From the gulf coast island of Galveston to the sprawling desert city of El Paso, Texas has multiple distinct ecological regions that make up the vast state. At its furthest points, Texas is 660 miles long and 790 miles from the uppermost part of the panhandle down to the Rio Grande. Outdoor adventurers exploring Texas parks can go from beachy landscapes to dense forest, craggy hills, lively deserts, and mountain vistas. Texas has 14 national parks alone, not including national monuments and historical sites, monuments, or seashores. Historic attractions are also vast; more than 13,000 state historical markers dot the state. I won’t be listing all of them here because, frankly, the map would be unreadable!
Here is a list of the Texas national and state parks, major lakes, and historical sites. Have fun!
Find a Texas Attraction Near You
National Parks & Historic Sites
Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument, cassjohnson road, Fritch, TX 79036
13,000 years ago this site was already well-known by mammoth hunters as a place to get the best stone for their tools. Centuries passed but the colorful flint found right here in the Texas panhandle never lost its value and usefulness. Visit and gain a sense of how integral this site was to the survival, commerce, and culture of the High Plains. Read more
4121 Veterans Blvd, Del Rio, TX 78840
An oasis in the desert, Amistad National Recreation Area consists of the US 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 its rich cultural history. Amistad is also home to a wide variety of plant and animal life above and below the water. Read more
Big Bend National Park, Texas
There is a place in Far West Texas where night skies are dark as coal and rivers carve temple-like canyons in ancient limestone. Here, at the end of the road, hundreds of bird species take refuge in a solitary mountain range surrounded by weather-beaten desert. Tenacious cactus bloom in sublime southwestern sun, and diversity of species is the best in the country. This magical place is Big Bend… Read more
FM 420, Kountze, TX 77625
Life of all types abounds in the Big Thicket. This national preserve protects the incredible diversity of life found where multiple habitats converge in southeast Texas. Hiking trails and waterways meander through nine different ecosystems, from longleaf pine forests to cypress-lined bayous. It is a place of discovery, a place to wander and explore, a place to marvel at the richness of nature. Read more
800 S San Marcial St, El Paso, TX 79905
Chamizal is more than just an urban park to recreate or enjoy a quiet afternoon. These grounds are a reminder of the harmonious settlement of a 100-year border dispute between the United States and Mexico. We celebrate the cultures of the borderlands to promote the same mutual respect that helped to diplomatically resolve an international disagreement. Read More
3710 Cedar St #288, Austin, TX 78705
Come on a journey that will carry you through 300 years of Louisiana and Texas frontier settlement and development on a Spanish colonial “royal road” that originally extended to Mexico City, Mexico. Read More
Take a journey on El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail to savor 300 years of heritage and culture in the Southwest. This Spanish colonial “royal road” in New Mexico and Texas originally extended to Mexico City, Mexico. Read More
Fort Davis National Historic Site, Fort Davis, TX 79734
One of the best surviving examples of an Indian Wars’ frontier military post in the Southwest, Fort Davis National Park operated 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. Read More
Guadalupe Peak, Texas 79847
Protecting the world’s most extensive Permian fossil reef, the four highest peaks in Texas, an environmentally diverse collection of flora and fauna, and the stories of lives shaped through conflict, cooperation, and survival can be found at Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Come experience mountains and canyons, desert and dunes, night skies and spectacular vistas within a place unlike any other within the NPS. Read more
419 E Broadway St, Fritch, TX 79036
Within the dry and windswept high plains of the Texas Panhandle lies a hidden oasis, a welcoming haven where wildlife and humans find respite from the dry grasslands above. Through this plain, the Canadian River has cut dramatic 200-foot canyons, or breaks, where humans have eked out a living for over 13,000 years. Lake Meredith now occupies these hidden coves where early humans once roamed. Read more
199 Park Road 52, Stonewall, TX 78671
Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park tells the story of our 36th President beginning with his ancestors until 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. Read More
20420 Park Rd 22, Corpus Christi, TX 78418
Padre Island National Seashore separates the Gulf of Mexico from the Laguna Madre, one of a few hypersaline lagoons in the world. The park protects 70 miles of coastline, dunes, prairies, and wind tidal flats teeming with life. It is a safe nesting ground for the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle and a haven for over 380 bird species. It also has a rich history, including the Spanish shipwrecks of 1554. Read more
7200 Paredes Line Rd, Brownsville, TX 78526
On May 8, 1846, United States and Mexican troops clashed on the prairie of Palo Alto. The battle was the first in a two-year long war that changed the map of North America. Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park preserves the site of this notable battle and provides an understanding of the causes, events, and consequences of the U.S.-Mexican War. Read More
1 Panther Jct, Big Bend National Park, TX 79834
It is an irresistible playground where unruly rapids check your skills as a canyon wren’s definitive call cascades down ancient limestone cliffs. Below the chasm, the canyon’s raw beauty dances across mirrored water. While the primal nature of the river stirs hunger for spirited adventure, the river is also an undulant ribbon of wetland corridor and, against all odds, the lifeblood of the desert. Read more
6701 San Jose Dr, San Antonio, TX 78214
After 10,000 years, the people of South Texas found their cultures, their very lives under attack. In the early 1700s Apache raided from the north, deadly diseases traveled from Mexico, and drought lingered. 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. Read more
6220 Steinbeck Bend Dr, Waco, TX 76708
Standing as tall as 14 feet and weighing 20,000 pounds, Columbian mammoths roamed across what is present-day Texas thousands of years ago. Today, the fossil specimens represent the nation’s first and only recorded evidence of a nursery herd of ice age Columbian mammoths. Read more
Additional Texas Roadtrips
Finally, What to Pack?
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Ready to hit the road? Be sure to pack along some must needed items for your trip.