March 2

Camping in Austin: 5 Places to Explore the Texas Collection’s Inspiration

As a city just shy of a million in population, Austin might not initially appear to an outsider as a hot camping destination. However, this unique city offers easy access to camping in some truly beautiful nature areas. Camping in Austin is the perfect escape from the day-to-day hustle and bustle. It’s an easy way to find some real inspiration.

In fact, at the start of the year, Gossamer Gear introduced the Texas Collection, including the Lonestar 30 and Ranger 35. This line of packs is inspired by the company’s roots in Austin. Camping in Austin is just one of the perks of being a company based in the Lone Star State. If you’re traveling through the area sometime, we hope you’ll stop by our new headquarters and say hello. We’d love to hear about what adventure your Gossamer Gear pack is off to next.

And, to help you start planning your trip and to get you inspired, here are just five of the many options for camping in Austin.

camping in Austin
Credit: Larry D. Moore CC BY-SA 3.0

1. McKinney Falls State Park

  • Description: Located within Austin’s city limits, this ruggedly beautiful park provides the tranquil sounds of Onion Creek rushing over limestone ledges. In addition, you’ll have access to trails through Hill Country woods and be able to check out a historic Texas homestead and old rock shelter. There is a $6 entrance fee.
  • Camping Options: The park offers 81 campsites and 6 newly remodeled cabins. It also has a primitive youth camping area for use by nonprofits. Reservations can be made online.
  • More Info: https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/mckinney-falls
camping in Austin
Credit: Joe Mabel

2. Arkansas Bend Park

  • Description: Just a 50-minute drive outside of Austin, you’ll find Arkansas Bend State Park, a 323-acre oasis on the shores of Lake Travis. It’s a great spot for fishing, camping, hiking, or having the world’s best picnic. With a playground now added, it’s a great spot to escape with the whole family.
  • Camping Options: This park offers 18 recently renovated campsites fully stocked with a picnic table, grill, lantern hook, and fire ring. Reservations aren’t required, but are recommended.
  • More Info: https://parks.traviscountytx.gov/parks/arkansas-bend
camping in Austin
Credit: Mark Thomas

3. Sandy Creek Park

  • Description: Also near Lake Travis, though tucked into the basin area, is Sandy Creek Park. While small at just 92 acres in size, this camping spot offers opportunities for swimming, birding, fishing, and nature walks. It’s one of the quieter areas to experience Lake Travis, away from the heavier boat traffic on other parts of the lake.
  • Camping Options: This park only offers primitive camping on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • More Info: https://parks.traviscountytx.gov/parks/sandy-creek
camping in Austin
Credit: Randall Chancellor

4. Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

  • Description: This park is a bit farther of a drive from Austin (about an hour and a half), but it’s worth it. The park offers opportunities for backpacking, rock climbing, geocaching, and stargazing. Its key feature is a large pink granite home that rises high above Central Texas. Overall, the area includes incredible scenery.
  • Camping Options: There are 35 campsites with water, 20 primitive hike-in sites, and 25 primitive campsites for groups. Each type has its own rate and can be reserved online.
  • More Info: https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/enchanted-rock
camping in Austin
Credit: Larry D. Moore

5. Bastrop State Park

  • Description: A 40-minute drive to the east of Austin will bring you to the 2,054-acre Bastrop State Park. The park was established in 1938 and is known for its loblolly pines, post oak, and junipers. It’s also a hotspot for the Houston toad. While the park has been affected by wildfires in the past few years, visitors can revel in the beauty of its re-growth.
  • Camping Options: There are 34 full hookup campsites, 19 campsites with electricity, 16 campsites with water, and 6 walk-in campsites with water. Each type has its own rate and can be reserved online.
  • More Info: https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/bastrop