Having read the book Dear Bob and Sue: A Couple’s Journey Through the National Park written by Matt and Karen Smith we decided to do something similar; visit all 98 state parks in Texas. When I suggested this to Scott we had no clue there were so many, but we are passionate about this project.
You can find out more by clicking on each of the park names and the cities they are connected with. When looking at each park, you will find a thumbnail of that park’s badge, CCC badge and if there is no badge.
We have created a YouTube series called Texas State Parks Project. You can view each of these videos in order by clicking HERE! Or you can view each of the videos below in each Texas State Park post.
51. Blanco State Park:
48. Atlanta State Park:
We FINALLY made it to Atlanta State Park. For the longest time this park has been sitting out in Northeast Texas just waiting for us to come visit, but it had been closed for such a long time due to the 2015 flooding and rebuild that we had almost forgotten about the park. As we were heading home from our Hot Springs National Park trip, we decided to poke our heads in and see if it were and to our hearts’ delight, it was. Granted they were doing tree removal from a specific area because the flooding had killed so many trees and it was very dangerous for guests, hosts, and staff. The park is a very quiet place when there are not logging machines going and all we spoke with told us how it was a place their families had been visiting for years.
This was a wonderful place to visit if you want to know more about Texas as an independent country. Here you will see the site the Texas Republic’s Declaration of Independence was created, where heroes like Davy Crockett, Sam Houston, and many others walked along this ghost towns busy streets. There is more than just the reconstructed building though. You can walk through the visitor’s center and learn about the battles leading up to San Jacinto where Texas won its independence from Mexico; visit the Red Star of the Republic Museum and Barrington Living History Farm to see what life was like.
This place really helped make the history of Texas more alive for me and helped me to understand the timetable in which things happened. Visit them today and enjoy being Texan.
46. Monument Hill & Kreische Brewery State Historic Site: This park is a very nice place to spend a day. There are plenty of picnic tables and benches to just sit back and enjoy the view. We were not able to do the hike and tour of the brewery due to my knee, but we will be back. I can see us visiting this one a time or two more for sure. If you love Texas history, you really should visit this site.
If you would like to see our First Visit Video of Monument Hill & Kreische Brewery State Historic Site, click HERE!
45. Zaragoza Birthplace State Historic Site
44. Goliad State Park & Historic Site: This is the area of Texas that had deep meaning for those who study the Republic of Texas history. Visiting this location helped me understand more about the happenings of this time period. What’s more, since the park is so close to the Presidio la Bahia, I was able to make the connection of the Goliad Massacre, which happened after the Battle of Fannin. I was also able to find that I had two “cousins” who had participated in the battle and were among the massacred men with the walls of the Presidio. There was no join in finding this out, but a feeling of pride that they fought for what they believed in. Isn’t that what it’s all about?
For further reading about Goliad and it’s meaning to Texans, go here…..
43. Buescher State Park: Such a sweet little park. It is one of the older parks that were built by the CCC. This park and Bastrop are connected by a back road that rambles and winds through the old lost pines forest. I absolutely loved wondering about this road and seeing the beauty of central Texas. In 2011 there was a huge forest fire destroying a huge amount of the Parks. Buescher is recouping and wonderful to visit.
42. Bastrop State Park: 9/2/2016 Even though this park had a devastating forest fire in 2011, Mother Nature is showing she is forgiving and helping the park to come back to life and beauty. You can see many loblolly pines coming up from the volunteer plantings and from what is called “volunteers”. Volunteers are those that are coming up on their own without being replanted. The birds and other wildlife are returning and it is coming back to life. Fortunately we were given a personal tour of the park by the Lost Pines Friends Group’s president John Cobb and his wife Faye.
To read the blog post of this trip to see photos and hear our reaction, go HERE!
41. Big Spring State Park: (6/20/16)
On our way home from the Davis Mountains area, we stopped for a driving break at Big Spring State Park in, well, Big Spring, Texas. It is rather interesting to be driving along highway 20 on a very, very, VERY flat landscape only to see a 200 foot plateau from a distance and it is the only tall thing around except for buildings.
With this being a CCC park, it has special meaning to Scott. He loves the history and design of their building style and it tends to be the center of his photos. I was totally taken with the view. Being that I have a special fondness for the windmills and it thrills me to no end when I see them in the distance. We were both very pleased to find this gem in the middle of the flat prairies.
