Tell me where to go. Not to hell though. I’ve been there and the weather was crap.

Today I’d like to tell you how my TMS is going because I started it Monday but I can’t because ironically(?) I fell into a depression on Sunday and I’m still trying to pull myself out of it.  This means that my head isn’t working well enough to finish writing the post about it and so basically this is a live representation of me dealing with my brain right now:

The good thing is that this is reminding me of the importance of doing the TMS stuff and I promise I’ll finish the post soon because it is very interesting and bizarre and sort of funny and I wish my head would stop fucking it up for everyone.

While I’m waiting for my head to stop being a dick though I need your advice.  We want to take Hailey camping this year so we’re going to rent an RV for a weekend and just drive to Garner park or somewhere close, but I don’t really know about camping or parks or anything so if you’ve ever camped in Texas and have a good park to recommend please let me know.  Ideally someplace that has fishing and food nearby and paddleboats shaped like swans that also have margarita machines and xanax dispensers in them.  Or if you’ve never gone camping in Texas before tell me the best vacation you ever took because I am super bad at this.

268 thoughts on “Tell me where to go. Not to hell though. I’ve been there and the weather was crap.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. Wherever you go, you must make s’mores! This is the summation of my camping knowledge.

  2. Jenny, you need some pot! yes I know it doesn’t solve everything, but on OhMyLord days it certainly helps…especially when it comes to camping.. dealing with bugs and inadequate toilet facilities or lack of there of is so much easier to handle slightly baked.

  3. I’m fortunate – I’ve been on a ton of great vacations. And I can assure you, not a single one of them involved camping of ANY kind. Or Texas. Sorry I couldn’t help and I can’t wait until your brain stops being an asshole so you can tell us about your treatment.

  4. IDK about my all-time best vacation but I just got back from Israel (Birthright trip) and that was pretty awesome. Used to be just for 18-26 year olds and I always regretted not going, but they just extended the age for 27-32 year olds too (I’m 31).

  5. You’re such a great mom that anywhere you go will end up being a wonderful vacation. Sorry your brain is being a dick right now. Sending otter hugs. They’re wet, but adorable.

  6. All of my best family vacation memories are of camping! Bring a radio along and find a local station and just jam together around the fire. Bring lots of marshmallows and some books and enjoy being outside! Cook all of your food (especially breakfast) over your fire. Also if your RV doesnt have a bathroom then bring some lanterns because you will be giggling and terrified all the way to the bathrooma in the dark and it will be great and so much fun! I hope you and your family get as many good memories from camping as I have ❤

  7. I am not good at camping. At least, as an adult. As a pre-teen I was pretty ace at making fires from wet wood, cooking over the fires, and dealing with the local wildlife.
    But I’m old now. My idea of camping is a hotel without wifi. I’m looking forward to what people recommend though.

  8. Little bit far perhaps for you guys, but calling at Kennack Sands, Cornwall has to be my favourite holiday in a tent!

  9. Jenny: Please continue to have faith in the TMS regime once you feel a bit better. Worked wonders for my son, and for so many others. Good luck!

  10. Santa Fe/Taos. Gorgeous scenery, Native American art, national parks for hiking and getting close to nature. Not that far from West Texas, either.

  11. The best vacation I’ve ever taken was in Puerto Rico this year. I typically try to go once a year to visit family, but it was the first time my son, who was 6 at the time, came along too. My family lives in the costal town of Manati, but we traveled all over the island the entire week we were there. The highlight of the vacation was going horseback riding on the beach in Isabela. It was Chayce’s first time horseback riding and it was just a really beautiful thing to experience. We had lunch at this gorgeous resort called Villa Montana which was coincidentally right next door to the stables. Three sides of the restaurant are open to the water and the food is delectable. Not only do you get the view of the crystal clear blue water, but you get the ocean breeze, too.

    I know it’s not a camping recommendation, but I hope you can picture the scene and that it cheers you up! Sending so much love and positivity your way.

  12. The only place I’ve ever camped in Texas was in Garner so I’m not a lot of help. But I’ve been all over the world and the best place I’ve been/first place I’d go back to is Black Rock River Lodge in Belize. The most beautiful, most relaxing, best food, best atmosphere, all around loveliest place there is.

  13. I’m visiting my cousin who lives in Munich and I’m in love with it here. I know, not a road trip and totally off topic for this post, but everyone should put Bavaria on their bucket lists!!

  14. I don’t think you can camp in Boston Public Gardens. The only place I know that has swan shaped boats. But I’m more of a kayaker, so what do I know? Whatever and wherever you choose will be awesome cause you are.

  15. Garner or another place on the Frio. There are several RV places around Leakey.

  16. We camped every year in the CA Redwoods which isn’t that convenient for you but great for us. We had the same campground except for one year when we camped in an abandoned orchard that was home to wild pigs. My brother says that’s one of favorite memories- he and my dad went to check them out and got too close. He said my dad told him to start running and don’t look back. He said he had never seen our dad that afraid. But mostly we himed, did a lot of swimming in the Eel River (not named for eels like my brother said!) and sang by the campfire. Those are my best memories. Have fun!

  17. We hiked not himed. Don’t even know what that is!

    (Sounds sexual. Just saying. ~ Jenny)

  18. My brain is being a dick right now too. Hoping the treatment helps you! Camping is not known to improve my dick brain unless it’s far, far away from all other humans, so I’m no help.

  19. Premature posting. Garner was nice, skip Galveston because of flesh eating bacteria. (No lie. My dad was treated for it and lost a bit of a finger.) Grand Canyon was WONDERFUL in December, which doesn’t help you now, I know. (We saw an ELK, they’re HOOOOGE!)

    I’m in the middle of “can’t find shit” myself. But I’ve thrown things away I didn’t need, and found a whole shoebox full of photos that I’m planning on hauling to my daughter’s house so she and I can get our booze on and laugh at the past.

  20. My memories of camping growing up are waking up in a tent with my sister’s filthy feet in my face, then the next year waking up to rain water creeping in our tent on the bottom and collapsing it from the top. And the next year when we had an RV but the plumbing from the toilet got messed up and it all smelled like a portapotty in August in hell. Never went camping again.

  21. Best vacation I ever took was with my family when I was 15. We rented an RV and the four of us toured around the country for 5 weeks. We spent a week getting from Northern New York to Jackson Hole, Wyoming where I was at Girl Scout camp for a week. I loved the Grand Tetons, and want to go back with my daughter. After that, we went to Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas before heading back home. We hit all the big attractions along the way. It was a lot of fun, and doing it again as an adult is a goal. We stayed at a lot of KOA campsites along the way. They were generally pretty nice. AAA is a good source for this kind of info.

  22. I love camping but I have learned that I typically forget one crucial piece on each trip. The problem is that it is a different thing each time and so I never learn. This past fall my husband and I rented a cottage that we had to hike out to. I forgot to bring water because I didn’t remember that it was cold and all the outdoor spigots were frozen. Thankfully (?) my husband and I each independently packed bottles of wine to surprise the other. So we drank wine like water, in the morning chipped through ice to get to water and filled up all of our bottles.

  23. I’ve never camped in Texas. However, I can recommend French Camp in California and Sequoia. Best vacations have been driving through the entire western half of the US with two young’uns, as well as going to Iceland, north of the Arctic Circle and the three weeks I did with my now grown daughter in London and Paris last January.

    Wherever you go, have a blast.

    And blessings on your beautiful head.

  24. I think all our brains are dicks at times! I NEVER thought I’d like camping, but ended up LOVING it; so relaxing and it chills your brain down… I hope you feel better and have fun!!

  25. Come on up to my place in Graham. We’ve got a 30 amp rv hookup and can run a water hose out to it. There’s a stock pond down in the woods. No swans. Yes margaritas.

  26. I don’t really know of anywhere in Texas but there are quite a few good places in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Not sure how much that helps you though. :-/

    I’m sorry your brain decided to be a dick again.

  27. No idea about camping in TX, as I live in New England, but hang in there. There are better days ahead.

  28. Hi Jenny! I am so sorry to hear that you are depressed and I hope that TMS gives you relief soon so you can go back to being furiously happy. Here is what one my favorite authors wrote that gives me hope when I feel like that: There can’t be light without the darkness (yes, you wrote that). Anyhow, my favorite vacation was in Australia, where I held a koala (sorry), played with kangaroos, and went to amazing beaches.

  29. We loved Inks Lake when our daughter was 10 – 13. Cold water, hot sun, screen cabins and deer that come up and eat dear corn (sold at the store) out of your hand. Daughter is now 42, so some things might have changed….

  30. My best vacation was a cross country road trip. We mostly camped. Tent camping though. Sunscreen and bugspray. If it’s in an area with tics, be sure to do a tic check and put medicine on any dogs if you are taking dogs with you. If you don’t want to be in a crowded campground, try some boondocking on BLM land.Plus then it’s free and great views.

  31. My camping experience has yielded these thoughts: get an RV with a toilet – 2 weeks of no pooping because you can’t poop in public bathrooms is not fun, take quarters in case they charge for showers (applicable if you didn’t get the bowel friendly RV), and raccoons can open locked coolers and take all of your eggs and grapes while you sleep tuckered out from all the fresh air. Or at least Iowa raccoons can, maybe they’re mutants here.

  32. I know I could probably go back into the archives somewhere and find out the answer to this, but because it will save time (like when I stop the first staff person I see in a store and ask them where something is rather than searching for it for 10 minutes) and I really don’t know: can you briefly explain about your depression? The cause (if known), the factors, and your treatment? I’m sorry you have many ups and downs with it. Depression is REAL. I had it for almost 10 years, chemically induced (birth control) and I was on some heavy duty meds for much of that time. ♥

  33. I like Inks Lake, around Burnet, and have heard great things about Krause Springs but haven’t gone yet. And honestly those Jellystone places might be good because of the activities offered there. Excited for your head to stop being a real dick(head).

  34. i dont understand camping. Camping is being homeless. Dont be homeless. Have a royal weekend where you go to a fancy hotel with a pool, they will have xanex in little crystal bowls and margaritas brought to you by buff pool boys. Do that. Dont be homeless.

  35. I hate camping with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns, but Garner State Park is lovely and the Frio is nice and cool. Just beware of any late night treks to the bathroom — I found myself in the middle of a mess of loitering deer, and well, I didn’t need the bathroom anymore.

