South of Fort Worth lies a wonderland of activity covering over 120 acres known as North Texas Jellystone Park. With over 500 places to stay, from glamping options like covered wagons and tipis, to camping spots and decked-out cabins, there is something for everyone at this park.
There are Jellystone Parks all over the United States, but I talked to several Texans who had traveled 5 or 10 hours (or even more) to spend another visit at their “favorite” one here at North Texas Jellystone Park.
With more things to do than there is time in the day, it is a fantastic mashup of a campground, waterpark and theme park all in one. We petted farm animals, played many rounds of mini golf, shot bows, got lost in a maze (several times), caught loads of fish, and spent as much time at the waterpark as we could possibly stand.
First of all, this park is absolutely huge! Sometimes we would just jump in the golf cart and go for a drive, exploring different areas of the park. On that note, a golf cart is a must. You need to rent them when you book your stay, because they do book out (although they’ve expanded the fleet). You can get by without a cart, but it’s so much more fun with one.
My second impression was that the park is really pretty. There are lots of trees, and that makes for a much better experience than other family-style RV parks I’ve visited that just aren’t that pretty. We drove all around the RV area just for fun.
There were so many things to do, that it was almost overwhelming. The paper map and the Jellystone Park mobile app were both really helpful in deciding what to do, when to do it and how to get there. The app notifies you 15 minutes ahead of any special activities, which definitely helped us out.
I have to say that I was really impressed by the staff. Mostly teenagers and young adults out of school, it was very evident that they either hired well or trained right (or both). Being a former teenager myself, I expected to get at least a little bit of bad attitude once or twice, but only experienced friendly smiles and a helpful attitude. This would be a fun summer job.
Ways To Stay
Because of the wide variety of ways to stay, Jellystone Park is a great fit for any budget and pretty much any type of traveling party you could imagine. They are great for family reunions and corporate retreats, or fun a weekend with the family. There were several grandparents that I met who were there with their grandchildren. From camping to glamping and cabins, there is something for everyone.
There are two different sections of RV sites, along with rural tent campsites surrounding the fishing lake.
There are one-bedroom and two-bedroom cabins to rent for some privacy. Many of them have an upstairs low-clearance loft for the kids, or you can stay in a Bunkhouse Room that feels like an old-world hotel room.
The tipis are brand new, and are over 20 feet wide at the base. Built with lodge poles on a wood base, they are a really cool experience. They have a bunk bed (twin + queen), futon couch and full king size bed, along with a mini fridge and microwave, and small table. Outside there is a picnic table and barbecue grill, and there’s a huge bath house right next door.
Next to the tipis are some brand new Conestoga covered wagons you can stay in as well. They are circled up around a campfire just like you would find on this very same prairie 150 years ago. They each have double bunk beds and a king bed, along with a dedicated bath house.
Yep, I said pirate ship. You can stay on a pirate ship. Overshadowing the water park is a huge 3-story “Captain Jim Brown Pirate Ship” that you can rent a two-bedroom cabin suite inside.
There is a whole new section of cabins built from grain silos that weren’t quite open yet, but we did peek through some windows and were impressed with the full kitchen, inside bathroom and full loft bedroom. It was like a really nice hotel suite, but with more room to spread out inside.
Fun Things To Do
As I’ve already said, there are so many things to do that it’s almost overwhelming. Thankfully the Jellystone Park app was helpful in deciding what to pick and choose, and keep up with the scheduling.
Holy cow, the waterpark blew my mind! It was way bigger than expected, with a tower stacked with slides and a lazy river that wound around the entire park. There was also a totally separate kiddie area with slides that was fun for even big kids (me).
Separate from the waterpark, there are currently 2 family pools to enjoy, and they are building more. On deck are a really big and fun looking outdoor pool near the new tipis and wagons, with swim-up smoothie bar. They are working on an indoor pool that should be ready by winter.
My kids had a blast catching bluegill and other sunfish off the dock with some little flies and lures. We never found out what other species of fish the pond holds, but we definitely had fun.
The 9-hole mini golf is a blacklight adventure upstairs in The Barn (which was hard to find at first), and was a great break to cool off when needed. If you’re serious, you can keep score with the park app, or you can just have fun with it like we did.
The petting zoo is really big, but is only open in the mornings. There are goats, sheep, chickens, alpacas and more to interact with.
The ropes course is inside the arcade and restaurant area inside the waterpark, and is an overhead obstacle course with lots of crazy wobbly bridges and platforms to attempt. Once you have been fitted with a harness, you can climb one of the 3 climbing walls as well.
We played Archery Tag, which was a really fun game of capture the flag using longbows and arrows outfitted with a big marshmallow-looking pad on the front. We decided to play dads versus kids, and let me tell you: there is no better way to play this game. Both sides got some good licks in. There is also a gel blaster game that is sort of a lightweight paintball, played on a paintball course.
We hit the maze several times, and even when I thought I had it figured out, I still got lost. But not for too long. It’s definitely more challenging than I thought it would be.
