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Best Texas State Parks

Old Apr 12th, 2004, 04:24 AM
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Jayne1973
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Best Texas State Parks

Hi- I live in the Dallas area and am trying to get out tent camping more than my usual once a year. Prefer camp sites that aren't too close together or to RV sites. I'd love to hear from other tent campers about their favoritie state parks (or other camp grounds with decent bathrooms and showers available) and some interesting things about those sites.
 
Old Apr 12th, 2004, 08:51 AM
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Blanco State Park near San Antonio. Blanco river swimming is calm and wonderful (like a big swimming pool), w/a big old rope tied to a tree to swing off of.
Perdenales (sp?) State Park for hiking and the river (HOT in summer, my dog burned his paws on the rocks while hiking w/me)
Inks Lake too.
I've had great tent camping in all of those.
Big Bend. Further for you, requires a longer trip, but such an experience. Too hot in summer- hot in spring but beautiful then. Beautiful in late fall.
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Old Apr 12th, 2004, 09:46 AM
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Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose is an easy drive from Dallas and has nice campsites and a separate RV area. There are hundreds of acres of land for hiking, and hunting for dinosaur footprints in the Paluxy River. We used to camp there years ago when I was a kid, and it is still a great state park.

Garner State Park in Uvalde is also really nice. It's a longer drive from Dallas, but is still very do-able for a long weekend. It's one of the nicest state parks in the system.

In Oklahoma, Beaver's Bend State Park is gorgeous. It's near Broken Bow in the SE part of the state so it's not a far drive from Dallas. Nice big trees, lakes, etc.
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Old Apr 12th, 2004, 01:54 PM
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emd: I have never heard of Blanco State Park-- sounds great. How is the tent camping?
ChristieP: I have been hearing of Garner State Park half my life and still have never been. It's just the mileage that keeps me away, plus I've heard it's so popular it can be hard to get a reservation. I've been to Dinosaur Valley as a day trip but never camped. Inks was actually my very first camping experience -- wow was it fun.
There are several nice parks (like Cedar Hill) around Dallas but it kind of spoils the fun when a jet flies overhead.
 
Old Apr 12th, 2004, 03:50 PM
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re Balnso: tent sites look nice- but I have only stayed in the cabins (really more like bare bones shelters to keep out bugs and give you a chance to walk around and they are cheap). If you call the park I'm sure you can get a response on th etent sites.
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Old Apr 12th, 2004, 03:51 PM
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Just an hour from you is Cooper Lake State Park, between Sulphur Springs and Cooper. Exit north on Hwy 19 and follow signs. There are actually two units--one on the south side and one on the north.

Cooper Lake is one of the newest in the state set in a huge oak forest. They have nice shower/restrooms, fishing piers, fish cleaning stations, play grounds, and swimming beaches with sand.

I know you want to tent camp but FYI, they also have very nice cabins and screen buildings to stay in.
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Old Apr 12th, 2004, 03:52 PM
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oops, that's Blanco on that last post
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Old Apr 12th, 2004, 05:26 PM
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Jayne,
Do go to Garner! It's only a 6-hour drive, and on a 4-day weekend, that would be no big deal at all. Yes, reservations can be hard to come by since it is SO popular! But there's a good reason for it...
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Old Apr 12th, 2004, 05:41 PM
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Daingerfield was nice, not been for several years but don't suppose it's changed much. Another great spot is Lake Murray State Park near Ardmore, OK. Has camping areas as well as good little cabins. I've seen Eisenhower (Texoma)recommended but know little about it.
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Old Apr 13th, 2004, 06:02 AM
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Connie: Cooper Lake is new to me, too, and so close! There's not a power plant near it, is there? I've run into that at two state parks.

emd: I've heard Daingerfield is beautiful... how far from Dallas? Never braved Big Bend but liked Davis Mountains. Were the Blanco "cabins" you talked about screen shelters?

pspercy: I've done Texoma and it was nice... there's a little swimming beach and even some small caves. Never tried Murray for tent camping, but stayed in some really nice big (and not cheap) cabins. Was just in the Witchita Mountains last weekend... beautiful, lots of buffalo and deer and a beautiful old CCC dam that we discovered on a hike.

ChristieP: I wonder how long in advance I'd have to reserve to get sites at Garner.

Other questions: Do any of these locations have park stores or sell ice?
Does anyone know of any especially good ranger programs or activities worth planning a trip around?

Thanks so much for your replies!
 
Old Apr 13th, 2004, 12:11 PM
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Cooper Lake is a reservoir lake for the surrounding area, including Dallas---no power plant.

Half the lake was left with trees standing for excellent bass fishing. The other half was cleared for water sports. There are several boat ramps, one right next to a camping area.

For ranger programs, maps, reservations, directions, etc., you can go to the Texas Parks & Wildlife site www.tpwd.state.tx.us

They have ice at the ranger office and there is a store/cafe/bait shop on the road going into the park.
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Old Apr 13th, 2004, 12:14 PM
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Feel free to email me with any questions. I live and teach just down the road from the lake and have pretty fair knowledge of it--or can find out.
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Old Apr 14th, 2004, 05:27 AM
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Thanks so much, Connie. I am going to check this one out. Will email if I need more info. So glad it doesn't have a power plant!
 
Old Apr 14th, 2004, 05:45 AM
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We like Inks Lake SP near Marble Falls. We always do the "Water Only" sites, which are more wooded and some quite a distance from the others. (#311, 310, 317 - our fave) Problem is, you have to get there early maybe on a Mon/Tues/Wed to get those best sites. But really, there are several good water only sites. The water only sites are on the other side of the park, opposite the water and electric and where the big RVs are. Don't care for that other side at all. Crowded, loud...

However, there is good hiking, water falls, etc on the other side of the park.

We get up early and walk to the dock (at the end of the road by the water only sites) and fish. Then we walk to the other side of the park and rent a canoe for the weekend. Many of the water only sites are "waterfront" and you can just pull your canoe up to the shore and your site for the night.

Lots of hiking, swimming, etc. I wish we went more too.

I've heard SO much about Garner too. Went once in the off season with a group of women years ago. Need to go with the family this summer for sure.
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Old Apr 14th, 2004, 07:21 AM
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Austin, thanks for the details on Inks. I love the idea of canoeing up to the site! I think I need to go camping and stay for about a week just to chill out, wear a hat and get dirty! hehe
 
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