They say everything’s bigger in Texas, and the large amount of pride Texans have to their land is no exception. National parks and state parks in Texas have a spectacular landscape with various types of terrain, historical aspects, and more. Here’s a list of the best national parks and state parks in the Lonestar State.
Big Bend National Park and State Park
Big Bend National Park and Big Bend State Park are two of the best parks in the state of Texas. Resting in a protected area of the Chihuahuan desert, these parks are part of Texas’ pride and joy. Sitting along a 90-degree curve on the Rio Grande river, Big Bend offers breathtaking views to it’s visitors.
Although it’s hard to believe that Texas weather has all four seasons, Big Bend parks are hot in the summer and frigid in the winter. Both Big Bend parks have a mixture of terrain ranging from dry desert land to rugged mountains and flowing rivers. More specifically drawing in travelers is the 200-mile trails of a hiker’s paradise.
Guadalupe National Park
Did you know that hundreds of years ago, Texas was the ground of a tropical sea with over 400 miles of rich coral and filled with marine life. Today, Texas is primarily a desert land but the Guadalupe Mountains hold part of the fossilized reef– one of the best historical fossilized reefs in the world. The closest town from Guadalupe is 35 miles, but there are two campgrounds for visitors wanting an overnight stay. Guadalupe Peak sits within this national park and is the highest point in Texas, offering some of the best views of the state.
Palo Duro Canyon State Park
Arizona isn’t the only state with a Grand Canyon. Palo Duro Canyon State Park is home to what’s known as Texas’ very own Grand Canyon. The Palo Duro is also the 2nd largest canyon in the United States. Over 60 miles long, Palo Duro is beaming with geological features from colorful walls to a resource-rich canyon floor.
One of the most interesting things to visitors of the Palo Duro Canyon is that it offers equestrian-only trails with over 1,500 acres. The rest of the park is thriving with paths for hikers, mountain bikers, and visitors.
Padre Island National Seashore
Slightly different than a national park or state park, the Padres Island National Seashore sits on the coast of Texas along the Gulf of Mexico. Padres Island is the longest stretch of undeveloped, protected barrier island in the world.
The most famous visitor of Padre Island National Season is the Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle. In 2013, 10,500 hatchlings were released in hopes of fighting their extinction by returning to Padre Island and laying eggs. Padre Island is a species hot spot with nearly 380 various species sited within the national seashore area.