7 Weekend Camping Trips Near Austin

Austin is the hub of all things eclectic in Texas: the live music, the festivals and, of course, the food trucks. But sometimes it's good to get out of town and experience everything that surrounds this amazing city. Here are seven trips you can make in a weekend, from the desert to the ocean and everything in between.

Photo By: Jeremy Pawlowski / America Y'all

Photo By: Jeremy Pawlowski / America Y'all

Photo By: Jeremy Pawlowski / America Y'all

Photo By: Jeremy Pawlowski / America Y'all

Photo By: Jeremy Pawlowski / America Y'all

Photo By: Jeremy Pawlowski / America Y'all

Photo By: Jeremy Pawlowski / America Y'all

Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge

This Oklahoman park (the only one of the list not in Texas) is a six hour drive from Austin and offer miles and miles of hiking. Another big draw is the bison herd that roams the land here; these majestic beasts can be seen grazing throughout the park. On your way out, be sure to drive to the top of Mt. Scott for 360-degree views of the land below. Bonus: this is the only park on the list that doesn't charge an entrance fee!

Pedernales Falls State Park

I like to refer to this state park as a jungle gym for adults. Pedernales Falls is more about creating your own path rather than following set trails. Climb around the limestone cliffs and bluffs that make up the bulk of the land; or if you happen to visit during the heat of the Texas summer, take a dip in the river that runs through this park. Being only thirty miles outside of Austin, this park is perfect for a day trip or a weekend where you'd rather spend your Sunday enjoying the sun instead of spending hours driving home.

Pace Bend Park

This is one of the closest parks to Austin, but with 400+ campsites, you're always able to get away from others and enjoy some solitude. It's best enjoyed during the summer when you can take full advantage of the cliff diving that makes this place famous. Get there early in the day and get yourself a campsite along the nine miles of shoreline, as this park does not take reservations.

Mustang Island State Park

Stretching five miles along the Gulf Coast of Mexico, this state park offers a few RV spots, but what you really want to do here is pitch your tent right on the beach. No hiking trails, no mountains to climb, this place is all about relaxing in the sun and enjoying the waves.

Caddo Lake State Park

In a bayou cloaked in history and mystery, you can pitch your tent under towering pines and bald cypress trees with low hanging Spanish moss. It's one of the only natural bodies of water in the state, so be sure to rent a canoe and paddle yourself through the swamplands that divide Texas and Louisiana. Just be sure to watch out for the alligators. 

Big Bend National Park

The most ambitious of all Austin weekend trips, and probably one that should be saved for a three day weekend at the minimum, is Big Bend National Park. This Texas national park has it all: the Chisos Mountains, The Rio Grande, and the Chihuahuan Desert — an ecosystem for every explorer. After hiking to the top of Emory Peak, the highest point in the park, be sure to take a dip and relax in the 105-degree hot springs located within the park.

Amistad National Recreation Area

Go here if you want to camp in true solitude. This reservoir has shores in both the USA and Mexico, so bring your passport if you plan on paddling across the border. With more than 65,000 surface acres, Amistad is a haven for fishermen and water sports enthusiasts, but come night time, the place is empty. Pitch your tent anywhere along the 547 miles of shoreline and enjoy complete isolation. 

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