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Bats Across Texas

Bats over Devils Sink Hole

On warm evenings, Texans flock to cave entrances, bridges and tunnels to see Mexican free-tailed bats emerge for their nightly hunt for insects. Did you know four state parks are seasonal homes to these nocturnal mammals?

Visit their websites to find out how you can watch a bat flight on a summer evening!

Planning Your Visit

State parks are very busy at this time of year, especially on weekends and holidays. Guarantee entry by making day pass and overnight reservations online or by calling (512) 389-8900.

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Hike Pick: Homestead Trail

McKinney Falls State Park

Homestead Trail - McKinney Falls State Park

Take a trip to the past while hiking McKinney Falls State Park's Homestead Trail. On this 3.1-mile loop, you can explore the McKinney Homestead, gristmill, and Smith family picnic area – remnants of the people who once lived on this land.

Thomas F. McKinney built his homestead here around 1850. McKinney was one of Stephen F. Austin's original 300 colonists and is the park's namesake.

The Homestead Trail is shady and mostly level. To access the trailhead, you will cross Onion Creek at the Lower Falls. Bring good hiking shoes and remember to exercise caution around water.

Take a refreshing dip in the creek after your hike. Watch for wading birds, turtles and other wildlife!

TPW Magazine: State Park Adventures

Summertime Swim

Falls Dam in Blanco State Park
Photo courtesy of TxDOT

The water is cool, spring-fed and refreshing. It flows over rocks and cascades like a waterfall over small dams. The river harbors shallow places for playing and deep parts for swimming. Cypress trees, pecans and old oaks shade the hillsides.

At Blanco State Park, “the river is the main attraction,” says park ranger Daniel Kellogg. “There are many ways to get wet when it's hot outside.”

The river that runs through the park was named the Blanco for its white limestone banks and river bottom. Springs, including some in the park, feed the river, giving it year-round flow.

Read more Summertime Swim…