Prior to the 1836 Texas Revolution, the Big Thicket’s dense forests covered a vast swath of southeast Texas. Two hundred years of logging has thinned the trees, but this area is still one of the most biologically diverse ones outside the tropics. The best way to explore the Big Thicket is to use an RV. You can get close to nature without leaving the comforts of home. Village Creek State Park is a great place to start this journey.
The meandering Village Creek is one of the only free-flowing Texas waterways. So, there are plenty of opportunities for fishing, swimming, and other aquatic activities. The dense woods are quiet, shady, and serene. This combination makes Village Creek State Park’s network of hiking and biking trails very popular as well. There’s also an indoor Nature Center.
But mostly, Village Creek State Park is a great RV getaway park. The RV sites are wide and level. The campground is within easy walking distance of the Day Use area, so campers stay at a place that’s rather private but also not far off the beaten path.
RV Rentals in Village Creek State Park
Transportation in Village Creek State Park
Village Creek State Park covers about 1,000 acres just east of Lumberton. To reach the park, most people take the Eastex Freeway (a combination of Highways 69, 96, and 287) north from Beaumont. The Eastex Freeway is basically a four-lane divided highway for most of the trip. It’s also a mostly straight road with little traffic, so even novice RV drivers shouldn’t have any problem with it.
There’s a very large parking lot in the Day Use Area. Parking is also available on either side of the RV campground. The road between the campground and Day Use Area is a bit winding, so take it slow.
Lumberton is a rather small town. But there are several small or mid-sized grocery stores and general stores. However, if you want to stock up on RV camping equipment, it’s best to do so in Beaumont.
Campgrounds and parking in Village Creek State Park
Campsites in Village Creek State Park
Hilltop Camping Area
Don’t let the “hilltop” name fool you. This campsite is about as flat as a pancake, so it's easy to maneuver and park your rig. It has 25 water and electricity hookup sites for RVs. Pets are welcome to join you on your RV camping adventure at this campground.
Each campsite has room for your rig and also a 10 x 10 camping tent. You will enjoy the outdoor grill, picnic table, and lantern post provided at your site. Each site also features a private paved pad that is guarded and shaded by the beautiful surrounding trees. Campground amenities include a dump station, restroom/shower area, and large recycling bin. RV and trailers up to 61 feet in length can be accommodated. Several sites are ADA accessible. Same-day reservations are allowed, but you have up to five months in advance to book your site.
Seasonal activities in Village Creek State Park
Bass, catfish, and sunfish usually bite well in the late spring and summer after the water warms up. Jigs, spinners, and other small lures usually attract lots of fish in these creek waters. Catfish are fighters, so use heavier line. Also, consider using live bait. The trees block most of the sunlight at water level. In 2009, officials detected slightly-elevated mercury levels in some fish. That danger has passed, but anglers may still want to limit their consumption of Village Creek fish. Anglers do not need a license to fish from shore, and Park Rangers loan equipment upon request.
Nature Viewing and Plant Identification
Most of the trees are Longleaf Pine Savannas. These tall rain forest-like trees are rare in North America. But that’s just the beginning. RV Visitors will also see water tupelo, river birch, riverflat hawthorn, bald cypress, and yaupon holly trees scattered about the cypress swamps. Further north, the landscape changes a little. As the land slightly rises, there are more pine, oak, beech, and magnolia trees. Furthermore, prickly pear, yucca, and other flowering cactus thrive in the sandy soil. Try finding that kind of diversity anywhere else.
Village Creek has a sandy, flat bottom, so it’s excellent for swimming, wading, or frolicking. Keep the frolicking in check, however, as there is no lifeguard on duty. Generally, the creek water is pretty cool until late March or early April, then it warms rapidly and does not cool off very much until the next February.
At either end of the busy season (early spring or late fall), Village Creek State Park is the temporary home of many migratory birds so be sure to get those binoculars out of the camper. For some reason, probably because of all the trees, vireos, warblers, and other songbirds particularly like resting here. Permanent winged residents include cardinals, hawks, mockingbirds, wood ducks, egrets, owls, herons, woodpeckers, and about 200 other bird species.
Remember that the flora and fauna in Village Creek State Park is a combination of desert plants and swamp plants? The same goes for wildlife. In the cypress-tupelo swampland, look for beaver, otter, frogs, and turtles. On the rises, look for bobcats, white-tailed deer, rabbits, and opossums. In the arid areas, watch for racerunners, roadrunners, and armadillos, as they scamper and forage in the undergrowth. Oh, and did we mention the alligators? They are cool to view as long as you stay at least 30 feet away from them and you stay on your toes. These critters are a lot faster than they look.
One of the nice things about the hiking and biking trails is that they are always heavily shaded. There are about ten trails, mostly in the thick forested parts of the park. Some highlights include the short and easy Beechwood, Loblolly, and River Birch Trails, which are designed for families. The Water Works Trail covers much of the aforementioned biodiversity in less than two miles. Finally, the Village Creek Trail is rather challenging, but it ends at the sandbar swimming hole. So if want to explore the unique, diverse landscape offered by Village Creek State Park all you have to do is step out of the RV.