Huntsville is a small city of about 45,000 residents, located in Walker County, part of the Piney Woods region of Texas. Huntsville is famous as the home of Texas hero, General Sam Houston with an enormous statue of Sam Houston next to Interstate 45, it's famous as a prison town, and is also home to Sam Houston State University.
Huntsville is most famous for its prison facilitiesː the most hard-core criminals in Texas get sent to Huntsville. Huntsville is very much a "company town", with several prison facilities within the city limits (including the Huntsville Unit, home of Texas's "Death Row"), as well as headquarters for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (the only state agency not headquartered in Austin). More than 12% of Huntsville's population is directly employed in the field of criminal corrections.
Sam Houston State University is the town's second biggest employer. The university is home to about 20,000 students. According to US News, the most popular fields of study are Homeland Security and Law Enforcement.
Huntsville is about 60-90 minutes north of Houston or about 2-1/2 hours south of Dallas on Interstate 45.
Greyhound buses leave Houston's main bus station for Huntsville about every 2 hours. A ticket to Huntsville will cost $30-35. Buses head south from Dallas about every 2 hours and a ticket to Huntsville will cost $25-35.
In Huntsville, the Greyhound station is at 1000 12th St., just 3 blocks from the prison system's Huntsville Unit.
Private planes can use Bruce Bros Huntsville Regional Airport (HTV IATA, LIDː UST). Located 2 miles northwest of town.
Many travelers to Huntsville get around in the back seat of a police car or in a prison transit bus.
If you're coming to Huntsville voluntarily, you'll probably be more comfortable driving your own car. Uber is available, but there is no public transit bus service.
- Sam Houston's grave.
- 1 Sam Houston Memorial Museum, 1836 Sam Houston Ave, ☏ .
- 2 Sam Houston Woodland Home.
- 3 Texas Prison Museum, 491 Hwy 75 N, ☏ . An interesting, if whitewashed, view of life and death behind bars in Texas. History of criminal correction in Texas with artifacts and documents describing life in "the big house".
- 1 Huntsville State Park, 565 Park Rd 40 W, ☏ . 6AM-10PM, daily. Densely wooded park with shady campsites, picnic areas, a lake with fishing and canoe rentals, and a horse riding stable with horses for hire for guided trail rides. RV sites available.
- Sam Houston Bearkats. NCAA Division I teams of Sam Houston State University, competing in 7 men's and 10 women's sports. In 2023, the Bearkats left the Western Athletic Conference for Conference USA, in the process upgrading the football team from the second tier of D-I football, FCS, to the top-level FBS. As with most large colleges, football and basketball are the hot-button sports on campus.
- 2 Lone Star Hiking Trail. This 96-mile hiking trail connects various tracts of the Sam Houston National Forest. A part of the trail connects to Huntsville State Park. Access in Huntsville is via Trailhead #7, on the I-45 feeder lanes, south of town. This is an excellent place for backpacking and for nature watching. Bring food and water, there are usually no facilities other than parking lots at the trailheads.
- Farmhouse Cafe & Bakery, 1004 14th St, ☏ , email@example.com. Texas-style comfort food.
- 1 La Mision Grill, 630 I-45. 11AM - 9PM. Typical Mexican restaurant, good food, reasonable prices. Frozen margaritas, fajitas, enchilads. On the northbound feeder lanes.
- 2 Humphrey's, 1930 Sam Houston Ave, ☏ . 11AM - Midnight. Casual hangout place with tacos, burgers, pizza. Located near SHSU campus.
- 3 Potato Shack, 1229 Josey St, ☏ . 11AM-8PM (til 10PM on Friday, Saturday). Hip casual eatery featuring loaded baked potatoes including some unusual toppings and combinations.
- 12th St Bar, 1024 12th St, ☏ .
- Sam Houston University Hotel, 1610 Bobby K Marks, ☏ , SHSUhotel@shsu.edu. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon.
- Best Western Huntsville Inn & Suites, 201 W Hill Park Circle, ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Outdoor pool, breakfast and WiFi included. Pets allowed for $15/night.
|Routes through Huntsville|
|Dallas ← Fairfield ← Jct W E ←||N S||→ The Woodlands → Houston|
|Temple ← Bryan-College Station ←||W E||→ Jasper → Opelousas|