Hi everyone. I just read Nancy and Jerry's request for suggestions in Texas, and I had the impression that the RVG is not what I might like as far as environments go. I just spent the winter in Florida and found I really enjoyed the state parks, and really disliked anything that was too built up or "resort-like". I enjoy bird photography and some hiking, but just being around trees is fine. Being Canadian, temperatures in the high 70's are fine with me.
You guys are always so great when it comes to passing on suggestions. Would you please be kind enough to point out where I might enjoy some real nature in Texas? Thanks very much guys.
We did a detailed tour of Texas over the 2010/11 winter and stayed in state parks, a couple that we really enjoyed were Davis Mountains, Seminole Canyon and Falcon as mentioned above. Another couple that we normally stay at when transiting Texas are Lake Bob Sandlin in the east and Monahans Sandhills in the west. We did find it a bit cool in January in Seminole and Davis though, even for us Canadians!
A parks pass provides good savings if you are staying in the parks frequently.
If you're wanting someplace in the valley, then the Attacosta Wildlife Refuge sounds like someplace you'd enjoy. There are miles of hiking trails and ponds where all sorts of wildlife can be seen often. One of the FEW places in the US that you (if you're lucky) can see an Oselot in the wild. Lots of alligators, Javelina, Deer and coyotes. Unfortunately there are very FEW campgrounds in the area but no shortage of RV Parks. For a less "built up" camping experience then try North Padre Island at either Malaquite Beach (campground) or Bird Island Basin. If that's too built up then there are MILES and MILES of camping on the beach. As always there are tons of wildlife on the beaches. The entire area from Corpus Christi to the National Sea Shore is all free beach camping and there's another 60 miles of ALMOST free beach camping inside the national sea shore itself.
Good luck / Skip
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Not recommended for sowbirding because it gets quite cold in the winter but Palo Duro Canyon has a vast variety of birds and wildlife and just darn pretty. Recommended for a spring or fall stop-over. Too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer
We spent one winter going from state park to state park in TX, mostly in the Hill Country, which we loved, but it did get quite cold in winter. Aside from state parks, we found Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park in Fredericksburg enjoyable. Big Bend NP can be pretty harsh in winter but we've been there in November (just about perfect), April (beautiful but windy) and late January-early February (cold, sleety to sunny and pleasant but not warm) and enjoyed it every time.
We tried dealing with the state park reservation system a few times and found it so frustrating we gave up and just took pot luck. Never once got turned away if we arrived by early afternoon. Stay at McKinney Falls SP near Austin and visit the capitol, the governor's mansion and the LBJ museum. Stay at Pedernales Falls SP near Jonshon City to visit the LBJ Ranch.
The Alamo is a must, of course, but you will love San Antonio in winter, all decorated for Christmas. We spent Christmas Day in Goliad State Park, an old mission, which was also decorated.
If you're looking for warm weather you probably need to go into the RGV but if you want to explore, west/central TX is your place.
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