At Texas State Parks, you can go on easy hikes, rugged hikes, see nature in all its glory, and even find dinosaurs and the footprints they left behind millions of years ago. Texas is a beautiful place, full of charm, history, and a coastline boasting sunrises that will take your breath away.
We’ve been in Texas longer than we had originally planned on staying, and it’s no wonder. With 51 state parks, a state forest and 4 national forests, 10 national wildlife refuges, 2 national recreation areas, and a national seashore, Texas is the nature-lover’s dream. Add to this amazing scenery the stereotypical Southern hospitality and larger-than-life serving sizes of comfort food, and you’ve got the makings of a dream destination.
The mild winter doesn’t hurt, either—though it’s sometimes a lot colder down here than we expected. The winter in Texas actually reminds me of my childhood winters in São Paulo, minus the constant drizzle.
After having a blast at at the amusement park in Arlington, catching up with an old friend in The Colonhy, and celebrating Christmas at a wonderful airbnb, we checked out some of Texas’ great state parks.
Dinosaur Valley State Park
As we make our way into the forest, all three kids quip they don’t want to go for a walk. The mood is heavy for some reason, but not for long. At the end of a very short, easy hike, they’re rewarded with giant dinosaur sculptures, and each one of the kids is thrilled with the discovery.
But giant dinosaur sculptures aren’t the only fun to be had at Dinosaur Valley State Park. You can also see real dinosaur footprints, if you’re OK with some rugged hiking. Dan and I did this type of hiking ten years ago, when we went on our 2-month road trip across Canada and the US., and for the last 10 years, I’ve been missing doing it. I always joke that when we say we’re going hiking in Kingston, we really mean that we’re going walking. But here at Dinosaur Valley State Park, you have choices to suit every outdoor taste.
There’s a hiking trail especially for the little ones—a short loop that tells you all about the animals you might see in the park, with lift-flaps for learning some information about the residents of the trail.
There are easy trails, there are medium difficulty trails, and then there is the dinosaur footprint trail. It’s rained heavily for the last couple of days, so many of the footprints won’t be visible. But we have to try anyway. This is rugged hiking, the kind I remember and love—over rocks and tight spaces, climbing up, climbing down, and getting exercise that doesn’t feel like a chore.
We find one footprint (we think), but the rest are probably hidden under the water and mud. No matter; we still enjoy the beautiful view, and the kids still have fun climbing out of the trail for a shortcut.
And after our hikes are done, the kids have fun in the playground that’s very close to the campsite where we parked the RV for the night.
Dinosaur Valley State Park was beautiful, and we really enjoyed our short stay.
Tomorrow, we’ll be off to Meridian State Park.