The Best Outdoor Activities in Texas
Discover the best hiking, camping, backpacking, fitness, and more.
Hike to the Lighthouse in Palo Duro Canyon
Texas / Lighthouse Trailhead
Palo Duro Canyon is considered the Grand Canyon of Texas and the Lighthouse is one of the most unique geological formations found there.
Explore Dinosaur Tracks in Leander
Texas / South Fork San Gabriel River
About a half mile west from the Hwy 183 bridge that crosses the South Fork of the San Gabriel River lies approximately 12 dinosaur footprints embedded in the river bed.
Camp at Pace Bend Park
Texas / Pace Bend Park
Pace Bend is a favorite camping and day use destination near Austin, Texas.
Hike to Penitentiary Hollow via Red Waterfront Trail
Texas / Lake Mineral Wells State Park Entrance
Lake Mineral Wells is one of the closest state parks in the area located less than an hour and a half from Dallas and only 45 minutes from Fort Worth.
Hike to Cattail Falls
Texas / Cattail Falls Parking Area
Head south on the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive in Big Bend. Just after mile marker 3, you will see signs for the Sam Nail Ranch overlook, and a small opening in the scrub brush will appear on your left.
Swim in Barton Springs Pool
Texas / Barton Springs
Barton Springs Pool is a historical staple in the city of Austin. Located within Zilker Park, the location is easy to find and even has easy accessible parking.
Hike Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend
Texas / Santa Elena Canyon Parking Area
Santa Elena Canyon is one of the crown jewels of Big Bend National Park, and something you surely don't want to miss if you pay the park a visit.
Explore Galveston Island State Park
Texas / Freshwater Pond Loop
Galveston Island State Park is one of the several state parks in Texas offering coastline to the Gulf of Mexico.
Kayak at Guadalupe River State Park
Texas / Guadalupe River State Park
Once you enter Guadalupe River State Park, be sure to grab a map of the park as the roads can be a little confusing.
Hike the Window Trail in Big Bend
Texas / Chios Basin Campground
The Window Trail is one of the most popular hikes in Big Bend National Park.
Stargaze at Fort Griffin
Texas / Fort Griffin State Historic Site
Witness the Milky Way in all of it's glory at Fort Griffin State Historic Site.
Hike through the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve
Texas / Arbor Hills Nature Preserve
Arbor Hills Nature Preserve is a free, fantastic get-away for a quick dose of the outdoors in the middle of the busy city.
Hike to the Boquillas Hot Springs
Texas / Hot Springs Historic Trailhead
The Boquillas Hot Springs are the most famous of geothermal hot springs along the big bend of the Rio Grande River. The springs were originally built into a bathhouse by J.O.
Backpack the Chisos Mountains
Texas / Laguna Meadows Trailhead
Most people don’t know that there are 8,000-foot peaks in Texas, but in the exceptionally remote southwest corner of the Lone Star State, Big Bend National Park’s Chisos Mountains soar high over the .
Explore White Rock Lake
Texas / White Rock Lake Parking Lot
White Rock Lake is the crown jewel of Dallas. It includes a 9.3 mile loop trail that is available for hikers, bikers, and walkers.
Hike through the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve
Texas / Wild Basin Parking Area
Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve is managed as part of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve and consists of 227 acres of beautiful Hill Country woodlands owned jointly by Travis County (164.
Hike Big Bend's Emory Peak
Texas / Emory Peak Trailhead
The hike to Emory Peak zig-zags up the face of the mountain, and only when you reach the peak do you get the full, 360 view of Big Bend National Park. Trust me, it's gorgeous.
Paddle on Lady Bird Lake in Austin
Texas / Lady Bird Lake Austin Texas
Getting There: Lady Bird Lake is located just South of Downtown Austin. One of many ways to access Lady Bird Lake is from Zilker Metropolitan Park and Barton Springs Pool.
Camping at Caprock Canyon State Park
Texas / Caprock Canyon Campground Trailhead
Caprock Canyon State Park is equipped with two primitive campgrounds: North Prong and South Prong. These campgrounds are equipped with pit toilets as seen in the above photos.
