Find and Enjoy a Nearby National Park Adventure

Texas is home to national parks, historical sites, trails and monuments. Here are just a sampling of sites that offer families the opportunity to explore nature and the outdoors together.

Amistad: An oasis in the desert, Amistad National Recreation Area is located on the U.S. portion of the International Amistad Reservoir. Amistad, whose name comes from the Spanish word meaning friendship, is best known for excellent water-based recreation, camping, hiking, rock art viewing and wildlife. Amistad can be accessed from

Del Rio.

Big Bend: Situated in West Texas, night skies are dark as coal and rivers, like the 1,250-mile-long Rio Grande, carve templelike canyons in ancient limestone. Hundreds of bird species take refuge in a solitary mountain range surrounded by weatherbeaten desert filled with cactus bloom and a large diversity of species. Big Bend National Park can be access from Alpine, Study Butte, Presidio or through Marathon.

Fort Davis National Park: One of the best surviving examples of an Indian Wars frontier military post in the Southwest. From 1854 to 1891, Fort Davis was strategically located to protect emigrants, mail coaches and freight wagons on the Trans-Pecos portion of the San Antonio-El Paso Road and on the Chihuahua Trail.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park: Experience the world’s premier example of a fossil reef from the Permian Era. The park near Salt Flats is known for its extensive hiking and backpacking opportunities in one of the nation’s most pristine wilderness areas. Birding, history and other activities await visitors in this hidden gem of West Texas.

Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park: Located in Johnson City, this park tells the story of our 36th president, beginning with his ancestors up to 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.

Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park: This is the site of the 1846 battle between Mexico and the existing United States that changed the map of North America. The battlefield lies 10 miles north of the Rio Grande River, in Cameron County, close to Brownsville at the southern tip of Texas.

Rio Grande River: The boundary between the United States and Mexico, this 1,250-mile-long river stretches through West Texas, making a curve to the northeast to form the “big bend”, where the wild character of the river lives on. The Rio Grande Wild & Scenic River can be accessed through Big Bend National Park from Alpine, Study Butte, Presidio or through Marathon.

San Antonio Missions: After 10,000 years, the people of South Texas found their cultures and lives under attack from Apache raids, deadly diseases from Mexico and drought. Survival lay in the missions. By entering a mission, they foreswore their traditional life to become Spanish, accepting a new religion and pledging fealty to a distant and unseen king. These National Park Missions are located in and around San Antonio.

For more info, visit nps.gov/findapark(national parks) and click on Texas on the national map.

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