Are you looking for the best state parks in Texas? If you are, you are in luck because I have compiled a list of the best state parks in Texas that you can explore.
From waterfalls and caves to lakes and wildlife. The state parks that you will find in Texas have everything you need and more.
So, without further adieu, let’s take a look at the best Texas state parks that you can visit.
1. Palo Duro Canyon State Park
If you are looking for one of the best state parks in Texas that comes with a view, I am pleased to inform you that you have just found it.
Palo Duro Canyon State Park which is also known as the Texas Grand Canyon is one of the best state parks to go to, especially if you are looking to go hiking around gorgeous landscapes. The state park has beautiful views that you can take in and plenty of activities for you to engage in.
For starters, you can stroll down the hiking trails and take in the views that surround you. On top of that, this is also one of the best state parks in Texas where you can go horseback riding, especially if you do not feel like walking all the way.
If horseback riding is not your cup of tea, you can always go mountain biking through the canyon. You will probably want to explore Palo Duro Canyon State Park for more than one day at a time.
Thankfully, it has a few campgrounds where you can pitch your tent and refuel for the next day’s adventure. Excitement, scenery, and epic adventures. What more could you ask for?
2. Big Bend Ranch State Park
Do you enjoy stargazing? If you do, be sure to make a pit stop at Big Bend Ranch State Park. This is one of the best state parks in Texas for a variety of reasons. For starters, there is a diverse range of activities that you can engage in.
There are absolutely stunning hiking trails and horseback riding. On top of that, you can also go river floating and mountain biking. Also, Big Bend Ranch State Park is known to be one of the best state parks in Texas for stargazing.
Yes, you can go on almost any adventure at this state park. It is covered by the most beautiful greenery and fauna and has beautiful views that you can take in. So, add Big Bend Ranch State Park for big adventures with even bigger fun that is waiting for you.
3. Colorado Bend State Park
I am not sure about you, but I absolutely love hiking to waterfalls. If you do too, be sure to add Colorado Bend State Park to your bucket list. This is another one of the best state parks in Texas that come with a diverse range of activities for you to engage in.
As a matter of fact, you can even sign up for a group tour of the state park where you will get to see everything that it has to offer. The best part is that Colorado Bend State Park has one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the area.
You will need to do some hiking in order to reach the waterfall, so be sure to get your hiking boots and water bottles ready. Do you enjoy exploring caves? Well, this is another activity that you can take part in at Colorado Bend State Park.
This park is simply loaded with adventures of all kinds. You can also go horseback riding or mountain biking if that is what you would prefer to do. The options are endless. The waterfall is 40 feet high and you will need to hike for 3 miles to get to it.
So, if you are not a fitness junkie, the cave tours may be a better option for you. So, let’s go to Colorado Bend State Park. Adventure and excitement are just around the bend.
4. Garner State Park
Texas has absolutely everything to offer in terms of fun things that you can do at its state parks. The Garner State Park is one of the best state parks for those who want to engage in adventurous activities.
For starters, the park has a variety of hiking trails for you to choose from if you are a fitness junkie. On top of that, the park has a crystal clear river where you can go canoeing. You can also float around in a tube on this river which sounds like a great time to me.
Otherwise, you can bring along your fishing rods to catch your dinner for the night. Garner State Park’s views are absolutely breathtaking and you will not regret paying it a visit. There are so many things for you to do that there is no way that you will get bored.
The best part is that Garner State Park has a wonderful tradition that has been there since the 1940s. You can attend a night of dancing around the jukebox during summertime.
What a blast!
So, do not miss out on this epic adventure. Head over to Garner State Park for an adventure that you won’t soon forget.
5. Franklin Mountains State Park
What is one thing that a state park needs? Mountains of course! Thankfully, Franklin Mountains State Park is one of the best state parks in Texas where you can take in the beautiful mountain views on your day out.
The environment is quite rugged, so be sure to enhance your fitness levels before you go hiking at this state park. One of the best activities that you can engage in at Franklin Mountains State Park is rock climbing.
You can climb the elevated landscapes to get a taste of everything that the park has to offer. Would you like to spend more than one day exploring this beautiful state park? No problem! If you head over to El Paso, you will find a range of campsites where you can pitch your tent for the night.
I mean, Franklin Mountains State Park has enough activities to last you for an entire weekend? So, why not stay for a few nights instead of rushing away? You never know what kind of adventures await you.
6. Inks Lake State Park
Are you looking for the best state parks in Texas that have thrilling water-based activities? Well, you have just found one. Inks Lake State Park has a crystal clear lake where you can engage in a variety of activities.
