The Best Central Texas Camping

The Best Central Texas Camping

Pack up for a Central Texas camping getaway at one of the 11 best parks near Austin or San Antonio, close to the Texas Hill Country.

Escape to the outdoors with a Central Texas camping trip in the Texas Hill Country for a weekend to rejuvenate. A few hours drive from both Austin and San Antonio, you can escape the ordinary along a hiking trail and explore the native landscape. Then retreat to your campsite and grill out over the campfire while watching the stars above. Stay within your comfort level with camping options from glamping in a tiny home (or tipi), all the way to a walk-in primitive campsite.

Texas State Park Campgrounds around Austin

When you think of Central Texas camping, Texas State Parks automatically come to mind. Most state parks offer large tracts of land to explore, and some offer a water feature, such as a lake or river access. Texas State Parks are a popular option with day visitors and campers alike. So popular, the most picturesque campgrounds can fill up months in advance for popular weekends, like Spring Break, Easter Weekend, and the entire month of October. Since kids 12 and under get into Texas State Parks for free, each is in demand for school breaks, so plan ahead. Be sure to pack everything you need for a relaxed camping vacation. You can check out some of our recommendations for the best coolers for road trips, with ideas on which ones best fit your needs.

Blanco State Park

Out west of Austin, a one-mile stretch of the Blanco River offers a natural swimming area with man-made dams for splashing. Or head to the visitors center and rent a kayak or canoe. The park rangers even loan out fishing equipment, and a fishing license isn’t necessary for Texas State Parks.

Blanco State Park features structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, a Great Depression work program for young men. The CCC was responsible for many state and national parks projects back in the 1930s. Walk through the historic CCC pavilion to see some of their craftsmanship.

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Blanco State Park

The man-made dams at Blanco State Park are popular swimming holes. Photo by Catherine Parker

The campground at Blanco State Park features RV sites with full hook-ups along with sites with electricity only. Find screened shelters with ceiling fans as well. The restrooms include showers, and each site offers a picnic table and fire ring. There’s even a playground for the kids.

Located at 101 Park Road 23 in Blanco. Day-use adult admission is $5 and kids 12 and under are free; camping is extra.

Read More about Cabins in Texas State Parks here.

Bastrop State Park

Nearly 10 years ago, a forest fire ravaged through the Lost Pines of Bastrop State Park, east of Austin. The forest still stands tall in areas and other parts are recovering. A centerpiece of the park is the Refectory, a group building near the park entrance, built by the CCC. Mirroring the National Park Service’s rustic architecture style, the buildings use local materials, such as stone and lumber.

If making it a weekend, consider reserving a historic wood cabin set among towering pines trees. Each cabin offers air-conditioning and heating, along with an equipped kitchen, full bathroom, and fireplace. The smallest cabin offers accommodations for two people at $110 a night. The largest cabin offers accommodations for six people at $150 per night.

Cabin at Bastrop State Park Central Texas Camping

Made by the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Bastrop State Park cabins are popular with campers. Photo by Catherine Parker

The campground is shaded and has restrooms along with fire rings. Choose from RV sites with hook-ups, tent sites with water or electricity, or walk-in sites.

Bastrop State Park features a pool, open seasonally with additional admission. Or fish in the .5-acre Lake Mina. The park loans out fishing equipment, so it’s a great opportunity to try a new sport.

Located at 100 Park Road 1A in Bastrop, the Bastrop State Park charges day-use adult admission of $5, and kids 12 and under are free. Be sure to check out Wander for more information about visiting Bastrop and what you can do if you have a couple of days to spend in the area.

Buescher State Park

A sister park to Bastrop State Park, Buescher is connected by a park road that is popular with cyclists. Also, find a 30-acre lake to paddle. Like nearly every state park, hiking trails are available in Buescher.

Find a shaded campground with a premium screen shelter ($45 a night), regular screen shelter ($25 a night), as well as cabins ($85 a night). The campground has restrooms with showers and offers tent sites with water, RV sites with electricity and water, or primitive walk-in sites. 

You’ll find Buescher State Park at 100 Park Road 1E in Smithville. Day-use adult admission is $5 and kids 12 and under are free.

Inks Lake State Park 

As a constant-level lake west of Austin, Inks Lake State Park is ideal for boating. If you bring yours, find a boat ramp along with a fishing pier and fish cleaning station nearby. Like most Texas state parks, Inks Lake State Park loans out fishing equipment.

