The Best Camping Near Austin, Texas

The Best Camping Near Austin, Texas

Whether you’re seeking out the fully decked-out experience of COTA Camping or whether you’re looking for something more primitive, campgrounds near Austin come in every variety. Find a refreshing water getaway at Pedernales Falls or Lake Travis, or kick back beneath the trees at Rebecca Creek Campgrounds.

Austin, Texas
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About Camping Near Austin

Stay at campgrounds near Austin for a thrilling mix of city adventures and natural wonders. Tour the Texas Capitol, check out the music scene, and eat your fill of barbecue and Tex-Mex before heading outdoors to explore Zilker Park and Mount Bonnell. Camping near Austin brings you closer to sparkling lakes, rushing rivers, and full-service RV parks.

Top Campgrounds Near Austin, Texas

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Austin Camping FAQs

Austin, Texas, is a great place for campers looking to escape from their everyday lives.

From the rolling hills and dozens of sparkling lakes, to the abundance of wildlife and scenic overlooks, this Texas town has everything an intrepid camper could desire. Spend the day kayaking on Lady Bird Lake, have a picnic among the wildflowers at Zilker Botanical Garden, or gaze in awe of the nighttime sky while enjoying a campfire—Austin, Texas has it all.

And if all that nature gets too much you can always take a break in one of its many hip bars or indulge yourself with some authentic TexMex! So why not pack your bags and come to Austin? The sites are spectacular and you’ll never run out of things to do.

What are the best times of year to go camping near Austin, TX?

Austin, Texas, is a great destination for camping, with its mild climates and a vast selection of outdoor activities.

The best time to camp in Austin is during the late spring or early fall. During these times of year, the temperature is mild and comfortable, making it perfect for outdoor activities.

During the late spring, you can enjoy blooming wildflowers, as well as warm temperatures perfect for swimming and spending long days outdoors.

In the early fall, the cool breezes make outdoor activities much more enjoyable without being too cold or too hot. Additionally, the trees become filled with an array of colorful leaves that create a beautiful backdrop to any campsite.

In addition to optimal temperatures, both seasons offer many fun camping activities, such as fishing in nearby lakes or hiking along scenic trails.

Austin also has many popular attractions throughout the city, like museums and art galleries that are only open during certain months of the year.

Springtime also offers festivals like South by Southwest where you can enjoy music and interactive experiences. Meanwhile, fall offers events like Zilker Kite Festival which lets you admire colorful kites in the sky from anywhere around town!

Even better, camping in Austin, TX allows you to stay close to nature and relax among lush vegetation within parks like McKinney Falls State Park or Pedernales Falls State Park—all while still being able to take advantage of all that downtown Austin has to offer.

Whether you’re looking for some peace and quiet or an exciting adventure city-side—late spring or early fall is undoubtedly the best time of year to go camping in Austin.

What should I bring camping in Austin?

Whether you choose to brave the great outdoors at a spot like Inks Lake State Park or spend your nights under the stars near Lady Bird Lake, be sure to bring all the essentials.

Pack your:

  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellant
  • Plenty of water
  • Layers for unpredictable weather
  • Plenty of snacks for when hunger strikes
  • Hat
  • Sleeping bag and tent if applicable
  • Flashlight
  • Garbage bags
  • Snacks

Don’t forget a hammock in case you find yourself along Barton Creek, otherwise known as hammock heaven.

But more than anything, don’t forget your sense of adventure! With so much beauty around you, let’s just say there will be something new to explore everyday.

What are some of the best things to do while camping near Austin?

Camping in Austin is an experience like no other. There are so many places to explore near Hill Country, both natural and urban.

McKinney Falls State Park

Just half an hour outside of downtown is McKinney Falls State Park. With lush green hills, two majestic waterfalls (Lower Falls and Upper Falls), and refreshing swimming pools, this park is perfect for a weekend getaway!

From canoeing and kayaking down the winding Onion Creek to enjoying a hike on the trails, you’re sure to be thrilled by a day spent out in nature.

For adrenaline-seekers looking for more of an extreme experience, there’s rock climbing on limestone cliffs and cliff jumping into deep pools awaiting, with both activities offering spectacular views of the Texas Hill Country.

