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THE BEST CAMPING SPOTS NEAR AUSTIN

14 PLACES

UPDATED SEP 1, 2020

Start a campfire. See stars. Wake up with the morning light… all the things you can never do in the city are the best part about camping. Pack a bag. These amazing campsites near Austin are just a short road trip away.

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TESS HALPREN

FITT AUSTIN CONTRIBUTOR

Inks Lake just outside of Burnet has 200 campsites, 22 cabins, and tons to do and see. The rocky, tree-covered shoreline is stunning, and the lake is always level, so watersports and fishing are a must. You can even rent equipment and scuba dive. Looking to get in a bit of a workout? There are nine miles of woodsy hiking trails. Cool off after with a dip at Devil’s Watering Hole.

North of Fredericksburg, Enchanted Rock is a magical, massive pink granite dome — the largest of its kind in the US. It's also an excellent place to go camping. The only catch? Both the group and primitive campsites require a hike to get there. So we suggest setting up your site before climbing to the top of the famous dome.

This camping spot is a small but quaint 105-acre area along the Blanco River. Pitch a tent at one of the full hookup sites, then spend the day at one of the swimming areas that feed into a spring-fed dam. Or, go on a hike. There are fire rings at the campgrounds. So at night, relax and roast marshmallows under the clear starry sky.

Cedar Breaks Park is a hidden gem. It sits off Lake Georgetown and has 59 reservable campsites, all of which have electrical hookups and flushing toilets. Set up camp right along the shore and enjoy the view. Oh, and keep an eye out for raccoons; they’re definitely not shy around here!

If you don't want to travel far, head to McKinney Falls State Park in Southeast Austin. There are hiking and bike trails along Onion Creek, where you'll see limestone ledges and other scenic sights. Plus, 81 campsites with water, electric hookups, and a fire ring with a grill rack. It's still a far cry from glamping, but you'll have all the basics covered.

Pedernales Falls is the ideal place for an adventure. Take your pick of 69 campsites (all of which have electricity hookups), hike-in camping areas, and even an equestrian group campground. When you're not relaxing by your tent, enjoying the peace and quiet, explore the trails, waterfalls, swimming holes, and caves on the property.

Emma Long Park in West Austin is a local favorite for its laid-back vibes and accessibility. There are a handful first-come, first-served campsites (book online), but not all come with water or electricity, so choose wisely. Once you arrive, take advantage of the area's barbecue pits, volleyball and basketball courts, nearby hiking trails, and calm waters that are perfect for swimming.

Sandy Creek Park is another great hideout along Lake Travis. It's ridiculously beautiful, extremely peaceful, and the primitive campgrounds don’t offer any electricity throughout. (This is your opportunity to truly unplug.) Leave your phone in the car, bring a cooler, and set up chairs on the sandy beach shores for a chill weekend away.

85 wooded campsites with water and electricity, nine walk-in tent sites, and the breathtaking Guadalupe River — this camping destination is hard to top. Plus, there's tons to keep you busy. Go for a swim along the cliffs, kayak down the river, or hit up the 13 miles of area trails. When it's time to retire, the shady oak trees provide the ultimate respite.

Think of Lockhart State Park as the Disneyland of Texas campgrounds. There’s a swimming pool, tons of hiking trails, RV hookups, and even a nine-hole golf course. The park hits capacity at 75 people, which keeps it nice and low-key. And before you work up an appetite, reserve a kitchen space in the Group Recreation Hall.

Stephen F. Austin State Park is great place if you need to get away but aren't down for a full-on road trip. It sits on the banks of the Brazos River and offers a secluded environment to regroup and relax. And when it comes to camping, you've got options — this park has just about every type of campsite you can think of, from full hookup campsites to mini-cabins. Plus, there are six miles of hiking and biking trails on the grounds, so plan accordingly.

Bastrop State Park is known for the Lost Pines, a three-mile belt of loblolly pines. And while the area has been hit hard in recent years by both floods and fires, things are starting to look up. So, you can still take a trip to experience the towering pine trees, the growth of new plant species, and the return of native wildlife. As for the camping, this spot has campsites of all types, depending on how primitive you want to get (but we won't judge if you opt for glamping).

Another Georgetown favorite, Jim Hogg Park is on the north side of the lake — an excellent spot for fishing and camping fun. There are 142 reservable campsites with toilets, showers, and covered picnic areas to protect from those random Texas rains. You'll also find a 26-mile trail where you can hike or bike to burn off some of those s’mores.

Pace Bend in Spicewood, TX is a popular destination along the shoreline of Lake Travis, with picturesque limestone cliffs and stunning sunsets. Post up for the day, grill out, go for a swim, or take the kayak out. But if you're planning on camping, get there early to snag one of the 20 sites — they fill up fast.

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