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Four Texas RV Trips for Adventure Seekers

Posted on: December 17th, 2015 by Texas Campgrounds No Comments

Image 1 EMR W01 264 (1)Have a thirst for adventure and plan to come to Texas by RV? Don’t leave that daredevil mentality at home! RV travelers to Texas soon find there are plenty of places to pump up their adrenaline. Here’s a quick list of the best RV trips for adventure seekers in Texas.

  • Go Bungee Jumping —Love the feel of a free fall, with a snap that pulls you up short at the last minute? There’s a place in the heart of Dallas that understands! Zero Gravity Park has a wide range of thrill rides to please the boldest adrenaline junkie. Whether you choose the Skycoaster (triple-passenger, 100-foot lift and drop), the Blastoff giant slingshot or the 16-story bungee jump, your heart will do plenty of pumping.

Insider Tip: Park your RV at a Dallas-area campground, so you can stay close to the action. For a scenic campsite less than 30 minutes away, try Loyd Park on Joe Pool Lake in Grand Prairie.

  • Go Hang Gliding — Always wanted to learn how to hang glide? Come to Lake Conroe in East Texas on your next RV camping trip and learn with the best. An hour north of Houston on I-45, Lake Conroe is home to Lakeshore Hang Gliding, where certified instructors will take you up in-tandem behind the tow boat and let you experience the big, blue skies of Texas in a whole new way.

RV campgrounds around Lake Conroe make it easy to relax after a day of hanging high above the lake. Just be sure to book your campsite before you show up!

  • Go Mountain Biking
    Keep the thrill alive on your Texas trip—bring along a mountain bike and hit the trails. A favorite place for Dallas area mountain bikers is Sansom Park on Lake Worth. It may not be in the mountains, but the tight turns, quick descents and rocky terrain make it well worth a visit. Here’s a handy link to Dallas-area RV campgrounds to help you plan your trip.

Another hotspot for mountain biking Texas RV campers is Caprock Canyons State Park, about an hour and a half southeast of Amarillo. The beautiful red rock canyons and bluffs in the southern Panhandle prairie are crisscrossed with miles of trails to challenge even the expert mountain biker. Inexpensive electric and water campsites within the park make it easy to spend your whole vacation exploring Caprock’s mysteries.

Insider Tip: While you’re there, keep an eye out for the Texas State Bison Herd. For an amazing sight, make your way to Clarity Tunnel at dusk, when thousands of bats take flight.

  • Go Canyoneering
    Here’s an idea for experienced aficionados of rock climbing and rappelling: a week-long RV trip to Big Bend National Park. Park the RV at one of three developed campgrounds inside the park and make that your base camp for the trip. Crank up your four wheel drive towed vehicle, get your backcountry permits and head for the awesome, rocky mountains that sprawl across this park on the border of Mexico and Texas.

Follow slots cut through multilayered rock by the Rio Grande and rappel down into 15-story canyons where few have dared to climb. This is West Texas at its most lonesome, so if getting away from it all with a little canyon-climbing thrown in sounds like a perfect vacation, Big Bend is the place for you!

Just because you like your camping comfortable doesn’t mean you don’t have the need for adventure. Camp your RV in Texas and bring along your mountain biking, rock climbing, bungee jumping spirit. You’ll find plenty to keep you from being bored.

About the Author

Joe Laing is the Marketing Director for El Monte RV, a nationwide RV rental company. Joe has been on the road working within the travel industry for over 20 years, and greatly enjoys exploring the outdoors. Joe has been camping across the United States, from coast-to-coast, and makes a point to stop at national landmarks along the way. He is also actively involved in numerous campground associations, including RVIA’s Go RV’ing committee, as well as travel industry association.

Traveling with Horses – Six Things You Need to Know

Posted on: October 23rd, 2015 by Texas Campgrounds No Comments

shutterstock_170961542Whether camping with horses at trail rides, horse shows or on your next vacation, knowing how to travel safely is the first step to equine camping enjoyment. Here are six questions to ask yourself before traveling with horses.

How Will You Haul Your Horses?

