Official Texas State Parks Guide
Official Texas State Parks Guide. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.
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-Official- FA C I L I T I E S MAPS Get the Mobile App: ACTIVITIES texasstateparks.org/app 2022 Toyota Tundra Oﬃcial Vehicle of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation Introducing a truck that needs no introduction. The new Tundra was born from a legacy of invincibility. And designed to take on everything the great state of Texas has to oﬀer. toyota.com/Tundra Built Here Lives Here: Assembled in Texas with U.S. and globally sourced parts. Contents 4 6 8 10 Activities and Programs Parks Near You Places to Stay Recreational Vehicles 12 Tips for Time in Nature Eisenhower 14 Visitor Fees and Passes Directory 18 Big Bend Country Fort Davis 28 Gulf Coast 34 Hill Country 48 Panhandle Plains 56 Pineywoods 64 Prairies and Lakes 80 South Texas Plains 86 Facilities and Activities TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT Carter P. Smith Executive Director Rodney Franklin State Parks Director Mischelle Diaz Communications Director TPW COMMISSION Arch “Beaver” Aplin, III, Chairman Lake Jackson Dick Scott, Vice-Chairman Wimberley James E. Abell Kilgore Oliver J. Bell Cleveland Paul L. Foster El Paso Anna B. Galo Laredo Jeffery D. Hildebrand Houston Robert L. “Bobby” Patton, Jr. Fort Worth Travis B. “Blake” Rowling Dallas T. Dan Friedkin, Chairman-Emeritus Houston Lee Marshall Bass, Chairman-Emeritus Fort Worth Index 44 State Parks Map Special thanks to Toyota and advertisers, whose generous support made this guide possible. Texas State Parks is a division of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Cover photo: Tyler State Park, Chase Fountain Texas State Parks Official Guide, Eighteenth Edition © TPWD PWD BK P4000-000A (3/22) TPWD receives funds from the USFWS. TPWD prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, and gender, pursuant to state and federal law. To request an accommodation or obtain information in an alternative format, please contact TPWD on a Text Telephone (TTY) at (512) 389-8915 or by Relay Texas at 7-1-1 or (800) 735-2989 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you believe you have been discriminated against by TPWD, please contact TPWD, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, TX 78744, or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office for Diversity and Workforce Management, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041. In accordance with Texas State Depository Law, this publication is available at the Texas State Publications Clearinghouse and/or Texas Depository Libraries. WELCOME from Rodney Franklin, State Parks Director It’s an exciting time in Texas State Parks. The challenges of the last few years have led many people to explore the outdoors in new and adventurous ways. Many Texans discovered their state parks for the first time, while longtime users have discovered new parks to visit. The variety of Texas’ lands is unmatched; from the mountains of west Texas to the gulf shores, the Texas State Park system celebrates and preserves the natural and cultural treasures that make Texas such a special place. You might say that the 630,000-plus acres that make up the state park system is nearly as diverse as the people of Texas. Since 1923 our mission has been to help connect our visitors with the outdoors. Every day we look for new and better ways to live that mission and make sure state parks are welcoming to every Texan, regardless of their background or experience with being outside. I hope you’ll visit soon and often, while bringing your friends and family along. I’m glad you’re here and we’re looking forward to celebrating the 100year anniversary of state parks with you very soon. What’s new in state parks? >> New facilities to welcome visitors at Ray Roberts Lake – Johnson Branch, Franklin Mountains, and Galveston Island State Parks >> R epairs completed at Stephen F. Austin’s group facilities, McKinney Falls’ visitor center, Goose Island’s fishing pier and bayfront campsites and Lake Livingston’s fishing pier and marina >> Improvements and major repairs are planned for Tyler, South Llano River, Cedar Hill and several other state parks >> B almorhea State Park reopened their pool and day use area following repair and reconstruction. Over 600 acres of land was also added to the park. >> Construction has begun at Palo Pinto Mountains State Park. texasstateparks.org/whatsnew ACTIVITIES & PROGRAMS What is there to do in state parks? Enjoy a family picnic, tour a hallowed historic site or choose from some of these visitor favorites: Bike Pedal across parks at any speed, in any style, with any group. Choose the routes, surfaces and distances that fit your comfort zone. Walk Start with a shorter loop, tackle tougher terrain or join a guided tour. Fish Fish without a license in as many as 70 state parks. Many offer tackle loaner programs and special learnto-fish events. Boat or Paddle Rent canoes and kayaks, explore a Texas Paddling Trail or launch a boat. View Wildlife Discover the birds, mammals and plants that live in Texas. Many parks have signage and checklists to help you learn more about the wildlife around you. 4 Camp Find a site that meets your needs. Test out new recipes, share your favorite stories and enjoy the stars. More information & reservations: texasstateparks.org Swim Beat the heat at creeks, rivers, lakes, springs, pools and ocean beaches. (512) 389-8900 Many state parks offer special guided and self-guided programs. Below are a few examples. Ask at your park or visit its events page to find out what’s planned! Kids 12 and under get FREE ADMISSION! Dark Skies Escape the city lights and gaze up at views you won’t find anywhere else. Come to a star party or take a self-guided constellation tour. Visit one of our Dark Sky Parks or Sanctuaries: Big Bend Ranch, Copper Breaks, Devils River, Enchanted Rock or South Llano River. Junior Ranger Pick up a free Junior Ranger activity journal or check out free packs from participating parks. Use the binoculars, magnifying glass, sketchbooks and guidebooks to explore the park. Texas Outdoor Family Choose a workshop and make your own adventure. Set up a tent, cook outdoors, build a campfire and play outside! We provide all the equipment. No experience necessary. Texas Buffalo Soldiers Bring history to life with stories, costumes and tools. Track an animal, fish with a cane pole, cook over a campfire, visit frontier forts and more. Step into the life stories of those who bravely served in America’s first AfricanAmerican regular Army regiments. Civilian Conservation Corps Tour any of 29 parks to marvel at architectural treasures like shelters, bridges, cabins, refectories and more. See how these diverse work crews (including young adults as well as war veterans) weathered the Great Depression and built the first state parks in Texas. Their legacy stands today for future generations. Find events near you: TexasStateParks.org/calendar texasstateparks.org/ activities #TxStateParks 5 PARKS NEAR YOU Where do you want to go? You’ll find many state parks nearby. Dallas/Fort Worth Area >> Play in the waters at Possum Kingdom. << Houston Area Take a break from city life at Stephen F. Austin. 6 More information & reservations: texasstateparks.org (512) 389-8900 San Antonio Area >> Venture out at Choke Canyon. << Austin Area Get down low in Longhorn Cavern. Discover new wildlife at Lake Casa Blanca. << South Texas Area El Paso Area >> Enjoy a guided hike at Franklin Mountains. #TxStateParks 7 PLACES TO STAY Enjoy the softer side of camping. Outdoor recreation by day. Indoor comforts at night. Indian Lodge - Davis Mountains Choose from a variety of overnight accommodations: Cabins without bathrooms Screened shelter at Lake Livingston Enjoy amenities such as air conditioning, microwaves and bunk beds, with group restrooms and showers nearby. Cabin at Palmetto Screened shelters These protected, enclosed shelters are available in dozens of parks and include amenities such as outdoor fire rings, picnic tables and grills. State parks with screened shelters: Abilene, Blanco, Brazos Bend, Buescher, Caddo Lake, Cleburne, Cooper Lake, Eisenhower, Falcon, Fort Parker, Garner, Goliad, Huntsville, Lake Bob Sandlin, Lake Brownwood, Lake Corpus Christi, Lake Livingston, Lake Mineral Wells, Lake Whitney, Martin Dies, Jr., Martin Creek Lake, Meridian, Stephen F. Austin, Tyler 8 State parks with these cabins: Brazos Bend, Buescher, Caddo Lake, Choke Canyon, Cleburne, Cooper Lake, Eisenhower, Falcon, Fort Boggy, Fort Parker, Fort Richardson, Huntsville, Inks Lake, Lake Bob Sandlin, Lake Colorado City, Lake Corpus Christi, Martin Creek Lake, Martin Dies, Jr., McKinney Falls, Meridian, Palmetto, Palo Duro Canyon, San Angelo, Stephen F. Austin, Tyler More information & reservations: texasstateparks.org (512) 389-8900 Lodging CCC-built cabins at Palo Duro Canyon Lone Star Lodge at Ray Roberts Lake north of Dallas features stunning lake views