Pedernales Falls State Park

Further away but just as scenic is Pedernales Falls State Park. Here you can explore stunning bluffs overlooking the canyon while trying your hand at rock-climbing or even kayaking.

Inwood Estates Park

Inwood Estates Park has unique highlights too: aside from the rolling grassy fields and cool trails in the area, one of its main attractions is the enormous rock shelf (it’s over five feet high!) that provides gorgeous views of nearby Austin.

Inks Lake State Park

Inks Lake State Park in Austin offers a wide variety of activities that are sure to make your next trip exciting and full of adventure.

With over 1,000 acres of forests, hills and lakes, this is the perfect place to escape into nature. If you’re looking for something active, there are plenty of opportunities to boat, scuba dive, and swim out on the lake.

You can even rent paddle boats and kayaks, and fish for sunfish, catfish, and sea bass. Hiking around Inks Lake State Park’s trails is also a great way to explore Austin’s amazing natural scenery.

Alternatively, if you just need an afternoon picnic spot, head over to one of the various picnic sites available throughout the park!

Lockhart State Park

Lockhart State Park in Austin, Texas is a hidden gem filled with wonderful outdoor activities that the whole family can enjoy.

Whether you’re looking for hikes through beautiful nature trails or fishing opportunities at Clear Fork Creek, there is plenty to occupy your next day trip.

You can even play golf at the nine-hole golf course built by the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps right in the state park. Get your tan on while striking some golf balls.

McKinney Roughs Nature Park

This park is about 13 miles east of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Not only does this park offer incredible views of the Texas Hill Country, but it also has miles of winding trails for hiking and biking, which makes it an ideal spot for outdoor recreation.

Additionally, there are plenty of opportunities for bird-watching, kayaking, and horseback riding thanks to the nearby Colorado River and a variety of local lakes.

Lady Bird Lake

There are over 11 miles of scenic trails around Lady Bird Lake where campers can take in all the beauty of the Great Texas Hill Country.

If you’re in need of a workout, rent a stand-up paddleboard or kayak, or just hit the water on foot with some fishing gear; Lady Bird Lake, which is formed by the Colorado River, is teeming with catfish, carp, sunfish and bass.

Land lovers don’t have to miss out either; an evening of stargazing along Lady Bird Lake’s banks is truly one to remember. Whether it’s a leisurely day outdoors or an active morning filled with sports and outdoor activities, Lady Bird Lake has something for everyone.

Lake Travis

If you’re looking for the perfect outdoor getaway, look no further than Lake Travis.

Located just outside of Austin, this stunning lake is the perfect place to swim, climb aboard the water playground, or just relax while soaking up some sun.

The limestone cliffs ringing the lake provide an impressive backdrop for Instagram-worthy photos, and plenty of areas around the shoreline are available for picnics and barbecues.

With a variety of outdoor activities possible at Lake Travis, it’s easy to see why it has become such a popular destination for Austin locals and tourists alike.

Downtown Austin

For those looking for a more urban experience, downtown Austin is full of vibrant nightlife and cafes.

You can visit the local breweries after a day of adventure, and music lovers will find paradise in the bustling honky-tonks on 6th Street or the unforgettable open mic nights hosted at local coffeehouses.

Those looking to try some of Austin’s famed gastro delights can explore the bustling east side markets or indulge in TexMex dishes at any of its renowned restaurants. There’s never a dull moment in downtown Austin.

Where are some of the best hiking trails in Austin, TX?

Austin, Texas is an adventure-filled city with nature trails of all kinds. From ancient wooded forests right in the middle of town to gorgeous winding roads only an hour north, there are hiking trails suited for every explorer.

Barton Creek Greenbelt

One particularly scenic trail is the Barton Creek Greenbelt.

With 13.8 miles of trails, this is popular area along the creek that attracts many residents and travelers alike with its woodsy and adventurous terrain.

Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail

Austin’s Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail is arguably one of the best trails in Texas.

Stretching from Ladybird Lake to Walnut Creek, this nearly 10-mile-long trail offers scenic views and a world of fun for cyclists, hikers, and runners alike.

Not only does it offer an alluring glimpse into Austin’s natural beauty, but the trail is equipped with access points, restrooms, and concessions throughout its route.

