Searching for amazing state parks in Texas to explore? Then, you have come to the right place! In this article, we will be discussing the Texas state parks and what do they offer to visitors.
Texas is a large state where you can find mountains, sandy beaches, rivers, and more. The Lone Star State is full of amazing cities and stunning natural areas. Home to over 100 state parks, you can enjoy all kinds of activities here including hiking, mountain biking, horse riding, and more.
Confused about what are the best state parks in Texas for you? Don’t worry! We have you covered. From Big Bend Ranch State Park to Garner State Park, we have included a wide range of state parks for you to explore.
So, if you are planning an outdoor adventure soon, check out this list of the 15 best state parks in Texas!
15 Best State Parks In Texas You Should Explore
Palo Duro Canyon State Park
Palo Duro Canyon State Park is one of the best Texas state parks that is also popularly known as the ‘Grand Canyon of Texas’. This is because this state park is home beautiful red rock formations and offers several biking and hiking trails to adventure enthusiasts.
Palo Duro Canyon is the second-largest canyon in the country and also has many campgrounds where you can spend the night. You can also attend the amazing TEXAS Outdoor Musical that is held at the Pioneer Amphitheater here. Here, you can enjoy singing and dancing performances and admire the fireworks dedicated for the Texas pioneers.
Honestly, there is a lot to do here. You can photograph the stunning canyons, enjoy the beautiful views, hike, and do so much more. So, if you are looking for amazing state parks in Texas, this is definitely on the top.
Monahans Sandhills State Park
Have you always wanted to visit Sahara desert? If yes, then you should visit Monahans Sandhills State Park, one of the top state parks in west Texas.
This state park offers miles of sand dunes where you can roll and slide down just how you do on a ski trip. The sand dunes shift every day and reach up to a height of 50 meters so, there is no maintained trail here. Visitors have the opportunity to explore their own paths.
One of the most fun activities to do here is surfing down the dunes on a sand disk that you can rent out at the park. There are 26 campsites available here with electricity to spend the night too.
So, if you are looking for the best parks in texas, this is a good choice. Just make sure to pack plenty of water and sunscreen while visiting.
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is one of the top places to visit in Texas that sees thousands of tourists every year.
This is one of the best state parks in Texas which offers a short yet steep trek that will reward you with stunning views. The main attraction of this park is the pink-colored granite mound that is visible from miles away.
There is a lot of things to do in this park such as climbing to the top, stargazing, camping, hiking, and more. Since this is a popular park in Texas, do plan your trip in advance and make prior bookings for visiting this state park.
Galveston Island State Park
One of the best parks in Texas, Galveston Island State Park offers plenty of fun trails for hiking, camping sites, bird watching trails, fishing sites, and more.
The best thing about this park is the island and the history surrounding it. There are lots of historical places to visit, especially the Strand area. But if that’s not what you are interested in, then you can always go on a hiking or kayaking adventure here.
It is one of the top state parks near Houston and offers beaches where you can relax for a while. You can also take a swim in the water or indulge in fun water activities. Overall, this is a great state park to visit in Texas.
Dinosaur Valley State Park
Are you looking for unique state parks in North Texas? Well, then check out Dinosaur Valley State Park that is made up of sandstones and limestones dating back to 113 million years ago.
If that wasn’t enough, twin sets of dinosaur footprints were discovered here in 1908. This is why it has been named Dinosaur Valley State Park and listed as a National Natural Landmark too.
One of the best parks to visit in Texas, there are a lot of activities to indulge in here. You can go hiking, biking, swimming, etc. around here. There are also campsites available to spend the night inside this park but do call to check the availability of the camps.
This is undoubtedly one of the most fun and unique state parks in Texas that you cannot miss out on.
Garner State Park
Garner State Park is one of the most popular and beautiful parks in Texas to visit, especially for camping. However, summer is quite popular time to visit so there are chances that all the campsites are booked out so, enquire in advance.
There are several hiking trails, natural sights, Frio river, and a lot of activities to enjoy here that make this park fun for all ages. You can enjoy a hike along the Old baddy to enjoy the gorgeous views around here. This is one of the top state parks in Texas to visit during fall season as well due to the gorgeous colors that you can witness here.
So, if you want to enjoy some quiet time beside the river, then this is a great park to visit.
Inks Lake State Park
Inks Lake State Park is one of the top state parks in Texas which covers an area of 1,201 acres. The state park comprises mainly gneiss rock and lush vegetation and looks straight out of heaven.
With over 200 campsites and cabin, it is also one of the best state parks in Texas for camping. So, if you are planning a camping trip in Texas, then this is a great choice.
Apart from camping, you can also swim in the famous Devil’s Waterhole or enjoy a dip in the Inks Lake. Relax on the rocky shores of these lakes and make the most of the vivid landscape of this state park.