Today’s horse-loving campers have so many options for hauling their four-legged friends. From first-class LQ (living quarters) horse trailers to simple bumper pull trailers towed behind a truck, motorhome or SUV, there’s a trailer for every type of horse camper.

Before you ever load your horse into a trailer, however, you’ll need to know whether it was built for your size of horse. Basically that means, “Is the trailer large and sturdy enough to safely haul the horse (or horses) you own?” Most horse trailer manufacturers offer specifications on the size of horse that can safely and comfortably be transported in each of their models.

How Much Does Your Trailer Weigh?

Knowing your trailer’s actual weight, both when loaded and when empty, is essential to choosing a safe tow vehicle, as well as the right hitch and ball mount. Weigh your trailer empty at a grain store or sand/gravel yard first and then calculate the Gross Vehicle (or Total) Weight by adding your horse’s weight and the weight of all tack, feed and water you’ll be carrying (don’t forget your own clothes and equipment if it’s going to be hauled in the trailer.)

The sum of all this, plus the loaded weight of your tow vehicle, cannot exceed your tow vehicle’s GCWR (gross combined weight rating), or the amount of weight it can safely haul. You also will not want to exceed the recommended maximum axle weight for your trailer. Knowing your trailer’s empty weight allows you to adjust your calculations if you bring different horses or equipment.

What Tow Vehicle is Best?

Wouldn’t it be nice if any vehicle with a tow package could safely haul our fellow equine campers? Unfortunately, it takes a little more preparation to choose a tow vehicle that will keep you out of trouble on the road.

Whether you’re going to tow your horses with a pickup truck, SUV or recreational vehicle, it has to pass certain requirements. As we mentioned, you’ll need a tow vehicle with a GCWR high enough to cover the weight of trailer, horses, human passengers and tow vehicle. This ensures that the tires, axles, transmission and engine are adequate to withstand the extra pressure of hauling your trailer.

Has Your Tow Vehicle Been Maintained?

Speaking of tires, transmissions and engines, it’s always a good idea to make sure your tow vehicle and trailer are in top shape before taking off on a horse camping excursion. Having to change a flat or deal with an overheated engine or transmission on the road is one thing; having to unload your horses to do it is something none of us wants to do.

How’s Your Hitch Rated?

Did you know that the person who sells you a tow vehicle may have no idea whether its hitch is safe to haul your horse trailer? That’s because there are several variables in choosing the right hitch and ball mount for your trailer. If they’re talking only about the maximum weight the hitch on their vehicle can carry (tow), that’s just one of the numbers you’ll need to know.

Safe towing requires a hitch and ball joint, each with an adequate rating, for both your horse trailer’s Gross Total Weight AND the trailer’s Tongue Weight. Tongue Weight is measured by setting the actual trailer tongue against the scale to learn how many pounds of pressure the tongue exerts on the hitch components. The weight distribution limit of a hitch is only used when weight distribution bars are actually part of your tow package.

Last Word on Hitches: If you aren’t sure how to safely hook up your trailer to the hitch (including proper use of safety chains and sway bars, equalizers and other safety equipment), have an expert help you. Your horses are precious cargo and you don’t want to endanger them, yourself or other drivers on the road by improperly connecting your horse trailer to the tow vehicle.

What Can You Expect at Your Destination?

Once you’ve traveled safely to your destination, you’ll want to unload and relax! Before you go, find out what facilities will be available for your horses. We’ve found there can be a wide variety when it comes to “horse-friendly” campsites. Whether you’re visiting a state park’s equine campground or traveling to a regional horse show, knowing what to expect makes it so much more enjoyable once you arrive.

A few questions to ask: What water source is available, is there a corral on-site and will there be hook-ups for your camping or LQ trailer? Be prepared to be flexible, as what’s advertised may have changed.

Traveling, and camping, with horses can be a rewarding experience, once you’ve chosen the right trailer, the right tow vehicle and equipment and the right place to stay. Use these six tips to travel safely to your next equine camping excursion.

Joe Laing is the Marketing Director for El Monte RV, a nationwide RV rental company. He has been on the road working within the travel industry for over 20 years, and greatly enjoys the outdoors. Joe has been camping across the United States, exploring its vast countryside, and finding the best travel deals along the way.

