Best State Parks in Texas
Today, I will guide you about the best state parks in Texas. State parks in Texas highlight the Complete diversity of landscapes in the Lone Star State. Texas State Parks cover it all from high mountains in West Texas into the piney woods and prairies to the east. Hiking, mountain biking, and horse riding are popular ways to explore the diverse surroundings of Texas state parks. Many of them are popular for stargazing thanks to incredible night heavens.
The very best country parks for camping in Texas include sites for tents, RVs, and those willing to increase their supplies. Check with the state parks for availability and to make bookings.
Waterfalls, enchanted rocks, and deep underground caverns are a few centerpiece attractions. Some state parks are enormous, such as Big Bend Ranch State Park, covering over 300,000 acres. For all these big state parks, camping is the best way to have the breadth of nature throughout.
Each state park in Texas offers an exceptional experience to enjoy. The country is as diverse by canyons from the Texas Panhandle to churning waves around the Southern Coast as it’s large. Several state parks are easy to reach from big cities in Texas, including Houston, Dallas, and Austin. These accessible country parks make escaping the city a simple thing to do.
You will find more than 25 state parks in Texas as of 2021. This comprehensive collection of state parks in Texas state shares the highlights of each site, including monuments, memorials, exercise areas, hiking, jogging tracks, historical, and even a national seashore. Continue reading about Texas state parks, a complete description of what makes it unique, and extra tips for anyone visiting.
List of the Best State Parks in Texas
- Dinosaur Valley State Park
- Big Bend Ranch State Park
- Garner State Park
- Palo Duro Canyon State Park
- Colorado Bend State Park
- Inks Lake State Park
- Franklin Mountains State Park
- Mustang Island State Park
- Ray Roberts Lake State Park
- Guadalupe River State Park
- Longhorn Cavern State Park
- Lake Mineral Wells State Park
- Pedernales Falls State Park
- Brazos Bend State Park
- Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
- Village Creek State Park
- Caddo Lake State Park
- Davis Mountains State Park
- Lost Maples State Natural Area
- Seminole Canyon State Park
- Caddo Lake State Park
- Monahans Sandhills State Park
- Lake Livingston State Park
- Old Tunnel State Park
- Huntsville State Park
1. Dinosaur Valley State Park
Dinosaur Valley State Park has more than earned its name. When the water at the Paluxy River is reduced enough, you can see imprints of dinosaur tracks left millions of years back. Maps are laying out the five major track site areas in the playground, together with explanations of species that abandoned them. There are over 20 miles of biking and hiking paths and one pristine swimming hole.
- Things to Do in Dinosaur Valley State Park: Loco Coyote Grill, Storiebook Cafe, Hammond’s B B Q, Dinosaur World, Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, Big Rocks Park
- Location of Dinosaur Valley State Park: 1629 Park Road 59, Glen Rose, TX 76043
- Contact of Dinosaur Valley State Park: +1 254-897-4588
2. Big Bend Ranch State Park
On the U.S.-Mexico border in West Texas, Big Bend Ranch is the largest state park in Texas. The park encompasses over 300,000 acres of high-desert terrain, which provides endless exploration opportunities. Popular things to do at the country park include hiking, mountain biking, horse riding, and finding solitude in nature.
Big Bend Ranch can be a designated International Dark Sky Park. This leading designation brings spectacular stargazing following blazing sunsets. The Rio Grande is accessible in Big Bend Ranch State Park, making activities like boating and fishing fun things to do. Camping is offered in various types at Big Bend Ranch, such as basic bedding options at the Sauceda Bunkhouse.
Big Bend Ranch State Park includes a wide range of elevations. Summers are scorching at Big Bend, and winters deliver milder temperatures with cold conditions at night. For even more research, Big Bend Ranch State Park is adjacent to the more massive Big Bend National Park.
- Things to Do in Big Bend Ranch State Park: Camping, hiking
- Location of Big Bend Ranch State Park: FM 170 Sauceda Headquarters, Presidio, TX 79845
- Contact of Big Bend Ranch State Park: +1 254-675-4867
3. Garner State Park
Garner State Park is the best stop for outdoor activities. With over 11 miles of scenic hiking and biking trails, swimming holes, tubing down the Frio River as well as mini-golf, it’s easy to spend an entire day at this park. Drop-in during the summertime; you can’t beat that time of year for stargazing.
- Things to Do in Garner State Park: Garner Grill, Frio Fergie’s River Store, Garner State Park Gift Shop
- Location of Garner State Park: 234 FM 1050, Concan, TX 78838-3829
- Contact of Garner State Park: +1 830-232-6132
4. Palo Duro Canyon State Park
Twelve miles east of the small town of Canyon is located the 2nd largest canyon in the U.S. called the Grand Canyon of Texas. The playground has 30 miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails. I went in April of this past year and highly suggested the Lighthouse Path to anyone wanting to visit! This playground is easily among the most beautiful places I’ve ever been in my life so far, and I can’t say enough about the pure beauty of the property.
- Things to Do in Palo Duro Canyon State Park: Palo Duro Trading Post, Lighthouse Trail, Old West Stables, Elkins Ranch
- Location of Palo Duro Canyon State Park: 11450 Park Road 5, Canyon, TX 79015-8747
- Contact of Palo Duro Canyon State Park: +1 806-488-2227
5. Colorado Bend State Park
Over two hours northwest of Austin, Colorado Bend State Park is a choose-your-own-adventure destination. The country park encompasses over 5,000 acres, including six miles of Colorado River shore. Activities at Colorado Bend occur on land, water, and underground. The country park is also a prime spot to spend the night, with many different camping options.
