Other Amenities At Huntsville State Park:
CCC Structures: The CCC built Raven Lodge is available for rent for special events. It is air conditioned and heated, and includes private restrooms and a kitchen. We attended a family anniversary party there and it was a great venue. The boathouse is also a CCC structure. As with many Civilian Conservation Corps parks, you find little hints to their history throughout the park. Part of the fun is looking for them while you explore.
One thing we always find interesting about park structures built by the CCC is their design. National Park architects designed park buildings to blend into and compliment their environment and that is why the style of CCC-built structures is unique to each park. Here, for example, Raven Lodge is an unassuming wood paneled building that fits right in nestled amongst the forest trees overlooking Lake Raven. Be sure to go around the back and check out the view from its patio.
Park Store: Huntsville State Park’s store is located next to the boathouse in the day use area near the Raven Lodge. They sell ice, ice cream, a few camping items, small groceries and souvenirs. Just outside the store, you’ll find the park’s air machine. For 75 cents you can air up your bike tires, inflatable kayak or stand up paddleboard, or anything else needing a little bit of air.
Amphitheater: Located behind the Nature Center, the amphitheater is a meeting place for ranger-led programs.
Park Address: 565 Park Road 40 W, Huntsville, TX 77340
Inside Sam Houston Jones State Park
Many guests come to Sam Houston Jones State Park seeking a return to nature. While strolling the park grounds, tree-filled lagoons draw the eye, and mixed hardwood and pines soar overhead. Beyond the Calcasieu River’s lagoons lie waterways where a rowboat, canoe, or kayak adventure awaits all who seek it. Five trails of various lengths meander through this beautiful park, making hiking and strolling a pleasurable experience. One of the boat launches, used for small craft specifically, can be used by visitors to explore the upper reaches of narrow streams where larger vessels cannot float. The launch for larger boats brought by guests can be used to venture south into the Gulf of Mexico. Birdwatching and wildlife awareness are among the favorite activities of young visitors who see nature in full blossom for the first time.
Must Do Things Around Sam Houston National Forest
In our Must Do Things Around Greater Houston series, we take a look at Houstons vast array of communities, neighborhoods and destinations to bring you five fun, tasty, surprising and enticing reasons you should give each one a visit. Started in 2016, with complete updates in 2018 through 2019, were now refreshing, updating, and adding to this series for 2021including new destinations and communities within reach of Greater Houston.
One of four national forests in Texas, Sam Houston National Forest is a massive, 160,000-acre woodland stretching across three counties and containing the beautiful Hunstville State Park. North of Houston, it makes for a choice spot for fishing, bird and wildlife watching, biking, canoeing, camping, and hiking on its award-winning trail.
Heres how to make the most of your time in nature in and nearby Sam Houston National Forest:
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Camping For Free Oh My
There are 112 miles of trail and various trail heads throughout. It is wilderness! Ticks! Wild Hogs Water along the trail is usually murky. I reccomend hammock camping not only because of the bugs, but because the forest is dense. Have your maps and blaze trails if you get off of the well marked trail. Also, there are many other networks of trails that are not part of the Federal system that cross and loop around the Lonestar trail. Not too difficult as far a grade is concerned. Just 50 ft increases max, throughout the trek.
Cagle Lake is the campground area in the Sam Houston National Forest. The forest, itself, is quite beautiful. The campground is nice for a weekend away. The campsites are nicely wooded and shaded. Camping pads are well kept. Bathrooms are clean. There are nice loops around which the kids can ride bikes, and good walking/hiking trails that go near the water. In the rainy season, there are areas where water collects and stands, which can be annoying. Overall, a decent park with great camping rates.
The Retreat Rv & Camping Resort
The Retreat RV & Camping Resort is a brand-new camping resort located in Eastern Texas, about 45 minutes outside of Houston. This top tier resort offers great amenities and full hook-ups. You have the option to stay in your RV or you can stay in their comfortable cabins, the tent section, or even in a covered wagon. There is a pool with a hot tub, great laundry and bathhouse facilities, and is pet friendly with a dog park. Close to the shore of Lake Houston and with outdoor games always taking place, The Retreat RV & Camping Resort is a great option for your next stay!
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Screened Shelters At Huntsville State Park:
Shelters with Air Conditioning and Heating
Total Shelters: 2
Water and Electricity at Site
30/50amp RV Electrical Hookups at Site
Park at the Shelter
Each shelter at Huntsville State Park includes a picnic table, fire ring, BBQ grill. Bring your own bedding and all of your own supplies. A comfort station with showers is located within the shelter area. And yes, we confirmed with the park that RVs can reserve a shelter site. All of the shelter sites have 30/50amp hookups and water connections for RVs. A dump station is shared with the Prairie Branch Camping Area.
