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What is now the oldest state park in Texas was the homestead of the Neff family back in the mid-19th century. Local teacher and good Samaritan Isabella Neff willed six acres of the farm to the public shortly before her death in 1921. Pat Neff, one of Isabella's 12 children and the state governor at the time, donated additional land, expanding upon the generosity of "Mother Neff." And the rest, as they say, is history.
Today, this 259-acre tranquil tract located just outside of Moody protects a variety of flora and fauna. Amble along the banks of the Leon River, snap photo after photo of the wildflowers scattered throughout the prairie, or simply pack a picnic lunch and soak up the serenity. No matter what kind of adventure you're after, browse the affordable RV rentals in Coryell County and start planning your great escape in Texas Hill Country.
The first item on your Mother Neff State Park camping itinerary should be hiking. Three and a half miles of trails wind their way throughout the park, passing a pond, peaceful prairies, and original structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The Cave Trail is the park's shortest at two-tenths of a mile long. Along the way, you can explore a small cave that the Tonkawa tribe used for shelter in the early 19th century. The Prairie Loop is a prime path for birdwatchers and meanders for just over half a mile through the park's prairies. Take the Tower Trail to the rock tower constructed by the CCC in the 1930s. Ascend the staircase to the top of the tower for sweeping views of the prairie.
Birdwatchers will find endless opportunities to spot dozens upon dozens of species here. Keep your eyes peeled for barn owls hooting in the treetops, sharp-shinned hawks soaring overhead, and hummingbirds hovering around the wildflowers. Download a checklist from the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and set out to see what you can spot.
Geocaching and picnicking are other favorite pastimes for Mother Neff State Park campers. You'll find a picnic area and playground right outside the campground. Water lovers will, unfortunately, be a little out of luck here. Fishing, boating, and swimming are prohibited in the park's ponds and the Leon River.
This small park comes complete with a small campground, so you'll want to reserve a site in advance. Of the park's 35 campsites, 20 provide access to full hookups with 30 and 50-amp service. Some sites here can accommodate big rigs up to 124 feet long. The remaining 15 sites are designated for tent campers.
You'll enjoy all the standard amenities at this state park RV campground, including restroom and shower facilities as well as picnic tables and grills. Pets are welcome to accompany you for your RV camping adventure at Mother Neff State Park. Just keep your pal leashed and out of buildings.
When your motorhome camping adventure at Mother Neff State Park has run its course, refuel your rental RV and grab some supplies at one of the convenience stores in Moody. Then, you can connect to I-35 to extend your road trip through Texas.
The kids will love taking the half-hour trip southeast into Temple to make a splash at the water park. Anglers itching to wet a line can try their luck at Lake Belton. History buffs and trainspotters can explore the area's railroad history at the Temple Railroad & Heritage Museum.
If your RV camping adventure is taking you southwest, make a stop in Killeen to tour the 1st Cavalry Division Museum. Learn all about the vast military history of Fort Hood, and even watch an equipment demonstration from a traveling living history group. However, you'll need a base pass to gain access to Fort Hood and the museum.
Craving some time back in civilization? Waco is just 40 minutes northeast of the park and is sure to delight the animal lovers among you. Get up close and personal with lions and otters at Cameron Park Zoo. Or, if you prefer to view ancient animals, visit the Waco Mammoth National Monument to marvel at more than 20 mammoth fossils unearthed from this protected archeological site.
Once you're all done exploring Waco, fill your bellies at one of dozens of restaurants right off I-35. From here, you can travel an hour and a half north into Dallas, or venture an hour and 45 minutes south toward Austin. No matter where your trip takes you next, you're well placed to continue your excursions through the Lone Star State.