Whether you are looking for a leisurely morning stroll or desire to challenge yourself with a more vigorous hike along the boardwalk, this delightfully scenic trail has something to offer everyone.

Leave your worries behind while taking in stunning views of the city skyline by day or admire a magical sunset from atop the hills at night.

River Place Canyon Trail

Nestled among a few hills and native wildflowers, the area features a picturesque 5.4-mile trail perfect for hikers looking to get a workout. Elevation gain and lots of stairs will have you sweating in no time.

Make a day of it with a picnic, or put your headphones on and enjoy some nature therapy as you explore this beautiful corner of Texas.

McKinney Falls State Park

Located in the beautiful rolling hills of south-central Texas, McKinney Falls State Park offers some breathtaking hikes.

There is something here for everyone, from easy, family-friendly loops along Onion Creek to more advanced and challenging treks up rugged terrain leading to magnificent vistas of Austin’s skyline.

The Onion Creek and Homestead Trail Loop, in particular, is a 6.5 mile loop hike that is friendly to beginners and without much elevation gain. The trail also leads to two waterfalls, the Upper and Lower falls, where you can go swimming after working up a sweat.

Whether you are looking for a leisurely stroll with your family or a stomach-dropping climb for yourself, at McKinney Falls State Park you will find stunning natural features, vibrant wildlife, and peaceful serenity that could only be found on great hikes.

Emma Long Metropolitan Park

Emma Long Metropolitan Park near Austin, Texas offers some of the best and most breathtaking hiking trails in the area.

You can find trails to suit all skill levels, from easy strolls through native wildflowers, to challenging climbs that will get your heart pumping.

Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy beside one of the many creeks lined with orchards and cypress trees. Be sure to wear your sunscreen as there are no places to find shade anywhere along the trails.

Whether it’s a short outing or all-day hike, you’re sure to have an amazing time exploring what Emma Long Metropolitan Park has to offer.

Bastrop State Park

Bastrop State Park is an amazing spot for hiking enthusiasts. There are a variety of trails with stunning views and plenty of wildlife to observe.

The Lost Pines Loop (7.1 miles) is a popular trail at this state park where travelers can hike, run, and even bird-watch. August through September are the best months to hike this trail, and people are welcome to hike with their dogs on a leash.

The Scenic Overlook Trail (3.5 miles) is also a popular trail that rewards campers with a stunning views of the state park.

Palmetto State Park

Palmetto State Park in Austin, Texas, is a great place for fun and adventure.

Visitors can explore the number of marshes and swamps at this state park and participate in water sports to make the most of them.

There are also playgrounds, picnic areas with grills to cook up a delicious meal, and camping facilities to soak up nature at its finest.

When you’re ready to take it easy, Palmetto State Park is perfect for bird watching or just relaxing in the scenic rolling hills.

Lost Maples State Natural Area

If you’re looking for some of the best hiking trails near Austin, Texas, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better option than the Lost Maples State Natural Area.

Approximately between 2 to 3 hours outside of Austin, this 2,906-acre area is filled with hikes of varying lengths and difficulties to suit any hiker’s needs.Trek through the canyons along Elm Creek and see some of the most breathtaking views in Texas.

Want something a bit more challenging? Take one of the longer looped trails and get your heart rate up as you explore all that nature has to offer. Whatever type of experience you’re looking for, the Lost Maples State Natural Area has just what you need.

No matter where you choose to go, don’t forget your camera. Austin has some truly breathtaking views that would be criminal not to document!

How can I make my Austin camping trip more enjoyable?

There are plenty of activities to choose from to make your Austin camping trip more exciting, adventurous, and enjoyable.

Hiking through a cool state park or kayaking along Lady Bird Lake can be a great way to explore and escape from the busy city life.

If you want an extra boost of adrenaline, why not try zip-lining or rock climbing? Enjoy an incredible view of the city and gain confidence in tackling challenging physical obstacles. Don’t forget to bring some fishing gear for those serene days spent relaxing on the lake shore.

Whatever activity you decide on, Austin has enough options available to make your camping experience unforgettable.

What are some common mistakes people make while camping in Austin?

Camping in Austin can be an amazing experience and a great opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy the scenery. Unfortunately, many campers make common mistakes that can turn this memorable time into a negative one.