    Sending good healing vibes and love and whatnot…

  36. I love camping! My family camped every Thanksgiving. I think the best trick is to really lean into camping. Make s’mores, get dirty, stay up late to look at stars, roast hot dogs over the fire. Pro-tips: get a hammock to hang in the trees and never forget bug spray. Also, don’t stress- if you’re an hour or less from a walmart or target, you can replace anything you forgot to pack

  37. Sorry your brain is being an asshole — must have gotten “inspired” by mine. :/ Even though I’m trying my damnedest to stay away from the news, some of the worst stuff has been sneaking in and triggering me. 🙁

    I enjoy camping, but DH doesn’t. Can’t help you on TX, unfortunately, except to say that a quick visit to Google yielded this:

  38. Exactly five years ago today, we went to Alaska. It was incredible. It’s huge and mostly empty and gorgeous and magical and just…ugh. Best trip ever. You should go. But bring all the bug spray because you know those jokes about mosquitoes being the state bird in Alaska? It’s not as much of a joke as you think. They’re like, part pterodactyl.

    For a much more civilized and less potentially itchy option, I would suggest the city of York in the UK. There’s tons and tons of history everywhere, the city center is lovely, there is a Viking museum that’s FUCKING RAD, York Minster is full of unbelievable art and artifacts dating back almost 900 years, and of course it’s England so there’s chippies and cute little cafes everywhere. Crap. Now I really miss York.

  39. we camp all the time. finally graduated from tent camping to trailer life about 5 yrs ago. A/C is NOT overrated! and a mattress!!! we usually pick state parks, b/c the price is right & you can usually find at least elec & water hookups. that means tho, you will have to use their public restrooms. they are generally fine. if you get full hook ups elec/water/sewer, you can use the RV bathroom & shower. that is my fav, b/c you don’t have to ‘dump’ the shitter if you only had elec & water & used the bathroom in the RV. however, do NOT use the water at the campground to drink. bring large thermoses or bottles of water from home. you can use it to cook, like boiling it & making something, but don’t use it for your coffee, or to take meds or whatever. pretend you are in another country. most state parks have great websites that list their amenities. MO is amazing, in that there are usually hikes, crafts, nature talks, etc. going on all weekend. we always go where there is a river in which to swim or fish. Also, lots of wonderful campgrounds that are privately owned & may also have horse back riding, pontoon boats or paddle boats to rent, Frisbee golf, etc.
    my fav part is waking up & taking my hot mug ‘o joe outside, sitting in my zero gravity chair in the shade & reading a good book, while sipping my coffee. aaaaaaahhhh, the good life!
    ENJOY every fucking minute!

  40. It’s not Texas, but I’ve heard Beaver Bend in Oklahoma is nice. Also, Galveston would be fun – the water has been nice this year. I don’t know if Fossil Rim has any camping but that’s where the dinosaur tracks are (Glen Rose, TX). Surely there are nice areas in either East TExas or around the Hill Country.

  41. Come to my house. I live at the edge of Lake Erie and the Detroit River. We have kayaks and canoes and a Walmart and a McD’s. We have marshes and a quiet street with a private beach. And at least 10 different pizza joints. Plus-Canada! = win. ☺

  42. Big Bend and Palo Duro Canyon are both great trips, but maybe a longer drive than you had in mind. I’ve heard good things about Lost Maples and Possum Kingdom State Parks, but I haven’t been to either one. Typing this I realize Texas needs to get better at naming things.

  43. I don’t know anything about your continent, but you could bring Hailey and Victor to Australia and camp all over the place. Australia is full of camping sites. And don’t believe the people who say Australia is full of dangerous animals.

  44. There is a beautiful commercial campground, not too primitive: restaurant, pool, wineries near by, just east of Fredericksburg. We stayed there two years ago on a bike trip through the hill country. I think this wouldn’t be too far from you, so if it got to be too much, you could go home. I remember a couple of good ice cream shops, too.


  45. I’ve never camped in Texas, and you already live in the Hill Country (I think, or at least close by) so that’s all I’ve got. Friends of mine used to love camping in Big Bend. My suggestion is to find someplace with lovely scenery and lots of water to stay cool in.
    PS Acupuncture is really and truly help me with my depression! I’ve been able to cut down to 25% of the medication I was taking and am slowly tapering that down. I hope TMS will be as successful for you <3

  46. Camping is magic. Our dick brains need sunshine and fresh air. Just pick a park…the rest will happen when you put your feet up, open the cooler, get out the Uno cards, watch squirrels, or whatever you decide to do.

  47. My parents just got an RV and are headed from Houston-area out west and are stopping at two places in TX:
    1) Junction, TX: Junction North Llano River RV, 325-446-3138
    2) El Paso, TX: Mission RV Park, 915-859-1133

    Wishing you all the best!

  48. Big Bend National Park is amazing. If I was doing an RV trip in Texas again that would be the top of my list.

  49. There’s an awesome campground in Groesbeck called Rainbow Ranch (, but you have to be gay to camp there. I think. I mean, they probably wouldn’t have a problem with you guys, but you might want to call ahead and explain that you suspect your husband is gay, so you thought you’d “accidentally” take him to an LGBT campsite and see what happens. And then, after a week of emotional support and encouragement from your fellow campers, you can be like, “Whoops! Turns out he’s straight after all. My bad. Thanks anyway!”

    This is my best idea ever. In no way could it go horribly, horribly wrong.

  50. We spend a lot of time on the road in our rv. My advice is- don’t underestimate the glory of the KOA. KOA has divided themselves into 3 categories. Resort, Holiday, and Journey. If you have a KOA Resort nearby, you should check it out. Make sure to read recent reviews, because each campground is still individually ran, but the resorts typically ha e lots of fun/unique activities going on. You can still get the camp-out experience full of roasting marshmallows, fishing, and mosquitoes, but they usually also have grown-up tricycles, giant bouncy balloon pads, and restaurants on site which serve alcohol. Happy camping!

  51. I spent a weekend camped out at my boyfriend’s place in Plano while he served his non-resident DUI sentence of 48 hours in the joint. I flew all the way from WA to TX for that swell weekend and he forgot to tell me this was his punishment weekend. I broke up with him on my way back to WA. Since I never told him we’d broken up and I was traveling for months at a time, he had no way to reach me. A couple of months later, I went home for a long weekend. He must have been psychic because he chose that weekend to call me to apologize for being a dick. Because I’m an idiot, I decided to give it another chance. We’ve been together for 32 years, married for 29. The End.

  52. Thank you for posting even though you feel crappy! I’d love a Xanax dispenser – something shaped like a Pez dispenser. Anywhere you choose to camp will be fun! Because you will be there with your family.

  53. Silver Lake in Barnard Vermont. There are paddle boats but they aren’t shaped like swans. (I’ll speak to them about that.) There’s a general store for food and more importantly, Ice cream. There’s the Inn up the road for margaritas and more elaborate meals. Also fishing.

    I’ve never actually camped there, but I live like 10 minutes away so it hasn’t seemed necessary. Also, no Xanax. At least that I know about. You never know what you might find at the snack bar.

  54. Sending you much love and can’t wait to read about the TMS experience. As for camping, I’ve never actually gone camping. My idea of roughing it is when they forget to put chocolates on the pillow;-)

  55. My favorite vacations have always been on the North Shore in Minnesota. Its a three hour drive from where I live so its usually a long weekend. I get to relax by a giant lake, see some beautiful water falls and forests, and ear sooooo much pie. It’s a breath of fresh air every time I go.

  56. A good starter camping trip in the Hill Country would be a Jellystone Park – there is one at Canyon Lake. You can do all the lake stuff and they have RV spots with activities on site so you aren’t overwhelmed by all of the planning of activities for your daughter etc. I think they have zip lining and all kinds of other stuff. Also, I recommend that maybe she take a friend so that she has someone to hang out with… My daughter is her age but luckily has a twin brother to keep her busy.

  57. Just in case you don’t know this yet, “glamping ” is the hot ( wrong word to use probably about camping ) new trend. And if you haven’t Googled for glamping sites in Texas, do. Lots of ’em. Enjoy!

  58. Hopefully this will provoke a mild chuckle. Years ago when my parents did antique shows, we traveled all over. In 1989, we stayed in Florida for 5 months, doing shows all over. We mainly camped in their van in various campgrounds. I loved Sarasota because the campground we stayed at had a lot of activities for guests. One particular morning, my dad was sitting in the front seat of the van while me & mom slowly woke up. I’m not sure who ‘did it’, but something smelled bad, and I yelled “WHO STUNK?!” What I didn’t know what that my dad (in the driver’s seat), was talking to someone through the open window, and the guy outside said “WHO SAID THAT?”. He couldn’t see me & mom because there was something blocking the view to the back end of the van. Then my dad promptly played dumb, and said “Who said WHAT?” .. .I thought my mom was going to murder me.

  59. The best vacation I ever took was with my sister, grandparents, and my dad. (recently divorced from my mom). We took their RV all over eastern Oregon and it’s one of the happiest memories of my childhood which was otherwise fraught with… not great memories. My grandfather passed in 1999 and I still think back to his smiling face and the memories we made on that trip. I was 8 or 9. We went to a lake, to the painted hills, to a ghost town. It was so fun to see new things and it felt like a grand adventure even though we were only a day’s drive from home. My grandfather made the best sandwiches. Baloney on white bread with miracle whip, tomatoes and sprouts… all foods I was not allowed to eat at home. I can’t eat miracle whip or sprouts without thinking about that trip.

  60. I’m not a huge fan of s’mores. I like to make little foil packets of banana, marshmallow, and chocolate chips. Roast that over the fire, open, and it’s delicious.

  61. I’m not much of a camper, and if I was I’ve never even been to Texas, so I can’t help you there. But, I do want to say that I hope your treatment is effective and your brain stops being a jerk soon. <3

  62. One of my best vacations was spent at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota. It’s not really a place for children, but you would probably love all the guys wearing Viking-style hats made with real animal fur and horns. Not to mention the Buffalo Chip Campground. We went to a concert there one night and you haven’t lived until you’re heard a round of “applause” generated by the dozens of revving Harleys at the back of the crowd. (lol) There’s lot of neat stuff to see and do in and around that area (Rapid City SD): Mount Rushmore, the Badlands, Crazy Horse Memorial, Deadwood. I’d recommend going sometime other than the Rally, though.

  63. Perdenalis falls (sp?). It’s right by Johnson city, has swimming and hiking. It’s so ooo pretty too. I would go there but make reservations and go early. They fill up on the weekends with hikers and campers. Garner is great too though just so much further

  64. Garner Park is lovely, but if you want to go, you’re going to want to reserve your camping space ASAP in advance. It’s SUPER popular and they close it to day visitors once it is at capacity.

