This past weekend several friends and I went to the Huntsville State Park (https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/huntsville
) in Sam Houston National Forest. The park, managed by Texas Parks and Wildlife, is about an hour’s drive by SH-30 from College Station. The main attraction is the 210-acre Lake Raven in the center of the park, surrounded by the forest. Here are some reasons you should definitely visit the park in the national forest area.
First, if you’re an outdoor person and you’ve been to Lake Bryan in our backyard for way too many times, consider Huntsville State Park! There are many outdoor activities you can do there, including trail hiking and cycling, fishing, swimming, paddle boat and kayaking. No matter what season it is, you can always find some kind of exercise that can help you relax and restore during a weekend or holiday. Note that some trails might be temporarily closed, due to bad weather, and always swim and kayak in the designated area.
Second, if you enjoy picnic and barbeque with friends and family, there are many picnic tables, barbeque pits, and restrooms in this park. There is no reservation required for day use. You can just show up early (during summer, they might close the park around noon if it reaches max capacity), park near the lake, and start planning your day. Always clean up after use, as there are many trash bins and restrooms around.
The third reason is the public education events the park offers. Themes include wildlife and conservation, getting to know the native plants, yoga in the park, as well as seasonal hunting activities that help to control eco-balance in the forest. If you reserve a camping ground and are staying overnight, the park even has star viewing parties. Isn’t that cool for people who live year round in cities? You can check out the park’s Facebook page to receive latest information on open-to-public events. Note that some events have age requirement so check before bringing your kids.
For day use visitors, the entrance fee is $7 per person (charged by the number of visitors, not cars), and you can pay once you arrive at the park entrance. For overnight camping ground and large screened shelter reservation, visit: https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/huntsville/fees-facilities/campsites
. Let me know where else you find yourself in nature, near College Station!
Mingqian Liu is a fourth-year doctoral student in the Department of Architecture