Get Outdoors & Ring in the Holidays with Texas State Parks

Christmas with the Fishes poster

AUSTIN – Texas State Parks is kicking off the holiday season with close to 100 special seasonal activities happening across the state. Starting this month, visitors of all ages can enjoy themed guided walks, crafting events, educational opportunities and more.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) highly encourages anyone planning a trip to a Texas State Park to reserve their day pass in advance since some parks are expected to reach their capacity limit. Reserve day passes online or over the phone by calling (512) 389-8900.

For more information about all holiday activities at Texas State Parks and TPWD sites, visit the TPWD calendar page on the web.


Relieve some pre-holiday stress from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. Nov. 18 at Ray Roberts Lake State Park. Join a nature therapist to experience the forest in a therapeutic way through Forest Bathing. Forest Bathing is a research-based practice for supporting healing and wellness through immersion in forests and other natural environments.

Get creative with corn husks from 10-11 a.m. Nov. 19 and Nov. 25 at Goliad State Park and Historic Site. Corn husks have been used for hundreds of years to make dolls for children. Participants in this family friendly event can use their imagination and creativity to create a doll or angle of their own to take home.

Join a park ranger and learn more about wild turkeys through a storytime and crafting event from 10-11 a.m. Nov. 22 at Guadalupe River State Park .

Don’t want to spend Thanksgiving Day indoors? Join rangers from 10-11:30 a.m. Nov. 23 at Palo Duro Canyon State Park for a guided van tour of the canyon. This tour will take participants throughout the park and discuss what makes Palo Duro Canyon special.

If you find that you want to burn off some calories after your Thanksgiving feast or just want to spend some quality time outside on Nov. 24, Texas state parks have a variety of outlets for you to do so.

Hit the water from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. or 2-4 p.m. Nov. 24 at Galveston Island State Park to learn about kayaking, safe boating practices and the joys of paddling. You could also join rangers from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. for a trek through Closed Canyon at Big Bend Ranch State Park to learn how geology of the canyon makes way for life to emerge. Additional parks across the state have opportunities for you to opt out of the biggest shopping day of the year by spending time outside.


Join us from 1-3 p.m. Dec. 2 at Sea Center Texas for an underwater holiday spectacular at the Christmas with the Fishes event. Sandy Claus and his aquatic elves will dive and decorate the Gulf Tank while Mrs. Claus reads a fishy Christmas story. Santa will be available to answer all your aquatic-related questions straight from the tank. Participants can write their letters to Santa, play Christmas games and receive a Christmas craft if they bring a canned good to donate.

Bring your holiday spirit and creative side from 1-3 p.m. Dec. 9 to Caddo Lake State Park for A Crafty Caddo Christmas. Join park staff as they deck the halls, sip hot chocolate, snack on cookies and make ornaments. All supplies will be provided.

We may not have Santa’s reindeer in our parks, but we have plenty of their relatives. All ages are welcome to join rangers from 2-3 p.m. Dec. 9 at Ray Roberts Lake State Park to learn about the deer that call our parks home.

Experience the holidays on the coast during Christmas in the Park from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Dec. 9 at Goose Island State Park. Visitors are invited to enjoy a free drive through the live oak forest to see campsites decorated in lights and join park staff at Santa’s Village for holiday crafts, games, hot chocolate around the campfire and more. Campers who agree to decorate their campsite will have their fees waived from Dec. 8-9.

Whether you just got off a cattle drive or climbed out of a vehicle, you’re invited to sit back and relax with us for Cowboy Christmas Music and Poetry. Bring your best singing voice from 6-7 p.m. Dec. 9 to Copper Breaks State Park to join in the festivities.

Learn how to make a sweet holiday treat from 1-2 p.m. Dec. 16 at the Lockhart State Park Taffy Pull. Join us as we get our hands messy and learn how to make taffy. You can eat it as soon as it cools down or save it to give away to a loved one. All ages are welcome.

Experience the holiday traditions of the borderlands at our annual Posada from 6-8 p.m. Dec. 16 at Fort Leaton State Historic Site. Posada means “inn” or “shelter” in Spanish. This traditional Mexican Christmas tradition tells the story of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem through skits and songs. Following the procession through thousands of luminaries, there will be traditional holiday drinks, snacks, piñatas and mariachi. Participants can wander the halls of the candle-lit fort on their own of take a guided tour.

Come enjoy the 54th Annual Tree Lighting, a tradition started by President and Mrs. Johnson, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Dec. 17 at Lyndon B. Johnson State Park & Historic Site. Listen to carolers, view the live nativity, visit Santa Clause, partake in holiday refreshments and take in the spectacular tree. Then journey back in time visit the Sauer-Beckmann Farm at dusk. The ambiance created by the lantern-lit path, the real Christmas Tree in the parlor, and the live music transports you back to what an authentic Texas-German Christmas was like at the turn of the century.

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