Boondocking in Texas is quite an easy task. After all, this gigantic state has over 268,000 square miles of space. And while some huge cities, such as Dallas, Ft. Worth, and Houston, occupy a portion, a good majority are natural landscapes. Boondocking in this state works perfectly for a getaway to the shores of the Gulf Coast, the piney forests of Texas Hill Country, or the vast grasslands.
What Is Boondocking?
But first, what is boondocking? Some refer to this activity as dry camping, dispersed camping, and free camping. Simply, it means camping without hookups or in a designated campground with amenities.
Most people associate boondocking with free camping; however, it is not always free. Some sites will require a camping fee, while others lie within a national park, so you’ll need a pass. And while some locations do require a fee, most boondocking in Texas is free.
→ If you’re new to Boondocking, start here: Important Things To Know Before You Go Boondocking
Is Boondocking Allowed in Texas?
You can go boondocking in Texas. Here, you’ll find sites just outside of a bustling city, in a wilderness area, or next to a pristine lake. Or how about beachfront housing? With 367 miles of coastline, you can even boondock on or near the beach.
Just make sure to follow boondocking rules, including parking only on public and overnight parking-approved property.
10 Best Places for Boondocking in Texas
From the Texas Hill Country and the Gulf to forested regions just outside of the big cities, you can find boondocking in Texas for many experiences. We’ve got ten of the best places to go listed right here for you.
1. Port Aransas Beach
Address: 27.8225, -97.0591
About: You can’t beat this beach camping spot in Port Aransas, Texas. You will need to purchase an annual permit for $12, which most nearby shops sell. Once you have that, you can park at this beach boondocking site and many others without any added charges.
The beach has hard-packed sand, so most size rigs can safely drive and park directly on the beach for true beachfront living. However, you can only stay for three nights. And with portable toilets, trash receptacles, and showers to rinse off the sand, you may feel at home here.
Why You’ll Like This Boondocking Site: Port Aransas boondocking has miles of beach to explore. At night, you can stargaze or sit around a campfire while listening to the waves. You can get great cell service and walk to nearby shops and restaurants — the best of both worlds.
Morton Road Trip Rating: 9.5
2. Elephant Mountain WMA
Address: 30.0357, -103.5679
About: Elephant Mountain Wilderness Management Area (WMA) offers a beautiful place to stay for free just an hour’s drive north of Big Bend. However, the Texas WMA requires everyone 17 and older to have a usage stamp to stay here.
You can purchase them at various stores in the nearby town of Alpine for $12. You won’t find any amenities here, including no cell service, but you can get away from it all.
Why You’ll Like This Boondocking Site: You’ll find hiking, biking, and jeep trails, in the middle of vast, wide-open spaces. You’ll have great views, including Elephant Mountain.
Morton Road Trip Rating: 7
Pro Tip: Stay alert while boondocking by keeping an eye out for these 5 Boondocking Red Flags Telling You to Move On.
3. Boca Chica Beach
Address: 25.9969, -97.151
About: Boca Chica Beach offers camping right on the shore for free. You’ll find it where the Rio Grande meets the Gulf of Mexico, near Brownsville, Texas. You won’t have any amenities here. Additionally, be careful of high tide here, which can be higher than you think with no warning.
Why You’ll Like This Boondocking Site: Some may miss the services like nearby shops and restaurants. But if you want to boondock in Texas to disconnect, you may love this spot. You may get spotty cell service depending on the carrier. You can enjoy a beautiful beach sunset from your campfire.
Morton Road Trip Rating: 8
4. McBride Canyon & Mullinaw Creek Camp
Address: 35.5443, -101.7339
About: Just north of Amarillo, Texas, you’ll find an unexpected gem. McBride Canyon and Mullinaw Creek Camp lie in the Lake Meredith National Recreation Area.
This boondocking site in Texas is more organized than pulling up onto the sand on the beach with its level sites, fire rings, toilets, and adequate cell service.
Why You’ll Like This Boondocking Site: This is the site for you if you love the mountains and forested regions. With Lake Meredith a short drive away, you’ll have easy access to hiking, fishing, and various other outdoor activities.
