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13 Best State Parks Near Houston

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Outdoor adventure is abundant in Texas, no matter where you visit, but especially near Houston. There are so many state parks near Houston that provide the perfect reprieve from city life when you need a getaway.

From exploring epic hiking and biking trails to spending a night camping under the stars, you’ll genuinely have a great time visiting any of the state parks.

Each one has its own unique perks that set it apart from the others, so make sure you read thoroughly and choose the ones that you most want to explore.

Compiled throughout this article, you’ll find the best state parks in the Houston area, and there’s bound to be one that will make you want to visit.

Start reading now and get planning your next trip to Houston today!

Get unlimited free entry to 89 Texas state parks for yourself and guests for a year—plus discounts on camping, park store purchases, and equipment rentals—with this Texas State Park Pass Certificate.

The 13 Best State Parks Near Houston

There are so many Houston state parks; here are 13 of the top-rated ones that will allow you to get your nature escape.

1. Sea Rim State Park

Sea Rim State Park is one of the beaches near Houston
Sea Rim State Park is one of the best State Parks Near Houston

First on this list of state parks near Houston is Sea Rim State Park. It’s located in Sabine Pass, Texas, and is considered a coastal park.

Nearly 5 miles of the park are right along the shoreline of the Gulf. There are also lots of marshlands here, so dress appropriately.

There are many great activities in the state park, including kayaking, paddling, fishing, and even horseback riding right along the beach.

If you want to spend the night, you can stay at one of the 15 campsites. There are also cabin rentals if you want a more comfortable overnight stay.

2. Brazos Bend State Park

Pilant Lake to Bluestem Trail and Riverview Trail is one of the best trails for hiking in Houston

If you’re a nature lover, then Brazos Bend State Park is one of the best state parks near Houston for you to visit!

Situated in Needville, this park is unassuming yet tranquil, which is very welcome after traveling from a city.

Fun things to do here include geocaching, hiking, fishing, going on walking trails, and even horseback riding.

Keep in mind that there are alligators in the lake at Brazos Bend State Park, so be safe when visiting.

Beyond that, Brazos Bend State Park is home to the best Houston hiking trails because there are almost 40 miles of them waiting for you! There are also campgrounds here and cabins available for rent.

3. Huntsville State Park

Huntsville State Park is one of the best state parks near Houston

A true serene getaway, Huntsville State Park is most well known for its nature. Beauty is abundant here, from its beautiful forests to the peaceful lake.

There are more than 150 places to stay here, so if you’re looking for a fun outdoor overnight adventure, this park could be your place. Plus, there’s a shop if you forget any camping essentials, or just want to grab an ice cream!

Some of the most popular things to do here include kayaking, canoeing, swimming, fishing, hiking, and geocaching. There is also a nature center where you can watch many species of birds.

4. Galveston Island State Park

Clapper Rail Trail to Egret Loop to Heron’s Walk Trail offers incredible hiking in Houston

There’s a peaceful beachside oasis waiting for you at Galveston Island State Park! It’s located on an island and will make you feel like you’re not even near Houston, let alone in Texas.

Because it’s located on an island, this Texas state park offers countless waterside activities. Swimming, paddle boating, kayaking, and fishing are all popular things to do here. Of course, there is also geocaching, bird watching, and hiking, too!

Plus, Galveston is not only one of the most lovely beach towns in Texas but also offers excellent beaches near Houston.

5. Goose Island State Park

Goose Island State Park is one of the best state parks near Houston

Another one of the beautiful coastal state parks near Houston is Goose Island State Parks. The park is located right next to a few beautiful bays that will genuinely take your breath away.

Like many other parks on this list, Goose Island State Park is filled with lots of great outdoor activities, including the 1,000-years-old Big Tree. There are areas to go hiking and even geocaching.

Keep in mind that even though there is a bay, it’s not safe to swim in, but since this place is minutes away from Rockport, you can easily make a great addition to a Texas beach getaway!

Nevertheless, the park also has a boat dock where you can load your boat into the water that surrounds Goose Island.

There are around 100 different places to stay overnight here, so this is also a great park to go camping at.

Don’t miss out! Buy your Texas State Park Annual Pass!

6. McKinney Falls State Park

McKinney Falls State Park is one of the best state parks near Austin
McKinney Falls State Park is one of the best state parks near Houston

Mckinney Falls State Park is a great state park to escape to that’s near both Houston and Austin. The park is most well known for being home to Onion Creek, which, despite its name, is actually beautiful.

