Not too far from home
Words By Savannah Whitmer Photo courtesy of Cypress Valley
Whether you need a queen-sized bed and a heater or just a backpack and some s’mores to enjoy the great outdoors, central Texas offers all kinds of camping opportunities within 100 miles of the city so you can unplug, relax, and recharge.
1. Tejas Park
What Tejas Park lacks in water or electricity at its campsites, it makes up for in impressive hiking opportunities. This primitive camping spot has great hill country views along the Goodwater Trail, which ends at the falls at Crockett Gardens. One can also kayak and fish on Lake Georgetown and the San Gabriel River. Visit in late spring or early summer when wildflowers bloom on the banks of the river. This camping spot just outside of Georgetown is the perfect place to unwind when you want to get away for the weekend or even a day trip. Campsites start at $6 per night. 35 miles from Austin. Dogs welcome.
Co Rd. 258, Liberty Hill | recreation.gov
2. Inks Lake State Park
Inks Lake State Park offers inexpensive camping spots where you can cash in on hill country views. Though the park is open year round, plan a trip early in the summer, before it gets too hot, so you can cool off at Devil’s Waterhole after a morning hike. Rent canoes, paddle boats, or kayaks for exploring Inks Lake, or view scenic waterfalls from the trail. The park is free for kids 12 and under, so make sure to bring the whole family to picnic, climb the rock outcrops, and watch stunning sunsets turn into even better starscapes. Campsites start at $11 per night. 70 miles from Austin. Dogs welcome.
3630 Park Rd. 4 W, Burnet | twpd.texas.gov
3. Green Acres
With a Green Acres getaway, you don’t have to compromise luxury living to benefit from the rejuvenating properties of the outdoors. Unplug from city life in the comfort of a quaint yurt or a chic airstream camper, from the Green Acre’s Spartan Mansion or an eco-cabin known as The Lodge. This 25-acre property just half an hour from Austin offers a charming bohemian retreat complete with hammocks, bathtubs, and friendly alpacas and miniature donkeys. Spend the day on the farm and enjoy the comforts of gourmet s’mores and a queen-sized bed after the stars come out. Yurt and airstream stays start at $165 per night. 25 miles from Austin. Dogs not allowed.
4. Enchanted Rock
It may be a rock, but it’s not just any rock. This 1600-acre park offers a full family experience: camping, hiking, rock climbing, picnicking, and bird watching opportunities. While Enchanted Rock is open year round, the best time to visit is from October to April, so you can enjoy the cooler weather. Take to the trails during the day to discover the best views of the hill country and the small lakes that dapple the park, but make sure you visit on a clear night to experience some of the best stargazing in central Texas. Daily fee is $7. 90 miles from Austin. Dogs welcome.
16710 Ranch Rd. 965, Fredericksburg | twpd.texas.gov
5. Colorado Bend State Park
As the grand finale to a moderate hike in this state park, rock outcrops and river bends give way to breathtaking views of the 60-foot Gorman Falls. Similar gems can be found throughout the park with plenty of shady spots overlooking waterfalls so you can sit and relax between trails. Besides 32 miles of trails suitable for all ages and levels of expertise, the park also offers cave tours, swimming, mountain bike trails, and kay-aking. Campsites start at $10 per night. 100 miles from Austin. Dogs welcome.
2236 Park Hill Dr., Bend | twpd.texas.gov
6. Cypress Valley
At Cypress Valley, you can adventure in the treetops by day and relax in cabins nestled within those same trees by night. This property is an adult playground, with ziplines, canopy tours, and sky bridges that boast beautiful bird’s eye views of the hill country. After a long day of trapezing through the valley, retreat to magical lofts nestled 30 feet high in the trees, where you can enjoy amazing views of the stars with up to 30 people. Take a trip during the fall to watch the leaves change from your lofty perch. Treehouses start at $200 per night. 30 miles from Austin. Dogs not allowed.
1223 Paleface Ranch Rd., Spicewood | cypressvalleycanopytours.com