There are a couple of playgrounds throughout. There was one smaller set in a really pretty and shady area next to a creek, and then another bigger newer one by the lake. However, this one seemed to be in the sun most of the day.
There are several game areas throughout the park, and you can pretty much help yourself if they are not occupied. Some of them you have to bring your own (like horseshoes), but others you can rent in the shop.
- Ping Pong
- Ga-Ga Ball
I do have to mention the ice cream, because it was a big hit with our family. The flavors were Yogi-themed and funny, and they were also legitimately tasty.
A Typical Day
The days were absolutely packed with activity. When camping, we are used to a very low-key way of life, but this was definitely not the case at North Texas Jellystone Park. Go into it with a “theme park” mindset, pack light and get on the move.
One thing we did not plan well was food. We are typically campers rather than staying in lodging, so we came with a camping mindset but it was not a good fit without all of our gear. We brought bacon and eggs to cook our favorite camp breakfast, but didn’t have our griddle, and only had a single burner (which was too windy one day to use) or the grill. So we ended up just eating some muffins we packed.
Morning was the time to do all of the outside activities before it got too hot. We played games, fished, went to the petting zoo, did the Lost Maze (several times), climbed obstacles and played on playgrounds.
We went back to the tipi for a mid-day reset, which was nice to cool off and take a break. Lunch was simple, since sandwich supplies travel and store well in the fridge.
Each afternoon, we spent as much time at the waterpark as we could. The kids absolutely love waterparks, and we stayed until closing both days. One thing that I hadn’t experienced before was their lightning policy. If there is lightning within 10 miles, everyone needs to get out of the water park-wide for 30 minutes or more. With some late spring pop-up thunderstorms, this did happen a few times.
There are some evening activities to participate in, but for the most part we started winding down around sunset and cooked dinner. We grilled and ate outside, which was fun. There are some places to eat in the park, but that’s not our style. Then we settled in around the campfire and enjoyed talking to our neighbors. We did go for a night swim once, since the family pools are open until 10:00pm.
Things To Do Nearby
In our 3-day stay, there was so much to do in the park that the thought of leaving for greener pastures never even crossed our mind. However, I can see how a week-long stay might require a break to go explore surrounding areas. Here are some of the areas to explore within a short drive of the park.
The park is technically in Burleson, although across the highway and down a little bit. That makes Burleson the closest town, and there is a unique little downtown area that is really neat. There are some DFW-area classics like Hard Eight BBQ and Babe’s Chicken Dinner House if you want to experience some of the best down-home food that North Texas has to offer.
Downtown Fort Worth is not too terribly far if you want to explore the city. As far as cities go, it’s one of my personal favorites. “Cowtown” (the historic Stockyards) is just on the other side of downtown, and a must-see if you’ve never been.
Cleburne is a historically smaller, but growing city to the southwest. You can catch a minor league baseball game with the Cleburne Railroaders.
Glen Rose is an absolute gem of a town, that will make you feel like you accidentally slipped into Hill Country. You drive past Cleburne to get there and dip into the Brazos River valley, which is a fantstic drive in itself. Glen Rose is a little hamlet nestled on the Paluxy River, which has access to explore.
Granbury, Texas sits on the banks of Lake Granbury, also on the Brazos River. The historic downtown square is near the lake, and has plenty of shopping and dining options. You might recognize it from some of the hit TV show Yellowstone’s prequels.
You can also visit Lake Benbrook, which is the closest lake to the park. Just south of Fort Worth, it’s often overlooked but don’t miss out on it.
At Texas Outside, we use specific rating criteria for every stay that we take. We have reviewed tons of campgrounds, lakes, golf courses and more all across Texas. Here is our rating for North Texas Jellystone Park.
Scenic Beauty Rating: 8 / 10
What I love about the scenery is that there is a LOT of trees, and thus a lot of shade and greenery to look at. The ownership has done a great job of laying the park out in a way that incorporates trees and scenery into the experience.
Condition Rating: 10 / 10
I’ll start with the restrooms, which were amazing! They are very nicely built out, well maintained and obviously clean. The finish out design and materials were absolutely the best that I have ever experienced in a campground.
Amenities Rating: 8 / 10
There are even more amenities being built, which I think we’ll be closer to 9 or 10 out of 10 by this time next year. Between the indoor pool and new outdoor pool with swim-up smoothie bar that are currently under construction, those are going to just add to the fun to experience.
Campsites Rating: 9 / 10
The campsites are great for RVers, and decent for tent campers. Most of the spots near the front are shaded and full pull-through, but have rough spots in the street driving to the spots. The newer spots near the tipis and wagons are much nicer, but have little natural shade because the young trees. Because of this there are sun shades installed over the picnic tables.
Things To Do Rating: 10 / 10
By the end of our trip, I couldn’t believe how many activities we did. It was non-stop from wake to sleep, and the kiddos had an absolute blast.
If you are looking for a wholesome vacation that everyone will be sure to remember and recall for years to come (and won’t break the bank), then plan a trip to North Texas Jellystone Park. Be sure to check out their “Special Deals” page, because there are often some great savings available especially during summer weekdays or off-season. My kids can’t wait to go back!