Huntsville State Park in Texas has a long history of connecting people with nature and the joys of the wild. Before Europeans arrived, the Native American Bidai people inhabited this idyllic land, living off of the flowing freshwater, walnuts, waterfowl, fish, shellfish, and the abundance of the wilderness. These gems of nature still draw travelers here year after year. For those looking to return to a natural way of life, with camping, fishing, fresh air, and the peace of nature, Huntsville State Park is a favorite destination.
It was in the 1930s that local residents realized that the area should be preserved as a park. In 1937, the Civilian Conservation Corps helped give out-of-work veterans jobs to fight the Great Depression—and it gave Huntsville Park to the world. These CCC men built a dam to create the beautiful lake, constructed the group recreation hall and boathouse, and reforested the land after logging had taken its toll. The park grew and was well on its way to becoming the pristine park that the locals had envisioned. But a World War caused the work to skid to a stop. Limited hours of operation kept the park alive during those difficult times. It wasn’t until 1956 that the 2,083-acre park became fully opened to the public as it is today, ready for day hikers and RV campers alike—anyone looking for a beautiful and unique experience in pristine nature.
RVers can expect temperatures up into the 90s in the summer. The wintertime is much cooler, usually staying between the 40s and 60s. Whenever you visit, you’ll be guaranteed a wonderful time.
Huntsville State Park is between two of the four National Forests in Texas. Twelve miles south of the park, you will find Sam Houston National Forest, and Davy Crockett National Forest is about 70 miles to the north. Both forests welcome RVers to camp, and there are so many opportunities to enjoy their natural beauty. Multi-use trails for hikers, bikers, and horses, fishing, water, and picnicking are just some of the facilities both offer.
Head north out of Houston on I-45 and drive 65-miles north to Huntsville State Park. RVers with larger rigs should take note of the covered bridge along I-45. The park can be accessed along State Park Road 40 and is ideal for RV campers, with no driving restrictions. RVs of any size should be able to navigate the roads with no problem. The only issue they may face is the occasional windy day, but even that should not create too much trouble for drivers or campers. Even in the park, roads are tarred, and you won't need to navigate sandy or dirt roads.
The closest town to the park is Huntsville, just six miles to the north. Here you can stock up on supplies and enjoy a meal in a local restaurant. This historic town has a lot to offer visitors, so don't rush through.
Parking in Huntsville State Park is usually no problem. A popular destination, the park has plenty of parking in its regular lots and overflow areas when things get crowded. The only time you may struggle with parking is during peak holidays. If you’re planning on visiting over Labor Day, the Fourth of July, or Memorial Day, you may want to plan and get there early.
Huntsville State Park offers three different experiences for RV campers, all requiring a two-night minimum stay on weekends. The sites are all first-come-first-served. The first camping option is the full hookup campsites, which are perfect for motorhomes and other larger RVs, with maximum length varying between 20-60 feet depending on the site. They all come with water and sewer hookups, a picnic table, fire ring, lantern post, and have restrooms and showers nearby. They also have 20-, 30-, and 50-amp electric hookups. These pull-through sites have everything you need, but there are only 23 of them, so make sure you call ahead to reserve your spot.
In addition to these full hookup sites, the park also offers 77 sites with electric-only hookups. These sites can fit smaller RVs from 15-60 feet long, as well as tent campers. They come with all the basic amenities, including picnic tables, a fire ring, water hookups. There are restrooms nearby with showers, as well as 20, 30, and 50-amp electric hookups. These sites offer a good alternative to the full hookup campsites.
Finally, the park offers screened shelters for those who may want extra protection from the elements. These sites not only include the water and electric hookups mentioned above, but they also come with a screened shelter with picnic tables and barbecue grills for a great time in the shade and out of the rain.
Set up camp on your patch of paradise at Lake Conroe/Houston North KOA, offering sites that can accommodate rigs up to 80 feet long, fully furnished cabins, or secluded tent sites. Lake Conroe is just steps away for endless fishing and boating escapades. If you never leave the campsite, that’s okay, too! Stocked fishing lakes, a heated pool and jacuzzi, and banana bike rentals may very well provide plenty of entertainment by themselves. This pet-friendly KOA keeps guests happy with plenty of Wi-Fi, cable TV access, and on-site propane and ample firewood available for purchase.
