These boots were made for hiking

It’s something every native Texan experiences at least once in their life. In a conversation with a person from another state (mainly northerners). When asked where you are from, and you respond with Texas, you receive a slew of questions in response. “Do you ride horses to school?”

“Does it snow?”

“Do you have cows in your backyard?”

While these questions have varying answers, there’s one key thing every non-Texan gets wrong. That our state is flat, dry, and brown. Texas is anything but those adjectives. 

Spring break is coming up, Mar. 7 through Mar. 11, and with over 85 state parks and ecosystems ranging from desert canyons to wetlands, a staycation in Texas is the perfect spring break spot. There are plenty of other reasons why you should take trips to your native state parks. 

For one, it’s an economical alternative to expensive spring break vacations to the Bahamas. The average plane ticket cost in 2021 was around $260, the average cost to fill up a 15 gallon gasoline tank is about $45-50 dollars, and depending on your car’s efficiency, can take you up to 300 miles. That means that you can go up to five hours in any direction, for a little under half of the cost of the average domestic plane ticket. Texas may be a big state, but five hours in any direction will surely land you in one of the over 85 parks in the state.  The average campsite cost at a state park is usually $20 or less per night, which is marginal compared to what you could end up paying for a hotel. Camping and driving, while they may be old-fashioned ways of vacationing, are a great way to spend time with loved ones and a great way to save your money.

Visiting state parks within Texas is also a great way to support the local economy. Tourism makes up a large part of the Texas economy. In fact, 1 out of 10 jobs in Texas are created by the tourism industry. In 2019 alone, tourism brought in a total of $63 billion dollars, that’s a huge chunk of our state income. If we lose tourism expenditure, or it declines, our state infrastructure will be affected. 

The variety that state parks have to offer is extremely enriching. You can visit nearly all types of ecosystems within just our state. Texas state parks are a great opportunity to connect with nature. You can hike in and out of beautiful stretches of canyons in the Caprock Canyons State Park. You can swim with endangered fish in the restored desert wetlands at Balmorhea State Park. You may even choose to explore the caverns of Kickapoo Cavern Park. Each state park has its own unique animal and plant communities and ecosystems( with varying climates), but all are worthy of sightseeing. Parks also vary in what is called a “peak” time. A peak time is the time of year when the park is considered to be at its most beautiful or best time for visiting. Most parks vary in these times so it’s possible to visit parks nearly year round. 

Texas parks are a great alternative if you’re looking for a more economical option for your spring break, it also supports the Texas economy and future infrastructure. It helps support the parks themselves and encourages people of all ages to connect to and help preserve natural resources.  In short, take a staycation at a Texas state park this spring break, get closer to nature, and all within a few hours of home.