This post may contain affiliate links or mention our own products, please check out our disclosure policy.

A Complete Guide To Dry Camping and Boondocking In Texas

Published on December 13th, 2023 by Terri Nighswonger
This post was updated on December 28th, 2023

Headed to Texas this season? You will find plenty of great dry camping and boondocking areas for little to no cost. The Lone Star State has many free camping options scattered from the Panhandle to the Gulf Coast.

Are you unfamiliar with dry camping and boondocking? In a nutshell, this camping style refers to staying someplace with no services or amenities, like you would find at a typical RV park. Dry camping and boondocking is often available at places such as Walmart parking lots, truck stops and rest areas, hotel parking lots, and hospital parking lots. But the best places are often found on public land, in public campgrounds, and dispersed camping areas. Texas has plenty of those options for you to enjoy. Of course like anything, dry camping boondocking in Texas includes both positive and negative aspects: 

The Pros

  • You get to see and do new things in interesting places.
  • You are free from having close contact with other RVs and people.
  • The cost is very little, if not free.

The Cons

  • You have to consider the amount of water you will need and where you might fill up.
  • There may be no place to empty your black tank.
  • Will your batteries last long enough for your needs? If not, do you have an alternative source of energy? Solar? Generator?

When you’re tired of resort style camping in Texas, boondocking can be a refreshing experience. Texas is a huge state with diverse landscapes. From deserts to mountains, marshes, beaches, and more, there are adventures around every corner.

Sign up for the newsletter today!

Please enter a valid email address.

An error occurred. Please try again later.

× logo

Thank you for subscribing to the RV Living newsletter, keep your eye on your inbox for updates.

Different types of places you can boondock in Texas include:

Wildlife Management Areas: Texas Parks and Wildlife manages 47 rural wildlife areas throughout the state, many which offer free camping.
County and City Parks: There are some county and city parks where camping is available. Camping is free, but you are required to get a permit from the county office.
National Forests: These sites offer primitive or dry camping with no picnic tables, fire rings, or other campsite amenities. There is typically a 14-day stay limit enforced here. Campers are also required to abide by the “Leave No Trace” principles.
Texas Rest Areas: You can sleep overnight at Texas rest areas. You must stay in a vehicle, and there is a 24-hour limit, but this can be an option if you need a quick nap or an overnight stay between campgrounds.

A List of My Favorite Places for Dry Camping and Boondocking in Texas

1. Big Bend National Park

Stay at Cottonwood Campground for RV-friendly boondocking at Big Bend. (Image: @Bernalillo_Girl, RV LIFE Campgrounds)
Stay at Cottonwood Campground for RV-friendly boondocking at Big Bend. (Image: @Bernalillo_Girl, RV LIFE Campgrounds)

Located in the Chihuahuan Desert, this park offers great views of the Rio Grande River, the mountains of the Chisos, and the desert. This is one of the least visited and most remote national parks in the United States. Stay at Cottonwood Campground for a true RV-friendly boondocking experience. Not even generators are allowed in this campground! Visitors can hike, backpack, or check out the awesome rock formations in the Rio Grande canyons. Because of its remote location, this area has one of the darkest skies in the U.S. – perfect for star gazing.

2. Sam Forse Collins Recreation Area

Campsite at Sam Forse Collins Recreation Area, Burkeville, Texas

Located in Burkeville, Sam Forse Collins Recreation Area borders Louisiana and offers many recreational activities, including canoeing, hiking, and exploring the Sabine National Forest. The park has restrooms and showers, water for filling your tanks, water access for swimming, a playground, picnic area, and boat ramp.

3. North Beach Padre Island National Seashore

Beach boondocking in an Airstream (Image: @Paul & Kat, RV LIFE Campgrounds)
Beach boondocking in an Airstream (Image: @Paul & Kat, RV LIFE Campgrounds)

The Padre Island National Seashore at North Beach, overlooks the Gulf of Mexico, and it’s a great place to boondock. If you stay here, you will need to monitor the high tide. From mid-June to August you can experience turtle hatchling releases. You can pack a picnic lunch, hunt for seashells, enjoy the waves, or plan a parasailing trip. Don’t miss out on some great, fresh seafood too!

Camping is permitted year-round but campers must obtain a free camping permit from the campground’s kiosk. Free showers are available at the park’s headquarters or you can dump your black tank and fill your fresh water tanks at Malequite Campground, just a few miles away.

4. Silverton Municipal Park

Enjoy the free hookups at Silverton Municipal Park.

You’ll find Silverton Municipal Park in Silverton, population 1,000 or less. This is a good place to recharge your RV batteries because the park provides free electricity and water. Check out the local restaurants or visit Lake Mackenzie, Caprock Canyons State Park, or Comanchero Canyons State Park. The restaurant, Something Different by Kay, is just across the street with an extensive menu and friendly locals.

5. Fort Anahuac Park

An easy overnight boondocking stay at Fort Anahuac Park.

Here at Fort Anahuac Park, located on Trinity Bay, you’ll find grassy, waterfront camping. Just be sure and register at the commissioner’s office about a mile away. Signs indicate that all RVs must be self-contained. You can fish from the pier, play ball in the park, or check out nearby Galveston for attractions such as Moody Gardens, Galveston Seawall, Schlitterbahn Waterpark, or Pleasure Pier.

6. Fritch Fortress Campground

Camp overnight without hookups near Amarillo.

Boondocking in Texas hits a high note at Fritch Fortress Campground. Near Lake Meredith, close to Amarillo, this campground sits atop a cliff that towers over the lake. Boating and fishing are abundant here and the cliff views are amazing. The campground has covered pavilions, picnic tables, and grills. A modern bath house offers four private rooms with hot showers and flushable toilets. Sites are large enough for Class A RVs and a dump station and fresh water are available. 

7. Brazoria County Beach

Free camping on the coast in Texas

Brazoria County Parks have everything from hardwood forests to sandy beaches, pristine bays, and bayous. The park system includes 10 parks, 23 miles of beaches, 21 boat ramps, two RV campgrounds, historical homes, interpretive centers, playgrounds, horseshoe/volleyball pits, and picnic areas. One can also find great fishing, camping, paddling and birding.

The beach has hard-packed sand and plenty of room. In the town of Surfside Beach there are lots of places to eat and several local bars.

8. Bolivar Flats Free Beach

Bolivar Flats Free Boondocking (Image: @Running From Normal, RV LIFE Campgrounds)
Bolivar Flats Free Boondocking (Image: @Running From Normal, RV LIFE Campgrounds)

Located in Bolivar Peninsula just outside of Galveston, the Bolivar Flats Free Beach boondocking site requires a $10 permit which is good for the year. The sand is packed, making this beach viable for larger rigs. Don’t forget the bug spray for mosquito protection!.

The peninsula offers a range of activities, including shopping and dining, birdwatching, and the Bolivar Lighthouse, and Fort Travis, which at one time, protected the Galveston Harbor entrance.

With a little planning, the rewards for staying at these out-of-the-way campsites are many. Generally, you have peace and quiet with few RV neighbors – and of course, you can’t beat the cost!

About the Author: