Experience the great outdoors with your family at these family-friendly parks and other destinations.
Do you want to really get away? Big Bend National Park is located in southwest Texas, isolated hundreds of miles from the nearest cities. There’s no public transit directly into Big Bend National Park, so you’ll have to drive your own car or rent a vehicle. The park has four camper stores but items are limited. So be sure you have plenty of supplies, food, water, gas and other necessities before heading into Big Bend. Window View Trail and the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Trail are just some of the easy hikes available for kids of all ages. Children also enjoy bird walks, the Hot Springs, the sand dune in Boquillas Canyon, and a number of exhibits and displays at the visitor center. If you want to get back to nature with hiking, biking, camping and climbing, Big Bend is definitely a terrific choice.
Big Bend National Park, TX. Hours: Park: 24 hours daily all year; Visitor center: Daily 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Admission: Vehicle: $20 for seven day pass; Individual (on bicycle, motorcycle, etc): $10 for seven day pass; children 15 years and younger: free; annual pass: $40. Campground fees vary, starting at $10 and up.
Located near Corpus Christi, Padre Island features 70 miles of natural beaches, nearly 134,000 acres of which are protected in the National Seashore. The Seashore protects the longest undeveloped stretch of barrier islands in the world. For families who love fishing, hiking, camping, boating, swimming, bicycling and other outdoor activities, this is a must-see destination. Bring your camera, because there is plenty of spectacular flora and fauna. Check out coyotes, deer, jackrabbits, and endangered sea turtles – which return to Padre Island to lay their eggs. Thousands of bird species can also be seen, from herons and pelicans to gulls and skimmers. The park conducts various programs just for kids throughout the year including beach walks, campfire programs and bird-watching tours.
Padre Island National Seashore, TX. Hours: 24 hours daily all year; Visitor center: Daily 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Admission: Vehicle: $20 for seven day pass; Individual (on bicycle, motorcycle, etc): $10 for seven day pass; Campground fee: $8 per day.
Located in Fredricksburg, just 70 miles north of San Antonio, Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is a 1,643 acre Texas park. The highlight of the area is a distinctive 500-foot dome of pink granite – the second largest formation in North America. Enchanted Rock is estimated to be a billion years old. Visitors to this natural area of wonderment enjoy hiking, rock climbing, primitive camping, stargazing, birding, picnicking and much more. RVs and trailers aren’t allow to camp at Enchanted Rock so all campsites are primitive. If your family enjoys “roughing it” and wants to experience nature, Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is an amazing destination. The park offers seven miles of hiking trails, the most popular of which is the Summit Trail with a 425-foot elevation gain to the top of Enchanted Rock. Hikers and backpackers also enjoy the 4-mile Loop Trail.
16710 Ranch Rd 965, Fredericksburg TX 78624. Hours: 24 hours daily all year except during special events; Admission: Adults: $6 per day; children 12 and under: free. Campsite and other facility fees also applicable.