Huntsville, Texas (History and Things To Do)

As one of America’s biggest states, Texas has a lot of cities and municipalities. Huntsville, Texas, is an exciting spot despite being a relatively small city. So, here’s everything you need to know about it!

Huntsville, Texas, is a relatively small college town close to Houston. The city has a suburban feel with a small population. Huntsville is also relatively safe and has multiple attraction points that are worth a visit!

Lake Raven Swimming Platform In Huntsville State Park In Walker County - Texas View
 Lake Raven swimming platform in Huntsville State Park in Walker County, Texas: Photo by
Larry D. Moore

About Huntsville

Huntsville is the center of Huntsville, the micropolitan area. The small city ranks 78th in terms of population and 65th in terms of size.

Facts About Texas 1 - Sports teams
Facts About Texas 1 - Sports teams

Hunstville was established in 1836 when Alabama brothers Pleasant, and Ephraim Gray opened a trading post there. They also named it “Huntsville” after their original hometown in Alabama.

Facts About Huntsville

  • Location: 30.7235° N, 95.5508° W – 70 miles north of Houston
  • County: Walker County
  • Towns: Huntsville North – Pine Prairie – Pine Hill – San Jacinto – Crabbs Prairie
  • Land Area: 42.59 square miles
  • Zip codes: 77320 – 77340 – 77341 – 77342 – 77343 – 77344 – 77348 – 77349
  • Population: 47,419 (2022) – 1,113.4 people per square mile
  • Crime rate: 18.09 per 1,000 residents (1.8%)
  • Average Temperature June: 71.8 to 92.5 °F
  • Average Temperature January: 41.5 to 58.5 °F
  • Universities: Sam Houston State University – Lone Star Community College
  • Airports: Huntsville Municipal Airport
  • Best hotels: Hampton Inn Huntsville – Holiday Inn Huntsville – Marriott Fairfield Inn Huntsville
  • Best Restaurants: 1836 Steakhouse – Farmhouse Cafe – Los Pericos

What Is Huntsville Known for?

The city is known for being the home of the Texas State Penitentiary, the first state prison in Texas, established in 1848.

The city is also home to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice headquarters. Sam Houston State University is also a major college in the city.

People From Huntsville

Whites, African Americans, and Hispanics/Latinos make up the vast majority of the population, which is split into:

  • 46.05% Whites
  • 24.86% African Americans
  • 23.8% Hispanic

Despite being a small city, several public figures and famous people call Huntsville, Texas home. Let’s have a quick look at the most notable names:

  • Sam Houston: The 1st president of the Republic of Texas and the 7th governor of the state. He also represented the state in the Senate and has the city of Houston named after him.
  • Cody Johnson: A famous country music singer and songwriter
  • Steve Forrest: A Golden Globe-winning actor from ABC’s 70s hit “S.W.A.T.”
Sam Houston Statue Huntsville - Texas View
Sam Houston statue Huntsville – Wikimedia

Where is Huntsville?

Here’s a quick look at the location of Huntsville so that you can find out more about the city:

Nearby Locations

  • Montgomery
  • Conroe
  • The Woodlands
  • Crockett
  • Houston
  • Lexington

The closest cities to Huntsville are Montgomery and Conroe, relatively small cities in Montgomery County, with a distance of 31 and 33 miles between them.

The nearest major city to Huntsville is Houston, only 70 miles away. It takes only a 60 to 65-minute drive via Interstate 45 South/North to travel between the two cities. The city is also 24.4 miles away from Lake Livingston.

Layout of Huntsville

The city of Huntsville lies at an elevation of 371 ft within the rolling hills and piney wood of East Texas.

As a college city, the vast majority of Huntsville are suburban regions, which makes up 95% of the city. The other 5% is considered rural areas.

Areas in Huntsville

Huntsville is split into a few neighborhoods of various sizes. These areas include:

  • City Center
  • Sam Houston State University campus
  • Huntsville North
  • Huntsville Northwest
  • San Jacinto
  • Pine Hill
  • Pine Prairie
  • Loma
  • Crabbs Prairie

Getting About Huntsville

On Foot

Getting on foot can be pretty straightforward if you live in the city center. After all, the entire urban region of the city is relatively small. You can quickly hit the nearby shops and activities, as there are plenty of sidewalks and street crossings governed by Texas.

