Texas is known for its big sky and its big pride. Underneath all the bravado, somewhere along its endlessly expanding horizons, visitors to Texas can find a number of activities worth their time and effort. For those looking to spend a little time in the Lone Star State, here are a few good picks.
Padre Island National Seashore
Water may not be the first thing that comes to mind in Texas, but the state has one of the most pristine stretches of ocean-front territory in the entire nation. Padre Island National Seashore extends roughly from Corpus Christi to the border with Mexico, creating hundreds of miles of protected coastline unused to the tourist traffic common to so much of the Gulf and eastern seaboard. The shoreline is largely open to visitors, allowing access to campers, bikers and boaters. The shoreline is particularly exciting for backpackers in search of birds, since Padre Island National Seashore is the most diverse birding region in the contiguous states.
For another aquatic sight, head straight for the desert. Deep in Guadalupe Mountains National Park can be found the Capitan Reef, one of the most well-preserved fossilized reefs in the world. Protecting the important geological and paleontological find was the primary reason the park was first created in 1972. The difficult eight-mile Permian Reef Trail ably showcases all that is special and worth preserving about this remarkable fossil.
Franklin Mountains State Park
If you want to get out of the city for a bit without actually leaving it, this immense state park within El Paso city limits is for you. Enjoy this outstanding 24,000-acre park by day, then spend your nights in urban luxury. The park has over 100 miles of interconnected trails for both hikers and mountain bikers. However, it is best known for its exceptional climbing opportunities.
Article Written By Louie Doverspike
Based in Seattle, Louie Doverspike has been a professional writer since 2004. His work has appeared in various publications, including "AntiqueWeek" magazine, the "Prague Post" and "Seattle Represent!" Doverspike holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Hamilton College.