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The Spring 2011 Edition of State Parks Getaways is Here!
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department sent this bulletin on March 15, 2011 09:25 AM

Spring 2011 State Parks Getaways E-newsletter header

Wildflowers on Parade 

Roadside Wildflowers5,000! That’s the number of wildflower species in Texas. And if it’s springtime in Texas, it’s time to go scope them out, so pack a picnic and grab your camera. While winter cold snaps and rainfall (or lack thereof) influence their appearance, experience tells us that yes, there really will be wildflowers.

Meanwhile you can celebrate wildflowers by enjoying a visual bouquet or download a Texas wildflower image for your desktop background.

Wildflower worshippers can find 700,000 acres along Texas highways to indulge their passion. Find safe stops to admire, photograph and smell the flowers at more than 90 state parks. Some of the most prolific wildflower crops traditionally are found in rolling, verdant Washington County along twisting rural roads and at places like Washington-on-the-Brazos State Park. Before taking the family for a drive to view the wildflowers, encourage your kids to learn what they may see on their next road trip.

Many Texas State Parks will host spring nature walks, such as Dinosaur Valley State Park’s Two-Step Across Texas Wildflower Walks in March and April.  Check the events calendar for these and other hiking and plant walk opportunities that will take you up close and personal to Texas’ native blossoms.   

Fishing for a Lifetime of Fun 

Fishing with your kids video“Take me fishing!” That’s music to the ear of parents trying to get kids away from video screens and monitors and into the outdoors. What an opportunity! A little careful planning can spark a child’s imagination and build a foundation for a lifetime hobby. So dangle the bait! This Texas Parks and Wildlife video offers some tried and true tips for early success with young anglers-to-be.

Where to go? You can fish without a fishing license in Texas state parks, so that is a great starting place. Learn more about Free Fishing in State Parks including a list of which parks have fishing holes.

Need some hands-on lessons? Your family and children over age 5 can learn together with other families at Go Fish! Learn-to-Fish Events in State Parks. Check the calendar for events near you.

When you get it all together, here’s a handy list of some of the top family-friendly freshwater fishing destinations in the Lone Star State. 

Geocache a Spring Adventure 

Intro to Geocaching videoLooking to get out and explore Texas? Try geocaching, a modern-day treasure hunt played by millions of adults and kids around the world. Whether you’re a beginner adult or a tech-savvy kid, you’ll find treasure tracking to satisfy your quest for adventure. Some Texas state parks already have some approved caches, new historical caches are planned, and in the works are new Texas Parks and Wildlife regional and statewide Geocache Challenges. Learn how to get in on the game. We’ll show you what you need to get started.

Here’s a little secret: geocaching is also a good excuse to meander through a state park taking in the fresh air and scenery. Remember to be courteous, respectful, and safe. Stay on trails whenever possible, respect wildlife, and do your best to Leave No Trace. 

A School of Beginner Fishing Tips 

Fish and handling videoAre you catching the fishing fever? If you’re an angler-to-be or feeling a bit rusty on the sport, you can brush up on basic fishing skills such as gear, casting, fishing safety, fresh and saltwater fishing, bait and how to clean and store your catch in our Fishing 101 video series. For bonus points, review the kinds of fish you may catch and how to handle them.

Cleburne: A Peaceable Park 

Cleburne State Park videoYou name it, Cleburne State Park has it. Fishing, wildflowers, boating (no wakes please), swimming, hiking, mountain biking, a range of camping facilities. More “laid back” visitors can sit under a shade tree and ponder the park’s Native American and Civilian Conservation Corps history.  Cleburne also has some brand new stuff: dormitory-style housing, a floating dock for paddleboats, a refurbished swimming beach, and a new concession stand, from which you can paddle your own canoe or rent one. All the new facilities should be open by summertime. This article from the Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine’s February issue offers more incentive for heading to Cleburne. And if you actually run out of things to do, several other state parks (Dinosaur Valley State Park, Meridian State Park, Lake Whitney State Park, Acton State Historic Site) with additional activities are within striking distance.

Twelve Picnics with Flora and Fauna 

Picnic at Palmetto State ParkAt least once a month, resolve to get up close and personal with the many small wonders of the natural Texas. A picnic is a great way to slow down the pace and nurture body and soul. Here are twelve of the best picnic spots in state parks. You can take your lunch outside year-round in Texas and plant yourself in great picnic spots in a wide variety of scenery. During a simple day trip, you can find shady picnic tables, sunny meadows, creek-side rocks, all just waiting for you and your basket of goodies. Nearby trails may even tempt you for a little after lunch stroll. All these locations and more lead you around the state and across the spectrum of Texas beauty. It’s time to renew your friendships with flora and fauna.

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