5 Best Places to Camp Near Dallas, Texas

The largest slice of the lower 48, Texas is home to some of the greatest camping in the country, and much of that is just a stone’s throw from Dallas. In the north of this wild state, you’ll find hidden hiking trails, dinosaur tracks, and more. 

If you want to really get back to nature, you can go all-in and choose a primitive campsite with minimal facilities and no fancy electricity hookups. Just you, your tent, and a campfire. Well, maybe a bathroom and wash facilities if you’re lucky. 

For those who don’t want to go quite that far from their home comforts, there are plenty of fully hooked up sites and even a range of fun glamping sites with yurts, cabins, or pods. If you’re a die-hard RV camper, you’ll be spoiled for choice too, with RV parks and campsites with all the hookups and amenities you could ask for. 

Our top choice for most folks is Lloyd Park at Joe Pool Lake as it offers large, well-spaced campsites for everyone from primitive tent campers to RVers and fancy glampers at a great price, with plenty of facilities on site.

Whether you want to fish, get back to nature, hunt, have fun with the kids, go looking for dinosaur fossils, or get involved in local conservation efforts, there’ll be plenty of places to stay nearby. 

And we’ve come up with 20 of the best places to camp near Dallas – all within a 2 hour drive. So choose your site from our list and plan your next big adventure.

1. Loyd Park Joe Pool Lake – Best Campsite for Families and City Access

Huge site, offering privacy without isolation

Loyd Park Joe Pool Lake

Loyd Park, on the western shore of Joe Pool Lake, is only about 35 minutes from Dallas and is a great spot for almost anyone who wants to camp without being too isolated. We loved being close enough to the city that we could easily go shopping, spend a day at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens and hit the Museum of Art. 

After a hard day’s city adventuring, we were only 35 minutes away from our fully hooked up RV site, complete with its own fire pit and concrete pad. Each site is around 1,000 square feet and has a picnic table, pavilion, grill, and fire ring. 

We had a 30-amp lakefront site, but 50 amp hookups, lakeviews, and scenic basic sites are all available. Do note though, that not all sites have sewer hookups, so if that’s a dealbreaker, make sure you double-check when you book. However, there are restrooms and shower facilities on the site, so you don’t have to go totally primitive.

It’s a huge site, covering 791 acres, and there’s plenty to do if you want to stay away from the city. We love walking, as do our dogs, so we all had a fantastic time on the scenic hiking trails—Walnut Creek Trail is stunning. The swimming beach and 5-mile kayak and canoe trail is a real treat, and if, like us, you don’t have your own kayak, you can rent one from the site pretty affordably, along with golf carts and bicycles.

There’s free Wi-Fi available, which is pretty critical for most of us today, unless you’re deliberately trying to enjoy a fully off-grid experience. If that’s you, then this campsite probably isn’t the best choice – it’s too well-connected and too close to the city. Those looking for a truly primitive, off-grid experience need to look a little further afield. 

You don’t need an RV, of course – tent campers love this site too. And, if you’re not keen on being that far removed from your creature comforts, you can stay at one of the luxury cabins or glamping yurts. 

The camp store has all the basics you’ll need and it isn’t excessively expensive, although the firewood is a little pricey and, because it’s mostly left uncovered, it gets wet—so you’re probably best to bring your own if you can.

For families with kids, Loyd Park is definitely a top contender, and not just for its proximity to the city. There are Adventure Days throughout the year that are free for campers. Activities range from hiking and swimming to survival skills, mud challenge courses, scavenger hunts, archery, fishing, and more. And, after a hard day playing or exploring, the whole family can enjoy Movies on the Beach, with a different movie showing every night at sunset. 

What I Liked:

  • Feeling of seclusion while just 35 minutes away from Dallas
  • Big, tree-screened campsites
  • Loads of activities
  • Good Sam’s Discount

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Off-gridders and primitive campers may feel this site is too connected

2. Bonham State Park

The two small campgrounds in Bonham State Park are a great place to enjoy the outdoors and explore all north Texas has to offer. It’s just over an hour away from Dallas, too, so you’re far enough from the city to feel like you’re getting a real “wild” experience, but close enough that you can spend the day adventuring in the city and enjoying some of the best food and shopping Texas has to offer.

There are two camping areas within the park, although there are only 20 pitches between them, with a maximum capacity of 8 people per pitch. You’ll find 2 full hookups and 12 campsites with electricity that are available for tent campers and RVers and a further 7 sites with electricity that are for tents only.

