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A Texas State Park Christmas

Greet the Holiday Season at a Texas State Park, THC Historic Site

AUSTIN— Texas State Parks and the Texas Historical Commission are hosting their biggest holiday season yet, with more than 80 unique holiday events happening across the state. Starting this Saturday, Nov. 20, 47 Texas State Parks and eight State Historic Sites present themed guided walks, scavenger hunts, and more.

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

Visitors can opt to go outside this Thanksgiving and Black Friday for two guided walks at  Bastrop and Buescher State Park. The first hike will be a Turkey Trot Sunrise Hike at Buescher State Park on Nov. 25. This ranger-led hike will run from 7; 00 am until 8:00 am at the scenic overlook and is guaranteed to help you make room for a delicious Thanksgiving meal. Then, on Nov. 26, Bastrop State Park is hosting their Gobble Till You Wobble Backcountry hike from 11:00 am until 2:00 pm. This ranger-led hike will trek through areas not often seen by the public. Visitors are encouraged to bring some Thanksgiving leftovers for a mid-hike picnic by the creek.

Anyone visiting Eisenhower Birthplace State Historic Site Dec. 11-23 can grab a self-guided tour packet. You can walk the grounds for free and learn about how they celebrated Christmas in north Texas during the 1890s when Dwight Eisenhower was born and the 1940s when the Denison community preserved the Birthplace house. Children’s craft kits will be available while supplies last. For more information, call (903) 465-8908.

In South Texas, families can pick a spot in the day-use area of Falcon State Park to view the Third Annual Falcon Lake Christmas Boat Parade from 7:00 pm -10:00 pm Saturday, Dec. 11. Visitors will be able to see decked-out boats float by in cheerful holiday lights.

Celebrate Boxing Day and stretch your legs at 9 am. Dec. 26 at Franklin Mountains State Park with an easy 1.5-mile hike to Agave Loop. Visitors should bring good hiking shoes, plenty of water, and a Santa hat.

Skip the store lines and get outside at Galveston Island State Park for a Black Friday Paddle on Nov. 26 from 8:00–10:30 am. Regular entrance fees apply. For more information, call 409-737-1222.

They are transforming the grounds of Kreische Brewery and Monument Hill State Historic Sites with holiday lights during the evenings from 5:30 pm-8:00 pm Dec. 4, 10, 11, 17, and 18. Guests will enjoy the walking trail with holiday lights, live entertainment, refreshments, family activities, and a visit with Santa.

For more information about these and other holiday activities at Texas State Parks, visit the TPWD website. In addition, a full calendar is available online on the TPWD calendar page for more activities at THC’s State Historic Sites. Finally, you can visit the Texas Historical Commission website.

Social distancing and wearing a mask when inside buildings or when gathered with others is encouraged. Local and statewide limitations and restrictions may apply. These can change rapidly and may force an event to cancel or be modified. Please call the park directly or check social media for updates before visiting.

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

Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine is also offering a special subscription deal for the holidays. Buy a gift subscription for just $10. Don’t want to feel left out? Give yourself the gift of the outdoors! You can order subscriptions online at https://tpwmagazine.com/specialoffers/.