Drive from Austin: 145 miles / 2 hours 30 minutes
Where am I? Junction, TX / West of Austin
Site we stayed at: #22, electric + water.
What to do: Stargazing, bird watching, swimming, tubing, hiking trails
Since the Perseid Meteor shower was happening, we needed to get out in nature to enjoy the show.
After a debate over a few dark zone campsites, we settled on South Llano River State Park, since it's only a 2.5 hour drive from Austin, and is recognized as an International Dark Sky Park (which means, "a land possessing an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and a nocturnal environment that is specifically protected for its scientific, natural, educational, cultural heritage, and/or public enjoyment."
Camping at South Llano River State Park is pretty great. The river moves quickly and is great for tubing, kayaking, or swimming. The trails are clean and shaded, perfect for mountain biking, hiking, or trail running. We got lucky with weather on Friday night and had a perfectly clear sky to see the stars and meteors!
When picking your campsite, there is the option of water + electric for $20/ night. Or just water for $15 night. A few things about each:
- Water + Electric sites all have a shelter above the picnic tables for shade. They are all drive up sites, which was a plus for our rainy weekend. Bathrooms have running water and showers.
- Water only sites don't have a shelter for shade, but there are a lot of trees, and the sites are very private. You do have to park in the main lot and walk 10-100 yards back to the campsites. There is only a compost bathroom available in the water only sites.
Another attraction South Llano River State Park is known for is the birdwatching. There are multiple bird blinds set up throughout the park for prime bird viewing!