re going to have a bad time
  • If you don’t want to go kayaking or something similar, there isn’t much in the way of entertainment

 

4. Blackjack Campground

The Blackjack Campground lives inside of the lively Tyler Park. You’ll never find yourself with nothing to do. There’s an avid geocaching community, plenty of fishing, and some good paths for you hikers.

There are gifts to be bought, lures for loan, and classes to take with rangers in the park. If you bring an RV there are full hookups for you, and if you’re not up for tent camping, you can rent a cabin. 

 

Pros:

  • Tons of entertainment
  • Diverse fishing

Cons:

  • Hard to get a spot if you don’t heed their stong reservation encouragement 
  • Motorized boats are allowed, but there’s a pretty low speed limit enforced

 

5. Canton KOA

This 34-acre KOA campsite is large and in charge. You can puzzle your way out of an escape room, take a trip to the brewpub, and try your hand at the human foosball pit. If All you need is a tent and some chairs, there are more down-to-earth primitive sites for you to settle into and absorb the majesty of nature. The Canton KOA site is great for groups and extended stays or weekend getaways.

 

Pros:

  • Take part in any activity you can imagine
  • Lots of variety in your choice of campsites

 

Cons:

  • Hard to feel like you’ve really gotten away from the world
  • Popularity of this campsite means you might not find a site for yourself if you don’t make a reservation in time

 

Camping by the lake.

Lake Tawakoni State Park offers camping by the lake.

 

6. Lake Tawakoni State Park Group Camping Area

If you’ve got a group getaway planned, Lake Tawakoni has a phenomenal site for you. This campsite can accommodate around fifty people. There’s a large fire ring, easy to access trash cans, and enough tables and seats for everyone. If you’ve got more logistically complex needs, the amphitheater site has electricity, lighting, and an even larger capacity.

 

Pros:

  • Excellent infrastructure for a group outing
  • Affordable, and easy to manage

Cons:

  • Argentine ants have cropped up in this park. They don’t bite, but they can be pretty annoying if you’re not paying attention
  • If you’re not throwing an event on the scale of a wedding or a reunion, look elsewhere

 

7. Midway Landing Lake Campgrounds

Take your pick: tent camping, RV camping, primitive campsites, or busting out the lake boat. Midway Landing has it all. If you’re looking for a day on the lake, go ahead and head on over.

This is some of the quietest camping you’re liable to find anywhere near Dallas. The lake is great for fishing, the grounds give up grand bird watching, and the lake laps up lonely boats for a lovely lake lounge.

 

Pros:

  • Great for fishing fans
  • Easy access to the lake and bait

Cons:

  • You’re going to have to bring your own fun
  • You’re going to have to pick up a membership to camp and launch here

 

8. Crosstimbers Campground

Crosstimbers campground is nestled inside of the vastly entertaining Meridian State Park. Bring your RV and get hooked up. You can hike, deep dive into local history, and watch for birds. You can find a dam built by the Civilian Conservation Corps Company made up of World War I vets. Take some time to thank our troops, and reconnect to nature with a long walk at the Crosstimbers Campground.

 

Pros:

  • Great for hiking
  • Lots of fun to be had
  • You’re able to rent several types of paddling boats, like kayaks 

Cons:

  • You can’t rent a boat with a motor
  • The fishing may not be robust enough for hardcore fishers

 

9. Cedron Creek

Cedron Creek lies right next to the main channel of the Brazos River here in Central Texas. You can bring your camper, confident that you’ll find an appropriate hookup. Most of the hookups here are 30 amps with water, but you can find full hookups with 50 amps as well. Barbecue and fire rings abound. You won’t find a campsite here without a setup for easy cooking.

 

Pros:

  • Everything you need is here in this campground
  • If you want to bring a group, come on down 
  • There’s a playground!

Cons:

  • Not great for isolation

 

10. Waxahachie Creek Park

Waxahachie Creek is home to horseback riding, boating, and fishing. A short drive from the Dallas-Fort Worth area will bring you to this simple creek campground. Folks spending most of their time in the city should keep an eye out for armadillo if they haven’t had the chance to spot on. 

You don’t need to commit to staying overnight, there’s a robust day-use area if you just want a chance to grill out and take a deep breath by the creek. Waxahachie Creek Park has ramps on the shallow and deep ends eager to accommodate any boat.

 

Pros:

  • Not far from the Dallas-Fort Worth area
  • A lively lake for fishing

Cons:

  • Not all of the fishing piers are free
  • Nearby duck hunters might disturb your peaceful picnics

 

11. De Cordova Bend Park

This park lives down on the end of Lake Granbury. It’s a quaint free, and down to earth campsite. Some will say this is some of the best camping on the entire lake, and it’s hard to argue otherwise. It’s easy to access, and there’s plenty to do. The rules encourage respect for the facility, and the results of those rules are plain to see.

 

Pros:

  • A huge swimming area
  • Easy for cooking out and picnicking with your pals

Cons:

  • Pets have to stay on a leash the entire time
  • No off-roading here

 

12. Dinosaur Valley State Park

Who doesn’t love dinosaurs? Dinosaur Valley State Park is the closest you can get to Jurassic Park without getting eaten in a hubris fueled mishap. Dinosaur Valley is where you can live out your archeologist dreams, there are tracks to be found, and ancient history to marvel at.

You can bring the horses along and roam together in over 100-acres of the South Primitive Area. This Texas State Park is a must-see 

 

Pros:

  • Great for kids and adults
  • Access to Glen Rose, the “Dinosaur Capital of Texas”
  • Full of natural wonder
  • One of the most unique Texan experiences 

Cons:

  • No potable water available here, dinosaurs never got around to inventing plumbing

 

13. Ray Roberts Lake State Park

Photographers, both professional and amateur, will find that perfect shot here in Ray Roberts State Park.

