Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine   


Illustration © Jess Blank


Take Mom on a State Park Picnic

Picnics are a popular family excursion on the first warm days of spring. You can keep it simple — just take peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches and a jug of lemonade and spread out a blanket in your own yard — or for extra fun, pack a basket or cooler full of goodies and head out to a park.

This Mother’s Day, instead of waiting in line for a fancy brunch, why not take Mom to the prettiest place you can find and treat her to a fabulous picnic?

Everything tastes better when you eat outdoors, even the usual suspects: sandwiches, chips, fruit, cookies and drinks. Of course, Mom will love whatever you serve, but maybe this year you can wow her by preparing something a bit fancier. Bring a grill to make some kebabs (check ahead for burn bans at the park) or spend some prep time in the kitchen making homemade salads, wraps and desserts.

Of course, the key to any successful picnic is location, location, location. After you pick the park (see our suggestions below), make sure to get a reservation on our new site: texasstateparks.org/reservations.

Find a level spot with a lovely view, and don’t forget to bring a little shade, in case the sun’s blazing and the trees aren’t in the right position. Mom will give you bonus points for wildflowers and flowing water nearby to create a magical effect.

Perfect Picnic Parks


Swim, mountain bike or ride a horse on your picnic near the Oklahoma border. Camp out to see the stars — it’s an International Dark Sky Park.


At this 2,400-acre lake in East Texas, take Mom skiing, fishing or swimming while on your Mother’s Day picnic.


This state historic site serves as the western visitors center for Big Bend Ranch State Park, so take a guided tour to study the area’s history.


The southwest-side unit of Lake Somerville offers access to the lake for fishing, paddling and swimming after your picnic.


Just an hour north of DFW, this 20-mile multiuse corridor offers shoreside picnics, horseback riding, hiking/biking and more.

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