    Also worth checking out nearby is Devil’s Sinkhole State Natural Area, in Rocksprings. Watch an infinite number of bats zoom out of their cavern out into the dusk!

  65. Much love to you, Jenny. You’ll get there. And even when your brain is being a dick, you rock, Jenny.

  66. One great vacation we had, we flew into Las Vegas then rented a convertible and drove through Death Valley, to see the Giant Sequoias, then down to LA and San Diego. It was fabulous, though if I had it to do over again, I’d skip the big cities and spend more time in national parks (Grand Canyon, maybe).

  67. One of my worst childhood memories is from camping at the Colorado River when I was 7. We were dirt poor and someone stole the food from our campsite while we went to look at the river upon arrival. They also stole our tent and all our camping supplies. Because my father was an asshole, we had to stay anyway and let him prove his manliness which resulted in a police response when he and my mother started fighting about it. He took the van and left us stranded without food at a campground with just a boat with too many holes to float. We were literally fending for ourselves. And, for this very reason I WILL NOT CAMP ever again. Especially at the Colorado River!

    I will, however, stay in any 4+ star hotel and CALL it camping. So, if pressed for advice, I’d say there’s likely a nice Hampton In. You can rough it at for a few nights if you REALLY have your heart set on camping! 😂

  68. Krause Springs in Spicewood. It’s one of my favorite memories, and the calm place I envision when meditating.

  69. Not very close to you, but if you’ve never been to Palo Duro Canyon you should go. It’s beautiful, and in the summer there’s a neat little play they perform there.

  70. Padre Island! The Gulf makes the temperature not an issue, and the Island has amenities for food and drinks.

    Or for the typical camping experience: Colorado Bend St Park: Drive up camping, kayaking on the river, hiking.

  71. Never been to Texas but my favorite camping trip included pilling all of our food and camping gear into a canoe and paddling for 2hours. We set up camp in random clearing. No people, lots of wildlife, good fishing. Some people might consider no toilet to be a downside.

  72. My parents LOVED camping. I loathed it since I was a toddler. Camping, for me, is a hotel without room service.

  73. For me camping requires a minimum three star hotel. So I am probably not the one to give you advise.

  74. Girl, ditch Texas for a bit and come to Hot Springs, AR. Tons of camping, lakes with swimming and fishing (boat rentals are available at the marina), a cool downtown area, great food, cheesy tourist traps, and a water park/amusement park that’s small enough to enjoy in a day or 2.

  75. If you’re going in an RV check the hookups, not the hot single ladies prowling around for divorced dads on a weekend with the kids but the places you can plug the RV into.

  76. Yikes, thinking of camping makes me want to go back for more TMS treatments. So, I cannot help in that department. However, I did have 58 TMS treatments last year and can speak to that. As you well know, when you are in the throes of anxiety and depression, it is about survival. Surviving the day, the hour, the minute, the second. Right now, we need just need you to survive any way that you can. Survival is the one thing where we all get participation trophies. No first, second or third place. You cross the survival line and you win. Plus, there are no rules in the game of survival. Any and all forms of survival are accepted and no one is disqualified for any reason. My two pieces of advice regarding TMS are reading “3000 Pulses Later,” by Martha Rhodes and familiarizing yourself with “the dip.” Everyone who has had TMS experiences differences. However, I find that the more I know about any given subject, the less likely I am to come unglued if a bump in the road comes. You have probably read about TMS ad nauseam so forgive me if this is redundant information.

    Professional worrier with a masters in “ruining today worrying about tomorrow.”

  77. I hear really good things about Big Bend State Park. There is also Enchanted rock near Fredericksburg, Tx. Not sure about a lake -and swans, but I know there is plenty of wine!

  78. McKinney Falls! I went camping there with a group of friends in high school about a million years ago (ok 1994). We drove out there from Houston after my friend’s soccer game finished one Friday night so we got to our camping spot sometime after midnight. (They used to just give you the gate code if you had a reservation and were arriving late.) Anyway we had borrowed an old tent from another friend and it was huge and bulky and hard to put up. While I was holding the flashlight, my friend Michael was hammering in the tent stakes. All of a sudden something wet splashed in my eye and I yelled “eww I just got water in my eye!” A few seconds later Michael said “uh I think the blister on my thumb just broke…” We also found an old dried out toenail in the tent, and we got pulled over by a park ranger for driving too fast. He drawled “where’s the fiiiire, boy?” when he got over to the car. All in all it was an amazing, memorable trip although I think the falls were mostly dry. Maybe BYOMMAX (bring your own margarita machine and xanax.)

  79. I love camping. I have done everything from houseboats and RVs to backpacking with ultralight gear. I have found that most people who hate it do it wrong or use cheap gear. Don’t set up in a valley, full sun, or on a hill; read the heat rating of the sleeping bag you buy before you get out there and freeze; try out the sleeping pad in the store (and don’t count on regular air mattresses, they all pop); don’t leave food out that attracts animals; don’t let firewood get wet; don’t forget water, light, food, fuel, stove, pots, and utensils and you’ll have a lot more fun. I’ve done it wrong so I know. Good bug spray is essential. I swear by lemongrass eucalyptus from repel- I’ve tested it against 100% deet and it beats the poison every time. Also a good sunblock and hat. For RV trips that feels cush look at National Parks- they have all the amenities and are pretty. Also KOAs which are usually not as pretty but do have all the hookups and sometimes wifi. As others have said you’ll want
    to bring quarters for those. With an RV you’ll want to be sure to get hookups for power and water and a dump station. Alternatively lots of parks and the US Forest Service now rent yurts and cabins for “glamping” which might be a good intro style for you and then you don’t have the stress of driving that giant polluting thing around (always go where there are pull throughs unless you already know how to back them up btw). If you do decide to go the car tent camping direction, look for flush toilets and showers to ease into it. REI tends to have pricier gear (though their store brand gear lasts forever) but their blog has tons of great packing lists and “wish I’d thought of that!” stuff. And lastly, they don’t seem to have listings in Texas for some reason, but in case anyone else reads this I really like for finding new places to try. It’s like a pretty Wikipedia of places other people have gone hiking and camping in the states.

    Hope you feel better soon and looking forward to reading about the TMS process and hopefully positive results!

  80. Look up camping in northern MN! It’s where I live and it’s gorgeous!!

  81. Glen Rose State Park, has great camping! Scenic hiking and a nice flowing river. Also, has dinosaur tracks. So that is a plus.

  82. We travel full time in our RV, and San Antonio is our home base, so I am at your service. I think my favorite place that we’ve camped in Texas was at Inks Lake State Park.

    We walk a few steps down to the lake from our campsite, and there was fishing. I uh, I don’t remember if there were swan boats, and I probably made my own damn margaritas. Take a blender.

  83. Krause Springs is my favorite place to camp. We always do tent camping, but they have RV spots too. Huge cypress trees, beautiful spring fed pools, and their bathrooms are clean!

  84. There are nice state parks in Oklahoma. Robber’s Cave… Keystone… Roman Nose… those are the three I’ve been to (Keystone is close to home and it’s been a very fine staycation more than once). Of course, Oklahoma is, in general, a piece of shit and I hate it (Yankee liberal snowflake here), but the state parks are nice. Growing up, we used to camp in New Hampshire (we lived in Massachusetts)… and I’ve camped in Maine before…

  85. I haven’t been camping in over 40 years, but Google tells me there is RV camping, fishing, and paddleboats shaped like swans at Lady Bird Lake in Austin. I’m sure nearby restaurants serve margaritas, but I imagine you’ll have to supply your own Xanax.

  86. We love Garner State Park! Peaceful and the trees and stream are incredible. I saw birds I’ve never seen before. You won’t need Zantax or a margarita sitting alongside the bank listening to the beautiful sounds of nature. It’s a Zen place

  87. I am currently “camping” in a condo in Vail, Colorado, which I highly recommend. It even has a fireplace so we can make s’’mores!

  88. Next time when you are feeling strong enough to fly. Southern California! Our PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) Has multiple beautiful RV friendly camp sites that are right on the ocean (plus is the bathrooms and showers).
    Tips: Cheaper to get your firewood at the store first (a long lighter too!), bring a stupid amount of drinks (water and wine), hand sanitizer, spray sunscreen, bring a stupid amount of snacks, a cooler for said stupid amount of snacks, bikes (if you have them or rent!), A ground steak for your pup, so she can play around the site without you watching her every second, Plastic tablecloths for the picnic table on site (they’re normally pretty gross), board games (like scrabble), lantern for reading or playing games past dark outside on the picnic table, lawn chairs, cash for the camping site store (ICE CREAM!), a book & extra loaf of bread in case you wanna fed the squirrels and birds while you ride around in a swan boat.
    I could keep going, but i feel like i’m being more “California camping” than “Texas camping”?

  89. I loved Big Bend, but I didn’t camp there. If you do, I think you need to take tons of supplies (including gasoline) because the stores are few and far between and open limited hours. Other cool stuff nearby is the Big Bend Brewery, Marfa (which is weird and I think you would enjoy), and Boquillas, Mexico (you take a boat across the river and donkey ride into town).

  90. Dinosaur Valley state park in glen Rose. Fossilized dinosaur tracks, thousands of fire flies. And if you are up to it a museum right outside the park dedicated to the notion that men were around with the dinousars, yeah that happened.

  91. My best vacation was a West Caribbean cruise with hubby Ray! We went swimming with Sting Rays in the open ocean….it was sooooooo cool! I got to kiss one, and had one hug me. I wish I could post a picture here, but no luck. They feel like leather and velvet!
    We used to go camping when I was a kid. We had an old hard top tent trailer painted neon orange, so you could find it at night. We’d swim and play all day and then roast marshmallows and weenies over the fire and read and stuff….I loved it. I haven’t camped as an adult because I am disabled, but I’d sure like to. I hope you all have a ton of fun!!!

  92. Fort Parker State Park, between Mexia and Groesbeck on hwy. 14 (east of Waco). I’ve never camped there, but it seems really nice. Very woodsy, and has a big lake. There’s a reproduction of the historic Parker Fort nearby – where the young girl, Cynthia Parker, was kidnapped by Indians. She was raised by Indians, married a warrior chief, and became the mother of the last Comanche Chief, Chief Quanah Parker. (Historic experience for Hailey!) There are some places to eat around Mexia, and probably places to buy supplies. I highly recommend Kirby’s BBQ, a few miles outside Mexia.