As a matter of fact, this is one of the best state parks in Texas for those who want to go on a fishing adventure. On top of fishing, you can also go canoeing at Inks Lake State Park. Tubing is also an option if you bring your own tube.
Otherwise, you can dip your feet in the cool waters to cool yourself down from the famous, Texan heat. Water-based adventures are not all that Inks Lake State Park has to offer. You can also bring along your hiking shoes to go for a lovely stroll through the park.
I guarantee that you will stand in awe of the beautiful landscapes that you will witness. If you are looking for an extra activity to participate in, you can bring along your binoculars to do some birdwatching. Yes, Inks Lake State Park is one of the best state parks in Texas for birdwatching.
This amazing state park truly has everything to offer and more.
7. Guadalupe River State Park
Are you ready for a day that is filled with epic adventures? I know that I am! Thankfully, adventure is exactly what you will find at Guadalupe River State Park. This is one of the best state parks in Texas due to the wide variety of activities that it has to offer.
Let’s start with the water. The Guadalupe River runs directly through the state park which gives you the option of fishing, tubing, swimming, and canoeing. This means that you will be in for a splashing adventure.
The park also has quite a few hiking trails that you can stroll through. If you are feeling lucky, you might even spot some of the wildlife that lives in the park. Camping is also available for those who want to stay at Guadalupe River State Park for a bit longer than one day.
The park also has a Discovery Center on the premises. The purpose of this center is to educate children on the environment and wildlife that can be found in the park. This means that Guadalupe River State Park is one of the best state parks in Texas for families to enjoy.
So, pack your bags, and let’s go rolling on the river!
8. Palo Duro Canyon State Park
If you like canyons, then you are simply going to love Palo Duro Canyon, State Park. Palo Duro Canyon State Park is home to the second-biggest canyon in Texas which already adds an interesting twist to it. That is exactly why this state park made it onto our list of the best state parks in Texas.
The best time to visit Palo Duro Canyon State Park is during the summer since the park stages its very own musical for you to enjoy during this time. The park also stretches for over 30 miles. You can go hiking along the trails to take in the beautiful canyon views.
This is also an excellent spot for glamping in case you are planning on staying for more than one day. If hiking is not your cup of tea, you can also go geocaching. Bring along your mountain bikes if you want to ride your bike through the trails instead of hiking through them.
The Palo Duro Canyon State Park certainly offers everything that you can imagine. It is one of the best Texas state parks for those who want to go on an epic weekend adventure. So, be sure not to miss out!
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9. Longhorn Cavern State Park
If you are looking for one of the best state parks in Texas that will give you a cultural and historic experience, Longhorn Cavern State Park is the way to go. This state park is home to a beautiful cavern that has a rich history behind it.
You can explore the cavern to learn everything that there is to know about it. If you would like to delve deeper into the cavern’s rich, cultural history, you can also go on a guided tour where you will learn about the cave’s origins and discover things that you would not be able to discover by yourself.
You can access the cave by walking down a flight of stone steps which does not require you to be too fit.
Longhorn Cavern State Park also has an observation tower that you can climb to take in the beautiful landscapes that the park holds. Unfortunately, this park is only open during the day. This means that it is not the best state park in Texas for those who want to go camping.
However, spending a single day at Longhorn Cavern State Park will already blow your mind. So, do not hesitate to add this magnificent park to your bucket list. You will not regret it!
10. Caprock Canyons State Park & Trailway
Here is another one of the best state parks in Texas for those who love canyons. Caprock Canyons State Park & Trailway is a stunning state park that has a lot to offer in terms of scenery and wildlife. You can take in the magnificent canyon views and unwind in the natural landscapes that surround you.
The element that makes this one of the best Texas state parks is the fact that a Texas State Bison Herd roams the area. This means that you will get to encounter nature and wildlife on your adventure. Caprock Canyons State Park & Trailway is also home to Lake Theo.
Here, you can go for a dip in the cool waters. Otherwise, you can catch some fish, go tubbing, or go boating. The choice is yours! On top of that, the park also has a wide variety of hiking trails for you to walk through. If walking is not your thing, then try out some mountain biking instead.
Caprock Canyons State Park & Trailway offers almost any adventure that you can imagine. So, bring your energy and your cameras to take in the views and the thrill.
11. Pedernales Falls State Park
Waterfalls are my absolute favorite natural landscape to hike to. Thankfully, Pedernales Falls State Park offers you some of the most breathtaking waterfalls and more. Unfortunately, this is not one of the best state parks in Texas for those who want to go swimming.
