State Parks Getaways – December 2021

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Winter Wonderlands at Parks

Trail under an arch of snowy trees, Caprock Canyons SP, with link to park

Winter can transform your parks. January and February are the best months to find wide-open vistas thanks to beautifully barren trees and familiar landscapes remodeled by snow. You'll also have more breathing room on trails due to lower traffic. 

It's also the season for campfires – spooky stories, snuggling and s'mores! Find parks that allow campfires by clicking the filter on the parks map and selecting "show parks without burn bans." 

Here are a few of the parks in regions that typically get snow:

Panhandle: Caprock Canyons 

North Central: Lake Arrowhead

West: Franklin Mountains, Hueco Tanks

It's also easier to get day passes or overnight reservations in winter, even for popular parks like Garner. But it's always best to reserve before you head out. Make a reservation today for some post-holiday chill-out time in your parks.

Outdoor Chef: Chocolate Cherry Cake

Ranger spooning out Dutch oven cake, video link

Pioneers traveling to Texas used Dutch ovens for meal prep while on the road, and they're still beloved by outdoor chefs today. 

Ranger Diana shares her 3-ingredient recipe for Dutch Oven Chocolate Cherry Dump Cake, along with tips for maintaining your Dutch oven. This is a simple recipe kids can help with for the holidays or any outdoor celebration.

A great thing about cooking at a park is you can eat cake guilt-free because you'll soon be walking or hiking a trail! Watch the calendar to find one of our Dutch oven cooking events where you can learn more tips and tricks. 

NEW Online Parks Store & 2021 Ornament

Items from online store, link

You asked for it, and it's here! The State Parks store is online, just in time for holiday giving. You'll find plenty of gifts for the park enthusiasts on your list, including key rings, pins, magnets, zipper pulls, ornaments, the Texas State Parks Pass and more. 

2021 ornament - longhorn, link

Best of all, the new 2021 State Parks ornament is now in the online store. It celebrates Lyndon Baines Johnson State Park and Historic Site with an image of a longhorn steer, since part of the Official Texas Longhorn Herd resides there. Add one to your tree!

Gather Your Group at a Park Facility

Family walking into group facility, video link

If you want a unique venue for an event, look no further than your parks. We have a variety of group facilities both large and small, historic and modern, all in natural settings. Some parks with extra-special facilities: 

Ft. Parker: barracks that sleep 86

Lyndon B. Johnson: baseball field

Lake Brownwood group facility

amphitheater with screen

San Angelo: pavilion that holds 150 

Try using the filter on the parks map or the State Parks app to search for group facilities. You can't reserve group sites online. Call (512) 389-8920 for more information or to reserve a site.

Gift Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine this holiday season 

magazine sale: 6 issue for $10 - link

Help Us Build a New State Park for Texas!

Palo Pinto Mountains State Park, link

Thanks to many generous Texans, Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation is less than $3 million away from reaching a $9 million fundraising goal to open Palo Pinto Mountains State Park

Located 75 miles west of Fort Worth and sitting on almost 5,000 acres of rambling hills and stunning vistas, the new park will come to life thanks to a partnership between public funding and a dedicated private fundraising campaign.

This “hill country of the north” boasts extraordinary conservation and recreational potential, with several 1,400-foot peaks and the 90-acre Tucker Lake.

Help us close the fundraising gap with a gift today. Your support will help ensure that Palo Pinto Mountains State Park becomes a first-class outdoor-experience destination for all Texans to enjoy. Donate today!

Messages from Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine advertisers

Visit Port Aransas with link

Artist Boat Coastal Heritage kayak tours, with link