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Now and then, we all experience an innate urge to leave the city and the noises and people that come with it behind and look for some peace of mind under the soothing sounds and sights of an open starry sky. If you live in Austin, Texas, you don’t have to go far to experience this peace and quiet – between fishing, lakes, sports, and everything in between, you have all the ingredients for the perfect family vacation covered.
Before you can start packing to leave for your next adventure in the great outdoors, you might want to scroll down below and check out these locations, considered to be some of the best places to camp near Austin.
1. Sandy Creek Park
Stretched out over a 25-acre area of land, this park is a quiet and tranquil camping ground located next to Lake Travis. Because of the lack of electricity and big metropolitan set-ups, this park may be considered a ‘primitive’ one, but it is a great place to go to when you need to unplug from the world and get away. Beautiful and quiet, this is the place for the kind of camper who likes to lounge around and take in the serene and gorgeous views.
2. Lockhart State Park
Lockhart State Park is one of the favorite locations of the campers. It is situated at a peaceful location due to which it is recommended for the family camping, hiking, and several other activities. The amazing Fork Creek runs through the heart of the park. Also, the Plum Creek is perfect for spending a lovely fishing evening.
Apart from the water activities, there are many other activities and summer classes that are organized in this park. During winters, trails are open for fun activities like hiking, geocaching and bird watching. The place is also a favorite spot of the golfers.
There are about 20 amazing campsites offered by the Lockhart State Park. Most of the sites are suitable for RVs and trailers. Moreover, the sites which are not available for hookups have parking locations nearby. The best part is, the pass of the state park offers daily fee waivers and you can also avail other discounts and coupons if you’re eligible.
WHERE IS IT SITUATED?
The park is situated at the common easy location. It is just 45-minutes away from Austin and about an hour away from San Antonio, Texas. The park is most famous for its amazing BBQ joints. Apart from it, there are several other restaurants, shopping malls and diners situated nearby. Also, you don’t have to worry in case you forgot some of your camping supplies, the huge departmental store will get you covered.
ACTIVITIES TO DO WHEN LOCKHART STATE PARK CAMPING TRIP
You can enjoy the following activities in the:
There are two main campgrounds at Lockhart State Park: Clear Fork Creek Campground and Fairway View Campground.
Clear Fork Creek Campground:
You will definitely love to wake up the sound of pebbles in the water and the water tinkling over rocks at Clear Fork Creek Campground. There are several unique campsites that offer electric and water hook-ups, along with several well-managed picnic tables. Moreover, campers at this site can avail easy access to the hiking trail across the park.
There are ten well-managed camping sites where eight guests can be easily accommodated per site. You can bring your own truck campers, vans, and tents to enjoy quality time with family and friends at this campground.
Fairway View Campground:
When you start camping at fairway view campground, you can avail prime seating arrangement near the park’s golf course. There are ten different campsites that can accommodate eight guests per site where you can set up your tent with RVs, truck campers, or vans.
The activities offered at this campground include wildlife watching, swimming, hiking, fishing, and biking. You would love to enjoy some memorable time near the waterfall. Spare time to walk to the top of the hill and enjoy stunning views from group recreation hall terrace.
If you love hiking then you should definitely try out this state park. There are a total of 11 hiking trails to explore the wilderness. Anyone from an inexperienced hiker to a pro can go for these challenging trails. Clear Fork Trail is one of the best spots if you want to have a complete view of the park.
As we already discussed, this park is the favorite place of the golfers. If you’re among those, then pack your equipment and get ready to play some good matches in the lush green grounds and when you become tired, a cool pool is waiting for you to take a dip into it. There is also a golf store in case you’ve missed any of your equipment at home.
All the guests love chilling in the swimming pool during hot summers, which was built in the late 1930s. It is open from Memorial Day to about a week after Labor Day. This means you’ve plenty of time to plan your camping trip. If you’re interested in swimming then don’t forget to pack your swimsuits, sunscreens and glasses!!
So, these were the main in-season activities. Apart from it, you can always enjoy the off season activities like fishing, birding and geocaching. Further, home school programs are also organized during the off-season. If you’re looking for the best way to spend your next weekend, then you should definitely try camping in Lockhart State Park!!
3. Stephen S. Austin State Park
With a huge variety of campsites, this park is your go-to when you are looking for a fun break from the everyday hustle-bustle of your city life. If you are going with a large group, you can use one of their group campsites that can host up to 60 people at a time, or as a family, you could rent out some of the cabins or mini-cabins available. At the Stephen S. Austin State Park, you get the chance to interact with nature, making this one the best places to camp in Austin, Texas.
4. Inks Lake State Park
This beautiful park is a stunning escape from city life, but features several activities that can bring the vacation energy up a notch! The beautiful sunsets are perfectly matched with the Inks Lake – where because of constant sea levels, you can go for activities such as fishing and even scuba diving, with equipment available for rent yearlong! If you’re there, another place you can visit within the park is the Devil’s Watering Hole, the perfect place for some downtime with friends, just swimming around and enjoying yourselves fully.
5. McKinney Falls State Park
For the more organized camper, this state park can be a great way to relax and de-stress from the pressures of everyday life. With almost 80 camping sites available, campers can choose between sites where water and electricity are available, regular sites, and even camping cabins for the whole family to stay in. One site in this park that you need to visit is the five-century-old Cypress tree, Old Baldy, representing 500 years of history all in one place.