Bonham also caters for groups for overnight stays and days out. The overnight group camping site can hold up to 50 people and there are picnic tables, upright grills, and water spigots. If you want an adventure with more than 50 people you can book the barracks that holds up to 94 people and, for daytime gatherings, you can rent the pavilion.

While there’s no strictly primitive pitches, you don’t have to use the electric hookups, water spigots, or shower facilities if you really don’t want to. But for those who like their camping a little more civilized, Bonham is a great spot. 

We enjoyed time in the lake, with its crystal clear water and swimming beach. There’s also a little fishing pier and boat ramp, and you can rent equipment like kayaks and fishing gear from the visitor’s center during office hours. 

If you’re not keen on water activities, you can make use of the 8 miles of hiking and cycling trails. Just be aware that these are natural dirt trails that get narrow and overgrown in spots, so you’ll need long pants and good boots to avoid stings and dreaded poison ivy welts! Also note that the trails aren’t accessible after heavy rain because they’re just too boggy and muddy.

There’s also loads of supervised activities for kids so you can relax with your partner or friends while they’re having fun. Camping is available year-round, but it might be wise to book in advance due to limited space.

The campsites feature plenty of amenities, including a picnic table and fire ring so you can cook up some great food. There are also bathroom and shower facilities onsite, which we were pleased to note were immaculately clean. 

We love this little gem of a park. Sure, it’s small, but it’s one of the best places to camp near Dallas if you want to get away (but not too far away) from the hustle and bustle of the city. If you want a peaceful experience camping near Dallas, Bonham State Park is the smart choice as it tends to be fairly quiet, it’s never over-crowded, and the campsites are all secluded enough to give you a sense of privacy.

One thing that did disappoint was that the ranger station doesn’t have wood for sale, so you have to bring your own or buy some from the local Brookshire store. Also, while the water pressure is awesome in the public facilities, the pressure from spigots at the individual pitches was not good – but an amazing time was still had by all, so we really can’t complain.

What I liked:

  • Quiet and secluded
  • Not too busy
  • Lots of activities for kids
  • Beautiful clear water in the lake

What I didn’t like:

  • Poor water pressure at the campsite
  • No wood available to buy onsite
  • Trails often unavailable due to rains

3. Willow Grove Park

Willow Grove Park

Willow Grove Park is only 40 minutes away from the city, so it makes a great spot for a back to nature day trip as well as being one of our favorite campsites near Dallas. 

This campground is a nice mix of primitive pitches for tent campers and fully hooked up RV pitches with 30 and 50 Amp hookups. Do note, though, that there are only 30 spaces – 15 primitive and 15 RV spots, so during peak times, it’s best to reserve your site. 

If you are staying in an RV, you’ll be glad to know there’s a sanitation dump station onsite, too. 

Whether you’re taking a week’s vacation or you’re just having a one-day break from city life, there’s plenty to do at Willow Grove Park, even though it’s comparatively small. Spend a morning fishing on the pier, playing volleyball, watching your kids play in the sandbox or on the playground equipment. And there’s lots of good food and shopping opportunities nearby.

Because most of us are addicted to at least one aspect of digital life, there’s free Wi-Fi access so you can check in on social media, leave a review of the campsite, or visit Camping Pro Tips to figure out how to do something camping-related!! But note that the Wi-Fi isn’t always totally reliable right across the park. Some of the more remote spots and those on lower ground may not have the best signal strength, but the campsites themselves generally do have good coverage. 

The pitches are all close to the lake, which is fantastic if you love the water like we do. Plus, of course, the breeze coming in from the water helps to cool the tent’s interior a little, which is invaluable in hot weather. 

Lewisville Lake is beautiful and clear, and we made the most of the swimming beach. There’s also a boat launch, but do note that there is a launch fee, which we thought was a little disappointing. 

It’s a beautiful campground and while it has modern facilities, it seems to have an old-fashioned charm. The pitches are large, too, and there’s plenty of space between each one, so you don’t feel like you’re camping on top of your neighbor. 

Do note, though, that although Parks and Recreation staff do come out daily to clean, there’s a fair bit of litter at times, in spite of all the trash cans. Plus, with no staff onsite to supervise or work the gate, it can get a little noisy at times.

What I like:

  • Views of the lake
  • Old-fashioned campground feel
  • Lovely clear water

What I didn’t like:

  • No staff on duty
  • Can get noisy especially at weekends
  • Litter in spite of trash cans

4. Twin Coves Park and Campground

Twin Coves Park and Campground is most definitely picturesque, set on 243 acres beside Grapevine Lake. Just 35 minutes away from Dallas, this campsite offers primitive tent sites, RV spaces, and cabins, catering to campers of all types – including the glampers. 

