Texas State Parks Near Austin | Austin Area State Parks
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Texas State Parks Near Austin | Austin Area State Parks

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Down in Central Texas, we have an extensive network of parks to explore the broad range of wildlife and enjoy the state’s natural beauty. Many of these parks are located less than 70 miles from Austin, making them great for a weekend camping trip or a day of. All of the state parks have unique qualities and histories, whether it’s stargazing parties on beautiful Enchanted Rock, winding hiking trails in the Lost Pines, visiting the home of former President Lyndon B. Johnson, or hiking around or swimming in one of the numerous lakes and rivers we boast here in Central Texas. Order a state park pass and discover all the natural and historical wonders Central Texas has to offer!

Texas State Parks 0 to 10 miles from Austin:

Texas State Parks 10 to 30 miles from Austin:

Texas State Parks 30+ miles from Austin:

McKinney Falls State Park

Image of McKinney Falls State Park

Located on the southeastern edge of Austin around the convergence of Onion and Williamson Creeks, the McKinney Falls State Park features bald cypress trees and vibrant wildflowers supported by flowing waters from the two creeks. The park is named after one of the first 300 settlers who came to Central Texas with Stephen F. Austin. The park is open for a variety of activities including camping, hiking, fishing, and swimming.

5808 McKinney Falls Pkwy, Austin, TX 78744

Entrance Fee: Check website

Hours: 8 am to 10 pm

Directions: McKinney Falls State Park is located 13 miles south from the State Capitol in Austin on U.S. Highway 183. Take the McKinney Falls Parkway exit straight to the park entrance.

Pro Tip: One of the oldest bald cypress trees on public land in Texas, fondly known as “Old Baldy,” is found in McKinney Falls. Make sure to stop by and visit him!

Bastrop State Park

Image of Bastrop State Park

Just a short drive from Austin, the Bastrop State Park is found in the “Lost Pines” of Central Texas. The plentiful natural resources made Bastrop perfect for early settlers, which is why Bastrop is believed to be one of the oldest towns in Texas. This national historical landmark has stone cabins for camping, fishing on the Bastrop State Park Lake, and opportunities for canoeing and golfing.

100 Park Road 1A, Bastrop, TX 78602

Entrance Fee: Check website

Hours: Open Daily

Directions: From Austin, take Highway 71 east to Texas Highway 21. Bastrop State Park is located one mile east of Texas Highway 21.

Pro Tip: If you prefer to enjoy nature from inside the car, you can take a scenic drive between the Bastrop and Buescher State Parks. The 12-mile expedition trails through the beautiful Lost Pines of Central Texas. Call the park ahead of time for more information!

  • Emma Long Metropolitan Park

    Image of Emma Long Metropolitan Park

    A local gem with a true “beach” shorefront, Emma Long Park sits along Lake Austin providing cool water to swim in year round, even when the water level is relatively low. There is plenty of shade from large trees and it’s conveniently located since it’s a short drive from anywhere in Austin! Though it can get crowded during the summer, it’s fairly easy to find your own spot to enjoy the water along the long strip of land! There are plenty of picnic tables spread out throughout the park with BBQ pits available!

    1706 City Park Road, Austin TX, 78730

    Entrance Fee: Check website

    Hours: 8 am to 7 pm

    Directions: From downtown Austin, take Mopac Loop 1 north. Exit for RM 2222 (Northland Dr) and turn left. Follow 2222 through the hills, cross Highway 360 (Capital of Texas Highway), and turn left onto City Park Rd. Follow it four miles and you’ll dead end into the park.

    Pro Tip: If you are interested in setting up camp, the sites are only available on a first come, first served basis. So make sure you plan ahead and get there early! Also, take note that there are a lot of burs in the grass that can get stuck on your feet or in between your dog’s paws so bring shoes to wear).

  • Pedernales Falls State Park

    Image of Pedernales Falls State Park

    The Pedernales Falls State Park in Blanco County is located along the banks of the Pedernales River. The wildlife in the park is typical of the Texas Hill Country, with white-tailed deer, armadillos, and raccoons. Most activities are centered on water-related recreation like swimming, tubing, and wading!

