13 Best State Parks Near Houston With Sensational Sights

Texas is a state that’s renowned for its outstanding outdoor spaces. Exploring these outdoor spaces is a great way of getting plenty of fresh air. Not to mention, you can easily get involved in exercise. 

In particular, Houston has lots of rural spaces that are the perfect places to go for relaxing walks. The good news is that there are plenty of superb state parks around Houston.

13 Best State Parks Near Houston With Sensational Sights

These parks also provide a calming respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. 

If you are wondering what state parks surrounding Houston you should visit, this guide will tell you everything you need to know. So let’s dive into the best options!

1. Huntsville State Park

Address: 565 Park Road 40 west, Huntsville, TX 77340

Up first, Huntsville State Park is a part of the Sam Houston National Forest. As the name suggests, this park is found in Huntsville, Texas. Thus, it is only about an hour away from Houston. 

Huntsville State Park is renowned for its beautiful and blooming nature. The 2,000-acre park is packed with tall trees, making it an extremely calming location for recreation.

It’s ideal for picnicking, camping, and hiking.

This is also a fabulous spot for fishing. In particular, you may be lucky enough to find bass and catfish here. The 210-acre lake is also superb for swimming and kayaking.

2. Sheldon Lake State Park

Address: 14140 Garrett Rd., Houston, TX 77044

You can visit Sheldon Lake State Park without having to leave Houston. It’s close to downtown Houston, making this a great park to visit if you want to escape the city.

This opulent oasis contains wetlands and ponds.

Sheldon Lake is especially extraordinary if you are a fan of fishing.

The waters contain lots of different fantastic fishes, including sunfish, crappie, and catfish. With 1,200 acres, there is plenty of space here for fishing.

You can also get scenic views by climbing the John Jacob Observation Tower.

3. Goose Island State Park

Address: 202 S Palmetto St, Rockport, TX 78382

Found near Rockport, Texas, Goose Island is a glorious park that’s near some beautiful bays. As a result, you should be sure to check out some of the other natural attractions in this area. 

Perhaps the most famous attraction in this park is “The Big Tree.”

This iconic oak tree is believed to be more than 1,000 years old, making it something of a historic attraction. So be sure to take lots of pictures of this terrific tree.

Though this park is not suitable for swimming, there are tons of enjoyable activities for you to get stuck into. This includes geocaching, bloating, and birding.

4. Lake Livingston State Park

Address: 300 State Park Rd 65, Livingston, TX 77351

First opened in 1977, Lake Livingston State Park is a well-liked outdoor space in Polk County. You can easily get to this wonderful park from Houston in just an hour when traveling by car.

Thanks to its lakeside setting, this state park is sensational for water sports.

The entertaining activities that you can try here include kayaking, fishing, canoeing, swimming, and paddle boarding.

Aside from water sports, there are also lots of fun things to do here, such as hiking and geocaching.

You can also participate in ranger tours, which will help you to learn even more about this fantastic park.

Lake Livingston State Park is also great for camping.

It has excellent camping facilities, including access to both water and electricity. As a result, you will have a more premium camping experience here.

5. Galveston Island State Park

Address: 14901 FM3005, Galveston, TX 77554

Up next, Galveston Island State Park is a peaceful oasis located on Galveston Island off the coast of Texas. This park feels very different from the other parks on this list.

Galveston feels entirely separate from Texas, yet it is still within this state. So if you are in the area, why not visit the Galveston Island State Park?

This gorgeous park has a unique landscape that’s filled with beaches, dunes, and ponds. As a result, it’s not your average park!

As an island-based park, Galveston is ideal for watersports. Among the water sporting activities that you can try here include paddling and fishing. 

Among the beautiful landscape, you can find plenty of wildlife. This state park is phenomenal for birdwatching. If you’re lucky, you may be able to spot a Kemp’s ridley sea turtle. 

Galveston is one of the few beachside locations in Texas, so it’s worth exploring the areas whilst you’re visiting this state park.

6. Brazos Bend State Park

Address: 21901 Farm to Market Rd 762, Needville, TX 77461

Bursting with nature, Brazos Bend State Park is home to some unique species that animal lovers will appreciate. This includes river otters, raccoons, armadillos, and the American alligator. 

The reason why this park is so overloaded with these unique animals is that it is along the Brazos River. This is one of the longest rivers in the US, resulting in diverse ecosystems.

Consequently, the Brazos Bend State Park is also inhabited by lots of beautiful plants.

This riverside park is a harmonious space that’s great for relaxation. There are plenty of dining spaces, including picnic tables and a dining hall, that are ideal for eating.

Therefore, if you want to bring a picnic to this park, there are lots of extraordinary eating spaces.

