Forest barns near Sulphur Springs

Enjoy small-town Southern hospitality en route to Cooper Lake State Park.

Forest barns near Sulphur Springs guide


Midway between Dallas and Texarkana, Sulphur Springs has some unusual claims to fame—including one of the region’s most popular farmer’s markets and their one-way mirrored public restrooms. Once you’ve explored the bustling downtown markets and picked up some picnic supplies, head out to Cooper Lake State Park to hike, bike, or horseback ride along the shores of Jim Chapman Lake. Campers have options in the park, with RV, tent, and equestrian sites, all close to the lakeside, where you can swim, fish, and kayak. If you prefer to stay in town, there are also RV parks in Sulphur Springs.

Where to go

Southern Lakes 

South of Sulphur Springs, RV parks and lakeside camping grounds pepper the vast shores of Lake Fork and Lake Tawakoni. Explore the fishing coves around Lake Fork or set sail to fish for largemouth bass—some of Texas’ largest catches have been hooked here. To the West, Lake Tawakoni State Park has woodland hikes and a sandy swimming beach on the lake’s south shore.

East Dallas

More lakeside camping is on offer along the eastern boundaries of Dallas, with plenty of choice around Lake Lavon and Lake Ray Hubbard. Both lakes are popular boating and fishing spots, but you can also rent kayaks and stand-up paddleboards, or tee off at a lake-view golf course. If you’re tempted to get closer to the city, Lake Lewisville has seven campgrounds just a short hop from downtown. 

Northeast Pineywoods

Sulphur Springs is a strategic basecamp for exploring the Texas Piney Woods, where traditional Southern towns meet rambling woodlands and gleaming lakes. Dive into Civil War history in Jefferson, then head out to camp by Lake Caddo. Or continue south to enjoy backcountry camping in the Davy Crockett, Angelina, and Sabine National Forests.

When to go

May through September is the most popular time to visit Sulphur Springs, when the town hosts several festivals, markets, and an open-air movie theater in its central square. Texan summers are hot, so RV camping might be a more comfortable option, but you can always escape to the nearby lakes to cool off. Camping is possible year-round in Cooper Lake State Park, but spring and fall provide the most pleasant weather for hiking and outdoor activities. 

Know before you go

  • You’ll need your own transportation to get around Sulphur Springs. 
  • Sulphur Springs has a wide range of shops where you can purchase groceries, camping gear, and fishing supplies. Pick up everything you need in town before heading out to Cooper Lake State Park.
  • Most Texas state parks and national forests require reservations for both day passes and campgrounds. Fishing permits are also often required.

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