Discover Dinosaur Tracks along Blue Hole Trail
Texas / Dinosaur Valley State Park Entrance
Dinosaur Valley is located in the small town of Glen Rose about an hour and a half Southwest of Dallas.
Climb Guadalupe Peak
Texas / Guadalupe Peak Trail Visitors Center
It's na 8.5 mile round trip that has an elevation gain of over 3000 ft. The trail is a lot of switch backs which help you gain that 3000 ft very quickly. The first 1.
Hike Among the Gators in Brazos Bend
Texas / 40-Acre Lake Trailhead, Brazos Bend SP
Looking for the chance to get up close and personal with some American Alligators? Brazos Bend will do just that and more.
Hike to West Peak
Texas / Spring Branch Trailhead
West Peak is situated in the beautiful Hill Country State Natural Area which is located near the popular Lost Maples and Garner state parks.
Hike Boquillas Canyon in Big Bend
Texas / Boquillas Canyon Trailhead
Boquillas Canyon is one of the longest and most beautiful canyons Big Bend has to offer. To get here you will head towards Rio Grande Village from the park's headquarters at Panther Junction.
Primitive Camp at Moss Lake
Texas / Enchanted Rock Loop Trailhead
Enchanted Rock is one of the most popular destinations in Texas, but if you want to enhance your experience at this treasured site, I suggested primitive camping at Moss Lake.
Hike to McKittrick Ridge Campground
Texas / McKittrick Canyon Trailhead
This hike is not for the faint of heart or the out of shape.
Camp at Huntsville State Park
Texas / Huntsville State Park Campground
Note: The lake camping photo is of a Huntsville State Park sanctioned campsite. Huntsville State Park is located about an hour north of Houston off of I-45.
Feed Exotic Wildlife at Fossil Rim
Texas / Fossil Rim Wildlife Center
Fossil Rim Wildlife Center started it's journey about 30 years ago when a few passionate conservationists took it upon themselves to start a fight to save many endangered species.
Camp at Nugent Mountain
Texas / Nugent Mountain Primitive Campsite
Nugent Mountain is a very handsome butte and Big Bend is a great place to go get some splendid desert solitude and recharge your good vibes.
Camp out at Four Sisters Ranch Cabin
Texas / Four Sisters Ranch Cabin
If you're looking for a beautiful secluded cabin to camp in the Texas Hill Country make sure to check out Four Sisters Ranch Cabin.
Photograph Pennybacker Bridge (Austin 360 Bridge)
Texas / Pennybacker Bridge (Austin 360 Bridge)
If you're looking for excellent views of hill country, the skyline, or just an awesome place to watch the sunset this is the place to be.
Adventure at Krause Springs
Texas / Krause Springs
Spend the day swimming and exploring or stay the night and see everything this privately owned park has to offer! From the spring fed concrete pool, to natural spring fed swimming hole, waterfall, bu.
Hike to Crockett Gardens and Falls
Texas / Cedar Breaks Park
This is a 5.8 mile out-and-back trail snaking along the banks of Lake Georgetown. The trailhead is located in Cedar Breaks Park.
Catch a Sunrise over Lake Raven
Texas / Huntsville State Park
Huntsville State Park's 250 acre Raven Lake is a perfect spot for catching a sunrise. Watch for Egrets along the shoreline while enjoying the solitude of the early morning hour.
Swim and Relax at Common's Ford Ranch
Texas / Commons Ford Ranch Metropolitan Park
Commons Ford is a lakefront park offering a boathouse that can be reserved, fishing, volleyball net and picnicking.
Canoe or Kayak the Medina River
Texas / Medina City Park
Start at the river crossing of Patterson Avenue in the town of Medina, Texas. From here, you have several take out options which can be seen in the map pictured above (spots marked by "x").
Hike Pine Ridge Overlook
Texas / McKinney Roughs
Pine Ridge Overlook is one of the longest hikes at McKinney Roughs Nature Area offering 2.7 miles through piney woods that overlook valleys and offer glimpses of the Colorado River.