as well as a marina. Lone Star Lodge at Ray Roberts Lake Cabins with bathrooms One of the most popular attractions in state parks, these cabins feature amenities such as air conditioning, heat, bedrooms, kitchens, microwaves and restrooms. State parks with full cabins: Bastrop, Caddo Lake, Cooper Lake, Daingerfield, Galveston, Garner, Lake Brownwood, Martin Creek Lake, Mother Neff, Palo Duro Canyon, Possum Kingdom, Sea Rim, Village Creek Group bunkhouse at Cleburne Group bunkhouses and halls Choose from a range of styles and sizes, perfect for family reunions or other large group gatherings. Most include amenities such as air conditioning, restrooms and beds. State parks with group bunkhouse or halls: Abilene, Bastrop, Big Bend Ranch, Bonham, Brazos Bend, Buescher, Cleburne, Daingerfield, Devils River SNA, Eisenhower, Estero Llano Grande, Fort Parker, Garner, Hill Country SNA, Lake Brownwood, Lake Somerville, Lake Whitney, Lockhart, San Angelo, Stephen F. Austin Indian Lodge in Davis Mountains is a full-service hotel that includes a restaurant, swimming pool and meeting room. San Solomon Springs Courts in Balmorhea feature motel-style lodging next to the world’s largest natural swimming pool. Renovations are underway. Check website for updates. Yurt at Abilene, floating tent site at Sea Rim. Unique lodging Try something different, such as staying in a yurt or camping on water. Is your favorite space already booked? Consider a weekday visit, or try a state park nearby! Choose from a full range of options: texasstateparks.org/ reservations #TxStateParks 9 RECREATIONAL VEHICLES Whether you travel in a Class A motor home or with a cozy pop-up, stay the night or spend a few weeks in the perfect places for your home away from home. How long can I stay? • Some parks offer seasonal discounts for weekly or monthly stays. • We warmly welcome “Winter Texans.” How do I get my site? • texasstateparks.org/reservations • (512) 389-8900 • Visiting longer than one month? Consider applying to become a park host! Hosts serve about 25 hours per week assisting visitors and performing litter collection and light maintenance. • Know your vehicle length. • Consider the amenities you want, such as hookups for water, electricity or sewage. • Ask ahead about group facilities. More info: texasstateparks.org/RV For same-day reservations, or site-specific facility questions, please contact the park directly. 10 More information & reservations: texasstateparks.org (512) 389-8900 rth Whole Ea PROVIS ION CO . Texas-Sized Adventures. STORE LOCATIONS Austin • Dallas • Houston • San Antonio Shop online at WholeEarthProvision.com TIPS FOR TIME IN NATURE Wild about safety Your health and safety are important to us. If you have an emergency during your visit, please contact a park police officer, or ask for help from a park host or ranger in uniform. Watch the water Hack the heat Natural water bodies are different from swimming pools. Conditions can change rapidly. To ensure a wonderful swimming, boating or paddling experience: • Learn to swim. • Supervise kids closely. • Wear a life jacket. • Take a boater education course. Heat-related ailments are top safety concerns. Fortunately, they are almost always preventable! Protect yourself and your loved ones: • Carry water (and drink it!) • Wear a hat and other sun protection. •S tart all strenuous activity early, before peak heat. Protect nature Health and safety are also important to the many plants and animals that make up the habitats you may visit. Just as you take steps to avoid mosquito bites and cactus pokes, local wildlife takes steps to avoid being hurt or bothered by you! • Maintain a safe, respectful distance. • Stay on marked trails. • Keep pets on leashes. 12 More information & reservations: texasstateparks.org (512) 389-8900 What are State Natural Areas? These sensitive ecosystems are some of the most valuable native habitats you can visit on public lands in Texas, and they need your help to stay healthy. Please expect more nature, fewer developed facilities and different hours of operation. Walk this way According to many visitor surveys, walking and hiking are the most popular activities in Texas State Parks! They often require the least amount of specialized gear and planning. To make sure you and your group have a safe and enjoyable experience: • Carry a map. Phones can lose signal or battery power. Paper maps are free at park entrances. • Protect your feet. From sandals to heavy hiking boots, choose the right shoe for the right walk. Honey