Ignoring Environmental Regulations

One of the most important things is to pay attention to your environment; it is easy to overlook rules or regulations regarding when and where you are allowed to set up camp, so researching beforehand is key.

Failing to Plan Ahead

Additionally, some people fail to plan ahead and underestimate how much water they need; Texas is known for its dry climate and dehydration is a serious issue that needs to be taken into account when camping in Austin.

Ignoring Fire Restrictions

Finally, it can be difficult to avoid fire restrictions put in place during hotter summer months. Being prepared with different options can make all the difference, such as bringing a camping stove or having a backup plan if fire-cooking isn’t permitted.

All in all, by taking the necessary steps to properly organize ahead of time and following accepted safety rules, you too can have an incredible stay at Austin’s various campsites.

What are some things to avoid while camping near Austin?

Keep these few things in mind while trekking outdoors.

Veering Off the Path

First, make sure you stick to hiking trails and campgrounds when exploring! It can be tempting to wander off the beaten path, but this can put you in unexpected danger.

Be Aware of Wildlife

Additionally, be aware that Austin is home to some unique wildlife.

Residents and visitors can often spot armadillos, coyotes, common roadrunners, javelinas, and many other species near the city. With a keen eye, you might get to observe species like gray-banded kingsnake or the eastern skunk that have been spotted recently by naturalists near Austin. Don’t forget to store your food securely so as not to attract any unwanted guests.

What should I do if I encounter a wild animal while camping in Austin?

If you’re camping in Austin and happen to come across a wild animal, your first instinct may be to panic. Instead, take a deep breath and stay calm. It’s best to keep your distance from the animal, as most of them are just passing through and can if startled by your presence.

Keep in mind that some animals like snakes or spiders may not pose much of a threat if you don’t approach it or accidentally stumble upon it.

When encountering any wild animal, remember to never feed it or attempt touch it. Instead, enjoy it from afar and appreciate its beauty as nature intended.

How do I stay safe while camping in Austin?

Check the Weather

First, check the weather forecast and plan accordingly. Make sure you know what type of temperatures and conditions you’ll be facing. Bring clothing for both warm and cool weather as temperatures can vary during certain times of day.

Keep Someone Else in the Loop

Before you leave, make sure that someone knows your travel plans and where you’ll be staying so that help can be sent if needed. Austin is an inviting destination, but it does have crime like any other urban area. Don’t forget to use common safety precautions.

Keep Your Food Sealed

As mentioned, seal food in airtight bags or containers to keep wild animals away from your campfire area.

Do Your Research

Lastly, before heading out on a hike or exploring around town, bring a map or get familiar with the area so you don’t get lost.

What are some of the best restaurants in Austin, Texas?

Austin, Texas is known for its variety of delicious cuisines. Whether you are in the mood for traditional Tex-Mex, some classic barbecue, or something a little more exotic, there’s no shortage of options to satisfy your taste buds.

Franklin Barbecue

Franklin Barbecue offers some of the best brisket in the country, with some patrons waiting up to four hours in line for this famed barbecue.

La Barbecue

This popular spot specializes in Central Texas-style barbecue, which equals salty, savory rubs on delicious meats.


Uchiko, born of James Beard award-winning Chef Tyson Cole, serves up modern Japanese cuisine with some unexpected twists thrown into the mix.

Clark’s Oyster Bar

The menu at Clark’s Oyster Bar offers a wide selection of freshly shucked oysters, as well as creative takes on other seafood favorites.

Con Todo

This North Austin food truck whips up fan-favorite, authentic Mexican tacos that are all topped “with everything,” including cilantro, onions, and salsas.

House of Three Gorges

This Sichuan restaurant in North Austin offers delicious regional Chinese dishes, including hard-to-find specialties like cast iron-braised beef brisket hot pot and cumin lamb.

Austin, Texas is an amazing city where you can enjoy stunning views, get your fill of outdoor activities, and try world-class food. From camping to kayaking on Lake Travis to indulging in some delicious barbecue, there’s no better spot for a weekend getaway or family vacation. With its flourishing art scene and plenty of green spaces, Austin and Hill Country offer the perfect backdrop for some outdoor fun and camping adventures.

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