Texas has over eighty state parks, out of which all are worth exploring! From arid desert parks in West Texas to the lush green forests, you’ll find it all. Whether you want to show off your adventurous side or go picnicking with your family, Texas State Parks will always be there for you! The following article will list the top State Parks in Texas that you can go to. Escape the city hustle and bustle for the fresh air and beautiful nature. You can also go hiking, mountain biking, or camping and find the peace you’ve been looking for! So, let’s get started and check out the top Texas State Parks before your next trip.
Texas State Parks:
Springs, pools, and other natural water bodies are some of the most enduring legacies of nature. There are several State Parks Texas that offer the luxury of witnessing beautiful nature while swimming in the calm. Let us look at some of the best State Parks in Texas with springs, pools, and other water bodies.
Balmorhea State Park
One of the best Texas State parks, the Balmorhea State Park has the world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool. The 46-acre park is located on the San Solomon Springs in Reeves County and is open all year round. The freshwater pool built around the springs is the feature in focus. This is one of the best Texas State Parks reservations to stay overnight. You can also go on a camping trip here and use the facilities at the San Solomon Courts.
Pedernales Falls State Park
Other than the beautiful limestone slabs, the Pedernales Falls State Park features the turbulent and mighty Pedernales River. It is one of the best Texas State Parks that is perfect for an adventurous family outing.
This park is also one of the most famous Texas State Parks camping with access to water and electricity. You can swim in the dedicated area after a strenuous hike. Ensure you do not swim in prohibited areas to stay safe from the raging torrents.
Inks Lake State Park
If you are looking for State Parks in Texas that are perfect for water sports, Inks Lake State park fits the bill. You can backpack and camp after a 9-mile hike to wind down and relax. The lake has the same water level all year round making it safe for swimming. You can boat, fish, or even scuba dive at the park.
Caddo Lake State Park
The Caddo Lake State Park is one of the most popular Texas State Parks reservations to spend your weekends magnificently. It is filled with bald cypress trees that are draped in several mazes of Spanish moss and other vegetation.
You can also find alligators in the park and more than 70 species of fish. The park also has a fishing pier and boating ramp to make for some adventurous activities. You can also find some popular restaurants for delectable cuisine.
“Also Check: 20 Best Missouri State Parks With Best Fishing Spots“
Guadalupe River State Park
One of the best Texas State Parks, the Guadalupe River park is located on the section of the Guadalupe River in both Comal and Kendall counties. You can find four miles of river frontage that you can use for different water sports activities. It is also one of the most renowned Texas State Parks Camping equipped with different facilities for better convenience. You can also go kayaking or canoeing on the Guadalupe River for a better adrenaline rush.
Colorado Bend State Park
The Colorado Bend State Park is one of the most renowned state parks, Texas that is relatively unspoiled. You can also fish or paddle in the attached river or tour the magnificent caves.
The Texas State Parks camping has several facilities like a rinse-off shower to allow you to have a memorable time with your family. You can also take a self-guided tour (3-mile round-trip hike) to Gorman Falls, a 70-foot spring-fed waterfall, and enjoy a back-to-nature picnic.
Cleburne State Park
Cleburne State Park is one of the best State Parks in Texas with a magnificent spring-fed lake. It is filled with several hiking trails that take you through forests and provide an offbeat getaway from city life.
You can explore the vegetation around the 116-acre spring-fed Cedar Lake. Dive in, go swimming or participate in adventurous watersports before setting up camp. The park offers several modern facilities which make it one of the best Texas state parks camping.
Lake Mineral Wells State Park
If you are a fan of rock climbing, Lake Minerals State Park is the perfect location for you. It is one of the most popular Texas State Parks reservations with a large array of modern facilities. You can camp, hike, or bike across the numerous trails in the state park. Go rock climbing or picnic by the lake. You can also participate in different water sports like kayaking. However, the park authorities restrict skiing, tubing, and jet skis.
