Texas State Parks and State Natural Areas

There are over 80 state parks and state natural areas in Texas, the majority not particularly interesting as regards scenery or natural landscapes - most are based around a lake or river, and are popular more for recreation, especially boating, fishing and camping, rather than hiking or photography. The best parks are found in the swamps and pine forests in the southeast, the wooded land of the Texas Hill Country, and the deserts of the far west.

Other Texas listings: national parks, monuments, recreation areas and historic sites.

Contrabando Trailhead, Big Bend Ranch SP
Campground at Davis Mountains State Park
Posts, doorways and windows at Fort Leaton SP
Inscriptions at Hueco Tanks State Park
Transmountain Highway, Franklin Mountains SP

Park Features Location
Atlanta State Park Small section of the tree-lined shore of Wright Patman Lake Northeast Texas, near Texarkana
Balmorhea State Park Outdoor, spring-fed swimming pool, up to 25 feet deep, plus an area of desert wetland Balmorhea, near the I-10/I-20 intersection in west Texas
Barrington Living History Farm Historical farm with period exhibits and interpretive demonstrations Washington, 80 miles northwest of Houston
Barton Warnock Environmental Education Center Gardens and historical exhibits about Big Bend country and the Chihuahuan Desert Terlingua, near the east entrance to Big Bend Ranch SP
Bastrop State Park Lake and forest, including groves of the loblolly pine, a species more common further east. 12 miles of trails 30 miles southeast of Austin
Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park Riparian land next to the Rio Grande - popular for birding South Texas, near McAllen
Big Bend Ranch State Park Largest state park in Texas - rugged desert wilderness bordering the Rio Grande West of Big Bend National Park
Big Spring State Park Urban park on a hill near the center of Big Spring - short trails and views of the city FM 700, Big Spring
Blanco State Park Riverside park in downtown Blanco South side of Blanco, along the Blanco River
Bonham State Park Lake with small areas of grassland and woods 70 miles northeast of Dallas
Brazos Bend State Park Prairie, forest, swamps and wetlands along the Brazos River - many different plants and animals 40 miles south of Houston
Buescher State Park Small lake and a wooded, hilly area crossed by an 8 mile trail 40 miles southeast of Austin
Caddo Lake State Park Swampy, wooded land on the west side of Caddo Lake - good for fishing and wildlife watching Hwy 43, 16 miles from Marshall in east Texas
Caprock Canyons State Park & Trailway Scenic red rock canyons and buttes at the edge of the High Plains, plus a 64 mile section of disused railroad 100 miles southeast of Amarillo
Cedar Hill State Park Lake in the Dallas suburbs, surrounded by wooded hills, popular for cycling Southwest Dallas, near Grand Prairie
Choke Canyon State Park Two sections along the south shore of Yarbrough Lake - boating and fishing are the main activities Half way between San Antonio and Corpus Christi, near I-37
Cleburne State Park Small, spring-fed lake with scenic, wooded surroundings 12 miles from Cleburne, south of Fort Worth
Colorado Bend State Park Hill Country park on the Colorado River - woods and creeks, caves and travertine formations, and a 65 foot waterfall 28 miles west of Lampasas
Cooper Lake State Park Typical countryside lake - fishing, camping and boating available 80 miles northwest of Dallas
Copper Breaks State Park Lakes and mesquite/juniper-covered mesas of richly colored sandstone, crossed by various trails Along Hwy 6 south of Quanah - 90 miles from Wichita Falls
Daingerfield State Park Lake enclosed by forest of tall pine, oak and maple trees Northeast Texas, 2 miles from Daingerfield
