If you’ve spent any amount of time in Austin, you already know that October is by far one of the best months to be here. After a long 6 months (it seems!) of summer, the temps are finally cooling down enough to spend more time outside.
One of my family’s favorite outdoor activities is camping, and our favorite camping spot is Jim Hogg Park in Georgetown.
Jim Hogg Park is about 25 miles north of Austin, on the north side of Lake Georgetown. Open year round, the park has 142 reservable campsites arranged in two loops, with most campsites sleeping up to 8 people.
There are also five “large group” camping shelters that sleep up to 16 people and include a cabin (the cabin will not sleep 16 people, but the site itself has extra land for tents or campers). Domesticated pets are welcome.
Rates range from $22 – $36 per night for standard campsites in peak season ($20 – $36 in non-peak season) and $30 – $40 per night for the overnight shelters.
Now I love camping as much as the next girl – probably more – but I also love things like modern plumbing and electricity. All sites at Jim Hogg Park have access to electricity and water, for the all important 2014 camping amenities like griddles and coffeemakers. Standard sites also include a shaded pavilion with a picnic table, while the large group sites with overnight shelters have a picnic table (no pavilion). Each site also includes a grill and a fire pit.
There are three restrooms throughout the park – one in the center of each loop, and one in between the two loops – each with flush toilets and showers to wash the stink only 2 days of camping and swimming in lake water can bring.
So those are the technical details about Jim Hogg Park, but there are lots of other things that make Jim Hogg Park a great place to camp.
The location: Living in North Austin, Georgetown is just far enough to feel like we’re getting out of town for the weekend, but not so far that we can’t hurry home in case of an emergency or in case one of our three girls really doesn’t want to spend the night away from home. Luckily neither of those scenarios has ever happened, but it’s nice to know that we’re not too far from home. And if we really need something, we can just hop into Georgetown to grab it.
The campsites: When we camp, we tend to go with a large group of people, so we often reserve two or three campsites next to each other. That way we can stay pretty communal, all gathering at one picnic pavilion for meals and socializing, while still having room to spread out our tents and have our own family space if need be. We’ve also been very lucky that all of our kids have slept wonderfully while away.
If the weather is warm enough, pack up the coolers and head to the lake. Just north of the boat ramp is a small inlet where we set up a pop up tent for shade and spend the day in and out of the water. It’s the perfect area to do a little wading and swimming. We anchor a couple of inner tubes close to shore for the kids to hang out in, and everyone takes turns on a kayak and paddle board.
Things to keep in mind about the lake:
- Boats don’t often enter this area, but be cautious when they do.
- The ground is very rocky. Water shoes for everyone are highly recommended.
- Lifejackets for non-swimmers are highly recommended. The lake depth increases very quickly in this area. One step I was touching the rocky bottom of the lake, and the next step there was no bottom of the lake.
- There is a restroom kind of nearby, a short drive (or longer walk) away.
- Fishing is supposedly excellent in the area, with an abundance of smallmouth bass and several other species of fish.
The great outdoors: There is plenty of stuff to do, whether you stick close to your campsite or venture out further into nature. With lots of little kids in our group, we spend a lot of time hanging around our site, playing soccer, baseball, or throwing a frisbee, or the kids explore some of the woods that comprise the back of our campsites. Kids can usually be seen riding bikes and scooters all around the park. There’s also the San Gabriel Trail – a 26-mile rugged trail that wraps around Lake Georgetown via the dam and is open to both hiking and biking.
For more information on facilities and amenities, visit the facility details.Guests can book online or by calling 512-930-5253. Note: A $9 non-refundable online reservation fee may be charged for some facilities. For more information on rates, fees, and peak seasons, visit the fees and cancellations page.
For an interactive map of the campsites and to see which sites are available for your dates, visit the campsite map.
A camping trip to Jim Hogg Park is the perfect chance to feel like you’re getting away, without really getting that far away. Have you ever been?
Jim Hogg Park
500 Jim Hogg Rd.
Georgetown, TX 78633
Leigh Ann Torres is a freelance writer and blogger living in Austin with her husband and three girls. She’s a pretty good cook, a mediocre photographer, and a horrible housekeeper. She writes about the good, the bad, and the ridiculous of life with twins plus one at Genie in a Blog.