  93. In central Texas, check out the areas around Medina Lake and Inks Lake. My family has done several reunions around there.

  94. Done lots of RV camping in TX and love it! Watch out for the heat in coastal areas tho. Garner SP is huge and a zoo on weekends (some weekdays too). That may be good for Hailey but maybe not you. Try Lost Maples SP, Pedernales SP, Inks Lake SP, even Dinosaur SP (get a laugh at the ‘creation museum’ nearby). Big Bend is beautiful but very isolated, but look at Balmorhea SP (spring-fed pools) and other SP in that area too. But first, feel better!!

  95. I went camping on the beach in Corpus Christie when I was 15. It was really fun but there were no paddle boats.

  96. Well I know it’s not Texas, but Zion is always worth the trip. (Utah.) I spent a lot of time there as a kid, when if a bear ate you it was your fault (yeah, it still is) and I always had fun. It’s really very lovely. And something for everyone. So, maybe not this trip, but someday.

  97. I grew up camping and fishing at Lake Texoma and it was wonderful! It’s an hour north of Dallas. I don’t remember paddle boats but the Internet says Lighthouse Marina rents them out. And every Wednesday, the Old Iron Post restaurant has $2 Margaritas all day long.

  98. Colorado Bend State Park. Should be pretty close to you. Nice hiking and fun playing in the Colorado river. Fast food is prob 20+ min away. We camped next to a high school science teacher who got out j a telescope and showed our kids Saturn!

  99. You might consider the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Lawton OK. Not Texas, but just across the state line. It’s pretty cool. Lots of neat animals to see, great hiking, and good camping (to my knowledge, I’ve never camped there). Plus the town of Lawton is pretty – two lakes are outside of town and both have cool recreation areas and good fishing. It’s one of my favorite non-Texas places. And I don’t have many of those because Texas is awesome.

  100. I’m in South Carolina, so can’t really offer any help on places in Texas; however, do try and find a place were the sites are somewhat isolated from each other. There’s nothing worse than thinking you’re getting away from it all to commune with nature, but next to your tent or RV there’s Bill and Alice sitting at their site with a portable TV blaring the Today Show.

  101. Glen Rose – Dinosaur Valley State Park.. its been M A N Y years, but I remember loving it & I have lots of friends who have camped there recently. Big Rocks park is also there… and who doesn’t love a big rock? Most importantly… Loco Coyote Grill. You’re loco.. you love Coyotes… match made in Country Fried Steak & ah-MAZING biscuits. Or, if you’re willing to go to OK then Turner Falls is really beautiful.

  102. Nunca fui pro texas, sou do Brasil.
    mas acampe o mais longe possível, as melhores histórias sempre acontece quando estamos longes.

  103. I highly recommend Inks lake state park. It is very close to you, (Burnett County) and has plenty of RV sites with hook-ups. The shower facilities are adequate. It is a beautiful lake and the Devils Waterhole is a great place to go swim and explore (if the drought doesn’t stop the springs from flowing). There are a few hiking trails to enjoy also. My kids really enjoyed the camping trips there. Get reservations before you go. It fills up pretty quick.

  104. If you want to go farther afield try Branson. Several lakes to camp by and tons of attractions to do with the kids and it’s not hella expensive.

  105. My idea of camping is staying at a hotel that doesn’t have room service, so I can’t give you any camping tips. My favorite vacation is a cruise. After the first one, I was hooked, and now we go on one every year.

  106. Lost Maples and Angelina National Forest were my favorite Texas camping destinations! Gorgeous locations with plenty of shade.

  107. Caddo lake is beautiful or lake Hawkins. Joe pool lake has a state park next door but is closed enough to DFW if you want it

  108. Port Aransas has wonderful beaches that are kid and pet friendly. We stayed at the Port A RV Resort at the end of April. And going there helps the recovery efforts when you buy local. We’ve also glamped in Marble Falls at Lyndon B Johnson lake, Sunset Point RV park, it was very nice a few years ago, probably still is and it’s a cute town.

  109. Gladewater and surrounding tiny towns are packed full of antique stores and I believe there are camping areas near there. Also, you can camp in one part of that drive through wildlife center near Glen Rose (can’t think what it’s called at the moment) and even rent rooms or the entire main house. It has amazing views.

  110. My fave camping sites in Texas are at Tyler State Park (no big city nearby, no swans, but the lake is spring fed and cool even in August) and at Dinosaur Valley State Park (awesome river hiking, dinosaur tracks, and only 8 miles to the nearest DQ for a dipped cone!) I’ve never RV’d, so I can’t help with hookups, but tent camping at either of those places is a birder’s dream and they are two great places to hang out with family. Sorry your brain is being mean – mine is, too…this administration is really hard on us canaries in the coal mine!

  111. Perhaps a Walmart parking lot just to say you did 😀 We camped every summer growing up on our cabin cruiser on lake Michigan and then I tried in an actual camper with hubby to be’s family. How I ever convinced myself taking showers in a public shower was okay I might never know but there were lines and everything like we were at disney. Just try to relax and close your eyes and listen to nature. Burn some marshmellows and make some sweet memories.

  112. I super hate camping, but Lake Shasta in Northern California is lovely if you HAVE to. Otherwise, I say go to Hawaii. But one of islands currently not melting or covered in acid rain clouds.

  113. I don’t think I’ve ever camped in TX. I’ve camped a lot of places…but the best was when I was a little kid and my Mom was a struggling single mom of 5 and every summer she would take us to the Allegheny Mountains in NYS because eif you lived in-state it was super cheap and we would rent a cabin with no electricity or water or heat or anything. She’d bring a little cookstove and make hot dogs or eggs or whatever. We’d have to use a shared out house with all the other campers. We would have campfires and make s’mores and hot dogs on sticks. Sometimes we would feed racoons marshmallows (I know, I know.) One time my sister was dumb and decided to just let a raccoon THINK she had a marshmallow in her hand so she could pet him, and she got bit. My Mom had to take her to the hospital. She was ok. My Mom had zero outdoor experience, but this was the closest she could get to taking us on an annual vacation. So, lessons, bring warm stuff to wear and sleep in at night, bring stuff that is super easy and cheap to cook, and don’t tease raccoons. It’s gonna be fun. Go for walks in the wilderness. Swim whenever you can. Don’t spend money at a gift shop, it’s better to bring home a pretty rock or something instead. That last one might just be because we were poor. Oh! And a good rainy day activity is to paint rocks you’ve picked up.

  114. What a lot of wonderful places there are in the world to get out and connect to nature-and disconnect from the TMS machine! That picture of you on instagram is dang scary I’m sorry to say, but I sure hope it helps! I think a few nights under the stars would be lovely. As long as you bring along bug repeller, water, raccoon thief repeller, the makings for s’mores and family. Then you should be set. It’s been too many years since I roughed it-my idea nowadays is no room service and I’ve never even been to Texas so as far as places to be I’m no help. Just be happy.

  115. My parents took their RV to Caprock Canyons State Park last week. They had a blast. There are prairie dogs and bison and the camp site where my aunt and uncle set up had a pair of wood peckers in their tree that would complain whenever my family would get too loud.

    It’s near Paloduro Canyon, which has a lot of stuff to do, too. I think they stayed at Caprock because Paloduro floods and they evacuate so much when it rains.
    Caprock is in Quitaque, TX
    Paloduro is in Canyon, TX.

  116. I grew up camping, but not in Texas. The best part about camping is unplugging, so bring books– paper ones, if you have the space, but a Kindle will work. I never had paddle boats shaped like swans or with alcohol and drug dispensers, but they were still fun– the best are the pontoon style, if you can find them. Believe it or not, one of our favorite camping meals was a big pot of homemade spaghetti sauce! You could smell it all over the campground. Mom would mix up the spices in a ziploc bag and bring along the hamburger, onions, canned tomatoes and tomato paste, and pasta. We would cook it on the propane stove. Then s’mores and jelly rolls by the campfire.

    For jelly rolls, you need canned biscuits, butter and your favorite jelly or jam. Get a wooden dowel the size of a broomstick or mop handle (we had old handles that Dad had sawed off to about 3′ in length and had sanded the paint off of the ends). Wrap the biscuit dough around one end of the dowel (one grand sized biscuit or two regular ones per roll)– just smush it into place. The roll should cover about 3-4″ of the end of the dowel. Slowly rotate it over the fire until it turns golden brown on the outside and slips off of the dowel (that means it’s cooked on the inside– if it’s sticking, it’s not ready). Put a pat of butter in the dowel hole and fill it with jam. Messy and fussy, but really, really good!

    Enjoy your time together. Campfire conversations are the best. Looking back, I think what I loved the most was that for that week or so, we had our parents’ undivided attention. We played games if it rained and divvied up the chores. By brother, sister and Dad fished (I didn’t care much about that) and I had all the time I wanted to read. It was lovely. Oh– favorite camping spot was Douthat State Park in Clifton Forge, VA.

  117. Inks Lake State Park is good. We took our kids there camping a few times when they were little. No swan-shaped paddle boats though, with or without margaritas or Xanax. Unless they added them since the last time we were there.

  118. Galveston is fun, as long as you aren’t camping in tents in June. Garner is great the water is freaking freezing though if you want to just give it a shot to see how it goes , Government Canyon off of Galm in San Antonio is nice and has some cool trails and dinosaur tracks

  119. I haven’t been on vacation in 18 years because of travel anxiety but I searched for Garner State Park and there’s quite a few geocaches around there. Planning a few geocaching road trips to nearby states with my husband in the fall.

  120. When camping I recommend having pants. Short pants for day and long pants for night, or those fancy convertible pants. You and Hailey only wear dresses in your photos.

  121. I hear Garner is nice, and same with Lost Maples. We’ve been to Pedernales Falls tons of times and it’s nice (and not too far from Austin, which is where we live). Also, Canyon of the Eagles is good for camping, plus if you want the idea of camping but not actually camping, they basically have a little resort there with a pool and restaurant. And they have a star party there on certain nights to check out (duh) the stars. Inks Lake is nice, too, and you can rent canoes there.

