Meridian State Park is one of the most accessible, remote, and attractive destinations in the Texas Hill Country. Let’s break that down a little. Meridian is not far west of Hillsboro, which is about halfway between Dallas and Waco on Interstate 35. However, the park is also on the other side of sprawling Lake Whitney, so it is a bit out-of-the-way. Finally, this part of the Hill Country is not as touristy as parts further south, like the areas directly west of Austin.
This combination is even better if you have an RV. You get all the benefits of outdoor camping without leaving the comforts of home. So, instead of a car full of kids begging to go home, you’ll have an RV full of kids who want to stay another day or two.
For a rather small park, Meridian State Park also has lots of things to do. There’s lake fishing, five miles of hiking trails, and plenty of canoe and kayaking opportunities. You can also leave your rig for a while and explore the signature limestone cliffs that you can only find in this part of Texas.
RV Rentals in Meridian State Park
Transportation in Meridian State Park
Highway 22 goes west from Hillsboro almost directly into the park. It’s a little narrow, but also very straight for the most part. Look out for sharp curves east of Whitney and west of Laguna Park as the highway skirts around Lake Whitney. On the way to and from Meridian State Park, you’ll also pass through Peoria. These are one-light towns for the most part, but small towns like these give the Hill Country much of its character.
Most of the park facilities are on the eastern shore of Lake Meridian. Sporadic parking areas are available all along the road which goes pretty much all around the lake. There are several wicked curves on the western shore, but for the most part, the road is pretty straight. Watch your speed and you should be fine.
It should probably be mentioned that one of the lakeside cabins is supposedly haunted. Guests report hearing noises and seeing strange lights. According to local legend, the cabin was the scene of a violent incident and no one who stays there comes back the same. It all sounds pretty far-fetched, but stranger things have happened.
Campgrounds and parking in Meridian State Park
Campsites in Meridian State Park
Cross Timbers Campground
Cross Timbers Campground offers 16 RV sites of various sizes. Sites 1-8 are pull-through, offer full hookups, and can accommodate larger RVs. These sites tend to be more open, offering pretty views of the Texas countryside.
Only pop-up tents and small RVs (less than twenty feet) are allowed at sites 9-15. These back-in sites have electricity and water hookups. These sites also provide a bit more privacy since most of them are guarded by enchanting Texan trees.
Every site at Cross Timbers Campground has a picnic table, fire ring, and foldable grill. Sites 1-8 also have lantern poles and barbecue grills. Campground amenities include two restrooms, two shower rooms, a dump station, and a camp store. Plus, you'll still be close to all the action of the lake.
Pets are welcome, but must never be left unattended. Respect your neighbors by observing mandatory quiet hours. If you follow the rules you're bound to have a relaxing RV camping vacation at this lovely state park.
Seasonal activities in Meridian State Park
The bluebonnets bloom between mid-March and the end of April. Early April is usually the best time to see them. In some years, these flowers are almost literally everywhere. That’s especially true after a wet winter and a warm February. Other types of wildflowers include Indian paintbrushes, primroses, and a number of other varieties. These other flowers bloom about the same time as the bluebonnets. WIldflower Field is a good place to view all of them. It’s located along the easy-to-navigate Little Forest Junior Trail. The nice thing about Meridian State Park is that if you miss them one weekend, it’s pretty easy to take your RV back the next weekend.
People do not need a license to fish from shore or from a boat in Meridian State Park. There is also an ADA-accessible fishing pier near the boat launch. Additionally, if you forgot to pack your fishing equipment in your RV loaners are available at park headquarters. Catfish, sunfish, and bass are usually biting. Catfish usually lurk in the dirtier areas of the lake, bass like underwater vegetation, and sunfish in shallow areas usually go for worms. Trout may be available as well, as rangers add about 2,000 of these fish a year.
Exploring Civilian Conservation Corps Sites
During the middle part of the Great Depression, CCC Company 1827 worked feverishly to get Meridian State Park ready for the 1936 Texas Centennial. Near the lake workers built a dam and a refectory (which is a meeting space and concession area). That refectory is still a cool place to have meetings, so you can combine work with an RV vacation. Meridian State Park has surprisingly good 4G service. The CCC workers also constructed a number of bridges and other points, mostly out of locally-sourced materials.
For the most part, Lake Meridian has fairly clear water that’s excellent for swimming. That’s especially true in the southeast corner of the lake, which is where the main swimming area is located. However, since no power boats are allowed on the lake, you can leave your RV and swim pretty much anywhere you please. Remember that there are no lifeguards on duty. The stone refectory is close to the swimming area, as are parking and picnic areas.
If you forgot to add your kayak or canoe to your RV, don’t fret. Rangers rent kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards all year long. All rentals include paddles and lifejackets. The entire lake is a no-wake zone, so there’s plenty of time to relax on the water. The southern shore is rather flat and the northern shore is mostly limestone cliffs. So, there’s quite a bit of diversity to explore. Even in winter, the water never gets too cold.
Visitors recommend the two-mile Bosque Hiking Trail. It’s a rather challenging trail which goes through the limestone cliffs to the north of the lake. It ends at Bee Ledge, which is one of the nicest lake overlooks in the Park. But watch your step. They call this point a “ledge” for a reason. The honorable mention goes to Shinery Ridge Trail. The loop trail begins and ends at a parking area. Although it’s rated moderate, much of the trail is paved and wheelchair-friendly. Watch for endangered golden-cheeked warblers between March and July.