Creek SNA • Prepare for the distance and degree of difficulty. Are you ready for both? • Use caution on uneven ground. Watch out for rocks and roots! • Tell someone else where you’re going and when you expect to be back. Accessing your state parks Hill Country SNA State parks staff are working to improve access for all Texans. Ask your local park about: • Wheelchair-friendly events • Accessible facilities • Deaf and hard of hearing services Email email@example.com for information or to request accommodations. Devil’s Sinkhole SNA texasstateparks.org/access #TxStateParks 13 VISITOR FEES & PASSES Thank you for keeping parks open and maintained! Your visits help fund critical upkeep, valuable programs for adults and children, and improvements. About 50% of the budget to operate state parks comes directly from visitor fees. Entrance Fee – to visit a park. Includes a variety of activities and visitor programs. This fee allows entrance to multiple state parks in the same business day. Admission to Texas State Parks is FREE for kids 12 and under. Facility Fee – to stay overnight at a campsite, cabin or guest room, or to rent a group facility, meeting room or pavilion. Activity Fee – to participate in a special park activity, tour a historic site or ride a ferry or tram. Get Day Passes and make overnight camping and lodging reservations. 14 Make your reservation: texasstateparks.org/ reservations More information & reservations: texasstateparks.org (512) 389-8900 TEXAS STATE PARKS PASS Get unlimited visits, all year, to every state park for you Good and a carload of guests! for 12 months! Get unlimited free entry to every state park for you and a carload of guests (good for 12 months). Plus, receive discounts on camping, park store merchandise and more. Youth Groups • • • Available to nonprofits serving ages 13–17. Valid for one year, for up to 50 teens, plus adult chaperones. Please apply at least six weeks before first visit and present pass at park office on arrival. Parklands Passport • • • Qualifying seniors, veterans with disabilities, and other visitors with disabilities can apply. Includes discounted or free entry to state parks. Present proof of qualifying benefit at any park office. Note: Texas cannot honor National Park Service passes or passes issued in other states. Buy and redeem gift cards online! Learn more about park passes and purchase or renew your State Parks Pass online: texasstateparks.org/ passes #TxStateParks 15 STATE PARKS DIRECTORY Big Bend Country Gulf Coast Hill Country Panhandle Plains Pineywoods Prairies and Lakes South Texas Plains Facilities & Activities Index Tyler State Park 18 28 34 48 56 64 80 86 Facilities & Amenities Use this legend as a reference for each park listed in the following pages. ACTIVITIES AMENITIES Fishing Some Accessible Features Paddling Beach Rock Climbing Boat Ramp Swimming Civilian Conservation Corps Water Skiing Day Use Only TRAILS Day Use - Group Bicycle Dump Station Mountain Biking Exhibits/Interpretive Center/Museum Hiking Fish Cleaning Shelters Horse Fishing Pier Nature / Interpretive Fishing Tackle Loaner Program Texas Paddling Trail Food Service CAMPSITES / LODGING Cabins - w/ Bathroom Cabins - w/out Bathroom Group Overnight Lodge Group Camp Campsites - Primitive Campsites - Water Campsites - Water and Electric Campsites - Full Hookup Motel / Lodge / Room Historic Site Horse Facilities Park Store Picnic Tables Playground Restrooms Showers Swimming Pool Watercraft Rental Wi-Fi available texasstateparks.org/wifi Screened Shelter Barracks / Bunkhouse Bed Check texasstateparks.org or (512) 389-8900 before your trip. #TxStateParks 17 S T A T E P A R K S D I R E C T O R Y BIG BEND COUNTRY Special thanks to Toyota, whose generous support made this guide possible. B I G B E N D C O U N T R Y Balmorhea State Park 9207 TX-17, Toyahvale 79786 ( (432) 375-2370 GPS Latitude 30.944829 | Longitude -103.785147 Dive into the cool waters of the world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool, which covers 1.3 acres and stays at 72–76 degrees year-round. Scuba divers love the clarity even at a 25-foot depth. In addition to swimming and camping, the park offers lodging at the San Solomon Springs Courts, a retro-style motel built by the CCC in the early 1940s with an adobe look. Canals along the Courts lead to a restored ciénega (wetland), which provides vital fish and bird habitat. Renovations are underway. Closures are possible. Check website for updates. #TxStateParks 19 B I G B E N D C O U N T R Y Big Bend Ranch