State Parks Getaways – December 2023

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Road Trip! Seminole Canyon

Seminole Canyon overlook and rock art, video link

Striking views await you at Seminole Canyon – but it's the 4,000-year-old pictographs that will take your breath away. They're stories told in pictures by the graphic novelists of the ancient past. There are more than 200 sites here with rock paintings, and some have panels hundreds of feet long. 

Guided hiking tours are available to view the pictograph sites. Insider Tip: Summers here are very hot, so it's best to visit during cooler months. Find out more about these famous pictographs in the Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine story History on Cave Walls

If you enjoy birding, Seminole Canyon's location near Del Rio makes it a magnet for many migrating birds that overwinter in Texas – see the bird checklist (PDF). Discover more about this unique park in our video Seminole Canyon State Park & Historic Site.


Wrapping Up Our 100-years Celebration

Picnic table in sunset at Lake Somerville, with link

This month marks the close of the 100 years of your state parks celebration. We extend our heartfelt appreciation to everyone who visited a park or joined in centennial events.

The bow on top of the celebration is the passage of Proposition 14, which created the Centennial Parks Conservation Fund. Thank you to everyone who voted for it.

This fund will help us acquire land and develop it into new state parks. It's a promise to all Texans, and to future generations, that your state parks are valued and appreciated. Find out more in the Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine story Centennial Fund Will Produce New State Parks.

Join in the Holiday Spirit at Your Parks

Texas State Parks centennial ornament

The holidays are a fun time to visit your parks – campers are encouraged to decorate their campsites, and many parks have seasonal events

This year's Texas-shaped ornament pinpoints each park to commemorate the 100th anniversary, order it online

Don't miss the chance to kick off the new year with the state park tradition of a First Day Hike. Work off that holiday feast and start the year with your best foot forward. 

LBJ holiday lights

It's always a good idea to get your day pass before heading to a park, including these parks that are offering free entry for special holiday events:

Happy holidays! We'll see you out there.

Update on Fairfield Lake State Park

We will no longer pursue acquisition of the property previously occupied by Fairfield Lake State Park. 

“We want to thank the staff and visitors who made Fairfield Lake State Park such a special place for the past half century, as well as those who have supported the effort to save the park,” said Texas State Parks Director Rodney Franklin.

Find more information in our press release TPWD Announcement on Fairfield Lake State Park.

Vote for the Big Winner of the Photo Contest

Hand holding camera

Thank you to everyone who submitted photos to the Texas State Parks Photo Contest this year. We received a lot of great ones! Now we need your help to determine the grand prize winner. 

Cast your vote for any of the 18 finalists – click on an image to see a larger version. You can vote once per day and vote for different images. Voting closes at 12 noon CST, Dec. 14. 

The talented winner will receive a Texas State Parks Pass, a $500 H-E-B gift card and a VIP experience at a state park. Cast your vote for the winning photo today!

Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine holiday sale, with link

NEW: Military Parklands Passport

Texas Parklands Passports

Our new Military Parklands Passports allows active-duty military, honorably discharged veterans, and the immediate family members of a service member who died while serving, options to enter state parks at no cost. 

These new Texas Parklands Passports, which you can obtain at any state park, are Active Duty, Veterans and Gold Star. Each has its own rules, qualifying documents and benefits. These passports are available at no cost and grant the cardholder free entry to all Texas state parks. Find out more in our press release.

A message from our non-profit partner, Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation:

Central TX Family Receives Holiday Gift Courtesy of Toyota

Family sitting in back of Toyota truck

The Palacios family of Buda is always up for a Texas state park visit. A recent visit to McKinney Falls State Park in Austin will no doubt be remembered as their best park visit ever – that’s where they picked up the keys to a brand-new Toyota.

Ricardo Palacios is the winner for the sweepstakes honoring the 100-years anniversary of Texas State Parks. Toyota and Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation (TPWF) teamed up for a sweepstakes that also raised over $225,000 for Texas’ wild things and wild places.

Along with a new Toyota, Ricardo took home a prize package that included extras from YETI, Solo Stove, PAKMULE, Tecovas, SWAROVSKI OPTIK, Turtlebox, PECOS Outdoor and more.

“Christmas came early for us this year, and we can’t wait to enjoy these wonderful prizes in a Texas state park,” said Palacios. “We’re very grateful to Toyota and TPWF for making this year one we’ll never forget.”

A message from our non-profit partner, Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation:

Texas Wild Now Available in Park Stores

Texas Wild album, with link

An album as untamed as Texas is now available online and at state park stores across the Lone Star State!

As part of the 100 Years of Texas State Parks celebration, Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation (TPWF) in partnership with Rambler Sparkling Water and Tecovas, presents Texas Wild – an album featuring Texas musicians paying tribute to beloved Texas tunes.

In addition to digital downloads, the limited edition vinyl album can be purchased online, and a special edition vinyl is available only at state park stores – while it lasts.

“It’s fitting to close out our centennial celebration by offering a special edition of the album only available in our park stores,” said Texas State Parks Director Rodney Franklin.

Sales from the album will benefit TPWF. 

A message from our sponsor: 

Toyota Sequoia ad, with link

Messages from Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine advertisers:

Dinosaur exhibit at Ft. Worth Museum, with link

Sharks exhibit at the Bullock Museum in Austin, with link

Visit Clute, with link