This is the first post in what will be an occasional series on the best places to camp that we’ve found on our journey around North America. In this post, we’re staying at Falcon County Park, just 30 minutes from Roma and 40 minutes from Rio Grande City.
We only planned to stop over for 2-3 nights, but we ended up staying for two weeks!
Where is Falcon County State Park?
Falcon County Park is in Falcon Heights, Texas, about 80 miles south of Laredo on Route 83. The nearest towns to the park are Roma and Rio Grande City – about 30 and 45 minutes south, respectively. (Google maps link).
The border with Mexico is just a 15 minute walk up the road.
Falcon County Park is maintained by the county – although I use the term “maintained” loosely. If you stay here, you’ll quickly realize that the park is kept up by a few people who stay here long-term.
Note: Don’t confuse Falcon County Park with Falcon State Park. Falcon State Park is a couple of miles up the road. It’s a paid site that runs about $16 a day with full hookups. If you want to visit for the day, you can pay $3 per person per day.
Why stay at Falcon County Park?
If your route happens to take you along the Rio Grande Valley, then Falcon County RV Park is a perfect place to stop and relax along the way. Since we had a lot of editing to do for our YouTube Channel, we found it especially good as a place to stop for a few days to unwind and get some work done.
Suggested reading: Looking for places to stay for free in your van or RV? We’ve compiled a list of our favorite places to boondock.
Falcon County Park Amenities
Even though it’s a free place to stay for vans and RVs, the park surprisingly offers several amenities that you usually only find at paid sites. None of these amenities are glamorous, mind you, but they are available for every camper to use.
They’re not the highest quality, but the showers here are completely fine – and they are hot. So if you’ve become used to cold showers or even none at all for a few days, you’ll love these.
It’s hard to find much to be disappointed with here. The community that stays here long term keeps the showers and toilets clean. People who’ve stayed here leave toilet paper and hand soap as a way to say thanks for the free stay.
Pavilion with electricity
The pavilion at Falcon County Park is the meeting point for people who stay here. It’s also a great place to sit in the shade, read, and charge your phones, laptops, and anything else that needs charging.
If your house batteries are running low, you can feel free to pull up and plug in for a couple of hours if you need to. Just be mindful not to do it at a time when the pavilion is being used by others. And, obviously, don’t run anything in your van or RV that could blow the circuit.
This pavilion was nothing more than junk until recently. With the permission of the county, one of the long-term campers rebuilt the pavilion with the help of volunteer campers.
There are several dozen water spigots throughout the campsite that are free to use. While I’m told the water is technically safe to drink, people who’ve been here awhile advise against it. So it’s probably a good idea to just use it for non-drinking purposes like washing dishes and showering if you have one in your van or RV.
If you do choose to drink the water, be sure to use a water filter (Amazon affiliate link). Personally, we decided to heed the advice of the other campers – we brought enough water to drink and made a trip to town for refills.
Along the highway into Rio Grande City, there are several standalone water fill stations where you can refill your water jugs for 25 cents a gallon.
Another surprise for us was discovering that Falcon County Park has a dumping station. It’s not elegant, but it works.
We tend to move on as our grey and black tanks get full. We usually decide to leave a spot when we need to dump waste. Not here. Besides the people, the dump station is the main reason we decided to stay for several days longer than we planned.
Picnic tables and grills
Falcon County Park is not a well-maintained RV park. Like I said earlier, most of the improvements that have been made here were done by park users.
The picnic tables and grills here are a case in point. They were made of concrete and stone. Because they’ve not been taken care of, many are falling apart. The county hasn’t replaced the picnic tables because they don’t want any replacements to get destroyed or stolen. So RVers and Van lifers make do with the remnants of what’s left.
While the picnic tables might not be perfect, you can find a few that work as a place to use a camp stove or put your stuff.
The laundry facilities at Falcon County Park were donated by one of the long-term campers who figured it was cheaper to buy a second-hand washer than to continually drive into town and pay for laundry.
With the permission of the county, he placed the washer in the office for all to use. You’re expected to give a $2-3 donation to use the washer. There’s also an area by the pavilion where you can hang your clothes to dry.
And because the humidity is so low here (at least in the fall and winter), it won’t take long!
How long can you stay?
Basically, as long as you want.
We met people who’ve been here for weeks, and we met one person who’d been here for a year, so far.
As far as we know, there are no limitations.
Is there anything to do here?
The short answer is not much. For us, that was sort of the point. This is a place to come and just relax and do nothing.
If you’re a digital nomad, like us, Falcon County Park is a great place to catch up on work. The cellular reception here was fantastic for me (Verizon). I routinely got 100 Mbps+ download and 18-20 Mbps upload.
If you want to walk, you can do a loop of the campground, which is about a mile all the way around. Or play a game of horseshoes. Halef went running several times.
But if you want entertainment here, you’ll have to be creative and bring your own – or watch Netflix, Disney+, or whatever service you use.
If you have a television, all of the over-the-air channels are from Mexico.
Is Falcon County Park dog friendly?
Absolutely. The only stipulation is that you keep your dogs on a leash. While we were around our van, we let Kana off leash. But if we decided to go for a walk, we kept her on leash.
There is a “dump” next to the park. It’s not a garbage dump, really, so it doesn’t smell. While we were here, the only thing we saw dumped here was, metal, trees, and branches.
You can walk to that area and let your dog run off leash. It’s not uncommon to see roadrunners and javelinas in this area.
Where to get food and supplies
Just down the street on highway 2098 (4 minutes by car), there is a small convenience store called Nava’s Groceries that has the basics.
A little further along (6 minutes) is a Dollar General. There, you’ll find basic groceries, canned goods, beer, and a few frozen items. There are no fresh vegetables or meats.
Still further (20 minutes) is a place called Border Town Food store. Border Town is a small grocery where you can find pretty much anything you will need. The prices here are a little expensive, in my opinion, but you’ll find most of what you need. If you don’t need much, it’s worth paying a little more as opposed to driving another 20 minutes to Rio Grande City.
If you want a place with everything though, you’ll have to drive into Rio Grande City – about 45 minutes away. There, you’ll find an awesome H.E.B. Plus Grocery Store (Google Maps link) and a Walmart just up the street from it. If you want an all-in-one stop, Rio Grande City is your best bet.
While Falcon County Park is free for everyone and there’s no one who has any more “rights” than anyone else, we think it’s important for people to understand that there are several long-term campers here who deserve consideration.
While you may come and stay for a day, week, or a couple of weeks, there are people who’ve been here for months and Falcon County Park is their home away from home. Some of them have worked hard to ensure that the camp runs smoothly and is a good experience for everyone.
So be polite and friendly and you’ll be welcomed here enthusiastically!
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Michael is originally from Canada but now resides in Atlanta, GA with his husband, Halef, who also writes here. He is a Couchsurfing expert. Michael has traveled to over 50 countries learning how to experience more for less as he travels.