Top 5 State Parks Near Austin

Here in Central Texas, we have an extensive number of parks to explore the broad range of Hill Country wildlife and enjoy the state’s natural beauty. Many of these parks are located less than 70 miles from Austin, making them great for a weekend camping trip or a day of hiking.

All of the state parks have unique qualities and histories, whether it’s stargazing parties on the mystical Enchanted Rock, hiking the trails in the Lost Pines, or swimming in one of the numerous lakes and rivers we boast here in Central Texas. Discover our favorite top 5 natural and historical wonders Central Texas has to offer.

1. McKinney Falls State Park

mckinney falls

Photo by Lars Ploughmann

Austin’s very own McKinney Falls State Park is located on the southeastern edge of Austin. The park features bald cypress trees and vibrant wildflowers supported by flowing waters from the two creeks. Open for a variety of activities, you can camp, hike, swim, and everything in between at McKinney Falls.

Entrance Fees

Adults: $6
Under 12 years: Free

Hours: Open daily 8 am – 10 pm

2. Bastrop State Park

bastrop

Photo By TrekTexas

Bastrop State Park is found in the beautiful “Lost Pines” of Central Texas. If you prefer to enjoy nature from inside the car, you can take a scenic drive (read: field trip on wheels) between the Bastrop and Buescher State Parks. This national historical landmark has stone cabins for camping, fishing on the lake, and opportunities for canoeing and golfing.

Entrance Fees

Adults: $4
Under 12 years: Free

Hours: Open daily 8 am – 4:30 pm

3. Lockhart State Park

lockhart

Photo by Texas Parks and Wildlife

Lockhart State Park, which is tucked away in Caldwell County, has an array of great outdoor activities. Visitors enjoy taking a leisurely hike, fishing in Clear Fork Creek, or picnicking by the creek. Lockhart State Park is home to the only staff-operated, 9-hole golf course in the Texas Park System, so pack your golf clubs!

Entrance Fees

Adults: $3
Under 12 years: Free

Hours: Open daily

4. Inks Lake State Park

inks

Photo by Anne Womer

Discover the beautiful rolling hills of the Texas Hill Country at Inks Lake State Park. Visitors can explore the park by camping and backpacking, plus you can cool off in the lake with water recreational sports. Inks Lake stays at a constant water level all year, so you’ll be able to swim, boat, or scuba dive all year long!

Entrance Fees

Adults: $6
Under 12 years: Free

Hours: Open daily

5. Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

enchanted rock

Photo by Texas Parks and Wildlife

Last but certainly not least, a “must-see” state park is Enchanted Rock. There’s a reason this massive pink granite dome is called magical and mystical. Hiking, rock climbing, and picnicking are favorite activities around the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. You can even join in on a Rock Star Party and learn about constellations at one of the best places for stargazing in Central Texas.

Entrance Fees

Adults: $7
Under 12 years: Free
Hours: Open daily 8 am – 10 pm