20 Best Places to Camp Within Two Hours of Houston, TX

Texas is massive. We all know this. That size means that you can just point your car in any direction and you’ll find a campsite. That sort of freedom can be paralyzing, so we’ve narrowed down the 20 best campsites that are close to home. We’ll take some of that mental load off so you can just worry about whether your gonna pack a polyester or merino wool jacket for your weekend trip.

 

Camping under the stars.

The stars are probably the only thing bigger than Texas.

 

1. Brazos Bend State Park

Brazos Bend State Park is a beautiful state park that’ home to a plethora of flora and fauna. If you’ve ever wanted to lay your eyes on an alligator or add nearly 300 species of birds to your birdwatching catalog then this is the park for you. 

This 5,000-acre state park is never dull, and the facilities provided make for a comfortable stay out in the great outdoors.

 

Pros:

  • Great for seeing a wide array of all kinds of American life
  • 21 miles of biking
  • Free interpretive hike guides

 

Cons:

  • The knowledge of your proximity to gators and bobcats may be stressful

 

2. Galveston Island State Park

This 2,000-acre state park is full of fresh-water ponds, wetlands, a beach, and sand dunes. The full-throated variety of this park is a sight to behold and it makes for great camping, so bring a tent and settle in.

Pelicans, tree frogs, spoonbills, and sandpipers will keep you company while you fish, mountain bike, and tackle the four miles worth of hiking this park has to offer you.

 

Pros:

  • A quarter-mile interpretive hiking trail
  • A fish-cleaning shelter
  • Outdoor showers

Cons:

  • Beach swimming is unsupervised
  • Hurricane season could take this campground away from you for a while

 

3. Lake Houston Wilderness Park

If forested campsites are more your speed, then Lake Houston Wilderness Park is the one for you. 

This park has horseback riding trails for you equestrians, and visitors are openly encouraged to bring along bikes and car-top watercraft like kayaks and canoes.

The birdwatching here is plentiful and the photo ops are everywhere. This beautiful wilderness park just keeps on giving. The hikes here lead to the gorgeous gem-like ponds hidden just off the well-traveled paths.

 

Pros:

  • Lots of exploration
  • A quiet wooded area solidly hidden from civilization

 

Cons:

  • The hiking may turn off campers not willing to make the treks

 

4. Stephen F. Austin Park

This Texas state park lives right alongside the Brazos River near the old ferry site. History lives in the Stephen F. Austin Park, 12 acres of which are set aside to honor such history. This very park was where the “father of Texas” Stephen F. Austin and nearly three hundred families came to colonize what would soon become Texas. 

Now, however, nobody has to struggle in this forested park. Now it’s home to 18-hole golf, historical tours, and some river fishing. 

 

Pros:

  • Great for history buffs
  • An opportunity to get away and come back with more knowledge of the history of Texas 
  • Access to the San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site

 

Cons:

  • Comparatively small when sized up against other Texas state parks

 

5. Huntsville State Park

Huntsville State Park is a quiet state park with 21 miles of trails, great for biking and hiking. Take some time to swim in the designated swimming area, and cast a line in Lake Raven to try to catch some lake bass. Maybe you’d like to get your hands dirty and get some catfishing done.

The robust ranger program here has opportunities for kids to become junior rangers, and check in often to see the programming the rangers have planned for you throughout the year.

 

Pros:

  • Robust fishing
  • Motorized boats are allowed on the water

 

Cons:

  • Motorized boats may be allowed, but they have to run at idle speeds
  • No lifeguards
  • Alligators live in the park, be sure to follow their alligator safety tips

 

6. Houston North KOA

This KOA campsite is right next to Lake Conroe. Bring your RV and pull into one of their patio RV sites and take advantage of their full hook-ups. 30 amps? 50 amps? No problem, they’ve got you covered. 

If you’re not an RV camper, they have comfortable fully furnished deluxe cabins with spacious patios and grills if you’re looking to flame lick some meats.

This campground is near downtown Montgomery and gives you easy access to golfing and a plethora of restaurant eating.

 

Pros:

  • A hot tub and pool on site
  • Great for sports like basketball and volleyball

 

Cons:

  • If you’re staying in a cabin and want to use a fire pit, you’ll have to rent one

 

7. Sam Houston National Forest

Camping at the Sam Houston National Forest is pretty hot during the summer, but the nights are always comfortable.

Should you decide to stay here, you can hike on part of the famous 128-mile Lone Star Hiking Trail, the wilderness here is vast and conveniently divided by three creek drainages, making for manageable methodical navigation of everything the National Forest has to offer.

There’s a picnic shelter, a separate day-use area, and plentiful hunting and fishing.

 

Pros:

  • Day-use visitors won’t disturb your camping
  • Lots of deer for watching and hunting
  • Potable water is available on-site

 

Cons:

  • No glass in the swimming areas, 
  • No offroading
  • No fireworks allowed in the forest, period

 

A man swimming in a pool.