For those who want to experience Huntsville State Park without an RV, there is a great tent camping option, still requiring the two-night minimum stay on the weekends. Tent sites are situated in the Coloneh Camping Area in the south-east of the park and along the lake. Tent campsites feature grills, fire rings, and tables. Potable water is within walking distance. As always, there are restrooms and showers nearby, and some sites are even wheelchair accessible.
There’s no better way to beat the southern Texas heat than a day spent swimming in the Huntsville State Park lake. Whether you are here with friends or looking for fun activities for the kids, swimming in the lake is a refreshing and enjoyable way to relax in the park. There is also a designated swimming area to the south of the Prairie Branch Camping Area near the state parks store. There are no lifeguards on duty and swimming is at your own risk—remember that alligators live here too. It's best to swim during the day as alligators are more active at dawn and dusk.
The lake at Huntsville State Park covers over 200 acres and, with boat rentals available at the park, it’s easy to spend time exploring every part of it. Whether canoeing or kayaking, the lake is a great spot to get away from the troubles of the world and spend some time floating on the gentle currents of nature. If you don't bring your own along, canoes, kayaks, and paddle-boats can be rented at the park store so that you can spend the day on the lake.
The rangers aren’t just here to protect your picnic baskets. They offer regular programs that teach you all about the plants, animals, and land right here at Huntsville State Park. And if you have kids with you on your trip, there is an exciting Junior Ranger program explicitly designed to teach kids all the wonders that nature has to offer. If you're keen to learn about the natural wonders you'll find in this park, then you'll benefit greatly from the programs on offer.
Whenever you visit Huntsville Park, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to come face to face with the wildlife. Birding is a particular favorite for many visitors. Around 250 different species of birds have been identified in the park, and many pass through during the spring migration, including wood warblers, thrushes, and vireos. The park even offers a bird blind that overlooks part of the lake and forest to help you catch a peek of the many birds in the area.
The lake at Huntsville State Park is a great spot to spend time fishing. Largemouth bass, perch, and crappie live in the lake and are favorites for visiting anglers. The park offers fishing piers, a boat ramp, and fish cleaning stations. With easy access to the lake and nice trails throughout the park, fishing can be a relaxing way to spend your time. If you are using a motorboat, be aware that only idle speed is allowed. You don't have to worry about getting a fishing license to fish in this lake because the whole lake is inside the boundaries of the park.
Huntsville State Park is a beautiful place to experience nature through hiking. Rich in geological formations dating back as early as the Pleistocene epoch and Miocene epoch, there are some interesting rock formations. Birds and wildlife are often spotted along the trails, including fox squirrel, opossum, and white-tailed deer. Alligators also live in this park and can sometimes be seen, so make sure to familiarize yourself with some safety tips in case you encounter one. There are about half a dozen trails to choose from, which cover roughly 21 miles of the park. They vary in length and difficulty, so you will find something to suit everyone. Trails wind through the forest and alongside the lake, and there are often tree roots to climb over, but these are minor obstacles.
For those who prefer a faster adventure through the park, biking can be a great alternative to hiking. There are trails and roads throughout the 2,000 acres that you can explore from your pedals. Some trails are more challenging than others, and they all vary in distance. Dogwood Trail, Chinquapin Trail, and Lone Star Trail are three favorites for biking. Dogwood is a short warm-up trail and is just two miles long. It connects with the Chinquapin Trail, which is 6.8 miles long and offers an intermediate challenge with changing elevation and tree roots. Beginners will enjoy Lone Star Trail, which is pretty flat and loops just over eight miles around the perimeter of the park.
Gator Junction is the park store, and here, you can get all kinds of great deals. You won’t want to leave the park without a cool souvenir, and you can find them all right here. You can also pick up any camping or fishing supplies that you might’ve forgotten. Wood, bait, ice, cold drinks, groceries, treats, and park merchandise are all available here. Kayaks, canoes, and paddleboats are also rented from here. Gator Junction is only open during certain hours, so make sure to find out when they close, or you'll have to drive into town for supplies.
Get to learn all about the wildlife and nature that you can find right here in the park when you visit the Nature Center. You’ll also get to see some neat exhibits and displays such as bird nests and other findings, and meet some animals. There’s always something new for everyone in the family to learn here. The rangers are really good at answering questions about the park and its animal population and are very knowledgeable.
Geocaching is a great way to explore the park. It’s like a modern-day version of a scavenger hunt. All you have to do is download the coordinates of where the caches are located in the park, and get to searching. There are at least 10 geocaches hidden in this park, see how many you can find before you have to leave. Young and old alike will enjoy the thrill of treasure hunting in the great outdoors.