PITCH A TENT

9 gorgeous places to camp in Central Texas for a quick getaway

Pedernales Falls boasts 69 campsites, plus a four-person hike-in primitive site and an equestrian group camp. Pedernales Falls State Park/Facebook

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

Perhaps you're looking for one last outdoor adventure before summer ends, or maybe the prospect of cooler fall nights has you dreaming of, well, dreaming in a tent. Either way, it's easy to make it happen in Central Texas.

With its natural beauty, rolling hills, and picturesque vistas, the area is teeming with places to enjoy the great outdoors with a camping adventure. Pitch a tent at a primitive campsite, or rent a cabin in the woods. Regardless of your style, these nine spots are perfect for a camping getaway.

Bastrop State Park
Famous for its extensive loblolly pine forest, better known as the Lost Pines, Bastrop State Park was ravaged by forest fires in 2011 and 2015. It remains a great spot for camping though, with 35 full-hookup sites, 19 electric-only sites, and 16 tent-only and six walk-in sites. Choose one of the latter and you won’t have to share your peace and quiet with air conditioning or TV noise. Some of the longer hiking trails are closed, but seven miles remain open. The hilly, 12-mile Park Road 1C between Bastrop and nearby Buescher State Park by car or bike is a contrast of recovering and still-forested areas. (And don’t even think about throwing that butt out the window.)

Black Rock Park
Enjoy swimming, kayaking (rentals available), and bank fishing at this Lower Colorado River Authority park on the west shore of sprawling Lake Buchanan. Or just float. Overnight options include cabins, tent camping, or RV sites. For land-based recreation, choose from a playground, horseshoe pits, and a volleyball court.

Canyon of the Eagles
A 940-acre park on the northeast shore of Lake Buchanan, Canyon of the Eagles offers tent camping at wooded Chimney Slough and at Tanner Point, and hike-in-only sites on a small peninsula. It also has an RV park if a real bed is more your groove. Tent campers have access to the RV bath house and amenities including a swim beach, nature programs, observatory, and 14 miles of hiking trails. And if you suck at camp cooking, there’s a great restaurant on site.

Inks Lake State Park
This state park, a classic Texas Hill Country landscape, has nearly 200 campsites, many on the shore, and 22 cabins (two ADA-accessible). Oh, it also has a lake, of course, where you can swim or paddle in a large, no-wake zone (paddleboats, canoes, and kayaks available for rent). Fish for sunfish, catfish, and bass from two piers or the shore — no fishing license needed — and clean your catch at one of two cleaning stations. Plus, there are nine miles of hiking trails. The park store sells all the essentials and there’s even a food truck that sells snow cones, root beer floats, nachos, hot dogs, and more.

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These next six games will be very telling. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images.

Houston has six games left in the 2022 regular season, two three-game series in which they need just one more win, or a Yankees loss, to secure the top seed for the AL side of the postseason bracket. They've accomplished what they set out to do over the 162-game drudge that is the regular season, so you're likely to see them use the opportunity to get some players off their feet in the remaining games.

Even so, having one of the best teams means that while putting out a lineup with some starters missing, they can still beat most teams on any given day. So then, what could that mean for the teams still vying for postseason spots or positioning in the remaining games?

Affecting the NL playoffs

It's a relatively sure bet that if they haven't locked up that top seed by the time they enter the final three games, they will before that last series is over. That means that when the Phillies come to Minute Maid Park to close out the season next week, Philadelphia will have much higher stakes in those games than Houston.

Under the expanded playoff format starting this season, the two best teams in each league receive a bye, while the remaining four teams square off in a Wild Card series, with all those games taking place at the better seed's stadium. That means teams will be very motivated to secure their best Wild Card positioning.

As of now, the Phillies hold just a half-game lead over the Brewers for the third and final Wild Card spot for the National League. Things could change this weekend, but whether they still lead or have fallen back and have ground to makeup, the games will matter to them against the Astros.

They also sit 2.5 games behind the Padres, meaning that Philadelphia could potentially be looking at a chance to jump into the second Wild Card spot. However, it's questionable if that's an envious position or not. With the juggernaut battle between the Mets and Braves coming down to the wire, with one team winning the NL East and a first-round bye and the other starting with home-field advantage in a Wild Card series, whoever gets the second Wild Card spot is going to be heading to face a really tough, and potentially angry, team on the road.

It will make things interesting for the Phillies when they face the Astros. They could be playing for their playoff lives or jockeying for position. Either way, the games will be meaningful.

Affecting the AL playoffs

There's a similar scenario at play for the American League side of things with the Astros' three-game series against the Rays this weekend. Just like the Phillies, the Rays enter the weekend holding on to the third and final spot in the AL Wild Card race.

Tampa Bay is only 0.5 games back of the Mariners for the second spot and two games back of the Blue Jays for the first Wild Card spot. Farther behind, the Orioles still have a chance for something crazy to happen, sitting five games behind.

So based on the result of their series with the Astros and how the other teams fare this weekend and in the final stretch of games, the Rays have a range of outcomes that could cause havoc in the AL bracket. They could end up taking the top Wild Card spot and hosting a series, traveling to face the Blue Jays, Mariners, or Guardians, or, less likely, missing the playoffs altogether.

This variance in positioning could have ramifications for the Astros directly in the ALDS round as well. The Astros are likely to be favored regardless of the three potential teams they face; however, some matchups would make things easier.

Houston went 2-4 against the Blue Jays this year and are currently up 3-0 on the Rays with the three games remaining in the season series. And while the Astros took the season series 12-7 against division-rival Seattle, that could give the Mariners all the more reason to be ultra-motivated for the ALDS if they faced the Astros.

So, while the Astros may not have any direct milestones to play for other than locking up their top seed, these remaining six games will have plenty of storylines and drama to follow for them and their opponent.

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