November Brings Prime Camping for First-Timers and Experienced Pros Alike
Nov. 4, 2014
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AUSTIN – As November approaches, it brings with it cool, crisp evenings, changing trees, and fall outdoor recreation. It’s also the perfect month to camp under the stars, spending time and making memories with friends and family.
For camping, there’s no better setting than Texas state parks, which offer prime spots for crackling campfires, dark skies for stargazing and a variety of guided and self-guided activities throughout the month. There are a variety of ways to stay overnight in Texas state parks, including comfortable cabins, screened shelters, RV areas and campsites for pitching tents. Reservations fill up quickly during this popular camping month, and visitors are encouraged to book their next overnight trip in advance.
First-time campers or anyone wanting to brush up on their outdoor skills can sign up for one of the Texas Outdoor Family workshops offered at a number of state parks for one and two nights. For only $65, park rangers and expert volunteers guide families of up to six on how to set up a campfire, pitch a tent and cook outdoors. What’s more, all camping equipment—tent, lantern, cooking stove and dishes—is supplied, with the exception of food and sleeping bags.
“The fall season provides some of the most family-friendly camping experiences that Texas state parks have to offer,” says Robert Owen, Texas Outdoor Family program coordinator. “Unfortunately, it seems that nowadays kids are more likely to play video games than ride a bike or play outside. We aim to change that and are proud to offer the first step to helping families get outdoors and reconnect with nature by enjoying their state parks.”
Since it began six years ago, the Texas Outdoor Family program has been teaching families how to camp efficiently and safely, learn new outdoors skills such as kayaking, fishing and geocaching, nature hikes, opportunities for wildlife watching and how to follow established Leave No Trace practices. More than 3,500 families have participated in the educational state park campouts throughout the state since the program’s inception.
All program participants can look forward to new equipment, including durable REI tents and cots. The program is also gradually moving their entire fleet of stoves to propane from white gas, making outdoor cooking basics easier than ever.
This year’s remaining Texas Outdoor Family workshops in November and early December will be held in a number of Texas state parks this year, including Brazos Bend State Park, and Cedar Hill State Park’s bilingual workshop on Nov. 8. If camping in a converted screened shelter with air conditioning seems more appealing, there will be a special cabin camping workshop at Choke Canyon State Park Nov.14-16.
Texas state parks also offer a variety of other camping-related activities. Visitors can learn to cook over a campfire at Ray Roberts Lake State Park (Isle Du Bois Unit) from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Nov. 15. At Government Canyon State Natural Area, visitors can learn camping basics from 2 to 4 p.m. on Nov. 15.
For a complete listing of upcoming Texas Outdoor Family workshops and information about Texas State Parks camping options, and tips on camping safety and etiquette, visit: www.texasstateparks.org/camping/.
Visitors can book Texas Outdoor Family workshops and other camping reservations by calling the Customer Service Center in Austin at (512) 389-8900 or by using the online reservation system: http://texas.reserveworld.com/. The shortest call center wait times are during afternoon hours Wednesday through Friday, and customer service representatives are available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. For same-day reservations please contact the park directly.
Watch the video news report about family camping workshops in Texas State Parks: http://youtu.be/-P4k8sHhmAE