Since the water underneath the waterfall is considered to be extremely rough, swimming is prohibited in this area. However, you can always play around on the rocks or catch a tan next to the waterfall. You will also find historic, limestone rocks surrounding the waterfall which is a sight to behold.
Thankfully, there are other rivers and dams in Pedernales Falls State Park where swimming is allowed. So, bring along your swimsuits nonetheless. This is also one of the best Texas state parks for those who want to go hiking.
It has a 10-mile hiking trail for those who think that they can brave the strenuous walk. You will probably want to spend the weekend at this magnificent state park. So, bring along your tents and camping gear.
The park does have a campsite where you can unwind and prepare yourself for the next day’s adventure. So, what are you waiting for? Head over to Pedernales Falls State Park for a dip, a hike, and some lovely campfire songs.
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12. Brazos Bend State Park
Brazos Bend State Park is, by far, one of the best state parks in Texas for those who want the nature, the whole nature, and nothing but the nature. The park is filled with beautiful forests and lush prairies that you can hike through while breathing in some fresh air.
On top of that, you will also encounter some interesting wildlife at this park. As a matter of fact, it is home to the American Alligator. Naturally, you cannot swim in the lake with the alligator unless you want to become a snack.
However, you can look at this fierce creature from a distance. Just be sure not to get too close. This is also one of the best state parks in Texas for hiking. The reason for this is the fact that you will encounter other wildlife along the trail.
The greatest part is that the wildlife that you encounter when hiking will not try to turn you into a mealtime which makes it a safe expedition. Brazos Bend State Park is one of the best Texas State Parks when it comes to wildlife viewing. Just be sure to leave only footprints and take only memories.
Due to the wildlife that inhabits the area, littering or removing natural elements is strictly prohibited. Regardless, you never know what amazing sights you might encounter along the way.
13. Caddo Lake State Park
For a splashing outdoor experience, be sure to make a pit stop at Caddo Lake State Park. This state park is one of the best state parks in Texas for those who love encountering different bodies of water. Otherwise, you can take a look at some of the ponds and swamps that inhabit the area.
You can rent a canoe to paddle through the waters or bring your own tube to float about. Did you know that Caddo Lake State Park is home to more than 60 species of fish? This is exactly why it is the best state park in Texas for all of the fishermen out there.
There is a lovely fishing pier where you can anchor your rods to catch something for dinner. Unfortunately, this is not the best Texas state park for those who want to go swimming. This is mainly due to the fact that alligators inhabit the waters.
So, if you go on a paddling trail, be sure to keep your hands and feet in the boat at all times. Other than that, you can get ready to have a watery adventure that you won’t soon forget.
14. Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
Are you looking for a magical, outdoor experience? If you are, be sure to add Enchanted Rock State Natural Area to your bucket list. This is a breathtaking state park that offers you some of the best scenery that Texas has to offer.
For starters, the park is home to a giant, granite rock that is known as the Enchanted Rock. The Enchanted Rock has vernal pools on top of it that are full of fish and other types of water life. You can hike to the top of the rock if you are looking for a hiking experience that you will never forget.
However, it is important to be aware that it will be a very steep climb. So, be sure to bring your best hiking boots. You can also go rock climbing at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area in case you are looking for a more adventurous activity.
Camping is also an option for those who want to spend the weekend in this magical area. If you do decide to go camping at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, be sure to try out some stargazing. This is truly one of the best state parks in Texas in terms of scenery.
Do not miss out on this epic adventure!
15.Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Area
The Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Area is another one of the best state parks in Texas for those who are looking for a historic and cultural, outdoor experience. The area used to be home to natives who used it to collect rainwater. Unfortunately, the park rules are quite strict.
This is primarily due to the fact that the natives carved and painted pictographs and petroglyphs onto the rock walls. Due to this, you can only go on guided tours unless you have a permit in which case you can go on a self-guided tour.
The pictographs and petroglyphs are truly a sight to behold. This is a view that you will not be able to experience anywhere else in Texas. Thankfully, there are still activities that you can do at Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Area.
Since it is a very rocky area, you can go on an epic rock climbing adventure. As a matter of fact, this is one of the best state parks in Texas for those who want to go rock climbing.
So, come and immerse yourself in Texan culture and indulge in the rich history that the Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Area has to offer. What are you waiting for?
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So, there you have it. These are the best state parks in Texas that you will find. Each of them has its own, unique activities that you can engage in.
Learn about Texas’ culture and history, go swimming in some of Texas’ best lakes or go on a hiking adventure that you will never forget.
You cannot go wrong by going to these Texas state parks. So, back your picnic baskets and hiking shoes. It’s adventure time!