When camping in Texas, there are several mistakes you could make. Camping in the second-largest U.S. state can be incredible, but you want to be safe and get the most out of your camping experience. A Texas-size mistake can quickly derail your trip and have you packing up to head home.
To help you have a great time, we’ve compiled 11 mistakes people make while camping in Texas so you can avoid making them. Let’s get started!
About Camping in Texas
The Lone Star state is giant, and with 400+ private parks, it can be easy to find a place for camping in Texas. The state has six different regions (West Texas, South Texas, Gulf Coast, Central Texas, North Texas, and East Texas. Each is unique and provides a spectacular camping experience.
Camping in various regions means preparing for different types of weather and climates. While you’ll find many wildflowers, evergreen trees, and plains in East Texas, the state transitions to a desert the further west you travel.
In the summer, South Texas has intense humidity. There’s a threat of hurricanes on the southern coast, but North Texas will have you watching for funnel clouds and tornadoes.
Then there’s camping in the Gulf Coast region, which features some of the best beach boondocking you’ll find in the country. Central Texas is often home to some of the largest RV parks in the entire state.
No matter which of the six regions you’re planning to see while camping in Texas, you need to soak in the culture. Look for local places to eat and experiences to help you learn more about the Lone Star State. You may even need to stop by and get fitted for some boots and pick out a cowboy hat to fit the part.
11 Mistakes People Make When Camping in Texas
While Texas is often known for everything being big, we don’t want you to make big mistakes on your trip. We’ve compiled a list for you of some of the biggest mistakes people make when camping in Texas. Let’s take a look!
1. Underestimating the Texas Heat
While Texas is a large state, the average high temperatures in summer range from 86 to 98 degrees Fahrenheit–that’s an average, and temperatures often exceed it. Texas has seen highs of 120 degrees on two separate occasions; you don’t want to be anywhere near that kind of heat in a tent or even an RV with air conditioning.
If you want to be outdoors in the summer, the heat and humidity could be dangerous to your health. You’ll need plenty of fluids to keep yourself hydrated if you do venture outside and avoid spending too much time out in the full sun.
2. Going Without Bug Spray
One of the best parts of camping is getting to spend time outside. However, camping in Texas means spraying everyone liberally with bug spray. Whether it’s mosquitos or flies, they could quickly ruin your camping trip without the proper measures in place.
Along with bug spray, bring other bug deterrents like netting, citronella candles, tiki torches, wasp traps, and more. You may wind up spending more time inside than outside if you don’t take a few precautions!
3. Forgetting Your Poisonous Plants
When they say don’t mess with Texas, they don’t mean just the people. There are over 20 different types of plants found in Texas that are poisonous, including poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac.
A poisonous plant is anything that can cause illness, injury, or death if eaten, swallowed, touched, or inhaled. If you don’t know what kind of plant it is, we’d avoid touching, inhaling, or eating it.
Familiarize yourself and those you’ll be camping with the dangerous plants where you’ll be camping. While not every poisonous plant is deadly, you don’t want an itchy rash or an ER visit ruining your entire camping trip.
4. Not Having a Plan for Severe Weather
If you’ve never experienced Texas’s severe weather, it’s not exactly fun. Massive hail, tornados, and even hurricanes are all possibilities when you’re camping in Texas.
Make sure you have a plan and can receive alerts when it comes to severe weather. If you’re staying in a campground, know where to go in case of an emergency. You likely won’t have to use it, but having this plan in place will add a little comfort to a chaotic situation.
5. Being Unaware of Reptiles and Critters
Texas is a tough state, with even tougher reptiles and other critters. Did you know that Texas has the second-highest number of poisonous reptiles? When it comes to snakes, you’ll find copperheads, cottonmouths, and rattlesnakes. Make noise when hiking and listen for the warning signs. And only put your feet and hands in places you can see.
However, Texas is also home to the black widow. The male black widow is nothing to worry about, but the female will most definitely ruin your day. A bite from a black widow can be deadly, so look out around woodpiles and outdoor toilets.
6. Walking Around Barefoot
It can be a pain to stop and put your shoes on before making a quick trip to grab something outside. However, it’s more painful if you happen to step on one of the many thorny plants or fire ant piles.
Let’s not forget about the 105 different species and subspecies of snakes, 15 of which are dangerous to humans. Do yourself a favor and always wear your shoes whenever you walk around outside.
7. Overlooking Bureau of Land Management Camping
Texas has over 400 private campgrounds, and one of the biggest mistakes people make is not looking outside the many campgrounds. Camping in Texas on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands usually gives you plenty of room to spread out and enjoy the big skies and gorgeous landscapes.
Not only are the views a highlight, but you can also save a tremendous amount of money. If you can boondock, you may not have to pay anything to camp on these lands. Who doesn’t like a free campsite?
8. Failing to Reserve Popular Campgrounds in Advance
Gone are the days where you can pull up to your favorite campground and snag a great site. If you’re planning to camp in a popular campground, you’ll often need to make reservations months in advance. This is becoming more common due to the massive explosion in the RV market in the past few years. If you’re hoping to camp in a popular campground on a holiday weekend, you better plan a year in advance or as early as the park allows.
9. Skipping Big Bend National Park
While many visitors take advantage of the opportunity to visit Big Bend National Park, far too many make the mistake of not visiting Big Bend Ranch State Park. It’s the largest state park in Texas and has 238 miles of hiking, biking, and horse riding trails. If you prefer a four-wheel-drive trail and have a high-clearance vehicle, there are 70 miles worth of unmaintained roads for you to explore.
If you choose to stay at one of the primitive sites or the Sauceda Bunkhouse, you can enjoy some of the darkest skies in all of Texas. Don’t make the same mistake as so many others–put Big Bend Ranch State Park on your list!
10. Not Trying Primitive Camping
With so much open land, there’s an abundance of opportunities for primitive camping in Texas. Whether it’s for your entire trip or not, don’t pass up the chance to try primitive camping. It allows campers to connect with nature and experience a mockup of life in Texas before modern days.
There are plenty of places to camp in campgrounds, so don’t let them tempt you to avoid primitive camping. The best opportunity will be in the fall or winter when there are cooler temperatures, and you won’t need to rely on air conditioning nearly as much.
11. Ignoring the Starry Sky
With so many activities to keep you busy, it’s easy to enjoy an early night. However, if you don’t take the opportunity on a clear night to gaze up at the millions of stars that fill the night sky, you’re missing out.
Find a secluded place away from light pollution and watch for a shooting star or use a telescope to gaze at the moon. Many star-gazing groups organize meet-ups to gaze at the stars as a group. Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to meet new people and learn about the cosmos.
Be Informed When Planning Your Texas Camping Trip
No matter where you visit, be informed when planning your next Texas camping trip. You don’t need a set detailed schedule for how you’ll spend every hour, but it helps to have a list of things you’d like to do in the area.
You don’t want to miss out on the best things in the area or find yourself in the ER because you didn’t take proper precautions. Texas camping can be incredible, and planning helps make it so.
Do you plan to take a camping trip soon through Texas?