Thanks to its varied wildlife, Brazos Bend State Park is brilliant for wildlife viewing.

In particular, it is popular among bird watchers. There are also 37 miles of hiking trails, so you should be sure to pack your hiking boots if you intend to visit Brazos Bend State Park.

If you want to see some out-of-this-world views, the park is home to the George Observatory. This observatory contains multiple telescopes.

7. Sea Rim State Park

Address: 19335 TX-87, Sabine Pass, TX 77655

Our next pick is Sea Rim State Park, a coastal park found near Sabine Pass. With crystal-clear water, this park offers scenic coastal views.

This water-filled park lends itself naturally to watersports and activities, such as canoeing. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to swim here thanks to the presence of alligators. 

If you plan on visiting this park, it’s recommended that you dress for this watery landscape.

The land can be rather muddy, so be sure to wear waterproof boots that you don’t mind getting a little messy.

8. Mission Tejas State Park

Address: 19343 State Hwy 21 E, Grapeland, TX 75844

Found in the county of Houston, Mission Tejas State Park is a marvelous outdoor space that you should try and stop by if you’re in the area.

One of the many reasons why you should visit this park is because there’s plenty of history here for you to explore.

In particular, you can learn all about the American history of the 19th century.

The park is packed with pine trees, which provide a beautiful natural backdrop. 

9. Inks Lake State Park

Address: 3630 Park Rd 4 W, Burnet, TX 78611

Located in Burnet County, Inks Lake State Park is an incredible place.

Though it is a little further away from Houston than other entries on this list, it’s worth traveling to if you adore the outdoors.

The Inks Lake State Park is blossoming with lots of pretty plants, including prickly pear cacti and cedar trees. The park has a rocky environment that is covered with gneiss rock.

With a large lake, you can try water skiing, swimming, or other water-based activities.

10. McKinney Falls State Park

Address: 5808 McKinney Falls Pkwy, Austin, TX 78744

McKinney Falls State Park is perhaps the most beautiful on this list.

Nestled in Austin, it’s just a stone’s throw away from Houston. Opened in 1976, the name of this park is a reference to businessman Thomas F. McKinney.

This park is home to Onion Creek, a small stream that is much more impressive than it sounds. It is thanks to this stream that the state park receives its iconic waterfalls.

These wonderful waterfalls are incredibly peaceful. 

It is also home to some fantastic flora and fauna, including the white-tailed deer.

11. Lockhart State Park

Address: 2012 State Park Rd, Lockhart, TX 78644

In the quaint city of Lockhart, Texas, this superb state park is quiet and peaceful. Lockhart State Park contains some historic pieces of architecture, such as a recreation hall and water tower.

Therefore, this park is ideal for fans of history.

One of the main standouts of this park is that it contains a nine-hole golf course. So if you are a fan of golfing, you’re bound to have a brilliant time at this park. 

12. Lake Somerville State Park

Address: 14222 Park Road 57, Somerville, TX 77879

Lake Somerville State Park is a beautiful place to get in touch with nature.

It has a peaceful vibe, especially thanks to its luscious lake. You can easily rent equipment so that you can kayak or canoe on this lake.

Mountain biking and horseback riding are just two of the activities that you can try. If you have a passion for the outdoors, you will love spending time at Lake Somerville State Park.

13. Pedernales Falls State Park

Address: 2585 Park Road 6026, Johnson City, TX 78636

Last but not least, Pedernales Falls State Park is a charming location found alongside Pedernales River. Many visitors love to go wading or tubing in this state park.

At times, the water can be quite intense. But other times, this river is a tranquil location for you to experience nature.

This rugged trail is perfect for horse riding. Alternatively, you can try hiking or biking through this thrilling landscape.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is There A Lot Of Nature In Houston?

Yes, Houston is brilliant for nature lovers. Containing plenty of parks, this city is packed with nature.

These spots of natural beauty can be found near the city, making these spots convenient places. 

So if you love fishing, hiking, or relaxing strolls through nature, these parks are phenomenal places to visit. 

What Is The Nicest Part Of Houston?

This is a difficult question to answer! Arguably, Houston’s many parks are the nicest spots in this city.

What Is Houston Known For?

As the city in Texas with the largest population, Houston is a famous location.

It is known for space exploration. For instance, it is home to the Space Center Houston, a museum that’s linked to NASA. 

Aside from this, Houston is also known as the home of the Toyota Center, an arena that is widely used for sporting events.

Final Thoughts

Houston is an excellent location for outdoor activities, whether you want to go fishing, hiking, picnicking, or walking.

As this list demonstrates, there are lots of amazing state parks surrounding Houston that are great for recreational and entertaining activities. 

So why not go for a walk in one of these excellent state parks?!

Alex Kallen
Scroll to Top