TX: New camping guide highlights unique festivals

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CROWLEY, Texas — The 2019 RV Travel & Camping Guide to Texas is now being provided to consumers at RV shows, visitors’ bureaus and campgrounds in Texas and across the country.

“Our theme this year is outdoor activities, but we focused on much more than hiking, biking, fishing, kayaking, bird watching and hunting. We also highlighted the best festivals in every region of Texas as well,” said Brian Schaeffer, executive director and CEO of the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO), which publishes the travel and camping directory.

“You could call our 2019 guide our anti-technology issue,” Schaeffer continued, “because you can’t fully enjoy the activities we describe in the guide if you’re staring into a cellphone or computer screen.”

Although TACO’s camping directory is available in a mobile friendly format at www.TexasCampgrounds.com, Schaeffer said printed directories remain in high demand, largely because they can be faster and easier to use than online directories and don’t require precious cellphone data.

“In fact, several locations ran out of our printed guides earlier than we expected in 2018 and were asking when our 2019 guide would be available,” Schaeffer said.

TACO’s printing covers over a half million users of the 2019 RV Travel & Camping Guide to Texas.

The guide is distributed at many RV shows across Texas, including the All Valley RV and Outdoor Show, Jan. 10 – 12 in Mercedes, the Houston RV Show, Feb. 6 – 10, and the Austin RV Expo, Feb. 21 – 24. Anderson’s Brochure Distribution Service will also distribute the guide at 25 other RV shows across the country.

“Our biggest sources of distribution are the Texas Information Centers, the Points of Entry into Texas,” Schaeffer said.

The 2019 RV Travel & Camping Guide to Texas not only includes detailed information on campgrounds, but lots of information about places to visit and things to do in Texas. The guide also includes a two-page section with information on parks and attractions in Oklahoma.

The guide highlights natural wonders across the Lone Star State, such as Palo Duro Canyon and Natural Bridge Caverns, fun places for tubing, such as the Guadalupe and San Marcos Rivers, as well as beautiful urban escapes, such as the Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area, which features 2,000 acres of wilderness for hiking, kayaking, birding and other outdoor activities.

The guide also identifies regional festivals, which attract Texans as well as well as out of state visitors. Here’s a sampling of some of the festivals highlighted in the guide:

— Cajun Catfish Festival in Conroe: This annual event, scheduled for Oct. 11 – 13 includes Cajun and Texas music on three stages all weekend, plus a unique variety of food including catfish, boudain, gator, etouffe, jambalaya and crawfish pie. The event also includes arts and crafts vendors and a kid-zone area with activities for children and a special performance stage for local dance teams. www.conroecajuncatfishfestival.com

— General Sam Houston Folk Festival in Huntsville: The 15-acre Sam Houston Memorial Museum is transformed into a frontier setting for this May 17 – 19 event, which includes educational reenactments, music and crafts. http://samhoustonfolkfestival.blogspot.com

— Great Texas Balloon Race in Longview: This event, set for July 26-28, includes a 5K run, evening balloon glow events, live music and ring toss competitions. Of course, the event also includes balloon race competitions, including a “Young Guns” balloon race competition Created for young pilots who are 29 and under, have balloon pilot’s license, and a minimum of 25 hours flying prior to July 26. www.greattexasballoonrace.com

— Lamesa’s Original Chicken Fried Steak Festival & Balloon Rally: This event, scheduled for April 27 – 28 at Forrest Park in Lamesa, features a chicken fried steak cooking competition, food booths, and decorative hot air balloons that take off each morning at sunrise. www.ci.lamesa.tx.us

— National Cowboy Symposium & Celebration in Lubbock: This annual event, slated for Sept. 7 – 9, features Western entertainers, storytelling, poetry as well as film and movie seminars, horse handling demonstrations, a horse themed parade, a youth Wild West Day and a national championship chuck wagon cookoff. The event also includes Native American presentations and exhibits of Western artwork and merchandise. www.cowboy.org

