It took 20 years of development, including weathering a flood and a World War, but in 1956 the community of Huntsville, Texas, finally got their own state park. Located just 10 miles south of town, in the Sam Houston National Forest, this 2,000-acre park of pine and hardwood forest is situated around man-made Lake Raven. Today, locals and visitors alike flock to Huntsville State Park for its hiking trails, water recreation and prolific wildlife. With so many outdoor activities to choose from, a good first stop is the park’s Nature Center. Here you can get information about the local flora and fauna, including the more than 250 species of birds, plus a variety of mammals and alligators, that make the park their home.
Campers at Huntsville State Park have access to 160 tent and RV campsites in three camp areas near the shore of Lake Raven: Prairie Branch, Raven Hill and Coloneh. Full- and partial-hookup RV sites are available, and can accommodate vehicles/trailers up to 60 feet. All sites are equipped with picnic tables, grills, and lantern posts, and drinking water faucets are shared between sites; some sites are ADA accessible. Each camp area provides flush restrooms, showers, playgrounds, picnic areas near the lake, fishing piers, and boat launches. There is a dump station located in the Raven Hill camp area. The park also has two camping cabins for rent. Campsite rates range from $15–$25/night, plus park entrance fee; cabins are $60/night, plus entrance fee.
When you’re ready to play on the water, head down to the lakeshore where you can take a dip in the designated swim area, rent a canoe or kayak (or put in your own) for paddling around the lake, or cast a line for crappie, perch and largemouth bass. A shop near the Prairie Branch day-use area has groceries, ice, fishing supplies and beverages. If you’re up for some roaming or wildlife watching, pick up a trail map and birding guide and go explore more than 20 miles of multiuse paths and nature walks. From the park’s bird blind, you can scan for a variety of songbirds and waterfowl. The park also offers ranger-led nature programs, and there are Junior Ranger activities for the kids.
Huntsville SP is a great patch of wilderness that is close to Houston. There is lots of camping, boating, and trails. My daughter likes the park so much she invited her friends to camp with her for her 11th birthday party. She is a girlie girl and if she wants to go camping, it must mean it is great!