Outside Sam Houston Jones State Park
With Louisiana’s fifth-largest city located a mere 10 miles outside Sam Houston Jones State Park, guests find plenty of opportunities to explore the essence of Cajun and Creole culture. Restaurants provide a palate-pleasing diversity of cuisines. Shops can handle any need you come up with, from flowers to underwear. The community holds places for children to play their hearts out and for an older generation to learn and reflect.
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We Always Enjoy Our Visits To Huntsville State Park:
Video: Huntsville State Park Tour
As Native Houstonians, we’ve spent a lot of time at Huntsville State Park over the years. The park is located just about an hour north of Houston just off of I-45/I-75, between New Waverly and Huntsville, Texas, barely outside the Sam Houston National Forest. Its easy to access location makes it a great park to get away for a week, a weekend or even for just a few hours during the day. Over the years, we done all of those things and we’ve always found the park to be a relaxing get-away.
Huntsville is where you’ll begin to see some gentle rolling hills as you drive north from Houston. These small hills aren’t anything like you’ll see in the Texas Hill Country at Garner State Park or even further northeast around Mission Tejas State Park or Tyler State Park, but they are enough to make leveling your RV a bit of a challenge in some of the campsites. Be sure to bring your leveling blocks and be prepared to spend some time choosing the right site for you once you get here. But trust us, once you are all set up, that little challenge is absolutely worth it to get to stay within this beautiful park!
Our Campsite in the Raven Hill Camping Area
Hiking with Stacie’s Mom
Camping loops on both sides of the lake have access to trail heads for hiking and biking. There is also trailhead parking throughout the park and parking at the Nature Center/Amphitheater.
Our Campsite in the Prairie Branch Camping Area
Hiking Amongst the Tall Trees
Hit The Trails In A Pristine Southwest Louisiana Cypress Forest
Play a round of disc golf at Sam Houston Jones State Park.
Enjoy nature up close with a hike around the lagoons at Sam Houston Jones State Park.
*Notice: Sam Houston Jones State Park sustained extensive damage from Hurricanes Laura and Delta and remains closed for restoration. Please check with Louisiana State Parks for updates.
Southwest Louisianas sole state park, Sam Houston Jones, is notable for its unimpeded expanses of pine and cypress forests. In the years since it was founded, park administrators have made it a priority to leave much of the preserve in its natural state. As such, its become a save haven for a variety of wildlife, including more than 200 species of birds that migrate through the area.
The park was named for two men with similar names. Sam Houston Jones, Louisianas 46th governor, received the honor after working tirelessly to establish the park in 1944. The park also commemorates the accomplishments of Sam Houston, the Texas and Tennessee governor who traveled extensively in this stretch of Louisiana over 150 years ago.
Sam Houston Jones State Park also offers visitors numerous chances to get out on the water. Two boat launches have been constructed for boaters convenience, allowing access to the west fork of the Calcasieu River and Lake Charles 10 miles south.
Entrance fee: $3 per person free for seniors age 62 and older, and children age 3 and younger.
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Sam Houston Jones State Park Overview
Sam Houston Jones State Park Campground has 62 single-family campsites situated next to tree-filled lagoons. There are 42 sites with water and electrical hookups, 20 premium pull-through sites with water and electrical hookups and 19 tent-only campsites. There are also 12 cabins available to rent. Each campsite also has a table, fire ring and grill. The campground has drinking water, flush toilets, hot showers and an RV dump station. Campfire wood is also available for sale from the camp host.
Sam Houston Jones State Park encompasses 1,087 acres with an abundance of wildlife. In fact, the bird watching is always excellent. Nearly 200 species of birds can be seen at or within 30 miles of the site. The numerous waterways in this area provide a variety of water sport recreation including boating, canoeing, kayaking and fishing. Two boat launches are conveniently located on the West Fork of the Calcasieu River, providing access to the Gulf of Mexico, only a few miles away. There are also 3 hiking trails that wind through the park.
Lake Fausee Pointe State Park is another option. Its about 126 miles to the east and has 50 campsites.
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Visiting Huntsville State Park For A Day:
Day Use Areas
Picnic areas are located on the same side of the lake as the screened shelters and Prairie Branch camping areas. Day use areas also include lighted fishing piers, a playground, a lake swimming area, canoe/kayak/peddleboat rentals, a park store, amphitheater, nature center and boat ramp. A Day Use Bath House with showers is located near the swimming area. Trailhead parking is also located near the front of the park, in the Coloneh Camping Area and near the shelters. A Group Screened Pavilion and Group Recreation Hall are available for day use rental.