Ray Roberts Lake State Park
If you do not want to travel much further but need to experience the quiet of nature, this is the best location. Ray Roberts Lake State Park is located an hour north of the DFW Metroplex and offers several recreational facilities.
You can camp, hike, or backpack amidst the scenic nature. The park has several beach areas and is one of the best Texas State Parks camping. Stay at any one of the four lodges campsites or the park’s lodge.
Eisenhower State Park
Eisenhower State park is situated on the rocky terrain and shores of Lake Texoma. If you enjoy splashing waves and looking for exotic fishes, this is the place to be. You can easily spot a catfish, crappie, or striped bass near their sandy swimming cove. It is one of the best Texas State Parks camping with several screened shelters. You can also explore the beautiful woodland or reserve the picnic pavilion for new experiences.
Mustang Island State Park
If you’re looking to indulge in water sports for some relief in the summers, the Mustang Island State park fits the bill. One of the best State Parks Texas, it features more than five miles of coastline.
Hang out at the beach or go bird watching and explore the nature around. You can also go surfing or paddling and camp at one of their several camping sites. Keep an eye out for their community programs for star-watching and nature walks.
Martin Dies, Jr. State Park
Eastern Texas has diverse nature and habitats in abundance and the Martin Dies State Park is a great example. The park features the meeting of two beautiful rivers and the resulting scenic views.
Visit the park with your family and explore the forest trails for unmatchable experiences. You can paddle on the sparkling waters of the Neches and Angelina rivers, or explore miles of hiking trails. Go swimming, fish in the B.A. Steinhagen Reservoir, or mingle with locals.
Garner State Park
The majestic and clear Frio River is the major attraction at Garner State Park. It is one of the major state parks in Texas that have been around for a long time. Generations after generations come back to witness the beauty the park holds. You can also camp or hike in this park with magnificent Hill Country terrain in the backdrop. Swim in the river, go canoeing, or play golf with your friends and feel the stress leaving your body.
Galveston Island State Park
If you’re looking for a place to sneak away from the worries of the world, the Galveston Island State Park is perfect! Stroll across the beach or marvel at the scenery on the bay side, and experience the best of nature. You can also go fishing or watch the beautiful coastal birds for an offbeat experience. It is one of the best State Parks Texas, where you can find paddling trails and four miles of hiking trails.
Lake Tawakoni State Park
Does your dream summer vacation include lounging in the shades of tall trees and listening to the melodious chirping of birds? Then, Lake Tawakoni State Park is the perfect place to be. Pack your binoculars, fishing poles, sunscreen, and hats, and find yourself immersed in the sounds of the beautiful water lapping on the shores. You can also rent their amphitheater to celebrate any special occasion or reserve a campsite for an overnight vacation.
Goose Island State Park
If you love water bodies and the cool breeze near them, Goose Island State Park should be on your list. One of the best State Parks Texas, the park is by the coast. Enrol your children in the different ranger programs for a cultural and geographical treat. You can also take them on nature hikes or bird-watching tours to make for a pretty exciting trip. Other than camping, you can also go fishing and paddling in the cool waters.
McKinney Falls State Park
Witness the enchanting view of the Onion Creek flowing over the magnificent limestone ledges to splash into pools. Or, explore the trails winding through the Hill Country woods and the remains of an ancient rock shelter.
You can also go camping, hiking, mountain biking, or swimming for new adventures. Go fishing or picnic along the water bank to make irreplaceable memories. You can also explore about nine miles of trails by enrolling in their several ranger programs.
Lake Livingston State Park
One of the best Texas State Parks with a large lake, this state park has a lot to offer. Explore Pineywoods park and hike the different forest trails. You can also camp in the shade of the trees or camp in one of the several sites with numerous facilities. The park also has a store for souvenirs and other camping essentials. You can also go fishing for catfish, bass, or perch in the lake.
