Brazos Bend State Park Review & Rating
Brazos Bend State Park Overview:
Wow – what a fantastic Texas State Park! Some of what makes this one of the best and a must visit include:
- Outstanding campsites – spacious, level, long, and shaded
- Miles of trails for hiking, biking, jogging, or a casual birding watching stroll
- Screened shelters
- Plenty to see and do for all ages
- Clean, well maintained, and very friendly and outgoing staff
For all of the above reasons, Brazos Bend State Park stays very busy and you’ll need to make reservations well in advance. This park is huge with over 5000 acres and is the only park in Texas with three distinct eco systems – wetlands, forest, and prairie – all of which contribute to making this is an interesting and scenic park. Contributing to its beauty are tall, stately, and majestic live oak trees up to 150 years old and covered with hanging eerie gray Spanish moss. In addition, you’ll find several verities of pecan,
The Brazos River borders (3.2 miles) the east side of Brazos Bend State Park and it is home to some good fishing, kayak paddling trails, and tubing. Within the park and near the campsites are seven lakes for fishing, birding, or alligator spotting. Brazos Bend State Park is home to the American Alligator and during your stay if you hike or bike along any of the lake trails you’re likely to spot several alligators hunting, casually swimming, or sunning themselves on the banks. Over 300 alligators reside within the park, including some baby alligators and the king of the park at over 13 feet.
Brazos Bend State Park puts a big emphasis on nature and education and has a number of events, workshops, and programs for visitors to enjoy.
The staff, including the volunteers/work campers, that we met were fantastic. Very friendly and helpful, knowledgeable about and proud of their park. This park stays very busy, so you'll need to make reservations for weekend stays well in advance.
Amenities and Fun Things To Do:
There are 75 campsites with water and 20/30 amp electric service. All of the sites are back-in and the majority of the sites are very level. Each site has a concrete parking pad, picnic table some of which are also on a concrete pad, a grill, and fire pit. All of the sites are very spacious and some of the parking pads are wide enough for two or three cars side by side. Sites 100 to 141 are heavily treed and sites 200 to 234 range from heavily treed to open. All of the roads are paved and wide enough for the big rigs to maneuver. The vast majority of the sites are long enough to accommodate the big rigs and quad slides.
There are also 13 screened shelters and two tent walk-in camping areas, all of which have 20 amp service and water. There is one cabin which has one bedroom and bunk beds.
For equestrians, Brazos Bend has 20 primitive equestrian campsites which are located at the trailhead of the 9-mile equestrian and multiple-use trail. The campground is located under a grove of pecan trees and each site has a picnic table and some sites have a campfire ring. Electricity, water and shower facilities are not provided at the campsite. Water for horses and chemical toilets are available
When we visited Brazos Bend State Park in November 2010 all of the showers and restrooms where being redone and modernized. And like the rest of the Park, when they are done our guess is that they will be first class, well maintained, and squeakie clean just like the rest of the park.
Some of the other amenities at Brazos Bend State Park include:
- A dining hall (capacity 150), with ceiling fans, ac/heat, kitchen facilities, a barbecue pit, tables and chairs, and a restroom
- Playground and ampitheater with
- 7 lakes that are stocked for fishing plus a fish cleaning station
- A nature center with an unusual "hands-on" alligator discovery area, a tactile model of the park, a freshwater aquarium, live native snake species, and more
- Office with a helpful staff, souvenirs and tee shirts, and limited supplies
- Bundles of wood for sale
- Three picnic areas including three group picnic areas, two of which have a group picnic pavilion with electricity and water outlets, a barbecue pit, and picnic tables
- Sponsored Youth Camp Area
- Wildlife viewing areas and an observatory tower with great views
One of the things we love about Brazos Bend State Park are the over 35 miles of trails for hiking, biking, jogging, or birding walks. The trails are fairly flat to very gently rolling and range from paved to dirt. They are perfect for a relaxing family ride to enjoy the scenery, get a little exercise, and spot some birds and alligators. Here is a link to the Brazos Bend trail map. You can pick up a trail map that will give you a description of each of the trails.
There are at least three free interpretive programs and hikes offered every weekend. The Park's interpretive staff and volunteers offer weekday guided hikes and programs for schools and other educational organizations.
