Where Do You Explore The Great Outdoors? #TxN10Giveaway

Texan by Nature was founded in 2011 by former First Lady Laura Bush to unite conservation and business leaders who believe our state’s prosperity is dependent on the conservation of our natural resources. At the broadest level we exist to advance conservation. We don’t typically create any of our own projects, we partner with 95+ conservation organizations across Texas and partner with businesses across all industries, acting as an accelerator for conservation groups and a strategic partner for business. We believe in a collaborative model that pushes impact boundaries for Texas’ diverse natural resources, our diverse communities, and the state’s economic growth.

In 2021, the Texan by Nature team is excited to celebrate our 10-year anniversary! To give a big thank you to all of our friends and followers we are hosting a giveaway on the 10th of every month on our Facebook and Instagram. These giveaways are made possible by the following amazing businesses and organizations:

Blue Bell Ice Cream | Chisos Boots | David Marquis | Dell Technologies | East Foundation | Fin & Fur Films |  H-E-B | Hiking Texas | Howler Brothers | Laura W. Bush | Mad Hippie | Texas Monthly | Texas Parks and Wildlife Department 

Each month the giveaways have a theme, January started with “How are you Texan, by Nature?” and February’s was “Where do you explore the great outdoors?” There will be 10 more fun and engaging giveaways to come, be sure to follow along on our Facebook and Instagram!

Throughout February we received many comments of places folks love to explore across the Lone Star State – this blog lists all of those places. Please be sure to visit park websites before planning your trip to check availability and the need for reservations. Happy adventuring!

