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We've declared 2016 to be The Year of State Parks. Each month’s cover and lead story will feature one of Texas’ iconic state parks. An accompanying State Parks List will focus on parks across the state that offer similar attractions and activities.

From Our Pages: State Park Articles

Wanderlist: Best-Kept Secrets

Here are a handful of Texas state park names that might be less familiar, but their natural beauty makes them hidden gems. read more

Grandest Canyon of Texas

From the Lighthouse to the Spanish Skirts, Palo Duro invites us to explore. read more

Pineywoods Palette

Tyler State Park debunks the myth of ‘no fall color’ in Texas. read more

Big Fish in a Big Pond

Just an hour away from the Metroplex, Ray Roberts Lake lures lunker lovers. read more

Rolling With the Punches

Neither rain nor fire nor collapsing dams can knock out Bastrop State Park. read more

Paradise Found: Garner

It’s the 75th anniversary of the most iconic summer hangout in Texas. read more

Natural Connections

National parks, state parks share many historical ties. read more

Beach Blanket Bounty

Battered by storms, and awash in history, Galveston’s state park beckons beach lovers. read more

Birds, Birds and More Birds

Rio Grande Valley's World Birding Center parks offer the ultimate birder's paradise. read more

Nature's Playground: Enchanted Rock

The granite goliath inspires imaginative excursions for kids of all ages. read more

Where Texas Was Born

Relive the past at Washington-on-the-Brazos, where we declared our independence from Mexico. read more

Views Around Every Bend

At Franklin Mountains, candy-striped roadcuts and lava-bubble caves offer geological whimsy and breathtaking vistas. read more

One Is Not Enough

State park enthusiast visits all 95 parks in 12 months. read more

Birth of a Park

First, you acquire some iconic Texas land. Then what? read more

Art in the Parks

This state park program unleashes the artist in all of us. read more

Mother Neff Makeover

The grand dame of state parks looks better than ever. read more

Family Camping Made Easy

Want to camp but shaky on skills? There’s a cure for that. read more

Seeing Stars

State parks embrace measures to protect dark skies at night. read more

Cowboy Boots & Sleigh Bells

The Christmas spirit comes alive in Texas state parks. read more


Partners purchase vast coastal property to preserve for public enjoyment. read more

Choose Your Own Adventure

State park ambassadors find unique ways to promote the outdoors. read more

3 Days in the Field: 3 Parks in 3 Days

A weekend Hill Country getaway features lakes, caverns and waterfalls. read more

Legend, Lore & Legacy: Enduring Legacy

Pioneer Texas family ranchlands combined to create Government Canyon. read more

Sea Rim Rebirth

Upper Gulf Coast beach park comes back after two knockout hurricane punches. read more

A Day at the Beach

Coastal state parks offer myriad ways to enjoy the Texas shores. read more

The Perfect Spot

Pilot program offers site-specific reservations at Lake Livingston. read more

Battleship Texas Turns 100

Festival, museum display commemorate centennial of famed vessel. read more

Hueco Rocks

Hueco Tanks is home to world-class bouldering. read more

Arts in the Parks

What better inspiration for artful expression than a visit to a state park? read more

My Best Friend Is a Park

It takes a village to nurture and protect Texas state parks. read more

State Park Treasure Hunts

Geocaching combines technology and nature for outdoor family fun. read more

Nature by Design

The CCC used native materials and thoughtful design to create iconic features in state parks. read more

Season of Sharing

Give yourself the gift of giving this year by volunteering at state parks. read more

Using Your Car to Support Parks

It’s easy — just add $5 to your vehicle registration fee to help parks through tough times. read more

Skill Builder: Natural Treasure Hunt

Newest state park craze combines technology and outdoor fun. read more

Goodbye, Graffiti

Breakthrough laser techniques remove vandalism from pictographs at Hueco Tanks. read more

10 Hidden Gems

Beat the crowds and discover 10 of Texas’ overlooked state parks. read more

Volunteers Lead the Way

Without volunteers, our state parks just wouldn’t be the same. read more

Enchanted Rock Event Takes Racers Around and Up the Rock

Duathlon challenges athletes with trail run, bike ride and summit run. read more

New State Parks on the Way

Recent purchases will add nearly 25,000 acres to TPWD system. read more

State Parks Make Plea for Help

Drought, heat, fires push down visitation, revenue; public urged to visit parks, donate money. read more

Red Rock Country

Caprock Canyons offers dramatic vistas for hikers seeking solitude. read more

Silver Cyclist

Retiree mountain biker spins through Texas parks for exercise and entertainment. read more

Bison Released Into New Territory at Caprock

Visitors can now get a closer look at the historic herd. read more

The Golden Age of State Park Acquisitions

We can't live without wild things. That’s why parks are so precious. Today, most Texans live an easy drive from one of many state parks, natural areas and historic sites. From 1963 to 1988, the elements aligned for major park acquisition through the efforts of dedicated individuals. As a result, the number of state parks in Texas more than doubled in 25 years, with an almost tenfold increase in acreage. read more