Davis Mountains State Park Rugged mountain range in the Chihuahuan Desert - park occupies a small area adjacent to Fort Davis NHS Fort Davis, along Hwy 17 & 118
Devils River State Natural Area Remote, undeveloped park on desert land bordering the Devils River - accessed by unpaved roads 22 miles from US 277, north of Del Rio
Devil's Sinkhole State Natural Area Circular cavern on the Edwards Plateau up to 400 feet deep, open by advance reservation only East of Rock Springs
Dinosaur Valley State Park Popular park featuring dinosaur footprints alongside the Paluxy River 80 miles southwest of Dallas
Eisenhower State Park Section of the extensive shoreline of Lake Texoma, along the Oklahoma border Near Denison, on US 69/75
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area Huge block of pinkish granite rising above the Texas Hill Country FM 965, between Fredericksburg and Llano
Estero Llano Grande State Park Birding area along a narrow lake in far south Texas 4 miles from Westlaco on US 83
Fairfield Lake State Park Rural lake with wooded surroundings Near Fairfield, 100 miles south of Dallas
Falcon State Park Part of the east shore of Falcon International Reservoir along the Rio Grande - near the Mexican border Just off US 83, south of Zapata
Fort Boggy State Park Wetlands, wooded hills and a small lake Next to I-45, half way between Dallas and Houston
Fort Leaton State Historic Site Adobe fort built 1848, used for trading and occasional military expeditions East edge of Presidio along FM 170
Fort Parker State Park 700 acre lake surrounded by low, wooded hills Hwy 14, 40 miles east of Waco
Fort Richardson State Park, Historic Site & Lost Creek Reservoir Trailway Restored fort (established 1867), grassland, woods, reservoir and multi-use creekside trail South side of Jacksboro, along US 281/380
Franklin Mountains State Park Dramatic mountain range rising above El Paso - hiking and excellent vistas. Largest urban park in the USA North edge of El Paso
Galveston Island State Park Dunes, beach and marshland along the west side of the barrier island protecting Galveston from the Gulf of Mexico Ten miles southwest of Galveston city center
Garner State Park Forested land either side of the Frio River - good for swimming, and walking along nature trails through the woods US 83, north of Uvalde
Goliad State Park and Historic Site Several historic buildings on wooded land in a bend on the San Antonio River South side of Goliad, along US 77/183
Goose Island State Park Small barrier island on Arkansas Bay; popular camping location. Includes a famous 1000 year old oak tree 40 miles northeast of Corpus Christi along Hwy 35
Government Canyon State Natural Area Hiking and nature study in the wooded hills just outside San Antonio. Park open 2005; still being developed West side of San Antonio, close to Loop 1604
Guadalupe River State Park Forested limestone bluffs adjoining the Guadalupe River in the Texas Hill Country 40 miles north of San Antonio
Hill Country State Natural Area Valleys, hills, grassland and streams on the Edwards Plateau; hiking is the main activity Ten miles southwest of Bandera
Honey Creek State Natural Area Diverse plantlife along a small stream - an undeveloped park, open to guided tours only 40 miles north of San Antonio - next to Guadalupe River SP
Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site Large boulders, good for climbing, and covered by many ancient pictographs. Entry restrictions apply 25 miles east of El Paso
Huntsville State Park Small, branched lake (Lake Raven) surrounded by thick pine woods - fishing, hiking and camping available 8 miles south of Huntsville, near I-45
Indian Lodge Historic inn with expansive views, at the foot of the Davis Mountains Fort Davis, west Texas

