State Parks Getaways – December 2022

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Celebrate 100 Years of Your State Parks

Pedernales Falls SP at sunrise with 100 Years of State Parks logo

Pedernales Falls State Park

Since 1923, Texas State Parks has been preserving the natural and cultural treasures of our state. Like the previous generations that enjoyed state parks during the first 100 years, we recognize that it's YOUR love of the outdoors that keeps parks alive and growing. You who buys a park pass or souvenir, you who shares stories about your favorite parks, you who rents a cabin or votes to support state parks, you are keeping parks relevant. Thank you.

Join us as we celebrate this once-in-a-lifetime experience with festivities throughout 2023. Begin with a First Day Hike on Jan. 1. Most parks will have at least one, and some are planning other activities, like polar plunges (brrrrr!).

Next up is the Art of Texas State Parks exhibit. It will be at Austin's Bullock Museum from 1/7/23 to 4/30/23, then it travels to other cities. These activities are just the start, so keep an eye on the 100-year updates, and we'll see you out there.

Road Trip! Longhorn Cavern + Inks Lake

Group tour in Longhorn Cavern, video link

Winter is the perfect time to plan a trip to two unique Hill Country parks. Longhorn Cavern is underground, huge and filled with geologic wonders. 

Less than 15 miles away is Inks Lake. It's very popular due to its pink rock formations, gorgeous views, hiking trails and camping options. 

Family fishing on the rock shore of Inks Lake, video link

Got out-of-town visitors over the holidays? Share the awesome beauty of natural Texas with a visit to one or both of these parks. 

It's best to make reservations ahead of time for Inks Lake. Buy tickets to tour Longhorn Cavern in lieu of paying a park entrance fee.   

Where to Find the Fleeting Fall Color 

Guadalupe River State Park in fall colors

Guadalupe River State Park

The trees were a little late changing into their autumn coats, but from all accounts they are looking good this year! The color won't last long, so catch it while you can.

Look for gold, copper, and red on trees in northeast parks, including Lake Bob Sandlin, Tyler and Daingerfield. You'll also find color pop-ups at Dinosaur Valley, near Waco and at Guadalupe River in the Hill Country

For a list of more parks with autumn color, see the Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine story Why Do Leaves Change Color in Fall? Once you decide where to go, call the park to make sure the leaves haven't fallen from the trees before you head out, and don't forget your day pass.

Camping and bluebonnet license plates that support State Parks, with ink

NEW: E-Rock Ornament + 100-Year Gear

Enchanted Rock SNA ornament

The 2022 State Parks official holiday ornament is now available. It's an image of Enchanted Rock State Natural Area under a starry sky.

This will be a nice gift for fans of Enchanted Rock, park lovers on your list, or yourself. This ornament is a limited edition, so get it now – once they're gone, they won't be back. 

100 Years of State Parks keychain on backpack

The 100-year celebration has already started in our online store, where you'll find a lapel pin, keychain and more. Additional products will be added throughout the yearlong celebration. 

Find out more about the new 100-year gear in our press release Gear Up for 2023 With Official Texas State Parks Centennial Merch.

Be a Park Hero: Volunteer

Park volunteer with geocaching tools, video link

The new year is less than a month away, and if you're looking for a resolution, how about volunteering at a state park? Volunteering in 2023 will be more fun than usual, because 100-year celebrations will be happening throughout the state.

Use the volunteer Opportunity Search to find a position that works for you. Choose from a variety of job options, locations, indoor or outdoor work – and you control how much time you commit. If you don't see an opening that appeals to you, check back, new positions are added regularly.

If you're not convinced, volunteering has been shown to reduce stress and increase feelings of well-being – another excellent reason to make a New Year's resolution to volunteer at a state park in 2023.

A message from our nonprofit partner, Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation:

Help Build a New State Park for Texas

Palo Pinto Mountains

The State Parks centennial kicks off next month, and what better way to celebrate than by building a new park!  

Thanks to the many generous Texans who contributed to Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation’s fundraising campaign, Palo Pinto Mountains State Park is slated for a soft opening in late 2023 as the capstone of the centennial celebration.

Texas' newest park will provide a beautiful setting for hiking, camping, fishing, swimming and more.

The fundraising campaign is still underway, and your support will help ensure that Palo Pinto Mountains becomes a first-class outdoor destination that Texans will enjoy for generations to come. Donate today.

Visit Port Aransas - traditions anchor here, with link

Soar Like a Bird at South Padre, with link