State Park 1900 Sauceda RR, Marfa 79843 ( (432) 358-4444 GPS Latitude 29.470458 | Longitude -103.957922 Big Bend Ranch State Park lies deep in the high desert wilderness. The 300,000-plus-acre park features spectacular scenery. Drive to a primitive campsite in the interior or along the Rio Grande. Take a hike: Choose from over 140 miles of multiuse trails. You can also mountain bike, ride horses, camp in remote backcountry, or explore in your 4x4. Enter the park from the east (Barton Warnock Visitor Center) or west (Fort Leaton State Historic Site). Visit the park’s interior via a 27-mile unpaved road through rugged terrain that ends at the former owner’s ranch headquarters and the Sauceda Ranger Station. Groups can stay at the casual bunkhouse, with separate sleeping areas for men and women. Fort Leaton This historic trading post is the western visitor center for Big Bend Ranch State Park. Today this 1848 adobe fortress and trading post is an active museum offering programs, tours, and colorful events. 20 More information & reservations: texasstateparks.org (512) 389-8900 B I G B E N D C O U N T R Y Davis Mountains State Park Texas Hwy. 118 N., Park Rd. 3, Fort Davis 79734 ( (432) 426-3337 GPS Latitude 30.599926 | Longitude -103.925934 Find the coolest place in a hot state when you camp in mountains one mile high at this CCC-built park. The park is in the Davis Mountains, the most extensive mountain range fully contained in Texas. Motor into a full hookup site, backpack to a high overlook, make camp under the trees, check out the two beautiful wildlife viewing areas, or stop by Indian Lodge, located in the park. While you’re here, visit Fort Davis National Historic Site or attend a star party at the McDonald Observatory. Devils River State Natural Area 21715 Dolan Creek Rd., Del Rio 78840 ( (830) 395-2133 GPS Latitude 29.939694 | Longitude -100.970206 Fed by clear springs flowing from seeps and streams, the Devils River is one of the most pristine rivers in Texas. The state natural area is large, remote and has been named an International Dark Sky Sanctuary. Visit for day hiking, mountain biking, camping and paddling. All camping and facility stays are by reservation only. Make reservations at least one day in advance. A permit is required for all paddling trips on the Devils River which access TPWDmanaged lands. For more information, visit the park’s webpage. #TxStateParks 21 B I G B E N D C O U N T R Y Franklin Mountains State Park 2900 Tom Mays Access Road, El Paso 79911 ( (915) 444-9100 Latitude 31.910507 | Longitude -106.518290 GPS At the westernmost tip of Texas, where mountains meet sky and cities hug the Rio Grande, lies the largest state park in an urban setting. Franklin Mountains State Park encompasses 26,627 acres in the city of El Paso. Hike rugged terrain in 40 square miles of Chihuahuan Desert wilderness, scrub vegetation and open space. Over 100 miles of multiuse trails are popular with hikers and mountain bikers. Camp and picnic, too. Ground fires must be in designated fire rings. You can build charcoal fires in grills at picnic sites. Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site 6900 Hueco Tanks Rd. No. 1, El Paso 79938 ( (915) 857-1135 GPS Latitude 31.926453 | Longitude -106.042437 Natural rock basins in granite outcroppings give Hueco Tanks its name. These basins capture rainwater, a precious resource in the Chihuahuan Desert. For millennia, people have come for water, as well as for the diverse plants and animals here. These people left important cultural symbols on the rocks. This site preserves over 2,000 historic pictographs. We limit visitors to protect the site. We recommend reservations for day use, camping and tours. Pictograph, hiking and bouldering tours in the guided area are available by advance request Wednesday through Sunday. 22 More information & reservations: texasstateparks.org (512) 389-8900 B I G B E N D C O U N T R Y Indian Lodge State Park 16453 Park Rd. 3, Fort Davis 79734 ( (432) 426-3254 GPS Latitude 30.592877 | Longitude -103.943596 Indian Lodge is nestled in the Davis Mountains, within Davis Mountains State Park. This southwestern, pueblo-style adobe lodge will charm you. Its original handcrafted interiors and furnishings date from its 1930s construction by the CCC. Guest rooms have cable TV, telephones and private baths. The lodge also has a fullservice restaurant, group meeting room, swimming pool, and access to trails from the parking lot. This is truly a unique destination. Monahans Sandhills State Park Park