The city of Houston is surrounded by a wide array of landscapes which make for some stunning camping spots. You can choose between primitive camping, luxury camping, and everything else in-between. This guide hopes to provide you with all the information you need to decide on your next outdoor vacation.
What To Consider When Looking for Tent Camping Near Houston?
Houston has some incredible natural beauty spots to enjoy the native wildlife, surrounded by tranquil forests and glistening lakes. While looking through our guide, you may want to think about what else the sites have to offer, such as the on-site amenities.
Some people’s idea of camping is completely immersing themselves in their surroundings. They want to absorb the true magnitude of outdoor life by building their own fires, collecting and boiling water, and hunting for their own dinner; however, if you prefer to have a little helping hand, it’s great to know what amenities are important to you, and what luxuries you absolutely cannot live without.
There is such a diverse range of campsites to consider around the Houston area, and some even have full on-site kitchens! So you will need to decide how primitive you want your camping experience to be.
Many of the campsites in this guide do have decent, basic facilities that you can take advantage of to make your vacation a little easier. It’s better to have something and not need it than to need it and not have it after all!
6 Awesome Locations for Tent Camping Near Houston, TX
There are so many awesome locations for tent camping in and around Houston. It took some time to narrow down a shortlist, but the sites in our guide have that extra special something about them. We hope this helps you decide where to visit on your next outdoor, overnight adventure.
1. Magnolia Gardens Park
Image Credit: https://www.mdac.ms.gov/
Address:18041 Riverside St, Houston, TX 77044
Activities:Swimming, Jet Ski, Kayaking, Banana Boating, Boating
Facilities:Food vendors, restroom with showers, kitchens, electric hook-up, water hook-up
Magnolia Gardens Park is perfectly set up along the banks of the San Jacinto River, just under half an hour’s drive from the center of Houston. The absolute best feature of this park is the glorious sandy beach where you can enjoy sunbathing, volleyball, or even hop aboard a banana boat for a fun, exhilarating ride!
Many of the activities available while camping at Magnolia Gardens Park are water-based. However, the wooded areas offer a blissful environment to disconnect from the world during a gentle stroll or bicycle ride. Or go all in and camp in one of the more secluded areas in the park’s heart.
Magnolia Gardens has a reasonably relaxed offering when it comes to where you can camp, with three options available. You can decide to bask under the stars, listening to the waves gently lapping the shores on their beachfront campground. Settle into nature within the woodlands which includes electric hook-ups.
There is a minimum 2-night-stay required to camp here, with prices from $20.00 per person per night. The site allows campfires to be built and is pet friendly. Car parking can be a little hit and miss here, and you might not always get a parking spot close to where you pitch your tent.
Our top tip for visiting Magnolia Gardens Park is to bring water shoes if you intend to spend time on the beach. Due to the area’s location, the sand can get unbearably hot.
You might also like: 8 Amazing Lakes in & Near Houston for Swimming & Cabin Rentals
2. Galveston Island State Park
Image Credit: https://tpwd.texas.gov/
Address:14901 FM3005, Galveston, TX 77554
Activities:Fishing, Kayaking, Biking, Hiking, Beach activities
Facilities:Restroom with showers, water hook-up, picnic tables, fire ring with grill
Quite honestly, until you have visited Galveston Island State Park, you cannot even begin to imagine how beautiful it is. The white sandy beach is elevated by the crispness of the clear blue waters that gently brush against it. There are no shaded grasslands, just endless opportunities to sit and enjoy the blissful breeze that eases the sun’s heat.
You will struggle with the concept of being only an hour’s drive from such a bustling city as Houston while vacationing on this peaceful island next to the Gulf of Mexico. The area has several miles of pathways perfect for hiking or cycling. You can also enjoy many water-based activities such as surfing, kayaking, boating, and fishing.
There is currently an ongoing project within the area of Carancahu Cove in the park costing over $3 million. This project was set up to protect crucial habitats by creating a breakwater shoreline that will benefit the native wildlife, including fish and 300 species of birds found here.
There are two campsites available here; both allow for a minimum of 1 night’s stay. The beachside campground is located right across from the open water. It has bathroom facilities and water hook-ups and allows for campfires to be built.
The bayside campground offers more secluded camping, with views over three small lakes. This site has a few extra facilities such as showers, electric hook-ups, and picnic tables.
The price per person at Galveston Island starts from $15.00 per night for a standard pitch. If you require electricity, there is an additional charge of $5.00 per person.
See More: 5 best beaches in Houston.
3. Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park
Image Credit: https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/
Address:34843 Betka Rd, Waller, TX 77484
Activities:Waterpark including a lazy river, miniature golf, fishing
Facilities:Water hook-up, electric hook-up, nearby Restrooms, picnic tables
If you are traveling with children or are just young at heart, you need to check out Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park. The site is an hour’s drive from Houston, located in the small city of Weller.
There is so much to see and do here; it is the complete opposite of primitive camping! Set within the park are an incredible water park with a lazy river, water slides, swimming pools, and splash pad. The splash pad is available for all ages to enjoy.
You can enjoy a leisurely afternoon on one of the park’s padel boats along the little artificial lake. The lake is well stocked for anyone looking to fish. Why not also have a go at mini-golf, volleyball, or basketball during your stay.
Amongst the popular RV sites, there is one site dedicated to tent camping at Yogi Bears. This area offers basic camping with a few added luxuries such as electricity, water, fire rings for barbequing with ease, and picnic tables.
There is a minimum of 2 nights’ stay requirement to camp here. The price is per tent, rather than per person, at around $95.00 per night, plus a $3.00 campsite maintenance fee.
Also, See: 7 incredible places to play mini-golf
4. Stephen F. Austin State Park
Image Credit: https://tpwd.texas.gov/
Address:Park Rd 38, San Felipe, TX 77473
Activities:Hiking, Bird Watching
Facilities:Electric hook-up, water hook-up, kitchens, bathrooms, option for primitive camping
Stephen F. Austin State Park offers 663-acres of rural woodlands, home to deer, raccoon, opossum, and many other wildlife species. The park has some superb hiking trails and has become a favorite park amongst the geocaching community.
This is an excellent place for large groups to camp. You can hire one of the buildings within the park alongside your tent pitch. The buildings have dining rooms, full kitchens, and bathrooms, all with running water and electricity. These act as a perfect place to regroup before heading back to your cozy tent at the day’s end.
If you want to be more at one with nature, you can decide to camp in one of the more secluded areas. These sites still have the necessities you may require, like showers close by, fire rings to ease the chore of building a fire, and picnic tables.
As there are so many options to choose from here, pricing can get a little tricky. For a basic camping spot in these woodlands, you will be looking to pay around $100.00 per night. For the more luxurious amenities, you can spend upwards of $300.00, plus a $200.00 refundable deposit to cover any damages or cleaning bills for the inside areas. These prices are based on per site, not per person or tent.
5. Lake Houston Wilderness Park
Image Credit: https://www.chron.com/
Address:25840 FM 1485, New Caney, TX 77357
Facilities:Restroom with showers close by, fire ring with grill, picnic tables
Spanning over 5,000-acres, Lake Houston Wilderness Park is the largest site we have included in this guide. There are endless forests to explore by foot or bike, picturesque lakes to enjoy fishing or swimming, and playgrounds to keep your little explorers entertained. All within an hour’s drive from Houston.
Lake Houston Wilderness Park has tried to keep many of its areas as natural as possible; therefore, there are no electrical hook-ups, water hook-ups, or RV campsites close to the tent pitches. This adds to the most magical, undisturbed overnight experience, where you can listen to the owl’s hoot, the crickets chirp, and the fire crackle.
There is no parking allowed near the campsites. However, you can drive to some of the sites to drop off luggage before returning your car to the car park. This is a really cost-effective place to camp for anyone working with a budget. Tent sites start from just $7.00 per night, including a fire grill, picnic table, and lantern pole.
6. Wolf Creek Park
Image Credit: https://www.tripadvisor.com/
Address:21 Wolf Creek Park Road, Coldspring, TX 77331
Activities:Miniature Golf, Swimming, Fishing, Hiking
Facilities:Electric hook-up, water hook-up, restrooms with showers, fire ring with grill, picnic tables
Wolf Creek Park is the furthest campsite from Houston in our guide, and it can take around an hour and a half to drive here. The park is located alongside a beautiful, peaceful marina and is one of the lesser populated sites to camp, allowing for a more restful vacation.
A small shop is located near the main car park, which has water-based activity equipment available to hire, such as kayaks, fishing supplies, paddle boats, and canoes. You can also purchase basic groceries here alongside essential goods. There is a lovely little children’s playground here for children to use up their energy.
The campsites all have basic amenities nearby, with fire rings and picnic tables in each spot. The washroom facilities are really well maintained and clean, with hot running water in the shower blocks.
What we love most about this park is that it is closed to the general public over the weekends, allowing campers full access to all the park has to offer without any overcrowding.
To Sum Up…
So, where will you head to for your next camping adventure?
We hope that we have helped you create a shortlist of campsites to consider depending on what you want to gain from your vacation.
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