Fort Parker is 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. So, Fort Parker State Park really does have something for everybody.
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 boating. 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 not very close to any large or small towns so it is 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.
RV Rentals in Fort Parker State Park
Transportation in Fort Parker State Park
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, the 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 year.
Mexia and Groesbeck are decent-sized towns. Mexia has a few grocery stores and Groesbeck is smaller, but it’s also a county seat. 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.
Campgrounds and parking in Fort Parker State Park
Campsites in Fort Parker State Park
The Campground at Fort Parker State Park
The campground at Fort Parker State Park offers 25 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. Campground amenities include several group picnic areas, a playground, sheltered picnic area, and restroom and shower area. The dump station is located near the cemetery.
There are also 10 tent-only sites a bit north of the standard campsites. There are several drinking water spigots at this campground, along with a chemical toilet. Each site has a picnic table and a lamppost.
There are no first-come, first-served options at this state park.
Seasonal activities in Fort Parker State Park
Kayaking and Canoeing
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. 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 other side of the Fort Parker dam, is 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 even 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.
Checking out the Recreation Hall and Nature Center
The Recreation Hall and Nature Center is near the boat launch on the east side of the lake. This is a historic building that was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. You can learn about the park's history, ecology, and wildlife by checking out the exhibits inside. People who visit this spot come away with a greater appreciation for the park. There are also parking and restroom facilities nearby.
Attending Ranger Programs
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. Make sure to check the park's website or ask a Park Ranger about what programs are scheduled during your visit.
Visiting Springfield Cemetery
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 and visit during daylight hours. Nothing good happens in graveyards after dark.