— National Polka Festival in Ennis: This May 24-26 event celebrates Czech heritage with polka music and dancing, traditional costumes, Czech food, a parade and family fun. www.nationalpolkafestival.com

— Polish Festival Days in Bremond: This June 21-22 event in the “Polish Capital of Texas” includes Polish food, music and dancing. https://www.bremondtexas.org/polish_day.html

— Shrimporee in Aransas Pass: This annual event, scheduled for June 7 – 9 at Johnson Community Park, includes live entertainment, dancing and plenty of shrimp as well as a parade, an outhouse race, carnival games, arts and crafts and a Miss Shrimporee Pageant. https://www.aransaspass.org/shrimporee/

— Terlingua Chili Cookoff in Terlingua: The town of Terlingua is the site of two major chili cookoffs, including the CASI Terlingua International Chili Championship, which takes place Oct. 28 – Nov. 2. For more information, visit www.visitbigbend.com and https://www.casichili.net/terlingua-273604-982679.html.

— Texas Onion Fest in Weslaco: This March 23 event celebrates the development of the Texas 1015 Onion in Weslaco. Activities include an onion eating contest, arts and crafts, food vendors, cooking demonstrations, live entertainment and a Miss Texas Onion Fest Pageant. www.weslaco.com

— Texas State Festival of Ethnic Cultures in Ballinger: This April 27 event includes a parade, a bike fest, handmade arts and crafts, live entertainment, music and food. https://www.fairsandfestivals.net/events/details/2019-texas-festival-of-ethnic-cultures

— Tri-State Festival & Rodeo in Amarillo: This annual event, set for Sept. 13 – 21, includes activities for all ages, including carnival rides, games and activities, a parade, live music and thrilling rodeo action. www.tristatefair.com

— Winter Texan Expo & Health Fair in McAllen: This free event, slated for Jan. 15-16 at the McAllen Community Center, includes free health screenings, vendors, giveaways and entertainment. www.wintertexanexpo.com

Locator maps are provided at the beginning of each regional section of the guide, with numbered listings of the campgrounds for each region. Campgrounds are also alpha-indexed by city and park name.

Each campground listing includes a grid that lists the park’s facilities, services and amenities as well as driving directions, a miniature locator map and many parks have panoramic photos showing off what campers can experience. The directory also features a Texas Saver Card, which provides 10 percent discounts at participating parks and an entire page is used to highlight the winners of TACO’s park awards competition.

The guide, which was designed by Texas Advertising, also features display ads from every major campground chain, including Equity LifeStyle Properties; Jellystone Parks; Kampgrounds of America (KOA); Northgate Resorts and Quality RV Resorts, to name a few.

The guide is supported by advertising from prominent campgrounds, RV resorts and RV dealers in Texas, such as Motor Home Specialist, Vogt RV Centers and PPL Motorhomes, the largest RV consignment dealer in the country.

The guide also has a section devoted to parks with rental cabins and cottages and features ads from several park model RV manufacturers in Texas, including Athens/Champion Homes, Diamond Park Homes and Platinum Cottages.

RV and camping enthusiasts can order the directory online by visiting www.texascampgrounds.com. The 2019 RV Travel & Camping Guide to Texas is also posted on the website in digital page-turning format.

For more information about the directory, camping in Texas or advertising, please call Brian Schaeffer at (817) 307-0129 or visit www.TexasCampgrounds.com and www.TexasCabinRentals.net.

SOURCE: Texas Association of Campground Owners

Ronnie Wendt

Ronnie Wendt

Ronnie Wendt has been a writer/editor for more than 25 years, working in law enforcement, aviation, supply chain and the RV industry. She's not a stranger to RVs, however. She grew up camping, and still camps as many weekends as she can every year. She is the owner of In Good Company Communications and can be reached at ingoodcompanycommunications@gmail.com.

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