The six primitive sites are genuinely primitive – you can’t drive right up to them, you have to walk/hike in, and there’s no electricity or running water, so if you’re looking for a rugged wilderness experience fairly close to civilization, Twin Coves Park is a smart choice. 

For those who don’t want  to rough it quite that much, there are 19 beautiful cabins and 22 concrete RV pads. 

This Dallas campground does get busy during peak times, so I’d definitely book ahead, particularly if you’re planning on going primitive. 

There’s plenty to do at the campground for those days when you don’t want to be off exploring the urban Dallas jungle. You can swim, fish, sail, or kayak on Grapevine Lake or you can relax and maybe grill a little on the scenic lake overview (with fire pit). You can rent kayaks or go a little nuts and rent a tandem kayak (what a hilarious disaster that turned out to be for us!) for use on Grapevine Lake at pretty cheap prices.

If you’re feeling competitive, there’s a grass volleyball court, disc golf course, gaga ball pit, horseshoe pit, and cornhole. There’s also a well-equipped playground for the kids and plenty of picnic tables. 

Hiking is one of our favorite activities, and the trails around Twin Coves and the wider Flower Mound area are really something special. You can hike or bike the 22.5-mile Northshore Trail or take the slightly less ambitious 13-mile Knob Hill Trail – there are plenty of photo ops on the trails. But remember, these are natural surface trails so although they’re maintained by the U.S. Corps of Engineers, they can get slippery, muddy, and downright dangerous in bad weather. 

If trekking on horseback is more your thing, there’s 9 miles of equestrian trails, too. 

Spotlessly clean restrooms and shower facilities are readily available, although they are a fair distance from the primitive sites. The staff are super-friendly and helpful, and we liked the quiet time 10pm to 7am rule. Pets are allowed, which is great as we always camp with our dogs (because we are insane love a challenge!), the RV sites are all pull-thru, and there’s a dump station for RVs on the site for extra convenience.

The camp store has all your essentials, but of course they’re a little more expensive than you’d get elsewhere. The RV sites and cabins are all fully hooked up, with 50 and 30 Amp options as well as a Satellite TV hookups and a central potable water spigot, and some of the RV sites have sewer hookups.  

Within a couple of miles, in Flower Mound itself, there are loads of high-quality eateries and plenty of shops to satisfy your vacation spending habits. 

What I liked:

  • Lovely setting and generous campsites
  • Quiet time 10pm to 7am rule
  • Fantastic hiking trails
  • Lots of hiking and activities

What I didn’t like:

  • The primitive sites are hike/walk in so you have to leave your car
  • Restroom and shower facilities are a little way away from the primitive sites

5. Cedar Hill State Park

Cedar Hill State Park

Cedar Hill State Park Campground is the closest place to camp near Dallas that made our list, at just 22 minutes away. It’s not the most well-maintained campsite, admittedly, but then it experienced a serious flood some years back and then came the year that time stood still – 2020. So it’s expected that there’s a little lack of groundskeeping maintenance in the form of overgrown hedges and weeds in some areas. 

On the plus side, it’s super close to Dallas and is a huge campground – there’s a total of 380 campsites here, and each one has a fire pit and covered picnic table. 30 of the tent sites are primitive, the rest and the RV pads are all equipped with 30 Amp hookups and standard electrical outlets along with a regular residential spigot that accepts a hose connection. For tent campers like me, if you want electricity at your picnic table, you have to bring a substantial outdoor-rated extension cable like this one because it’s a looong way from the outlet to the table.

If you’re an RVer, it’s important to note that the pads are all wildly different shapes and on some, the pad ends abruptly with a fairly significant drop on one side, so it’s important to let the park staff know what your requirements for an RV pad are when you book your site. 

There are plenty of bathroom and shower facilities all across the park. Even in the two primitive campgrounds, you’ll find a very oldschool “outhouse” for the bathroom, but do bring a cord or something with you because it really is a little ramshackle and the door doesn’t stay closed. 

Every campsite apart from the primitive ones has a fire ring, a lantern pole, and a picnic table along with a trash bin. For tent campers (not primitive tent campers) you can fit up to two cares on the concrete or asphalt pad alongside your campsite. If you want to bring more than two cars, you have to pay for an extra pitch or park your extra cars in one of the public parking lots. 

