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.

Continue reading on CultureMap.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and blogger. Check out her new blog, HTown Run Tourist. Follow her on Twitter @jovanabernathy. Instagram @HTownRunTourist. Facebook @jovanabernathy. Join her facebook group: H-Town Run Tourist

Six years ago, I got this great idea to become a tourist of Houston on foot. I had no idea what I was doing or where it was going. All I knew was to put on my running shoes, walk out the door, and just go. Go learn, go talk, go ask without judgements. What I found is that Houston was full of diversity. We all knew that. However, let yourself be immersed in it. Look and listen to the sounds of different languages being spoken around you. Smell the scents of the different cuisines. You would think you were in a foreign country. This made me more curious.

As I explored the emotion of curiosity, it led me to change my behavior. Where I might have rushed to this place and to the next, I took it slower. Where, usually, I would have just assumed that I already knew, I found myself asking more questions. When I asked more questions, I had to acknowledge that I did not already know, so I practiced listening. As I listened more, I felt compelled to show more appreciation to the person who interrupted their busy day to educate me. This made me feel grateful.

I took that gratitude and wanted to share with others. It blew my mind when people would say that they hated Houston. It was boring. The people are mean and it was ugly. And even more shocking was Houston is not walkable. Instead of getting offended, I decided to do my part in brightening up the day of the Houstonians who were stuck in a rut. Who saw and did the same things day after day. I didn't judge because I knew they could get out of that rut by simply deciding that today they do something different. I braced myself for rejection, but put myself out there to share the wonderful things that I had learned about Houston. Given the chance, the vast majority, was ready to learn a different way. This made me proud.

It is true that 2020 has been full of disasters. These are opportunities if we choose to see them that way. If anything that COVID-19 taught me the answer was not MORE, but it is LESS. We have the tendency to take on too much, we had the unique opportunity to take on less. Thus, instead of going to exhaustion, we had the opportunity to rest.

Then, the tragedy of the death of Houston's own George Floyd happened. It could not have happened at a worse time. My heart goes out to his family. Some might use it as an opportunity to work out their own frustrations by causing more problems with violence and looting. My hope is that whatever happens will be an expression of appropriate sadness, but with Houston's best attributes; curiosity, gratitude, and pride. Instead of LESS it is time for MORE. MORE curiosity. To see if Houston's law enforcement cares about the well-being of Houston's black community and make changes in protocols. MORE gratitude. For the opportunity to express the frustration in a peaceful way. MORE pride. To not destroy this city and give it over to violence possibly doing more damage to the economics of business owners. We can see this as the opportunity to take time to heal.

Houston has changed. As I restart my exploration, I'm not looking for LESS. I'm looking for MORE this time. I'm looking with MORE curiosity. Because I know that we have even MORE to show each other. I'm looking with MORE gratitude because we have endured so much already and there are better times ahead. And, I'm looking with MORE pride because just as we did it before, we still have it in us to do it again. I have one request: if you see me in the streets, promise me that you will say hello.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome