Fort Parker State Park is located in central Texas, an area rich in culture and history. The park is named after Fort Parker, a historic 19th-century settlement with a unique story highlighting the conflict between Native Americans and settlers. Fort Parker Lake is an excellent place to relax and recharge your batteries and Fort Parker State Park offers lovely facilities for RVers to be able to enjoy a quiet break away.
When you take an RV trip to this beautiful state park, you will have nearly 1,500 acres filled with natural adventures to discover. Fort Parker Lake offers a wide range of aquatic activities for the whole family to enjoy from swimming to paddling. Plus, you can enjoy a serene picnic overlooking incredible sunset views over the lake. You can learn all about the park's ecosystem and the area's history by attending one of the park's regularly scheduled ranger programs such as nature hikes and fishing clinics.
Fort Parker State Park is a good drive away from the hustle and bustle of the city, making it a great place to get away from it all and fish, hike, or just soak in mother nature. Fort Parker State Park also has some top-quality RV facilities. The campground offers water and electric hookups and, while only offering 23 RV sites, is spacious and offers great privacy. There are seven miles of trails to make exploring the park on foot or by bike very easy. An added bonus is the 5.3-mile Paddling Trail that takes you across the lake and up the Navasota River to the limestone bluffs. Explore these two ecosystems at your leisure and enjoy all the natural beauty this park has to offer.
Just 40 miles northeast of the park you can visit Fairfield Lake State Park. The lake park is a must-visit if you enjoy boating, fishing, birdwatching, and hiking. Fairfield Lake State Park has 15 miles of day-use equestrian trails for horse owners and great facilities for RVs. Closer to Fort Parker State Park, you can explore the reconstructed Fort Parker just two miles southwest along TX-14. There is a lot to learn and discover in this part of Texas.
Fort Parker State Park is about halfway between Mexia and Groesbeck. If you don’t know where those places are, Mexia and Groesbeck are east of Prairie Hill and Mart. If you don’t know where those places are, Prairie Hill and Mart are east of Waco. If you don’t know where Waco is, it's time to break out the map.
To reach the park, you can either take U.S. Highway 84 from Waco to Mexia or take State Highway 6/Route 164 from Waco to Groesbeck. Both routes have some pros and cons. Highway 84 is a little wider and better-maintained than the state highways to the south. On the other hand, state highways go through more towns. Most of them are one-light towns, but there is at least some civilization.
You can also go the back way, beginning from Interstate 45, which is the main route between Dallas and Houston. But most really wouldn’t recommend this approach. This stretch of Highway 84 is quite windy, and this portion of Route 164 barely qualifies as a paved road, especially during certain times of the year.
Mexia and Groesbeck are decent-sized towns within seven miles of the park. Mexia has a few grocery stores and Groesbeck is smaller. If you wanting to buy take-out or sit down for a meal at a restaurant, both towns offer a variety of places to visit. However, if you need to do any serious stocking up for camping and RV supplies, you need to do it before you leave Waco.
If you're staying at the park, the best place to park your rig is at your campsite; that way you can get around the park on foot, bike, or with a secondary vehicle. If you are enjoying a day trip to the park, there are two parking lots in the center of the park, which offer easy access to the lake and Nature Center.
The campground at Fort Parker State Park offers 23 RV sites near the Recreation Hall. Four of these sites are pull-through sites, while the rest are back-in. Each site has a picnic table, fire ring or barbecue grill, water hookups, and 30-amp electrical hookups. Sites are large and well-spaced, and most are on the lakeside offering spectacular lake views. While relaxing in this campground, you're bound to see some blue crane, raccoons, squirrels, and a huge variety of birds.
Campground amenities include several group picnic areas, a playground, a sheltered picnic area, and a restroom and shower area. The dump station is located near the cemetery. RVers should be aware that the loop at the top of the campground is a very tight turn and any rig over 30 feet will be a challenge to turn around here. If you are towing a trailer or second vehicle, it is advisable to unhitch it before making the turn.
