With the amount of state parks we have here in Texas, it’s safe to say very few of us have visited – or even heard of – all of them. To help you make a bigger dent in your bucket list, we’re telling you about 13 of our least-known state parks that definitely deserve more recognition. Check them out:
1. Tyler State Park (Tyler)
Get lost in the over 100 foot-tall trees at this Northeast Texas park. With a 64-acre spring-fed lake, historic buildings, three fishing piers, and over 13 miles of trails, there's plenty to keep you busy.
2. Fort Richardson State Park (Jacksboro)
Seven of the fort's original buildings still stand: a hospital, officers' quarters, powder magazine, morgue, commissary, guard house, and bakery. Learn a little bit of history while also immersing yourself in nature by hiking, swimming, and fishing.
3. South Llano River State Park (Junction)
The major rivers in the Hill Country steal most of the spotlight, but the Llano need not be forgotten! The park offers two miles of river frontage with multiple access points for tubes, kayaks, and canoes. There are also 23 miles of trails featuring a variety of wildlife, including over 250 species of bird. And things only get more spectacular when night falls, since it's an International Dark Sky Park! Gaze at the stars in awe as they illuminate the dark in numbers you've never seen before.
4. Big Spring State Park (Big Spring)
Although the property is nearly 400 acres, this 200-foot bluff is definitely the main attraction here at Big Spring State Park. Early morning exercisers frequent the trail to catch glimpses of the spectacular views in solitude. There's even a a pavilion on the hilltop if you want a beautiful backdrop for your next event.
5. San Angelo State Park (San Angelo)
The O.C. Fisher Reservoir and Concho River provide ample opportunity for fishing + boating. You'll also love the 50 miles of trails that include fossilized tracks from prehistoric creatures. This park is a time machine to Texas' past in the most beautiful way possible.
6. Resaca de la Palma State Park (Brownsville)
Traveling down South, this incredible park has the largest native bird habitat in the entire world. It spans 1200 acres and boasts eight miles of trails, four decks, and nearly three miles of tramway. Don't forget your binoculars!
7. Ray Roberts Lake State Park (Pilot Point)
It's hard to believe this breathtaking place is a mere hour north of the DFW Metroplex. From relaxing on the beach to horseback riding, there are so many different opportunities for fun. Go fishing for a largemouth bass, hike on 20 miles of trails, or simply find a secluded spot to watch the sunset.
8. Purtis Creek State Park (Eustace)
Fishing is what draws most people to Purtis Creek. The 355-acre lake is full of largemouth bass to catch and release as well as catfish and crappie that you can take home. Between that and boating, hiking, and biking, you'll never run out of things to do.
9. Atlanta State Park (Atlanta)
Beautiful scenery abounds year-round at Atlanta State Park, situated on the banks of Wright Patman Lake. You can fish, boat, swim, water ski, camp, hike, and so much more no matter the season.
10. Palmetto State Park (Gonzales)
Get a taste of the tropics in Central Texas at this park located just an hour away from Austin. With plenty of attractions on both water, you'll never want to leave this hidden paradise.
11. Mother Neff State Park (Moody)
Having been around since 1921, Mother Neff is one of the oldest state parks in Texas. 3.5 miles of trails lead you to a pond, a rock tower built by the CCC, and a cave formerly occupied by Tonkawa Indians. It's a truly incredible place to explore.
12. Sheldon Lake State Park (Houston)
You might not believe it, but right in the middle of Houston is this peaceful oasis. A .5-mile self-guided nature winds through 28 ponds full of alligators and other wildlife. An 82-foot tower provides striking views of the surrounding wetlands + prairie and even the Downtown Houston skyline!
13. Stephen F. Austin State Park (San Felipe)
With trails, primitive fishing, and an 18-hole golf course, this peaceful park is a nice little escape from the hustle + bustle of the city. There's no better combination than history and nature!
Have you ever been to any of these state parks? Did we leave out any of your favorites? Let us know!