Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Campground Review: Stephen F. Austin State Park San Felipe, TX

About 30 miles west of Houston a little north of I-10 lies Stephen F Austin State Park.  I camped there for three days in mid-September to utilize the park's electrical hookups to run the Tank's AC and avoid the high-90's temperatures.

The park is bordered on the east by the Stephen F Austin (discerning a pattern yet?) golf course and along it's northern border by the Brazos River.

View of the Brazos from a bike path within the park.
The park's 600+ acres were deeded to Texas Parks and Wildlife in 1940 by the San Felipe de Austin Corporation.  At the time the park contained a 9 hole golf course which was eventually sold to a private company becoming what is now the aforementioned Stephen F Austin Golf Club.  There are over 6 miles of hiking and biking trails cutting through the park and the park even has a small stage and outdoor amphitheater.

The outdoor stage at the park.
Here's the Stephen F. Austin State Park data sheet:

Hookups:                                 15, 30, amp, water
Fire ring:                                  yes
Water Access:                         yes (river)
Fresh Water:                            yes
Trash Service:                          yes
Toilets:                                    yes
Showers:                                 yes
Dump station:                         yes
WiFi:                                       no
Level sites:                              yes
Laundry:                                  no
Store:                                      no
Pool:                                       no
Shade:                                     yes
Verizon reception:                   4G, 2 out of 4 bars     
Millenicom reception:            3 out of 4 bars
Cost:                                       $22 / night

I was camping in the middle of the week so the park was mostly empty except for the hundreds of deer throughout the park.

Deer frequently came right up to my campsite.
Along with the bike trails there is an interpretive Nature Trail with lots of fauna labels describing what plants you're looking at.

The entrance to the Nature Trail.
 One of the hiking/bike paths, The Brazos Bottom Trail, leads to the Brazos River providing the park's water access.

The park trail along the Brazos.
All of the park's trails are marked as "Easy" difficulty level.  The ones I rode Wally the mountain bike along were level and hard-packed or lightly graveled.

A bike path through the woods.
The park has basketball and volley ball courts and a playground for the kids.  There are separate RV camping, tent camping and primitive camping areas within the park.   Stephen F. Austin State Park is really a first class camping experience just outside of Houston.  I was there during the "off-season" and enjoyed the solitude.  The rangers said the park gets full on the weekends and you'll need to reserve a space well ahead of time.  I would recommend you try camping the park, you'll really enjoy it!

Thanks for reading!

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