Be sure to get your swim on at Lone Star Jellystone.

 

8. Lone Star Jellystone

A stay at Lone Star Jellystone guarantees you all of the fun and comfort you’d expect from a campground branded all over with Yogi Bear. There’s a water park on-site, a swimming pool, and a stocked up fishing lake, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

The tent camping sites are on lush beautiful grass, full RV hook-ups in back-in or pull-through sites. If you’ve got a whole crew with you, then the group tenting area is a great site to gather together. 

 

Pros:

  • You get to hang out with Yogi bear
  • A lazy river, and all the joy a water park brings to the table

 

Cons:

  • Water parks tend to be loud, so not great for quiet camping

 

9. Sea Rim State Park

Sea Rim State Park is a unique coastal park on the Gulf shoreline with 4,000 acres of marshlands.

This park provides several opportunities for fishing in the marsh and in the gulf. If fishing isn’t your thing, then there’s also a generous hunting season, lots of bird watching, and it’s a great place to just get in a relaxing walk.

If you’re looking to get some horseback riding there are about three miles of Gulf Coast beaches for you to run wild. Be mindful, however, that there aren’t any facilities for horses to stay in overnight. You may need to bring a portable pen, or if you’re comfortable with tethering your horse to a trailer, that’s an option as well.

 

Pros:

  • Horseback riding, fishing, and outdoor recreation galore

 

Cons:

  • Alligators live in the park
  • You’ll have to provide your own solution for keeping your horse overnight

 

10. Spring Creek Park

Take a trip to Tomball and visit the Spring Creek Park for some free camping. If you’re new to the hobby and not ready to shell out some cash for a tent site, then this makes for a great testing ground, you don’t even have to leave grimy, because there are showers on-site.

There’s a playground, plenty of picnic tables, and barbecue grills provided for you big eaters. If you’re feeling sporty, you can hit the archery range or work in some beach volleyball skills on the sandy court.

 

Pros:

  • Camping is free for tent and RV campers
  • Camping reservations can be made as far as three months in advance for you long term planners

 

Cons:

  • Free camping means you may have trouble booking the exact date you’re aiming for

 

11. Pace Bend Park

Pace Bend Park offers serene cliffside picnicking overlooking Lake Travis, and that’s just the beginning. 

You can get down to the grand clear lake and use the on-site boat ramp to shove off into the quiet.

The campground has over four hundred, primarily first-come, first-serve campsites. The 1,300-acre site is mostly unmarred by the campsites because the bulk of them are no-frills primitive sites. Just come on in, set up shop, and drink in the relaxing landscape. 

 

Pros:

  • Primitive campsites for you backpacking purists
  • If you don’t want to get down and dirty, there are 20 “improved campsites” with water and electrical hook-ups

Cons:

  • Campsites are first-come, first-served.
  • Zebra mussels on the shoreline call for vigilance when you hit the water

 

12. Splashway Campground

Splashway Campground is lively and welcoming. Their emphasis on family is intoxicating. When you show up, you feel like part of the group immediately.

There are cabins, bunkhouses for groups, tent sites with electricity, and RV sites with all of the bells and whistles. 

The campground is full of things to do. Try your hand at some quick-paced laser tag, slow it down with some mini-golf, and rotating seasonal events.

 

Pros:

  • Pets are welcome 
  • Full hookups for RVs and campers

 

Cons:

  • Lots of events going on constantly at this park, it may be hard to settle in during the day for a quiet time

 

13. Brazos Bend State Park

Brazos Bend State Park is a quick drive from downtown Houston, but that doesn’t’ detract from its wild wilderness. 

This lush nature-filled park is excellent for horseback riding on about 13 miles of trail, fishing, and birding. If you’re more goal-oriented in your recreation, you could do some geocaching. 

Hiking and biking here is great fun, as you follow the trails encircling the Brazos Bend lakes. Be sure to check out the nature center to brush up on all of the wildlife you can find in the park, and grab some trinkets on your way out in the headquarters gift shop.

 

Pros:

  • Close to home
  • Great for day-use or camping
  • Lots of varied camping 

 

Cons:

  • If you’re looking for primitive camping, there aren’t many sites

 

RV camping by the lake.

Get ready for some amazing RV camping by the lake at Northlake RV resort.

 

14. Northlake RV Resort

The Northlake RV Resort lives up to its name. Bring the camper, and take a load off. If you’ve been driving across the country,  this is a tranquil spot with plenty of time to catch your breath. 

Take a dip in the jacuzzi, or wake up early and watch the sunrise over the fully stocked fishing lake. If you want to give your legs a good stretch, then the on-site fitness center will take your breath away.

If all of that is a little fast-paced for you, there’s a computer center, free cable, and WiFi for you to take advantage of. Catch up with your shows, and download some new ones for the next leg of your trip.

