Texas state parks are extremely diverse in natural views and places for all kinds of outdoor sports – from climbing and hiking, to horseback riding and beautiful soothing views of waterfalls and wooded hills.

Among the largest parks is Big Bend Ranch State Park, which covers an area of over 300,000 acres. Here you can camp and spend time with your family. Among the parks in Texas are some of the most picturesque canyons, waterfalls, and caves. Some places are harder to reach, while others are close to big cities like Dallas.

Here are some suggestions for nature-rich places to visit during your tour of Texas.

Big Bend Ranch State Park


Not surprisingly, the largest city park in Texas offers unlimited opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. The solitude of over 300,000 acres guarantees incredible starry nights and beautiful sunsets if you decide to camp here.

Big Bend Ranch is located on the border between the United States and Mexico and reaches the Rio Grande, which is an ideal opportunity for lovers of boating and fishing.

The park is suitable for visits in any season because the winter temperatures are mild and in summer you will find cool shade.

Website
Address: 1900 South Saucedo, Presidio, TX 79845, United States
Hours:

  • Monday: 8am – 6pm
  • Tuesday: 8am – 6pm
  • Wednesday: 8am – 6pm
  • Thursday: 8am – 6pm
  • Friday: 8am – 6pm
  • Saturday: 8am – 6pm
  • Sunday: 8am – 6pm

Phone: +1 432-358-4444
Area: 1,259 km²
Established: 1988
Management: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park


Known as the Texas Grand Canyon Park, it is close to Amarillo and reveals stunning scenery. There is a road through the whole park, which connects different routes for weather, camping, and places for relaxation.

In the Amphitheater here is held TEXAS Outdoor Musical event, which combines music, dance, and light show.

Website
Address: 11450 State Hwy Park Rd 5, Canyon, TX 79015, United States

Hours:

  • Friday: 7am-6pm
  • Saturday: 7am-6pm
  • Sunday: 7am-6pm
  • Monday: 7am-6pm
  • Tuesday: 7am-6pm
  • Wednesday: 7am-6pm
  • Thursday: 7am-6pm

Phone: +1 806-488-2227
Length: 120 mi (190 km)

Colorado Bend State Park


Colorado Bend State Park is located on just over 5,000 acres and has a wide variety of camping sites, opportunities for water or land sports, and cave exploration.

If you are passionate about cycling and hiking, this is a great place for you because it has over 30 miles of trails. The longest of them is Gorman Falls, which will imperceptibly take you to one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Texas.

Website
Address: 2236 Park Hill Dr, Bend, TX 76824, United States
Phone: +1 325-628-3240

Franklin Mountains State Park


Probably many tourists have heard of the city of El Paso, but few know that right next to it are 100 miles of hiking trails in Franklin Mountains State Park (27,000 acres).

The place has varied terrain, with large elevations, which makes it ideal for climbing and hiking. The most easily accessible part is called the Tom Mays Unit, where most of the campsites are located. From here you can start your walk on several different paths.

Website
Address: Tom Mays Park Access Rd, El Paso, TX 79930, United States

Guadalupe River State Park


Guadalupe River State Park is located on the banks of the Guadalupe River, which provides great opportunities for fishing and water sports enthusiasts. The nature here is quite rich, and the beautiful sunsets are perfect for capturing the moment in a photo.

The park is located not far from San Antonio and has a Discovery Center, which will arouse interest in nature and the little ones. One of the preferred routes is the Bald Cypress Trail, which runs near the river.

Website
Address: 3350 Park Rd 31, Spring Branch, TX 78070, United States
Hours:

  • Monday: 8am – 6pm
  • Tuesday:8am – 6pm
  • Wednesday: 8am – 6pm
  • Thursday: 8am – 6pm
  • Friday: 8am – 6pm
  • Saturday: 8am – 6pm
  • Sunday: 8am – 6pm

Phone: +1 830-438-2656
Area: 7.846 km²
Established: 1983

Longhorn Cavern State Park


Want to explore the area’s underground treasures? This park features one of the most scenic caves in Texas. Apart from natural miracles, the cave also has a rich cultural and historical heritage, which you will find out more about on one of the guided tours.

Ancient seas and dance halls once stretched here. As early as 1930, The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) attached special importance to the park, making a number of improvements, some of which have been preserved to this day (for example, the stone steps leading to the cave). The Stone Watchtower will reveal the beautiful views of the surroundings.