Central Texas

  • Arbor Hills Nature Preserve – Plano, TX
    • Located on the western border of Plano, Arbor Hills Nature Preserve is a 200-acre park featuring vast areas of natural beauty for walking, jogging, hiking, orienteering, and other outdoor activity. The observation tower gives a spectacular view of the city.
  • Blue Hole Regional Park – Wimberly, TX
    • The 126-acre park includes approximately 4.5 miles of trails, picnic areas, a community pavilion, playscape, basketball court, sand volleyball court, amphitheater, and the Blue Hole Swimming Area. 
  • Brushy Creek Lake Park – Cedar Park, TX
    • Brushy Creek Lake Park is a 90-acre park that offers active and natural resource-based recreational opportunities. Facilities include a playground, water playscape, hike and bike trail, nature trail, exercise station, three pavilions, picnic tables with BBQ grills, sand volleyball courts, canoe/kayak launch, fishing pier, wildlife observation area, labyrinth, restrooms, parking area and a 38-acre lake that was constructed in 1965.
  • Canyon of the Eagles Nature Park and Resort – Burnet, TX
    • Canyon of the Eagles Nature Park and Resort has something for everyone. Exploring 940 acres of a nature park lends itself to discovery and wellness. Take a stroll or vigorous hike on the 14 miles of trails, enjoy live music or movies under the stars, and take part in educational and recreational programs.
  • Dinosaur Valley State Park – Glen Rose, TX
    • Long ago, dinosaurs left footprints in the mud at the edge of an ancient ocean. Today, you can walk in their tracks in the bed of the Paluxy River. This long trip to the past is just a short drive from Fort Worth. Find dinosaur tracks, camp, picnic, hike, mountain bike, swim, fish and paddle in the river, watch for wildlife, look for a geocache, ride your horse, or visit the interpretive center.
  • Enchanted Rock State Natural Area – Fredericksburg, TX
    • Climb the ancient dome for amazing Hill Country views. The massive pink granite dome rising above Central Texas has drawn people for thousands of years. But there’s more at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area than just the dome. The scenery, rock formations and legends are magical, too! You can hike, backpack, camp, rock climb, picnic, bird, study nature, geocache and stargaze. (You cannot swim here or ride bikes on the trails.)
  • Garner State Park – Concan, TX
    • Garner State Park is a great place to visit for a swim or hike, or to enjoy a relaxing weekend. With 2.9 miles of Frio River winding through 1,774 acres of scenic Hill Country terrain, the park offers lots to see and do! You can also camp, study nature, picnic, canoe, fish, play miniature golf, geocache and ride bikes. And, of course, you can dance. Since the 1940s, young folks (and the young at heart) have been gathering at the park’s concession building on summer evenings for a jukebox dance. They still do so today.
  • Government Canyon State Natural Area – San Antonio, TX
    • On the northside of San Antonio lies a 12,000-acre wil­der­ness that protects the city’s drinking water. Government Canyon State Natural Area offers more than 40 miles of trails. You can also camp, attend a program or guided hike, geocache, picnic, take nature photos, and look for birds and other wildlife. Your kids will connect with “natural fun” at their playscape and Discovery Trail.
  • Hamilton Pool Preserve – Dripping Springs, TX
    • Located 3/4 mile upstream from its confluence with the Pedernales River, Hamilton Creek spills out over limestone outcroppings to create a 50-foot waterfall as it plunges into the head of a steep box canyon. The preserve is home to the Golden-cheeked Warbler and a great variety of other birds. Hamilton Pool Preserve is a part of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve (BCP). The BCP encompasses more than 31,000 acres of endangered species habitat. A unique natural area surrounds this pool, collapsed grotto and canyon, formed by thousands of years of water erosion.
  • Inks Lake State Park – Burnet, TX
    • Inks Lake State Park offers family fun on water and land. With its sparkling blue water, colorful rock outcrops, and striking sunsets, this gem of the Hill Country is just an hour northwest of Austin. On land, you can camp, backpack, geocache, play volleyball, picnic, and observe nature. Inks Lake has 9 miles of hiking trails through shady forests and across rocky hills. Stop by their bird blind to see who’s visiting. On the water, you can swim (no lifeguards on duty), boat, water ski, scuba dive and fish. 
  • Jacob’s Well Natural Area – Wimberly, TX
    • Jacob’s Well Natural Area is a little over 81 acres and the artesian spring releases thousands of gallons of water a day. Jacob’s Well is the second-largest fully submerged cave in Texas. The source of the water comes from the Trinity Aquifer, which makes its way from an extensive underground cave system. The deepest part of the cavern system is 140 feet deep. The main cavern length is 4,341 feet and the secondary cavern, which branches off the main cavern, is 1,314 feet in length.
  • Kickapoo Cavern State Park – Brackettville, TX
    • Bring a sense of wonder and your spirit of adventure to Kickapoo Cavern State Park. Head west from San An­tonio to explore this lightly-developed park with its many caves, birds, bats, trails and more.The park offers hiking and mountain biking, caves, camping, bird-watching, geocaching and evening bat flight viewing (in season).
  • Krause Springs – Spicewood, TX
    • Founded in 1955, Krause Springs is a well-known camping & swimming site located in the beautiful Hill Country of Texas. It is located in Spicewood, Texas approximately 30 miles west of Austin. The 115 acre property is listed on the National Registry of Historical Sites and has been privately owned by the Krause Family for over 50 years. There are 32 springs on the property, and several feed the man-made pool and the natural pool which flows into Lake Travis. It’s a refreshing treat to swim in the Springs during the hot summers of Texas!
  • Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park – Johnson City, TX
    • Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park tells the story of our 36th President beginning with his ancestors until his final resting place on his beloved LBJ Ranch. This entire “circle of life” gives the visitor a unique perspective into one of America’s most noteworthy citizens by providing the most complete picture of any American president.
  • Longhorn Cavern State Park – Burnet, TX
    • Many stories and legends surround Longhorn Cavern. But geology is what makes it truly unique. Explore the cavern for yourself, just 1.5 hours northwest of Austin. Tour the cavern! Before or after your tour, hike one of our trails, picnic, or learn about the Civilian Conservation Corps and its work in Texas 
  • Lost Maples State Natural Area – Vanderpool, TX
    • You may know Lost Maples for its fall color, but it is spectacular year-round. Visit any time to see abundant wild­flowers, steep canyon walls and the scenic Sabinal River. The park is just two hours northwest of San Antonio. Take a hike or a photo, go fishing, look for birds and other wildlife, camp, backpack, stargaze and hunt for geocaches. Lost Maples protects a special stand of Uvalde bigtooth maples. Many folks come here to see colorful leaves on these and other trees in autumn.
  • McKinney Falls State Park – Austin, TX
    • Listen to Onion Creek flowing over limestone ledges and splashing into pools. Follow trails winding through the Hill Country woods. Explore the remains of an early Texas homestead and a very old rock shelter. All of this lies within Austin’s city limits at McKinney Falls State Park – what are you waiting for? Here you can camp, hike, mountain or road bike, geocache, go bouldering, and picnic. You can also fish and swim in Onion Creek.
  • Pedernales Falls State Park – Johnson City, TX
    • Flowing over and around huge slabs of limestone, the Pedernales River can be turbulent. But most often it is tranquil, and a great place to relax and recharge. The park is just 30 miles west of Austin. Come over for an afternoon swim or hike, or load up your gear for an overnight adventure. The river awaits! At Pedernales Falls State Park, you can camp, hike, mountain bike, picnic, geocache, bird watch and ride horses. On the river, you can swim, wade, tube or fish. 
  • Phil Hardberger Park – San Antonio, TX
    • Phil Hardberger Park is a 330-acre sustainable natural urban park, complete with a nature center, outdoor classrooms, dog parks, play areas and trails for walking, hiking, and biking that will be used for generations to come. This is the best place in San Antonio to feel the wild. The park has 7.5 miles of trails that connect to the greater Howard Peak Greenway. A land bridge over Wurzbach Parkway connects both sides of the park.
  • Milton Reimers Ranch – Dripping Springs, TX
    • This pristine parkland, open space and reserve land in western Travis County with almost 3 miles of continuous frontage along the Pedernales River is the largest parkland acquisition in the history of Travis County. The Central Texas rock-climbing community views Reimers Ranch as a destination with world-class rock climbing. The active local mountain biking community likewise enjoys Reimers Ranch’s over 18 miles of trails through the classic Central Texas landscape. Additional activities and amenities include: astronomical observatory, educational programs, equestrian trail riding, fishing, guided tours, hiking, monthly bird walks, and swimming.
  • Reveille Peak Ranch – Burnet, TX
    • Reveille Peak Ranch combines a love for the land with the spirit of adventure. A 1,300-acre outdoor event and adventure center just outside of Burnet, Texas, Reveille Peak Ranch provides the beauty and thrill of the natural outdoors, while still being just an hour from Austin.