  122. Not a fan of camping, but I second Belize, specifically Ambergris Caye. If you want to really dial it down and fully relax, that’s the place to go. Only take shoes for the plane, otherwise you won’t need them. 🙂

  123. I am no where near Texas (unless I drive south for DAYS – which I would totally do). Our favorite camping trips have been to our provincial parks (Manitoba). Most of them have something special and really cool about them. We’ve walked in a sand dessert. We’ve walked on a mountain that has eroded to nearly nothing (I think we rose 200 feet). We have seen meteor craters. We’ve seen limestone cliffs. We’ve seen where the Icelanders first came to the continent. The little parks always seem to have hidden jewels (and here, especially the provincial ones). The more popular/big ones always seem crowded and over-rated. Good luck!

  124. We discovered the Northeast Kingdom (NEK) in Vermont a few years ago and I love it so much!!! Sparsely populated, gorgeous lake, then stunning mountain vista, then gorgeous lake, rinse repeat, maple syrup everything, plus awesome food and beer! Google Lake Willoughby – my favorite lake. Oh and all the people (though there are few) are super nice and summer temps hover in the 70’s with little humidity. Heaven.

  125. We don’t camp in our rv, we go glamping. We love it… get ac and a bathroom with shower in your rental. Also diesel is WAY easier to drive and less scary than gas RVs. My husband is from Dallas and recommends Sandy Lake in Carrolton. The BEST thing to use to find good parks is It’s my golden source for finding and reviews. Allstays is also a good mapping app, to find geographically close place, then use rvparkreviews to deter,in if you want to go. Allstays was like $10 when we bought it. Good luck and have fun!

  126. Best western is a pretty good camping spot. It has clean bathrooms and usually the beds are fairly clean.
    That’s how I camp. Hotels.

  127. The best vacation I’ve ever actually been on was a cruise. We got to go to Jamaica and climb up a waterfall (which we’ll be doing again at the end of July) and zoom down a mountain on a Jamaican bobsled which was the coolest thing EVAR!!!!

    Plus, if you’re a Texas resident, Carnival gives you a discount. 😀

  128. Amistad National Park – south of you (well, of pretty much everyone.) Pretty, pretty country on the way down. North, I agree with Glen Rose (dinosaurs! And the river is nice. Also Fossil Rim, the giraffe will eat right out your hand.)

    I would not do Big Bend myself. Hand to God, spiders the size of dinner plates. NO THANK YOU.

    And Balmorhea is awesome except the swimming pool is closed right now.

  129. Hi Jenny, we just spent a long weekend in Brazos Bend State Park, but it’s closer to us (Hou/Gal area) and may be more of a drive than you’re after. We rented a camping trailer but there were plenty of people in tents too, if that’s your thing. They also have super cute little cabins. There are a lot of roads for biking and shady trails around lakes where you can walk around and see alligators (which – if you’re from this part of Texas – is NBD, YMMV) and lots of cool birds fishing and eating crawfish and stuff. No swan paddleboats due to the gators. There is an observatory but I wouldn’t bother with that, TBH. It was quiet and I’m sure there are things for kids to do — lots of letterboxing, for example — but we don’t have kids so we just took long naps and fed a nice lady squirrel who was shameless and apparently loves HEB cashews. 🙂

  130. I’ve never been camping in Texas so I can’t help there. But I can give general camping knowledge because I camped as much as possible. Take more food than you’ll think you need. People eat like food is going out of style for whatever reason when they camp. My son who would eat one or two hotdogs gobbled down four as an example. Your going in an RV which makes food easier because you’ll hook up to electric but I still recommend taking a cooler with a nice chunk of dry ice in it. My dad drove around in his RV between cancer treatments and one time the campground lost electric due to downed tree. The only thing that saved the food in his fridge was him finding someplace that sold dry ice and tossing a block in the fridge. You don’t want to have to empty your own tank so don’t skimp there. Some people try to save money by doing it themselves before turning RV in. Just don’t. It is really worth just paying the fee at the rental company. Take a bunch of quick can grab a handful snacks. Especially if you are going to hike around and fish. And for the love of all that is holy don’t forget the s’mores fixings. Also, extra socks.

  131. I’m not big on camping. I’m ok with truck camping, that brings a lot of comfort to the tent. We live about 6 hours from Yosemite and each time is amazing. The different times in the year, it’s just amazing. The most beautiful place I have ever seen. On a side husband has been backpacking in the backcountry of Yosemite for nearly 40 years. He has a grand time, but the packing, especially as he gets older, to make it lighter is kind of amusing/irritating as hell. He and our son are going in September. After that, my hubby and I are going on a cruise to Alaska. That’s my kind of camping.
    If you can…make it to Yosemite at least one time. OK, four times…gotta see the seasons. Each one is so different.

  132. As far as RVing, the Victoria area is nice, can visit Goliad. I wouldn’t recommend the Three Rivers area. I loved the area near Caddo Lake, you can rent kayaks for the day and go out on the lake. It’s beautiful! There’s a state park near Pittsburg, TX you might like. I’ve heard lots of good things about Galveston, Kerrville, and Fredericksburg.

  133. I haven’t been camping in years, but when I was a little girl, we used to take our RV to the Davis Mountains and camped there quite often. That may be too far for you from San Antonio, though. I miss our little RV. It was one of those Airstream trailers that were so popular back in the day. We called it the Silver Twinkie! 🙂 One year, a bunch of graduate students were leaving the McDonald Observatory and their bus broke down near our campsite. My mom and the other ladies at the RV park made them coffee and treats. I don’t know why, but that’s one of the most vivid memories I have from those days at Ft. Davis!

  134. I have never camped in Texas, so I am no help. My best vacation was a couple of years ago. It was the first time we had taken a family vacation with my boys because the little one has such anxiety that we waited until we were sure it would be pleasant. We went to St Augustine, Florida, which was where husband and I had gone on our honeymoon.

    I know I should have said my honeymoon was the best vacation, but frankly, I was kind of thinking we might get divorced before the whole trip was over. We had never traveled together before, and we were both stressed. It started the first night when we got lost in the rain and husband got disoriented and started driving across people’s lawns, and it was just downhill from there. The up side was that we didn’t kill each other, and we are still married 23 years later.

  135. I’ve only been to Texas once and I stayed at a friends house outside of Austin. I’m no help. Best vacation – Lake Tahoe or maybe Sedona, AZ in the states. Norway overseas.

  136. My husband and I have camped at many of the state parks across Texas and my two favorites have to be Lake Mineral Wells for its beautifully scenic landscaping and outdoor activities, and Lake Whitney simply for the water. I’m not big on holistic medicine, but I swear that water is healing!

  137. Suzy Buzzkill here, saying the thing that no one else wants to say: I don’t think you, Jenny, would enjoy camping in an RV. I’ve done quite a lot of RV camping – even lived in one for a while (I was poor, don’t judge me). Here’s the thing: There’s essentially no privacy in most RV parks and campgrounds.

    I had a look online around that Garner State Park (assuming that’s the right one, after HEAD ESSPLODED I finally worked out on their map where the RV spaces were, and found pix of them. Link here: Notice the… openness. The lack of shade. The presence of… other campers. Close by.

    Of course you can have all the privacy you want inside your camper. But step outside your door, and you’re in a social milieu. There is little to no visual or auditory privacy, and in a typical RV campground there’s no separation between sites at all. That’s why elderly retirees love the RV lifestyle. It’s like one big ol’ party all the time. People are all around and they get in your face. Friendly, nice, but in your face.

    I DO NOT THINK YOU WOULD LIKE THAT. AT ALL. Of course, you can hole up in the camper—if you rent a good one they can be luxurious AF—and drink and eat and drink while Victor and Hailey go fishing and so forth in all that fresh air and nature.

    Tent camping, TBH, isn’t quite so social. You can find campsites that are not so exposed. Of course, that can be quite the adventure as well. I’ll not get started on putting up the tent and the air mattresses and bugs and cooking and getting to the bathroom building in the middle of the night and – oh, never mind, it’s an adventure!

    I’ve read your blog and your books, and my gut tells me that straight-up tent camping and its… austerity… may not quite be the thing for y’all either. But hey, I’m a semi-pro wrong person.

    Did you know? There are many, many fabulous cabins for rent on lovely lakes and rivers. It’s true!

    Also, glamping, if compromise is required. Glamping could definitely work. Look into glamping.

    And have fun, goddammit. Buzzkill out.

  138. The nice folks at Safari Park Zoo, just north of Johnson City, are great fun to visit. They rent cabins in the middle of the park as well as the regular (pulled in a wagon behind a tractor, not drive through) feeding tours. And…fishing! My default recommendation for “things to do” in central Texas.

  139. I’ve been thrown for a loop this past week and I am barely functioning. Luckily for me, it looks pretty much the same as when I am functioning so the watchers have not noticed.

    I suck at camping because scorpions and snakes and spiders and also lack of air conditioning outside. When will they fix this?

    I have two favorite vacations. Cruising – I love Princess cruises, and I really love them to be 7-10 days long. It is total relaxation for me and we are unplugged, which I love. People speak to each other and are not walking around with a glowing box of horrors in their hand. It is great to truly get away from ‘civilization.’ Are they still calling this civilization?

    My other favorite is going to Hilton Head island and staying on one of the four oceanfront resorts. (Do not be fooled by the other places, there are only four actual beach resorts on the Island. I love Sonesta and Marriott the best. The ocean is calm and you can stand in the ocean all day picking up starfish and sand dollars with your toes at the Sonesta resort. Go before August, though, because in August the jellyfish come and they are mean sons of guns!

  140. Caddie Lake Park is so cool and the cypress trees are big and spooky and wonderfu. Lake of the Pines is in the same area but we always went to Caddo.l

  141. When my sibling and I were in grade school, our family went camping with our godparents. All 6 of us wound up sleeping in the station wagon after a bear scare. My sibling and I had to share the front seat. Although I am older (and was therefore larger), I wound up relegated to the steering wheel side of the seat. Not only was it uncomfortable, I inadvertently hit the car horn a few times while I was tossing and turning, which of course disturbed everyone else. Good news? We didn’t get eaten by a bear. I feel like most camping stories are similar: It sucked in some way. It was memorable. Good times, good times.

  142. I’ve been camping a LOT, mostly in Northern Arizona on the Mogollon Rim, where that alien abduction movie ‘Fire In The Sky’ took place and a Big Foot creature lives! No Shit!! We had a one-eyed camping & road trip kitty named Spooky, that loved to travel! She was 23 yrs old when she passed away, and the Ex & I buried her at the scenic overlook up on the Mogollon.

