Stillhouse Park, Belton
For Labor Day we spent the day at Stillhouse Hollow Lake and Belton, a really cute town near Killeen, about halfway between Austin and Waco. We visited in the Spring, and I really wanted to do some exploring around Stillouse Hollow Lake, a lake fed by the Lampasas River. We headed to Stillhouse Park, an Army Corp of Engineers Park, which offers day use, a swim beach, a marina and pavilion rentals.
Ten minutes after stopping at the lake, I was absolutely hooked! It’s clear water, rocky shores and lack of crowds, even on a 90 degree Labor Day, makes for a winning day at the lake!
Since this was our first time to visit Stillhouse Hollow Park, we started off at the picnic areas. The beach, pictured above has lots of picnic tables, a restroom and showers, and a small swim beach. It was my least favorite place to swim, and they of course didn’t allow dogs. We just stopped for a minute to take some pictures and walked a little further down.
Dogs are allowed along the water at the day use areas away from the swim beach. We found an empty table and swam for about an hour with the dogs! Boats were anchored off just a ways away, and there were several kayakers here, too. The water was clear and cool, and the bottom is rocky. Absolutely wear water shoes or you’ll be miserable!
My son wanted to check out a more remote area we spotted, so we headed over to the marina, and walked out to the point in the picture above. It’s all rock, and you want to wear shoes because they can be sharp.
Here’s a view of the water, it’s very clear.
We had the point almost exclusively to ourselves, and it was a perfect place to play!
The rule at any Army COE park for dogs is they MUST be on a leash, but they are usually allowed to swim without a leash, as long as they are well-behaved. Our little Dublin usually HATES the water, but it was hot and she actually played in the water quite a bit, just to keep cool!
Our labrador, Lucky, loved it! Again, we kept her on her leash except when she was swimming. At 14, she’s not going to run anywhere. The water here on the point is much cooler than on the swim beach, and we just LOVED it! Once again, the difference between a GREAT time and a LOUSY time is water shoes! I really prefer the cheap ones from Walmart, etc.
A sailboat leaving the marina, heading out to the lake.
Around on the other side of the penninsula, we found these boys fishing, and watched as they pulled in this nice fish! As a Army COE lake, anyone between the ages of 17 and 64 are required to have a fishing license.
The area around Belton is just COVERED in fossils, but be sure you know the rules where you are hunting! If in doubt, take pictures and leave the fossils where you find them! Fossil hunting is not allowed in Army COE parks!
Know Before You Go
Most of the picnic tables had grills, so stop at the store and pick up some hot dogs or burgers!
Stillhouse Park is open March 1 – September 30th.
An Army COE annual pass is about $40, or purchase a National Parks Pass for $80, which gives you free admission to National Parks and all Army COE parks! 4th graders get a National Parks Pass for FREE, too! Click HERE for more information.
There are zebra mussels found in Stillhouse Hollow, so be sure to dry, clean and drain your boat after use to protect other waterways from these invasive mussels.
Things To Do in Belton
Head to Summer Fun Waterpark, a fun park open during the summer! Click HERE to visit their website.
Are you a diver? Scuba Divers Paradise has submerged planes, boats and more on clear Stillhouse Hollow Lake! Click HERE to read more.
I’m a sucker for a good ghost tour! Ghost Wagon Tours in Belton is a fun way to see the town! Click HERE for more information.
Head to Downtown Belton to the Gin on Nolan Creek (dog-friendly patio) for a good meal overlooking the creek, built in an old cotton gin, then head down to play in the water, or search the creek bed for fossils. Click HERE to read more.
Union Grove and Dana Peak Point Parks both offer camping on Stillhouse Hollow Lake.
4050 Simmons Rd, Belton
Click HERE to visit their website.
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