The best and only method to explore the caves at Colorado Bend is via a guided tour. Most importantly, the caverns, Colorado Bend State Park, features over 30 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails. The most popular trail at the playground, Gorman Falls, leads hikers to Texas’s greatest waterfalls. This roughly three-mile increase is strenuous at times, but the 70-foot spring-fed waterfall is well worth the attempt.
- Things to Do in Colorado Bend State Park: Horse riding, swimming, hiking, tenting
- Location of Colorado Bend State Park: 2236 Park Hill Dr P. O. Box 118, Bend, TX 76824
- Contact of Colorado Bend State Park: +1 325-628-3240
6. Inks Lake State Park
If you’re trying to find a wonderful country park to go swimming or boating pool, Inks Lake State Park at Burnet is for you. Considering that the park is just an hour away from Austin, it is a wonderful day trip for people in Texas’ capital city. The region of Inks Lake called Devil’s Waterhole presents magnificent cliff views and a lot of rugged outcrops for cliff jumping. Inks Lake State Park is just a couple of miles from another stunning Texas country park on this listing, Longhorn Cavern State Park.
- Things to Do in Inks Lake State Park: Reverend Jim’s Dam Pub, Hoover’s Valley Country Cafe, Longhorn Cavern State Park, Lake Buchanan, Reverend Jim’s Dam Pub
- Location of Inks Lake State Park: 3630 Park Road 4 W, Burnet, TX 78611
- Contact of Inks Lake State Park: +1 512-793-2223
7. Franklin Mountains State Park
Near the city of El Paso in West Texas, Franklin Mountains State Park offers over 27,000 acres of elevated landscapes to explore. Popular activities in the state park include camping, rock climbing, and exploring the over 100 miles of trails that traverse the area. A rugged landscape defines the Franklin Mountains, and visitors should prepare for the wild environment.
The Tom Mays Unit is on the northern border of El Paso and will be the most accessible area of the park. The Tom Mays Unit comprises the densest collection of developed campsites. Visitors from El Paso can reach the many entrances of the Tom Mays Unit by car in 15 minutes. Several hiking trails stretch in the Tom Mays Unit, such as broad Upper and Lower Foothills loops.
- Things to Do in Franklin Mountains State Park: Scenic Drive – Overlook, L & J Cafe, Kiki’s Restaurant & Bar, Fort Bliss and Old Ironsides Museums, Zino’s Greek & Mediterranean Cuisine
- Location of Franklin Mountains State Park: 1331 McKelligon Canyon Rd, El Paso, TX 79930-2649
- Contact of Franklin Mountains State Park: +1 915-566-6441
8. Mustang Island State Park
There’s no better way to spend a summer afternoon in Texas than at Mustang Island State Park. A barrier island extending between Port Aransas and Corpus Christi, this coastal park offers five miles of beachfront where people can swim, fish, surf, camp, and birdwatching. This Texas state park is currently home to almost 100 campsites. Together with enjoying the beach, visitors can even kayak the Mustang Island Paddling Trail. Mustang Island State Park is one of the best state parks in Texas.
- Things to Do in Mustang Island State Park: Convent Avenue Baptist Church, St. Nicholas Park, Strivers’ Row, The Grange Bar & Eatery, The Edge Harlem
- Location of Mustang Island State Park: 17047 Tx-361, Port Aransas, TX 78373
- Contact of Mustang Island State Park: +1 361-749-5246
9. Ray Roberts Lake State Park
On land, you can camp, hike, bicycle, ride your horse, rollerblade, geocache, or go. You can swim in one of the beach areas (no lifeguards on duty), throw, or wet a hook in our kids’ fishing pond or the lake. Or enjoy quieter pursuits: photography, nature viewing, or simply relaxing! Have a virtual tour with our interactive trails map.
Stay at one of our most campsites or book space at Lone Star Lodge. Hold your next group event here; we have group walk-in campsites, four picnic pavilions overlooking the lake, along assembly rooms at Lone Star Lodge.
Fish the 29,000-acre Ray Roberts Lake. The current lake record for largemouth bass is 15.18 pounds. Remember, you can fish from the shore or a dock at a state park without a fishing license!
- Things to Do in Ray Roberts Lake State Park: Sharkarosa Wildlife Ranch, Black Mustang Ranch, Texas Tulips, Western Son Distillery
- Location of Ray Roberts Lake State Park: 100 Pw 4137, Pilot Point, TX 76258-8944
- Contact of Ray Roberts Lake State Park: +1 940-686-2148
10. Guadalupe River State Park
Ten miles north of San Antonio, this scenic state park is on the banks of the Guadalupe River. The river environment provides ample recreation options, including fishing, swimming, and tubing. Other popular things to do in Guadalupe River State Park include swimming, hiking, and spotting wildlife. Sunsets at Guadalupe River State Park provide a beautiful moment for other people to snap a few pictures.
- Things to Do in Guadalupe River State Park: Cave Without a Name, Tejas Rodeo Company, Knibbe Ranch, Serengeti Plains Tours
- Location of Guadalupe River State Park: 3350 Park Road 31, Spring Branch, TX 78070-3608
- Contact of Guadalupe River State Park: +1 830-438-2656
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