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Top Four Texas State Parks

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Top Four Texas State Parks
« on: February 23, 2007, 11:07:59 PM »
If I recall correctly from Randell's National Geographic Book on State Parks, the top four State Parks in Texas are: (which also includes SNA's - State Natural Areas)
1.  Big Bend Ranch State Park
2.  Enchanted Rock SNA
3.  Brazos Bend State Park
4.  Caddo Lake

I don't know how they came up with this list, and if you look at the website it lists
Brazos Bend State Park is one of Texas finest parks. National Geographic Traveler magazine listed Brazos Bend as one of America's Top Ten State Parks

Bull Crap.

The ShaneA list of the top 4 Texas State Parks are (the envelope please)...
1.  Big Bend Ranch State Park.
2.  Enchanted Rock SNA.
3.  Balmorhea State Park.
4.  Davis Mountains State Park.

Davis Mountains State Park "just" edged out CapRock Canyons, simply because Davis Mountains is in an awesome location not far from McDonald Observatory.  Although Balmorhea is also "near" the observatory, it's still a long drive at night on a windy/twisty road.  

Honerable mentions include Garner and Perdernales.

For a complete list of all Texas State Parks, go to

So, someone please explain to me what is so "special" about Brazos Bend State park?  I've been there several times, the Houston sky blocks out about 99.999423% of the observatory, it's "swampy", and is usually very crowded.  I've never camped there, but I can't imagine that it's anything "neat".


Offline tinneyr

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Top Four Texas State Parks
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2007, 12:42:46 AM »
I would say Brazos Bend S. P. is popular because it is so accessable to such a huge poplulation (Houston).  It's almost guaranteed that you'll get your fill of wildlife sightings on every visit.  I personally haven't been to the observatory tour since I would feel it would be a waste of time (IMHO).  Seeing the stars is one of the reasons I head west.

I suppose we would have to know what the criterea is for the "Top 4".  Amount of visitation?  Scenery? Amenities?

Sadly enough, I've never been to BBSP except for Closed Canyon.


Offline The Scorpion

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Top Four Texas State Parks
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2007, 10:34:10 AM »
Brazos Bend is a nice park and I go there several times a year. Not sure I would not say its in the top 4 parks in Texas, but somewhere in the top 20. There are more scenic parks out there. as far as wild life goes, its a good place to see some.

I used to volunteer there at the Observatory with my telescope on public star party nights. You can go there and just view through the deck scopes (volunteers scopes) for free and just enjoy a few views through the scopes. Paying to go into the bigger scopes is ok if you want to look through it, but you will get the same views through the smaller deck scopes.

everything is better with bacon!!!



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Top Four Texas State Parks
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2007, 10:53:16 AM »
Thanks, Shanea!  

One park that did not make the list but is one we really like is Goliad State Park.  Well worth the visit (and camping) if you live near it.  Plus, Goliad is a very nice town to visit.  Lots of history in the area.



Offline TexasGirl

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Top Four Texas State Parks
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2007, 12:47:34 PM »
Lost Maples?
As a matter of fact, I _do_ have an opinion on that....


Offline Goldilocks

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« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2007, 01:12:47 PM »
While not one of the top State Parks,  Dinosaur Valley is a lot of fun with kids...especially little boys who love the water.  :lol:



Offline Boojum1

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Top Four Texas State Parks
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2007, 12:58:17 AM »
1. Big Bend Ranch
2. Davis Mtns incl. Balmorea (got to put them together, IMO)
3. Dolan Creek SNA (sort of a park)
4. Colorado Bend SNA (love the gravel road and absence of industrial tourism). Good fishing, too, at 3 and 4.

Brazos Bend gets some props for birds and gators.  I bet I saw at least 10 new life list species of birds there...pretty amazing but not top 4.

Caddo: interesting if you like Bald Cypress monoculture.  If I'm gonna be in bottomlands and trees, I'll take Village Creek in the Big Thicket...far better plant (and therefore, critter) diversity.

#5 would probably be Mustang about 2 weeks... :lol:
Pithy quote free for years


Offline Picacho

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Top Four Texas State Parks
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2007, 08:08:52 AM »
Well, for the rock climber in me I'll have to add Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, Hueco Tanks State Historical Site, and Mineral Wells State Park.  Also among my favorites are Palo Duro Canyon, Caprock Canyons, Lost Maples, South Llano River, and yes even though it is very crowded I also like Garner State Park.  

On my wish list to go since I've never been are Devils Sinkhole and River, Brazos Bend, and Kickapoo Caverns.  I've driven though Big Bend Ranch State Park but I haven't explored any of it, I intend to some day.

Honorable mention would be the Texas State Railroad as long as the steam locomotives are running.



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