We took a long weekend to explore some of South East Texas. The first night we stayed at Huntsville State Park which we have rated a 8.2 stars. Huntsville State Park is located just south of Huntsville and most of the 127 campsites are along the small 215 acre Lake Raven. A large number of the sites are tent sites with water only and very close to the lake. Huntsville State Park also has canoe and kayak rentals, horseback rides, volleyball, screened shelters, and a boat ramp. One of the reasons we like this pretty and well treed park are the over 15 miles of hiking and biking trails through the park and around the lake. The trails wind through the campground, through the trees, and around the lake and they range from paved to small dirt trails. Our favorite is the Prairie Branch Loop that leads into the north end of the Chinquapin Trail around the lake. You can read the review of Huntsville State Park by clicking on the above link.
Huntsville offers a lot of things to do and see, including the Huntsville State Prison and the Prison Museum. Make sure you stop by the giant statue of Sam Houston and the Sam Houston Museum. The town square, which is situated around the courthouse has quaint antique shops, a soda fountain, and restaurants. Visit the Huntsville visitors bureau for more information.
After golf, it was off to explore Kemah. We spent the night at Kemah RV Resort which is 2.5 miles from the Kemah Boardwalk. Kemah RV Resort has just over 100 campsites, 4 cabins, and 5 cottages all nested among some huge oak trees. Some of the other amenities include: three ponds stocked with bass and perch, community center, pool, and more. You can read the Texas Outside Review of Kemah RV Resort in the Texas Outside Camping section. One of the major advantages of Kemah RV Resort is that it is centrally located (30 miles to Houston or Galveston) and very close to the Kemah and Clear Lake Area which has tons of things to see and do. Our main goal in this short trip was to explore Kemah.
After getting the rig settled in, we headed down to the explore the restaurants and bars of the Kemah boardwalk. We parked the car and rode bikes around the boardwalk, in fact we could have ridden the bikes from Kemah RV Resort and left the car at the campsite which we will do next time. It was Friday night and the boardwalk was jumping and the kids seemed to be enjoying the boardwalk rides, based on all the screaming we heard.
The Kemah Boardwalk is a mixture of shops, amusement park rides, arcades, miniature train, and restaurants along the waterfront. There is plenty to keep the kids busy -- the train ride around the waterfront, carousel, games of skill (or so they say -- water balloon race, shooting gallery, ring toss, etc.), ferris wheel, and other rides. The adults will enjoy the variety of restaurants to choose from - Joe's Crab Shack, Babin's Cajun Seafood, Landry's Seafood, Cadillac Mexican Bar and Grill, and the Aquarium (labeled "an underwater dining adventure" -- tables with a view of a couple big aquariums!). All have some great outdoor seating with views of the bay and park. We tried Babin's and it was ok and a little pricey. After dinner, we biked a couple blocks south and found the bars -- Zone 504 Sports Bar, The Monkey Bar, and Palapa's. All three were fun, lively spots with live music outside.
Saturday morning we parked the rig in Wal-Mart and rode the bikes a half mile to explore the rest of Kemah and what is called the Lighthouse Shopping District. But the driving reason for coming back on Saturday was Pan Fest which was a street fair with food vendors, arts and crafts and most importantly a morning and afternoon of steel drum music -- think Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville! We only had time to catch one band which was the University of Houston PANTagonists. The are a group of at least 12 lively, fun, and very talented steel drum players -- excellent.
The Kemah/Clear Lake has plenty to see and do, some of which includes: 19 marinas with boat rentals, fishing guides, bay tours, and sailboat rides; tennis and golf (visit the Texas Outside's Golfing Texas section to find a course); Battleship Texas; Bayou Wildlife Park; Gulf Greyhound Park; NASA Space Center; and much more. While you are in Kemah, you should take the time to get out and enjoy the water on Clear Lake or Galveston bay. You can take a cruise on FantaSea Yacht Charter's 100' yacht, rent a kayak and take some lessons from , or charter a sailboat (a 22' or 28' Newport or a windsurfer) from . They also have lots of fun annual events - here is the Kemah website. Plus you have all of Houston and Galveston to explore - check them out in Texas Outside's Discover Texas.
Sunday morning we started heading back north and stopped to play golf at Kingwood Cove Golf Course which is north east of Houston and on the way to our overnight stop to explore Lake Livingston State Park. Kingwood Cove Golf Course is an ok course that we rated 5.5 our of ten stars. The front nine is flat, straight, and not very memorable. The back nine is more challenging and fun. Click here to read the review.
Sunday night after settling in, we took a short bike ride around a part of Lake Livingston State Park and along the shore of Lake Livingston. Lake Livingston State Park has over 180 great sites (a large percentage of which are on the banks of Lake Livingston), 3 boat ramps, and 5 miles of trails. This is a very nice park for camping, hiking/biking, boating, and enjoying the outdoors. We rated Lake Livingston State Park 8 stars. Monday morning was more biking before we had to head back to the Big D.