Jan 23, 2018

Texas State Parks for Hours of Outdoor Family Fun

How many Texas state parks have you visited in the last 12 months? If your answer was two or less you are missing out on one of the best outdoor recreational and educational values in our state. There is nothing more rewarding than spending a sunny weekend afternoon outdoors in one of over 100 awesome Texas state parks.

First, a little background information. The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department operates our state parks. There are a total of 103 parks that span throughout the entire state. The department makes its headquarters in Austin. According to their website, they are esponsible for the management of our state parks and historical areas. They also work to protect the state’s wildlife and their habitats.

 Activities and amenities in Texas state parks

The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department’s yearly park pass is an incredible family value. As a four-year resident of Texas I have had a park pass for three of those years. The pass has given me the opportunity to discover the natural beauty of Texas. And, to explore its many activities. Canoeing, kayaking, boating, bicycling, hiking, picnicking, and guided nature walks and tours are a few of those activities. Other park activities include camping, fishing, hunting, horseback riding, caving, golfing, swimming, rock climbing, and more.

However, what I value the most from the park pass is visiting the state’s  historic sites. These sites are educational treasures filled with historical facts about Texas’ independence, its missionaries, hardships, and Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th President of the United States. I also need to mention the other amenities that come with having a pass such as guided tours, special events, Christmas activities, and Texas Outdoor Family workshops. So, before you head out on your state park journey, check the website’s main calendar for a listing of all park events.

Make it a family affair with a Texas state park pass

A Texas park pass is a recreational and educational value for the entire family to enjoy and a bargain for $70. The pass allows you free entry into any Texas state park for one year. You do not have to purchase it at the beginning of the year. Its eligibility starts the day you purchase the pass. You can purchase a pass on any visit to one of the parks. The pass easily covers the entrance fee for a family of 4-6 that are riding in the same vehicle. A variety of passes are available. There are other perks to purchasing a pass such as discounts on camping sites (up to four per year) and on camp store purchases, and additional special offers.

You can also give the gift of outdoors. Gift cards are available in monetary values of $5 to $500. Gift cards can be used for entrance fees, overnight camping fees and store purchases. Or, you can give the gift of outdoors by purchasing a park pass for someone you love.

Texas state parks are close to home for a convenient day trip

Texas is a big state and there is a lot of ground to cover. But, if you only have a couple of hours you don’t have to travel too far from Travisso to visit a state park. There are several located in the Texas Hill Country within a 90 minute drive from Leander.

A few of those parks include: Bastrop State Park, Bastrop; Blanco State Park, Blanco; Buescher State Park, Smithville and Enchanted Rock State Park, Fredericksburg. Also, visit Inks Lake State Park, Burnet; Longhorn Cavern State Park, Burnet and Lyndon B. Johnson State Park, Stonewall. Or, Old Tunnel State Park, Fredericksburg and Pedernales Falls State Park in Johnson City. The city of Austin is home to McKinney Falls State Park, the only state park in the city’s limits.

One valuable piece of advice I can give is to never leave home without your pass. Remember, the pass is valid for free entry to any state park. From the northern tip of the Texas Panhandle to the southern tip of the Texas Gulf Coast, and as far west as El Paso, and east to Orange, you never know when you will need it.

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