With horseback riding, fishing, mountain biking, nature guide hiking, and sunset watch, the Ray Roberts Lake State Park opens its arms wide to everyone looking for a nice quiet slice of American beauty.

If you’re looking to get outside but you don’t want to rough it overnight, you can reserve a room at the Lone Star Lodge, and if you’re looking to hold a group event there are pavilions and plenty of picnic tables.

If shoreside fishing isn’t doing it for you, this is the perfect place to finally buy that fishing license, and you can take a boat out into the water for a real challenge.

 

Pros:

  • Great for field trips
  • The ranger programs are great for kids

Cons:

  • No lifeguards on duty
  • Multiuse trails mean you’re not going to be getting the miles of hiking solitude you may be looking for

 

14. Cedar Hill State Park

You don’t have to take yourself far from the DFW area to find some peace and quiet. Cedar Hill State Park is like stepping into another world.

If you choose to camp here you’ve got over three hundred developed campsites to choose from. So, glamping or camping, you’ll find something for you. There’s swimming in the lake, there’s fishing from the shore, and you can paddle out into the lake if that leaves you wanting more. If you want to take the time to explore the trails you’ll have about 1200 acres to bike or hike in.

 

Pros:

  • If you find yourself falling in love with this park, you can volunteer without having to come too far from home
  • The ranger program offers guided hikes
  • Close to The Metroplex and the Dallas area
  • Great if you’re looking for new swimming holes

 

Cons:

  • If you’re looking to put some distance between you and your normal life, this may not be far enough for you

 

15. Eisenhower State Park

Eisenhower State park appeals to the adventurers. You can take your time hiking through the woods, or bring your ATV and get your pulse pounding.

Once the excitement has settled down, you and your group can huddle up under the picnic pavilion, or rent out the recreation hall for your indoor festivities. Maybe you want to take some time for yourself and cast a line with your freshly rented rod.

If you’ve left anyone at home, Eisenhower State Park has a handful of unique souvenirs at the camp store to bring home, or you could spend that cash on a drink for the ride home.

 

Lake Mineral Wells.

Lake Mineral Wells offers some great swimming spots.

 

16. Lake Mineral Wells

Deep in the heart of cattle country, you’ll find Lake Mineral Wells. This area used to be home to a health resort, but now it’s just for your mental health.

If you find yourself making your way out here, you’ll find a rock climbing area, a beautiful lake for swimming, fishing, or boating. If you want to bring together a larger gathering, you can rent out the amphitheater.

Campers can choose from screened shelters, equestrian campsites, or several different regular campsites. 

 

Pros:

  • If you bring your horse, you can take advantage of their horse campsites
  • You can rent a boat to take out on the lake if you don’t have your own

 

Cons:

  • No lifeguards to monitor swimmers in the lake

 

18. Lake Texoma State Park

Is it Texas or is it Oklahoma? Well, it’s both. Lake Texoma State Park makes up a small section of the border between the two states. There’s swimming, camping, chances to see some breathtaking wildlife, and great hiking. You can find almost three hundred total sites dotting the park, capable of accommodating tent campers and recreational vehicles alike.

 

Pros:

  • No day-use fees
  • Marina mart with a gas station on-site

Cons:

 

  • Day-use is first come first serve
  • You’ll have to cross state lines

 

19. Cooper Lake State Park

Cooper Lake State Park has plenty of room for everyone with its two park units. You can even bring the horses. Doctors Creek up on the north side of the lake and South Sulphur on the opposite end both offer tons of activities.

You’re out far enough from the city for some prime stargazing, there’s plenty of geocaching if you want a good reason to poke around in the crannies and lots of fishing. If you’re bringing along the friends or pulling the family together you can rent the pavilion.

 

Pros:

  • Their website has an interactive trail map so you can visit before you even visit
  • Tons of activities leave no room for boredom

 

Cons:

  • The abundance of amenities may make you feel like it’s not enough to just camp
  • The equestrian trail is a little challenging in some areas

 

20. Tyler State Park

The Tyler State Park campgrounds are exactly what they need to be. You’ll find everything you need with a short perusal of their website. There are four different types of campsite to choose from, and it’s easy to suss out which ones will fit your needs. Tyler State Park is well maintained, and nearly everyone that makes their way out there comes away feeling refreshed. 

 

Pros:

  • Closer to the lake than the Blackjack Campground
  • No-fuss camping sites that are easy to find

 

Cons:

  • All of the campsites come with a two-night minimum on Fridays and Saturdays
  • Memorial and Labor days require you to commit to three nights

 

A rocky beach.

Everything may be bigger around Texas, but make sure you take in the small stuff.

 

Final Verdict:

If you’re looking for a camping spot that’ll scratch all of your itches, then DeCordova Bend will do just that. You can rent a boat or bring your own. You can hit the beach or take a sit at the fishing pier. If you’re just planning a day trip, there’s plenty to do, and you’ve got a wide selection of places to camp if you’re coming for an overnight stay. 

You might not have the opportunity to get rowdy, but it’s beautiful and serene. If you’re looking to get away for a little while, and you want something easy on your wallet, then DeCordova Bend is right there for you.

Also, don’t forget the chance to check out our awesome guide on the best hiking trails in Texas!

Bonus tip: While you’re at it, check out this video on Dinosaur Valley State Park!

 

 

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Riley Draper

Riley Draper

Riley Draper is a writer and entrepreneur from Chattanooga, Tennessee. As a world traveler, he has been to more than fifty countries and hiked some of the most elusive trails in the world. He is the co-founder of WeCounsel Solutions and has published work in both national and global outlets, including the Times Free Press, Patch, and Healthcare Global. When he's not writing, he's probably on a hiking trip or climbing in the mountains.