Step Outside - Texas WELCOME TO STEP OUTSIDE! Find the best outdoor fun near you! en-us 30 http://stepoutside.org/ Step Outside - Texas 144 144 http://stepoutside.org/ https://cdnstep-americantownscom.netdna-ssl.com/img/stepoutside_logo.gif Sun, 22 Jul 2018 15:36:32 -0500 5 Great Hiking Trails in Texas The best way to appreciate the sheer volume of Texas’ tremendous, natural beauty, is by taking a good long walk. Next time you’re looking to get outside with the family on a nice day, consider navigating one of the Lone Star State’s many easy but satisfying hiking trails. Here are five great ones! 

Head to the Barton Creek Wilderness Park for a shot at the Sculpture Falls hike. Offering five solid miles of trail, in both heavily-trafficked and back trail varieties, you'll get a little taste of everything on this trek. The Sculpture Falls hike is considered a “moderate” hike, which is accessible year-round and open to hikers, walkers, mountain bikers, and even dogs. The high point of the trip is the beautiful Sculpture Falls. 

This trail, located in the Davey Crockett National Forest, will do a fine job of evoking history thanks to its famous namesake. This trail carries on for 20 miles, so be sure to prepare accordingly. The 4C Hiking Trail—named for the Central Coke and Coal Company, which operated in the region—will show off old tramways that were part of a large-scale logging project, as well as the 100-foot-tall pines that actually survived the logging effort.

For most people, maple trees conjure images of fall color tours and the northern United States. Texas has its share of maples as well, as evidenced by the Lost Maples State Natural Area not far from Vanderpool. The big selling point of this trail is the maple trees, which put on an annual show in the fall showing off an impressive range of colors. Naturally, there's more around here than just fall color, as it also boasts canyons and the Sabinal River. The area features over 10 miles of trails, including a loop that takes hikers along a 2,200-foot cliff, so keep the little ones close by.  

only a little bit lost

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Palo Duro Canyon State Park offers a staggering array of features. Perhaps biggest of all is the fact that this is referred to as the “Grand Canyon of Texas,” and with good reason. A picture from Palo Duro Canyon might look almost indistinguishable from one taken at the Grand Canyon, perhaps except only to truly trained eyes. Beyond that, the park offers a wide variety of amenities ranging from horse rentals to picnic tables to RV parking facilities, allowing visitors to experience the full range of parking. Palo Duro boasts 30 miles of trails for hikers, bikers, and equestrians. 

One of the most popular areas to explore in Texas, the Barton Creek Greenbelt is almost eight miles long and covers just over 800 acres. Experience the lush forestry and immaculate limestone cliffs as your traverse the area with your family. Many consider the Barton Greenbelt to be one of the best hiking trails in the state. 

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10 Best Outdoor Festivals in Texas The second largest state in the U.S. by area, Texas has plenty of natural splendor to offer its locals and guests. One of the best ways to enjoy it? With one of the Lone Star State’s many excellent outdoor festivals held throughout the year. From fishing fiestas to the “birdiest” birding events around, here are the 10 best outdoor festivals in Texas! 

Having just said that thing about not being a spectator, you’d think that a music festival is one of the last things that would pop up on this list. However, Float Fest is a music festival with A-list headliners that also happens to involve a carnival, camping and floating on the San Marcos River. Sponsors include Curl’s RV Rental, Fairfield Inn & Suites, and Cascade Blonde American Whiskey.

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From August 10-11, Pampa plays host to the amazing Top O’Texas Rodeo. This event is perfect for everyone in the family. Activities and events at the rodeo include bareback bronco riding, calf roping, steer wrestling, barrel racing, and much more. The rodeo includes a free barbecue dinner for those with tickets as well as a rodeo dance performance. 

The biggest mountain bike festival in the Lower 48’s biggest state is the Campe Eagle Classic near Rocksprings. All events take place on Camp Eagle’s huge, single-track-webbed acreage. In addition to the multiple MTB events, the weekend also holds waterfront fun, rock climbing, meals, bonfires and even a swing with a caliche pit. This event is a landmark event thanks to Too Cool Racing, Pint & Plow Brewing Co., Flat Rock Ranch, and more.

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In the fall, almost as many birders flock to Harlingen as do birds. The attraction? The Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival. An annual event for more than a quarter century, the festival attracts birders with guided field trips, seminars, socials, a trade show, and of course, all the migratory birds that pass through the valley in the autumn. Bird Watcher’s Digest, King Ranch, Zeiss and Swarovski Optik are among the festival’s major sponsors.  

