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Huntsville State Park
We planned a last minute trip this weekend to Huntsville State Park. We finally finished converting our SUV into a camper and we were just dying to try it out. Luckily there was one campsite still available at Huntsville State Park so we packed up and headed out. I was surprised by how beautiful Huntsville State Park was and happy to say it’s on the “come back again” list. Keep reading for tips on what to do during your visit to Huntsville State Park.
Camping at Huntsville State Park
I’m always searching for the best campsites at each state park we visit. As you know, a campsite can make or break a trip. I look for campsites with a good location, plenty of shade to escape that Texas heat, and privacy. The best campsites at Huntsville State Park are 10, 53, 56, 58, 63, 64, 67, 69 (maybe the best), 70-73, 99, and 100. All of those sites are on the water and are amazing!! Huntsville State Park also has screened-in shelters available which are a great alternative to tent camping in the summer months. The best screened-in shelters are 9-13, 19, 20, 27-30, and 143. If you’re new to camping be sure to check out my recommended camping essentials and my free camping checklist.
Hiking at Huntsville State Park
The best hiking trail at Huntsville State Park is the Chinquapin Loop Trail. It’s about 7 miles round trip and basically loops around Lake Raven. It’s a super easy hike with some great views. If you’re looking for a shorter hike to take the kids on, then I’d recommend parking at the end of Coloneh Camping Area and hiking along the Chinquapin Trail to the historic dam. It’s a fun little hike (about an hour round trip) and it’s a great view of the lake. Chinquapin Loop Trail is also great for biking and trail running.
Kayaking, Canoeing, and Pedal Boats
Huntsville State Park is home to a 210 acre lake known as Lake Raven. You can rent kayaks, canoes, and pedal boats at the park store. If you have your own kayak (or inflatable kayak like we do), then you can either put in at the boat ramp or your campsite (assuming you booked one of my recommended sites on the water).
Swimming at Huntsville State Park
Swimming is available at Huntsville State Park but only in the designated area by the park store. There’s a fun floating dock in the center of the swimming area that the kids can swim too and jump off. The only downside is that when you enter the swimming area there is a sign warning you about alligators in the lake. I think it’s odd that there are gator warning signs as you enter the swimming area but maybe that’s just me. Was I to chicken to swim?? YES!!! Did it bother other people?? Not at all!!
Fishing at Huntsville State Park
I’ve never fished y’all, but my husband enjoys fishing on occasion. Apparently you can find crappie, perch, catfish and bass in Lake Raven. I know what you’re thinking…who seriously named a type of fish crappie?!?! And does it taste crappie?!?!
Other Attractions in the Area
Huntsville State Park is close to Sam Houston National Forest. When I say it’s close to Sam Houston National Forest, what I really mean is they’re right next to each other. Check out some of the Sam Houston National Forest trails for some alternative hikes. Another attraction in the area is the Lone Star Hiking Trail. I’d never heard of the Lone Star Hiking Trail until recently but it sounds amazing. It’s a 129 mile trail through Texas, what a great backpacking trip! Adding it to the bucket list now! The last main attraction I want to mention is Lake Livingston State Park. It’s just an hour East of Huntsville State Park and it looks amazing! I haven’t made it out there yet, but it’s on the to do list.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Huntsville State Park depends on the purpose of your visit. If you’re looking to hike and kayak, then I’d recommend October or April. If you just want to enjoy some hiking, then I’d recommend anytime between October and April. The summer months (May-September) would be great if you plan to swim and you have an RV with AC. Otherwise, I don’t enjoy tent camping or hiking in the summer months (personal preference of course). I will say the majority of the trails are shaded, which makes a huge difference!
How to Get to Huntsville State Park
Huntsville State Park is about an hour drive from Houston, a 3 hour drive from Austin, a 3 hour drive from Dallas/Fort Worth, and a 4 hour drive from San Antonio. If you’re driving from Houston do yourself a favor and stop at Joe’s Italian Restaurant on your way into Huntsville. If you’re driving from Austin, stop in Bastrop for some treats from Buccee’s (and a nice clean bathroom if you already have to go).
I hope you enjoy your trip to Huntsville State Park!! To learn more about some of our other Texas Adventures click here.