There are also 10 tent-only sites at the top of the lake. Here you can easily access the Navasota River Trail and enjoy all the connecting trails throughout the park. There is one communal drinking water spigot at this campground, along with a chemical toilet. Each site has a picnic table and a lamppost. These sites are easy to access, and you can park your car at your site. It is lovely and quiet in this well-shaded area and a real birder's paradise! In the early evening, many birds come to the reeds by the lake to nest for the night.
Fort Parker State Park has excellent group camping facilities. There is a large Youth Camp Site, especially for organized groups at the end of River Road at the top of the lake. This site can comfortably accommodate up to 50 people. The site has a few fire grills and picnic tables, as well as a primitive toilet.
The park also has Group Barracks, which offer comfortable indoor bunkhouses with restrooms. The Staff Building is ADA-accessible and can accommodate up to 20 people. Larger groups can be accommodated at the Barracks Complex. The complex can accommodate up to 86 people on bunk beds. This facility has two bathhouses, a commercial kitchen, a dining hall, and a games room.
The park also has two Group halls, which can be reserved for day-use. The Group Recreation Hall can accommodate up to 50 people, while the Group Barracks Dining Hall can accommodate up to 100 people.
The park has eight screened shelters behind the campground and away from the lake. These are ideal for day-use or for overnight camping if you want a break from your RV or tent. Each site can accommodate up to eight people, and there is space to put up a tent outside. Restroom facilities are a short walk away in the campground. The shelters provide shade in the hot summer days and protection from the elements. Each one has an electric outlet, a light, and a picnic bench. There is a communal water spigot outside the shelters. During the winter months, the shelters are winterized with wooden panels.
There are also two cabins in this area that can be reserved for groups of up to eight people. These cabins are also much closer to the restrooms and showers in the campground.
The Recreation Hall and Nature Center is near the boat launch on the east side of the lake. This historic building was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930s. You can learn about the park's history, ecology, and wildlife by checking out the exhibits inside. There is a touch and feel section for children, and the photograph display of the history of the CCC and Texas Parks is really interesting. People who visit this spot come away with a greater appreciation for the park. There are also parking and restroom facilities nearby.
No matter what time of year you are taking your RV vacation to Fort Parker State Park, there is always something going on. Even during the off-season, there are regularly scheduled ranger programs that offer a chance to learn about the park's natural and cultural history. The kids can learn how to be expert anglers by attending a fishing clinic. Or you can get the scoop from the rangers while taking a guided nature hike. Ask a Park Ranger about what programs are scheduled during your visit.
Back in the early 19th century, Springfield was a thriving community in this area. But then the town of Groesbeck became the county seat, the local post office closed in 1878, and Springfield became a ghost town. The cemetery is about the only thing that remains. An American Revolution veteran is buried here, as are two Texas Revolution veterans from San Jacinto. Be sure to visit during daylight hours. Nothing good happens in graveyards after dark.
If you are itching to get out onto the water during your RV trip to Texas, Fort Parker Lake is a prime destination to do just that. You can kayak or canoe over the lake while taking in incredible sunrise or sunset views. The 5.3-mile Limestone Bluffs Trail is highly recommended and is a fun way to explore the different ecosystems on offer at the park. If you don't have your own boating equipment, it's no problem. Canoes and kayaks are available for rent inside the park.
Fort Parker Lake is basically a serenity fishing spot. Stick to the shore near the campground to find the most catfish. Anglers do not need fishing licenses to fish from shore in a Texas State Park. If you need to borrow some fishing gear, ask a Park Ranger. During the spring, white bass sometimes congregate near the dam, but you’ll probably need a boat to reach them. Lake Springfield, which is on the far southwest side of the Fort Parker Lake, is a spring-fed lake and also a good fishing spot.
If you want to get out of the camper and stretch your legs, there are plenty of trails for you to choose from. Most of the trails are suitable for all ability levels since they are all relatively short. The Navasota River Trail is a nearly two-mile trek that offers amazing views of the lake. Another trail that offers breathtaking views is on the opposite of the lake called the Baines Creek Trail. If you are looking for some unique views, you'll want to take on the Limestone Bluffs Trail where you can hike or paddle to the scenic limestone bluffs that this area is famous for.