    2585 Park Rd 6026, Johnson City, TX 78636

    Entrance Fee: Check website

    Hours: Open Daily

    Directions: Travel west on U.S. Highway 290, then north on FM 3232 for 6 miles. The park is located 32 miles from downtown Austin.

    Pro Tip: Although most visitors of the Pedernales Falls State Park are interested in river-related activities, the park is also great for family hikes. The duck pond and the easy, 7-mile Wolf Mountain Trail makes the park a perfect day trip with the kids!

  • Reimers Ranch

    Image of Reimers Ranch

    Reimer’s Ranch is an open parkland located along the Pedernales River, mostly known for its rock climbing, and mountain biking trails over 18 miles long. Reimer’s Ranch also has an awesome beach area where swimmers go to stroke, soak, and sunbathe! You can also participate in their evening astronomical observatory program by looking into two large telescopes and view celestial objects and learn about the night sky!

    23610 Hamilton Pool Rd, Dripping Springs, TX 78620

    Entrance Fee: Check website

    Hours: 8 am to 7 pm

    Directions: From downtown, take Highway 71/290 West (Ben White Blvd) toward the “Y.” Veer right and take Highway 71 West at the split. Stay on 71 for eight miles and then turn left onto Hamilton Pool Rd (FM 3238) in Bee Cave. The park entrance is located a little over 10 miles along Hamilton Pool Rd, and it’s about 2,000 feet before the Hamilton Pool park entrance.

    Pro Tip: The earlier you leave the house, the better. During prime swimming months, Reimer’s Ranch gets extremely busy with climbers, bikers, and swimmers! Also be sure to make a reservation if you want to participate in their astronomical observatory program!

  • Blanco State Park

    Image of Blanco State Park

    Blanco State Park in Blanco County surrounds a mile of the Blanco River. Most activities revolve around the river like swimming, boating (electric motors only) and fishing. The park has tubes and canoes available for rental. Every year, the Blanco State Park hosts the Blanco Classic Car Show on the third Saturday in May.

    101 Park Road 23, Blanco, Tx. 78606

    Entrance Fee: Check website

    Hours: Sunrise to Sunset

    Directions: From downtown Austin take Mopac Loop 1 toward Highway 71/290 W. Turn right at 290 W and continue for roughly 25 miles until you hit FM 165. Turn left and continue on FM 165 for roughly 15 miles until you reach Chandler St (signs for Texas 163 Loop). Turn right on Chandler St and continue until you reach State Hwy P23. Turn left and keep a slight right on Park Road 23. Blanco State Park is on your left.

    Pro Tip: Blanco State Park offers a variety of interpretive and educational programs like Nature Study and Kayaking 101. Check out the events calendar for scheduled programs!

  • Buescher State Park

    Image of Buescher State Park

    Less than 10 miles from the Bastrop State Park, the Buescher State Park also sits within the Lost Pines ecosystem. The Lost Pines represent the westernmost loblolly pine trees in the United States. Buescher State Park boasts fishing, camping, hiking, and more. Additionally, cabins are available for nightly rentals for a weekend getaway.

    100 Park Rd 1-C, Smithville, TX 78957

    Entrance Fee: Check website

    Hours: 6 am to 10 pm

    Directions: From Austin, travel on Highway 71 east toward Bastrop. Then take FM 153 north to enter Park Road 1.

    Pro Tip: Non-motorized boating is allowed on the lake, so bring your canoe or kayak along. Even if you don’t own one, you can rent one from the park!

  • Colorado Bend State Park

    Image of Colorado Bend State Park

    Spend a weekend exploring the unspoiled wilderness of Colorado Bend, marvel at the beauty of Gorman Falls, cool off in Spicewood Springs, fish or paddle the river, take a cave tour, and test your limits on 35 miles of hike and bike trails! Colorado Bend offers back-to-nature camping with drive-up sites, walk-in tent sites or primitive hike-in sites. They even have composting toilets and an open-air, rinse-off shower near the campground to make your camping trip a little bit easier.