Caprock Canyons State Park
Another canyon park that offers stunning views, Caprock Canyons State Park is one of the cool parks in Texas to visit.
Located south of Palo Duro Canyon Parks, this park features red sandstone cliffs that are known as Caprock Escarpment. That’s not all though. This state park is also home to many unique animals such as Texas State Bison Herd, North American camels, and more.
Visitors can enjoy many activities here such as horse riding, biking, and hiking. There are over 90 miles hiking trails accessible that you can explore while admiring the gorgeous Staked Plains topography.
Caddo Lake State Park
Located in East Texas, Caddo Lake State Park is one of the best parks to visit in Texas. This family-friendly park comprises an area of 26,810 acres and is the home to the largest natural lake in Texas.
It features a network of bayous and swamps and is one of the best state parks in East Texas for boating and fishing. This state park is perfect for family visits as there are several playgrounds around the park where kids will enjoy.
Furthermore, you can spend a night in the park and can visit from nearby towns of Texas for a weekend trip. If you are planning a family vacation, then this is one of the best state parks in Texas.
Big Bend Ranch State Park
Big Bend Ranch State Park is one of the most beautiful parks in Texas that offers a lot of fun activities for visitors. With an area of 300,000 acres, it is the largest state park in Texas.
From hiking to mountain biking, to horse riding, there is a lot to do here. One of the best things about this state park is that it is also the International Dark Sky Park in the state. You can enjoy stargazing here after watching beautiful sunsets.
Since Rio Grande traverses through this park, boating and fishing are popular activities to do here too. If you are looking for best state parks in Texas, then Big Bend Ranch State Park is the perfect place to visit. This is home to some of the best mountains in Texas!
Goose Island State Park
Looking for amazing state parks in South Texas? Then, visit Goose Island State Park near Rockport in Texas. This state park is perfect for those who love to spend time on beaches and enjoy water activities.
Perfect for families, this state park is also home to the ‘Big Tree’ which is a 1000-years old Southern live oak. While the park is on a shore, you cannot swim here. However, you can enjoy other activities such as fishing, boating, birding, and more.
There are over 100 campsites available here for camping in this park.
Pedernales Falls State Park
Located 10 miles from Johnson City, Pedernales Falls State Park is one of the best state parks near Austin that you should explore. It is an hour’s drive from Austin, making it the perfect day trip from the city.
This state park features the Pedernales River that makes way through a series of limestone steps to create the namesake Pedernales Falls. Although you cannot swim in the falls, you can do rock hopping to enjoy the views of the falls.
There are many other spots where you can enjoy swimming. Moreover, you can camp here for the night and explore the numerous hiking trails available here. It is one of the best state parks in Texas for water-related activities that you cannot miss out on.
Lost Maples State Natural Area
If you wish to go camping in Texas, then one of the best state parks in Texas for camping is Lost Maples State Natural Area. Although you can visit this park year-round, the best time to visit is during the autumn season when the fall colors surround you.
There are several hiking trails here that will give you the best view of the fall foliage. You can also hike to the top of a cliff via stairs and enjoy the surrounding views. One can even spend a night in one of the 30 electric campsites that are available here.
You can indulge in many activities here such as stargazing, fishing, photography, and more. One of the main attractions is the bigtooth maple which is unique to Texas. Overall, this is a great park to explore in Texas.
Longhorn Cavern State Park
One of the top Texas Hill Country state parks to visit, Longhorn Cavern State Park is home to one of the best caverns in Texas. Declared in 1930, Longhorn Cavern is the main attraction in this park and has a rich history associated to it.
Visitors can go to this underground cavern on guided tours and learn its geological and historical significance.
In this park, you will come across many stunning structures from the original time such as the stone steps leading down to the cave. There are also nature-inspired structures such as the stone Observation Tower. From the top of this tower, you can enjoy gorgeous views of Texas Hill Country.
One important thing to keep in mind is that this is only a day park. There are no campsites here to spend the night. However, overall, this is one of the unique state parks in Texas that you must visit.
Colorado Bend State Park
Colorado Bend State Park is located two hours from Austin and is one of the best state parks near Austin to explore. Plan a trip to this state park and indulge in fun and adventurous activities.
From camping to hiking, to kayaking, there are a lot of activities to enjoy here. You can also take a guided tour of the caves in this park or hike to the Gorman falls, one of the best waterfalls in Austin. The 3-mile-long hike to the falls can be a little challenging but it is well-worth the view.
Spend a night camping here under the starry sky and immerse yourself in your natural surroundings. Trust me, there is no shortage of things to enjoy here, which is why it one of the best state parks in central Texas for outdoor enthusiasts.