by TPWD staff
Ahead of the busy spring break season, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department experts have come up with a list of tips and tricks to help families reconnect with the outdoors even if it’s only for an afternoon.
Texas State Parks offer a chance for families to get outside and enjoy the diverse landscapes that make up Texas. With opportunities to swim, walk and play at many parks, there is something for every member of the family to enjoy.
Here are the top 5 tips for spring breaking at a Texas State Park:
- Check availability online– Visit the park’s website ahead of time to check for scheduled closures, restrictions and other important information. Popular state parks may reach capacity early and will close their gates to people without reservations, so visitors should check the park’s social media accounts for current updates on capacity closures, before traveling to a state park.
- Visit a new park– With 95 state parks around Texas, there is always something new to discover. There are several state parks close to popular sites waiting to be explored. Lost Maples State Natural Area, Hill Country State Natural Area and Kickapoo Cavern State Park are three sites located within an hour of the beloved Garner State Park. Just south of Enchanted Rock State Natural Area and Pedernales Falls State Park lie four hidden gems awaiting discovery- Old Tunnel State Park, Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site, Blanco State Park and South Llano River State Park. A map of all Texas State Parks can be found on the TPWD website.
- Take part in a park program/activity– Park staff will be hosting many guided activities during spring break including bird walks, kayaking tours, archery 101 classes, arts and crafts, yoga in the park and cooking demos, just to name a few. A complete list of activities can be found on the TPWD calendar page. Visitors will also have many other activities to choose from outside of the scheduled programs including geocaching, Junior Ranger Program, free fishing at state parks and strolls on the trails. Some parks even have unique activities such as the stagecoach rides at Fanthorp Inn State Historic Site, tours of the grounds at Fort Richardson State Park and tramway rides at Wyler Aerial Tramway in El Paso.
- Plan a mini-adventure– Many Texas State Parks have unique attractions that would make a fun afternoon out for the whole family. At Longhorn Cavern State Park, visitors can learn about the history and geology of the cave on a 1.5-mile round trip with unique sights such as Crystal City, the Indian Council Room, Underground Ballroom and the Hall of Marble. If golfing is on the agenda for spring break, set a tee time at Lockhart State Park and golf on a nine-hole course built by the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps over 80 years ago. Anyone looking for a wild experience can tour some of the many trails at Brazos Bend State Park. Visitors may even be able to spot one of the alligators that call Brazos Bend home. Families looking for a bird’s eye view during their spring break have options in the Rio Grande Valley. The newly restored Port Isabel Lighthouse State Historic Site offers a unique view of the bay. Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park offers visitors a chance to see birds during their yearly migrations over the valley including flocks of thousands of hawks from the park’s Hawk Tower. The two-story-high Hawk Observation Tower, with a 210-foot-long wheelchair-accessible ramp, gives visitors a bird’s-eye view of the canopy as well as a peek into Mexico.
- Reserve overnight trips ahead of time– For visitors who want to spend a night under the stars, staff recommends that reservations be made in advance on the TPWD online reservation page or by phone by calling 512-389-8900.