20 Texas State Parks You Should Visit Before Summer is Over 

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Now is the time to plan the summer getaways you look forward to all year. Whether you're into camping and hiking or fishing and swimming, here are some local spots — and some within driving distance — to hit up before the season is over.

Last month, Texas Parks and Wildlife began allowing limited overnight camping in its parks. No group camping is allowed, and even if you're just going for the day, you'll still need to make an advance reservation.

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Guadalupe River State Park
3350 Park Road 31, Spring Branch, (830) 438-2656, tpwd.texas.gov
You definitely won’t be bored if you decide to spend some time at this state park. Not too far from San Antonio, the park is a hot spot for swimming, though the watering hole is also a solid options for tubing and fishing. There’s also a new paddling trail where you can kayak or canoe.
Photo via Instagram / larrynodarse
Garner State Park
234 RR 1050, Concan, (830) 232-6132, tpwd.texas.gov
A favorite for lots of locals, Garner State Park is a no-brainer. Whether you’ve already visited this summer or have yet to sneak in a seasonal trip, taking time to visit this state park won’t take much convincing. In addition to beautiful scenery, you’ll be able to go swimming or hiking – even dancing at the jukebox dances on the summer evenings. Definitely opt for a swim if it’s particularly hot out. After all, floating the Frio is a Texas pastime.
Photo via Instagram / mytxtravelsandadventures
Lake Somerville State Park & Trailway
14222 Park Road 57, Somerville, (979) 535-7763, tpwd.texas.gov
Not too far from the Alamo City you’ll find the calm oasis of Lake Somerville. Fishing, paddling, swimming, camping, mountain biking, birding, hiking – here, there’s something for everyone who enjoys being outdoors. If you just want to see where your adventure takes you, consider exploring the nearly 40 miles of trails.
Photo via Instagram / kaitlyn_angela
Mustang Island State Park
9394 TX-361, Corpus Christi, (361) 749-5246, tpwd.texas.gov
Head toward Corpus Christi and you’ll be able to score a whole five miles of coastline here. If you choose to spend time on the beach, you’ll be able to spend time swimming, surfing, kayaking and having beach-side fun like building sandcastles. Further inland there’s space for you to camp, hike and more, so you’ll have endless fun here.
Photo via Instagram / vic_franco96
Devils River State Natural Area
21715 Dolan Creek Road, Del Rio, (830) 395-2133, tpwd.texas.gov
Head west and take a daytrip out to Devils River, which offers plenty of summertime fun. This remote getaway is home to a beautifully pristine rivers, featuring clear spring-fed water. Take advantage of such beauty and have a day of fishing, swimming or paddling if you’re up for a strenuous adventure. On land, you can hike or bike parts of the area packed with history.
Photo via Instagram / g.meeker
South Llano River State Park
1927 Park Rd 73, Junction, (325) 446-3994, tpwd.texas.gov
Nestled along the southern bank of the Llano River, this state park provides refuge for people. Still, humans can take part of the sereneness of the park, located in the Hill Country. Be sure to bring your sense of adventure so you can take your pick between swimming, floating the river, paddling and fishing, though you can stay dry by camping, hiking or biking. If you’re into astronomy, you may want to reserve time for some stargazing, as SLRSP is an International Dark Sky Park.
Photo via Instagram / psychadelic_bee
Lake Corpus Christi State Park
23194 Park Road 25, Mathis, (361) 547-2635, tpwd.texas.gov
This family-friendly park should definitely be on your shortlist if you enjoy water sports, wildlife and, most of all, relaxing in nature. The waters here let you swim, paddle, fish, water ski or explore via boat. Seriously, fishers can likely post up at the 18,256-acre Lake Corpus Christi and be fine all day. Bird lovers will be content here as well as there are more than 200 species that have been spotted here. You can also hike, bike, camp and nature-watch.
Photo via Instagram / marcusc_photo
Brazos Bend State Park
21901 FM 762 Road, Needville, (979) 553-5102, tpwd.texas.gov
South of Houston you’ll find Brazos Bend, which prizes itself in offering a “wild” experience. For a true getaway where you can be one with nature, bring your binoculars and camera so you can appreciate the beauty of the park. Or, you’re always welcome to hike, bike, fish and ride your horse. There’s 37 miles of trails just waiting to be explored.
Photo via Instagram / swilcox1208
Inks Lake State Park
3630 Park Road 4 W, Burnet, (512) 793-2223, tpwd.texas.gov
Families wanting to squeeze in one last summer trip can feel secure about making plans to visit Inks Lake. Located in the Hill Country, this state park has plenty of family-friendly fun in water and on land. Here’s your chance to swim (do so at Devil’s Waterhole!), boat, water ski, fish and even scuba dive! If you prefer to stay dry, choose from camping, observing nature and hiking – there’s nine miles of trails!
Photo via Instagram / thewestexwindow
Pedernales Falls State Park
2585 Park Road 6026, Johnson City, tpwd.texas.gov
Not too far from Johnson City you’ll discover the tranquil, though sometimes turbulent waters at Pedernales Falls. This park should be visited by folks who thrive in natural scenery as it offers camping, hiking, biking, bird-watching and horseback riding on dry land. There’s even a butterfly garden if you truly want to kick back and enjoy every bit of nature. Certain areas are available to swim in, but there’s also chances for tubing, canoeing and kayaking down the river.
Photo via Instagram / flora.the.explora231
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Bastrop State Park
100 Park Road 1A, Bastrop, (512) 321-2101, tpwd.texas.gov
Visiting Bastrop State Park lets you enjoy the Lost Pines, which has seen a rebirth in new trees, plants and life. Found east of Austin, this state park offers family-friendly fun in camping, swimming, biking, hiking and fishing. There’s lots of nature to discover, which is easy as part of specially-designed programs. You can truly appreciate the resilience of nature here.
Photo via Instagram / adri_wonders
McKinney Falls State Park
5808 McKinney Falls Pkwy, Austin, (512) 243-1643, tpwd.texas.gov
The next time you head to Austin, make it a point to visit McKinney Falls. Located in Austin proper, the park offers pretty much all of the outdoorsy fun for the season. Camping, hiking, mountain biking, road biking, bouldering and geocaching are all up for grabs, or you can head to Onion Creek for fishing and swimming.
Photo via Instagram / tararosenbaum
Blanco State Park
101 Park Road 23, Blanco, (830) 833-4333, tpwd.texas.gov
Just a short drive away from the Alamo City you’ll find a nature oasis where you can swim, fish (you don’t need a license so long as you’re on the shore), paddle and camp out! The one-mile stretch of river also lets you kick back and explore via the boat or kayak, though you may use that time to go on land to hike and observe nature.
Photo via Instagram / kdewitt13
Galveston Island State Park
14901 FM3005, Galveston, (409) 737-1222,
If you’re all about getting in as much water time before the end of the season, be sure to head east. Galveston Island offers lots of fun ways to stay cool and enjoy the beauty of the park. Simply stroll the beach, head down the paddling trail or splash in the waves for more relaxing fun, or you can take in all of the outdoors by fishing or searching for coastal birds. However you keep yourself occupied, you’ll likely have a blast.
Photo via Instagram / lukegossett
Longhorn Cavern State Park
6211 Park Road 4 S, Burnet, (512) 715-9000, tpwd.texas.gov
If you’re seeking beautiful sights, do yourself a favor and head to Longhorn Cavern. The geology here is unbeatable as the cavern is simply breathtaking. In addition to a tour, make sure to take a hike and relax with a picnic. To truly appreciate it, read up on the history first.
Photo via Instagram / brandonbouchard26
Sea Rim State Park
19335 State Hwy 87, Sabine Pass, (409) 971-2559, tpwd.texas.gov
Head to this corner of southeast Texas for a getaway like you’ve never experienced. Sea Rim prides itself in being “where gulf meets marsh” as this park is extremely remote and located on the coast. The park features both 5.2 miles of Gulf shoreline as well as 4,000 acres of marshlands (there’s even a trail within the marsh). Within the park, there’s chances to camp, bird-watch, paddle in a canoe or kayak, ride a horse, fish, swim and of course simply stroll along the beach.
Photo via Instagram / christina.b.lee
Goose Island State Park
202 S Palmetto St, Rockport, (361) 729-2858, tpwd.texas.gov
Hit up the coast and do all the things Texans should during summer: camping, fishing (there’s a 1,620-foot-long fishing pier) and birding! You’ll get to explore the St. Charles and Aransas bays, located north of Corpus Christi, via boat for a true adventure. Just beware the alligators! They are sometimes spotted in the park.
Photo via Instagram / doris.in.the.forest
Choke Canyon State Park
700 Texas 72, Three Rivers, (361) 786-3868, tpwd.texas.gov
The Choke Canyon Reservoir is the big attraction here as it offers first-class fishing with plenty of largemouth bass and catfish for you to catch – either from the shore or from your boat. If you’re into birds, consider stopping by as the park is a known stopover for migrating birds. Looking for something more active? You can swim, camp, hike and place sports such as basketball, tennis and soccer with courts throughout the park.
Photo via Instagram / beardedyaks
Colorado Bend State Park
2236 Park Hill Dr, Bend, (325) 628-3240, tpwd.texas.gov
If you’re up for a slightly long drive, head north to this Central Texas park. Located about three or four hours northwest of Austin, Colorado Bend gives you access to “unspoiled wilderness” that you will want to explore for an entire weekend. The main attraction here is Gorman Falls, a 70-foot spring-fed waterfall that you can reach after taking a hike that includes rocky terrain. It’s totally worth it though, especially if you jam in a cave tour too.
Photo via Instagram / jasontrovela
Palmetto State Park
78 Park Road 11 S, Gonzales, (830) 672-3266, tpwd.texas.gov
Just an hour away you’ll find the oases of Palmetto State Park. With multiple water sources, including the San Marcos River, the park is home to a variety of animals and plants. That’s one way to keep little ones entertained. If that doesn’t work, you still have swimming, tubing, finishing and exploring by canoe as well as hiking a LOT.
Photo via Instagram / tawa_ties
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Guadalupe River State Park
3350 Park Road 31, Spring Branch, (830) 438-2656, tpwd.texas.gov
You definitely won’t be bored if you decide to spend some time at this state park. Not too far from San Antonio, the park is a hot spot for swimming, though the watering hole is also a solid options for tubing and fishing. There’s also a new paddling trail where you can kayak or canoe.
Photo via Instagram / larrynodarse

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