Texas

The 10 Best Camping Spots Near Houston, Texas

Best Camping Spots Near Houston, TX
Photo: Shutterstock

No, you won’t find any mountains nearby, but you’ll be surprised at the many awesome camping areas that Houston has in its vicinity.

Given the fact that Houston is a sprawling metropolis located in a particularly flat part of the state, you may not initially have such high hopes when it comes to nearby camping options. The reality is there are quite a few excellent camping spots located within a two-hours’ driving radius, including some actually in the city limits.

From campgrounds right on the lake to retreats surrounded by forest to sites situated by the sea, there are more options than you think for escaping into nature when you’re around Space City. Pack your gear and hit the road for one of these choice camping spots near Houston.

Related read: 12 Epic Airbnb Campsites Around the U.S.

1. Brazos Bend State Park

Brazos Bend State Park houston camping
Photo: Shutterstock

Why you should camp here: It’s a quick drive out of the city to get to this nature retreat that has an observatory.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best season: Spring, fall
  • Campsite type: Tents, RVs, cabins
  • RV hookups: Yes

Less than an hour’s drive southwest from Houston, Brazos Bend State Park is one of the most popular places for Houstonians to go camping. This nearly 5,000-acre park has a mix of primitive campsites (some designated for equestrian use and some walk-in), campsites with water and electricity hookups, and screened shelters.

It’s all about appreciating nature here, whether that means exploring the forested trails with some hiking, biking, or horseback riding — or maybe some fishing at Elm Lake or 40-Acre Lake. George Observatory is also located within the park if you want to go stargazing.

Related read: 12 Unique Places to Stay in Texas

2. Galveston Island State Park

Galveston Island State Park houston camping
Photo: tpwd.texas.gov

Why you should camp here: You’ll enjoy being right by the water at this spot on an island off Texas’ Gulf Coast.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best season: Spring, summer, fall
  • Campsite type: Tents, RVs
  • RV hookups: Yes

If you prefer camping oceanside to camping deep within the woods, Galveston Island State Park, with its beach and coastal prairie landscape, is for you. When picking a campsite, you normally have a choice between whether you want to be on the bay side or the beach side, but the latter is closed until 2022 for renovations.

Staying within the state park means you have access to plenty of activities, including hiking, biking, and paddling trails. Important note though: There are no canoe or kayak rentals here, so make any necessary arrangements beforehand. Birders should remember bring their binoculars since hundreds of species are known to visit the area, particularly during migration season.

3. Huntsville State Park

Huntsville State Park houston camping
Photo: tpwd.texas.gov

Why you should camp here: Located within the Sam Houston National Forest, this park is loved for its lush landscape of pine trees and its big lake.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best season: Spring, summer, fall
  • Campsite type: Tents, RVs, cabins
  • RV hookups: Yes

Drive up I-45 to Huntsville State Park for a camping experience within the Pineywoods, the East Texas region known for its forests of hardwood trees. With the 210-acre Lake Raven within its borders, Huntsville State Park is a particularly good spot for water bugs looking for fishing, swimming, and boating opportunities along with their camping.

If you want to book one of the park’s screened shelters or cabins, note that you have to stay for a minimum of two nights on Friday and Saturday nights. Forget to pack something? You can pick up extra supplies at the Gator Junction shop at the park.

4. Lake Livingston State Park

lake livingston state park houston camping
Photo: tpwd.texas.gov

Why you should camp here: Hang out by one of Texas’ biggest lakes at this park in the Pineywoods.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best season: Spring, summer, fall
  • Campsite type: Tents, RVs, cabins
  • RV hookups: Yes

Lake Livingston State Park is another popular camping spot that is within the Pineywoods region and has access to a lake. In fact, Lake Livingston is one of the five biggest lakes in the whole state. As such, expect great boating, fishing (white bass are here in ample numbers), and swimming. For another way to get out on the water, you can rent a kayak or paddleboard through PaddleEz.

There are nearly 150 campsites available at Lake Livingston State Park, but reserve one in the Piney Shores area if you want a lake view.

5. Lake Houston Wilderness Park

Lake Houston Wilderness Park camping
Photo: Brandon Ryan Mcgee / Shutterstock

Why you should camp here: This densely forested park is the only one within the Houston Parks and Recreation Department where you can camp overnight.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best season: Spring, fall
  • Campsite type: Tents, cabins
  • RV hookups: No

Lake Houston Wilderness Park’s name is a little misleading since the park isn’t actually located in Houston (it’s in New Caney) and you can’t directly access the lake (you’d have to kayak five miles to get to it). But it is under the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, and more importantly, it’s the only one within said department to permit overnight camping.

