State Parks Getaways - March 2016

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State Parks Getaways

Make Your Cabin and Shelter Reservations ONLINE

Want to avoid telephone wait times? You can now check availability and make reservations online for state park cabins, shelters and some lodges — 24 hours a day, seven days a week and up to 333 days in advance! 

You pay only the first night's charge when you reserve the site. Other fees are due at check-in. Make a reservation with your computer or mobile device today and spend some quality time at a state park.

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New Funding = Brighter Future for Parks

Father and son in kayak

The State of Texas is looking out for its parks. During the last legislative session, lawmakers voted to give 94% of state sales tax revenue collected from the sale of sporting goods to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for park facilities and operations. Funds will also go to help cities and counties across the state build and improve community parks.

For 2016-2017, $90.6 million will be used for more than 80 park improvement projects — from restroom replacements and visitor center upgrades to new cabins and historic site restorations. Critical repairs will also be made to facilities damaged by floods, hurricanes, and wildfires. A web portal,, provides updated information on the projects currently underway and those in the planning stages.

This historic legislation came about due to the efforts of many people and organizations who have supported parks over the years. To you we extend our deepest thanks and appreciation. And together we’ll build a brighter future for Texas State Parks and the Texans who love them.

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State Park App

Family Camping

Join Today and Win a State Parks Pass  

Texas State Parks are treasures for all Texans. As the state’s population continues to grow, they will become even more valuable.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation (TPWF), our nonprofit funding partner, believes in the importance of providing access to state parks for all. From the spectacular acquisition of Powderhorn Ranch along the coast to providing equipment to introduce families to camping, TPWF is supporting efforts to enhance our state parks.

Consider supporting TPWF’s efforts by becoming a member today. As a member, you’ll receive exclusive benefits like insider information, invitations to special events and other members-only perks. And, if you join by April 1, you’ll automatically be entered in a TPWF drawing to win a gift certificate for a state parks pass. You can use the pass yourself, or give it as a gift.

*The price of membership pays for TPWF membership only and not for the chance to win a state parks pass. Members who join by April 1 are automatically entered in the drawing. Three winners will be chosen. 

Join TPWF 

Stretch Your Limits

Mountain Biking

Mountain biking delivers a sense of freedom and living in the moment. It’s also a killer way to de-stress. Try biking at state parks, where you’ll find tons of trails rated from beginner to difficult. You can bike in parks all over the state and there are events for every skill level. Go for it!

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Rock Climbing

Try rock climbing – the views are breathtaking, the feeling is exhilarating, and it builds your self-confidence and focus. There are 4 state parks that offer rock climbing - don't miss the historic and scenic Lake Mineral Wells outside of Ft. Worth.

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If you enjoy adventuring into the unknown, caving is for you. Strange rock formations and odd creatures will make you feel like you’re on another planet. Caving is available in 4 state parks, including Colorado Bend. As the weather heats up, discover the cool darkness of a cave!

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What’s Up on Social Media?

Sands of the Monahans

Monahans Sandhills State Park is made of sand dunes, with some up to 70 feet high. Come out and try some sand-surfing, beloved by young and old alike. You can also camp, go horseback riding, wonder at the wildlife or just sit and watch the sands being reshaped endlessly by the wind. 

Watch the YouTube Video

Birding Classic

Every spring, there’s a huge influx of birds into Texas. The Great Texas Birding Classic celebrates this phenomenon with a super-fun birdwatching tournament. Facebook tells us that last year 415 bird species were sighted in a month! There are categories for all ages and skill levels - including a State Park category. 

Join the fun!

The Great Texas Birding Classic is just one of the programs made possible by supporters of Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, our Nonprofit Partner.


Family Friendly Fishing 

Learn-to-Fish Events

Want to see your kids unglued from their screens and hooked on the outdoors? Bring them to Go Fish!, our learn-to-fish events at state parks. Topics include baiting, casting, fish handling and fly fishing. There are demonstrations of fishing gear and loaner gear is provided so they can practice those newly-learned skills. Go Fish events are FREE, and each participant goes home with a fishing fun pack and a new way to enjoy the outdoors.

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Vote for your Spot

Do you have a favored park for family-friendly fishing? The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation wants to know and they’re giving away prizes to find out. Just vote for your favorite state park spot(s) and you’ll be entered to win. There’s no entry fee and you can vote once a day through March 27. Galveston Island State Park made it into the top 10 last year, let’s get Texas in the top 10 again – vote today. And tomorrow!

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ADV La Quinta

Dog + Park = Wagging 

What to Know

Dogs are welcome in most state parks, but there may be areas where they aren’t allowed, like swimming areas or sensitive ecosystems – just the presence of dogs can change wildlife behavior. Check the rules to avoid surprises. Carry waste bags on your hikes and dispose of them at a waste station. Make your dog's day - take it to a park.

Where to Go

Dog Safety

Safety tips for a park visit with your pup: Bring extra water for the dog. If it’s hot, avoid heat exhaustion and burnt paws with rest time in the shade. Rocks cut, so check paws regularly. Never let it off leash. If you want to do something sans dog, don’t leave your pet alone - check the park office about boarding facilities in the area. 

Canine Camper Tips

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