Activities are limited here – although of course there’s an abundance of nature and access to hiking and biking trails. Plus, you’re on the shore of Joe Pool Lake, so there’s ample opportunity for fishing, swimming, sailing, and kayaking. But for anything else, you’ll need to head off the site, and that’s okay by me. If you’re staying here it’s likely because of its proximity to the city anyway, so you’ll likely spend a lot of time exploring Dallas, doing touristy stuff, eating at the best restaurants, and making the most of what Dallas has to offer.

What I like:

  • Proximity to Dallas
  • Secluded campsites
  • Good electric and water hookups

What I didn’t like:

  • Lack of maintenance
  • Limited activities
  • Odd sized RV pads

How to Choose the Right Campground Near Dallas

We all know that camping is one of the best ways to get back to nature, reconnect with your family and friends, and experience a simpler life. But where should you go? With so many options in the world, it can be difficult for beginners to know what they want from their next trip. And even if you are an experienced camper who knows exactly what they need from a campsite near Dallas or anywhere else in Texas, there are still plenty of things that might make one place better than another. To help you out we’ve compiled this list of ten factors every serious camper should consider before deciding on their campground:

1. Budget

Most campsites are fairly affordable, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be right for you. Before deciding on a campground, look at your budget and think about what exactly you need. Do you need running water or do you just want to rough it? A campsite may be cheaper than a hotel, but the cost can add up if you stay awhile. Remember: the more amenities the site offers, the higher the price is likely to be. If you want all the creature comforts of home (like satellite TV and Wi-Fi), then expect to pay a little more in order to enjoy these luxuries during your time out of town.

2. Hookups

Before paying for a campsite near Dallas, make sure they have the hookups you need. Does the site offer water and electricity hookups? If so, does it cost extra? What about sewage disposal? These are all questions you’ll want to ask before choosing a site. And make sure your RV can handle the electrical hookup – do you need 50 amps or 30 amps?

3. Types of Camping Available

Are you planning to go primitive and do a total modern life detox? No phone, electricity, running water? Good for you! Make sure your campsite accommodates for primitive campers. If you want something a little more civilized though, you’ll need to make sure the tent sites have electrical hookups and a spigot for potable water. RVers need level concrete or asphalt pads to park, electrical and water hookups and with a sewer hookup or at least a sanitation dump onsite. And then there’s the glampers, for whom camping really means enjoying all their home comforts in a slightly different setting. They want to enjoy nature but not be out in it 24/7. If you fall into this camp, you need a campground that offers cabins, lodges or yurts.

4. Entertainment

Now, not everybody needs to be entertained. I, for example, am totally happy immersing myself in nature, hiking local trails, taking some amazing photos of the local wildlife in their natural habitat and chilling in the evening telling stories round the fire or enjoying a good book.

But some folks like more structured activities or access to satellite television. Maybe you’re someone who loves friendly competition so prefers a campsite with a volleyball net or a basketball court. Or maybe you want to camp lakeside so you can swim, fish, and kayak all day long. Be clear on your entertainment needs so you know when to look for when you’re choosing the best place to camp near Dallas. 

5. Proximity

Some folks want to escape the city entirely – leave their chaotic, usy life behind, and just get away for their whole vacation. Others want to be close enough to enjoy the city whenever they feel like it, so proximity to Dallas is an important factor when figuring out which campground to book. Do you want to enjoy the splendors or wild Texas, or the thrill of the city? Do you want to go wild during the day but then end up in a fancy eaterie? Or do you fall somewhere in the middle and want to dip in and out of each as the mood takes you? Make sure you think about just how close to Dallas you want to be before you book your stay.

6. Pets

Most campgrounds near Dallas are pet-friendly, but you’ll probably need to abide by some basic rules, like keeping your pup on leash and clearing up its poop. Just basic commonsense (or so you’d hope). It’s also a good idea to make sure the area is safe for your pets and that there’s no wildlife or plant life nearby likely to pose a threat to your four-legged family member. 

Whether you’re RVing or tent camping near Dallas, there are so many campgrounds to choose from. While most are fantastic in their own way, choosing the wrong campsite can ruin your whole vacation. So make sure you do your research and find one that meets all of your needs. Check reviews from other campers, check the campground’s website for facilities and amenities and make sure you use a list to check off all the things that are most important to you in a campsite, whether that’s proximity to Dallas, the ability to primitive camp, or choosing a family-friendly site that’s full of activities for the kids.

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