McKinney Falls State Park, located in Texas, US, is a fantastic place to visit and enjoy outdoor activities with friends and family. It is located just 13 miles from downtown Austin at the region between Williamson Creek and Onion Creek. This Falls State Park offers various activities ranging from biking, swimming, birding, hiking, wildlife observation, camping and picnicking along the banks of the Onion Creek.
This Park got its name from the businessman, Thomas F. McKinney, who was also a horse breeder and a rancher, and it began operation on April 15, 1976. It is situated on a 641-acre of land, and it features more than 80 campsites, including hike-in and developed sites. It also has a group dining hall, group shelters and screened shelters.
The park has so many designated hiking trails, with key features such as the scenic lower and upper falls located in Onion Creek. Additional features include:
•Flora: There are sycamores, pecan trees and bald cypress sitting at the banks of the Creek, with Ashe juniper, live oak, and mesquite found on the dry uplands. It contains other trees such as Red Oak, Wafer Ash, Chinaberry, Mexican Plum and Texas Persimmon. The roads are usually lined with wildflowers during spring.
•Fauna: Raccoons, white-tailed deer, and Fox squirrels are common all over the park. There are also many species of birds like the Northern cardinal, Carolina wren, Northern Mockingbird, Blue jay, Greater Roadrunner, Painted bunting and Mourning dove. Alligator snapping turtle, Blanchard’s cricket frog, and Red-eared slider inhabit some places in and around the creeks. The park also contains various species of snakes including the Texas indigo racer, Texas rat snake and Western diamondback rattlesnake.
•Historical sites: This State Park also features an overhang used by Native Americans for shelter for many years called the Smith Rock Shelter, along with remains of McKinney’s gristmill, stone house, and horse trainer’s cabin.
Things to do at the Park:
Since the park is located just close to the capital, you can engage in many activities such as camping and hiking on the mountains, and swimming and fishing in Onion Creek. While fishing in the Onion Creek, beware of the flow because it can flood with rainfall. Before visiting, contact the park for creek conditions, and go through the swimming safety tips.
You can stay in one of the campsites or rent one of the remodeled cabins. There’s also a primitive camping site for nonprofit sponsored youth groups to use.
There are halls available for group gatherings. The hall contains a sitting area, kitchen, and an outdoor grill.
•Biking and hiking:
Bike and hike for about nine miles of trails. The hike and bike trail has a strong surface, ideal for road bikes and strollers. You can take a Rock Shelter Trail to see the camping sites of early visitors or participate in a virtual tour using the interactive trails map.
•Fishing and swimming:
Fishing in the Williamson or Onion creeks does not require any license. You can hire fishing fear for use to be returned afterward.
Programs such as geocaching, atlatls, and birding are available. Kids can become junior rangers by completing tasks to earn badges.
From its inception, the park became a popular swimming spot. There was a subsequent ban on swimming in April of 1981 after complaints were tendered in by some school children of having nausea and cramps after swimming. Further test showed that the water contained a fecal coliform count of 2600/100 ml of water, way over the 200/100 ml count maximum. Most of this was as a result of the rainwater running off from the urban areas located upstream the park, resulting in the run of oils, animal waste, and dirt into the creeks. Another factor was the Williamson Treatment factory.
There was an eventually lift on the ban in June 1993, because the treatment plant was shut down, and a citywide hazardous chemicals collection program was launched. There is still a restriction on swimming, especially after heavy rains because of the potential of having high fecal counts.
In order to maintain the cleanliness of the park, these items are not allowed in the lower and upper falls area:
•Alcohol or glass
•Food and snacks
•Thermal bags coolers or ice chests
•Speakers or loud music
•Pets in the water
•Footballs, soccer balls, Frisbees or other balls
6. The Enchanted Rock
The Enchanted Rock is known around the country as some of the best places to camp in Austin, Texas, and a fascinating landmark that has attracted tourists for long. The Enchanted Rock stands out impressively because of the beautiful dome that watches over Texas. However, the surrounding park is much more than just that – with the potential to do things like hiking, bird watching, stargazing, and just enjoying an afternoon picnic with your friends, the Enchanted Rock is a great place to bring family and friends. Obviously, there is a climb involved, so make sure you are prepared and hydrated, but the view at the end of the climb makes it all worth the struggle and the wait.
7. Cedar Breaks Park
This gated park promises families with nothing but complete fun – you can choose from more than sixty campsites, each one provided with water, electricity, a picnic table, a grill, and even a fireplace. If you’re not a fan of all the dirty work that comes with camping, you can get one of these sites and take the time to relax during your trip. Promising beautiful views of the Lake Georgetown, Cedar Breaks is the perfect place to bond with family and make some great memories.
As one of the oldest State Park operating in this region, the Bastrop State Park isn’t just a great place to create memories. The long age of park means that almost every aspect of the park is dripping with history. The Lost Pines is one such example – this is a three-mile extended area with pines, which are stunningly beautiful, and will make for some beautiful pictures fit for your next Instagram post. With various kinds of campsites, cabins, and even hiking spots available, this park has something for everyone.
9. Pace Bend Park
10. Arkansas Bend State Park
11. Blanco State Park