Camp at Dinosaur Valley State Park
Texas / Cedar Brake Outer Loop Trailhead
Starting at the Cedar Brake Outer Loop trailhead, leave your car and toss your pack on your back.
Relax at Klyde Warren Park
Texas / Kylde Warren Park
Klyde Warren Park spans 5.2 acres over the Woodall Rogers Freeway in downtown Dallas and is a great place to spend an afternoon or Saturday.
Explore Buffalo Bayou Park
Texas / Buffalo Bayou
Boasting 160 acres, Buffalo Bayou is a common go-to destination for some relaxation and recreation for local Houstonians.
Hike Sugarloaf Mountain, Texas
Texas / Sugarloaf Mountain, Texas
Being surrounded by plains, it's nice to get away every once in awhile. Sadly, you would have to drive pretty far to get to a nice hike.
Camp at Kelly's Pond, Sam Houston National Forest
Texas / Kellys Pond Campground
Kelly's Pond is a primitive camping area off the beaten path with no potable water or electricity.
Visit the Cathedral of Junk
Texas / Cathedral of Junk
The Cathedral of Junk is a hidden gem within the Austin City Limits, actually located in the Artists backyard.
Paddle Guadalupe River at Berghiem
Texas / Bergheim Campgrounds
Drive up to Bergheim Campgrounds located at 103 White Water Rd Boerne, TX 78006 for a safe place to park your vehicles.
Hike to the Upper Guale Mesa in Big Bend Ranch State Park
Texas / Rancherias West Trailhead
Big Bend Ranch State Park is certainly one of Texas most beautiful "hidden" gems. Boasting over 300,000 acres of wild, rugged high desert terrain, this park is an explorers paradise.
Hike the Bull Creek Greenbelt Trail
Texas / Bull Creek Greenbelt Trail
Park in the lot off of Lakewood Drive (see map) to access the trail. This trail is good for all skill levels and is dog-friendly. Photos: BrandonLord, James Lavin
Hike through Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area
Texas / Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area
Spend all day wandering the endless fields of bluebonnets above the banks of the Colorado River in this hill country oasis.
Bike through Iconic Graffiti Landmarks in Austin
Texas / Austin Graffiti Tour
You don't have to rent a bike but it's the "Austin" thing to do.
Bouldering at Hueco Tanks State Park
Texas / North Mountain Parking Lot
Hueco Tanks is comprised of 3 mountains and 1 spur (a lateral offshoot of a mountain). North Mountain has the most dense bouldering but access requires a reservation.
Swim at Hippie Hollow
Texas / Hippie Hollow Park
Park in the parking lot and head to Hippie Hollow, a nude-friendly section on the Lake Travis shoreline just 20 minutes from downtown. Must be 18 or older to enter.
Walk the Katy Trail
Texas / Katy Trail Parking
The Katy Trail cuts through the busy downtown Dallas area and offers the perfect way to get away for a lunch break or afternoon walk.
Hike Palo Duro Canyon's Rock Garden Trail
Texas / Rock Garden Trailhead
Of all the trails in Palo Duro Canyon, the Rock Garden is arguably the most challenging, the most strenuous, and – not coincidentally – rewards hikers with the best views of the canyon.
Watch the Sunrise at Cadillac Ranch
Texas / Cadillac Ranch
Cadillac Ranch isn't actually a ranch but an art installation and sculpture that was installed in 1974 by a group called Ant Farm.
Hike Cedar Flats Trail at Eisenhower Park
Texas / Cedar Flats Trailhead
Eisenhower Park is located on the north side of San Antonio, outside of loop 1604.
Catch a Sunset on the Window View Trail
Texas / Window View Trailhead
If you're staying at Chisos Basin, the sunset at Window View Trail is one to see. The Window View Trail is a paved, wheelchair-accessible, 0.
Swim at Rio Vista Waterfall
Texas / Rio Vista Waterfall
Located about an hour north of San Antonio. The San Marcos River at Rio Vista Park in San Marcos, a short drive off from I-35.