However, getting on foot is not ideal in all seasons, as streets become wet during the tornado season.

Public Transport

The city of Huntsville doesn’t have train or subway stations. However, there is plenty of alternative public transportation within and between cities.

Taxis and private transportation services are affordable because the city is relatively small. There are also several city bus stations where Greyhound Lines operates.

Driving

Driving is one of the most reliable methods for getting about in Huntsville, Texas. This is because gas prices here are relatively lower than in large cities. Most visitors also prefer renting cars when they travel to the city, especially during the wet season.

Ideally, it should take anywhere between 5 to 10 minutes to reach your destination in the city if you’re running errands by car.

Two Inca Doves In Huntsville Texas Usa. - Texas View
Two Inca Doves in Huntsville, Texas – Photo by Inca Doves

What to Do in Huntsville

If you’re planning to visit Huntsville, Texas soon, here are some of the best things you can do in the city:

1. Sam Houston Memorial Trip

Since Huntsville is the city where Sam Houston lived, there are plenty of attraction points that are related to him in the city.

If you’re into Texas history, you can plan a day trip to visit the Sam Houston Memorial Museum, which includes his homestead and attached grounds, as well as several artifacts and antiques owned by the statesman.

You can also include the Sam Houston statue in your trip and the Oakwood Cemetery, which includes his iconic grave.

2. Texas Prison Museum

The non-profit museum includes various artifacts used in the first state prison in Texas, which is currently the Texas State Penitentiary.

The museum’s most notable item is the “Old Sparky”, the electric chair used for executions from 1924 to 1964.

3. Huntsville State Park

To enjoy the region’s nature, you might want to check out Huntsville State Park. The park extends over a total area of 2,083.2 acres, and it encloses parts of the Sam Houston National Forest.

The park also includes Coloneh Trailhead and Lake Raven, famous for fishing and boat rentals.

4. H.E.A.R.T.S Veterans Museum

This history museum was established recently in 1993. However, it exhibits a huge variety of wartime memorabilia, military artifacts and tools, and much more!

The  H.E.A.R.T.S Veterans Museum offers guided and guided tours. The staff is quite knowledgeable and friendly. Admission fees are:

  • $8.00 for adults
  • $6.00 for seniors
  • $5.00 for veterans
  • $3.00 for students

5. The Blue Lagoon

If you’re into outdoor activities, a highly recommended alternative to Huntsville State Park is the Blue Lagoon. This one is located at 649 Pinedale Road, Huntsville, TX 77320. The area has plenty of picnic tables and overlooks a beautiful lake where you can enjoy boat tours.

The area gets crowded in the afternoon, but it’s amazing in the morning, especially for couples!

Great Egret At Lake Raven In Huntsville State Park Texas - Texas View
Great Egret at Lake Raven in Huntsville State Park, Texas – John Bonzo

Where to Eat in Huntsville

Like most cities in Texas, Huntsville is known for its big BBQ culture. Although you can find plenty of dining options in the city, you should always consider steakhouses if you’re into an authentic Huntsville dining experience.

One of the most famous restaurants in the city is the Farmhouse Cafe, which provides a variety of southern specials and Texas signature desserts. You can also try the 1836 Steakhouse, which offers dine-in, takeaway, and delivery options!

Where to Stay in Huntsville

The city has plenty of hotels and motels to suit various budgets. Among the most luxurious hotels in the city are the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Huntsville and the Hampton Inn & Suites Huntsville.

You can also opt for motels, cozy cottages, and day inns, which are usually more cost-efficient. This includes Holiday Inn Express & Suites Huntsville and Hampton Inn & Suites Huntsville.

Huntsville Texas FAQs

Is Huntsville a good place to live?

Huntsville is a great suburban city that is relatively quiet, safe, tolerable, and diverse, which makes it brilliant for families and retirees. The city is also highly affordable compared to major cities and is only one hour away from Houston.

Is Huntsville safe?

Huntsville is generally safe, as it’s ranked safer than 32% of U.S. cities on average. However, its safety rating is below Texas cities’ average safety rating. The safest regions of the city are Huntsville North and Pine Hill.

Is Huntsville worth visiting?

Despite being small, Huntsville has a lot of attractions, including museums, memorial houses, and historical buildings and statues, especially if you’re into the state’s history. It’s also home to the beautiful Huntsville State Park, which has multiple trails and a large fishing lake with boat rentals.

References