Texas is a big state and this means lots of land for beautiful state parks, over 90 to be exact. Here you can marvel at some of the state’s most stunning natural wonders and enjoy an array of outdoor adventures. While there are many gorgeous state parks in the Lone Star State to choose from, these are our top picks for those you definitely want to see at least once in your lifetime.
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Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Canyon
Lovingly termed the “Grand Canyon of Texas,” this park is home to the second largest canyon in the United States. There are over 30 miles of hiking and biking trails, and the land is some of the most beautiful you will ever see. Photos don’t do justice to this otherworldly landscape.
Davis Mountains State Park, Fort Davis
West Texas feels like a state of its own. It’s tranquil and remote, separated from the rest of the grand state. This park highlights the very best of west Texas, with jaw-dropping mountain views. Enjoy camping, stargazing in an unobstructed sky, free of city light interference, and brush up on your history at nearby Fort Davis.
Big Bend Ranch State Park, Presidio
With 238 miles of multi-use trails, a great view of the rugged terrain, swimming, rafting, canoeing from the Rio Grande and picturesque views of the night sky, Big Bend Ranch State Park holds its own next to the other state parks on this list.
Seminole Canyon State Park & Historic Site, Comstock
Just east of Big Bend State Park lies another can’t-miss Texas state destination, Seminole Canyon. At this park, you can also find Fate Bell Shelter, one of the oldest cave dwellings on the continent. You can see the Rio Grande, take in the views at the Presa Canyon Overlook, and much more.
Garner State Park, Concan
Garner State Park is the ideal stop for outdoor activities. With over 11 miles of scenic hiking and biking trails, swimming holes, tubing down the Frio River and even mini golf, it’s easy to spend an entire day at this park. Drop in during the summer months, you can’t beat that time of year for stargazing.
Colorado Bend State Park, Bend
Colorado Bend State Park has an impressive 32+ miles of beautiful trails, but any hike at this park isn’t finished until you pay a visit to Gorman Falls. Wild Cave Tours reveal what’s underneath the park, and educates visitors on its geology and history.
Dinosaur Valley State Park, Glen Rose
Dinosaur Valley State Park has more than earned its name. When the water in the Paluxy River is low enough, you can see imprints of dinosaur tracks left millions of years ago. There are maps laying out the five main track site areas in the park, with explanations of species that left them. There are more than 20 miles of hiking and biking trails, and one pristine swimming hole.
Lost Maples State Natural Area, Vanderpool
Here you can observe the park’s unique, namesake Bigtooth Maples. Plan your visit in the fall season, since the unique, bright colors of the trees are foliage is a real sight to see.
Lake Mineral Wells State Park, Mineral Wells
Located under an hour from Fort Worth, there is a lot of recreation opportunity at this park, making it a popular summer getaway. You can bike, hike, or take a horseback ride on the 12.8 miles of park trails. You can go rock climbing, swim at the lake, or boating and fishing, and you can camp at the campsites.
Guadalupe River State Park, Spring Branch
Guadalupe River is big, beautiful and iconic in Texas. Here you will find four miles of river running through the park so you can swim, kayak, fish or go tubing. There are also scenic views and more to enjoy.
Longhorn Cavern State Park, Burnet
The caverns at Longhorn Cavern State Park are some of the most unique caverns in the world. They have an amazing history and interesting geologic formations. Get the full experience and learn more about these formations on the 1 ½ hour tour.
Pedernales Falls State Park, Johnson City
There are a variety of trails to choose from at Pedernales Falls State Park. One such trail sends you 6 miles up Wolf Mountain, and another that journeys across the limestone rocks of the Pedernales River. You certainly can’t see it all in one visit, but you’ll be glad for the excuse to return.