Morton Road Trip Rating: 8.6
5. Game Warden Slough
Address: 32.8356, -98.9742
About: The Game Warden Slough sits near Hubbard Creek Reservoir just west of Dallas/Ft. Worth on the north end of the lake. Getting here requires a short drive down a dirt road, but with care, almost any size camper can access this Texas boondocking site.
Here you can stay for seven days, and with great cell service, bathrooms, picnic tables, and garbage cans, you’ll have everything you need for the entire week.
Why You’ll Like This Boondocking Site: Most boondocking sites do not have any amenities, so you may love finding one that does. Plus you can enjoy lakeside camping, a swimming area, and a boat ramp.
Morton Road Trip Rating: 9.0
6. Neches Bluff Overlook
Address: 31.5669, -95.1635
About: Neches Bluff Overlook is another beautiful forested boondocking site in Texas for those that love the mountains and the trees. Located in between Dallas and Houston, just east of Waco, you’ll feel a million miles away instead of only a few.
Neches Bluff Overlook is the main trailhead access point for the 4C hiking trail amid the pine forest. It has adequate cell service, pit toilets, and fire pits for your convenience.
Why You’ll Like This Boondocking Site: This Texas boondocking site is golden because of the forested campground, nearby creek, and a 20-mile hiking trail right outside your door.
Morton Road Trip Rating: 8.5
7. Brazoria Beach
Address: 28.9779, -95.2527
About: You can find amazing beach boondocking at Brazoria Beach in Surfside Beach, Texas. The area has hard-packed sand, making it suitable for all rigs. You can stay here for up to 14 days, with access to porta-potties and trash receptacles.
Why You’ll Like This Boondocking Site: What’s not to like about free camping directly on the beach? You’ll always have memories of your time spent wandering the miles of beach while watching the sunrise, the stars, and conversing around campfires. Plus, you can get excellent cell service.
Morton Road Trip Rating: 9.2
Pro Tip: Ready to explore rough terrain while in Texas? Find out Where Can You Go Overlanding in Texas?
8. Millers Creek Reservoir
Address: 33.4193, -99.38
About: Just east of Lubbock, Texas, you’ll find Millers Creek Reservoir, a cozy little lake area with spots for almost any size rig and a paved road in. You’ll have spotty cell service, but it does have trash cans and porta-potties at the boat ramp.
Why You’ll Like This Boondocking Site: Lakeside camping with nothing but the stars above and the water next to you is a beautiful way to boondock in Texas. Texas has a lot to offer no matter where you go.
Morton Road Trip Rating: 8.8
9. South Beach on Padre Island National Seashore
Address: 27.4155, -97.3016
About: You may love boondocking in Texas right on Padre Island National Seashore. It has miles of hard-packed sand to camp on, making it another great place for beach camping for almost any size rig.
However, it is a national seashore, so you’ll have to pay an entrance fee unless you have a national parks pass. Additionally, you’ll need to get a free camping permit at the park entrance station or kiosk. Once you’ve done all that, you can enjoy your stay here for up to 14 days. And while you’ll get spotty cell service, the views may make you forget that.
Why You’ll Like This Boondocking Site: You can enjoy water lapping your feet right from your campsite. You’ll have 60 miles of beach to explore. Stop by the visitors center, complete with exhibits, flush toilets, and rinse showers. What more could you ask for when boondocking in Texas on the beach?
Morton Road Trip Rating: 9.6
→ Looking for beach camping in Texas? Find the best spots here.
10. Forest Road 904 Dispersed Camping
Address: 33.3632, -97.5897
About: Just outside of Dallas/Ft. Worth, you’ll find a respite from the city at this free Texas boondocking site on Forest Road 904. stay on County Road 2461, located in the Lyndon B. Johnson National Grassland, for access to your choice of shaded areas with plentiful trees or wide-open spaces.
Why You’ll Like This Boondocking Site: This is a great site because of its proximity to the city, yet far enough away. You won’t have any amenities except for adequate cell service. Additionally, you can visit Black Creek Reservoir two and a half miles away for more outdoor recreational opportunities.
Morton Road Trip Rating: 8.4
Where Can You Camp Free in Texas?
Everything’s bigger in Texas. And that holds true for boondocking in Texas. You can camp directly on the beach in the Gulf or hide under the pine trees in the Texas Hill Country. You’ll find many adventures here. Boondocking is just bigger and better in Texas.
Where from our list do you want to go boondocking first? Drop a comment below!
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