State Parks Getaways - Summer Edition


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smiling father, son on fishing pier



In This Issue:


Take to a Beach for Coastal State Park Fishing

sillouette, 2 people, tent on beach, sunsetLet sea breezes keep you cool as you cast into the surf or wade fish at a coastal state park. And family members who may not enjoy fishing can have a beach vacation: build sand castles, bird watch, beachcomb, and enjoy the soothing sound of waves and shorebirds. And remember – you don't need a license to fish in Texas State Parks. 

Explore the fishing opportunities and park details at these four coastal parks which all offer fishing:

Make a campsite reservation online.

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June 1 - Enjoy a State Park on National Trails Day

silouette people by campfire

Plan to hit a trail on June 1, American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day. It’s a nationwide celebration of trails and an opportunity to visit your favorite trails in Texas State Parks.

Find a National Trails Day event at a state park near you and get outdoors to enjoy activities ranging from hikes, trail running, bike rides, and horseback rides, to backpacking, history tours, trail maintenance, and wildlife viewing.

Or, if water trails are more your thing, explore a freshwater or saltwater Texas Paddling Trail  or attend a guided kayaking or canoeing event.

No matter which trail you choose, join hundreds of other Texans on June 1 to promote healthy outdoor activities and share the experience of hundreds of miles of trails at Texas State Parks!

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Picnicking In a State Park: A Recipe For Fun

mother, 2 children taking picturesWhether you relax on a blanket, sit at a picnic table or cook outdoors on an open grill — food just tastes better outside! Start with 28 scrumptious, easy-to-make picnic recipes to fit your mood: romantic, kid-friendly, family gatherings and outdoor cooking.

Texas State Parks has teamed up with the Texas Department of Agriculture, the Texas Beef Council and our food-blogging friends to remind you that a picnic is a great way to create family memories.

Find a park near you in some of the most beautiful places in the state — next to rivers, lakes, historic structures, beaches and more. You can even put on a Texas-sized picnic in a group pavilion. Call your park destination to ask about picnic pavillions. Find other shelters and make reservations by calling (512)389-8900.

Be sure to also save time for the family to relax under the trees or enjoy a walk or other activities in the outdoors.

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State Park Guide 2013 – A Visitor’s Handbook

State Park Guide cover, family walking near woodsy cabin

What’s in your glove box? How about a hot-off-the-press 2013 State Park Guide? Stay in the know about updates to your favorite state park or any of more than 90 state parks around the state. It includes a pull-out map of all park locations. Pick up a copy on your next visit to any state park. Can’t wait? View the digital and PDF versions online.

The 2013 State Park Guide is made possible thanks to the sponsorship of Toyota and La Quinta and advertising including Whole Earth Provision Co., Academy Sports + Outdoors, GEICO, The North Face and ParkVisitor.Com.

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Sleeping Cool in the Summertime in a State Park

San Solomon Springs lodge, Balmorhea

The coolest lodgings are hot items during the usual Texas summer. If an air conditioned cabin is a must-have for your family, it’s best to make reservations now. Look  for the "Shelters with AC" icon in the State Park Guide. Cabins and campsites with electrical hookups are an opportunity to bring along your own fan.

Read about some of the best state park cabins in this Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine story. See these examples of lodging options with air conditioning:

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Youth Ambassadors Bring Millennials to State Parks

two girls standing on rocky hilltopA single positive experience in the outdoors can lead to a lifetime of advocacy for natural places, they say. The eight volunteer Texas State Park Youth Ambassadors are beginning that journey and bringing along their friends, too!  That’s important because time in the outdoors today is the foundation for responsible land stewardship tomorrow.

Natalie Davis, a 16-year-old Texas State Park Youth Ambassador, produced this lively video to encourage her peers to enjoy more time in the outdoors. Armed with outreach tools including park presentations, maps and guides, these young advocates will spend the spring and summer raising awareness for state parks near their high schools, college campuses and communities. Visit their blogs to see what they’ve got to say.

Good news for young adults who love sharing their enthusiasm for the outdoors: the Texas State Park Youth Ambassador Program is expanding! Those between the ages of 16 and 24 across Texas who are interested in volunteering as an Ambassador should contact Ky Harkey ( or call (512) 389-8738.

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Vintage Videos Illustrate Parks System History

vintage b/w photo: family in bathing suits by lakeAs TPWD celebrates its 50th anniversary, it’s hard to believe what things were like “back in the day.” The builders of the early Texas state parks system could never have imagined the technology that brings you this e-newsletter. Take a trip in our time machine with a visit to this playlist of vintage videos.

If you were a part of the first 50 years, commit to help us keep "life better outside" for another 50 years. Pledge to do things like visit state parks, take a kid hunting or fishing, or share a story or photo showcasing what makes life better outside in Texas. We’ll send you a free vehicle decal sticker for “Life’s better outside” ambassadors.

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Summer in the City? Head to Huntsville State Park

vines and greeneryAs summer settles over Texas, breezy shade and sparkling water are two requirements for a successful getaway. Huntsville State Park in the east Texas Pineywoods has plenty of both, and it’s only a short trip on the highway from the stresses of urban living. Hikin’, bikin’, fishin’, sittin’, eatin’ – what more could you ask? Put yourself in the picture in this video.

Soak up some nature. The park’s newly remodeled Nature Center offers new displays, up-to-date interpretive panels, and live exhibits, all incorporated into a forest-themed wall space, so guests can truly become more engaged with the natural resources of the Pineywoods.

In addition to the Nature Center, live interpretive events are scheduled every weekend. Learn about American alligators, the last living dinosaurs, or take a night hike if you dare! Like Huntsville State Park on Facebook to see what’s going on, and check out the park’s Events Calendar.

If you live in Houston or College Station, peace is just an hour away!

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The Bats Are Coming!

bats flying across moonDid you know that Texas is home to the most kinds of bats (32 of the 45 species) in the U.S.? Millions of bats began arriving at their Texas hangouts in February and will remain with us until their mid-fall migration. You may "hang" with them at a Texas state park. Now’s the time to plan a summer trip (their populations may double in August when bat pups begin flying).

Try these spots for bat watching. Hours, facilities and accessibility varies, so call the park for more information.

Urban bat haunts are convenient and fun to see, but witnessing a bat emergence in a dark, quiet natural setting is a very different experience. It’s up close, personal and downright magical. Chalk it up with a list of nature’s most memorable moments.

Texans love their bats for good reasons. Bats are a boon to local tourism and save farmers millions in agricultural crop loss. Hear more about their value on this Passport To Texas radio program and watch an explanation in this video.

Check the Calendar for bat talks and walks.

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