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Tyler State Park
Tyler State Park is famous for its cool, 64-acre spring-fed lake and dense woods with 100-foot tall trees. It also has several historic structures that you can explore for a quick historical revision.
You can also go camping and watch several bird species to marvel at nature’s magnificent species. It is the perfect location to enjoy an afternoon or a quick weekend trip. The park is also filled with several cabins and fully-functional campsites where you can unwind.
San Angelo State Park
If you want to explore nature around any river bank, this park is a great destination. You can witness the convergence of the State’s history and nature on the O.C. Fisher Reservoir and Concho River banks. You can also hike, bike, or ride horses in one of the best Texas State Parks, the San Angelo State Park. The park also features several relics from the early Texas era and longhorn paddocks for a different experience.
Lake Corpus Christi State Park
The Lake Corpus Christi State Park has been entertaining families for more than eighty years and features different water sports and activities. You can go swimming, paddling, fishing, or boating in the lake. The park is the perfect location for family outings and gatherings.
There are several trails that you can explore and campsites for staying overnight. You can also fish largemouth bass, white bass, crappie, channel catfish, and other species. Beware that the lakes do have alligators to avoid.
Lake Whitney State Park
Located at a close distance from DFW or Waco, the clear waters of Lake Whitney State Park are the prime attraction. You can relax and unwind with your family at one of the several campsites here. Participate in different water activities like fishing, swimming, boating, and skiing. You can also explore the wide variety of wildlife such as snakes, armadillos, opossums, raccoons, and deers. Or, go fishing for different species like striped bass, white bass, and largemouth.
Cooper Lake State Park
If you want to visit and explore some unique park units, Cooper Lake State Park is the place to be! Pack your swimsuit, fishing gear, and hiking shoes before you go on a visit. Also, get your horse ready to explore the hiking trails.
Go on a bird-watching and star-gazing trip for some unmatchable experiences. Or, go for different water activities like skiing, swimming, boating, and paddling. You can stay at one of the fully-functional campsites for an overnight trip.
Parks With Mountains and Hills
There are several State Parks Texas that allow you to perform a wide range of activities. You should visit a state park with mountainous terrain. You can hike up mountains and discover cool rock formations that will make for some cool memories. Let us find some great Texas State Parks that have mountains or hills in store for you!
Davis Mountains State Park
The Davis Mountains State Parks, Texas is a unique and offbeat location for all sorts of adventure activities. It is a historically and culturally rich location with several hiking trails. Take up any of these routes and get rewarded with the best of nature. It is also one of the best Texas State Parks Camping that offers a marvelous view of the night sky. If your kid is interested in stargazing, Davis Mountains State Park is the place to be.
Longhorn Cavern State Park
The Longhorn Cavern State Park is a unique camping destination. A Hill Country destination with a magnificent geographical treat, the park has stories to narrate. The star attraction, Longhorn Cavern, was formed by the cutting action of an ancient river and is where the park receives its name. You can join the frequent walking tours to explore and receive insights into this hidden beauty. Go for a hike across the unique terrain or picnic in a unique setting.
Cedar Hill State Park
If you want to explore rugged limestone hills and rare prairie pockets, Cedar Hill State Park is the perfect location. With over 300 developed campsites, the park has several biking trails that you can explore on foot too. The park also consists of the popular Joe Pool Lake, where you can fish for largemouth black bass, catfish, and crappie. Your kids will enjoy the perched pond that is perfect for fishing. Check the several ranger programs for an added experience.
Palo Duro Canyon State Park
The Palo Duro Canyon State Park is one of the best Texas State Parks with the second largest canyon in the country. Its rugged beauty and terrain form a colorful history and make for unmatchable activities. You can explore it by foot, horse, car, or even mountain bike. Go for bird watching, and star gazing, or sign up for other ranger activities and programs. If you want to experience luxury camping, the park’s fully-equipped campsites are the place to stay.
