When traveling in the National Parks in Texas, an incredible variety of weather, terrain, vegetation, and cultures are at one's fingertips.
Although there are 13 National Parks in all in Texas, many people do not know of some, and these should be brought to attention just as much as the frequently visited ones, because they hold their own link to the past, or haven of indigenous plants that should be seen by those wishing to see where life has been growing for many, many years, whether of plant or people, in Texas.
National Parks in Texas
Top Things to do - Ranger-guided Tours, Hiking, Wildflowers Viewing
Lodging - There are no lodging facilities within the park
Camping - There are no campgrounds within the park. Camping is available nearby at Lake Meredith National Recreation Area.
Park Address - 37084 Alibates Rd. Potter County, TX 79036
Alibates Flint Quarries NM is located on the Texas Panhandle approximately 30 miles north of Amarillo. The park is open year-round though winter storms can disrupt park tours.
Lake Meredith National Recreation Area and Alibates Flint Quarries National Memorial, are in fact, almost one Park.
These two parks are located in the Llano Estacado or Staked Plains, that part of the Texas Panhandle that is made up of long stretches of a dry, windswept land.
The Alibates Memorial is a place of interest historically where visitors can visit the bluffs above the Canadian River to which many Native Americans came to retrieve the rainbow-hued flint and to hunt the big game that roamed the plains there.
It is the only National Memorial of its kind in Texas today, and visitors can also see the more than 550 archaeological sites which the Monument preserves.
Top Things to do - Visiting Amistad Dam, Boating, Bird Watching, Camping, Paddling, Hunting, Fishing, Hiking, Scuba Diving, Scenic Driving
Lodging - There are no motels or rental cabins located within the national recreation area. The closest city is Del Rio, Texas. Del Rio has a wide range of accommodations, including hotels and motels, to choose from.
Camping - There are five designated campgrounds within the park: Governors Landing, Rough Canyon, San Pedro, Spur 406, and 277 North.
Park Address - 10477 Highway 90 West, Del Rio, TX 78840
Amistad National Recreation Area is another park that is on the border between Texas and the USA. The park is located approximately 150 miles west of San Antonio. Open year-round with boating, fishing, swimming and the opportunity to view Indian rock art.
It contains an international reservoir that straddles the border, that was made by the formation of the Amistad Dam, which backs up water from the Rio Grande, Pecos, and Devils Rivers.
It is a very good recreation area for those wanting, to camp, fish, boat, and enjoy a very nice clear lake.
Top Things to do - Backcountry Camping, Junior Ranger Program, Biking, Birdwatching, Astronomy, Scenic Driving, Paddling, Hiking, Guided Tours
Lodging - The full-service Chisos Mountains Lodge is the only lodging within Big Bend National Park.
Camping - There are four developed campgrounds in Big Bend National Park, and primitive backcountry camping too.
Park Address - 1 Panther Junction, Big Bend National Park, TX 79834
Big Bend NP is located in Southwest Texas approximately 260 miles southeast of El Paso. The park is open year-round.
Big Bend National Park is a wonderful place at which travelers can experience an incredible variety of terrain and recognized in the Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River.
At Big Bend National Park visitors can see this River that form a big part of the United States-Mexico border, and the other two ecological zones which are found in this park, the Chihuahuan Desert, and the abrupt canyons of the River which are met by the peaks of the Chisos Mountains clothed in forests and wildflowers.
Top Things to do - Hiking, Paddling, Backcountry Camping, Bicycling, Fishing, Hunting and Trapping, Become a Big Thicket Junior Ranger, Explore the Rugged Lance Rosier Unit, Picnic by the Bayou, Watch the Big Thicket Park Film, Hike the Beech Woods Trail
Lodging - There are no lodging options within the National Preserve
Camping - Camping in Big Thicket National Preserve is limited to backcountry camping. The preserve does not have campgrounds, though many can be found nearby.
Park Address - 6102 FM 420, Kountze 77625
Big Thicket National Preserve is located in east Texas approximately 60 miles northeast of Houston. The park is open year-round and offers the opportunity to enjoy hiking, camping, canoeing, and bird-watching.
Home to some very rare endangered species, Big Thicket National Preserve is the ideal location for those who wish to see flying in the skies, swimming through the waters, and creeping around on the ground such rarely seen creatures as the hairy woodpecker, the swallow-tailed kite, the black buffalo fish, and the speckled king snake.
These creatures' habitat is also very interesting because of the many various plants and types of terrain found therein.
Thicket National Preserve is an intriguing and not extremely well-known flatland palmetto hardwood, savannas, and floodplain forests-bay gall-cypress sloughs inhabited by sundry interesting creatures.
Top Things to do - Visit the Chamizal National Memorial Cultural Center, Explore the Museum Exhibit, Ranger Programs, Biking, Explore the Trails, Enjoy a Picnic with your family, Urban Wildlife Viewing
Lodging - There are no National Park Lodges within the park.
Camping - There are no campgrounds within Chamizal National Memorial.
Park Address - 800 South San Marcial Street, El Paso, TX 79905
Chamizal NM is located in El Paso, Texas. The park is open year-round and offers the opportunity to learn about international diplomacy and cooperation.
Even farther to the West, on the very tip where Texas touches Mexico, is found the Chamizal National Memorial commemorating the cooperation and goodwill between the United States and Mexico after the two countries' boundary dispute.
Many art exhibits, recitals, plays, and other programs are held year-round at the indoor theater and outdoor amphitheater for which this Memorial is well known.
Top Things to do - Begin at the Visitor Center and Museum, Take a Hike, Photography, Bird Watching
Lodging - There are no National Lodges within Fort Davis National Historic Site.
Camping - There are no National Park Campgrounds within the park.
Fort Davis NHS is located in West Texas approximately 200 miles east of El Paso. The park is open year-round and offers the opportunity to visit military buildings from the days of the Indian Wars.
The Fort Davis National Historic Site and the Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River are two of the more well-known parks in Texas which are in close proximity to the very well-known Big Bend National Park.
At the Fort Davis National site visitors can see the best remaining example of the Southwest Fort where men called "buffalo soldiers" were posted to protect travelers on the San Antonio-El Paso rode from the Apaches and Comanches from 1867-1885.
Top Things to do - Hiking the trails in the Guadalupes, Camping, Scenic Drives, Horseback Riding, Birdwatching
Lodging - There is no lodging (hotel, lodge, cabin) inside the park. The nearest options are to the north in Carlsbad, New Mexico; to the south in Van Horn, Texas; and to the southwest in Dell City, Texas.
Camping - Guadalupe Mountains has three developed campgrounds open year round which are open to tent or vehicle camping (RVs, etc.) one of which can only be used by groups with horses.
Backpackers can choose from 10 designated campgrounds when planning a trip in the Guadalupe Mountains Wilderness.
Park Address - 400 Pine Canyon, Salt Flat, TX 79847
Guadalupe Mountains NP is located in West Texas approximately 110 miles east of El Paso, Texas. The park is open year-round though there can be storms in the winter and summer. The park offers the opportunity to enjoy camping, hiking, and wildlife viewing.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park, farther west in Texas, is made up of a mass of limestone mountains, one of which, Guadalupe Peak, is the highest in Texas.
This park is surrounded by vast expanses of desert, and close beside it are small canyons such as McKittrick, where many beautiful indigenous plants and animals are to be found.
Lake Meredith National Recreation Area
Top Things to do - Camping, Hiking, Mountain Biking, Canoeing and Kayaking, Ranger Programs, Boating, Fishing, Hunting, Wildlife Viewing
Lodging - There are no cabins or lodges available within the park.
Camping - Lake Meredith offers several camping opportunities, including scenic overlooks, shoreline camping, and wooded campgrounds.
Park Address - 419 E. Broadway, Fritch, TX 79036
Lake Meredith NRA is located in the Texas Panhandle approximately 35 miles north of Amarillo, Texas. The park is open year-round though winter storms can be severe.
The park was created by the formation of a dam on the Canadian River. The lake was designated a National Recreation Area in 1990.
Visitors can enjoy a lot of water-based activities including swimming, water-skiing, boating, sailing and fishing.
Camping is allowed in park designated campgrounds.
Top Things to do - visit the Visitor Center, Take a ranger-guided tour of President Johnson's Boyhood Home, Watch a movie, Take a self-guided driving tour of the LBJ Ranch
Lodging - There is no lodging in the park. Two motels, several bed and breakfast facilities, and two RV facilities are available in Johnson City. Many motels, bed and breakfast inns and RV camping opportunities are in Fredericksburg, 32 miles west of the visitor center and 18 miles west of the LBJ Ranch
Camping - There are no campgrounds within the park.
Park Address - 100 Ladybird Lane, Johnson City, TX 78636
Lyndon B. Johnson NHP is located in South-central Texas approximately 45 miles west of Austin. The park is open year-round and offers the opportunity to view a restored 19th and 20th-century buildings and cattle ranch.
Lyndon B. Johnson National Historic Park makes it possible to see where the values and ideals of our 36th president were formed and nurtured on the Ranch that was Johnson's home and his ancestor's settlement.
Top Things to do - Visit the Visitor, Driving Down the Island, Camping, Become a Junior Ranger, Fishing, Birdwatching, Swimming, Canoeing and Kayaking, Stargazing, Witness Hatchling releases every Summer
Lodging - While the park itself does not offer any accommodations, there are a few lodging options available in the vicinity, mainly on North Padre Island, Corpus Christi, and nearby areas.
Camping - The park offers camping options within the Malaquite Campground and Bird Island Basin Campground.
Primitive Beach Camping is also available.
Park Address - Malaquite Visitor Center, 20420 Park Road 22, Corpus Christi, TX 78418
Padre Island NS is located on the East Texas Coast just south of Corpus Christi. The park is open year-round and offers camping, hiking, fishing, and ocean activities.
