Inks Lake State Park sits an hour away from Austin in the Texas Hill Country. The lake’s water level stays fairly sustained year-round, meaning its a great spot to kayak, canoe, swim, boat, or even scuba dive when the weather is nice. Campers can rent equipment for many of the aforementioned activities, as well as fishing equipment to catch bass, catfish, and sunfish. There are 200 campsites and 22 cabins to choose from, as well as playgrounds, trails, and a general store.
The Sam Houston National Forest spans over 160,000 acres of protected land 50 miles north of Houston. It is one of only four national forests in Texas and contains the winding, 128-mile Lone Star Hiking Trail. Primitive camping is allowed, except during deer hunting season, and multiple campgrounds have electric and water hookups available. Due to this park’s massive size, campers can enjoy a wide variety of camping activities such as horseback riding, wading, boating, bicycling, wildlife watching and hunting, and canoeing.
If the beach sounds like a better vacation, camp along the Padre Island National Seashore at the bottom tip of Texas. The 70 miles of coastline is the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island in the world, creating a haven for coast-dwelling creatures like sea birds and sea turtles. This camping area offers a special experience for conservation enthusiasts: the opportunity to help rescue and release rehabilitated sea turtles, which are endangered.