Camp at Lake Somerville: Nail's Creek
Texas / Lake Somerville State Park
Lake Somerville State Park has two portions you can visit, Nails Creek on the South side of the lake, and Birch Creek located on the North side of the lake.
Paddle the Guadalupe River at Sisterdale
Texas / Sisterdale General Store
Take the short drive up to the friendly little town of Sisterdale to find the General Store. Here you can safely leave your vehicle, rent kayaks and arrange shuttles for your trip of choice.
Hike Sister Groves Trail
Texas / Sister Groves
The parking area contains ample parking, bathrooms and covered picnic tables.
Primitive Camp at Lost Maples State Natural Area
Texas / West Trailhead, Lost Maples State Natural Area
Start at the day use overflow parking lot, there is a picnic area and a paved road will lead you to the trailhead for the East and West Trail Loops.
Camp on Padre Island National Seashore's North Beach
Texas / Malaquite Visitor Center
The largest undeveloped barrier island on Earth, the seashore is more than 130,000 acres of dunes, grasslands, and beaches. Drive over 60 miles along the beach to choose the perfect camping spot.
Hike the Vista Loop at Friedrich Wilderness Park
Texas / Friedrich Wilderness Park
Just north of 1604, off I10 is Friedrich Wilderness Park.
Mountain Bike at Erwin Park
Texas / 4300 County Road 1006, Mckinney, Texas 75071
Erwin Park is a single-track loop system designed for mountain biking which has drawn interest from trail runners and hikers, as there are tight turns, fast downhills, and technical sections of stack.
Hike the Closed Canyon Trail in Big Bend Ranch SP
Texas / Closed Canyon Trail
There is plenty of parking at the trailhead and a covered picnic table. The hike is mostly flat, but some big rock negotiation is necessary.
Rock Climb at Gus Fruh
Texas / Gus Fruh
NOTICE: For this activity it is necessary to have someone with lead climbing and belaying expertise. There is a wide range of difficulties on the routes.
Summit El Capitan in Guadalupe Mountain NP
Texas / Guadalupe Peak Trailhead
The route to the summit of El Capitan starts from the Guadalupe Peak trail some 300ft below the summit where you can first see the full vista of El Capitan stretching out before you.
Bike the Salado Creek Trail System
Texas / Salado Creek Trail System
This beautiful bike trail exists in the middle of San Antonio, and is an offshoot of the Salado Creek Greenway. You can start this trail past the electrical tower at the north end of the greenway.
Hike the Brushy Creek Regional Trail
Texas / Brushy Creek Regional Trail
Park in the big lot off E Little Elm Trail Road (see map) to access the trailhead. Trail is accessible year round and is dog-friendly. Photos: Knowsphotos, Texas Tongs, Drew Kolb
Hike Crockett Gardens and Falls
Texas / Crockett Gardens and Falls
Park in the circle off of Cedar Breaks Park Rd. (see map) to access the trail). There is some difficult terrain so be sure to wear sturdy shoes. Trail is accessible year-round.
Hike the Purgatory Creek Natural Area
Texas / Purgatory Creek Natural Area
Park in the dirt lot off of Hunter Road (see map) to access the trail. Trail is open year round and is dog-friendly. Photos: amboo who?, Rafael Marquez, bendini
Scuba Dive Balmorhea State Park
Texas / Balmorhea Lake and Balmorhea State Park
Texas has a wonderful state park system, and Balmorhea State Park in West Texas is no exception.
Hike the Gypsum Sand Dunes, Guadalupe Mountains NP
Texas / Williams Road Gate
To get there, first talk to park ranger at the Pine Springs Visitor Center. There is a gate that you may need to borrow a key for.
Swim at Overlook Park, Canyon Lake
Texas / Canyon Lake
Set your directions for Overlook Park. A short trail will guide you down the rocky slopes to get to the main beach.
Camp & Mountain Bike at Flat Rock Ranch
Texas / Flat Rock Ranch, Texas
About 45 miles northwest of San Antonio is Flat Rock Ranch. The ranch has 1300 rugged acres that have been in the same family for over 100 years.