Unfortunately we were not able to spend much time at this park due to the time we had left to arrive home and prepare for the next day’s going-back-to-work. I fear we have not done justice to this park with our few photos, but I do hope it has helped encourage you to stop by yourself when you find yourself on highway 20 going west. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.
To view the First Visit Video for Big Spring State Park, please go HERE!
37. Balmorhea State Park:
34. San Angelo State Park: San Angelo State Park is a huge park and they have amazing trails for the hikers, equestrians and cyclists. The lake was so low while we were there, but I have been told it has risen quite a bit over the past month. This park is broken down into two section. The South Gate is where you would visit to do camping, hiking, biking, and day tripping as well as boating of many types. If you are interested in equestrian or pre-dinosaur tracks, this is the place to go.
We visited the North Gate as well and found this camping area for RV’s to be nicely maintained. Unfortunately the river was dry and there was no kayak rental, but it would be a really nice place to do the river trails.
31. Inks Lake State Park:
29. Lake Brownwood State Park: Brownwood, TX. We really liked this park because of the CCC artifacts. You will not only find CCC built bench/table locations scattered throughout the park, you will find a flint mine! Another thing we really liked about this park is the Friends group is very active and they have many opportunities to become involved with each of you.
28. Mission Tejas State Park: Grapeland, TX. You will find this park not only a CCC park, but a historical location. You will find the actual restored home of the Rice family who built this house in 1828. Not only will you find this restored home, but you will find the commemorative representation of Mission San Francisco de los Tejas, the first Spanish mission in the province of Texas which was built by the CCC. If you decide to do a bit of hiking here, you will need to make sure to have the proper shoes and some hiking sticks because there is a lot of up, and up, and down. The best thing I found here was seeing the CCC bathing area.
You can view the TSPP First Visit Video HERE!
27. Daingerfield State Park: Daingerfield, TX. This park will take a little searching for as you are driving down the road because it no longer has a large park sign near it’s entrance. There is a normal brown “state park” sign, but in order to see the original sign you will need to head towards the park store. There are so many wonderful things to see and do here. You can study the CCC structures, rent a canoe or paddle boat, fish and hike. There there are full cabins, shelters and various types of camping areas. It is a very pretty park and you will definately enjoy visiting it.
26. Caddo State Park: Karnack, TX. This is a very interesting park. You will find a bayou area, forest covered trails, and CCC cabins. You can rent canoes and enjoy the water ways. You will want to be on the look out for alligators though. Remember to give them plenty of space and leave them alone.
24. Lake Whitney State Park: Lake Whitney, TX. Because this lake has a large body of water when it is very windy, you will find huge waves! Not only this, but you are able to find wonderful sea life fossils! Unfortunately you are not allowed to take them home with you. If you find any, leave them where they are so other visitors can enjoy them as well.
23. Meridian State Park: Meridian, TX. This is a CCC park with very few RV camping sites, but they are all pull throughs. The electric & water camp sites are the same, very few in number. However, there are a lot of primative camping sites that are amazing. This is a great place to visit.
le du Bois Branch Unit– Southern areas of the lake with camping facilities, a boat ramp, a day use area, hiking, equestrian and bike trails. Johnson Branch Unit– Northern area of the lake with camping facilities, a boat ramp, a nice day use area, biking and hiking trails.
- Jordan Branch Unit – No camping at this location; however, there is Lantana Lodge, The Lone Star Hall, and the Big Red Barn. You will also find equestrian and hiking trails.
- Greenbelt Corridor
- Buck Creek
- Sanger Unit – This unit houses the Lake Ray Roberts Marina and Lakecove RV Park. You will find a store, fueling station and boat rental.
- Pond Creek
- Elm Fork
- Pecan Creek
17. Brazos Bend State Park: Alligators, birds and prehistory! (9/6/15)
We were very happy to be joined by our friend Wendle when we visited Brazos Bend. This is what he considers to be his home park. He comes here almost every week when he can he has enjoyed all of the trails. We only did the one trail due to the heat, but it was well worth it. I have never seen an alligator in the wild, much less five to ten feet from me! Here the wildlife is definitely that – wild! Alligators roam the park freely and they encourage you to watch from a distance.