Lone Star Itinerary: 10 Essential Texas Stops

Posted on: August 11th, 2015 by Texas Campgrounds No Comments

When you hear “Texas road trip”, what images come to mind? Cowboys? Beaches? World-class music venues? All of those are accurate, plus there’s so much more to experience when you come to the Lone Star State. Come along on a whirlwind tour of ten essential Texas stops no visitor should miss.

Lone Star Essential #1: Stockyards National Historic District-Fort Worth

This vibrant cultural and historical district has shopping, dining and plenty of Texas cowboy-themed attractions, so why not make it #1 on your Lone Star Itinerary?

Lone Star Essential #2: Dallas World Aquarium

From the red-backed bearded saki to mysterious seadragons and giant clams, the creatures here will captivate the most jaded Texas travelers.

Lone Star Essential #3:  – Austin Live Music Venues

If you’ve only got a day or two to explore, order tickets for Austin City Limits at the Moody Theater. You should also plan to crawl the Warehouse District, 2nd Street District and East Sixth venues to hear your all-time favorite musicians plus up and coming stars.

Lone Star Essential #4: San Antonio River Walk

Five miles of shops, restaurants and Spanish architecture along the San Antonio River have thrilled visitors for decades. Whether you hope to find artistic treasures or the best Margueritas in Texas, you’re bound to find them along the River Walk.

Lone Star Essential #5: USS Texas – La Porte

If history’s your thing, the Battleship Texas is a ‘don’t miss’ Lone Star attraction. The only remaining US battleship to have served in both World Wars, it’s an enormous floating museum worth spending a day exploring. You’re also a quick walk away from the San Jacinto Battleground, making this a double-dip Houston area essential.

Lone Star Essential #6: Palo Duro Canyon – Texas Panhandle

Did you know the country’s second largest canyon is tucked away in the Texas Panhandle? Palo Duro Canyon is a wonderland of hiking, biking and riding trails and the view is breathtaking everywhere you turn.

Lone Star Essential #7: Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier

There’s no shortage of theme parks in Texas, but if you’re hoping for classic, family-friendly fun on the Gulf of Mexico, head to Galveston. The Pleasure Pier has been rebuilt to match its World War II era glory, with eateries, rides and amusements for the whole gang.

Lone Star Essential #8: Padre Island/Corpus Christi

So much to do here, you’ll want to stretch your vacation. South Padre Island with its beaches, hotels and attractions, Padre Island National Seashore—undeveloped dunes and beaches teaming with wildlife, and Corpus Christi’s Bob Hall Pier and adjacent Padre Balli Park offer a world of fun on the water.

Lone Star Essential #9: Texas State Railroad-Rusk to Palestine, TX

Tour the East Texas Piney Woods Region by vintage railcar on a twenty-five mile trip from Rusk to Palestine. Lots of options for excursions, but book your tickets early, this one’s popular!

Lone Star Essential #10: Lake Sam Rayburn, Jasper, TX

At more than one-hundred-thousand acres, this lake in Deep East Texas is sure to deliver on fishing, boating, swimming and just plain relaxing on the water. Bring the bass boat—the largemouth population is epic!

Round up the family and make tracks to Texas—these ten essential stops are just the beginning of a memorable Texas adventure.

Joe Laing is the Director of Marketing for El Monte RV and has worked in the travel industry for over two decades.  He has been exploring the outdoors most of his life and enjoys spending time camping throughout the United States. Joe has also been involved with the RVIA’s Go RV’ing committee, campground associations, and many travel industry associations. 

Music Festivals and the Lone Star State

Posted on: May 28th, 2015 by Texas Campgrounds No Comments

What better reason to come RV camping in Texas than the chance to attend an exciting multi-day music festival? Held year-round throughout the state, Texas music fests are famous for their top-notch entertainers and friendly hospitality. Even better, most are within a short drive of a top-notch RV campground. Here are five to consider as you’re planning your next camping trip to Texas.

