State Parks Getaways – Summer 2020

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Dreaming of an Autumn Adventure? 

Caddo Lake, video link

Autumn and its jacket weather, brilliant leaves and wildflowers may seem far off, but now's the time to plan a fall-color camping trip at a state park. You can currently make overnight reservations up to 3 months in advance.

You'll typically find fall color in parks across the state, including these 5:

  1. Daingerfield – East of DFW
  2. Brazos Bend – South of Houston 
  3. Blanco – Southwest of Austin
  4. Guadalupe River – North of San Antonio
  5. Caddo Lake – East of DFW

Once fall arrives, call ahead before planning your day trip – color change can be  unpredictable and occur at different times around the state. Park attendance can also be unpredictable, so day-use reservations are highly encouraged – you can make them up to 30 days in advance. And be sure to check our current guidelines when planning your visits. 

Add a Park View to Your Next Video Chat

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If you use video conferencing or like to video chat with your friends, show your love of the outdoors with our free virtual backgrounds. 

Palo Duro landscape

Choose from 26 scenic views of the Texas outdoors – including 21 awe-inspiring state park vistas. They're free, so download them all!

6 Ways You & Your Pup Can Beat the Heat

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Summer in Texas is a lot of fun and a lot of hot. Daytime outdoor activities are more enjoyable and safer if you use these heat hacks: 

  1. Dress smart in lightweight clothes, a wet neck bandana and a hat.
  2. Hydrate by drinking 16 oz. of water each hour. 
  3. Eat salty snacks to replace salt lost to sweating. 

Dogs can fall prey to heat, too. Help keep your pet safe with these tips:

  1. Bring a bowl and extra water just for the dog.
  2. Watch those paws, they can crack and blister on hot surfaces.
  3. Take breaks in the shade so your dog can cool off.  

Check out the full list of heat hacks for humans. For more tips on protecting your pet, watch the Heat Safety for Dogs video. 

Building Your New State Parks 

Powderhorn Ranch, video link

State parks are the crown jewels of Texas, and we currently have 5 sites that are unpolished gems – future parks in development. Creating a new park is like building a small town, and it takes years. 

When we acquire a property, its wildlife and cultural resources (like pictographs) are examined. Those findings help determine which areas will be for recreational use and which areas will be protected, and that plan is presented to the public for input. Then a public-use plan with essentials like utilities, structures and trails is created. Next comes the design phase – surveying, mapping and architectural plans. Finally we get to build out the park and create the management plan, which will guide its operations.

Due to the generosity of the people of Texas with their vote for Proposition 5, we expect to have a reliable and sustained source of funding for development of your new parks, as well as overall ongoing maintenance. Thank you for your support.

Learn more about your 5 future parks in the Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine story, The Stuff of Dreams. For more about park-building, read Birth of a Park. Next time you visit a state park, know that it was built to last and with you in mind.

Did You Know?

The difference between a state park (SP) and a state natural area (SNA) is that an SP has been developed for public recreational use, and an SNA is in a more natural state, with fewer facilities. 

Get Your State Parks Guide and App

State Parks Guide cover

Pick up your free copy of the Texas State Parks Guide at any state park. Or take the pledge to "Take Care of Texas," and a copy will be mailed to you. Within the guide you'll find details about each individual park and a pull-out map showing all 89 parks.

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The free State Parks Guide mobile app puts the parks system at your fingertips. Use it to find activities, RV sites, lodging and more. Filter parks by your preferred amenities, then pinpoint locations with the app map. Download your parks app today!

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