It is important to be prepared with the fact that the park can be visited only during the day, and if you want to spend the night in a campsite near Inks Lake State Park will give you this opportunity.

Website
Address: 6211 Park Road 4 S, Burnet, TX 78611, United States
Hours:

  • Monday: 9am – 6pm
  • Tuesday: 9am – 6pm
  • Wednesday: 9am – 6pm
  • Thursday: 9am – 6pm
  • Friday: 9am – 6pm
  • Saturday: 9am – 6pm
  • Sunday: 9am – 6pm

Phone: +1 512-715-9000
Established: 1932
Area: 2.613 km²

Pedernales Falls State Park


The park is located not far from Austin, around the rapids of The Pedernales River. It is important to know that it is not allowed to bathe anywhere along the river because of its turbulent nature.

However, you can enjoy the jumps and small waterfalls that form along with it, have a picnic or take a long walk along the shore. There are still special areas where swimming is allowed and you will still have the opportunity to cool off in the hot afternoons.

The longest transitional route is the Juniper Ridge Trail with a length of about 10 miles. Tourists should be especially careful when visiting the park because sometimes it is subject to flash flooding (even without rain in the park itself). Strictly follow the signs in the park to enjoy a wonderful recreational vacation.

Website
Address: 2585 Park Rd 6026, Johnson City, TX 78636, United States

Hours:

  • Monday: 8am – 6pm
  • Tuesday: 8am – 6pm
  • Wednesday: 8am – 6pm
  • Thursday: 8am – 6pm
  • Friday: 8am – 6pm
  • Saturday: 8am – 6pm
  • Sunday: 8am – 6pm

Phone: +1 830-868-7304
Area: 21.09 km²
Established: 1971

Brazos Bend State Park


This park will surprise you with a slightly more exotic vacation. The terrain is a mixture of tall grass and wooded areas, and among its most interesting inhabitants are American alligators. Of course, the park staff will strictly instruct you on your safety around these amazing wild creatures.

The park covers an area of 5,000 acres, and the most popular routes are the Creekfield Nature Trail and the 40 Acre Lake Trail, which have the best chance of seeing the alligators live.

The park has an electrified campsite with screened shelters, and cabins, providing everything you need for a relaxing evening.

Website
Address: 21901 Farm to Market Rd 762, Needville, TX 77461, United States
Hours:

  • Monday: 8am – 6pm
  • Tuesday: 8am – 6pm
  • Wednesday: 8am – 6pm
  • Thursday: 8am – 6pm
  • Friday: 8am – 6pm
  • Saturday: 8am – 6pm
  • Sunday: 8am – 6pm

Phone: +1 979-553-5102
Area: 4,897 acres (19.82 km2)
Established: 1984

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area


Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, near the German city of Fredericksburg, is one of the most iconic areas of Texas Hill Country. Granite formations can be seen from afar, exciting tourists for decades.

You can climb to the top of Enchanted Rock where you will find vernal pools full of rainwater. On clear evenings, the starry sky also deserves your attention.

Website
Address: 16710 Ranch Rd 965, Fredericksburg, TX 78624, United States
Phone: +1 830-685-3636
Hours:

  • Monday: 6:30AM–6PM
  • Tuesday: 6:30AM–6PM
  • Wednesday: 6:30AM–6PM
  • Thursday: 6:30AM–6PM
  • Friday: 6:30AM–6PM
  • Saturday:6:30AM–6PM
  • Sunday: 6:30AM–6PM

Established: 1978

Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Area


Hueco Tanks near El Paso boast beautiful landscapes and rich history.

Here many ancient tribes inhabiting the area have left their traces. Of course, these remains must be well protected, so the park has announced restrictions on permitted self-guided and guided tours.

It is mandatory to call and check the tour options in advance. Apart from getting acquainted with the ancient cultures, here you can also indulge in climbing and outdoor sports.

Website
Address: 6900 Hueco Tanks Road No. 1, El Paso, TX 79938, United States

Phone: +1 915-857-1135
Area: 2.989 km²
Hours:

  • Monday: 8am – 6pm
  • Tuesday: 8am – 6pm
  • Wednesday: 8am – 6pm
  • Thursday: 8am – 6pm
  • Friday: 8am – 6pm
  • Saturday:8am – 6pm
  • Sunday: 8am – 6pm

Caddo Lake State Park


Just 30 miles from Louisiana is Caddo Lake State Park, famous for its Spanish moss and alligators that you can watch live.

