Eisenhower State Park
Location: 50 Park Rd 20, Denison, TX 75020
Directions: Take I-75 directly north out of Dallas, you’ll follow the highway until reaching the town of Denison. Take exit 72 for State Hwy 91, and head north until reaching FM 1310. Head west on this road until you reach the entrance to the park.
Cost: Day use entrance fee is $5.00, and camping can range from $12.00 – $23.00 (varies according to whether you need Electricity and if it is a peak time of year)
Want to give camping a try without having to travel too far?
We recently discovered a hidden gem, just an hour’s drive from Dallas – camping at Eisenhower State Park in Denison, Texas.
It’s on the shores of Lake Texoma with cliffs and hills, which make it a scenic spot to camp.
Lake Texoma is a huge man-made dam. There is a “beach” which the kids loved and a marina where you can rent canoes, pontoon boats, kayaks and paddle boards.
It’s one of the many 45 Lakes and Beaches you can drive to from DFW
We took a pontoon boat out one morning and the kids loved jumping over the side to swim. They have a variety of rentals at the Marina and you can also fish at the lake too.
Now before I start, a little about my family. There’s my husband and I and our three kids – they are 6, 9 and 12. We love a road trip, we love an adventure, we love exploring new places and having been in Texas for only 3 years after a big move from Australia, everything is exciting, new and interesting to us.
Camping of all styles is available, so those looking for less primitive overnighters can feel at home among those who seek a more primitive style.
At Eisenhower State Park, we enjoyed two nights of swimming, boating, hiking and family time.
There are a couple of things I really love about camping and I guess that’s what keeps me coming back for more – I love seeing my kids play outside all day and go to bed when the sun goes down, exhausted and a little dirty, without any electronics in sight, without electricity even.
It’s back to the simple things in life.
The other thing I love is the campfire at night – sitting around the campfire, cooking dinner, chatting, enjoying my favorite beverage, and admiring the stars. “The stars at night, are big and bright…..”, you know how the song goes, well that’s what it’s like when you’re camping!
There are three hiking trials that are .81 mile, 3.2 miles, and 3.31 miles long, so you can choose which one you want to take and maybe do one for each day you are there.
It’s a strenuous hike, but Ike’s Hike and Bike trail is arguably the best trail to take in the most views of the park and the lake below it.
Now, I get it, if you’ve never been camping before, it can seem a little intimidating.
But if you want to give it a try, here’s what you need
- A tent (borrow one from a friend if you can to see if you like it),
- Bedding – if you don’t have sleeping bags, no need to go out and buy, pillows, sheets, blankets from home are fine too, they just don’t roll up as small, we have a couple of air mattresses but a yoga mat would be good too!
Cooking at the Campsite
In terms of cooking, you can make this as simple or as gourmet as you choose.
We typically plan before we go and shop accordingly when camping. We usually camp with at least one other family and do our own breakfasts and lunches but take turns to prepare the evening meal.
For Breakfast, we typically cook bacon and eggs wrapped up in a tortilla, the kids sometimes have cereal.
We usually prepare our Lunch at breakfast time so we can head out for the day on a hike or to the beach.
Dinner can be as simple as hot dogs or we cooked chicken fajitas this time and our friends cooked a yummy chili on their night. You can cook in an old skillet over the fire or on a gas burner.
You will need firewood but can usually buy that from the state park or from a local gas station (we got some from the local Walmart about 10 minutes from the state park).
And don’t forget the smores – the best part of camping food!
This time we ate out for breakfast one morning at this cute diner called the Gourmet Waffle Shop and it was delicious. The Cotton Patch Cafe, Lilli’s Pizza Place and The Point Restaurant are also great places to eat.
On your way home, I recommend taking a quick drive out to the Eisenhower Birthplace Historic Site and downtown Denison is very quaint also!
We definitely would count this as one of the 23 of the Best Nature Trails and Hikes in DFW
Now, what are you waiting for?? Clear the calendar, pack the car (dogs welcome!), and set off on your adventure. The kids will love it, real memory-making stuff here, and I think you will love it too.
Just don’t take my favorite campsite, OK?
And if I still haven’t convinced you, this place would make a great day trip too!
This is a Guest Post written by Melissa Beaumont.