Kerrville Folk Festival – Quiet Valley Ranch, Kerrville – May 21 to June 6

Come immerse yourself in the family-friendly festival atmosphere and the chance to hear beloved artists such as Emmylou Harris and David Crosby. Held at Quiet Valley Ranch just south of Kerrville, TX, this annual folk festival features dozens of acts, workshops of interest to budding musicians and activities for every age music fan.

There’s a campground on-site, but it fills up fast. If you don’t secure a campsite on the Ranch, there are plenty of excellent campgrounds near Kerrville.

Dallas International Guitar Festival – Fair Park, Dallas – May 29-31

Since 1978, guitar enthusiasts from around the globe have met in Dallas to celebrate the guitar and the world-class guitarists who take music to whole new heights. Whether RV campers love to listen to, or play, the guitar, they’re going to want to make this festival an annual camping destination. Located at Fair Park just outside downtown Dallas, the events are easy to reach from most Dallas area campgrounds. Rock on!

UtopiaFest – Utopia – Labor Day Weekend

What to expect at this music fest: Family friendly, free camping (no hookups), an eclectic lineup of bands, and tickets limited to 2,000 to create a cozy, fan-centered experience. An hour and a half west of San Antonio in beautiful Texas Hill Country, it’s one of the Lone Star State’s best festivals. Click here for Central Texas campgrounds if you prefer to camp away from the crowds. Tip: Buy your tickets early!

Salmon Lake Park Bluegrass Festival – Grapeland – Labor Day Weekend

For decades, bluegrass fans who love to camp in a lovely rural setting have flocked to Salmon Lake in Grapeland, Texas on Labor Day Weekend. The combination of lakeside listening, a homey, family atmosphere (think opening night potluck dinner!) and hours on end of classic bluegrass music draws big crowds year after year. Camp on-site or reserve a campsite

Austin City Limits Music Festival – Austin – October 2-4, October 9-11

Where else but the Live Music Capital of the World can you experience a world-class festival with dozens of acts offering an amazing range of music? Austin’s fame as a live music paradise has built this festival into two full weekends of listening enjoyment. Held at the city’s Zilker Park, this celebration offers attractions for the entire family, in addition to awesome performances on multiple stages. 2015 weekend one is sold out, so if you’re planning to come to Austin, get those weekend two tickets now! Here’s a link to Austin area RV campgrounds to help you plan your trip.

These are just five of the music festivals that draw RV campers each year to Texas. Why not add at least one to your camping plans and find out why all kinds of music fans have fallen in love with the Lone Star State?

Joe Laing is the Director of Marketing for El Monte RV and has been in the travel industry for over 20 years.  He has been exploring the outdoors most of his life and enjoys spending time camping throughout the United States. Joe has also been involved with the RVIA’s Go RV’ing committee, campground associations, and many travel industry associations. 

Deep in the Belly of Texas: 10 Things You Have to Eat on Your Texas Road Trip

Posted on: May 6th, 2015 by Texas Campgrounds No Comments

Traveling to Texas and hoping to sample the best in Lone Star cuisine? You may think this super-sized state is just about thick steaks and Tex-Mex, but there’s so much more to savor while you’re here. From Brownsville to Amarillo and all points in between, here’s a quick list of ten great eats to relish on your Texas road trip.

 

Smoked Brisket: Pit-smoked beef brisket is the soul of Texas-style barbecue. Smoked to tender perfection and served with sides like pinto beans and potato salad, it’s enough to lure barbecue-lovers from every state in the Union. There’s plenty of brisket being smoked throughout the state, but Central Texas is prime brisket territory.

 

Pecan pie

 

“Pecan pie” – By Joe Hakim, via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

Pecan Pie: The sweet, sticky goodness of a Texas pecan pie may bring tears to your eyes. Crowned with roasted pecans and baked in a flaky crust, this regional treat is the claim to fame of many a Texas café. 

 

King Ranch Chicken Casserole: Speaking of ooey, gooey goodness—King Ranch chicken casserole has been a standard good eat for decades in Texas. This cheesy, spicy south Texas concoction screams ‘comfort food’ quite deliciously.

 

Tacos: Tex-Mex, that unique blend of traditional Mexican dishes and Texas cuisine, has at its heart the humble taco. With an abundance of taquerias to tempt your taste buds, you’re sure to find one no matter where you travel in Texas. Look for warm, homemade tortillas and then pick the fillings that suit your palate, from brisket to veggie combinations.

