In Texas, we love our outdoors, and state parks offer ample opportunity for day and overnight adventures. And you have a lot to choose from with 89 state parks found throughout the state — several less than three hours from Balmoral. We’ve picked five favorites:
This expansive park offers 37 miles of hiking trails — including 13 for horseback riding that lead to primitive equestrian campsites. But beyond hiking, Brazos Bend State Park is especially known for two things — alligators and George Observatory. It’s common to spot alligators in the water and on the land, and signs throughout the park offer safety tips when encountering one. George Observatory is part of the Houston Museum of Natural Science, giving visitors an amazing view into galaxies far, far away. Tickets to the observatory must be purchased in advance. Brazos Bend State Park is located about an hour and 15 minutes from Humble in Needville.
Huntsville State Park may not be the largest state park in Texas (that honor goes to the 311,000-acre Big Bend Ranch State Park), but its 2,083 acres are still pretty impressive. Fish, swim or kayak along the 210-acre Lake Raven (kayak rentals are available). Hike 21 miles of trails. Enjoy playgrounds, a bird blind and nature center. Get ice cream at Gator Junction. You’ll often find food trucks down by the picnic area during busy weekends. Balmoral residents can get to Huntsville State Park, located in Huntsville, in just over an hour.
The closest of our featured state parks near Humble is Lake Livingston State Park, found in Livingston. Less than an hour away, this park is along the state’s second largest lake, which means you can boat and fish to your heart’s content. Miles of trails wind through the park, and campers can choose from tent sites to RV campsites with full hook-ups. There are also 10 screened shelters and several group sites.
Because Texas is so large, it’s easy to see a completely different landscape when traveling throughout the state. This certainly happens in a less-than-two-hour drive from Humble to Martin Dies, Jr. State Park, located in Jasper. This park is deep into Texas’ Pineywoods and sits along the banks of the B.A. Steinhagen Reservoir. You can hit 7 miles of hiking trails found within the park or grab a paddle and explore the nearly 14 miles of paddling trails. Canoes and kayaks are available to rent. Martin Dies, Jr. State Park offers more than 200 campsites, many along the water.
Palmetto State Park is just shy of three hours from Humble in Gonzales. The park’s namesake — the dwarf palmetto — can be found throughout the park, lending it an almost tropical ambiance. The park is small — just 19 tent sites, 17 RV sites, a group site for 24 and an air-conditioned cabin for six. But despite its size, there’s still plenty to do. You can fish from the pier at Oxbow Lake, canoe the San Marcos River, bike and hike trails, birdwatch and simply enjoy time outdoors.