Let me just cut to the chase and say that Lake Livingston State Park is a MUST SEE park in the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department managed State Parks. If you are like us and love to travel where there is an abundance of large trees then this is the place for you. The park is full of towering live oaks and pine trees as well as yaupons. The yaupon trees don’t necessarily tower but they are still pretty. The trees, especially during the summer, keep the sun from BEATING down on your campsite. If you aren’t aware Texas summers can certainly be brutally hot! They also keep the wind pretty much at bay. During one of our days this spring break the park saw a fair amount of wind and the waves on the lake were rather big but we hadn’t a clue it was as windy as it was until we made it to the lake that day. (Of course that was the day we went kayaking with a Ranger.)
But the beauty of the trees does not alone make this a must see park. In large part the reason you must visit Lake Livingston State Park is because of the interpretive programs. The park’s interpreter had 6 different programs going on during Spring Break week (M – F). There were more events on the weekends. Several of them had multiple time slots during the day as well. The only days that did not have something going on in the park were both Sundays and Monday. He had the program out for the rest of the month and it was very impressive. There were even special programs during the week for home school children. Not many parks in the Texas system have a comprehensive program like this. Don’t get me wrong there are other Texas State Parks that do a good job, Purtis Creek comes to mind, but they are not the norm.
For current events you can visit the Lake Livingston State Park website or even more information the Lake Livingston SP Facebook page. But to give you an idea of the kinds of events that may be going on, our week’s worth of adventures included: Archery, Fishing, Paddle Boarding, Kayaking and a guided hike that had a medicinal/edible plant workshop. One thing we were in absolute awe of was that on the kayak trip there is a bald eagle nest. The morning group got to watch an eagle grab a fish for a late breakfast. Our group got a flyover.
Our Spring Break Adventure
We were impressed with Joel the park’s interpreter on many accounts. He took interest in each and every child. During the archery session he was actually teaching the kids correct form and procedure. It wasn’t a “let’s just go shoot some arrows” event. In addition, he watched every child in the group and had specific tips for them to improve their shooting. It was honestly paid instruction quality for the mere price of park entry.
Our kayak trip was as informative and instructive as the archery. Prior to getting on the water, intructions were given on dry land. Kayaks, paddles and life jackets were all provided free of charge. While kayaking facts about the lake were conveyed to us. We were also able to search downed logs for water snakes and turtles. Along the shore we looked for signs of beavers and minks.
On our walk we took a guided tour of the Pineywoods Nature Trail. The talk included several of the local plants and their uses either medicinally or as food. Some of the ones that we discussed were Yaupon Holly, poison ivy, Loblolly Pine, American Holly and blackberries. The walk covers about 1 mile and takes roughly an hour and a half. We took slightly longer as we had approximately 60 people in attendance.
All Things RV and Campsites
Older Camping Loops
We stayed in one of the 2 older RV loops. The Hercules Club Loop was our home during the stay and the other older loop is the Pin Oak Loop. Both are nice loops but have only water and electric. They also have asphalt pads. The problem we had was actually getting our 40′ 5th wheel into our spot. The campsite pads are angled to the main loop however, the main road is single lane and the pads do not have any sort of radius extension making it easy on the 5th wheels to turn in. With a bumper pull RV this would not have been an issue. Never fear you can do it! Take your time and use a spotter.
Other useful information about the loop we stayed in would include that there are tent pads at all the sites. You need to keep in mind that the area receives approximately 50 plus inches of rain per year. During our stay the trails were saturated in parts. The drainage ditches also had standing water in them. Whatever you do do not try to turn around in the grass. Some of the areas are 1 way streets. We saw no less than 3 cars stuck in the grass on the side of the road because they realized finally that they were going the wrong way then decided to turn around going through the grass. BAD, BAD, BAD idea!
Newer Camping Loops
The newer loops, Yaupon Loop and Piney Shores, both have sewer as well as water and electric. The pads in these areas are concrete and looked nice and level. These also had a turn radius poured into the pad making it a DREAM to back a 5th wheel in! All loops had restrooms and showers as well as conveniently placed dumpsters. The sites around us had several turn overs during the week. The park staff showed up soon after the site was vacated. They did a cleaning and prep for the next occupant.
Astronomy In The Park
We unfortunately scheduled our trip to end on Saturday instead of Sunday. We missed the 3 presentations on astronomy that day and the stargazing that evening. While helping Joel load kayaks after our float we chatted some about the quality of the sky at the park. Joel said that there was some light pollution from Houston and a few of the towns surrounding the park and lake. However he did say that he is able to see the Andromeda Galaxy and the Orion Nebula both naked eye. He said that they would never be as good as a dark sky site such as Copper Breaks State Park but they had pretty awesome skies none the less. We didn’t have any real chances to do any astronomy ourselves while in the park, the weather was cloudy at night with a few breaks here and there during the day.
As always fishing in a Texas State Park is free and no license needed provided you are within the park and not fishing from a boat. If you do not own gear or left yours at home, the park does have loaner gear. At most parks you would check out the loaner equipment at the entrance offices. At Lake Livingston State Park you need to head to the park store. They even carry worms at the store if you are needing to buy those as well.
Overall we enjoyed our stay! Cell phone coverage in the park was good for the most part on the AT&T network. We lost service a couple times in different places but most of the time we had a bar or two which is plenty to talk, text or surf the web with. As always we are happy to answer any questions we can. You can reach us via our contact page or any of our social media accounts.
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