Huntsville State Park Picnic Area
Geocaches are Hidden Throughout the Park
Things To Do At Huntsville State Park:
Hiking: Definitely, our favorite thing to do at Huntsville State Park! This park offers almost 20 miles of hiking trails, with distances ranging from 0.2 miles on the easy Loblolly Trail to 8.5 miles on the challenging Triple C Trail. Two trails completely circle the park. If you are interested in an easy trail that is longer than the Loblolly Trail, check out the Coloneh Trail which runs 0.8 miles between the Coloneh and Raven’s Hill Camping Areas. Trailhead parking is available throughout the park. Serious hikers may want to check into the Lone Star Hiking Trail which runs near the state park line through the Sam Houston National Forest. The 129 mile Lone Star Hiking Trail is the only long-distance National Recreation Trail in Texas, and is Texas’ longest continuously marked and maintained path. None of the park trails connect to the Lone Star Hiking Trail.
Paddling: 215 acre Lake Raven is a no-wake lake that is contained completely within the boundaries of Huntsville State Park. This is an easy place to paddle for even novice kayakers like us. You can bring your own kayak or canoe, or rent one from the boathouse located right next to the park store. Paddleboats are also available for rent.
Boating: Small boats are allowed on the lake, but must not create a wake. The park’s boat ramp is located between the Raven Lodge day use area and the screened shelters.
Boat Rentals are Available at the Boathouse
Huntsville State Park has 2 Lighted Fishing Piers
Park Store Air Pump
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Sam Houston Jones State Park
The following parks received significant damage from Hurricane Ida in 2021 :
Fontainebleau State Park – campgrounds reopened Sept. 24. Cabins remain closed until further notice.
Grand Isle State Park – sustained serious damage and will remain closed until further notice.
Sam Houston Jones State Park – received major damage following hurricanes Laura and Delta in 2020 and remains closed. Estimated reopening of the park is either late spring or early summer of 2022.
Friday, Saturday and days preceding holidays.
- open at 6 a.m.
- 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday, Saturday and days preceding holidays.
- 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Free for seniors
Free for children
Originally named for the Texas folk hero who traveled extensively in the western reaches of Louisiana, Sam Houston Jones was given its current name in honor of the state’s 46th governor, who was instrumental in setting aside this tract of land for the public to enjoy for both day-use and overnight visitors.
Because the caretakers of this 1,087-acre park have worked to keep the land in its natural state, abundant wildlife inhabits the area. Tree-filled lagoons and a mixed pine and hardwood forest combine to create a unique natural environment. The park is located just north of the most productive birding region of Louisiana. The bird watching is always excellent, but at certain times of year, nearly 200 species of birds can be seen at or within 30 miles of the site.
Why Youll Love River Rock Resort
River Rock Resort is a great location to celebrate life’s biggest events on a private lake with an intimate setting surrounded by family and friends. Perfect for camping, lakeside weddings, receptions, small group retreats, team meetings/company events, birthday parties, family reunions, and club events.
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Lone Star Jellystone Rv Park
The best place for kids to camp in an RV in the Houston area is perhaps at Lone Star Jellystone RV Park. Located in Waller, Texas, Jellystone is a mere 40-minute drive from Houstons attractions. In this park, you can let the kids play and run out all that summer vacation energy.
Sam Houston Jones Fast Facts
Address: 107 Sutherland Road, Lake Charles, LA 70611
Hours: The site is open every day. The gate is open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. It stays open until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
The entrance station is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 10 p.m. Friday, Saturday and days preceding a holiday.
Cost: $3 per person free for seniors 62 and older and children 3 and under
Phone number: 337-855-2665
Where’d it get its name? The park originally was named for Sam Houston, the Texas folk hero who traveled extensively in the western reaches of Louisiana. It was given its current name in honor of Samuel H. Jones, Louisiana’s 46th governor, according to the park website.
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How To Get Tosam Houston Jones State Park
Lake Charles, a city of some size, is only 10 miles away. To get to Sam Houston Jones State Park from Lake Charles, take Interstate 10 West for two miles to exit 27. Turn right to merge onto Louisiana Highway 378 North. Follow LA-378 N for five miles. Turn left onto Sam Houston Jones Parkway, and travel for one mile. Turn left onto Sutherland Road for less than a half-mile then, turn right onto Sam Houston Jones State Park Road. The park entrance is one-half mile ahead.
Lafayette, LA, is over 80 miles east of the park. To approach Sam Houston State Park from Lafayette, take I-10 W for 70 miles into Lake Charles, and then, follow the instructions above.
Camping Near You Find A Free Campsite
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Our community provides the best free camping information available. Free campgrounds can be hard to find. Freecampsites.net makes it easy. We give you a simple, map based search engine to find free and cheap camping areas. Community reviews and ratings provide you with up to date information and help you select the best camp site for your next camping trip.
This is a platform for sharing campgrounds and camp sites you have discovered. We are community driven, and while we will be adding many free camping spots, we hope that you will add some of your favorite camping places as well. By sharing camping information freely, we can all spend less time researching campgrounds, spend less money, and more time camping. If everyone contributes a few campsites, we’ll all have more places to go camping.
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