Rd. 41, Monahans 79756 ( (432) 557-3479 GPS Latitude 31.618795 | Longitude -102.812112 Fun-loving travelers surf sand dunes that rise as high as 50 feet in this geologic wonderland. These sand dunes are a small part of a larger 200-square-mile dune field stretching into New Mexico. Rent sand disks at headquarters. The Dunagan Visitor Center features hands-on exhibits on dune dynamics and desert wildlife. Picnicking and camping are also popular. The park has an 800-acre equestrian area and three equestrian campsites, as well. The park is at exit 86 off I-20 west of Odessa, just east of Monahans. #TxStateParks 23 B I G B E N D C O U N T R Y Seminole Canyon State Park & Historic Site Hwy. 90 W., Park Rd. 67, Comstock 78837 ( (432) 292-4464 GPS Latitude 29.7001 | Longitude -101.313058 Ancient pictographs, rugged limestone terrain and spectacular canyons lure visitors to this park. People of antiquity once lived in natural rock shelters carved into canyon walls. They painted distinctive ancient symbols that tell us of their passing. The park’s rock art is more than 4,000 years old. Learn more at the park’s museum. Hike the rugged landscape or camp in a tent or RV. Take a guided rock art tour Wednesdays through Sundays at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. (times vary in summer). Contact the park for more information. Two Ways to Show Your Love for Texas State Parks For only $30/year, outfit your vehicle, motorcycle, trailer or RV with a Texas Conservation License Plate. Best of all, $22 of the $30 directly benefits Texas State Parks. ConservationPlate.org/StateParks 24 More information & reservations: texasstateparks.org (512) 389-8900 Play, Explore, and Connect with Nature Near You Find activities, events, parks, zoos, and nature centers for the whole family to enjoy at NatureRocksTexas.org Visit HISTORIC TEXAS Experience the stories and cultures that impacted the history of the Lone Star State by visiting the Texas Historical Commission’s State Historic Sites. VisitHistoricTexas.com SAN FELIPE DE AUSTIN STATE HISTORIC SITE GULF COAST Special thanks to Toyota, whose generous support made this guide possible. G U L F C O A S T Brazos Bend State Park 21901 FM 762, Needville 77461 ( (979) 553-5101 GPS Latitude 29.371447 | Longitude -95.632443 Brazos Bend has over 5,000 acres of lakes, prairies and forests. Live oak trees draped in Spanish moss shade the park’s picnic areas. Explore more than 30 miles of multiuse trails, where you’ll see alligators, white-tailed deer and over 300 bird species. Choose from seven small lakes and a winding, tree-lined creek for fishing. Touch a hatchling alligator at the park’s nature center, which is open daily. Nature programs offered every weekend and most holidays. George Observatory leads star parties on Saturday nights. Call (281) 242-3055 for information. Galveston Island State Park 14901 FM 3005, Galveston 77554 ( (409) 737-1222 GPS Latitude 29.198755 | Longitude -94.956212 Galveston Island State Park is an excellent example of Texas Gulf ecology, with 2,000 acres that spans from the beach to the bay. Access is open to the bayside of the park, where coastal prairie, freshwater ponds, and salt marsh yield ample hiking, fishing, kayaking, and wildlife viewing opportunities. Historic houses, tent and multiuse campsites with restrooms and showers nearby are available on this side of the park. The beachside area is closed as it undergoes renovations. Please check website for closure updates. #TxStateParks 29 G U L F C O A S T Goose Island State Park 202 S. Palmetto St., Rockport 78382 ( (361) 729-2858 GPS Latitude 28.128064 | Longitude -96.98838 Brown pelicans, rare whooping cranes and fishing in the bountiful waters of Aransas, Copano and St. Charles bays draw visitors here. The CCC built Goose Island, Texas’ first coastal state park. It sits on the southern tip of the Lamar Peninsula. Dramatic wind-sculpted trees dominate the park. The “Big Tree,” a massive coastal live oak estimated to be centuries old, is one of the natural wonders of Texas. Lake Corpus Christi State Park 23194 Park Rd. 25, Mathis 78368 ( (361) 547-2635 GPS Latitude 28.063249 | Longitude -97.873889 Swimming, boating, waterskiing and sailboarding fill summer hours on this large placid lake. Angling for black bass, striped bass, crappie and catfish are year-round pleasures. The CCC built an impressive caliche crete open-air refectory here. It has arched walls and a tower with excellent views over the lake. Many campsites have a view of the lake, as well. 30 