Overlanding has become a popular adventure for families in recent years. It offers a unique way to explore the great outdoors while making lasting memories. Of course, Texas, with its varied landscapes and incredible natural beauty, is ideal for family overlanding adventures.

We should know, too - our family has spent decades exploring the great state of Texas, enjoying its inherent beauty, and having good times outdoors with each other, so we know a thing or two about family-friendly overlanding destinations in Texas.

The “problem,” though, is that Texas has a lot of places to explore. Why is that a problem, you ask? Well, choosing where to go is the hard part!

Let's dive into why overlanding is such a fantastic activity for families, what to look for in a perfect destination, and explore some of the top spots for overlanding Texas that should be on your radar for summer 2024.

    Benefits of Overlanding with Kids

    Palo Duro State Park; Photo by IrinaK via Shutterstock

    Overlanding is hard work. With kids in tow, there’s much more work involved. But, boy, is it ever worth it to be outdoors with your kids! There are so many benefits derived from getting out of the house and away from technology…

    Educational Experiences

    Overlanding is more than just a vacation - it's an educational journey. Kids get to learn about geography, ecology, and history firsthand. Exploring different terrain, spotting wildlife, and discovering plants can turn a fun trip into a living classroom. Plus, the challenges of overlanding teach problem-solving and resilience - skills that are invaluable in all aspects of life.

    Family Bonding

    Spending time together away from the distractions of everyday life can strengthen family bonds, too. Overlanding encourages teamwork and communication, whether it's setting up camp, cooking meals, or navigating trails. You can share new experiences, enjoy one another’s successes, and help each other through challenges like hiking difficult trails or fixing problems with the family car. These shared experiences create lasting memories and a sense of accomplishment that brings your family closer together.

    Adventure and Exploration

    Each day you’re overlanding brings new sights and challenges, from fishing at Lake Texoma to climbing mountains in Guadalupe Mountains National Park to exploring bayous in East Texas. This sense of exploration fuels curiosity and excitement in kids. It's a chance to break free from routine, embrace the unknown, and enjoy the thrill of discovery together.

    What to Look for in Family-Friendly Overlanding Destinations in Texas

    Guadalupe Mountains National Park; Photo by Billy McDonald via Shutterstock

    Before jumping into a summertime overlanding trip in Texas, it’s important to consider a few factors when selecting the areas you’ll explore.

    At the top of the list is safety. Look for places that have well-marked trails, clear maps, and easily accessible emergency services. It's also important to check for wildlife advisories and weather conditions to ensure a safe trip.

    Additionally, having access to amenities like bathrooms, potable water, and picnic areas can make a huge difference in the quality of your outdoor time, especially when traveling with kids. These conveniences provide comfort and ease, ensuring everyone stays happy and healthy during the trip.

    Of course, getting away from established campgrounds has its value, too. Just be sure you check in with us to get all the overlanding gear you need! You can stock up on everything from rooftop tents to camp stoves to camp chairs so you have a comfortable campsite for you and your kiddos. 

    Kid-Friendly Activities

    Dinosaur Valley State Park; Photo by IrinaK via Shutterstock

    A good family overlanding destination offers activities that cater to all ages. Hiking trails, swimming spots, and educational tours keep kids engaged and entertained. The more activities available, the better the experience for everyone!

    Avoid overfilling the day with activities, though. Burned-out kids are cranky kids, and that’s not something you want on your Texas overlanding trip! Be okay with hanging out at camp, taking afternoon naps in the shade, and kicking back for some quiet time together. Let your kids have input in the day’s activities as well. Giving them ownership over what you do will make your adventures even more meaningful to them.

    Scenic Beauty and Wildlife

    Part of the appeal of overlanding is experiencing nature's beauty. Fortunately, there are plenty of overlanding destinations in Texas with incredible landscapes, diverse plant and animal life, and opportunities for adventure. These elements make your overlanding experience all the better, providing opportunities for you and your kids to take in all this big, beautiful state has to offer!

    Top 8 Family-Friendly Overlanding Destinations in Texas

    Big Bend National Park

    Photo by imagoDens via Shutterstock

    Highlights: Rio Grande River, hot springs, scenic drives

    Activities: Hiking, wildlife viewing, stargazing

    Big Bend National Park is a must-visit this summer. The park's vast landscapes, from deserts to mountains, offer all sorts of exploration opportunities for your family. Kids will love the hot springs and the chance to see wildlife like javelinas and roadrunners. The clear night skies in this remote location near the Mexico border make for perfect stargazing, too!

