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Fall Camping Fun

November and December are such great months to camp in Texas. The weather is cool enough to camp under the stars and enjoy a campfire. Most families think they have to take a long road trip to find a great place to camp, but in reality there are many wonderful parks that allow camping that are close to most metropolitan areas. State Parks are a good place to start looking, but you might also consider- Army Corp of Engineer Parks, National Parks and Recreation areas, County Parks, River Authorities, National Forest, and private campgrounds.

First time camping can be intimidating. Texas State Parks offers the Texas Outdoor Family program that teach families everything they need to know about camping and empower them with outdoor skills that will last a lifetime. Other organizations such as Camp Fire, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and even some YMCA's offer youth and family camping programs for first time or even repeat campers. REI rents out equipment for a reasonable rate so families can afford to go camping with quality gear.

Here are some tips on: Camping Safety and Etiquette

Camping is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, make sure your trip is safe.

  • Be aware of the natural surroundings. There may be plants with thorns or stickers.
  • You are a visitor in wildlife's home. Keep a safe distance from wild animals. Although they may look cute, they are wild.
  • Please don't feed wildlife! Feeding wildlife can encourage bad behavior by animals and is against park regulations. A fed animal is a dead animal.
  • Be careful with fire. Never leave a fire unattended and be sure your campfire is completely out when you break camp.
  • Axes, knives and saws are useful tools, but be sure you know how to properly use them.
  • Keep watch on children! You are responsible for the safety of your children. Make sure you know where your kids are and what they are doing.

Respectful behavior makes it more fun for everyone.

  • Think about your fellow campers. Keep noise levels down, especially at night.
  • Leave the area clean. Pick up your trash and make sure to check the area for items you may have forgotten.
  • Keep food out of the reach of animals. Put food items away after use. Raccoons and other animals will take advantage of your carelessness.
  • Dispose of wastewater properly. Dumping gray water can pollute waterways, smells bad and attract unwanted pests.
  • Camp in designated campsites. Use the tent pad if provided and keep vehicles on the pavement.
  • Leave your campsite cleaner than you found it.

Find out how to build the perfect campfire in the November issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine.