Whether you live in the Dallas, Texas area or are visiting, there are many State Parks for hiking, biking, kayaking and fishing. Bring a picnic lunch and make it a day or load up the camper and spend a few nights. Here are 5 State Parks near Dallas that you will want to visit while you are in town.
5. Lake Mineral Wells State Park and Trailway
Just west of downtown Dallas is Lake Mineral Wells State Park and Trailway. With scenic views of Lake Mineral Wells and the 20-mile Trailway there is lots to see and do at the park. Visit the lake for some swimming or rent a boat and enjoy some fishing. You can even borrow fishing equipment through the Tackle Loaner Program so you can catch some big catfish, crappie or bass. The park also has one of the few natural rock climbing venues in Texas from beginner to challenging rock climbing. Stay overnight at one of the 115 campsites including RV sites with water/electric.
|Lake or River||Lake Mineral Wells, 640-acres lake|
|Fishing||Yes, 6 fishing piers, catfish, sunfish, crappie, and largemouth bass|
|Boating||Yes! Boat rental available as well (flat-bottom boats with trolling motors, canoes, kayaks, paddle boards, and rowboats) *No tubing, water skiing or jet skis|
|Hiking||12.8 miles of park trails plus the 20 mile Trailway|
|Camping||Yes, 115 sites, RV and Tent, some electric/water|
|Rock Climbing||Penitentiary Hollow is a natural rock climbing venue in the park|
|What makes it great||Adventurer’s dream: biking, kayaking, rock climbing all in one spot!|
4. Lake Tawakoni Park
Only 50 miles east of Dallas, Lake Tawakoni has everything you are looking for in a day at the beach. The lake is 37,879 acres, with a sandy beach swimming area and boat rentals. You can borrow fishing gear and fish from the shore (no license needed to fish from shore) or try your luck from your boat. Anglers have pulled in catfish, crappie, Striped and hybrid striped bass, white bass, and largemouth bass. There are five miles of hiking and biking trails as well as a campsite with 75 campsites. Come for the day or stay for a week, there is lots to enjoy in this state park near Dallas!
|Lake or River||Lake Tawakoni, 37,879-acres reservoir|
|Fishing||Yes, catfish, crappie, Striped and hybrid striped bass, white bass, and largemouth bass|
|Boating||Yes, kayak rentals on site|
|Swimming||Yes, designated swimming beach|
|Bike Trails||Yes, 5 miles|
|Hiking||Yes, 5 miles|
|Camping||75 campsites, RV/Tent, some with full hookup|
|What makes it great||One of the best lakes near Dallas!|
3. Dinosaur Valley Park
Dinosaur Valley State Park is known for its dinosaur tracks left millions of years ago that you can see by the riverbed. There are 5 different areas to look for tracks left by what researches think were Sauroposeidon proteles and an Acrocanthosaurus. Check the website to see if tracks are visible before your visit since their visibility can change due to the weather conditions. Visit the interpretive center to learn about when these tracks were made and what kind of dinosaurs lived in what is now Texas. If you’d like to explore the 100-acre South Primitive area, stop at the Eagle Eye Ranch to schedule a horseback ride. There is a 59 site campground right in the park as well!
|Lake or River||Paluxy River|
|Boating||Can paddle on the river|
|Swimming||Yes, in the river, check conditions before swimming|
|Camping||59 sites, RV and Tent, some electric|
|Horseback riding||Private Horseback Riding ranch offers trail rides|
|What makes it great||Download the coordinates of Dinosaur tracks and try to find them yourself, just like a real paleontologist!|
2. Fort Richardson State Park and Historic Site
Visit the site of the former largest U.S. Army installation where some of the original buildings still stand. You can take a self-guided tour or a ranger-led tour of the village and learn all about how soldiers protected the settlers back in the 1860’s and beyond. The park also offers a swimming beach, fishing, kayaking and trails for hiking and biking. You can fish in either lake with Quarry Lake being stocked with catfish and bass and in the winter, trout. Lake Jacksboro offers a sandy beach for swimming and a boat launch for kayaks. Stay overnight at the campground that offers 69 RV and Tent sites with some having electric and water. There are also 11 cabins you can rent if you prefer!
|Lake or River||Quarry Lake and Lake Jacksboro|
|Fishing||Yes, catfish, bass, trout|
|Swimming||Yes, sandy beach on Lake Jacksboro|
|Bike Trails||Yes, 12 miles of trails for bike, hike, horse|
|Hiking||Yes, 9-mile one way Lost Creek Reservoir Trailway|
|Camping||Yes! RV w/electric/water, Tent, cabins, horseback riders sites|
|What makes it great||Taking a step back in time to the 1860’s!|
1. Cedar Hills State Park
One of the best state parks near Dallas is also the closest to downtown Dallas located in Cedar Hills, TX. This urban park is on the shores of Joe Pool Lake which is a 7,500 acre recreational lake. You can swim at the beach, fish for crappie, catfish or bass and paddle along shoreline in a kayak or SUP. Another highlight is the developed mountain bike trails, made and maintained by the Dallas Off Road Biking Association (DORBA).
The park is also the site of the historic Penn Farm which was a working farm from the mid 1800’s all the way to the mid 1900’s where they raised horse, sheep and cattle. If you want a place to stay near downtown Dallas, camping at Cedar Hills State Park is a great option with 318 campsites from RV sites with hookups to hike-in primitive sites. Some of the campsites sit right on the lake for a wonderful place to enjoy your morning coffee!
|Lake or River||Joe Pool Lake, 7,500 acre lake|
|Fishing||Yes! Crappie, catfish, bass, perch|
|Boating||Yes, boat or paddle|
|Swimming||Yes, there is a gravel beach with swimming area|
|Bike Trails||Yes, mountain bike trails that cover the 1,200 acres of the park|
|Camping||315 campsites, RV sites with electric and water, primitive tent sites|
|Historic Site||Penn Farm|
|What makes it great||Only 20 miles SE of everything in downtown Dallas!|
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