    2236 Park Hill Dr, Bend, TX 76824

    Entrance Fee: Check website

    Hours: 6 am to 10 pm

    Directions: From the intersection of U.S. Highways 281 and 183 in Lampasas, take FM 580 west 24 miles to Bend and follow the signs four miles to the park entrance. From San Saba, take U.S. Highway 190 about four miles to FM 580 and follow the signs 13 miles to Bend; follow the signs four miles to the park entrance.

    Pro Tip: When the parking lot is full, the park will close for up to four hours. Check their Facebook, Twitter, or contact the park for closure updates. People with camping reservations will be allowed in during these parking closures.

  • Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

    Image of Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

    There’s a reason Enchanted Rock is called magical and mystical. The massive pink granite dome rising out of the Texas Hill Country has amazed people for thousands of years. Surrounding Enchanted Rock itself, there are beautiful scenery and rock formations to visit as well. You can hike, rock climb, and picnic around the whole Enchanted Rock State Natural Area.

    16710 Ranch Rd. 965, Fredericksburg, TX 78624

    Entrance Fee: Check website

    Hours: 8 am to 10 pm

    Directions: Take west U.S. Highway 290 from Austin all the way to Fredericksburg. Turn right onto Ranch Road 965 for 18 miles to park entrance.

    Pro Tip: Join in on one of the Rock Star Parties where you can learn about constellations and maybe even see a shooting star! The rural sky and elevation makes Enchanted Rock one of the best public spaces for stargazing in Central Texas!

  • Government Canyon State Natural Area

    Image of Government Canyon State Natural Area

    Government Canyon State Natural Area offers more than 40 miles of trails. Their trails cross gently rolling grass­lands and remote, rugged can­yon-lands. Explore by hiking, moun­tain biking, or even trail running! You can also camp, attend a program or guided hike, geocache, picnic, take nature photos and look for birds and other wildlife. Take a hike to see the only known dinosaur footprints on public land in Bexar County. Scientists think that Acro­can­thosaurus and Sauro­po­sei­don dinosaurs left the tracks, nearly 110 million years ago! Your kids can also connect with “natural fun” at their playscape and discovery trail.

    12861 Galm Rd, San Antonio, TX 78254

    Entrance Fee: Check website

    Hours: 7 am to 10 pm

    Directions: From the intersection of Loop 1604 and Culebra Road (also known as FM 471; back road to Castroville), travel west 3.5 miles to Galm Road. Turn north (right) on Galm and travel 1.6 miles; gate with signs on the left.

    Pro Tip: Government Canyon State Natural Area experiences a high volume of visitors on most good-weather weekends and holidays, which means closures due to capacity limits are common. Make sure to plan ahead and get there early during busy times of the year!

  • Guadalupe River State Park

    Image of Guadalupe River State Park

    A lot of people come to Guadalupe River State Park to swim, but the park is more than a great swimming hole. It’s beautiful scenery, and colorful history awaits! With four miles of river frontage, the Guadalupe River takes center stage at the park. On the river, you can swim, fish, tube, and canoe! While on land, you can camp, hike, ride mountain bikes or horses, picnic, geocache, and bird watch. You can also explore 13 miles of hike and bike trails that range from the 2.86 miles to .26 miles or camp at one of their 85 water and electric campsites or nine walk-in tent sites!

    3350 Park Road 31, Spring Branch, TX 78070

    Entrance Fee: Check website

    Hours: 8 am to 10 pm

    Directions: From Austin, take I-35 south toward New Braunfels and exit for Highway 46 West. Follow 46 for 25 miles across Highway 281 and turn right onto State Park Road 31. Follow Park Road 31 for about five miles and you’ll see the park entrance on your right.

    Pro Tip: Styrofoam and glass are prohibited during the day along the river banks and while in the river. They also do not offer equestrian camping. mon. Make sure to plan ahead and get there early during busy times of the year!