Hike to a scenic overlook and see Inks Lake below, in addition to other trails to explore. For the kids, find two playgrounds. 

central texas camping

There are great options for camping at Inks Lake State Park in Central Texas. Photo by Kanokwalee Pusitanun via iStock by Getty Images

For campers who like a roof, Inks Lake offers basic cabins, many with views of the lake. Each cabin ($55 a night) features two sets of single bunk beds along with a ceiling fan and air-conditioning. All cooking is done outside and cabins don’t offer a kitchenette.

RV campsites feature electricity and water. Tent campers can reserve sites with electricity only. Inks Lake State Park campground is divided into loops, each offering restrooms with showers.

Located at 3630 Park Road 4 West in Burnet, Ink Lake State Park offers day-use adult admission for $6. Be sure to read more on Wander about great ways to cool down with a summer visit to Burnet, Texas.

Colorado Bend State Park

Located in the Texas Hill Country west of Austin, Colorado Bend State Park hugs the shore of the Colorado River with its 70-foot tall Gorman Falls. Like the surrounding Hill Country, hike through a limestone landscape with small caves and karsts. Native deer freely roam the Colorado Bend State Park, and wildflowers dazzle in the spring. 

Take a hiking trail and see Gorman Falls, at its most impressive right after a storm. Or reserve a spot on the guided wild cave tour for an underground adventure. 

central Texas camping

Visit picturesque Gorman Falls in Colorado Bend State Park. Photo by Richard McMillin via iStock by Getty Images

Colorado Bend’s campsites are primitive, without water or electricity. Some are big enough for a 30-foot RV, though no hook-ups. This park offers composting toilets (not flushing) and open-air rinse-off showers (no hot water). 

Colorado Bend State Park is at 2236 Park Hill Dr. Day-use adult admission is $5 and kids 12 and under are free. Camping is extra.

Lockhart State Park

Built by the CCC during the Great Depression, Lockhart State Park boasts a 9-hole golf course and is located east of San Antonio. The course is a favorite with locals along with families, and it rents carts, clubs, and has reasonable greens fees.

Visitors can fish Clear Fork Creek, also located in the park, or amble along one of the many hiking trails. Lockhart State Park offers campsites with picnic tables and a fire ring, though it doesn’t feature shelters or cabins. Find campsites with full RV hookups or sites with electricity only. The campground includes a restroom with showers.

Located at 2012 State Park Rd in Lockhart, you can get a day-use adult pass at Lockhart State Park for $3. The entrance fee is free for kids 12 and under.

Clear Fork Creek Central Texas Camping

Clear Fork Creek in Lockhart State Park. Photo by Catherine Parker

Pedernales Falls State Park 

Located west of Austin, splash in the Pedernales River or bring a tube for floating. The Pedernales Falls State Park offers easy-to-advanced hiking trails that are also open for biking. 

central Texas camping

Pedernales Falls State Park is a favorite for tubing and relaxing in the water. Photo by Fredlyfish4 via Creative Commons

This park features 10 miles of horseback riding trails for experienced riders. Make it a weekend away with your animals, and reserve the equestrian camp with horse pens.

The campground features sites with electricity, and each includes a picnic table and a fire ring. The restroom offers showers. Additionally, find primitive sites for those looking for a rustic getaway.

Pedernales Falls State Park is at 2585 Park Road 6026 in Johnson City. Day-use adult admission is $6 and kids 12 and under are free.

Best Private Campgrounds around Central Texas

For glamping weekends, glampers will need to head to a private campground in Central Texas and the Texas Hill Country. Here are my recommendations for the best private campgrounds to make for a stellar glamping weekend.

Camp Fimfo

Located close to Canyon Dam and New Braunfels, Camp Fimfo offers an expansive Texas Hill Country property brimming with wildlife, especially deer. The Camp Fimfo property is located next to the Whitewater Amphitheater, and guests can enjoy live music from their sites during its performances.

Camp Fimfo is a camping resort with lots of activities for its guests. The waterpark and its resort-style pool are favorites from spring until fall. The General Store area features gemstone panning, a playground, an 18-hole mini-golf course, in addition to a water sports area. During the weekend, Camp Fimfo hosts craft sessions along with workshops.

