Let’s start with the obvious choice of where to stay in Texas, and that is campgrounds. We found no shortage of campgrounds to choose from along the way.
The boys love a good KOA the most, and Reed may even thing that KOA is just another word for campground. They usually have nice amenities, and most that we’ve stayed at over the years were clean and well kept.
KOA is certainly not the only option when traveling anywhere, least of all Texas. Here are the campgrounds (including KOAs) that we found on this trip:
San Antonio/Alamo KOA
This KOA is just about 10 minutes from the Alamo and San Antonio River Walk which is why we chose it. The drive to get into the campground feels a little industrial at first, but once you’re on the grounds it’s anything but industrial. There are plenty of trees, lots of amenities, and most importantly to us were the full hookups!
South Padre Island KOA
We were at this campground for about a week and enjoyed it immensely. Yes, it’s a bit tight and feels more like “parking” that camping, but it was clean, had great amenities, and everyone was very friendly. There were a lot of “winter Texans” when we were there in January, and our neighbors were friendly and gave us lots of tips about the island.
Twin Pine RV Park
We were only here for a night, but the price was reasonable for full hookups (about $40 per night for us). It’s not what you would call a vacation spot as it seemed to cater more to long term guests, but it worked great for a night.
Lubbuck RV Park
This place was an answer to prayer and a refuge on a windy day when we had to get off the road quickly. We stayed in the trailer most of the day, but Jeremy and the boys did manage to check out the playground. The campground is kept clean and reasonably priced at about $40 for full hookups.
We found that some Texas parks are set up for RVers to stay overnight (and sometimes even more than one night). The two parks we stayed at didn’t have any hookups, so it’s a dry camping situation. It worked well when we were on our long driving days and just needed a place to stop for the night.
Junction City Park
Junction, TX has a little city park with RV spots available for free. We read in a review that there’s a three night limit, but we didn’t see any signs about the nightly limit ourselves. It’s much quieter if you’re on the other side or above the dam (not the side we were on). You can’t hear the water falling really once you’re above it. We enjoyed the spot we found but would probably opt for a little less waterfall noise next time. See the park for yourself as Jeremy and the boys explore in this video.
This park is kind of on the outskirts of Corpus Christi and just off the highway. There was quite a lot of highway noise, but it was free and clean (minus the mud by the river of course). The boys played football in the nice area in front of our trailer. If it had been warmer the small river may have been entertaining as well.
NOTE: We did have to call Corpus Christi City Hall to get a permit. It was easy, and they just emailed it to us. You can see this park in this YouTube video.
Did you know you could spend the night in a Cracker Barrel parking lot? It’s similar to staying in a Walmart parking lot. It may be a little quieter depending on the location. Ours happened to be near train tracks and a highway, so there was some noise. The snow plow at 5:30 AM was a bit of a rude awakening. Yep…it was snowing in Texas that day.
Tips when staying at a Cracker Barrel:
- Double check that overnight parking is allowed at the Cracker Barrel you intend to stay at. The easiest way to do this would be to call the store. You could also check reviews and RV camping apps (more on that below).
- Participate. It’s a nice gesture to go inside and have a meal or make a little purchase in their store. We ate breakfast at our Cracker Barrel, but in the future, we may just grab something at the store or get something to go to split and eat in the RV. SIDE NOTE: it’s pretty nice having your RV and all your clothes close by when syrup gets spilled all over the place at breakfast…not that we have any experience with that. Ha!
- Don’t expect it to be quiet. If you’re a light sleeper, a Cracker Barrel parking lot, or any parking lot for that matter, may not be an option. It can be a little noisy.
You can see a little bit about our stay at the Cracker Barrel in each of these videos:
Bass Pro Shops
Similar to Walmart or Cracker Barrel, Bass Pro Shops will let you stay in their parking lot overnight. We did check with the manager before settling into a spot for the night.
After dinner, we went inside and walked around for something to do and find a way to “participate”. It doesn’t have to be anything big; we just chose a package of fudge to eat for dessert that night.
Rest Stops and Picnic Areas
Though not a place to stay, we found that the many rest stops and picnic areas were a nice place to take a break. We could easily get out of the truck, stretch, and maybe even make lunch. We found these areas just by searching “picnic area” or “rest stop” in Google Maps.
As you should any time you stop, be sure to do a “walk around” and check that you are ready to drive before actually driving off. It was after a quick stop at a rest area that we drove off with the stairs down and hit a tree. Yeah, not good. The tree was okay, but our stairs will have to be replaced. Another time, we started driving off, and the RV door was open! Thankfully, nothing was damaged that time. Always, always do a walk around!
Find a Place to Stay
Whether you’re planning ahead with reservations or you make reservations as you go (we did both on this trip), it’s good to know how to find places to park your RV for the night. We like two apps in particular along with Google Maps, and we use them on other RVing trips as well.
You can use either the Campendium website or app to find free camping, RV parks, and more. The reviews are helpful but keep in mind that they may just be someone’s opinion. For example, the KOA we stayed at on South Padre Island had some mediocre to negative reviews. However, we actually really enjoyed it!
This is Jeremy’s go to app for finding a place to stay. There are several options available for purchase, but we just use the “Camp and RV” app which is about $10. It’s similar to Campendium but does have some spots listed that weren’t on Campendium.
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