No plans for Spring Break? No Worries.

When it comes to adventure, Texas is chock-full of opportunities to get outside and enjoy the wild things and wild places that define who we are as Texans. With more than state parks and natural areas to explore, there’s an adventure waiting just outside your door.

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area: The Oldest Rock in Texas

As the land has shifted over the past billion years, Enchanted Rock has stood still. From the top of this enormous rock dome with its mysterious caves, the Hill Country seems to stretch on forever. For a great escape, camp out and take the Summit Trail at dawn; it can be combined with the Echo Canyon Trail and the striking Loop Trail. Refuel after a long day with dinner in nearby Fredricksburg or Llano.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park: A Canyon of Colors

Nestled in the remote reaches of the Panhandle near Amarillo, Palo Duro Canyon has been a stronghold of Comanche warriors and served as a grazing ground for legendary cattleman, Charles Goodnight. Now it’s one of the jewels of the park system, a sixty-mile long, multicolored wonderland of surreal rock formations. Go boulder-spotting on the Lighthouse Trail or brave the short but steep Civilian Conservation Corps Trail to the canyon floor.

Big Bend Ranch State Park: Remote and Far-out

Comprised of volcanic scenery worn away by wind and flood, Texas’ largest state park is harsh, sparsely visited, and stunning. Beat the heat on the breathtaking Closed Canyon hike, spot wildlife on the short Cinco Tinajas Trail, and check out the spooky ghost town at Contrabando. Seasoned desert backpackers can try the four-day Rancherias hike. Remember to bring plenty of water.

These parks are definitely worth the visit, but we’d argue the best park is always the one nearest you!

To plan your next outdoor adventure, our friends at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department recommend:

1. Make a day use reservation to secure your entry into a park on a specific date.

2. Plan a weekday visit to avoid the weekend crowd.

3. Use the Texas State Parks app to locate alternative parks in case your first choice has hit capacity.

4. Monitor individual parks on social media for capacity updates.

*adapted from Wild in Texas A Guidebook to the Untamed Life. Join TPWF today to receive a copy of your own.

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