State Parks Getaways - May 2016

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State Parks Getaways

The Coast is Calling

Texas coast

The Texas coast has four magnificent state parks, each with its own personality. Which one suits your summer vacation plans best? 

An hour from Houston lies Galveston Island State Park, famous for its family fishing and boating. This island park has beaches and dunes, campsites and cabins. Paddling is one way to explore the park and we’ve got a video with tips. There’s always something fun going on here, so come on out!

Unique Sea Rim State Park was recently rebuilt after being hit by hurricanes. This is Texas beach in its mostly natural state, remote and wild. Next to the beach lies a maze of marshes, so rent a kayak at the park and explore! Or walk the popular nature trail boardwalk and watch for marsh residents like otter, mink, alligator and a variety of water birds.

Mustang Island is named for wild horses that lived here until the late 1800s. Today, Mustang Island State Park is known for its extraordinary unspoiled beaches and 20 miles of paddling trails. With over 300 campsites, it’s the perfect place for you to fall asleep to the lullaby of the sea.

Got a serious angler in your group? Visit Goose Island State Park, a hub of sport fishing. It’s also home to an oak tree over 1,000 years old and the public campground closest to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge - which means birds galore! Pay a visit and enjoy all this park has to offer

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New funding brings brighter future to state parks
Night hike at Palo Duro Canyon

New - Interactive Hiking Trail Maps 

There are now 39 state parks that offer interactive trails maps for use with your mobile device. Choose a map or satellite view, zoom in or out for a better look, and click on segments to check trail lengths and names. Some maps also offer street view (or in this case, trail view). To pinpoint your location on the map, just turn on your device’s location services. 

Interactive trail maps help get your tech-obsessed kid interested in hiking – check out these pointers for family hikes. They’re also a good tool to have on a night hike. State parks are a whole other world when the sun goes down. Many have hiking events during both day and night, so come out and find hi-tech hiking happiness with this new tool. 

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Hot Off the Press

State Park Guide

The new State Park Guide, featuring a Palo Duro Canyon cover, will be available on June 1. Within, you’ll find photos, amenities, maps and more for all 95 state parks, grouped by region. Pick up your free guide at any state park or one of these locations. Even better, take 2 and give 1 to a friend or someone new to Texas. Business owners, you can order in bulk and give guides to your customers. However you get a guide, use it and get outside.

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New State Park App

Get the free mobile Guide to all 95 Texas state parks, available now for Apple and Android. It’s super simple to use - just filter the park list for your preferred amenities (like boat rentals and cabins), and a list of all parks that fulfill your preferences will come up; then use the in-app map to locate any park and get directions. You'll also find tons of details about each park. Download this fast and easy app today!

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Ranger Roundup

Ranger Roundup is a collection of recent interesting and exciting occurrences in state parks, straight from our park rangers. The latest monthly roundup includes: newborn baby bison at Caprock Canyons State Park, a bighorn sheep viewing station added at Big Bend Ranch State Park, and a retiree who has visited 35 Texas state parks in his trek across Texas to the Continental Divide. Check for new updates each month.

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State Park license plates

Shhh! For Kids Only

Junior Rangers

Hey kids, do you want to become a Junior Ranger? Just pick up a Junior Ranger Journal next time you visit a state park, complete the activities and you’ll earn a pin! Get one from each state park. Borrow an Explorer Pack from a park’s headquarters to use while you’re there. They've got art supplies, binoculars and other cool stuff to help you explore the park. Become a Junior Ranger this summer!

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Youth Arts Contest

The 2016 Texas State Parks Youth Arts Contest has begun! We’re now accepting entries from all kids 19 and under. So get out to your favorite state parks and let them inspire you to create. Enter any kind of art – a song, film, poem, painting or rock sculpture (the one pictured is a 2015 winner inspired by Lake Mineral Wells State Park). Feel free to enter as many times as you like - just get them in by November 1. Good luck!

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What's Up on Social Media

Texas flag sunset

Doesn’t this sky look a whole lot like the Texas flag? Taken near Pedernales Falls State Park, this twilight sky of Texas pride was created by the moon rising in the east, next to the clouds reflecting the sunset in the western sky. Learn about more unusual outdoor events by following us on Facebook.

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Luna moth

This big male luna moth was spotted in Buescher State Park. These gorgeous moths aren’t seen very often because they are nocturnal. The adult moths don’t have mouth parts and never eat, so they only live about a week. Keep up with all the latest wildlife sightings by following us on Twitter.

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