  • Inks Lake State Park

    Image of Inks Lake State Park

    Discover the beauty of the Texas Hill Country at Inks Lake State Park. The park has 1,201 acres of recreational facilities next to Inks Lake on the Colorado River. Visitors can explore the park by camping and backpacking, and can also enjoy water recreational sports.

    3630 Park Rd 4 W, Burnet, TX 78611

    Entrance Fee: Check website

    Hours: Sunrise to Sunset

    Directions: From downtown, take Mopac Loop 1 north. Take the exit for Highway 183 North/Research Blvd. Continue on 183 through the tolls for a little over 20 miles, then turn left onto Highway 29 West and drive 30 miles, through the town of Burnet. Take a left onto Park Road 4 West and you’ll see the park entrance on the right.

    Pro Tip: Inks Lake stays at a constant water level all year, so droughts do not affect water-related activities. You’re able to swim, boat, or scuba dive on Inks Lake regardless of droughts in Central Texas!

  • Lake Somerville State Park

    Image of Lake Somerville State Park

    At Lake Summerville State Park, there is so much to do like fishing, camping, mountain biking, riding horses, birding, and hiking! Whatever your outdoor passion, you can pursue it at Lake Summerville. Lake Somerville State Park is broken up into four sections; Birch Creek, Nails Creek, Lake Somerville Trailway and Somerville Public Hunting Land. Birch Creek and Nails Creek offer access to the lake for fishing, boating, paddling, and swimming!

    14222 Park Road 57, Somerville, TX 77879

    Entrance Fee: Check website

    Hours: Open Daily

    Directions: From north Austin, take Highway 290 East to Highway 21. Left on 21 approximately 30 miles. Right on FM 60, 11 miles to Park Rd. 57. 4 miles on Park Road 57 to Park entrance. From south Austin ake Highway 71 East to Bastrop. Highway 21 East approximately 45 miles. Right on FM 60, 11 miles to Park Road. 57. 4 miles on Park Road 57 to park entrance.

    Pro Tip: Before you visit Lake Summerville State Park, please review their water safety tips and alligator safety tips for keeping yourself safe. Alligators do live in the park, so be extremely cautious and always stay aware of your surroundings!

  • Lockhart State Park

    Image of Lockhart State Park

    Tucked away in Caldwell County, the Lockhart State Park has an array of great outdoor activities. Visitors can enjoy fishing in Clear Fork Creek, taking a leisurely hike, or picnicking by the creek. The 263.7-acre park was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps between 1935 and 1938 and still maintains some of the original structures built. History buffs can visit the site of the Battle of Plum Creek a few miles from the park itself.

    2012 State Park Rd, Lockhart, TX 78644

    Entrance Fee: Check website

    Hours: Open Daily

    Directions: To reach the park, take U.S. Highway 183 south to FM 20. Travel southwest on FM 20 for 2 miles to Park Road 10. Continue 1 mile south on Park Road 10.

    Pro Tip: Lockhart State Park is home to the only staff-operated, 9-hole golf course in the Texas Park System, so pack up your golf clubs and rent an electric cart for $10!

  • Longhorn Cavern State Park

    Image of Longhorn Cavern State Park

    In the heart of the Highland Lakes, Longhorn Caverns are a pleasant 68 degrees year-round. The natural landmark cavern has served as a shelter since prehistoric times. Legend says that the infamous Sam Bass buried his $2 million loot in Longhorn Caverns. Guided tours start around 10:30 am and are offered throughout the day. The tour lasts approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.

    211 Park Road 4 S, Burnet, TX 78611

    Entrance Fee: Check website

    Hours: Open Daily

    Directions: From Austin, travel north on U.S. Highway 183. In Liberty Hill, turn onto Highway 29 west toward Burnet. Once you reach Burnet, turn left onto Highway 281, and then take Park Road 4 for 6 miles.

    Pro Tip: It’s recommended that you wear low-heeled shoes with rubber soles for your comfort and safety. The tour is over a mile round trip of walking and the floors of the caverns are often wet!