 

Chili con carne with garnishes

“Chili con carne with garnishes”- By Jeffrey W, via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

Chili con Carne: If you want to start a range war in Texas, ask who makes the best chili! Everyone has a favorite recipe, but the basics are the same: tender Texas beef and spicy chili pepper gravy. What else is added is up to the cook, so be ready to sample several combinations before you choose your top pick.

 

Steak: It’s no accident the Lone Star State is king when it comes to great steaks. Prime beef is the legacy of Texas cattle ranches and the tradition continues with filets and ribeyes served up in cafes and restaurants throughout Texas. Primo steak territory? Dallas/Fort Worth boasts some of the best-known steakhouses in the state.

 

Crawfish boil

“Crawfish boil”- By Giovanni Handal, via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

Boiled Crawfish/Shrimp: The Gulf Coast waters off Texas offer seafood lovers a special treat. Crawfish and white shrimp boiled in spices are a standard offering in Gulf Coast cities like Houston and Port Aransas. Dive into a couple pounds of shrimp or crawfish boil for a classic Texas Gulf Coast dining experience.

 

Pecan Pralines: Pecan groves dot the state and produce the key ingredient in Texas pecan pralines, a delightful candy you won’t want to miss. Buttery, sugary and crunchy, the adjectives go on and on, but why not taste them for yourself while on your Texas road trip?

 

Czech Kolaches

“Czech Kolaches”- By Petr Broz, via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

Czech Kolaches: Towns like Boerne, West and La Grange were heavily influenced by Czech immigrants to Texas and one of their sweetest contributions to the state is the kolache. These fruit or meat filled pastries float off the plate, so watch for them on the menu as you make a stop at bakeries and restaurants in these Texas towns.

 

Chili Con Queso: Are you sensing a theme of cheesy, spicy goodness in Texas cuisine? This iconic dip is a staple in Texas eateries, so why not make a game of grading the queso as you eat your way through the state?

 

And there you have it—ten foods to keep foodies happy on a Texas road trip. Try them all or make several trips to try regional cuisine in the Lone Star State. Either way, you’ll be happy you let your taste buds wander their way through Texas.

Joe Laing is the Director of Marketing for El Monte RV and has worked in the travel industry for over 20 years.  He has been exploring the outdoors most of his life and enjoys spending time camping throughout the United States.  Joe has also been involved with the RVIA’s Go RV’ing committee, campground associations, and many travel industry associations. 

Texas Attractions: Big Bend

Posted on: November 2nd, 2012 by Texas Campgrounds 1 Comment

Big Bend National Park is just one of the Texas parks that offer natural beauty and adventure. The majestic region is home to mountain ranges, amazing sunrises and sunsets, and unique plants and wildlife.

Texas Campgrounds Texas RV Park Visitors flock to the park every year for camping, hiking, kayaking, bird watching and enjoying the bright stars in the dark night sky, far away from city lights. There are many options for RVers and campers, including Big Bend Resort & Adventures, which offers guests comfort and excitement, with tours, horseback riding, dining, shopping and pull-through sites with full hook-up, basic cable and wi-fi if you do want to relax after a long day of adventure.

The Maverick Ranch RV Park at Lajita Resort and Spa is another option nearby Big Bend. This park offers luxury in the heart of Big Bend, with spa, golf course, and many more amentities and activities.

Plan your visit to the Big Bend region today! Start with our easy to use Find a Park tool, search by Attraction, and select Big Bend National Park. You’ll even find specials and can make a reservation through our secure site.

Texas attractions: Reliant Park

Posted on: October 25th, 2012 by Texas Campgrounds No Comments

Reliant Park is the largest event venue in North America — fitting for a stadium, arena and convention center in Houston, Texas. Everything is bigger in Texas, especially the sprawling Houston area.

Reliant is home to the Houston Texans NFL team during football season, and also hosts the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo starting in late February, as well as many concerts, monster truck shows, athletic competitions, trade shows and more.