    My most memorable camping trip was in Italy, on the island of Elba, while stationed in Northern Italy in the mid ’80’s!! It was a beautiful island, full of history…ancient Roman architecture/ruins, and Napoleon’s exile and his villa there…and warm, friendly people, amazing food & wine, snorkeling in the beautiful blue Mediterranean!! I went camping there three times! My first visit, I went with some Italian friends, the other two, I took newly arrived Americans to share the wonderful experience that I’d had on my first!

    Too bad I’m not in Texas…I’d hook you up with some home made marshmallows & some spreadable chocolate ganache for your Campfire S’Mores!

  143. I love camping! I have never camped in Texas. Take plenty of snacks healthy and not 🙂 take a good book and cards or a game in case it rains or the bugs run you in. In Ohio, where I live and have camped a lot, it is common to see raccoons at dusk. They love Cheese-It’s and Fudge Striped cookies. Camping vacations are some of the fondest memories of time with my kids. Have fun!!

  144. I love camping. We have a small RV (I love car camping with a tent,but my husband isn’t into it) Don’t forget to look up at the stars. I love walking around the campground at night. Be sure to keep your flashlight trained on the ground so you don’t blind other nightwalkers. If there’s a full moon it’s especially wonderful to turn your flashlight off and enjoy the moonlight. So beautiful. Have fun Jenny and know that we are all thinking of you and sending love.

  145. Inks Lake State Park near Burnet, TX is beautiful & has RV hookups (at least they did when I was there years ago. Not sure about paddleboats & you probably have to bring your own margaritas, but it’s not too far from Marble Falls – I’m sure they have food & margaritas there.

  146. My family used to go to Vermont every summer and winter b/c our friend owned a house up there. One winter we were sledding down some really extended hills at the back of his property, and one of the other people there was on a sled with me, and we went too fast down the hill, hit the stream at the base of the hill, fell into it, and when I pulled myself up, she had her head stuck in the snow. This was also the same vacation when my parents hit me when they were sledding. I just realized that this wasn’t really my best vacation, but I have a tonne of really funny and sort of tragic vacation stories, and this was the thing that always made my friends cry with laughter, and it sounds like you needed it.

  147. Perdenales Falls is a beautiful place. It is in central Texas and features amazing landscapes that include dinosaur footprints. It is a Texas State Park and the facilities are great. As a kid and as an adult, I have always enjoyed visits there. I hope you and your family have a great trip wherever you venture!

  148. I don’t know about Texas, but the two overnight camping trips on the Puyallup (pronounced PEW-al-up) River in western Washington were fun because they were short.My idea of “camping” is motel room near the beach with kitchen and TV dinners.
    I hope your head feels better soon.

  149. Well, I’ve never been camping, and I’ve only been to Texas twice to visit my girlfriend (now-ex)… And I haven’t really gone many places on vacation… Goodness, I’m bad at this too! I guess my favorite ‘vacation’ memory is when we would go up to the mountains for the weekend when I was a kid. My parents had a friend who owned all this land up in the mountains, including a big lake (and there were buffalo!). He also had a three-legged dog. We would go up there for the weekend and hang out and fish and stuff. The only other real vacation I can think of was when I spent a week with my aunt and nana in Anaheim CA, went to Disneyland and a water park and stuff, but I don’t really remember much about that.

  150. Best Vacation: I took my daughter to Hershey Park. The park sucked but there was a water slide in the hotel and NO Lines! We spend the entire week together without me answering my cell phone. Laser Tag, steam train ride, movies and just hanging out together.

  151. I retired at 55 and we travel full time in a motor home. We have been to every state except for four. Texas has beautiful campgrounds! The size of RV that you will probably rent will be a bit smaller than ours and most likely will drive like a larger van. One of the ways that I find campgrounds is, you search for Texas and then all Texas towns are listed in order. It would make it easy to determine how far you want to travel from home. Most hill country parks have a lot of space between sites and are quiet. The only exception that I have found are the Jellystone parks (way too noisy and crowded for us). I say go for it – if it turns out not to be for you, you could stay inside the RV or just head for home! Also, the place that you rent the RV from should have good suggestions.
    If you email me, I’d be happy to answer specific questions!

  152. Hueco Tanks outside of El Paso. Very cool rock formations, nice campground. I haven’t been in years, but used to go when rock-climbing was still permitted (used to be into that). Loved it there.

  153. Not a quick trip but WA is where you need to come for hiking/camping/glamping and you can get high legally while you do so 😉
    We are eagerly awaiting end of the temporary rise of you brain’s evil twin so we can hear about the magnet buzzing…
    Thank you again for sharing with us – all the best to you and your family!

  154. We go hammock camping (we’re too old and creaky to plop down on the ground in sleeping bags even with pseudo-mattresses underneath, and hammocks are great for the back if they’re made properly), and around here, there’s no shortage of trees. And food. Let’s not be silly.

    For hotel camping, we always go to Land’s End at Cannon Beach, in Cannon Beach, OR. They’re gay and dog friendly, right on the beach, and there’s lots of stuff to do nearby. Oh, and food. Plenty of outrageously good food.

    Next time you’re up this way, we’ll take y’all there with us, and Lillian, Hailey and Victor can go hiking or flying kites on the beach, and you and I will sit in comfortable silence, staring at the waves and refilling our glasses from whatever we have on hand.

  155. In 2009, I took a trip to Southern California. 9 years later, I’m still here. ❤

  156. So I don’t live in Texas, and I didn’t quite look at the camping arrangements, but there are two Texas state parks that are International Dark Sky (IDS) parks. I don’t believe they’d be more than a two hour drive for you to get to. Enchanted Rock and South Llano River.

  157. Although I consider using an RV a somewhat loose interpretation of camping, I fully support it if it’s what people need to get to the nature. All my best vacations (almost all) have been camping, most of those in a national park. I’ve never been to Texas (unless you count a two day road trip to Dallas in February) but Big Bend has been on my bucket list a long time and I’ve been to many,many national parks all over the country. Best ever? I’d have a tough time choosing. Yellowstone or Teton certainly would be in the running but I’ve been to both dozens of times (more then I think you’re actually allowed for one lifetime😉). Acadia is in the top 5. Horse back riding (and camping) in Mongolia is probably the winner but it is not a trip I’d recommend to even a small percentage of people I’ve met – much like the national beverage of fermented horse milk, its definitely an aquired taste.

  158. I love almost every Texas State Park! Except Choke Canyon. Don’t go there. Mustang Island State Park is close to margarita machines and beautiful beaches and awesome food. Go there instead of Choke Canyon

  159. i’ve only been to texas once and it was definitely not for camping. sorry. but the first vacation (not epic trip, but vacation – bet you know the difference) that comes to mind as being the best was when i went to maine and spent a week on the schooner heritage (65 foot schooner) sailing around the islands off the coast. so much right with this. i didn’t have to sail myself, but could if i wanted to. people to hang with, but also a private cabin to be on my own. it was glorious and i highly recommend it.

  160. Another second for Garner, esp the “old” section by Old Baldy – it’s tight quarters, but the river and the hills (and caves) are all close by. Car-camped there relatively last-minute last fall (two weeks’ notice), and it was lovely. I’m looking forward to going back later this summer.

    Anywhere on Rio Frio would be perfect, though. Pedernales isn’t as shady or have as many campsites close to the river, so it’ll be a little warmer. Lost Maples is a good bet, too, and if you want farther afield, Colorado Bend and Inks Lake are forested and water-adjacent!

  161. “You must remember this: a tick is still a dick…on that you can rely…”
    Take the chemicals. If you’ve seen winsome wild animals, they have ticks. Bambi had ticks.
    Also have fun

  162. Something nearby is Buckhorn Resort in Kerrville, a nice RV park. It’s been a while since I’ve been there, but it was relaxing with plenty to do.

  163. Don’t know if you’ll read down this far but I’ll throw in my two favorites. Number one hit mentioned right off the bat, Galveston. There’s an RV park right in galveston beach but if you have a 4×4, crystal beach is a ferry ride away, maybe you can rent something. The ferry line is really long though, especially on weekends so I and look into getting a medical pass for the ferry, it lets you bypass the line, and surely you qualify.

    Number two. The hill country. You’re kinda the already but kerrville is gorgeous area and Quiet Valley Ranch is a cool RV park most ofthe year, and you’re close to both the Brazos and Medina rivers where you can have some great watery fun, (I love water) and the countryside is also gorgeous.

  164. No idea about camping in Texas but my family did just rent an RV using It’s basically like Airbnb but for RVs. It was awesome and we were super happy with our experience. It was MUCH less expensive than it would have been through a typical rev rental site. Just FYI.

  165. Stupid autocorrect. is the site. To rent RVs, not revs. 🙂

  166. My best vacation with kids was 2 weeks in London in an air B&B. The air B&B was essential because we could pick up tasty prepared food at the supermarket and hunker down in our mews house when we needed a break (which was every day….). Eating quite-good supermarket curry while watching the Great British Bake Off, Kids version (only available to watch in the UK) was almost as amazing as seeing the Queen drive out of Buckingham Palace.

  167. Inks Lake State Park in Burnet has great campgrounds. Very scenic, quiet and relaxing.

  168. Your post encourages me. I keep thinking I’m over depression and then it comes back for a few days. But I always thought it only “counted” when it lasted for months. Then I realized that it’s always there, lurking underneath the surface until it pops its ugly head above the surface SURPRISE and I can’t see the real world anymore. Thanks for reminding me it happens to a lot of us.

    My best vacation was a road trip through the northwest – Badlands, Mt. Rushmore, Devil’s Tower, etc. – I find national parks or state parks tend to have the best natural surroundings if that’s what you’re looking for.

  169. You are brave to camp in Texas. Rattlesnakes. Be safe.
    Hope your head clears soon.
    Going to the beach next month. I desperately need a Be Nice or I will Stab You beach towel.

  170. Camp indoors. No bugs. More comfort. If you need more realism, you can build a pillow fort.

  171. yes to s’mores. there is a reason they are named some more – because you always want more. yummm…
    and if you take an rv, make sure one night to at least lie under the stars for awhile just to watch them.
    sending love.
    (maybe find an old girl scout manual to take camping – lots of tips in there – advice from an old girl scout)

  172. Hope you’re able to put the dumpster fire out. This has been a shit week.

    Camping in Texas: dry and hot? Palo Duro Canyon or Big Bend. Humid and hot? Caddo State Park. Jefferson is nearby and there are LOTS of cool antique and thrift shops.

