Though I’ve lived in Texas my entire life, this state still never fails to surprise me when I travel. Our visit to Brazos Bend State Park last weekend was no exception. Here it is that I have lived no more than 45 minutes from this state park my entire life…and yet I’d never been there. Never even really heard it, honestly (and that’s coming from a gal who grew up in Texas State Parks!).
When I paid my entrance fee and drove down the park road further into the park, my mouth fell open at how large and lush the park is. It was simply stunning. All I kept thinking was “How have I never been here before?”.
Brazos Bend State Park is located in Needville, Texas which is just a short 1 hour drive from downtown Houston. Since I live somewhat west of downtown, it took just over a half hour to get there.
Visitors to the park are greeted by acre after acre of moss covered live oak trees, some of which are over 200 years old (like the one in the photo above).
Since the park is so large it is truly perfect for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. The park even features 19 primitive campsites for those visiting the park with horses.
Another really awesome thing about Brazos Bend State Park is the Creekfield Lake Nature Trail. This accessible nature trail and interpretive exhibit pilot project is the first of its kind for the department (1995) and was designed with the assistance of the greater Houston area disabled community in partnership with The George Foundation, Fort Bend County and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The trail is fully paved and takes visitors on a 0.5-mile loop tour of an outstanding wetland area. Exciting features along this trail include a series of interpretive panels with tactile bronzes of wetland wildlife, an accessible boardwalk and observation deck for wildlife viewing, and rest areas with shaded benches.*
Brazos Bend State Park also boasts an impressive Nature Center with both still and live exhibits featuring Texas wildlife. If you are visiting the park with children it is a must see, especially for the opportunity to touch a baby alligator!
The American Alligator can be found in the swamp lands throughout the grounds and “Know your Alligator Etiquette” is found on park maps and posted throughout the park. Since alligators are present, there is no swimming or wading allowed in any of the bodies of water found at Brazos Bend.
Another awesome feature that sets Brazos Bend State Park apart from others is that there is an observatory within the park. The George Observatory, which is run by The Houston Museum of Natural Science, is open Saturdays from 3 – 9pm for those who want to take a closer look at the heavens.
Brazos Bend State Park is truly a hidden treasure out in the middle of a floodplain, and I so enjoyed our day there. I cannot wait to visit it again soon.
The best part? A few days after our visit, Texas Parks and Wildlife shared one of my Instagram photos from our visit on Twitter!
— TX Parks & Wildlife (@TPWDparks) February 18, 2014
The parks busiest season is now through late Spring and one of the rangers told me that campsites often need to be booked six months in advance or more if you plan to stay during the high season.
Day admission to the park is $7 for anyone 13 or older. Kids are 12 and under are FREE.
For more information on Brazos Bend State Park visit: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/brazos-bend
You can also make park reservations by calling (512) 389-8900.
4 parks down, 89 to go!
*Information courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife.
Disclosure: I covered all admission and travel expenses to visit this state park. This post is not sponsored in any way.