Nature March 23, 2021
A Nature Lovers Definitive Guide To Texas’ Natural Beauty – Parks, Beaches, Hikes And More!
Stretching nearly 800 miles across, Texas is paradise for nature lovers. From the towering mountains out west to the world’s largest bald cypress forest in the east, our state has a little bit of everything. No matter what kinds of outdoor activities you’re into – be it visiting private islands, floating the river, or checking national parks off your bucket list – there’s something for everyone here in Texas, no matter the season. Soak up the sun on a white sandy beach in the summer, and escape to a secret garden or hidden cave during the colder months. Featuring hiking trails, state parks, lakes, and more, here is the definitive guide to Texas’ natural beauty.
The Best Little Known Park In Texas
Often overshadowed by the adjacent national park of the same name,
Big Bend Ranch State Park
is a hidden gem in the Chihuahuan Desert. Spanning more than 300,000 acres, it's the largest state park in Texas! Rugged and virtually undisturbed, this vast expanse is home to ancient rock formations, diverse flora and fauna, and the Lone Star State's second-highest waterfall, among other noteworthy features. 238 miles of multiuse trails wind through the park, so the opportunities for exploration are boundless.
The Most Pristine Beach In Texas
Some of the whitest sands in Texas can be found at
, which is nestled along the Padre Island National Seashore. This particular beach is one of few in the area closed to vehicular traffic, so it's perfect for families with small children. From the pristine turquoise waters to blissful solitude, Malaquite Beach will quickly become your new favorite summer destination. Please note: admission to the seashore, which costs $10 per vehicle, is required.
The Most Jaw Dropping Lake In Texas
Straddling the Texas-Louisiana border, Caddo Lake is the only natural lake in the Lone Star State. As if that wasn't enough already, it's also the world's largest bald cypress forest! The wispy, whimsical trees are a formidable wall around the lake, extending far as the eye can see into the distance. Either bring your own kayak and enjoy a leisurely paddle, or catch a ride on the Graceful Ghost, the last paddlewheel boast of its kind on earth. In addition to the hauntingly beautiful cypress trees, you'll also float past an abandoned speakeasy that dates to the 1800s. There's so much to see and do on the
25,000-acre Caddo Lake!
The Most Beautiful Island In Texas
Okay, it isn't
an island, but who cares about specifics? This tropical oasis deep in the heart of Texas sure
like an island, and it's the perfect summer getaway. Son's Island in Seguin boasts thatched roof cabanas with hammocks, BBQ grills, and colorful plants that promise to whisk you away to paradise. Guests can enjoy a variety of water recreation activities, including kayaks and stand-up paddleboards, and even spend the night in a vintage airstream. Why pay for a trip to the Bahamas when you could take an
island vacation right here in Texas?
The Best Trail To Hike In Texas
Out of all the unbelievable hiking trails Texas has to offer, it's almost impossible to pick just one - but if we had to, it would be the
Santa Elena Canyon Trail
in Big Bend National Park. The trail is a mere 1.5 miles long, making it suitable for all ages and skill levels. You'll start hiking at the end of Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive, following a waterfront path that leads right down to the majestic Rio Grande. 1500-foot-tall limestone bluffs tower overhead, creating an iconic vista that attracts tourists from all over the country. The best part? Since the trail is so short, it leaves plenty of time to stick your toes in the sand and enjoy a picnic lunch. You can also splash around in the water to cool off before hitting the trail again to hike back out!
The Most Beautiful River In Texas
Floating the river is every Texan's favorite summer activity, and some are far more popular than others. One that often flies under the radar is the Devils River, hiding in an uninhabited area of Southwest Texas. Due to its remote nature, Devils River is considered the purest, most unspoiled river in the state. The water is so clear, you can almost see straight through to the bottom - that's thanks to limestone and sand cleansing it of impurities. Come escape the hustle and bustle of city life and find your inner peace on Devils River,
the most beautiful river in Texas.
The Most Scenic Mountain In Texas
Mountains aren't usually the first thing that comes to mind when we picture the great Texas outdoors, but our state actually has quite a few lofty peaks. Among them are the Chisos Mountains, a 40-square-mile range contained entirely within Big Bend National Park. One of the most photographed scenes in the park, known as
features two mountains whose jagged edges frame the rising sun as it climbs above the horizon each morning. The Window Trail, which spans 5.2 miles and has an elevation gain of just under 950 feet, leads straight to the breathtaking vista. If you're looking for something a bit less strenuous, the Window View Trail is a mere .3 miles and still offers the same unforgettable experience.
The Most Unique Garden In Texas
Carving out time for relaxation is a dying art, especially if you live in a big city - but it doesn't have to be that way. If you're in Dallas, peace and quiet is just a short drive away to the Oak Lawn neighborhood. That's where you'll find
, a secret garden full of colorful flowers and sculptures ranging from gargoyles to angels and everything in between. Whether you've come to air a heavy burden or just recharge for a short while, rest assured your soul will find what it needs. Please note: Dragon Park is private property, so you'll need to call the owner before visiting. His phone number is (214) 727-9879.