After spending the majority of March indoors thanks to tons of Spring rain and a late cold snap, I was so excited to get out with Jackson on a perfect sunny weekend at the end of the month. For this trip we headed out to Buescher State Park, which is located in East Central Texas. Just 100 miles from where we live in west Houston, this park is home to the Lost Pines Forest.
The Lost Pines name comes from the fact that the loblolly pine woodland is isolated from the main body of the East Texas Pineywoods by approximately 100 miles of rolling, post oak woodlands. This pine-oak woodland covers approximately 70 square miles.
The Lost Pines are significant in that they represent the westernmost stand of loblolly pine trees in the United States. Pollen records indicate the pines have persisted in this area for over 18,000 years. Sandy and gravely soils with a sub-surface layer of water-preserving clay help to create an environment where loblolly pines can flourish. Over time the climate became drier but the local sandy, aquifer-laced soils provided conditions for them to thrive. The pines have become genetically unique, having adapted to 30% less rainfall than loblollies from East Texas and adjacent states. Over 75,000 acres of loblolly pines, known as the Lost Pines ecosystem, lie scattered across sections of five counties on the Texas Coastal Plain. A portion of this magnificent pine forest is located in Buescher and Bastrop State Parks.*
Buescher State Park is a great park for day trips because it is small and easy to get around. It has a fully stocked lake for those who enjoy fishing and opportunities for Geo-caching, hiking, nature study, and biking.
I especially like the Screened Shelters ($25 – $45, nightly) at this park because many have great views of the lake and allow an escape from the sun with a nice place to sit and eat for families planning on spending an entire day in the park. All shelters have an outdoor grill and fire ring to use for cooking with some shelters even offering electricity.
I also thought the Park Residences (for rangers and staff) were really cute. They were built by the CCC during The Great Depression along with many other structures throughout the state parks system. You can read more about those projects HERE.
The play structure near the day use area was very nice and Jackson really enjoyed it. There is not a great deal of shade over the playground however, so be sure your kiddos have on plenty of SPF if it is bright out and they want to play.
There is also a really great hiking trail that Jackson and I spent a good part of the day exploring. Lately, hiking is one of Jackson’s favorite activities and when the wind blows through the trees and the light between the branches flickers on the ground he is so delighted. Seeing the parks through Jackson’s eyes has really given me a new appreciation for the wonders of nature.
Buescher State Park is a great place for families with children to get outside for an afternoon and enjoy nature. If you’ve never visited a state park before, and are looking for a place to get your feet wet…Buescher is the perfect place.
Day admission to the park is $4 for anyone 13 or older. Kids are 12 and under are FREE.
For more information on Buescher State Park visit: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/buescher
You can also make park reservations by calling (512) 389-8900.
5 parks down, 88 to go!
Disclosure: I covered all admission and travel expenses to visit this state park. This post is not sponsored in any way.
*Information courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife