Texas, the second biggest state in the country, has a variety of landscapes from forests to prairies to coastal areas and deserts. Visitors and residents wishing to spend time outdoors in this south-central part of the United States have numerous summer recreation options, including dozens of state parks which offer visitors an opportunity to engage in activities such as swimming, scuba diving, water skiing, hiking, and mountain biking. Before planning your trip, check individual park websites for updates and closures due to weather conditions.
Located on the Frio River in Concan, Garner State Park is one of Texas' most popular summer getaways. Whether wanting to enjoy swimming, fishing, paddling, or tubing, most visitors to Garner State Park find a way to get on or in the water. However, there are also "dry" activities such as miniature golf, birding, nature trails, hiking, and more, and makes for a good outdoor getaway from San Antonio, which is about 90 miles west.
The 2,000 acre Galveston Island State Park features beach and bay access, with an opportunity to use canoes and kayaks. The park is a good spot for bird watching along the coast, or you may enjoy the four miles of biking and hiking trails that lead to dunes and marshes. The park has campsites with water and electricity, as well as lodges to rent and a nature center.
Located just north of Del Rio on Texas' famed Devils River, the Devils River State Natural Area offers a variety of outdoor activities in a remote setting where campsites and group barracks are available. Canoeing, kayaking, mountain biking, hiking, fishing, and swimming are just a few of the many activities.
Blanco State Park
Located in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, Blanco State Park is one of the smaller state parks in Texas. However, what the park lacks in acreage, it makes up for in charm and user-friendly amenities, including campsites, swimming areas, and excellent access to fishing and paddle sports. It's also about an hour drive from Austin and San Antonio, making it a great stop on tour of Texas sites.
The clear, deep waters of Lake Whitney in north central Texas are as inviting as they are scenic. Swimming, fishing, boating, water skiing, and scuba diving are among the most popular recreational activities at Lake Whitney State Park. Campsites and screened shelters are available, though it's a short enough drive from Dallas, Fort Worth, and Waco that it's a good spot for a day trip, too.
Mustang Island State Park includes over five miles of beachfront land and attracts visitors who love to surf, swim, fish, and paddle. The park offers camping, birding, mountain biking, and other outdoor recreation options across the bay from Corpus Christi.
Located right in the center of Laredo, one of the state's most impressive border cities, Lake Casa Blanca International State Park offers an array of outdoor activities for visitors and residents alike. The park offers a variety of both land and water sports, with the central attraction being the 1,650-acre Lake Casa Blanca. Camping is available.