If people ever feel the need to get away from it all, they can visit one of our nation’s more than ninety state parks and find many quiet, natural areas to lose themselves in. People travel from far and wide to experience the natural splendor of Texas, which is why they keep visiting the state’s state parks, some of which are among the most visited in the country, located here in Texas.
Here’s a list of some of the largest state parks in the state of Texas, which many believe range from the giant red cliffs near Amarillo to the pine forests of East Texas.
10/10 Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site
Rainwater is collected in the huecos, or natural rock pools, and has drawn people to these rocky hills in west Texas for thousands of years.
Pictographs and petroglyphs were left by people who found food and shelter here while trekking through the Chihuahuan Desert.
Birds, animals, creatures with bulging eyes that could be rain or storm deities, and “masks” or face designs are also shown. The largest collection of these masks in North America with over 200 pieces.
9/10 Garner State Park
It should come as no surprise that Garner State Park is the most visited state park in Texas, providing access to nearly three miles of the Frio River and encompassing 1,774 acres of Hill Country adventure.
Immerse yourself in the authentic Texas spirit by floating down the Frio River in an inflatable raft, or explore the area’s 16 miles of scenic hiking trails on foot.
There are additional opportunities for camping, canoeing, fishing, miniature golf, and geocaching.
8/10 Inks Lake State Park
Some of the most spectacular views of Texas’s Precambrian geology can be seen at Inks Lake State Park, located on the east side of the Llano Uplift, also known as the Geological Center of Texas.
This location is fantastic for a variety of outdoor activities including fishing, swimming, hiking and boating due to the rocky outcrops and cool water. In addition, there are nine miles of trails accessible to explore.
Visit the bird sanctuary to get a better idea of what types of bird visitors the park has.
7/10 Big Bend Ranch State Park
Big Bend Ranch State Park is the largest state park in Texas and encompasses all of the flora and fauna of the Big Bend area without the crowds often seen at national parks.
Located in far western Texas on the United States-Mexico border, this state park offers a variety of challenging outdoor activities including hiking, horseback riding, rafting, biking and more.
Due to its status as an International Dark Sky Park, this site offers excellent opportunities for nighttime stargazing.
6/10 Caprock Canyons State Park & Trail
Although Palo Duro Canyon State Park is better known, Caprock Canyons State Park deserves just as much recognition.
Caprock Canyons is home to Caprock Canyons State Park, ideal for reconnecting with nature and home to the Texas State bison herd.
Bison roam the prairies, so be careful when driving and don’t get too close. There are ninety miles of trails ranging from easy to difficult available for biking and hiking, and Lake Theo offers activities like fishing, no-wake boating, and swimming.
5/10 Caddo Lake State Park
Caddo Lake is a classic representation of East Texas, complete with Spanish moss-covered bald cypress trees and a maze of ponds, bayous and swamps.
The park’s more than 26,000 hectares and more than 70 species of fish are a magnet for fishermen from all over the world. There is also a boat ramp and fishing dock for visitor convenience.
There are nearly 50 miles of paddling trails in the area to explore by renting a canoe or kayak, or bringing your own. Alligators and other wildlife abound in this area.
4/10 Seminole Canyon State Park and Historic Site
Though the area has been visited by humans for 12,000 years, the 7,000-year-old settlers who left their mark on Seminole Canyon deserve the most attention.
More than 200 locations in Lower Pecos River Country still have pictographs painted by hunter-gatherers who once lived there. These drawings were found in rock shelters.
In addition to searching for pictographs, tourists can also enjoy mountain biking, geocache, and hiking in this area, among other things.
3/10 Palo Duro Canyon State Park
Palo Duro Canyon State Park in the Texas Panhandle is the site of the second largest canyon in the country after the Grand Canyon in the United States.
There are more than 30 miles of trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding, as well as opportunities for bird watching, geocaching and glamping.
Tourists should keep an eye out for hoodoos during their hike, and in the summer schedule a performance at the Texas Outdoor Musical, which tells of the experiences of early Texas settlers.
2/10 Dinosaur Valley State Park
Located in Glen Rose, Texas, Dinosaur Valley State Park offers visitors a chance to step back in time. Dinosaurs roamed this region about 113 million years ago, when it sat on the edge of a sea that both rose and fell.
Dinosaur footprints, most likely those of sauropods or theropods, were discovered and preserved in the mud of this ancient sea. Additionally, there are twenty miles of trails that can be used for hiking or mountain biking while visitors explore Dinosaur Valley State Park.
1/10 Longhorn Cavern State Park
Travelers can visit Longhorn Cavern State Park for a unique experience. Longhorn Cavern State Park is a hidden gem that can be reached in about an hour and a half from Austin.
The park’s namesake, Longhorn Cavern, is an underground cavern formed by the dissolving action of water and the cutting motions of an ancient river. When the Civil War broke out, Anglo immigrants came here to collect bat guano for making gunpowder.
In addition, local legend has it that bandit Sam Bass hid two million dollars in the cave.