State Parks Getaways – April 2021

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The Wildflower Explosion Has Begun!

Indian paintbrush and bluebonnet flowers, with video link

One of the best things about Texas is our wildflower season. It starts in March with small bursts of color, and by April masses of brightly colored flowers are exploding across the landscape like fireworks.

Wildflowers pop up in every park, but those located in the area from Houston to San Antonio and north toward DFW are at the epicenter of this spring experience. If it's bluebonnets you're after, two parks are known for their brilliant displays: Lake Somerville west of Houston and Lyndon B. Johnson west of Austin. 

Keep up with the latest park wildflower sightings on our Flickr and discover where to find different types in the Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine story, Parks in Bloom. Then get to a park and revel in this bluebonnet spring. You deserve it.  

Coming Soon – Your New Texas State Park

Scenic Palo Pinto hill and creek

Thanks to generous Texans, Palo Pinto Mountains State Park will be the first new state park in Texas in decades.

Located 75 miles west of Fort Worth and sitting on almost 5,000 acres of rambling hills and a 90-acre lake, Palo Pinto Mountains will offer hiking, mountain biking, camping, horseback riding, fishing and stargazing. 

Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation is raising $9 million to help open the new park, and they’re halfway there. Help us make Palo Pinto Mountains State Park a first-class outdoor destination for all Texans to enjoy with your tax-deductible donation. Read more about your new park in the Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine article, Bringing a Park to Life.

See Unique Park Structures Built by the CCC

Longhorn cavern trail, video link

During the 1930s Depression, the federal government created the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) to provide men with jobs. Part of its mission was to help build parks.

The CCC worked on the construction of many of your state parks and made a film about it, Parks Under the Lone Star. Watch it, it's like Texas time travel.

water tower at Mother Neff SP, video link

Many park structures built by the CCC still stand today, including at the 3 parks below. Find out more about this historic craftsmanship in our blog post, The CCC in Texas.


April is state parks month at Whole Earth, link

Enjoy the Thrills of Spring Birding

Family birdwatching at Estero Llano Grande SP, video link to tips for birdwatching

There's a short window of time when thousands of  birds traveling north will fly through Texas – and now is that time. Everything from tiny songbirds to giant hawks will pitstop at parks. Many parks have bird blinds, allowing you to safely watch, paint and photograph visiting birds, including at these parks: 

Check out Birding in State Parks for a list of some parks with bird blinds. New to birding? Ranger John is here to help – watch his video, Tips to Start Birdwatching.

If you're interested in Texas wildlife, subscribe to the Our Wild Texas e-newsletter. You'll find past issues in our archive

Bluebonnet license plate ad with link

Get Up and Out by Volunteering at a Park

Volunteer on mountainside

If you're ready to get out and about again, try volunteering at a state park. Volunteer opportunities are as diverse as your parks and have flexible schedules. Volunteering also gives you ways to apply your skills or learn new ones – and have fun doing it. 

Volunteer in vehicle by Airstream, video link

You can even live at some parks in exchange for being a park host, like the college student in our video, From Campus to Camper. Volunteering is fun and keeps you active. Join us! Your parks wouldn't be the same without the help of volunteers. 

Did You Know?

Making day use reservations in advance for Easter weekend, or any day, will guarantee you'll get into that park that day. This is necessary for weekends and holiday visits, when parks quickly fill up. If you can’t keep your reservation, it’s important that you cancel it so others can enjoy the park.

2021 Toyota Tundra ad with link