The Lone Star State has much to offer in the way of varying geography. From the sunny shores of the Gulf of Mexico to the rugged ridges of the Chisos Mountains in Big Bend National Park and everything in between, Texas is a haven for outdoor adventurers, like RVers! The following are a mere handful of these majestic natural wonders to travel to on your next RV trip.
Big Bend National Park
Big Bend National Park is located in the southwestern part of Texas, along the Texas-Mexico border, where the Rio Grande River makes a sharp turn. There are over 1,200 square miles of diverse terrain, and elevations range from 1,800 feet along the Rio Grande to almost 8,000 feet at the highest peak of the Chisos Mountains. This mixed topography also gives way to various plants and animals, from the cactus gardens and diamondback rattlesnakes in lowland basins to conifer groves and white-tailed deer in the high country.
Big Bend National Park offers wilderness sightseeing, and it’s a treasure trove of geological features, including sea fossils, dinosaur bones, and volcanic dikes. The park also provides a range of recreation opportunities for all ages and skillsets, like:
- Hiking (more than 150 miles of trails)
- Floating the Rio Grande
- Horseback Riding
- Scenic Drives
- Ranger-Led Programs
- Camping (4 developed camping areas in the park can accommodate RVs)
And perhaps the best time of year to go RVing to Big Bend National Park is in fall and spring when temperatures are mild during the day and cool after sundown.
Padre Island National Seashore
Padre Island National Seashore, dubbed the Longest Stretch of Undeveloped Barrier Island in the World, is sandwiched between the Gulf of Mexico and the Laguna Madre. Like the national seashore, Laguna Madre has its own claim to fame as one of a few hypersaline lagoons in the world.
Padre Island National Seashore stretches 70 miles long and hosts a variety of pristine coastline, dunes, prairies, and tidal flats. Over 380 species of birds call the island their home, and it’s also the nesting ground for the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle. Every summer, the park releases the hatchlings from the nests. The event is frequently open to the public.
Many outdoor and water sports enthusiasts are drawn to this location for its wide array of recreational activities, RVing included! Visitors can enjoy:
- Windsurfing on Laguna Madre
- Canoeing and Kayaking
- Beach Driving
Five areas of the park are designated for camping. While RV hookups are not provided at any campsite, an RV dump station and a water filling station are conveniently available.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Guadalupe Mountains National Park is located just south of the New Mexico state line and north of U.S. Highway 62/180. The 86,416 acres of diverse landscapes consist of deserts and dunes, canyons and mountains, a variety of flora and fauna, and the world’s most extensive Permian fossil reef. The park is home to the highest point in Texas, the Guadalupe Peak, standing at 8,751 feet above sea level. Still, the park’s most iconic feature is El Capitan, a mammoth limestone monolith that dominates the skyline.
RVers, hikers, and thrill-seekers venture from near and far to enjoy the natural wonders and beauty at Guadalupe Mountains National Park throughout the year. However, the best weather is in the spring and fall. Activities in the park include:
- Hiking (80 miles of trails)
- Horseback Riding
- Wildlife Viewing
- Fall Color Viewing (begins mid-October and continues through mid-November)
- RVing/Camping (three developed campgrounds in the park)
Natural Bridge Caverns
Family-owned and operated Natural Bridge Caverns in San Antonio is a natural underground wonder with added fun attractions. Uncovered by college students in 1960, the cavern can be viewed by the public via guided tours. Underground chambers feature “otherworldly formations. Each formed by single drops of water and the slow passage of time,” according to the attraction’s website.
Above the surface, ticket holders can brave a 60-foot high aerial adventure ropes course, find their way out of a 5,000 square foot outdoor maze, go gem and fossil mining, and much more. A number of RV parks are located within minutes of Natural Bridge Caverns, making it an easy commute to all the excitement and thrills.
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About The Author: Natalie Henley
Levi Henley and his wife, Natalie, have been full-time RVers for over 5 years. They have also been Coach-Net customers for the same amount of time. They travel and work camp around the U.S. in their 26-foot Itasca Sunstar motorhome with their two cats. They write for multiple RV-related publications and recently co-wrote “Seasonal Workamping for a Living: How We Did It.” You can follow their adventures on the road at henleyshappytrails.com
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