Can Creek, Lost Maples State Natural Area
Footprints on the dunes, Monahans Sandhills SP
Collared lizard in Palo Duro Canyon State Park
The Palmetto Trail, Palmetto State Park
The falls in Pedernales Falls State Park

Inks Lake State Park Scenic lake enclosed by granite hills, cedar/oak woods and grassland 9 miles west of Burnet
Kickapoo Cavern State Park Impressive formations in a quarter mile long cave - open by guided tours only FM 674, 55 miles from Del Rio
Lake Arrowhead State Park Developed, recreation-based park on the west shore of Lake Arrowhead 14 miles southeast of Wichita Falls
Lake Bob Sandlin State Park Wooded area adjoining a large lake - especially colorful in the fall 11 miles southwest of Mt Pleasant
Lake Brownwood State Park Camping, nature trails, fishing and boating on a 7,300 acre lake 16 miles northwest of Brownwood, central Texas
Lake Casa Blanca International State Park Urban park in Laredo, on the south shore of Lake Casa Blanca East side of Laredo off US 59
Lake Colorado City State Park 5 miles of shoreline; park popular for camping and the usual water-based activities Near Colorado City along I-20, half way between Abilene and Midland
Lake Corpus Christi State Park Bays and inlets on the east side of a large lake 4 miles from Mathis and 35 miles from Corpus Christi
Lake Livingston State Park Wooded land adjoining Lake Livingston; developed shoreline with picnic areas, nature trails and boat ramps FM 3126, 7 miles from Livingston
Lake Mineral Wells State Park & Trailway Smallish lake with forested surroundings; campsites and trails, including a 19 mile trailway East side of Mineral Wells, along US 180
Lake Somerville State Park & Trailway Several sections of the shoreline of Somerville Lake; 20 miles of trails through woods and grassland, and many recreation opportunities on the water 80 miles northwest of Houston
Lake Tawakoni State Park Small area of woodland and shoreline along Lake Tawakoni 50 miles east of Dallas
Lake Texana State Park Patch of oak woods on the west side of Lake Texana, surrounded by farmland Hwy 111, 95 miles southwest of Houston
Lake Whitney State Park Grassy land bordering Lake Whitney; activities concentrated on or beside the water FM 1244, 15 miles from Hillsboro
Lockhart State Park Stream, woodland and a 9-hole golf course On the southwest edge of Lockhart
Longhorn Cavern State Park Unusual, water-carved cave in the Texas Hill Country Ten miles southwest of Burnet
Lost Maples State Natural Area Steep limestone canyons and unusual trees - especially colorful during fall Ranch Road 187, 50 miles from Kerrville
Lyndon B. Johnson State Park & Historic Site Grasslands beside the Pedernales River with living history farm and several old buildings, plus visitor center with LBJ memorabilia US 290, 16 miles east of Fredericksburg
Martin Creek Lake State Park Fishing, camping and boating on the north shore of an artificial lake Northeast Texas, near Longview
Martin Dies, Jr. State Park Small park containing wooded swampland on the shores of an east Texas lake; abundant wildlife US 190, half way between Jasper and Woodville
McKinney Falls State Park Wide but shallow limestone falls along Onion Creek, in a fairly developed area Ten miles south of Austin
Meridian State Park 72 acre lake enclosed by low, wooded hills 48 miles northwest of Waco
Mission Tejas State Park Section of the east Texas pineywoods, with trails, campsites, fishing and two historic structures Surrounded by the Davy Crockett National Forest, along Hwy 21
Monahans Sandhills State Park Whitish sand dunes, up to 70 feet high Near I-20, a few miles from Monahans in west Texas
Mother Neff State Park Thickly wooded land bordering the Leon River - base for camping, fishing and short hikes Hwy 236, 30 miles from Waco
Mustang Island State Park Beaches and sand dunes close to North Padre Island Hwy 361, 20 miles from Corpus Christi
Palmetto State Park Swampy environment along the San Marcos River, home to exotic plants and wildlife 4 miles from I-10 between San Antonio and Houston
Palo Duro Canyon State Park The largest canyon system in Texas, on the border between the High Plains and the Rolling Plains 36 miles by road from Amarillo
Pedernales Falls State Park Wide waterfall along a clear river in a scenic limestone canyon 35 miles west of Austin
Possum Kingdom State Park Wooded promontory on the west edge of a large, branched lake 17 miles north of Caddo, 100 miles from Fort Worth
Purtis Creek State Park Small lake with wooded surroundings 60 miles southeast of Dallas
Ray Roberts Lake State Park Several sites along the mostly undeveloped shoreline of a large, branched reservoir 50 miles north of Dallas
Resaca de la Palma State Park Birding location in far south Texas - tropical environment near the Rio Grande Ten miles from Brownsville via US 281
San Angelo State Park Grassy land on the west side of OC Fisher Lake - park offers camping and water-based activities Northwest edge of San Angelo
Sea Rim State Park Marshland and beaches on the Gulf of Mexico, slowly recovering from hurricane damage Southeast corner of Texas, adjoining the Louisiana border
Seminole Canyon State Park & Historic Site Desert canyon beside the Rio Grande, with well preserved Indian pictographs (viewable only if accompanied by a guide) Along US 90, 40 miles northwest of Del Rio
Sheldon Lake State Park Marshland bordering a small reservoir - good for fishing and wildlife observation 15 miles northeast of Houston
South Llano River State Park Partly wooded land next to the South Llano River; park has quite varied wildlife, and offers recreation along the river. 7 miles south of Junction and I-70.
Stephen F. Austin State Park Peaceful, forested park on the west side of the Brazos River Near Sealy, 50 miles west of Houston
Tyler State Park Wooded, hilly area containing a small lake 90 miles east of Dallas
Village Creek State Park Swampy forest next to a meandering stream 15 miles north of Beaumont, near the Louisiana border
Walter Umphrey State Park Developed area at the south end of Pleasure Island, surrounded by Sabine Lake A few miles south of Port Arthur
Wyler Aerial Tramway Cable car tramway up the east side of the Franklin Mountains El Paso

Back to Top

All Contents © Copyright John Crossley | Comments and Questions | Site Map

Arizona California Colorado Idaho Nevada New Mexico Oregon Texas Utah Wyoming Slot Canyons Travelogue