Padre Island National Seashore, in Corpus Christi, visitors have access to the over 65 miles of the barrier island's coastline, where they can enjoy the warm waters, varied landscapes, world-famous wind-surfing, and many species of bird and marine life as well.
Top Things to do -Discover Palo Alto Battlefield’s Visitor Center, Self-guided Field Trips at Palo Alto Battlefield, Explore the Brownsville Historic Battlefield Trail, Birdwatching, Hiking the Battlefield Trail,
Lodging - There are no National Lodges within the park.
Camping - There are no campgrounds within Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park.
Park Address - 7200 Paredes Line Road, Brownsville, TX 78526
Palo Alto Battlefield NHP is located in south Texas approximately 5 miles north of Brownsville. The park is open year-round and offers the opportunity to walk an interpretive battlefield trail and learn more about the US-Mexico War.
Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park is yet another place where travelers can see where a fundamental event that took part in the formation of our country, and especially the state, took place.
This is the field where the first major battle between the US and Mexico took place in 1846-1848. At this park, people can not only see where the actual battle was fought but also can see the causes and consequences of this battle and of the entire war, from the perspectives of both the US and Mexico.
Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River
Top Things to do - Canoeing Mariscal Canyon, Canoeing in Hot Springs Canyon, Floating through Boquillas Canyon, Floating the Lower Canyons,
Lodging - The Chisos Mountains Lodge, operated by Aramark, is located in the Chisos Basin at 5,400 feet elevation. The lodge offers a variety of rooms and cottages, plus a gift shop and dining room.
Camping - The National Park Service operates developed front country campgrounds in Big Bend National Park.
The Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River is located in southwest Texas approximately 260 miles southeast of El Paso.
The park includes 196 river miles of the Rio Grande. The Rio Grande River flows along the west Texas border with Mexico.
Visitors can take guided rafting trips on the river.
Top Things to do - Ranger Guided Tours, San Antonio Missions Audio Tour, Visit Mission San Jose, Mission Espada, Visit Mission Concepcion, Visit Mission San Juan, Birdwatching
Lodging - There are no National lodges available within the park. Visitors typically stay in accommodations in the nearby areas of downtown San Antonio, the Riverwalk, the Mission Trail area, or South San Antonio.
Camping - San Antonio Missions National Historical Park does not provide camping facilities, but there are several camping options in the surrounding San Antonio area.
Park Address - Visitor Center at Mission San José, 6701 San Jose Drive, San Antonio 78214
San Antonio Missions NHP is located in San Antonio, Texas.
San Antonio Missions National Historic Park is a wonderful place to get the idea of when and how the religious influence of the Franciscan friars and also to see the incredible craftsmanship that was used in building the missions even all those years ago.
Top Things to do - Guided Tours, Visit the Visitor Center, Junior Ranger Programs, Hike the Eagle Scout Trail, View Mammoth fossils inside the Dig Shelter
Lodging - Nearby lodging options include hotels, bed and breakfasts, vacation rentals, campgrounds, hostels, and guest houses in Waco.
Camping - There are no campgrounds within the National Monument
Park Address - 6220 Steinbeck Bend Drive, Waco 76708
Waco Mammoth NM is located right outside Waco, Texas. The park is open year-round and offers guided tours of the site.
You can see a nursery herd of Mammoths that are still being worked on.
El Camino Real de lo Tejas National Historic Trail (TX, LA)
El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail (NM, TX)
These fourteen different parks give travelers to Texas the opportunity to experience, learn, and enjoy themselves in many different rich cultural, historical, and biological atmospheres.
List of National Parks in Texas
- Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument
- Amistad National Recreation Area
- Big Bend National Park
- Big Thicket National Preserve
- Chamizal National Memorial
- Fort Davis National Historic Site
- Guadalupe Mountains National Park
- Lake Meredith National Recreation Area
- Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park
- Padre Island National Seashore
- Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park
- Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River
- San Antonio Missions National Historical Park
- Waco Mammoth National Monument
- El Camino Real de lo Tejas National Historic Trail (TX, LA)
- El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail (NM, TX)
There are 14 National Parks in Texas that receive over 5.2 million visitors a year. These visitors produce over $288 million in economic benefits from tourism.
Texas National Parks include 1 Wild and Scenic River, 1 National Trail, 3,235 National Register of Historic Places Listings, and 46 National Historic Landmarks.
National Parks in Texas also includes 20 National Natural Landmarks, 1 UNESCO World Heritage Site (See this list for all of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the United States), and 1,114 places recorded by the Heritage Documentation Program.
There are also over 4.5 million objects in the Texas National Park Museum Collection along with 3,834 Archeological Sites.
23 Threatened and Endangered species can be found in Texas National Parks.
National Parks in neighboring states
Do you know how many National Parks you have visited? Check out this printable list of the US National Parks in alphabetical order to check off the ones you have visited. Want to go big? Check out this list of all 419 National Park properties in the United States!