Celebrate the Season with Holiday Happenings at Texas State Parks

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AUSTIN— Texas State Parks will be commencing its holiday season festivities with special seasonal events across the state. Starting this Saturday, state parks across Texas will host themed guided walks, scavengers hunts and more for all visitors to enjoy.

Anyone planning a trip to a Texas State Park is highly encouraged to reserve their day pass in advance since some parks are expected to reach their capacity limit.  Reserve day passes online through the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) website or over the phone by calling (512) 389-8900.

Get crafty at the corn husk doll event at Goliad State Park and Historic Site from 10-11 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 20. Visitors will be able to make their own corn husk dolls and learn about the history of this toy. This event is free to participate in with regular park entrance fees.

Don’t let the real turkey steal the show this Thanksgiving by showcasing your centerpiece creation from the Thanksgiving Arts and Crafts event at Ray Roberts Lake State Park- Johnson Branch Unit. Ranger Izzy will be leading this event at the Nature Center from 10 a.m.-noon Tuesday, Nov. 22. The park will bring the supplies and visitors only need to bring their imagination. This event is free with park entrance fees.

Skip the Black Friday scramble and head for the trails with the Opt Outside Hike at Lockhart State Park from 10 — 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 25. All ages are welcome for this ¾-mile guided stroll and participation is free with park entrance fees. Visitors are encouraged to wear weather-appropriate clothing and sturdy shoes and bring water. The trek down the trail will begin at the Creekview Trailhead.

Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park invites visitors to spend the afternoon discovering the furry, fishy and feathered friends that call the park home at the Festive Frontera Family Fun Day from 1-4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3. Participants will be able to ride the shuttle to the pavilion and make holiday ornaments, explore the touch tables, open an owl “present,” play the “backyard bass” fishing game or go birdwatching with an expert. Attendance is limited and registration is required. Anyone interested in participating should call 956-584-9156 or sign up at the park to reserve their spot.

The elves have left the shelves and have run amuck at Fort Boggy State Park! From 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, visitors can take a walk on the one-mile Lake Sullivan Trail and see how many elves they can spot. The first 10 people to find all 10 elves will receive a prize from the park office. This event is free to participate in with regular park entrance fees.

Explore the far reaches of the universe in the Badlands with a Star Party at Big Bend Ranch State Park. This event, which runs from 6:45 -9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 23, will deliver unparalleled views of the darkest skies in Texas along with constellation identification, star and planet gazing and stories of the night sky. Spots are limited for this event and participants must RSVP to Ranger Layla via email at layla.spurlock@tpwd.texas.gov or 432-424-3327 ext. 2. Visitors will meet at the West Contrabando Trailhead located eight miles from the Barton Warnock Visitor Center and 41miles from Fort Leaton State Historic Site. A ranger will direct attendees at the trailhead to the star viewing area.

Dust off the Santa hats and stretch your legs with a guided hike at Franklin Mountains State Park from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 24. This two-mile hike on the Upper Sunset Trail will let visitors experience sprawling vistas along the ridgeline. Participants should bring water, snacks, hiking boots or sturdy shoes, comfortable weather-appropriate clothing and a Santa hat. This event is free with park entrance fees.

For more information about these and other holiday activities at Texas State Parks, visit the . A full calendar is available online on the TPWD calendar page.

Photos of past holiday events are available on the TPWD Flickr page.

If you’re looking to add some Texas State Park shine to your holiday display, the 2022 edition of the State Park Ornament is available for purchase. This year’s edition celebrates Enchanted Rock State Natural Area and features the park’s namesake granite dome, under a star-filled night sky. This is the 21st annual edition of the state park ornament and can be purchased exclusively through the online State Park Store.

Outdoor explorers and armchair adventurers: get the best of the Texas outdoors dropped into your mailbox 10 times a year, including the May 2023 oversized special issue celebrating 100 years of Texas State Parks. A subscription to Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine is just $15 a year and includes full access to our digital app library featuring more than 700 stories spotlighting the best of Texas’ wild things and wild places. Visit https://tpwmagazine.com/specialoffers to subscribe today.