East Texas

  • Daingerfield State Park – Daingerfield, TX
    • Tall trees reach for the sky in the north­east corner of Texas. Explore life in the forest at Daingerfield State Park as you wander the trails, paddle Little Pine Lake, or relax at your campsite. On land, you can hike, go birding or geocaching, study nature, have a picnic or set up camp. In the 80-acre lake, you can swim, boat or paddle, and fish. Dance Saturday night away (March through November) to jukebox tunes at the pavilion. Some weekends fea­ture karaoke or live music.
  • Tyler State Park – Tyler, TX
    • Tyler State Park features a cool, 64-acre spring-fed lake, 100-foot tall trees, and historic structures. Play at the lake, wet a hook, wander through the woods, or relax with your binoculars. You will love this peaceful get-away in Northeast Texas! At Tyler State Park, you can boat, fish, swim in the lake, hike, mountain bike, picnic, geocache, camp, bird watch and study nature.

North Texas

  • Abilene State Park – Tuscola, TX
    • Come to the shady banks of Elm Creek, where large trees arch overhead and deer and other critters wander by. Just 16 miles southwest of Abilene, the park has a lake and fishing pond, a historic swimming pool, trails, camping and more. On land, you can camp, hike, geocache, bird watch or ride bikes. Along with many picnic sites under the trees, the park has a sand volleyball court, horseshoe pit, basketball goal and large open area. Explore the one-mile nature trail; ½-mile is ADA-compliant. On water, you can swim, fish and boat. The swimming pool is open each summer.
  • Caprock Canyons State Park & Trailway – Quitaque, TX
    • Wind and water over the eons shaped the rugged beauty of Caprock Canyons State Park in the Panhandle of Texas. Today, bison roam the plains, bats roost in Clarity Tunnel, and you can explore 90 miles of trails. Besides marveling at the bison and bats, you can hike, ride horses or bikes, camp, geocache, or take a scenic drive. Lake Theo offers no-wake boating, fishing, and swimming.
  • Lake Mineral Wells State Park & Trailway – Mineral Wells, TX
    • Lake Mineral Wells State Park & Trailway sits in the heart of cattle country, near what was once a popular health resort. You will love the area’s history and scenery, but you’ll also enjoy the park’s outdoor amenities: a lake, a rock climbing area, and miles of trails. The park is just 45 minutes west of Fort Worth – c’mon over! On land, you can camp, hike, bike, ride your own horses, geocache, rock climb, or relax by the lake. On the lake, you can swim (no lifeguards), fish or boat. 
  • Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve – Plano, TX
    • Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve, Plano’s largest park, is 800 acres and extends from Parker Road on the south to Chaparral Road on the north and from Spring Creek Parkway on the west to Los Rios Boulevard on the east. The park boasts nearly eight miles of concrete trails and five miles of soft surface trails located along Rowlett Creek.
  • Palo Duro Canyon State Park – Canyon, TX
    • The second largest canyon in the country lies in the heart of the Texas Panhandle. Visit Palo Duro Canyon State Park to experience the canyon’s rugged beauty and enjoy its colorful history. Explore the canyon by foot, mountain bike, horse, or car. There are more than 30 miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails. Camp, geocache, study nature or bird watch. During the summer, enjoy a performance of TEXAS Outdoor Musical.