They also have a very nice nature center where you can see and touch the wildlife. Scott and I both touched a baby alligator and I totally ignored the snakes. The volunteers here are the ones who operate the nature center and the gift shop, plus they work hard all over the place here. This volunteer group actually won some awards for their outstanding work.
16. Huntsville State Park: The African-American CCC Company 1823 worked here and built the Raven Lodge. (9/5/15) This park is one we definitely want to visit for a while. This park is one of the CCC locations that has worked hard to keep that history alive and active. It is also a beautiful and has plenty to do around it because it happens to be within the Sam Houston National Forrest. Not only that, but there is plenty to do because Huntsville and Houston is so near by.
If you would like to see the First Visit Video, you can find it HERE!
We also did a short blog post about our trip there. The blog post is pretty much about the whole trip, but it has a little bit of information that you might enjoy.. If you would like to read it, go HERE!
15. Fort Boggy State Park: Tiny and Day Use only. (9/5/15) This park is being worked on and some fort buildings are being reconstructed. Turns out this park has more than just the little we saw.
When Scott and I first visited this park we were stunned to see there was no sign, no one at the gate, and nothing more than some park tables, lake, and play ground. We were stunned to see something so small or no camping. However, what we did not know was this park was in the middle of making some changes for the better! Starting in late September this park will not only have camping available but there will also be cabins! I am scheduled to attend the grand re-opening with our friend Angie so hopefully there will a sign photo up soon!
14. Possum Kingdom State Park: This was the last park CCC worked on, but not finished by them. (8/23/15)
Possum Kingdom State Park is a really nice park with plenty of cabins, camping sites and lots of water! One of the things about the lake is that it is a salty lake and not used for any type of drinking water. This is very unusual for Texas. They basically damned up the Brazos River to help control the flooding issues it once had. However, recently there has been a lot of rain other the past few years and the Brazos has been extremely high.
13. Bonham State Park: (7/4/15) Bonham has the original CCC buildings and swimming area. There are many trails and plenty of room to move around. Unfortunately it is one of the smaller parks within the Texas State Park system so you need to make your camping reservations as soon as possible.
If you want to find out more information about Bonham State Park, you can find it HERE!
If you would like to see our First Visit Video, please click HERE!
12. Purtis Creek State Park: We visited this park on July 3, 2015. It is a little park, but has plenty of campsites, really interesting trails and a to scale display of the Solar System across the dam. (7/3/15)
When we first went to this park I honestly didn’t think there was much too it, however, this turns out not to be the case. We rushed through thinking there wasn’t much special except for the solar system model, but since we have been there a few more times, we have found there to be an interesting trail system and a paddling trail as well. Unfortunately we have not been able to enjoy the padding trail, but we have seen kayakers padding their camping equipment across the lake to the “hike in” campsites. These sites are definitely primitive, but there are a couple of hole-in-the-grounds that are near by.
We went again, with our friend Angie, to take video for Scott to put a video together. While we were there we put together an Outside Our Box.
11. Lake Mineral Wells State Park: There is an interesting dam road, Mineral Wells-Weatherford Trailways & Penitentiary Hollow. (5/3/15)
I have enjoyed many of the different and creative ways the Texas State Parks show off their creativity. This is one of those parks. They way they built the dam was very interesting because it puts the lake over the tops of the cars driving past it. The only time the vehicles are in danger is if they ignore the signs and drive across when water is crossing the road. There are so many wonderful places in this park from the dam to the Lake Mineral Wells Trailway to the rock formations used for rock climbing.
My favorite thing about this park is the dam though. How could it not be with such uniqueness?
10. Cleburne State Park: A three level limestone spillway built by the CCC. (2/30/15)
Scott and I love this park. This place has a very interesting and unique landscape with the large scenic overlooks and primitive camping spots. We have been back many times to visit and enjoy the limestone spillway and even found a geological survey on the dam!
If you would like to see our First Visit Video, please click HERE!
9. Tyler State Park: The Whispering Pine’s Trail has markers and natural bridges, cabins, and lots of fun! (1/18/15)
This is one of those parks where you just need to go to recharge. There is something about being surrounded by trees that help you do just that. This was one of the first parks we decided to stay overnight for the first time. We stayed in one of the cabins and had air conditioning for the day time and heat for the night; these cabins are comfortable and very nice campfire set up. We really enjoyed our stay.
