Pedernales Falls State Park this weekend. The kids were thrilled to sleep in a tent and spent the late evening hours when they were supposed to be sleeping whispering to each other. I'm glad it was so cute because they were certainly missing out on sleep! We planed it for only one night, which really makes planning a lot easier. And, I feel less stressed about it because even if we forget something important or don't sleep well, it's easy to handle just one night of poor sleep.
In the area where I grew up, if we went camping it was to the nearby mountains. We lived in the desert, so of course we wouldn't camp there - too hot! We would go to the pines where we would need a sweatshirt at night in the middle of the summer and could sit around a campfire. Here in central Texas, there just isn't any mountain we can get to for a quick trip. It has always seems strange to me to camp in the heat, but spring and fall are short and rainy so we end up doing summer trips just to get our camping fix. We're getting better at it. The trick is to go somewhere where you can play in the water.
At Pedernales Falls State Park, there is a pretty area where you can hike down and see the falls, but to swim you need to go to another area. We found it was a surprisingly steep hike down, but really fun once we were down there. There was a sandy, shallow area that worked for my little ones and deeper river area where older kids were swimming. At only a 40 minute drive from Austin, it would be a great place to go with a picnic for a day trip of water playing even.
Our campsite worked out well for us too. Because my husband's parents were their with their camper, we were in an area with an electrical hookup. James (bonus husband points right here) brought an extension cord and a small but powerful fan so that we had a fan in our tent! With the fan, the temperature was perfectly pleasant for sleeping at night - even a teensy bit chilly by early morning. If you're looking for a nearby spot, this is a good one!