CCCs have also left their mark with massive stone structures. You can go for a walk on one of the separate routes or prefer water sports such as canoeing and kayaking.

By Big Cypress Bayou you can reach Caddo Lake, where you can go fishing or picnicking, or start exploring the area on one of the 50 trails starting from here.

Website
Address: 245 Park Rd 2, Karnack, TX 75661, United States
Hours:

  • Monday: 8am – 6pm
  • Tuesday: 8am – 6pm
  • Wednesday: 8am – 6pm
  • Thursday: 8am – 6pm
  • Friday: 8am – 6pm
  • Saturday: 8am – 6pm
  • Sunday: 8am – 6pm

Phone: +1 903-679-3351
Established: 1933
Elevation: 237 ft (72 m)

Davis Mountains State Park


The landscape in Davis Mountains State Park is hilly. Here you will find much of the CCC’s heritage, such as the 39-room Indian Lodge, which still functions today and offers shelter from the hot Texas sun.

Hiking is a major activity here as one of the most famous trails is the Skyline Drive Trail. Nearby is the Balmorhea State Park, which offers some of the largest spring-fed swimming pools.

Lost Maples State Natural Area


The park is located in the heart of Texas Hill Country, and the best season to visit is in the fall. The park has 30 campsites and a huge number of hiking trails that reach the top of a picturesque hilly area.

A variety of autumn shades are ideal for memorable photos, and fishing, picnics, and long walks guarantee a relaxing vacation.

Website
Address: 37221 RM 187, Vanderpool, TX 78885, United States
Hours:

  • Monday: 8am – 10pm
  • Tuesday: 8am – 10pm
  • Wednesday: 8am – 10pm
  • Thursday: 8am – 10pm
  • Friday: 8am – 10pm
  • Saturday: 8am – 10pm
  • Sunday: 8am – 10pm

Phone: +1 830-966-3413
Area: 2,906 acres (11.76 km2)
Established: 1979

Caprock Canyons State Park & Trailway


Keen on sports like mountain biking, climbing, and horseback riding? The rugged terrain of the Caprock Canyons is just for you.

The park is located 50 miles from Palo Duro and is home to the beautiful Lake Theo. From here, access to the 64-mile-long Caprock Canyons Trailway is easy.

Adrenaline and wildlife enthusiasts can reach the Clarity Tunnel to meet a colony of Mexican free-tailed bats.

Website
Address: 850 Caprock Canyon Park Road, Quitaque, TX 79255, United States
Hours:

  • Monday: 8am – 6pm
  • Tuesday: 8am – 6pm
  • Wednesday: 8am – 6pm
  • Thursday: 8am – 6pm
  • Friday: 8am – 6pm
  • Saturday: 8am – 6pm
  • Sunday: 8am – 6pm

Phone: +1 806-455-1492
Area: 61.97 km²
Established: 1982
Trail difficulty: Medium

Monahans Sandhills State Park


Monahans Sandhills State Park is different from all so far because it offers views of sand dunes that reach a height of 50 feet and change daily. For this reason, there are no separate routes in the park and everyone is free to choose the direction in which to go.

The park has 26 campsites. Of course, the most preferred sport is surfing down the dunes. Stock up on plenty of water because the days in West Texas are especially hot.

Website
Address: Exit 86, 2500 I-20, Monahans, TX 79756, United States
Hours:

  • Monday: 6am – 6pm
  • Tuesday: 6am – 6pm
  • Wednesday: 6am – 6pm
  • Thursday: 6am – 6pm
  • Friday: 6am – 6pm
  • Saturday: 6am – 6pm
  • Sunday: 6am – 6pm

Phone: +1 432-943-2092
Established: 1957
Area: 15.54 km²
Elevation: 840 m

Conclusion

Texas state parks are diverse enough to satisfy the preferences of every tourist. Whether you choose high mountain areas, forests, sand dunes, or rivers and lakes.

In addition to the great opportunities for outdoor sports, the remoteness of the parks from the urban environment will provide you with amazing views of the night sky. The trip here is definitely worth it, so try to spend as much time as possible for your stay so that you can feel in one with nature.

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