Austin is famous for a lot of things: live music, being weird, home-brewed beer, and most recently the Renegade Craft Fair. But not that many people think of Austin when they think, “Hey, let’s go camping!” And that’s a real shame, y’all. There are dozens of top-tier camping opportunities near the Live Music Capital of the World.
Places to Camp near Austin
While there are plenty of places y’all can camp and enjoy the great outdoors, here are a few perennial favorites.
McKinney Falls State Park offers plenty of camping sites, from ones that are nothin’ but nature to sites with running water and screen doors. The park is also home to ‘Old Baldy’, one of the oldest cypress trees in the State.
Sandy Creek Park on the shores of Lake Travis offers beautiful sites and a serene environment away from most of the boat traffic.
Cedar Breaks Park features campsites with both water and electricity at a very reasonable price, along with beautiful views of Lake Georgetown.
Lockhart State Park has some sites with water, and others that offer picnic tables, water, electricity and restroom facilities — along with the only staff-operated golf course in the Texas state park system.
Camping around Austin is all about proper prior preparation. While you don’t have to worry about bears or cougars in the area, there are plenty of raccoons, armadillos, and other little critters that might disturb you if you’re foolish with your food. Bring along something to tie your food up between a couple of trees with — or at the very least to seal away the smell if you’re planning on keeping it in your tent with you.
The wild areas near Austin have several different versions of ‘thorny weed’ that can get caught in your socks or pant legs. There are also several varieties of venomous snake in the area, so be sure to pack your cowboy boots and keep them on whenever you’re out camping.
Gear: To Buy or Rent?
Camping gear is a major rental market these days, and for good reason: it can get awfully expensive! Plus, if you’re only going to camp every few years, it’s often worth it to spend 1/4 of the money to rent your gear (and not have to find a place to keep it!). If you’re looking for places to rent camping gear in Austin, check out REI or Austin Outdoor Gear and Guidance.
If you’re camping even once a season on average, purchasing is the better choice. If you’re a once-in-a-while camper, consider taking a middle path; purchase the smaller, more home-useful items like a portable gas grill (great for power outages), and a camper’s first aid kit (to be ready in the car trunk for emergencies), and rent the tent, sleeping bags, and mats.
Enjoy Your Trip!
Down here in Austin, we are fortunate to have such stunning landscapes and plenty of places to go and appreciate them. So pack up your family, friends, and gear (or rent it) and go explore the beauty of Central Texas.