Texas CampgroundsThe arena also hosts special events year-round and for the upcoming holidays, including the Nutracker Market from November 8-11 with home decor, food, toys, accessories and more for Christmas.

Use the Find A Park tool on TexasCampgrounds.com to find an RV park or resort near Reliant Park in the Houston area. Just search by Attraction, choose a distance and any other options you’d like. In the search results you’ll find information on campgrounds like All Star RV Resort and Lake View RV Resort. These parks even have Reserve Now links which make it easy to check availability and make reservations right from our secure site.

Texas Attractions: Canton

Posted on: October 22nd, 2012 by Texas Campgrounds No Comments

Historic Canton, Texas has long been a place for visitors and locals to visit for the First Monday Trade Days. These always take place Thursday through Sunday before the first Monday of the month. The next trade days are coming up November 1-4.

The trade days started 150 years ago as a flea market and the monthly event has grown into 100 acres of shopping with vendors from across the country. Here you can find unique handmade items, art, clothing, jewelry, beauty products, collectables and plenty of delicious food.

When trade days aren’t going on there is still plenty to do in the area, especially for nature lovers, RVing across Texas or the U.S. Play golf at the Twin Lakes Course, see the critters at East Texas Gators & Wildlife Park, or go bass fishing on Lake Fork. There are also many delicious local restaurants and live music venues. So make sure you explore Canton area RV Resorts, like Mill Creek Ranch and Canton I-20!

It’s easy to find a resort near your favorite Texas attraction. Just visit our Find A Park page on TexasCampgrounds.com, search by Attraction, make your selection and choose any other options such as distance, amenities and coupon offer. It’s that easy to start your historic Texas road trip.

Texas Attractions: Live Music Capitol

Posted on: October 10th, 2012 by Texas Campgrounds No Comments

The Texas Capitol is a must-see destination on any RVers list. Austin combines the natural beauty of the Hill Country with live music, festivals, entertainment and world class food. So find somewhere to park your RV and enjoy the lakes, the hills and the tunes in the Live Music Capitol of the world.

Music lovers worldwide come to Austin every year for the Austin City Limits and South by Southwest Texas Campgroundsmusic festivals, which have exploded in popularity in recent years. That’s what brings such great variety in music genre, audiences, and interests outside of music such as film, design, social media and more.

The Austin City Limits Festival this year is October 12-14, bringing in headliners Neil Young, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Florence and the Machine, Iggy and the Stooges and much more musical talent. But if you don’t have a sold out ticket, there are shows, concerts and street artists everywhere you turn in Austin and many of the events are free.

So search local RV Parks in Austin like Oak Forest, Midtown, Royal Palms or Austin Lone Star RV Resorts. Our Find A Park feature is a quick and easy way to search by attraction, city or region and find your perfect place to stay in the Live Music Capitol.

Texas attractions: Rangers Ballpark and Cowboys Stadium

Posted on: September 19th, 2012 by Texas Campgrounds 3 Comments

Baseball post-season is heating up, coming to an exciting round of playoffs in October. And football season has just gotten started, which means many RV owners will be traveling and tailgating to watch their teams play.

Texas Campgrounds Find an RV ParkThe Dallas Fort Worth metroplex is home to a lot of MLB and NFL action, with the Ballpark in Arlington and Dallas Cowboys Stadium right next to one another. The Texas Rangers have made national headlines with two World Series appearances in the past two years, and they’re gearing up for the post-season to prove themselves again.

The Dallas Cowboys play right across the street in their new state-of-the-art home in Arlington, where many concerts, college games and special events are held. You can see the action from any seat on the largest high definition screen in the world, which hangs over the field. And there are plenty of concessions, bars and TV screens throughout the stadium.

To find an RV park nearby these attractions, simply use our Find a Park feature on TexasCampgrounds.com. Select ‘Search by Attraction’, then choose either The Ballpark in Arlington or Cowboys Stadium and you’re on your way to a tailgating, game watching, fan fest weekend. A few nearby parks include Trader’s Village in Grand Prairie, Dallas Arlington KOA and Treetops RV Village.

These parks all offer different amenities and rates for everyone so use our Find a Park feature to find the park for you and start cheering on your team!