South Texas

  • East Foundation Land (PRIVATE LANDS) – Jim Hogg, Kenedy, Starr, and Willacy counties
    • With over 217,000 acres of native rangeland, East Foundation has one of the largest ranch holdings in Texas. The East family used their ranchlands for both wildlife conservation and raising cattle. Traditionally maintained as native rangeland and working cattle ranches, The East Foundation continues their legacy by using their lands as a working laboratory where scientists and managers work together to address issues important to wildlife management, rangeland health, and ranch productivity. The East Foundation’s land is private, but you can visit their website to learn more and get involved.
  • Laguna Madre 
    • The Laguna Madre, which spans the Texas’ lower Gulf of Mexico coastline and Mexico’s Tamaulipan shore, is a paradox—unassuming in appearance, the ‘Mother Lagoon’ is one of just six hypersaline coastal lagoons in the world. Stretching for hundreds of miles along the coast of five different South Texas counties and one state in Mexico, this region is a rich and biologically diverse ecosystem. Learn more about this area from The Nature Conservancy and Texas Parks and Wildlife.
  • Mustang Island State Park – Corpus Christi, TX
    • With more than five miles of coastline, the park has plenty of room for fun in the sun. Hang out on the beach, fish in the bay, add birds to your life list, and explore this unspoiled barrier island park. It’s time to head to the coast! At Mustang Island State Park, what you do is up to you. You can play at the beach (swim, surf, build a sand castle), camp, picnic, fish, hike, mountain bike, kayak, bird watch (especially during spring and fall migrations) and geocache.

West Texas

  • Big Bend National Park – Big Bend National Park, TX
    • Big Bend National Park is a geological marvel evidenced in sea fossils and dinosaur bones to volcanic dikes that mar the desert landscape. It’s a world of species diversity from the meandering river corridor that sidles across the desert floor to the sky island ridge tops that reach for the stars. With over 100 miles of paved roads, 150 miles of dirt roads, and about 200 miles of hiking trails the park offers nearly limitless opportunities for scenic driving, hiking, camping, backpacking, mountain biking, horseback riding, bird watching, wildlife observation, and stargazing. Additionally, the Rio Grande borders the park for 118 miles providing options for half-day floats to extended excursions by raft, canoe, or kayak.
  • Big Bend Ranch State Park – Marfa, TX
    • Big Bend Ranch State Park offers outdoor recreation for the truly adventurous. This remote park features rugged mountains, steep canyons, amazing views, unparalleled night skies, and solitude in a high desert setting. The park stretches along the Rio Grande in far west Texas, on the U.S.-Mexico border. Visitors can hike, mountain-bike, backpack, paddle, ride horses, or explore by vehicle (the park has two- and four-wheel-drive roads). The park has been designated an International Dark Sky Park; learn more about stargazing here. This is Texas’ biggest state park, so there’s a lot to explore!
  • Davis Mountains Preserve (CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE) – Fort Davis, TX
    • With the Davis Mountains forming one of only three of the state’s unique sky islands—a cooler, wetter landscape surrounded by arid lowland desert—conserving this Texas treasure for people and wildlife is now more important than ever. To help protect this unique ecosystem, The Nature Conservancy established the 33,075-acre Davis Mountains Preserve. Subsequent land acquisitions combined with conservation easements on adjoining property have allowed the Conservancy to protect 102,675 acres of the Davis Mountains.
  • Davis Mountains State Park – Fort Davis, TX
    • High in the mountains of West Texas you will find a beautiful and historic park. Explore Davis Mountains State Park’s miles of trails, stay up late to marvel at the night sky, learn about the history of the park and nearby frontier fort. It’s worth the drive! Davis Mountains State Park offers a unique and remote destination for all sorts of adventures. Here you can hike, backpack, mountain bike or ride your own horse, take a scenic drive through the mountains, go camping, stargaze, geocache and study nature.
  • Franklin Mountains State Parks – El Paso, TX
    • The Franklin Mountains provided most of the basic necessities of life for early people here. Today, the mountains meet a different human need – our need for time in nature. Come explore these high-desert mountains, just 15 minutes from El Paso. Franklin Mountains State Park offers great hiking, biking and rock climbing. Visit for the day or camp overnight. Look for geocaches, bird (and nature) watch, or bring a picnic.
  • Guadalupe Mountains National Park – Salt Flats, TX
    • Come experience mountains and canyons, desert and dunes, night skies and spectacular vistas within a place unlike any other. Guadalupe Mountains National Park protects the world’s most extensive Permian fossil reef, the four highest peaks in Texas, and features an environmentally diverse collection of flora and fauna.
  • Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site – El Paso, TX
    • For thousands of years, people have trekked to these rock hills in far west Texas. In earlier times, they came for the rainwater pooled in natural rock basins, or huecos (“whey-coes”). Visitors today marvel at the imagery left by those ancient people. At Hueco Tanks, you can hike, rock climb, bird watch, study nature and history, picnic and stargaze. Visitors can take guided and self-guided tours to view rock imagery.