Houston Camping Guide: Discover the 5 Best Campgrounds Near Houston, TX
Houston is a vast metropolitan area, and sometimes people need to get away from the bustle and kick back in the great outdoors. Luckily, there are many great options relaxation, fishing, and camping within a short drive on Houston freeways. From the rugged Sam Houston National Forest to the more developed and Houston-adjacent Galveston Island State Park, there are plenty of campsites to help you reconnect with nature before returning to the fun things to do in Houston. Continue reading to discover the best places to camp near Houston.
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Brazos Bend State Park
Brazos Bend State Park Amenities
- Hiking & biking trails
- Horseback riding
- Rentable picnic pavilions
With quick access down TX 288 in Houston, Brazos Bend State Park is less than an hour away. It's billed as a "Nature Lover's Paradise," and it is an excellent place for camping. You can even spot alligators in the park, so be sure to read the alligator safety tips!
Hike the nearly 40 miles of trails, from paved, wheelchair-accessible wetland tours to multi-use trails that wind into the hardwood forest. Visit the viewing platforms or observation tower for great views of the sky, the wetlands, and the wildlife. Check out the 0.6-mile long Creekfield Lake ADA Interpretive Trail, designed to show off a little of everything the park has to offer for everyone.
Fish at the park's three lakes, with good fishing opportunities for largemouth bass, catfish, and sunfish. Birdwatch to see the waterfowl and many species of wood-warblers in the area. Observe the galaxy at the George Observatory, where you can bring your telescope or relax on deck and watch the real-time camera feeds from the telescopes.
Brazos Bend State Park Additional Information
- Address: Brazos Bend State Park, 21901 FM 762, Needville, TX 77461
- Campsites with Electrihouston: $20-25 nightly, plus daily entrance fee ($7)
- Primitive Campsites (Walk-in): $12 nightly, plus daily entrance fee ($7)
Galveston Island State Park
Galveston Island State Park Amenities
- Beach and bay campsites
- Boat launches
- Hiking & biking trails
- Paddling trails
Drive just over an hour on Interstate 45 South in Houston will get you across the bay into Galveston. While the seawall has many attractions, Galveston Island State Park provides a more natural refuge. Fishing and kayaking are big draws to the area, but multi-use trails, boardwalks, and bird blinds offer other activities that don't require getting in the water.
Fish from the shoreline, or wade out a bit to try for something bigger. Many species have significant bag limits, or no limit at all, including some species of catfish, marlin, and snapper. Paddle out in a canoe or a kayak to enjoy the paddling trails in the area, which go through several different coves and small bayous on the bayside. Take the 5 mile Oak Bayou Paddling Trail to see seagrass beds and ongoing wetland restoration work. Or, stay on the shore and hike the Prairie Trail to enjoy the wildlife in the salty water of the bay to a freshwater pond at the heart of the park.
Galveston Island State Park Additional Information
- Address: Galveston Island State Park, 14901 FM 3005, Galveston, TX 77554
- Campsites with Electrihouston: $20, plus daily entrance fee ($5)
- Campsites with Water: $15, plus daily entrance fee ($5)
Huntsville State Park
Huntsville State Park Amenities
- Canoe, kayak, and paddleboat rentals
- 160 campsites
In the other direction, Huntsville State Park is about an hour north on Interstate 45 North in Houston. Deep in the East Texas Pineywoods, this park has an abundance of trees, wildflowers, as well as a lake to enjoy, and trails to explore. With courses rated from easy to challenging, there's something for everyone.
Enjoy two different habitats on the Prairie Branch Loop, which takes you along the shore of Lake Raven before looping into the pine and hardwood forest. For a view of the whole park, hike the challenging Chinquapin trail, which encircles the lake. The CCC trail is long (more than a third of the park's total trail miles), diverse in wildlife habitats, and showcases the Civilian Conservation Corps' legacy in the area.
Check out the headwater boardwalks above the wetlands and marshes to view birds and other wildlife. Make sure to stop in at Gator Junction for supplies, treats, and souvenirs!
Huntsville State Park Additional Information
- Address: Huntsville State Park, 565 Park Road 40 W, Huntsville, TX 77340
- RV Full Hookup Campsites: $25, plus daily entrance fee ($7)
- Campsites with Electrihouston: $20, plus daily entrance fee ($7)
- Campsites with Water: $15, plus daily entrance fee ($7)
Sam Houston National Forest
Sam Houston National Forest Amenities
- Boat ramp
- Hiking & multi-use trails
- Hunting & fishing
- Water sports
Also, north on IH-45, the Sam Houston National Forest is a little less than an hour north of downtown. The forest is more than 163,000 acres, which provides long multi-day trails, primitive camping, and 22,000 acres of water recreation.
Observe the abundant deer, quail, and ducks that live in the area. In the winter, take in the sight of the majestic bald eagle in its cool-weather habitat. Enjoy the rivers and lakes that wind through the forest and the wildlife that live there. Kick back at one of the recreation areas, which provide scenic views, paddling and fishing areas, and wildflower and dogwood blooms when the season is right.
Hike the 128-mile Lone Star Hiking Trail, which works its way through the forest. Plan to take your time, as camping is allowed anywhere off the trail (as long as it's not deer hunting season). The trail is split into three sections, with potable water and recreation areas available at the splits. The best time to hike the trail is January-March, after deer hunting season but before the weather starts to warm up.
Sam Houston National Forest Additional Information
- Address: Sam Houston National Forest, 394 FM 1375 West, New Waverly, TX 77358
- Developed Camping: $20 + optional $10 full hookup fee, nightly.
- Dispersed Camping: free but restricted during hunting season.
Lake Livingston State Park
Lake Livingston State Park Amenities
- Swimming area
- Boat rentals
About an hour to the northeast on I-69, Lake Livingston State Park offers a wide variety of camping spots. With one of the largest lakes in the state, the park has plenty of area for fishing or boating, as well as several short hikes of varying difficulty.
Take your boat out, or rent one of the park's double kayaks or stand-up boards, to enjoy the exotic water hyacinth found in the area. Fish from the shore for excellent chances at blue catfish and white bass. Once you've got your haul, use one of the park's cleaning stations to pack up conveniently. Hike out on the Pinewoods Boardwalk Trail at night to hear the symphony at the frog pond, or take the short Oak Flat Trail to enjoy the nutmeg hickory stand, a rarity in Texas. If you're bringing kids, borrow a Junior Ranger Explorer Pack with all the tools kids need to explore nature.
Lake Livingston State Park Additional Information
- Address: Lake Livingston State Park, 300 Park Road 65, Livingston, TX 77351
- RV Full Hookup Campsites: $20-28, plus daily entrance fee ($5)
- Campsites with Electrihouston: $18, plus daily entrance fee ($5)
- Campsites with Water: $14, plus daily entrance fee ($5)
Find Your Favorite Campsite Near Houston
Though highways and highrises are probably the first things people think about Houston, the houston is right in the middle of several beautiful and diverse natural areas. From the coastal habitats and seawater to the south to the dense hardwood forests and meandering streams farther inland, many habitats and scenic places are explored. Houston residents have lots of options for pitching a tent and taking a break from the big houston.