More information & reservations: texasstateparks.org (512) 389-8900 G U L F C O A S T Mustang Island State Park 9394 State Highway 361, Corpus Christi 78418 ( (361) 749-5246 GPS Latitude 27.672162 | Longitude -97.175309 Seaside beaches stretch for five miles along the open Gulf of Mexico, inviting a perfect summer-at-the-shore experience. This is truly one of the best places to see coastal marine life, from green sea turtles to blue herons. Resaca de la Palma State Park 1000 New Carmen Ave., Brownsville 78521 ( (956) 350-2920 GPS Latitude 25.987 | Longitude -97.564 Resaca de la Palma, in the Rio Grande delta, is a semitropical habitat minutes from Brownsville. The 1,200-acre park is home to a vast array of wildlife. Watch great kiskadees, Altamira orioles and green jays from the bird blinds and observation decks, or relax on a tram tour. Look for dazzling blue metalmark and Mexican bluewing butterflies in the butterfly gardens. Enjoy hiking and biking trails, multiple geocaches and picnic tables. The park store, “Sabal,” sells field guides, souvenirs and educational items. You can also rent bikes and binoculars. #TxStateParks 31 G U L F C O A S T Sea Rim State Park 19335 S. Gulfway Dr., Sabine Pass 77655 ( (409) 971-2559 GPS Latitude 29.675634 | Longitude -94.043222 “Sea Rim” is where marsh grass and wetlands meet the sea. Silt deposits from the Sabine River delta formed the sea rim here in southeast Texas. Enjoy fishing, crabbing, birding, nature study and swimming on more than 4,000 acres and five miles of Gulf of Mexico beach. Visit for the day or stay overnight at water and electric or primitive beach campsites, floating tent raft, or cabin. The west dune boardwalk has rinse-off showers. Explore the marsh paddling trails or Gambusia Nature Trail Boardwalk, or ride your horse along the beach. Sheldon Lake State Park & Environmental Learning Center 14140 Garrett Rd., Houston 77044 ( (281) 456-2800 GPS Latitude 29.857461 | Longitude -95.160029 Come to Sheldon Lake for its wildlife viewing, paddling, boating and fishing. The park features a fish hatchery “gone wild” and wheelchair-accessible trails. LEED-certified facilities demonstrate “green architecture” and alternative energy. We offer programs for schools, groups and individuals by reservation. This day-use park is only 15 miles from downtown Houston. Enjoy free catch-and-release fishing at two stocked ponds. Keep your catch when you fish in the shallow 1,200-acre Sheldon Lake. Stroll the 3,000-foot Prairie/Wetland Boardwalk. Ascend the John Jacob Observation Tower for a bird’s-eye view. 32 More information & reservations: texasstateparks.org (512) 389-8900 Fishing that leaves other destinations in its wake. Off the beach, in the bays or far offshore, South Padre Island offers anglers the fishing trip of a lifetime. Here, you can catch a trophy or reel in your supper and have it cooked as soon as you step ashore. And when you don’t have a rod in your hand, countless other diversions await. Learn more at sopadre.com/fishing. sopadre.com #TxStateParks 33 S T A T E P A R K S D I R E C T O R Y HILL COUNTRY Special thanks to Toyota, whose generous support made this guide possible. H I L L C O U N T R Y Blanco State Park 101 Park Rd. 23, Blanco 78606 ( (830) 833-4333 GPS Latitude 30.096782 | Longitude -98.43459 Located four blocks from Blanco’s charming, historic town square, the park borders the spring-fed Blanco River. Folks from nearby Austin and San Antonio come here to relax in the sun, swim, tube, paddle, fish and camp. Picnic under the trees and watch stars at night. Be sure to check out the historic CCC-built features scattered throughout the park. Screened shelters, campsites and proximity to Blanco make the park popular with both tent campers and RVers. Bring your family to this small, peaceful park for an afternoon or a weekend! Colorado Bend State Park 1201 Colorado Park Road, Bend 76824 ( (325) 628-3240 GPS Latitude 31.022965 | Longitude -98.442401 Experience the beautiful wilderness of Colorado Bend. You’ll discover 35 miles of hike and bike trails, spring-fed creeks and swimming holes, limestone bluffs and canyons, and wildlife. Visit for the fishing, kayaking, birding, serious mountain biking, backpacking, geocaching, primitive tent camping, and swimming. Hike on your own to Gorman Falls, a breathtaking 70-foot travertine waterfall, or take a guided tour. Reserve a spot on a cave tour to explore the underground passages beneath this unique piece of the Texas Hill Country. #TxStateParks 35 H I L L C O U N