Don Swander originally sang, “The stars at night are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas.” What better way to enjoy the stars than to stay the night at one of the below Texas State Park cabins. Plan a family getaway to spend some time together, enjoying the big, beautiful sky full of stars.
All state parks participate in the Junior Ranger program. Complete a certain number of activities (depending on her age) to earn a Junior Ranger pin. Check out the Junior Ranger Explorer Packs, each backpack comes with a pair of binoculars and a magnifying glass; an animal tracking key and guides to flowers, birds, butterflies, trees, rocks, wildflowers and plants; and pencil, crayons and watercolors along with a journal and sketchbook.
Texas allows free fishing without a license or stamps in 70 Texas state parks. If you don’t have any fishing gear, you can borrow some through the tackle loaner program.
Balmorhea State Park
Balmorhea State Park is located on 45.9 acres in the foothills of the Davis Mountains southwest of Balmorhea in Reeves County. The 77,053 square ft San Solomon Spring is the focal point of Balmorhea State Park. In 1934, CCC men crafted a 1.3-acre pool around the springs, along with a concession building, two bathhouses, San Solomon Courts, and other improvements in the park. They used local limestone and fashioned adobe bricks for building materials. The pool is one of the world’s largest spring-fed pools with water almost crystal clear.
Check out the San Solomon Courts, sixteen motel rooms have three queen beds to sleep families of 6.
Bastrop State Park
Bastrop State Park is located 32 miles southeast of Austin in Bastrop County. Over 75,000 acres of loblolly pines, known as the Lost Pines ecosystem, lie scattered across sections of five counties on the Texas Coastal Plain. Bastrop and Buescher state parks protect a portion of this pine forest. Your family can camp, picnic, swim, ride bikes, hike, fish, geocache, take in a nature program, and look for wildlife. Enjoy fishing in the ½-acre Lake Mina. Avoid the hassle of having to go out and purchase all the necessary finishing equipment because Bastrop State Park will lend it all to you and no fishing license is required because it is a community fishing lake. The Bastrop State Park Swimming Pool is the perfect place to relax and cool off during the warm months of May to September. Managed by the Bastrop YMCA, the pool offers aquatic programs such as public/private swim lessons for youth and adults, aqua fitness programs, party rentals, and lap swimming.
Bastrop offers cabins with kitchens, bathrooms, and air conditioning. Two cabins, #3 and #9, will sleep families of 6. One cabin, #12, will accommodate families of up to 8. Reservations for a Friday or Saturday must include both nights; holiday weekends must also include the holiday.
Caddo Lake State Park
The first piece of information to know is that alligators live in the park. That may or may not be a deal-breaker for you. Located on the Texas/Louisiana border, Caddo Lake covers 25.400 acres. Because the vegetation is so lush, much of the lake is really a maze of sloughs, bayous, and ponds. At Caddo Lake State Park, you can fish, paddle, hike, picnic, and go boating.
Cabins are approximately 1/2 mile from the waterfront. Cabins (#1, #5, and #9) are 800 square feet and have 2 bedrooms with 1 double bed in each room, A/C, heat, bathroom with shower and hot water, refrigerator, 2 burner stove, microwave, and a gas fireplace. Eating and cooking utensils are not provided. Bring your own bedding for the 5th and 6th persons; so not permanent bedding for six, but we’re including this park on the list.
Cooper Lake State Park
Located northwest of Dallas, Cooper Lake State Park features Doctors Creek (on the north side of the lake) and South Sulphur (on the south side. The park sits where the Tallgrass Prairies and Post Oak Savannah ecosystems meet. The rolling hills of Cooper Lake State Park, from the steeper hills of the South Sulphur Unit to the more gradual slopes of the Doctor’s Creek Unit, offer spectacular views of Cooper Lake. You can fish, picnic, swim, boat, water-ski, hike, bike, and bird watching.
Six cabins will sleep families of 6 with two double beds and a futon couch. Cabins include kitchens, an air conditioning unit, and indoor plumbing. Linens and towels are not provided.
