Memories of state parks span generations — an 80-year-old and an 8-year-old might share a fond recollection of splashing in the sparkling swimming pool at Lockhart State Park or feeling the sand between their toes at Monahans Sandhills. To celebrate our 100-year anniversary, we dove into our archives to bring you photos of Texas State Parks taken over the past century. Many things have changed since these snapshots, but the fun and freedom of exploring a new park remain the same. Enjoy!
Palo Duro Canyon State Park
The stone facade of this park’s interpretive center, originally known as the Coronado Lodge, was designed to mimic the canyon wall. For this photo, art students in a class from West Texas A&M University (then West Texas State Teachers College) in Canyon perched on the canyon rim for a lesson in sketching scenery in 1944.
Longhorn Cavern State Park
The walls of Longhorn Cavern have seen many different characters, from outlaws hiding money and soldiers harvesting bat guano for gunpowder in the 1800s, to concert-goers in the 1920s, to these couples posing on the rocks in the 1950s. Visitors still enjoy the cavern today.
Inks Lake State Park
Park-goers splash in rocky pools at Inks Lake State Park.
Garner State Park
Some things never change; after more than 80 years, visitors to Garner State Park can still hike by day and dance to jukebox tunes in the evenings.
Monahans Sandhills State Park
Monahans Sandhills State Park visitors park at the foot of the dunes.
Lockhart State Park
Swimmers flock to Lockhart State Park’s pool along Clear Creek for its opening day on July 4, 1941.
McKinney Falls State Park
The park’s visitor center has survived two historic floods throughout the decades.
Meridian State Park
Women at Meridian State Park stand on Bee Ledge lookout point facing the park’s 72-acre lake. The dam that created the lake was constructed in 1933 and 1934 by a company of Civilian Conservation Corps workers made up of World War I veterans.
Huntsville State Park
Sunbathers relax alongside Lake Raven.
Lake Whitney State Park
Lake Whitney State Park opened to the public in 1965, meaning these campers were among the first visitors to enjoy the park.
Davis Mountains State Park
The 1960s were a foundational decade for Davis Mountains State Park. The federal government declared the ruins of nearby Fort Davis a National Historic Site in 1961. Later, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department added 24 more rooms to the CCC-built Indian Lodge, as well as campgrounds so guests could sleep under the stars.
Fort Parker State Park
Visitors to Fort Parker State Park enjoy biking and boating along the Navasota River.
Bonham State Park
Form follows function at this lakeside boathouse at Bonham State Park. The uprights resemble the mast of a ship, and the styling of the lantern completes the nautical theme
Caddo Lake State Park
A visitor to Caddo Lake appreciates one of the park’s amphibian inhabitants.
Celebrating 100 Years of our State Parks can be delivered straight to your mailbox with a new annual subscription to Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine. Enjoy 10 issues PLUS this bonus as our gift to you. Subscribe today!