    Guadalupe Mountains National Park

    Photo by John Corso via Shutterstock

    Highlights: Highest peak in Texas, beautiful vistas

    Activities: Hiking, bird watching, exploring historical sites

    Home to the highest peak in Texas, Guadalupe Mountains National Park is a hiker's paradise. Trails range from easy walks to challenging climbs, ensuring there's something for everyone. The park - which straddles Texas’ border with New Mexico - is also a prime area for bird watchers and history enthusiasts, with historical sites like the ruins of the Pinery Stagecoach Station to explore.

    Palo Duro Canyon State Park

    Photo by Silvio Ligutti via Shutterstock

    Highlights: Second largest canyon in the U.S., vibrant rock formations

    Activities: Horseback riding, mountain biking, camping

    Known as the "Grand Canyon of Texas," Palo Duro Canyon in the panhandle offers breathtaking views and a variety of activities. You can explore the canyon on horseback, take a scenic drive, or camp under the stars. The park's vibrant rock formations and rich history make it a fascinating destination for kids to explore, too.

    Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

    Photo by Silvio Ligutti via Shutterstock

    Highlights: Massive pink granite dome, panoramic views

    Activities: Rock climbing, hiking, picnicking

    Located near Fredericksburg, Enchanted Rock is a striking natural formation that looks otherworldly. Climbing the massive pink granite dome provides incredible panoramic views all around. The park offers numerous hiking trails and picnic spots, too, making it a perfect location for a family day out.

    Lost Maples State Natural Area

    Photo by Silvio Ligutti via Shutterstock

    Highlights: Breathtaking fall foliage, Sabinal River

    Activities: Hiking, fishing, bird watching

    Lost Maples is renowned for its beautiful fall foliage, but it's a fantastic destination year-round. The park's trails lead through scenic landscapes along the Sabinal River in Hill Country. You can enjoy hiking, fishing, and bird watching, making it a perfect spot to enjoy a broad cross-section of nature for the day or an extended overlanding trip.

    Dinosaur Valley State Park

    Photo by Daniel Koglin via Shutterstock

    Highlights: Dinosaur tracks, Paluxy River

    Activities: Swimming, hiking, guided tours

    Dinosaur Valley State Park - just southwest of Dallas-Fort Worth - is a hit with kids for obvious reasons - real dinosaur tracks! The Paluxy River offers great swimming spots, and the park's trails are perfect for hiking and exploring. While you’re there, take a guided tour with your kids to learn fascinating insights about the area's prehistoric past.

    Garner State Park

    Photo by Roschetzky Photography via Shutterstock

    Highlights: Frio River, scenic hills

    Activities: Tubing, paddle boating, mini-golf

    Garner State Park is a family favorite thanks to its beautiful setting and range of activities. The Frio River is perfect for tubing and paddle boating, while the park's scenic hills offer great hiking trails. Kids will love the mini-golf course as well! And if you bring your dancing shoes, you can enjoy a jukebox dance (which has been happening nightly every summer since the 1940s) with your significant other.

    Caprock Canyons State Park

    Photo by Zack Frank via Shutterstock

    Highlights: Home to the Texas State Bison Herd, red rock canyons

    Activities: Hiking, wildlife viewing, fishing

    Caprock Canyons State Park offers a unique experience with its resident bison herd and striking red rock canyons. You can hike through the scenic terrain, fish in the park's lakes, and enjoy wildlife viewing, too. The park's rugged beauty is a true Texas treasure, even if it looks like something out of Southern Utah!

    We Can Help You Have a Better Family Overlanding Trip

    Enchanted Rock State Natural Area; Photo by Daniel Mullins via Shutterstock

    It goes without saying that successful overlanding trips require tons of preparation. Plan your routes, pack essential supplies, and ensure your vehicle is in good condition. Make reservations for campsites in advance, especially during the summer season when everyone is out adventuring!

    You need the right gear, too. That’s where we come in! We have all the camping supplies you need to prepare for any overlanding destination in Texas. And we back our products up with good old-fashioned customer service and real-world expertise. It’s a better experience working with us - that’s why BTR (pronounced better) - is in our name!

    So, whether you need outdoor apparel, a roof rack for your vehicle, a teardrop trailer, or a campervan, we’ve got you covered. We’ll outfit you for a better overlanding experience so you can make your explorations of Texas with your kids ones to remember. Drop by our location off I-20 in Abilene, send us a message, or call us to speak with an expert at (888) 323-5902.