Daingerfield State Park
Daingerfield State Park, in Morris County southwest of Texarkana, is a 550.89-acre recreational area including an 80-surface-acre lake. The park has a fishing pier and boat ramp. Borrow fishing equipment to use in the park at the Boathouse. Bring your own bait or purchase worms at the park store. Rent paddle boats, paddleboards, canoes, kayaks (single and tandem), and flat-bottom boats. Life jackets and paddles are included.
The park has one cabin that will sleep six with 3 double beds. The cabin has three bedrooms, one bathroom, and a kitchen with a two-burner stove but no oven. Bring your own linens, towels, cooking utensils, dishes, and silverware, as they are not provided.
Bass Lodge has five bedrooms: one bedroom with a double bed, one bedroom with one double and one twin, two bedrooms with three twins, and one bedroom with two twins. It also has two baths, a living room, and kitchen. The living room has four dining tables, 15 dining chairs, and two bench seats. It does not have a couch. Bring your own linens, towels, cooking utensils, dishes, and silverware, as they are not provided. Sleeps 13 and can accommodate up to 15 people.
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Davis Mountains State Park
An iconic state park in the rugged high desert of Far West Texas. Mile high views, dark night skies, hiking, birding, scenic drives, CCC history, and more.
Indian Lodge is a full-service hotel, with 39 rooms, a restaurant, and a swimming pool. This historic hotel was built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Only one room will sleep 6. Lodge Room #121 is located in the Historic Section with furniture built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). This room is known as the Lady Bird Johnson Suite. Amenities include an in-room coffee pot, hairdryer, and cable TV. This room has a bedroom with two double beds and a sitting room that has a sleeper sofa that opens to a double bed. There are two TVs – One in the sitting room and one in the bedroom. No kitchen facilities are available.
Galveston Island State Park
Just an hour from Houston, Galveston Island State Park offers four miles of trails, paddling trails, and fishing. The park is a great place to enjoy the beach, the gulf, and the bay. The Galveston Island State Park was named one of the top 5 “Best Gulf Coast Beaches” by Travel Channel in 2013. Families can enjoy kayak tours, beach and surf explorations, bird walks, nature field trips, and fishing clinics at no cost.
Lodging for big families includes Ranch House which sleeps families of six in 3 bedrooms with a queen and 4 twin beds. A full kitchen, central A/C and heat, and washer and dryer are included. You will need to bring cooking and eating utensils, linens, and pillows.
The Stewart House sleeps families of up to 8 with a queen and four full-sized beds in two bedrooms. The cabin features a kitchen, central A/C and heat, and washer and dryer.
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Hill Country State Natural Area
Tucked away in the rugged terrain southwest of Bandera is Hill Country State Natural Area, an undeveloped and secluded retreat. Approximately 40 miles of multi-use trails wind up grassy valleys, cross spring-fed streams, and climb limestone hills. Explore over 5,000 acres of rugged canyons, scenic plateaus, and tranquil creek bottoms at this former ranch northwest of San Antonio.
Group Lodge – This 1930s ranch house has four bedrooms and a kitchen and is available to equestrian and non-equestrian users. It has beds for nine people. Up to 12 can sleep in the house (bring cots for extra people). Up to 30 people can be in the area, including those sleeping inside and camping outside. Tents are allowed and five electric-only RV hookups are available. No linens or cooking utensils are provided.
Lake Brownwood State Park
The park sits on the shore of the 7,300-surface-acre Lake Brownwood. The lake was created by damming Pecan Bayou which is a tributary of the Colorado River. Reel in a fish, explore the lake by boat, or go for a swim. You can also water ski, Jet Ski, and paddle.
Loma Vista Lodge sleeps 8 with four double beds in two bedrooms. Fisherman’s Lodge will sleep 10 with a double in each of the five bedrooms. The Beach Lodge can sleep 26 with two large dormitory bedrooms with bunk beds, 12 in one and 14 in the other.