Hike the Wild Basin Trail
Texas / Wild Basin Trail
Park at the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve (see map) to access the trail. Good for families or to visit alone. Photos: Matthew Peoples, Ivers McGraw, Kelly Bolinger
Hike the Mud Creek Loop at McAllister Park
Texas / Mud Creek Loop Trailhead
I love McAllister Park. Sure it can get a little stinky after the torrential Texas rains sweep through, but on a clear, dry day you can always find a new and LOVELY trail.
Hike the Winters Bayou Trail
Texas / Winters Bayou Trail
The trailhead is located off of 1725 (see map). This trail is a point-to-point so if you plan to do the whole thing be sure to plan transportation accordingly. Trail is accessible year-round.
Hike or Bike the Lake Bryan Trail
Texas / Lake Bryan Trail
Park in the lot off of P4-746 (see map) to access the trail). You need $5 to access the lake trails. Photos: Teddy Wilson, Mohamad Afif Izdihar Jais
Hike through the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center
Texas / Houston Arboretum and Nature Center
The Arboretum is a 155 acre nature sanctuary located within Memorial Park, about 6 miles from downtown Houston.
Hike the Lake Somerville Trail
Texas / Lake Somerville Trail
Park in the lot off of State Park Road 57 to access the trail. This trail is accessible from February to November, great for all skill levels and is dog-friendly.
Hike the Edith L Moore Nature Sanctuary Trail
Texas / Edith L Moore Nature Sanctuary Trail
Park at the Houston Audubon Society (see map) to access the trail. Great place for birding and wildlife viewing. This trail is accessible from 7am-7pm and is good for all skill levels.
Hike Double Lake Hiking Trail
Texas / Double Lake Hiking Trail
Trail is off of F R Road (see map). Moderate trail that is shared by hikers and bikers. Be sure to bring cash for the land fee. Photos: US Forest Service - Southern Region
Hike the Lost Mine Trail in Big Bend NP
Texas / Lost Mine Trail
If you are looking for expansive views of the Chisos Basin in Big Bend NP, the Lost Mine and South Rim Trails are MUST do's! The South Rim Trail is a much longer 12+ mile hike (best views in park) w.
Hike Ore Terminal Trail
Texas / The Ore Terminal Trailhead
Before I describe this trail, what season are you hiking? If summer, stop reading now and find another hike. Not summer? Okay, great, let's get started.
Hike Loblolly Loop Trail to Chocolate Bayou
Texas / Camp Mohawk Parking
Southeast of Houston is flat. It's damp, lots of bugs, not the place many visitors think of as having outdoor recreation opportunities.
Sand Surf Down Monahans Sandhills
Texas / Monahans Sandhills State Park
The Monahans Sandhills are a surprise. They aren't as big as Great Sand Dunes National Park, but they are still fun for an afternoon or weekend adventure.
Run the Gordon Lake (AKA Duck Lake) Loop in Iowa Park
Texas / Gordon Lake, Iowa Park, TX
The loop around the lake is just over one mile, and is great for doing repeats.
Hike the Davis Mountains State Park Loop
Texas / Old CCC Trail Trailhead
The majority of the Davis Mountains are privately owned, but the state park is one of the few ways to access it.
Hike the Sawmill Trail
Texas / Sawmill Hiking Trail
Park in the circle in the Boykins Springs Recreation Area (see map) to access the trail. This is a dog-friendly trail that doesn't get crowded.Photos: US Forest Service - Southern Region
Hike to Turkey Peak
Texas / Summit Trail Trailhead
There isn't an official trail to Turkey Peak, but it is one of the best views in the park. This is no easy climb, so be prepared to be sweating!From the parking lot head towards the Gazebo.
Hike to North Franklin Peak
Texas / Franklin Mountain Peak Trailhead
El Paso is a sprawling city that is remarkably split by the Franklin Mountains.
Hike the Upper Sunset Trail at Franklin Mountains SP
Texas / Upper Sunset Trailhead
The trick to this view is that the park gate closes at 5 pm. Therefore you have two options: Park at the entrance of the park (outside of the gate) and hike into the park.