  173. How you stop your head from being a dick would be useful knowledge to share when you manage it. Thanks. 🤪

  174. In the Austin area, there are numerous state parks with all kinds of activities – boating, hiking, fishing, swimming, etc. The chain of lakes from the damming of the Colorado river makes this a fantastic recreational area. Lake Buchanan, Inks Lake, Lake Marble Falls, Perdanales Lake, Lake Travis, etc. etc. All have either or will have great camping information. Also Brazos Bend State Park has the George Observatory and TONS of wildlife, plus water, hiking, etc. Good Luck!!

  175. Texas has some of the BEST camping in the country. And once you are in their system, you have access to all the parks (and don’t have to fill out all the info each time). I can’t remember all the names but I’ve been to parks south of Dallas and in Beltane (on the lake!) and both are wonderful.

  176. I’ve never camped in Texas so I have no useful info there, but I have camped a lot. One of the commenters said to cook all your meals on a campfire. Do not do that. You will spend your entire time cooking and I’m guessing you don’t have a lot of experience doing so and there will be failure and tears and hunger. I spent two months living in a tent in the rainforest of Alaska cooking on an open fire. I did master the skill but there were limits to our menu. You can plan a classic campfire meal like hobo dinners (not made with real hobos). But really, try to limit the cooking you have to do and bring along pre made food. Take along games and explore the area you are in. A friend’s family recently purchased some sorta illuminated corn hole game for RV camping. Have fun!

  177. We like to camp at Martin Dies Jr. State Park (Jasper/Lake Livingston area). It’s a little less crowded than Lake Livingston usually and it’s SO peaceful. Also, the name is 100% win because you can tell everyone you went to the place Martin Died.

  178. We used to rent a cabin near Garner and go tubing down the Rio Frio. These were the best vacations of my life. Do it!

  179. There’s a REALLY nice campground on the west end of Galveston Beach called Stella Mare. Right across from the beach. They have a small tiki bar on site. We love South Padre Island (if you can find a space). You can drive on the beach for 26 miles and surf fish or you can fish the calm bayside.

  180. Go to Neal’s Lodges in Concan, Texas. It’s about 12 miles from Garner and is much more likely to have a camper space than Garner. Garner starts filling up early in the year. Neal’s has the best swimming hole on the Frio.

  181. My dad was a huge fan of camping at National Parks. He loved the Ranger Talks too. So much so that for many years when we went to Cape Cod, we only did the walks and talks on the National Seashore lands. Know those lectures inside and out. But best vacation? Toss up of Santa Fe and Taos, NM with Portland, OR.

  182. Two week family vacation in an RV around New Zealand’s southern island. Highlights include glow worms, hot springs, every view looking straight out of LOTR, dad stopping every five seconds to get a picture of said view, weird New Zealand kiwi bird, riding a donkey that made my lady garden go numb, getting caught in a thunderstorm in my undies slipping in my so it looked like I shat myself. Parents taking pictures.

  183. I grew up camping at Lake O’ The Pines near Jefferson, TX but that is probably too far for you to go.

  184. MARFA!! Super cool cemetery, mysterious lights, Donald Judson, old time soda fountain. What more could you want?

  185. Camping? Growing up in a family of seven, we always took camping trips. We had a pop up camper. My favorite place — Geode State Park. We gathered and cracked open soooo many geodes. My advice: Bug Spray, Sun Screen, and Camp Fires! Also, if you don’t have a toliet in the RV, bring a covered pot for nighttime necessity.

  186. We camp at Copper Breaks and Palo Duro canyon all the time. Probably too far of a drive, for you, but consider Copper Breaks. It’s a designated dark sky park. If you come out the weekend of a new moon, there is a star talk and they have telescopes for star gazing. There is a small pond for fishing (bass, catfish, perch) and a second even smaller pond you can hike down to and fish. We’ve taken our own paddle boards and attempted to fish off of them – unsuccessfully as I can only do one thing at a time. It’s a small park, but they do have full RV hookups and it does not get as booked as Palo Duro does. IF you want to make a longer trip, add in Caprock canyon – it’s closer to Copper Breaks and has a buffalo herd and bat caves (the natural ones, not the Bruce Wayne one). Enjoy!

  187. If you ever want a longer trip, come to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Grayson Highlands State Park has wild
    ponies and easy hikes along the AT. The most beautiful state park in a state that has more than its share of beautiful places.

  188. My suggestion is to go online and look at a map of the Four corners region (Arizona, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico. It has a abundance of interesting places to visit in a motorhome. which are relatively in close proximity. Happy travels and come back refreshed and with many stories. Travel safely

  189. Hi Jenny! Lots of hugs and hoped for your brain to stop bitching<3. If you ever want to come to Canada for a camping trip I’d suggest coming to Vancouver Island to Juan de Fuca China Beach Campground. I go every summer with my family and it’s stunning. Unfortunately I’ve never been to Texas or even out of Canada so I can’t help you there. Good luck though!

  190. Having never been to Texas I cannot give you specifics, but have loved KOA because: 1)you can camp in a tent; 2)usually there are stores & pools (probably needed – I hear it gets hot there); 3)generally they’re well kept; 4)bears are unlikely; 5)they have Kamping Kabins w/electricity! Jan Barkhurst,

  191. Hey Jenny! I live in Castroville and my son and I enjoy camping/hiking at Garner so I think y’all picked a good one. It’s close to SA so you don’t have to drive to far yet far enough from the big city that you can de-stress; as much as one can surrounded by bugs. Another good one we enjoy that is not too far is Choke Canyon near Three Rivers. Downside is I don’t believe they have any kayaks/swans to rent.It is beautiful though…just watch out for Alligators 😉

  192. Enchanted Rock is close, north of Fredricksburg. No lakes or swan shaped paddle boats, but you can hike up the giant pink granite dome. I’m DFW so most of my camping experience is probably farther than you want to go—Dinosaur Valley, Mineral Wells, Possum Kingdom. Farther away, the sand dunes at Monahans are fun. I thought we were going to make it back to Palo Duro or Caprock Canyons on our way to Colorado this year, but probably not. I really want to hike Palo Duro and zipline there, but not when it’s 190°…

  193. You should go to Caddo Lake and dump your RV and stay in one of my Aunt Dottie’s guest houses: Caddo is gorgeous, and my family is about as odd as yours. My Uncle Billie can take you out to see the alligators at night and if your lucky you can meet my Aunt’s racoon. Hard to go wrong there, right? I’m enjoying the audio book, thank you.

  194. To all the Texans considering camping but you aren’t sure, please check out Texas Outdoor Family. They loan you a tent and cooking gear and have guided activities and it’s a great way to try out camping if you aren’t sure it’s for you. We did 3 trips with them and then made the leap to buy our own gear. I loved Big Bend and it is fabulous but dear Jenny, go in spring or winter or fall and avoid the crazy heat. Pedernales is great for playing in the water. Garner is great but reservations may be tough. We had a great time at Balmorhea: loved that icy water! South Llano River SP is quiet and remote and you can spend the day riding an inner tube on the river. For summer camping, pack lots of water and sunscreen. Also look for cave tours as a way to escape the daytime heat. Have fun! Aw, you’re making me miss Texas.

  195. We once went camping at Mule Shoe Bend (of course that is in Texas–how could it not be?) and we accidentally took the vultures’ space. Every time we returned, they’d be roosting in the trees and fly off, super annoyed. So that is a place.

  196. I’ve always wanted to go prospecting for gold, myself… or rock-hunting. 🙂

  197. You don’t know me, because i never comment. But you have made a huge difference in my life. I live in your area, and just looked up a place i i had visited before for another friend. So since i consider you a friend, i have never met. Look at this place.

    Chalk Bluff River Resort near uvalde

  198. An FB may be ok (haven’t done that) but if you’re not Mother Nature ‘s best friend, I recommend someplace with cabins and cots, minimum. And bug spray. And maybe inflatable mattresses!

  199. Camping at Ludington State Park in Michigan! Best! On lake MI and has another lake that runs to it good for kayaking,or any boating. Nice sites,big dunes to climb, fine potty & shower facilities.Must bring – flashlights,rain gear,and a sweatshirt.

  200. Camping is not my thing. Why go on a vacation where things are much more work intensive than they are at home? Might as well go to one of those theme parks where you and your family can play the part of sod farmers. Those may Include very large size animals like cows or buffalos because you may have to use their poop as fuel. My experience with teenage girls is that generally they don’t want to collect cow paddies…so, good luck! L

  201. My advice is call a head. Lots of people are doing the same thing and the campgrounds fill up fast! I had a cousin find that out the hard way a week ago. Be flexible on your destination. Good luck! Happy camping!!

  202. two places I loved for spiritual peace and fun in Texas:

    Balmorhea State Park: Natural Cold Spring, funky old western rooms, affordable. Near McDonald Observatory, great sunsets, riparian areas, ice cold swimming area. 🙂 And that hard to describe no stress of small town Texas stores down the road, big skies, and friendly voices.

    Enchanted Rock outside of Austin:
    In the old days I’d climb that rock and camp on it overnight, watch the stars and feel the wind and sky.
    I think you’re supposed to camp in the camping area and just climb the rock, but be the rebel. No one ever challenged me. I wrote and drew in my journal and watched the sun set. something good about that big rock.

    But if I could convince you to take a longer road trip, I think you’d like Sedona, Arizona. It’s magical, just don’t sit on the psychic vortices when the tourists are being toured-about. They get testy about that. 🙂

    Hope you find your perfect vacation place!

    oh shit, PS: you guys, keep this quiet, don’t over advertise these gems. Seriously. Give bad reviews for these places.
    PPS: There’s always Barton Springs cold springs in Austin, and Austin is known for it’s Margaritas and basic crazy, good bands, unpredictable weirdness. The whole family can get Tattoos there. Probably with Margaritas.

  203. I’m so sorry you’ve been depressed. Depression is just so fucking horribly shitty. …. I love camping, though it took quite some years & many trips for that love to develop. And I live in a city, so just hearing the quiet & seeing stars are big enough selling points for me. Personally, I believe in over-packing – it’s nice to have little luxuries like your favorite pillow &/or blankets, a blender for blended margaritas, etc. I always suggest earplugs if you’re not used to listening to people breathing & snoring around you or if you’re a light sleeper. Honestly, I don’t know a thing about camping in TX, but I hope you’re able to enjoy small moments here & there. Something always goes wrong, so it helps to go into it expecting that. Bring enough toilet paper. And keep in mind that even the worst camping trips make good stories.