If you would like to watch our First Visit Video, click HERE!
8. Palo Pinto Mountains State Park: This is the future site of the Palo Pinto Mountains State Park. It is still in the planning stages but visitors are allowed to fish on Lake Tucker.
We have spent so much time at this future park to do star photography and join in the star parties. This year we joined in the Spring 2016 Star Party and were able to visit the back of the park and see the future layout of the park when they begin the construction.
There are often meetings about this park and recently (August 2016) more detailed information was provided to the public. This is truly going to be a wonderful park once they finish.
7. Abilene State Park: There are interesting CCC buildings, Yurts, and the missing lake. (11/23/14)
When we first visited this park it was a really nice park, but the lake was 100% empty. This was the park that helped us to understand more about the drought Texas was under. It wasn’t quite as bad in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, but the further west you went the worse it was.
In 2016 the lake finally filled up 100% and we have been back once more since it filled up and it is still a beautiful park. This is a CCC park and has many old buildings still in use today, including the swimming pool. If you want to stay in something different, then give the yurts here a try!
If you want more information about our first trip to Abilene State Park click HERE!
This is pretty much our home park at the moment. Their anniversary is October 4 just as ours and we have discussed going to this park every year for our anniversary but so far it has only been in 2015.
We have been to this park so many times and we always seem to find something new here. One of the reasons is because the Paluxy River is one of the few untamed (no dams rivers in Texas. This means it is always changing. Because of this changing, you cannot count on seeing the dinosaur tracks every time you visit. We love this aspect of the park. We did make a few videos about the river in 2015 and once more in 2016. If you want to see one of the videos, please click HERE!
To read about very first visit to Dinosaur Valley State Park, please click HERE!
5. Tawakoni State Park: This is a cute little park with plenty of camping, swimming and fishing. (11/1/14)
We did a basic drive through on this park and we are finding we wish we would have given it a bit more time due to some of the things we are hearing from others Parkers we meet in our travels. Scott went back at one point and he would really like for us to go back again and spend a bit more time. Since we have decided to start spending more time at each of the parks, I am finding myself seeing each of the parks differently.
If you would like to view the First Visit Video, please HERE!
4. Lake Bob Sandlin State Park: This is a site of prehistoric Caddoian peoples, Fort Sherman and the Fort Sherman Cemetery. It was one of the first parks we visited when we started the Texas State Park Project. Unfortunately we got in very late so we didn’t get to explore as much as we wanted too. This is a park that is close to our daughter’s farm so we just might sneak in a trip or two. (11/1/14)
You can find our first visit video of Fort Richardson State Park on our YouTube channel.
3. Cedar Hill State Park: We visited Cedar Hill State Park on October 23, 2014. While we were there we enjoyed Penn Farm Agricultural History Center. This park is a very nice park and extremely large for those who like to camp. There are so many RV/tent camping spaces with electricity, water and a beautiful view that everyone can enjoy.
We have been back to this park many times, but because of the flooding in 2015 and 2016 there has been a limited area opening because the day use area and marina was destroyed. Fortunately, this is a close park for us so we can visit it often as the park opens the previously closed areas.
2. Eisenhower State Park: Because this park is literally on the cliffs overlooking Lake Texoma, the swimming hole is just that, down a pathway of stone steps. (10/1/14)
Scott and I really enjoyed our overnight trip to Eisenhower and loved the swimming area. The swimming area is down below the cliffs in a small cove. You will find some small caves where people have left their names and love notes. It really is one of my favorite things about the park. Unfortunately we have not been back to the park due to all the flooding during 2015 and 2016.
If you would like to see a blog post about our first visit, please click HERE!
1. Fort Richardson State Park: This is a historical site with many historical building from the actual fort. It also encompasses the Lost Creek Reservoir State Trailway which lead to Lake Jacksboro and Lost Creek Reservoir. These two lakes were the areas where the town of Jacksboro cut the stones for many of the buildings. (9/15/14)
You can find our First Visit Video of Fort Richardson State Park on our YouTube channel.
We have been back many times and enjoyed one of their Christmas Holiday events December 2014. This is when they open up their buildings to tours and have historical re-enactors come in. We were also able to walk along the Lost Creek Reservoir State Trailway, but not the full way. The lake was extremely low when we visited it in 2014, but has since risen to where it needs to be 100%.