Katy Family Guide to Nearby Parks for Day Trips and Campouts

KATY MAGAZINE NEWS

June 14, 2020

By Natalie Cook Clark

Celebrate dad all month with nature adventures that allow the family to maintain safe social distancing practices. Camping provides good old-fashioned fun with cooking outdoors, fishing, hiking, and quality time with family. Dust off those tents, pack the cooler, and map out the best spot for a day or overnight retreat.


Celebrate Dad Outdoors

It’s summertime, and after staying inside for nearly three months, Katy families are ready to get away. This June, celebrate dad and relish in the beauty of mother nature by packing up the car and setting out on a road trip. By staying overnight or enjoying a day trip to a campground, these drivable destinations can help families make great memories.

Nearby Parks and Favorite Campsites

Huntsville State Park

565 Park Rd. 40 West

Huntsville, TX

Travel time from Katy: Less than 90 minutes

The beautifully-wooded Huntsville State Park, located in the Sam Houston National Forest offers plenty of activities for nature-loving families.

From water fun to hiking and playgrounds this park has plenty for families to connect with nature.

Warning: Alligators live in the park – remember to brush up on safety tips in case you encounter one.

Learn more about camping options and reservations at their website.


Livingston State Park

300 Park Rd. 65

Livingston, TX

936-365-2201

Travel Time from Katy: Under 2 hours

Make family memories at this Pineywoods park, north of Houston. Hike or bike on the quiet trails through the forest, picnic by the shore, swim, geocache and so much more!


With one of the largest lakes in Texas, guests find great water activities and fishing here. There are two boat ramps and two fish-cleaning stations.

For fun on the water, bring or rent a small watercraft. Save time by using their website for self-service rentals to reserve from their fleet of double kayaks and stand up paddleboards. At the onsite store, guests can also rent canoes and single kayaks, or borrow a fishing pole.

Learn more about camping options and reservations at their website.


Dinosaur Valley State Park

1629 Park Rd. 59

Glen Rose, TX

Travel time from Katy: 4 hours

Pack the car and travel back to caveman time. In Glen Rose, Texas, visitors can walk (weather permitting) in dinosaur tracks in the bed of the Paluxy River.

Dinosaur Valley State Park is home to world-class examples of fossilized theropod and sauropod tracks. The 1930s’ discovery of the 113-million-year-old tracks changed the field of paleontology. To better find the prints, download maps on a GPS-enabled smartphone.



Enjoy 20 miles of trails and more at this outdoor lover’s dream. To add some high-tech adventure to the park visit, search for geochaches.

Learn more about camping options and reservations at their website.

Galveston Island State Park

14901 FM 3005

Galveston, TX

409-737-1222

Travel time from Katy: 2 hours

Visit Galveston Island State Park to enjoy 2,000 acres of the last undeveloped land on Galveston Island. Here, the public has access from the beach and Gulf waters, through the coastal prairie, and into the wetlands toward the bay.


With access to both the Gulf of Mexico and the Galveston Bay, your family can spend the day swimming or fishing. The park also has canoe/kayak launches (must bring your own water vessel) and a fish-cleaning station. Bird watching is also a favorite at this Texas getaway.

Note: You do not need a fishing license to fish from the shore in a state park.


Hike or bike on the four miles of trails through the park’s varied habitats or stroll the boardwalks over dunes and marshes.

Learn more about camping options and reservations at their website.

Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park, TX

Travel time from Katy: 9 hours

Pack the RV, or at least lots of snacks, for a trip to Big Bend National Park. During the nine-hour drive west from Katy, your co-pilot has plenty of time to visit the Big Bend website and plan an itinerary or choose one of the park’s pre-planned itineraries.


Exploring the Terrain

The Big Bend area derives its name from its location on the bend of the Rio Grande that creates a natural border between the United States and Mexico. The park’s setting combines the river, desert and mountain environments.

Discovery Exhibit

Don’t miss: the Fossil Discovery Exhibit. Here, visitors can marvel at the evolution of Big Bend’s plants and animals over the past 130 million years. Then follow a short trail to appreciate a breath-taking panoramic view.

Learn more about camping options and reservations at their website.

Garner State Park

234 RR 1050

Concan, TX

Travel time from Katy: 4.5 hours

Garner State Park in Concan, TX, is about four-and-a-half hours west of Katy. The park sits on 2.9 miles of the Frio riverbank, and 1,774 acres in the Texas Hill Country. Relax and enjoy the scenery or hike the 16 miles of trails. Garner State Park also has geocaches on site for your family to discover.


River Activities

Cool off by swimming in the refreshing, clear Frio River or grab some poles and catch some fish. To keep everyone entertained, grab the whole family to float on tubes, or have fun navigating a paddle boat or kayak.

Learn more about camping options and reservations at their website.

Jellystone Park & Campgrounds

34843 Betka Rd.

Waller, TX


Travel time from Katy: Less than 1 hour


Inspired by the beloved Hanna-Barbera cartoon character, Yogi Bear, this camping ground caters to families and kids. The park features a variety of options to cater to campers' comfort levels by "clamping" in a cabin, choosing a campsite to sleep in a tent, or park the RV.


The park also offers indoor and outdoor swimming and waterplay areas, laser tag, jumping areas, pedal cart racing, and even a bark park.


Learn more about camping options and reservations at their website.

Connecting with Family and Nature

While safety guidelines during the pandemic may change, now is a great time to get dad out and celebrate him. Reconnect by a campfire, go hiking, fishing, and more by exploring the outdoors on a special family camping trip this summer.


What are your favorite parks and camping destinations? Send us an email and let us know.

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