  204. We’re all rooting for you and your TMS treatment! I know it’s not quite what you asked, but if you’re willing to venture into Oklahoma, Broken Bow has some really awesome cabins. I stayed in the Paradise Pines cabin for 3 nights a few years back and had a great time. It’s more “glamping” than camping, but eh. And there are several “adult beverage stores” in Broken Bow to stop and get “supplies” for the duration of your stay, too!

  205. Camping is all about the food. Some people get very creative. It’s amazing what you can make on a fire or grill. Bring stuff for smores, pineapple slices, lots of foil (disposable), snack food, and prep what you can for meals ahead of time. Then sit in nature. It’s nice. Nature can be very healing and restorative. (If you’ve never been camping before , just know that birds wake up around 4am. I was quite shocked and angry about that the first time 😆)
    We found a campground in Wisconsin that had tubing/canoeing , putt putt, a jumpy thing, etc and that helps with kids. But a place to swim can be just as good.

  206. I love that you can write while in such a struggle. That in itself is a miracle. You are inspirational and so beautifully articulate. Thank you. As for vacations, our favorites have always involved nature – lots of nature – so your idea of camping is spot on. Nature heals.

  207. I work in a Dr.s office and one of our patients had TMS. The change in her mood was incredible! She went from being a total zombie to a happy, personable and delightful person. Not that you are a zombie or not delightful, because you are so delightful even on days when woodpeckers are hammering away at your head.
    Camping is one of my favourite things. My ‘wasband’ (also known as my ex) and I started camping with our daughter when she was 2. In a very little tent by the lake on Vancouver Island. Our tents got bigger and more “glamping” like as the years went on until we bought a 23 foot trailer. Always to the same lake with some excursions up to Tofino ( please add to your bucket list)
    I missed the sound of rain on the tent when we went to the trailer, but it was also better not to have to step in puddles on your way to the loo.
    Always take a sharp knife, TP, water, a good book, stuff to make smores and bug stuff. Also a propane fire pit in case you camp in a fire ban area.
    Enjoy my dear (and as an embroiderer – you do good work and love your pansys xo)

  208. Camped in Palo Duro canyon as a kid and loved it. Beautiful red rock and clay beds at the river that we rolled around in. No i flatable swans or xanax machines though, im afraid haha

  209. Hi Jenny! I met you at a book signing in Boston and you told me you liked me hair (best celebrity encounter ever)!!
    I love your work so much and your audio books get me through driving from Boston to Key West, FL. The BEST vacation I ever had was to the Dry Tortugus! We took the ferry out, but you can do a sea plane. It is completely relaxing and the color of the water is the perfect shade of “feed your soul” blue. There is fishing, snorkeling, kayaking and a really cool fort that was a prison in the civil war. Friends of ours go multiple times a year. We went for two nights and I could have spent a week there and I normally hate camping.
    Thank you for continuing to share your journey. We all need it. If you do decide to come to Key West I would love to show you around. You can snuggle my orange cat Fletch (I promise that is not a euphemism. Fletch is very real and was a therapy cat to all the passages on the airplane), or I can tell you all the cool places you can hide from the world. I really hope you feel better soon and your head stops being a dick.

  210. We do quite a bit of camping in North Texas. State parks are going to give more privacy than National Parks or privately owned places. Cedar Hill SP has lots of brush separating the sites and usually has openings- the only exceptions I have seen is if they have loops closed for ant treatment or the Boy Scouts have invaded. We love the 2 parks at Ray Roberts Lake- Isle du Bois and Johnson Branch. They both have great concrete trails perfect for walking dogs or riding bikes. At every park, get there on Sunday afternoon or during the week to get the primo spots- Fridays & Saturdays fill up and in most Texas parks it is first-come first-served. If you make it as far north as Lake Texoma, definitely camp on the Oklahoma side. It is more beautiful and you can pick the site when you make the reservation. Oh, and don’t forget to check the Corps of Engineers camps. There are some beautiful spots. We rented a “Class C” a couple times before buying our first RV, which lets you know if you could live in a shoebox together and might be fodder for your next book. You are welcome. Know that you probably can’t pick up before 4 PM and will have to turn it in by 11 AM. If you can’t rent for at least 4 days it may not be worthwhile. Also, if it has a motor you will get a mileage charge so stay close to home. You can rent a pop-up or trailer if you have a truck or SUV (or a car with a hitch) and they don’t have odometers. Sneaky, huh?

  211. Well I camped in Big Bend and it was awesome but it wasn’t summer and I think it might be a bad idea to go there now. Do you watch The Daytripper on PBS? It’s one of those things that are so bad they’re good… at least if you’re me and new to (and stuck in) Texas. Anyway, that’s how we choose our semi-local vacations.

  212. My favorite destination is the Faroe Islands. Just Google the place. There’s a place in Gjògv that I love to sit and look at the ocean or watch the puffins fly back and forth between their nests and the sea.

  213. It’s not Texas but if you ever get a chance, spend some time camping/hiking Utah, especially south near the Arizona border. I know probably with your arthritis hiking isn’t really in the cards but some of the drives and short hikes right off the roads are some of the most gorgeous country I’ve ever seen.

  214. So I’m from TX originally, and I actually camped a lot in TX as a kid, but because I was a kid, I mostly don’t remember where. Probably a lot in various Girl Scout camps. BUT… If you don’t mind a bit of a longer drive away from Houston (which I would recommend, because… Houston? Really???- I’m from DFW though, so maybe don’t listen to me), I would recommend camping around Lake Lewisville. In college we’d go camp around there because it wasn’t too far and it is a massive lake, so it’s quite beautiful and also still close to civilization. White Rock Lake is pretty nice too.

    I live in Colorado now though, so OBVIOUSLY the camping is much better here, but I will say there aren’t as many big lakes, so camping is a bit different. I mean, you can find camping sites with lakes, but to me it’s just a different experience. Plus, because it’s Colorado, a lot of the time you have to hike 5 miles with all of your camping gear to get to the place you’re supposed to be, which is great if you want no signs of civilization EVER to interfere with your camping experience, but SUCKS if hiking 5 with 100 pounds of gear is not your thing (I may be exaggerating.). Just saying…

  215. I’ve been camping exactly twice. The first time I was like 13ish, took a pup tent and a friend along on a family weekend vacation. We set up our pathetic little tent and wandered off basically ignoring my family, hiked, fished, got muddy and wet, had laughs. My friend and I had a lot of fun (heard the rest of the family was miserable, being with them is miserable so I see it happening). It was at Patagonia Lake in AZ which is non-spectacular but it was like one of those last gasps of childhood things. The next year mom took us camping (no friend and no separate tent) and her choice of camping spots was among summer cottages, like we were in someone’s front lawn. You couldn’t wander anywhere because private property. My mom locked the keys to her car in the truck. Everyone screamed at everyone. Basically, my family in a nutshell.

  216. Blanco State Park is pretty close to you. I’ve never camped there, but have checked it out and seems to meet your criteria: clean bathrooms, on the river, walking paths, simple hiking, and lots of good placed to eat. I have done all of these things as a prep to camping there, which I plan to do soon.

  217. You cannot go camping in an RV. Sorry that is just how I was raised. I allow blow up mattresses or even cots but Camping is in a tent.
    Canyon Lake has lovely spots for really cheap and you can take your dog. Plus ….lake to swim in.
    Inks lake is a good park, close by and has again…lake to swim in. I would caution about the aggressive deer there. Especially if you bring dogs, they hate them, and want to murder them and will take you out if they have to to get to the dogs. But lots of good shady spots.
    There is also Big Bend which is super awesome but this time of year it is a little like camping on the sun.
    There are some places in New Braunfuls but be aware that they are a little like parking lots by the river cuz they pack you in tight.
    Wimberly has some really nice cabins on the blanco river. It is a cute little art community that feels far away but is not in case you need anything.
    Based on your preferences above and not at all a judgement, what you want is a room at the downtown Hyatt. Swan boats Check! Air conditioning Check! Barton Spring swimming hole Check! Lovely hike and bike path Check! Bat Boat Check! Cable to watch shows about nature without actually having to interact with it Check!
    I have also stayed at some places in the hill country but that might be too close to home and not really feel vacationy. I bet San Marcos has some cool places but I just go there for the tubing. Wow that sounds dirty…. Also you can camp on the beach at Port A, with Dogs, but there will be sand.
    Good Luck I hope y’all have a great break!

  218. I loved Port Arthur(coast), the national grasslands (North), and the Rio Grande (North), and Possum Kingdom (North), though my favorite was actually Beaver’s Bend (just into Oklahoma) because there is camping, pay showers with endless hot water, trout fishing, beautiful scenery to photograph, boat & tube rentals and a dam where you can chill and watch the erratic dance of the fly fishers.

  219. My favorite park in Texas is probably McKinney Falls State Park just outside of Austin. The main attractions are the falls which you can jump from if you’re feeling boisterous or you can bring a float and just chill in the pools down below. There are also some trails and a display of native artifacts and places where they lived and that’s also pretty cool and educational. Garner is also a nice park but I haven’t been there in years and don’t remember a whole lot about it. McKinney was my favorite campground growing up and if you’re not in the mood for camp food (or like me, cooking over a campfire failed spectacularly) you can get some great barbecue just up the road or anything else you may have forgotten in Austin.

  220. Jesus, Jenny, it’s a hundred million degrees in Texas right now. Go to a movie or the library. Hailey won’t blame you when she’s 30, I promise.

  221. I like to camp with walls (and flush toilets and showers) between me and nature so the bugs can’t touch me and I can get a good nights sleep without rocks poking me in the ribs.

  222. We just came back from a loop around the country, camping in a van. Galveston is very nice and we camped there. Do not camp in the part where the bayou’s are. The mosquitos are awful!!! If you can get a site on the beach do so, it is nice. Do not camp st San Angelo, due to the drought there is barely any water left in the lake, and nothing to do.

  223. Every time I suggest renting an RV it gets shot down before I get it totally out of my mouth. Don’t get me wrong, I know NOTHING about RV’s and without a doubt it would turn into a huge comedy of errors, but THAT would be the memory maker! I actually got a nibble recently, when I, once again, pointed out that we could take all the animals and vacation as a family. My dog is a jerk, and wouldn’t do well with anyone let alone boarding shudder and as we discovered last year when my daughter and I took a road trip, my son isn’t home enough to ….. properly care for the dog.

    I hope you make the memories Jenny! 😘

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