The Creekfield Lake Nature Trial is a half mile paved loop interpretive trial over and through an outstanding wetland area. There are well done interpretive panels with tactile bronzes of wetland wildlife, a boardwalk, observation deck for wildlife viewing, and shaded benches - make sure you pick up a self-guided manual for your walk.
If you love nature, you'll love this park. There is an observation tower and platforms for wildlife observation and panoramic views for photography. You'll have a chance to spot:
- any of the more than 300 species of birds that have been sighted
- 21 species of reptiles and amphibians, including American alligator
- 17 species of mammals including bobcat, white-tailed deer, raccoon, and gray fox
- 39 species of dragonfly
- 500 species of plants.
The George Observatory, which is a satellite facility of the Houston Museum of Natural Science, is located within Brazos Bend State Park. The Observatory houses three domed telescopes; a Challenger Learning Center for Space Science Education; and a meteorite exhibit featuring fragments of several famous meteorites. They offer a variety of special programs, viewings, classes, and more.
Within the park there are 7 lakes, 3.2 miles of shoreline along the Brazos River, and a creek (Big Creek) which meanders through the park. A number of the lakes are stocked with cat and bass and the fishing is very good. One of the lakes has a fishing pier and fish cleaning station. And fishing is free in the State Parks - no fishing license is required.
A Typical Texas Outsider Day:
We come to this outstanding park to enjoy everything that makes camping so much fun - campground meals, marshmellows and stories around the firepit, games, biking and hiking, and enjoying nature and the outdoors.
After a hearty breakfast or BBQ grilled lunch, we mount the bikes or grab the hiking sticks and set off on some of the trails to enjoy nature and hopefully spot a few alligators. And each day we can take a different trail or section of the trail and still not ride or walk them all in a weekend.
And sometime before turning in on Saturday, we'll bike over to the Observatory to stargaze. And a visitor to the Nature Center is a must.
Brazos Bend State Park also has a number of planned events and activities like weekend nature programs, hay rides, somoores, blue grass bands, guided hikes, hunts, workshops, and more throughout the year. Check out their events calendar.
We love golf and we played a couple fantastic courses the last time we visited Brazos Bend State Park. See the links below.
Cool Nearby Activities:
Brazos Bend State Park is one of those parks where you come here to enjoy nature, park the car or camper, and never leave until it's time to head home. There is enough to do in the park to keep you busy for a weekend or longer.
If you do feel the need to leave, here are some options that are within an hours drive:
- Houston has everything from attractions to zoos - check out our Guide to Houston
- you'll find some fantastic golf courses - check out this golf map to find some near the park
- Brazonia National Wildlife Refuge and San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge are nearby
- visit Sea Center Texas which has a 50,000 gallon Gulf of Mexico aquarium, a hatchery, and a touch pool
- Galveston and the Gulf of Mexico beaches are close by
George Ranch Historical Site (a 1830's recreation) and Varner Hogg Plantation are worth visiting
- Overall Rating:
- Scenic Beauty:
- Things To Do:
Additional Pictures of Brazos Bend State Park
Texas Outside uses a tough rating scale and it’s difficult for a campground to get a “10”. Each park is rated on:
- Scenic Beauty: a campground that is flat with no trees or character gets a “1” and hills, lots of trees, beautiful lake site, and lush ground cover gets a “10”
- Park Condition: the cleaner, well kept, and maintained campgrounds receive high scores
- Amenities: we are looking for lots of amenities like restrooms, dump stations, playgrounds, boat ramps, shelters, concession stand, rental toys, and more.
- Campsites: low scores are given for sites that are right next to each other (good for getting to know your neighbors, but not what we’re looking for when we’re camping); have no lantern holder, no water or electricity, no fire pit, no grill, or no picnic table (or it’s rotten wood); have no trees and no view; the ground cover is crushed rock (my bare feet hate that stuff!); and they require a lot of work to get your rig level.
- Things To Do: Bonus points are given for campgrounds that offer lots of fun things to do at the park or very nearby – this includes: biking, hiking, climbing, boating, entertainment, golf, swimming, fishing, volleyball, horseshoes, and more