Much of your time here can be spent making use of the 20+ miles of trails whether that’s on foot, by bike, or on horse. Plan to bring your own equipment if you want to bike, fish, boat, or horseback ride though.

6. Sea Rim State Park

Sea Rim State Park houston camping
Photo: tpwd.texas.gov

Why you should camp here: You can stay right on the beach (or literally on the water) at this park situated on the Gulf Coast.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best season: Spring, summer, fall
  • Campsite type: Tents, RVs, cabins
  • RV hookups: Yes

At Sea Rim State Park, it’s miles of Gulf Coast shoreline plus thousands of acres of marshland at your fingertips. If you want, you can try and snag a primitive campsite right on the beach so you can sleep peacefully with the waves as your soundtrack.

One of the coolest features of this park is that they offer a “floating primitive campsite,” which is a floating platform in the marsh that can only be accessed by boat, canoe, or kayak. Anyone who wants to stay here has to carry out their waste with their own bucket and waste bag.

7. Stephen F. Austin State Park

Stephen F. Austin State Park houston camping
Photo: tpwd.texas.gov

Why you should camp here: Make camp in an area that’s steeped in Texas history and sits next to the Brazos River.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best season: Spring, fall
  • Campsite type: Tents, RVs, cabins
  • RV hookups: Yes

Stephen F. Austin State Park is on the smaller side compared to some other parks on this list, but it’s not to be overlooked. For starters, this area of San Felipe is an important place in Texas history as it’s where Stephen F. Austin set up a colony with nearly 300 families in the early 19th century. The San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site is just down the road from the park if you want to learn more.

You can take it easy here by wandering around the park’s different trails, all of which are ranked as “easy” and all but one are under a mile.

8. Lakeview RV Resort

Lakeview rv resort houston camping
Photo: qualityrvresorts.com

Why you should camp here: You’re still in the middle of the city at this popular RV park with plenty of perks.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best season: Spring, summer, fall, winter
  • Campsite type: RVs, cabins
  • RV hookups: Yes

Just a 20-minute drive to downtown Houston, Lakeview RV Resort comes with a whole host of amenities. You can make yourself at home with the free WiFi and cable TV, keep your furry friend clean at the dog wash station, and cool down at the swimming pool and jacuzzi.

Another special amenity: This resort offers a complimentary shuttle to the Medical Center and MD Anderson Cancer Center, making it a convenient option for anyone who’s seeking treatment there. If you need assistance at the park, there’s a property manager on-site every day of the week.

9. Lake Somerville State Park

Lake Somerville State Park houston camping
Photo: tpwd.texas.gov

Why you should camp here: Lakeshore camping plus miles of trails to explore means you’re in for a good time.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best season: Spring, summer, fall
  • Campsite type: Tents, RVs
  • RV hookups: Yes

As its name suggests, the highlight of camping at Lake Somerville State Park is being right by the lake. Keep your fingers crossed for good weather so you can take advantage of the boating, swimming, and fishing at the park. There are both canoes and kayaks available for rent on-site too.

When camping here, you can decide to stay at the Birch Creek Unit on the northside of the lake or the Nail Creek unit on the southside. Whichever one you choose, you can still hike to the other along the 13-mile Lake Somerville Trailway. There are plenty of other side trails to explore off that too.

10. Lake Conroe RV & Camping Resort

lak conroe rv and camping resort
Photo: thousandtrails.com

Why you should camp here: It’s easy to stay entertained at this resort with guest amenities and direct access to the lake.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best season: Spring, summer, fall
  • Campsite type: RVs, cabins
  • RV hookups: Yes

When Houstonians want to enjoy some lake time, many drive north for about an hour to hit Lake Conroe. If you feel like camping out nearby, Lake Conroe RV & Camping Resort is the way to go. This spot has ample sites to choose from plus resort amenities like mini golf, a tennis court, and a hot tub.

If you brought your own boat, you can launch it directly from the campground. If you don’t have one, no worries—you can rent a watercraft like a kayak or canoe. Rather hang out on land? Then, wander over to the campground’s beach to enjoy the water from solid ground.

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