There are tons of great activities here, including geocaching, swimming, hiking, and more. Great areas are also waiting to be explored right near Onion Creek, like the Onion Creek Hike and Bike Trail.

If you want to go camping, you’re in luck; there are campgrounds right at the state park! This is one of the greatest campsites near Houston. There are cabins available for rent and other spots for primitive camping.

7. Fort Parker State Park

Inks Lake State Park is one of the state parks near Austin

Located in Mexia, Fort Parker State Park is located right along the Navasota River. It’s one of the greatest Houston state parks and is the perfect place to host a summer get-together.

Some of the best things to do here include geocaching, camping, hiking, fishing, biking, and swimming. This park, in particular, is also well known for being a top sunset spot for this area of Texas.

There are quite a few spots for camping overnight here, and there are also cabins. In addition, there are group sites available for rent for fun events like family reunions.

8. Sheldon Lake State Park

Sheldon Lake State Park is one of the state parks near Houston

Sheldon Lake State Park is located right in Houston! It’s mostly popular among those who love nature and being near lakes. This can easily be a perfect place to spend a day while visiting Houston.

Inside the park, a lot of the things to do revolve around observing wildlife and also fishing in the lake.

The park rangers also put a lot of educational programming on throughout the year to get the community involved in what the park stands for.

Be sure to check out the John Jacob Observation Tower, a recent addition to the park.

9. Lake Livingston State Park

Lake Livingston State Park is one of the best state parks near Houston

Lake Livingston State Park is easily one of the best state parks near Houston. It’s located right in Livingston and isn’t that far from Houston.

Because there’s a lovely lake, you can expect lots of fun water sports here! Park guests enjoy swimming, boating, and fishing, mostly. Other fun activities include hiking, mountain biking, bird watching, and geocaching.

An abundance of campsites is available for visitors to use too. Plus, there are hookups available for water so that you won’t be living completely off-grid.

10. Lake Somerville State Park

Lake Somerville State Park is one of the best state parks near Austin, Texas

Lake Somerville State Park is the perfect place to go if you want a classic natural escape from Houston. There’s lots of wildlife in the park and tons of great activities that you won’t want to miss out on.

As you can probably tell, this beautiful park is home to Lake Somerville, which is the perfect place to undertake water activities.

Fun things to do include boating, swimming, and fishing. Of course, other activities are also here, like hiking and even geocaching.

Camping is also available for those heading to the park!

11. Village Creek State Park

Village Creek State Park is one of the best state parks near Houston

Known for its abundant wildlife and plantlife, Village Creek State Park is a great place to spend the day. It’s a great place to host big gatherings, as they even have a pavilion that you can rent.

Canoeing is a top activity to do here along the Village Creek Paddling Trail. There are also many hiking trails to explore because this is one of the best spots for hiking. Campsites are also located here, including a cabin.

The park rangers host great events throughout the year, including stargazing.

12. Stephen F. Austin State Park

Stephen F. Austin State Park is one of the best state parks near Houston

Stephen F. Austin State Park is located in San Felipe and has heaps of history. Plus, it’s located right along the Brazos River, which adds lots of fun activities to do here.

Historically, the site of this park was used during Colonial America as a meeting place. Now, it’s the perfect spot for outdoor activities! You’ll have a blast going on the trails, geocaching, and even having picnics.

While visiting, be sure to stop by the San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site.

13. Mission Tejas State Park

Mission Tejas State Park is one of the best state parks near Houston
Photo by Larry D. Moore CC BY-SA 4.0

Last on this list of state parks near Houston is Mission Tejas State Park! Situated in Grapeland, this park is right near Davy Crockett National Forest.

Similar to Stephen F. Austin Park, there’s lots of history here. Be sure to learn about the Pineywoods and 19th-century history by talking with a ranger.

Geocaching, camping, and hiking are all great things to do here. Plus, there are 9 miles of hiking trails!

Wrapping up on the Best State Park Near Houston

There are many great state parks near Houston, and most of them make perfect day trips from the city.

No matter which one you choose to visit, you’ll surely have a great time exploring the outdoors.

Have you visited any of these state parks before? Leave a comment below! We would love to hear from you!

Did you enjoy reading about these incredible state parks near Houston? Then share it with a friend who might enjoy it too!

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