If fa-la-la-ing in the forest and singing around a campfire sounds much better than fighting the crowds in a mall or dealing with “out of stock” icons online, you have to. maybe treat yourself to an outdoor getaway.
Texas State Parks filled the holiday season with special events – specifically, 80 events at 47 parks and eight historic sites – from Thanksgiving trots to Christmas light boat tours to New Year’s hikes in the darkness. Most of the events are family-friendly, but some seem ideal for solo adventurers who might want to pitch a tent and escape into the woods for a night or two (we incline you, the traders).
Reservations fill up quickly, so be sure to visit a park’s website before you go. And check out the Parks Vacations page for lots of other fun options, pricing information, and more.
Austin / San Antonio area parks
Bastrop State Park
#OptOutside on Black Friday with a 3-4 mile guided hike, nicknamed Gobble Till You Wobble, at 11 a.m. on November 26. The next day at 11am, kids can join “Ranger Madalyn” for some fall- appropriate reading. Fletcher and the falling leaves, then draw a picture or color leaves and write a letter to Santa Claus. Every day in December, follow the ornaments with clues through the park on the Fa La La treasure hunt through the forest.
Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site
Attend Deck the Halls, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on November 27 to see how the first Texans at Sauer-Beckmann Farm prepared for the holidays by stringing popcorn and decorating cookies to hang on their Christmas trees. . Learn how to make wreaths from local cedar and soak candles as farm staff prepare for das Weihnachten (Xmas). Then return at 5:30 p.m. on December 19 for the 52nd annual LBJ Tree Lighting, a holiday tradition started 52 years ago by the President and Ms Johnson.
Garner State Park
Friends of Garner is hosting their annual Christmas Open House, featuring cookies, old-fashioned wassail and photos with Santa at the visitor center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on November 27.
Buescher State Park
During the Fa La La Treasure Hunt in the Forest, you can follow the ornaments with clues through the park to get a prize at the end of December 1 to January 1.
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
Christmas in the Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on December 5, features a holiday-themed scavenger hunt, as well as a chance to create a holiday greeting card to send to family, friends or a loved one. person in need. Check back for Campfire Carols, 6 to 7 p.m. on December 11, which features hot chocolate, stories and music with park rangers.
Hill State Natural Area
Play games, make festive crafts, hear a Christmas story, and experience Hill Country at Holiday in the Hill Country, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on December 11.
South Llano River State Park
At Christmas at the Ranch, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on December 4, guests can warm up with hot chocolate and cider, listen to shows, enjoy crafts and cookie decorating, and anticipate Santa’s visit. while admiring the twinkling lights and Christmas decorations at the historic Ranch House which now serves as the park headquarters.
Dallas-Fort Worth Area Parks
Tyler State Park
Start with the 14th annual “Walk Off the Bird,” a 3.1 mile hike along the lake shore, at 9:00 am on November 26th. Bring your camera for a hike through the fall foliage of the savannah at 2:00 p.m. that day, the Fall Colors Lakeshore Photographic Hike at 9:00 a.m. on November 27. Return December 10 and 11 for A Pineywoods Christmas, when you can stroll or drive through Lakeview and Big Pine Campgrounds to admire the richly decorated camper sites and take on a nature wonderland rise up.
Lake Tawakoni State Park
Walk through or stay there and decorate your campsite with your favorite Christmas decorations to receive your second night of free camping during your stay. There will be a decoration competition, supplemented by prizes, as well as a reading of The night before Christmas – all as part of the Twinkle Tour 2021, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on December 4.
Daingerfield State Park
The annual Christmas Lights Driving Tour in the park takes place December 15-18 (times vary). Stroll through the park lit up like Santa Land and marvel at the decorated campsites and lights. Santa himself will be there, but there will be no photo shoots with him this year.
Eisenhower State Park
The second annual Light Up the Park Drive-Thru event takes place from December 10-11 and will feature candy canes and DIY treats for kids and a certain visitor to the North Pole.
Cleburne State Park
Enjoy a pancake breakfast with Santa, hosted by Cleburne Veterans of Foreign Wars, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on December 11.
Cedar Hill State Park
Explore Christmas at Penn Farm on December 11. Learn about the history of the pioneers of the Penn family and the farm they built 150 years ago. The event will end with an evening of Christmas carols around a campfire with treats and hot chocolate.
Lake Mineral Wells State Park
Experience Christmas cowboy style at Cross Timbers Cowboy Christmas on December 11. Ranger and cowboy poet David Owens will gather guests around the campfire for an evening of cowboy culture through songs, stories and poems. It will be held at the Lone Star Amphitheater.
Dinosaur Valley State Park
As a small variation on the New Years’ Day 1 hikes that many parks host, Dinosaur Valley is hosting a Day 1 Countdown Hike to midnight on New Years Eve. The group will be walking (in the dark). to the panoramic viewpoint of the park and celebrate the New Year outdoors. It takes place from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Houston area parks
Brazos Bend State Park
Holidays in the park last all day on December 11. Events include an “Elven Hike”, Christmas crafts, a “Pup Parade”, s’mores and more.
Goliad State Park and Historic Site
Every evening in December, visit the “History in Lights” exhibit and learn how lights and shadows tell the story of the historic site by walking the same path taken by Native Americans and Spanish Franciscan priests so far ago. long time.
Sea Rim State Park
Santa and Mrs Claus will board an airboat, then invite visitors to join them for hot chocolate, Christmas crafts and photo ops as part of A Very Marshy Christmas, from 15 a.m. to 5 p.m. on December 18.