The Best Places to Go Camping Near Houston, Texas

Cypress trees standing by Lake Houston in a sunset
Cypress trees standing by Lake Houston in a sunset | © Gabbro / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of David Darbyshire
Writer6 August 2020

If you’ve been spending time in Houston among the skyscrapers, it can be easy to forget that Texas is all about the great outdoors. There’s no better way to experience it than by camping. From Lake Houston Wilderness Park to Lone Star Jellystone, here are our top picks.

Lake Houston Wilderness Park

Natural Feature
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This picturesque spot of almost 5,000 acres (2,023ha) of parkland is popular with locals and travellers alike, who come for the fresh air, beautiful views and spectacular range of scenery. Hiking trails, forests and creeks can all be found here. It is also ideally located for anyone wanting to escape the city without having to drive down highways for hours as it’s just North of East Houston, and only a 40-minute drive from the center of town.

Escape the Pavement

Natural Feature
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Escape the Pavement (ETP) provides camping, tours and activities for people looking for day trips, an overnight stay or something a bit longer. Plus, there are a range of service options depending on how hands on you want your experience to be, from tutorials on setting up your tent and campsite, all the way to catered sessions for campers who don’t want to have to make their bed before they lie in it. Its offices are in West Houston. From there, guides will take you to your activity of choice.

Texas Treehouse Swings Forest

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This small, independently run site is truly off-grid. With no running water or electricity it’s a proper old-fashioned camping experience. It’s a beautiful, isolated spot surrounded by thick forest so you will truly feel connected to nature. The site has communal areas to share with other campers if you feel like making some friends on your trip. The site is south of Houston and only a 60-minute car trip.

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  • Stephen F. Austin State Park

    Natural Feature, Historical Landmark
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    Get a history lesson thrown in with your camping trip when you travel back to the 1800s at this state park. Alongside the campsites at this historic park are nearby landmarks of significance, as this was the location for the first settlement of colonizers in this area. Only an hour drive from Houston, it’s also only an hour away from the historic town of San Felipe.

    5D Ranch

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    5D Ranch has 18 individual campsites of various sizes to pitch your tent among beautiful forests. Around the sites are 14mi (22.5km) of hiking trails and stunning views of the countryside and the nearby lake. Each pitch is spacious and isolated so you get your own space and there are restrooms and showers provided. It’s only an hour drive from central Texas.

    Lone Star Jellystone

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    For groups with younger members this is a perfect place to enjoy the fun of camping while also having all the amenities and entertainment of a hotel. A wide variety of sports and other fun is on the menu, including a fishing lake, a pool, water slides and a golf course. Only a 50-minute journey from central Houston, it’s not even far enough away for the kids to get in a “are we there yet?”

    These recommendations were updated on August 6, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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