  • Lyndon B. Johnson State Park

    Image of Lyndon B. Johnson State Park

    The Lyndon B. Johnson State Park was built just across the river from the LBJ Ranch. The visitor center is the focal point of the park, containing memorabilia from President Johnson’s presidency and interactive displays. Additionally, the park is known for its wildlife exhibition of contained buffalo, longhorn, and the famous wildflower display. As of May 2014, the park is now home to part of the Official Texas State Longhorn Herd.

    199 Park Road 52, Stonewall, TX 78671

    Entrance Fee: Check website

    Hours: Sunrise to Sunset

    Directions: Take U.S. Highway 290 west toward Johnson City. The park is located 14 miles west of Johnson City on Park Road 52.

    Pro Tip: Make sure you visit the Sauer-Beckmann Farmstead, a living history farm. Interpreters are clothed in 1918 period clothing and participate in household and farm chores that would have been done at the time. They also conduct tours for visitors and show how the tasks are performed!

  • Monument Hill & Kreische Brewery State Historic Site

    Image of Monument Hill & Kreische Brewery State Historic Site

    The activities at Monument Hill and Kreische Brewery State Historic Site include picnicking, nature study, and a historical study. Arrangements can be made with the park staff to have weddings, family reunions, or other group functions in the picnic area and the historic facilities! This park would make for a beautiful wedding! Group tours by staff and volunteers are available by scheduling in advance, and regularly scheduled tours of the brewery are available on the weekends.

    14 TX-92 Spur, La Grange, TX 78945

    Entrance Fee: Check website

    Hours: Sunrise to Sunset

    Directions: Take State Highway 77 south across the Colorado River, then go .4 miles on Spur 92, west to the park entrance.

    Pro Tip: House and brewery tours are not offered during December. Make sure to check the park’s website frequently because of schedules that are subject to change due to tour guide availability.

  • Old Tunnel State Park

    Image of Old Tunnel State Park

    Enjoy hiking, bird-watching, and general wildlife viewing on Old Tunnel State Park’s half-mile nature trail. The trail opens daily at sunrise and closes at 5:00 p.m. Keep in mind that the trail is primitive and can be steep! From May through October, visitors age 4 and over can pay to view the bats from the lower viewing area on Thursday through Sunday evenings. Tickets for this area are sold on these evenings beginning around 5:30 p.m!

    10619 Old San Antonio Rd, Fredericksburg, TX 78624

    Entrance Fee: Check website

    Hours: 6 am to 9:30 pm

    Directions: From Austin, take W HWY 290 for about an hour and forty minutes then make a left onto Cain City Road. Merge onto Old San Antonio Rd. and keep going straight till you see the park entrance.

    Pro Tip: Bat trunks are available for teachers, individuals or organizations to borrow and include a taxidermic bat, a bat detector, posters, and many other neat hands-on items! This is a great way to learn more about the Mexican free-tailed bats!

  • Palmetto State Park

    Image of Palmetto State Park

    Palmetto Park is a little piece of the tropics that lies just an hour from Austin and San Antonio. With multiple sources of water, Palmetto State Park is a haven for a wide variety of animals and plants. There plenty of things you can do including swimming, tubing, fish, and canoeing. You can also go hiking or biking, camping, geocaching, go birding, study nature or have a lovely picnic at one of their picnic pavilions! Besides the flowing river, the park also has an oxbow lake, an artesian well, and swamps. You won’t ever get bored at this park!

    78 Park Rd 11 S, Gonzales, TX 78629

    Entrance Fee: Check website

    Hours: Sunrise to Sunset

    Directions: o reach the park, travel 10 miles northwest of Gonzales on U.S. Highway 183 to FM 1586, then west on FM 1586 for two miles to Ottine, and south on Park Road 11; or go six miles southeast of Luling on U.S. Highway 183, and then southwest on Park Road 11 for two miles.

    Pro Tip: If you want to stay longer than a day at Palmetto State Park, you have the option to go camping! They offer 19 tent sites and 18 RV sites, and a secluded group site you can camp with 99 of your friends!

  • Map of Texas State Parks Near Austin

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