Photo Essay: Water Parks

Waters born from above and below, from desert downpours to crystalline springs, carve their way across the vast Texas map, shaped and colored by their geography and geology. Along their transformative journeys, many will flow through tranquil places, away from the noise and trappings of civilization. read more

Big Bend Ranch Trail Earns Honors From Mountain Bikers

One of the park's premier loop trails, Fresno Canyon to Sauceda, has been designated an “Epic” ride by the International Mountain Biking Association. read more

Big Bend Ranch From Every Angle

A team of adventurers explores the expansive West Texas wilderness by foot, by horse, by bike and by boat. read more

Building Trails Across Texas

The Trails Across Texas crew, a program of AmeriCorps and the American YouthWorks Environmental Corps, is here to restore Old Tunnel Wildlife Management Area’s badly eroded nature trail. In form and in function, E-Corps crews have been called the “grandchildren” of the Civilian Conservation Corps. read more

12 Great State Park Walks

Everybody wants an adventure, and you can have one today. It’s an adventure for young or old and will cost you next to nothing: Go for a walk. The state parks of Texas are full of them, from easy strolls to rugged ramblings to strenuous hikes. Whichever you choose, every walk is an adventure. read more

Enchanted Rock: A Natural and Legendary History

By daylight, Enchanted Rock is more apt to inspire awe than fear. Its huge pink dome, 1,825 feet above sea level, looks so alien in the Hill Country that it appears as if the surrounding land were giving birth to Mars. Enchanted Rock and its smaller counterparts are granite anomalies in an area dominated by limestone, bald giants in a landscape carpeted with green. read more

Top 10 State Park Swimming Holes

Since moving to Texas, I've discovered a paradise on earth for natural swimming experiences. Here you can immerse yourself like Huck Finn in an emerald cypress stream. You can cool off in a clear, deep lake or find your smile at the bottom of a world-class swimming pool. If that's not enough, you can take your pick of beaches along more than 350 miles of coastline. read more

Park Picks

View Park Picks in a larger map

Big Bend Ranch State Park

Cedar Hill State Park's Penn Farm

Fanthorp Inn State Historic Site

Fort Richardson State Park

Mission Tejas State Park

Monument Hill State Historic Site

Blanco State Park

Fairfield Lake State Park

Johnson Branch of Ray Roberts Lake State Park

Caprock Canyons State Park

Guadalupe River State Park

Lake Brownwood State Park

Sea Rim State Park

Galveston Island State Park

Davis Mountains State Park

Resaca de la Palma State Park

McKinney Falls State Park

Monahans Sandhills State Park

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

Palmetto State Park

South Llano River State Park

Martin Dies Jr. State Park

San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site

Kickapoo Cavern State Park

Battleship Texas State Historic Site

Cooper Lake State Park

Estero Llano Grande State Park

Balmorhea State Park

Colorado Bend State Park

Lake Somerville State Park

Lake Arrowhead State Park

Hueco Tanks State Park and State Historic Site

Government Canyon State Natural Area

Fort Boggy State Park

Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site

Holiday Lights in East Texas

Lake Livingston State Park

Hill Country State Natural Area

Mother Neff State Park

Possum Kingdom State Park

Huntsville State Park

Old Tunnel State Park

Brazos Bend State Park

Cedar Hill State Park

Sheldon Lake State Park

Lake Tawakoni State Park

Buescher State Park

Meridian State Park

Lake Colorado City State Park

Daingerfield State Park

Sea Rim State Park

Abilene State Park

Fort Leaton State Historic Site

Cleburne State Park

Port Isabel Lighthouse State Historic Site

Monument Hill State Historic Site

Atlanta State Park

Davis Mountains State Park

Lake Casa Blanca International State Park

Copper Breaks State Park

Dinosaur Valley State Park

Monahans Sandhills State Park

Kickapoo Cavern State Park

Fort Parker State Park

Lake Mineral Wells State Park

Franklin Mountains State Park

Goose Island State Park

Lake Arrowhead State Park

State parks on TPWD video

Balmorhea State Park

The crystal-clear springs of Balmorhea State Park are an oasis in the West Texas desert.

Brazos Bend State Park

Less than an hour from Houston, Brazos Bend State Park is famous for its alligators, but it offers so much more.

Copper Breaks State Park

Copper Breaks State Park, located in the Texas Panhandle, gets its name from the copper deposits threaded throughout the rugged canyon land.

Rebirth of Galveston Island State Park

Galveston Island State Park gets a new start after being devastated by Hurricane Ike.

Watch more videos on the TPWD YouTube channel

    Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine