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The 10 Best Adventures In Texas

Ah, the Lone Star State. Home of rolling hills, armadillos, and barbecue.

By: Sarah Vaughn + Save to a List

What most people don’t know is that Texas is also home to some of the most remote and unique landscapes you can find. From the mountain ranges in West Texas to the crystal clear waters of Hill Country, Texas has got an adventure for everyone. If you live in Texas, you may be overwhelmed with how much area there is to explore. If you don’t live in Texas, it can be a harrowing feat just trying to narrow down which parts of the state to visit. This list will help you either discover your state’s hidden gems, or motivate you to book a trip down south ASAP!

1. Canoe at Caddo Lake

Photo: Sarah Vaughn

Caddo Lake is like stepping into a time machine and visiting a period in ancient history. Situated on the border of Texas and Louisiana, it offers a unique canoeing experience like no other. With cypress trees and often mossy waters, it's a sought after place in the world of canoe aficionados. Rentals are available overnight and some of the campsites even have private access straight to the lake. Learn More.

2. Hike in Big Bend

Photo: Sarah Vaughn

Big Bend National Park is said to be one of the least visited parks of the National Parks system. That's not because it isn't amazing, but because of its remoteness from civilization! Set along the border of Mexico, separated only by the Rio Grande, it is definitely one of the most isolated places to visit in the country. There are several sides to this park - desert, river, and mountains. Popular hikes include Santa Elena Canyon, Boquillas Canyon, Emory Peak, and the Window Trail. Learn More.

3. Cliff Jump into Jacob’s Well

Photo: Sarah Vaughn

Jacob’s Well is tucked away in the small town of Wimberley, TX. Part of the Edward’s Aquifer, it boasts crystal clear waters and year round temperatures of 68 degrees fahrenheit. It is one of the longest underwater cave systems in Texas. Researchers are still not quite sure in fact just how long it is. It has been listed as one of the most dangerous underwater cave diving spots in the world. However, visitors can still test their adventurous sprits by taking a plunge into the first chamber of the cave that is only about 30ft deep. Enjoy cooling off and jumping into the deep black abyss! Learn more.

4. Hike to Gorman Falls

Photo: Sarah Vaughn

Located in Colorado Bend State Park about 2 hours northwest of Austin, TX, Gorman Falls is not something you would expect to see in the dreadfully hot and humid South. The lush green falls are created by moss and maidenhair ferns that are constantly soaked by the spring fed waters falling from above. Learn More.

5. Camp at Pecan Flats

Photo: Sarah Vaughn

Another Hill Country favorite is Inks Lake State Park. Canoes and kayaks are available for rent at the park store. Set out on the lake early and stick close to the shores to catch some glimpses of water snakes basking in the sun on exposed rocks. After, paddle out to the scenic Devil’s Waterhole at the east end of the lake. Tie up your canoe here and enjoy some cliff jumping, or head upstream to discover some hidden away waterfalls. Learn More.

6. Summit Enchanted Rock

Photo: Sarah Vaughn

A 400 ft granite dome and batholith much like Half Dome in Yosemite, located right here in the heart of Texas Hill Country! It offers a short, but steep .7 mile hike to the summit with stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Other than Hueco Tanks State Historic Site, Enchanted Rock has some of the best rock climbing you can find in Texas. Learn More.

7. Swim in Hamilton Pool

Photo: Sarah Vaughn

Hamilton Pool is located only about 45 minutes outside of Austin, TX. It is a popular spot to escape the scorching summer heat that is found here in the South. The pool is said to be a collapsed grotto and canyon formed after thousands of years of water erosion and used to be under the ownership of private property. That is until it was discovered by the owners in the early 1800s and wisely chose to open it for recreational use for all to enjoy. Learn More.

8. Tent Camp in Caprock Canyons

Photo: Sarah Vaughn

Caprock Canyons is a North Texas must see. When driving to Caprock you will not be expecting to see this diverse landscape appear out of nowhere among the endless flat plains that make up the panhandle, and then bam! All of a sudden you are surrounded on all sides by serrated red rock escarpments up to 1,000ft high! Caprock offers a variety of tent camping and wilderness camping for those looking to escape the crowded campgrounds. As for wildlife lovers, it is not uncommon to visit these canyons without a sighting of a rattlesnake, so watch your step! Learn More.

9. Watch the Sunrise at Garner State Park

Photo: Sarah Vaughn

Garner is a staple of the Texas State Park system, and it’s for good reason. Being the first official park in Texas, it is the most popular park for camping in the state with plenty of trails to choose from. However with hundreds of campsites, it is still possible to experience the beauty of this park all to yourself. The simple solution is to set that alarm clock early for the sunrise! Waking up early has its perks, and watching the first rays of light hit the chilly Fro River and peak of Old Baldy are a few of them! Learn More.

10. Hike to the Lighthouse at Palo Duro Canyon

Photo: Korey Taylor

Much like nearby Caprock Canyons, Palo Duro is a canyon paradise amid rolling flat plains in the Texas Panhandle. Behind only the Grand Canyon, it is the second largest canyon in the U.S. at about 60 miles long. Known for its popularity for mountain biking and equestrian trails, the dominant symbol of Palo Duro remains to be the unique rock formation referred to as the Lighthouse, and with only a 2.7 mile hike in you could be enjoying this as your view too! Learn More.

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Remember to always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and be sure to brush up on LNT principles for backcountry fires as well.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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