 

Pros:

  • An excellent place to recharge
  • Close to Houston, the Zoo, and Minute Maid Park

 

Cons:

  • No pets allowed near the lake
  • Pretty large, so you’ll be surrounded by other RVs

 

15. Escape the Pavement

Maybe 45 minutes outside of the city is too far for you. Escape the Pavement is an escape right inside of Houston.

Rookie campers can ease their way into the world of camping with camping, outdoor cooking tutorials, and campfire building. Once you feel like you’re up for it, you can escape the pavement with an overnight camping trip.

 

Pros:

  • Great for easing your way into camping
  • Inside of the city, so you don’t have to travel out into the wilderness
  • Unique trip for group events

 

Cons:

  • Can feel like your hand is being held if you’re an experienced camper

 

16. Bastrop State Park

This is an excellent place for a family outing. There are about seven miles of trail, you can grab a campsite or gather everyone up in a cabin. If you’re planning on bringing the family in an RV there are sites with full hookups for quick and easy camping. 

There’s a scenic drive (or bike) on-site, for taking in the Lost Pines, and during the right season, you’ll find a nice pool. If you want to continue the watersports, there’s fishing in Lake Mina.

 

Pros:

  • Lots of nearby attractions to continue the family fun if the outdoors loses its luster
  • Several options for lodging overnight, so there’s something for everyone

 

Cons:

  • Occasional burn bans may keep you from having a fire at your campsite

 

17. Lake Livingston

Aright, you don’t need anything but a fishing hole and a place to sleep. If your needs are simple, and you’re looking for some fishing refreshment, and one of the largest lakes in the state, then Lake Livingston is probably what you’re looking for.

You can bring a boat, but if you don’t have your own, then the park provides canoes as well as single kayaks, double kayaks, and paddleboats.

This is a fisherman’s delight, but that’s not the only thing going on here. You can also take advantage of the ball fields, bowling alley, and golf course. This campsite has something for everyone.

 

Pros:

  • Excellent for fishing aficionados
  • Lots of sports as well

 

Cons:

  • Nothing to speak of in the hiking department

 

18. Palmetto State Park

Palmetto State is named after the dwarf palmettos growing all over the place under the larger trees in the park. 

There are several water sources feeding into the park, that end up bringing lots of life to the campsite. That abundance of life means there’s great for fishing and birdwatching, but if you prefer to leave the animals alone you can get out in the water with the kayaks and stand up paddle boats the park has for rent.

Hiking, biking, and geocaching can be found on land along with your campsites.

 

Pros:

  • Great getaway on land and sea
  • Close to Lockhart, the barbecue capital of Texas

 

Cons:

  • You’ll be sharing the park with an outdoor adventure camp for kids during the summer

 

19. Double Lake Campground

Double Lake Campground was built in 1937 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, almost a hundred years ago now, and that means there’s been plenty of time to create a robust camping experience.

The friendly and helpful rangers will reduce the friction of your night outside a great deal. You’ll find a little bit of everything at the site, whether it’s hiking, swimming, fishing, or picnicking. 

The temperature is usually quite nice, and the lake is surrounded by rolling hills and hardwood pines, giving you an excellent natural feel while you take your time away in the great outdoors.

 

Pros:

  • You can take your boats out on the lake
  • Great for fishing
  • A little bit of everything for everyone, you’ll have no unhappy campers

 

Cons:

  • The boat ramp is restricted to small electric motorboats, so be careful about what you bring

 

20. Yegua Creek

Yegua Creek has flush toilets and showers, and a majority of its sites have 50-amp electrical hookups, as well as hook-ups for water. 

This lake shoreline campground is home to some great pelican sighting and interpretive trail hiking. If you’re feeling inspired by the pelicans on the site you can fish in the Somerville Lake for some white and hybrid striped bass, and roll up your sleeves and find some catfish.

 

Pros:

  • Simple campsite, if you know what you’re looking for, this one will provide it
  • Has all of the essentials for a simple camping trip

 

Cons:

  • The campsite is pretty simple, so there’s not a lot in the way of entertainment

 

Camping during sunrise in Texas.

There’s nothing like camping under that big Texas sun.

 

Final Verdict:

Pace Bend Park and its broad beautiful view of the lake make for serene relaxing camping. If you’re looking to get out and reset for a couple of days, you could do much worse than Pace Bend Park. The campsites are easy to set up at, and light on distractions. The trails are ample and the horseback riding is relaxing. And while, you’re at it you might wanna brush up on your survival skills with the 50 best survival books on camping!

 

Bonus tip: Check out this video of Houston Wilderness Park!

 

 

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Riley Draper

Riley Draper

Riley Draper is a writer and entrepreneur from Chattanooga, Tennessee. As a world traveler, he has been to more than fifty countries and hiked some of the most elusive trails in the world. He is the co-founder of WeCounsel Solutions and has published work in both national and global outlets, including the Times Free Press, Patch, and Healthcare Global. When he's not writing, he's probably on a hiking trip or climbing in the mountains.