Spring has sprung and springtime in Texas is beautiful. The bluebonnets are in full bloom and the trees are covered in their spring-green new leaves. Summer is approaching and Texans are making plans for summer vacations.
Where to go and what to do? Texas has it all!
Texas is a vast and wide state that boasts everything from beaches to deserts, prairies to dense forests. The Lone Star State is home to big thickets, piney woods, swamps, and mountains. There is even an Enchanted Rock!
Visit the State's Many Forests, Parks, Recreational areas, Rivers, and Trails
Texas is the home of two national parks, Guadalupe Mountains National Park and Big Ben National Park, as well as being the home to fourteen other national recreational areas, parks, rivers, and trails. Texas boasts eighty-nine state parks and four national forests. The Sam Houston National Forest is home to the longest hiking trail in Texas, the 128-mile Lone Star Hiking Trail.
Natural Beauty Close to Home: Explore Parks and Recreation Areas Near Houston
Here in Houston, we have a variety of State and National Parks within a few hours’ drive. Few places can boast such a wide variety of landscapes and opportunities for adventure! Why not start planning your next weekend adventure today?
National Parks near Houston
Big Thicket National Preserve (90 miles = about an hour and a half away)
Waco Mammoth National Monument (180 miles = three hours away)
San Antonio Missions National Historical Park (198 miles = three hours and fifteen minutes)
State Parks in and directly next to Houston
After a year of stay-at-home and isolation, we could all benefit from getting outside and basking in the many benefits of being in nature.
With all the benefits of getting outdoors and the beauty of a Texas spring outside your window, I’m sure you are excited and rearing to get outside. When you do go out into the parks and breath in the fresh air, remember to be a responsible visitor.
Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Visits to Parks and Recreational Areas
The Center for Outdoor Ethics created the Leave No Trace guide for visitors wanting to make the most of their visit to National Parks and other natural recreation areas. Make the most of your visits by following the guide's 7 principles. These easy to follow guidelines allow you to enjoy the outdoors while leaving minimum impact on the environment. Be a responsible visitor and make sure that everyone who comes to the park can enjoy it as much as possible. Keep the 7 Principles of the Leave No Trace guide in mind:
1. Plan ahead and prepare
2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces
3. Dispose of waste properly
4. Leave what you find
5. Minimize campfire impacts
6. Respect wildlife
7. Be considerate of other visitors
Now that you are prepared, get outside, breath in the fresh air and enjoy the sunshine! It will lift your mood like nothing else can. Get outside and explore the great state of Texas!
Want to know even more about State and National Parks?
For more information about getting out and enjoying the outdoors, visit The Essential Guide to Enjoying US National Parks Responsibly. The website is beautiful, interactive, and is filled with amazing pictures and helpful information, including the value of spending time outdoors, insights into popular US National Parks, spending time responsibly, and other useful links and resources.
Visit these websites for park specific information, updates, and to help plan your next outdoor excursion:
Looking for an online or virtual program to connect you with Texas National Parks? Check these out:
Waco Mammoth National Monument- Dig Shelter Virtual Tour
Texas Parks and Wildlife- Virtual Events Online
National Park Foundation- Take a Virtual Visit to a National Park
Visit HCPL.net and Browse Our Full Catalog of Resources to Help You Plan Your Next Outdoor Adventure
You can find these and many other travel guides and resources online at HCPL.net. Place holds and check out digital copies online or using the HCPL To Go app.
Hiking Texas by Laurence Parent
Hiking Big Bend National Park by Laurence Parent
Explore Austin outdoors : hiking, biking, paddling and more by Charlie Llewellin
60 hikes within 60 miles : Houston, including Huntsville and Galveston by Laurie Roddy -
Houston: Including Huntsville and Galveston by Laurie Roddy
Header Image of Big Bend State Park Courtesy of G. Yancy