Texas Campgrounds Offer Diverse Activities
Campgrounds across Texas are gearing up for a busy summer camping season, and many of them are offering more activities than they’ve ever had before.
“Each year they get better at providing their guests fun things to do as a family,” Brian Schaeffer, executive director and CEO of the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO), stated in a news release. “Campgrounds now offer everything from chocolate-themed weekends with chocolate tug of war and Slip N Slide games to music and culture themed weekends that celebrate everything from Hawaiian luau limbo events to Texas Ranger-style shootouts and lassoing contests. And if you’d rather go fishing or river tubing and kayaking or take in the sights and sounds of the east Texas bayou country, there are campgrounds perfect for that, too. We even have campgrounds that offer guided horseback riding adventures, chili cook-offs, barbecue competitions and other culinary competitions.”
Here’s a sampling of some of the activities taking place at Texas campgrounds this summer:
- Twin Elm Guest Ranch in Bandera: Twin Elm Ranch is an all-inclusive Dude Ranch featuring horseback riding, three meals a day and other amenities. Four different types of lodges are available with 21 units in all. The ranch also offers primitive camping along the Medina River for those who prefer a less structured camping experience. Activities include hiking, canoeing, kayaking and horseback riding.
- Backwater Jacks RV Park and Camp in Karnack: This park is very close to the Louisiana border, just south of Arkansas, in some of the prettiest bayou country in east Texas. The park itself is located on the scenic Big Cypress Bayou, just a short distance from Caddo Lake, a wetland maze of twisting narrow bayous and both expansive and shallow waterways.
- Bluebonnet Ridge RV Park in Terrell: This campground has a five-acre fishing lake stocked with channel catfish, perch and largemouth bass. Many of the catfish are now over 8 pounds, while many of the bass are over 5 pounds, according to the park’s website. Other activities include swimming, sun bathing and working out in the park’s exercise facilities.
- Coyote Ranch Resort in Wichita Falls: Built three years ago, Coyote Ranch Resort features 123 RV sites, 23 cabins and one yurt. The resort has two swimming pools, a fishing area, a playground and a large outdoor jumping pillow. The park is also adding a pizza kitchen this year and it plans to roll out an onsite activities program for families with children this summer.
- Jellystone Hill Country in Canyon Lake: The weekend of June 7 – 9 will be a Texas Rangers Weekend with bluebonnet crafts; Texas Ranger shootouts; a lassoing contest; bouncy horse races; and contests for the biggest hat and best boots. The weekend of June 21 – 23 will also have a Western theme and will feature a best cowboy duds contest; bean spittin’ contest; and ropin’ events. On the weekend of July 19 – 21 this park will have its worst Hawaiian shirt, Hula Hoop, limbo and sandcastle making contests. There will also be poolside Karaoke and Lei making crafts. Campers will be able to see Yogi do the Hula.
- Jellystone Park at Whispering Pines in Tyler: This park will have a Hawaiian-themed weekend June 21 – 22. Guests are invited to wear grass skirts and coconut bras and compete in the best Hawaiian costume contest. There will also be Hawaiian-themed games and crafts as well as a luau bonfire and a Hawaiian dance Saturday night. On the weekend of July 12 – 13 the park will have chocolate themed activities, including a chocolate tug of war, a chocolate Slip N Slide and other chocolaty activities.
- Mill Creek Ranch Resort in Canton: This park includes RV sites as well as fully furnished park model cabins. Activities include hayrides and live entertainment every Friday night. Amenities include two swimming pools and a spa, a children’s playground, a nine-hole disc golf course, a nature trail, horseshoe pits, and basketball and volleyball courts. Bicycles are also available.
- Rusk KOA in Rusk: The big Labor Day weekend event at this park is its annual Potjie Festival, the largest South African-themed event in the U.S. The Potjie Fest, which celebrates the three legged cast iron pot, is a family event with cooking competitions.
- South Padre Island KOA on South Padre Island: In summer, children and adults typically cook marshmallows over the campfire and make yummy s‘mores on Friday evenings. On Saturdays, they enjoy a variety of activities including games, crafts, kite flying, ice cream sundae parties, and movies under the stars.
- Texas Wine Country Jellystone in Fredericksburg: This park has a heavy schedule of activities throughout the summer, including a ‘60s English rock icons parade and dance on the weekend of June 7 – 9; a Father’s Day parade and dance on Father’s Day weekend; and a ‘70s disco icons parade and dance on the weekend of Aug. 2 – 4. Wine tastings are also scheduled throughout the summer, including tastings by Pedernales Cellars on June 28 – 30; Texas Hills Vineyard on July 26 – 28; and William Chris Vineyard on Aug. 23 – 25.
- The Vineyards Campground & Cabins in Grapevine: The 93-site campground, which also has 13 park model cabins, occupies 52 acres of an 850-acre mostly wooded scenic area encircling Grapevine Lake. Kayak lessons will be offered several times throughout the summer. Other activities include outdoor movies, Segway tours, stand up paddle board lessons, candy bar bingo and fireworks every Friday night.
Based in Crowley, the Texas Association of Campground Owners is the trade association that represents campgrounds, RV parks and resorts across the Lone Star State. The association’s 2013 RV Travel & Camping Guide to Texas highlights the fact that Texas is a birders paradise and includes detailed information on campgrounds, RV parks and resorts, as well as old Western style maps. RV and camping enthusiasts can order the nearly 150-page directory online by visiting www.TexasCampgrounds.com.The 2013 RV Travel & Camping Guide to Texas is also posted on the website in digital page-turning format. For more information about the directory or camping in Texas, please call Brian Schaeffer at (817) 307-0129 or visit www.TexasCampgrounds.com and www.TexasCabinRentals.net.