Mother Neff State Park
Along a scenic stretch of the Leon River southwest of Waco lies Mother Neff State Park, one of Texas’ earliest state parks. Isabella Elanor Neff donated six acres of land in 1916 which became the first park site and the inspiration for the state parks program. Trails leading to a scenic overlook, a pond, and a playground.
The Lodge sleeps up to 8 people inside the cabin and another 8 are allowed to sleep outside in tents. It has four bedrooms with four twin beds, one full bed, and a king-sized bed. The cabin has a full kitchen, but you will need to bring cooking and eating utensils, dish-washing supplies, and a coffee maker, as well as linens, towels, and pillows.
Possum Kingdom State Park
The park is located in the rugged canyon country of the Palo Pinto Mountains and Brazos River Valley. It is adjacent to Possum Kingdom Lake, with 20,000 acres of clear, blue water. The picturesque cliffs and 310 miles of shoreline offer shelter from the Texas winds for skiing, snorkeling, tubing, wakeboarding, and more. Possum Kingdom State Park also offers hiking, biking, nature study, and fishing. Watercraft rentals are available at nearby marinas.
The park has one cabin that will sleep families of up to 8 with four double beds in two bedrooms. The Longhorn Lodge overlooks the fishing pier. Bring your own cooking utensils, bed and bath linens, as they are not provided.
Sea Rim State Park
At the far southeast corner of Texas lies a remote and unique coastal park. Sea Rim State Park has 5.2 miles of Gulf shoreline and 4,000 acres of marshlands. Sea rim is where salt marsh meets the sea, hence the park’s name. Fish in the surf or in the marsh areas. Paddle one of our trails, from the 1.79-mile easy trail to the 9.59-mile advanced trail.
One cabin is available that sleeps six. Bedding consists of two bunk beds of a single over double. The cabin is adjacent to the park’s boat ramp and has a scenic view down the marsh canal. You must provide your own bedding, cooking, and eating utensils.
Village Creek State Park
Village Creek State Park’s 1,090 heavily forested acres are located in the Hardin County town of Lumberton, 10 miles north of Beaumont. The park sits along Village Creek, one of the few free-flowing creeks in Texas.
The park offers one cabin that sleeps 8. However, it is currently closed and awaiting a remodel.
Texas State Parks with Group Lodging, great for family reunions:
Big Bend Ranch State Park
This remote park features rugged mountains, steep canyons, amazing views, unparalleled night skies, and solitude in a high desert setting. The park stretches along the Rio Grande in far west Texas, on the U.S.-Mexico border. The park has 238 miles of multiuse trails (for hiking, biking, and riding horses). Explore 70 miles of unmaintained dirt roads in high-clearance four-wheel-drive vehicles. The Rio Grande/Rio Bravo area offers great day-use access. Float, fish and hike, or drive the scenic Camino del Rio (FM 170). Spend some time at the nearby world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool at Balmorhea State Park.
Although the park doesn’t have cabins for big families, I’m including the Sauceda Bunkhouse which sleeps 30 for family reunions. The Sauceda Bunkhouse is a former hunting lodge built in the 1960s. It holds up to 30 people bunkhouse-style – men on one side and women on the other. The Bunkhouse kitchen is a community kitchen but does not have central heat and air conditioning.
Estero Llano Grande State Park
The North Complex has five bunkhouses that can accommodate up to 80 people. The South Complex is one large building with six bedrooms with 3 bunk beds in each bedroom.
Garner State Park
Garner State Park is a great place to visit for a swim or hike, or to enjoy a relaxing weekend. With 2.9 miles of Frio River winding through 1,774 acres of scenic Hill Country terrain, the park offers lots to see and do. Swim in the Frio River or float its waters on an inner tube, operate a paddleboat, and hike 16 miles of scenic trails
Cypress Springs is a dining hall with five bunkhouse shelter. Each shelter has four sets of bunk beds to sleep eight each, making the camp accommodate 40.
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