Its Coyote Cabins feature room for lots of friends and family across three bedrooms, one with two sets of bunk beds. With an equipped kitchen and a bathroom with a shower, the Camp Fimfo Coyote Cabins are a home-away-from-home.

In addition to the larger Coyote Cabins, Camp Fimfo offers its Bluebonnet Cabin with room for eight people. Then along the Guadalupe River, find two-person A-frame cabins with electricity and a mini-fridge. All cabins offer linens and towels, along with outdoor grills and fire pits. Some of the cabins are pet-friendly.

Camp Fimfo is a beacon for RVers with 80 full-service hookup sites with concrete pads and a picnic table with a grill. Find bathhouses in the area as well. Head for Camp Fimfo along the pristine Guadalupe River at 520 Whitewater Way in New Braunfels.

Mystic Quarry

Also in the Canyon Lake area, Mystic Quarry Glamping Resort offers more glamping options. Find cozy tiny houses with accommodations for six people, fully equipped for cooking. Some even allow small dogs.

Tiny Homes Mystic Quarry Clamping Resort

Kids love the tiny homes at Mystic Quarry Glamping Resort. Photo by Catherine Parker

Mystic Quarry also offers safari lodges with kitchenettes and full bathrooms with a shower. Take it a step further, and reserve a tipi for the kids (or grandkids) for a weekend to remember. The tipis feature bunk beds along with a propane firepit inside the tipi. Mystic Quarry is dog-friendly and offers cabins just for people traveling with their pets. RV and traditional camping sites are located in a separate section.

Pack up for a Central Texas Camping getaway at one of the 11 best parks near Austin or San Antonio, close to the Texas Hill Country. Central Texas camping can be a great way to reconnect with your people (or pets) in the outdoors. With sunny skies and mild temperatures in spring and fall, camping is a popular activity, and many families plan multi-generational camping trips. Choose from one of many great parks in Central Texas to make your getaway unforgettable.

Find pet-friendly options for Central Texas camping.

This resort offers a shuttle to Whitewater Amphitheater, a pool, an on-site store along with BBQs, sports courts, and a pavilion. And don’t miss the waterfall on the property. You can find Mystic Quarry Glamping Resort at 13190 FM 306 in Canyon Lake.

Lower Colorado River Authority Parks around Austin

The Colorado River bisects Central Texas and runs through Austin, and is known as Lady Bird Lake downtown. The Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) operates several campgrounds, and some feature glamping.

North Shore Park on Lake Bastrop

East of Austin, the North Shore Park on the 900-acre Lake Bastrop boasts airstream trailers for a Central Texas camping trip. Each Airstream offers cooking utensils and lots of outdoor space with a fire ring surrounded by Adirondack chairs. For cooking outdoors, propane grills are generous in size.

Find a fishing pier and boat ramp along with swimming at North Shore Park. There is also watercraft for rent by the hour or day, for a weekend on the water.

For traditional camping, find RV sites and tent sites. The campground features restrooms with showers. Find a dump station and ice maker. Camping fees start at $35. North Shore Park is at 603 RM 1441 in Bastrop. Day-use admission for adults is $5, kids 12 and under are free.

South Shore Park on Lake Bastrop

Another park on Lake Bastrop, the South Shore Park offers lots of camping options including RV sites and tent sites. Its cabins are basic cabins with electricity and bunk beds, though no kitchenette. The campground also includes a restroom with showers.

This park offers mini-golf, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and corcl boats for rent by the hour or day. Also find a fishing pier, boat ramp, and swimming. Find a dump station and ice maker near the entrance. Camping fees start at $35 at South Shore Park, which is located at 375 S. South Rd. in Bastrop. Day-use admission for adults is $5, kids 12 and under are free.

Airstream Trailer

Easier than owning, reserve an Airstream for a weekend at LCRA Lake Bastrop Park. Photo by Catherine Parker

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Pack up for a Central Texas Camping getaway at one of the 11 best parks near Austin or San Antonio, close to the Texas Hill Country. Central Texas camping can be a great way to reconnect with your people (or pets) in the outdoors. With sunny skies and mild temperatures in spring and fall, camping is a popular activity, and many families plan multi-generational camping trips. Choose from one of many great parks in Central Texas to make your getaway unforgettable.

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11 of the Best Parks for Central Texas Camping