State Parks Getaways – June 2019

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6 Parks Perfect for Paddling

Man and two boys in kayak, video link

Summer is here! A fun day of cruising down a river may be just what you need, and we've got sweet places for you to paddle. Many parks rent canoes, kayaks or stand-up paddle boards with life jackets and paddles provided.

Parks across the state are perfect for a day on the water, including these favorites:

  1. Purtis Creek – near DFW
  2. Martin Dies Jr. – near Houston
  3. Buescher – near Austin
  4. Lake Colorado City – near Midland
  5. Meridian – near Waco
  6. Guadalupe River – near San Antonio and has a new Texas Paddling Trail  

Keep an eye out for wildlife like otters, beavers and herons. And don't forget the sunblock!

Headed to the Coast? 3 Can’t-Miss Sites

lighthouse, Big Tree, San Jacinto monument

If you're planning a summer run to the Gulf coast, be sure and visit these not-to-be-missed sites:

  1. Port Isabel Lighthouse – Recently restored, this is the only lighthouse on the Texas coast open to visitors. Climb the 75 steps to the top and take in a spectacular (and selfie-worthy) view of the coast. 
  2. The Big Tree at Goose Island – Over 1,000 years old and one of the largest live oak trees in the country, The Big Tree recently added another historic notch to its bark when it survived a direct hit from hurricane Harvey.
  3. San Jacinto Monument – The tallest stone column memorial in the world, it commemorates the sacrifices by both sides in the Battle of San Jacinto – a fight that ultimately resulted in Texas independence. Check out the artifacts in the museum, located in its base.

Explore the Land of Red Rock Spires & Mesas

2 boys next to red rock spire, video link

Caprock Canyons has the rugged beauty you'd expect to see in a Western movie. Time has carved waves, spires and mesas into its red rock, prairie dogs pop up, bats roost in an old tunnel, and 250 bison roam freely in the park.

With a lake and nearly 90 miles of trails to hike, bike and explore, you'll find plenty to do. Camp overnight and take in the stars to add to your authentic Old West experience. 

bison in front of mesa

The bison at Caprock are celebrated each year with BisonFest, a one-day music festival. This year's event takes place on Sat., Sept. 28 and Kevin Fowler headlines. Proceeds go directly to the restoration of the Texas State Bison Herd. Make your plans now to join us! 

Read the magazine story "Red Rock Country," and watch our Caprock Canyons video to find out more about visiting the park.

Keeping the Kids Busy This Summer

girl watercoloring, video link

If you're looking for no-cost ways to keep the kids occupied and get them outside this summer, bring them to your state parks!

Children 12 and under always get in free, and we have plenty of kid-focused events. Each park has different options, and you'll find something for all ages.  

Junior Ranger participants

We also have year-round programs for children. The Junior Ranger program offers free activity guides and packs that can be checked out at many parks. Geocache Challenge is an ongoing treasure hunt, Buffalo Soldiers connects history and the outdoors, and Arts in the Parks encourages us all to be inspired by nature. We'll see you this summer! 

Parks Are Accessible to Everyone

boy in wheelchair surrounded by friends

Limited mobility can make it difficult to get outdoors and explore nature. However, many parks have accessible features, and our magazine has put together a list of favorite accessible parks.

Don't miss our park activities and events suitable for folks with limited mobility.

Weather can damage outdoor accessible features. So always contact a park and confirm its accessibility before a visit. 

Did You Know:

Texas State Park Pass holders can reserve advance day passes for free. Just log into your account before you make your reservation