Dinosaurs and Rugged Hiking in Texas

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 Colony, 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.


A father, son, and daughter read a panel while a younger daughter walks towards two life-size dinosaur sculptures. Dinosaur Valley State Park, Texas


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.


Father holding a boy and a girl's hand as they walk into the forest at Dinosaur Valley State Park


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. 


Kids' Trail at Dinosaur Valley State Park


Sign at Kids' Trail at Dinosaur Valley State Park. Sign is a riddle about a squirrel.


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.


Dinosaur Valley State Park Dinosaur Footprint Trail



Father and 6-year-old son walking in Dinosaur Valley State Park Dinosaur Footprint Trail


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.


Dinosaur Footprint at Dinosaur Valley State Park in Texas


Dinosaur Valley State Park Dinosaur Footprint Trail


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.


One boy and two girls playing at Dinosaur Valley State Park playground


Class A motorhome parked in a campsite at Dinosaur Valley State Park. A man is standing in front of it.


Dinosaur Valley State Park was beautiful, and we really enjoyed our short stay.


Two girls, a boy, and their father walking on a trail at Dinosaur Valley State Park


Man standing on a rock at Dinosaur Valley State Park


Two girls and a boy playing at a playground in Dinosaur Valley State Park, Texas


Tomorrow, we’ll be off to Meridian State Park.


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