Franklin Mountains State Park
If you’re fascinated by the lives of early humans and want a taste of it, the Franklin Mountains State Park is the place to be! These high-desert mountains are located just 15 minutes away from El Paso and are a great spot for hiking. You can also go biking and rock climbing for some offbeat experiences. The park has several campsites where you can set up your tent or park your RV for an overnight trip.
Parks that are Popular for Its Forests
Texas State Parks are diverse and can feature anything from mountains to spring-fed pools. But, some of these parks are notable for their diverse forests. Let us look at some of these must-visit areas that you can put on your list ASAP!
Bastrop State Park
The Bastrop State Park is one of the best state parks in Texas to enjoy and marvel at nature. You can enjoy your night in luxurious cabins amidst the marvelous forest. This park is also known as ‘The Phoenix Park’ as it was ravished by forest fires and floods after 70 years of establishment and has recovered recently. You can camp, hike, fish, and ride bikes across several trails. Take a swim at their seasonal pool to cool off.
Caprock Canyons State Park
One of the most famous Texas state parks, the Caprock Canyons State Park has several hikes and trails. You can explore more than 90 miles of hiking trails where bison roam the plains. The Caprock Canyons Texas State Parks Camping has sites ranging from facilities with modern features to hike-in primitive ones. You can also go fishing or swimming in Lake Theo which spreads over 120-acre. The park’s management also hosts wildlife and history programs for better entertainment.
Brazos Bend State Park
Brazos Bend State Park is particularly famous for its marvelous scenic beauty. Located just 45 miles from downtown Houston, it is one of the best State Parks, Texas for hiking, biking, fishing, and picnicking. You can also stay overnight and turn it into a short weekend trip. Just make sure to bring your binoculars and walking shoes for some great hikes. Also, bring a camera along for snapshots of the beautiful wildlife.
Stephen F. Austin State Park
Stephen F. Austin State Park is one of the best Texas State Parks Camping and has several hiking trails. You can stay amidst nature and enjoy long walks or runs in this state park. Moreover, you can also reserve a cabin, screened shelter, or camp in a tent for an overnight trip. You can also visit the banks of the Brazos River to enjoy the fresh air and stay immersed in nature.
Palmetto State Park
Palmetto State Park has several water sources including the San Marcos River but is most notable due to its vegetation. Seeming like a piece of Tropical heaven, the park has a diverse range of plants and animals. You can find dwarf palmettos, which are plants growing under trees and study the surrounding nature. You can also go kayaking, fishing, swimming, or paddling for relief from the summer heat. Canoe the San Marcos River and explore Luling Zedler Mill Paddling Trail.
Daingerfield State Park
Daingerfield State Park is notable for its forest life and the several trails across it. It also has the famous Little Pine Lake and a fully equipped campsite that makes for a perfect vacation. Study nature, swim across the 80-acre lake, or rent a beautiful historic cabin to make unmatchable memories for life. The little lake has a fishing pier and is notable for many species like crappie, bass, perch, chain pickerel, and catfish.
Huntsville State Park
If you love fall and its color palette, Huntsville State Park is the perfect destination. Its majestic trees and the natural beauty of the pine trees and wildflowers provide unforgettable visual treats. You can stay at the screened shelters or choose a place at one of the several campsites in this park, which is one of the top Texas state parks reservations. The park also has a 210-acre lake where you can fish, swim, or go kayaking.
Dinosaur Valley State Park
Is your kid a Jurassic Park fan? Then, the Dinosaur Valley State Park should be on your bucket list. You will find footprints of dinosaurs in the mud at the edge of the ocean and walk through these tracks. However, these tracks are not always visible and you should check with the authorities for their current status. Shop for souvenirs at the park store and stay overnight at a camping site.
Texas State Parks are a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, and let your hair down. Whether you’re planning the next family trip or reunion with college friends, these are the perfect destinations. We hope the article helped offer a list of the top State Parks in Texas that you can add to your bucket list. Let us know your experiences and recommendations in the comments below and help out fellow travellers!