Every year, 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats use the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin as a seasonal home. And near sundown each night during their residency, the bats take to the sky for a night of hunting and whatever else bats do. To celebrate this nightly sojourn, the folks of Austin hold their annual Bat Fest on the bridge. Activities include bat watching, a bat costume contest, kids’ actitivities, live music, vendors and food. Rebecca Creek Distillery, Soulciti , Austin 360 app, and more keep this festival running.

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Every summer, folks who enjoy hunting, shooting and fishing head to Houston for the annual Sportsman Channel Outdoor Fest—“a Texas-sized celebration of the outdoor lifestyle.” Demonstrations and seminars by experts and celebrities will occur throughout the festival, as well as live music, gear and demos, a trout pond and an archery zone. The World Fishing Network, Outdoor Channel, and others make this event possible.

UtopiaFest is a family-friendly camping festival in the wooded Hill Country of South-Central Texas. Apart from camping, there is always live music, awesome food, a beer garden, and an on-site general store. The experience also includes workshops, guided hikes, activities for adults, children and families, as even a “rejuvenation station.”

The city of Corpus Christi has been called “the birdiest city in America” due to the more than 300 species of birds that appear in the region on an annual basis. So, of course, this gives rise to the Birdiest Festival in America, where birders delight in learning more about the region and its species, chatting with experts and other birds, and most importantly, getting out and seeing the birds. Sponsors include Whataburger, Tropical Birding and NavyArmy Community Credit Union

The Texas Trail Running Festival takes place on a private ranch near Spicewood. In addition to trail running—day and night—you’ll find awesome swimming holes, tons of single track, kayak rentals, food and beverage trucks, games and a Family and Kids Zone. Several trail racing events take place throughout the festival. Bearded Brothers, Austin Trail Running Company, and more help shape this event into the amazing experience it is.

The Texas Fly Fishing and Brew Festival is an indoor/outdoor festival that takes place every year in Plano. Inside the event center, you’ll find lectures and booths from gear manufacturers, retailers and guides—like Tailwaters Fly Fishing Co. Outside, you can sample some of the region’s finest beers, take a casting class, learn to tie flies or even learn how to flyfish from a kayak.

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5 Excellent Places for Beginners to Kayak in Texas Everyone needs to start somewhere. When it comes to kayaking, the right place makes all the difference for novice paddlers. In Texas, you’ll find an abundance of waterways geared toward the less-experienced. Before you get in the water, consider bringing along a guide or participating in a safety course. Get your kayak on at these five great spots for beginners in Texas.  

The Buffalo Bayou takes paddlers on a 26-mile trek, accompanied by beautiful sights of downtown Houston. Now, the entirety of the paddling trail may be 26 miles, but this is still ideal for novices. Sections of the trail can be traversed in 1.5-4 hours of paddling. Wildlife in the area includes turtles, herons, hawks, and so much more. Through Bayou City Adventures, you can take a guided tour to experience the area to its fullest. The shortest of the tours offered is the 2.5-hour Navigator’s Tour. This tour provides just a few small, manageable rapids, and stunning scenery. There are also kayak rentals available. 

This Colorado River reservoir in Austin, Texas, is home to Live Love Paddle, your “one stop shop” for watercraft rentals. Lady Bird Lake spans a total of 468 acres with a maximum depth of 18 feet. Through Live Love Paddle, paddlers can participate in the incredible Congress Avenue Bridge Bat Tours. At this bridge, you’ll find the world’s largest urban bat colony. Kayaks, paddles, person flotation devices, and drinking water are provided on every trip. 

The Medina River provides paddlers with one of the easiest and most breathtaking kayaking trips in the Lone Star State. The waters are glistening blue green and trees shade paddlers from above. Through the Medina River Company, rental rates go at $50 per kayak. Tours offered include a 1-1.5-hour trip, a 2-2.5-hour trip, and a 3-3.5-hour trip. According to its site, times vary based on the flow of the river. The Medina River Company also offers waterproof phone cases, sunscreen, sunglasses, water, and several other waterproofing bags. 

For a serene escape, consider paddling the Limestone Bluffs of the Navasota River. The waters on this paddling trail are calm and quiet, perfect for those beginners not quite ready to take on an intense adventure. The trail is surrounded by limestone bluffs, and magnificent wildlife such as waterfowl and beaver. Rentals can be found at Austin Canoe and Kayak as well as Recreational Equipment, Inc. 

The San Antonio River spans a total of 240 miles and is one of the most significant waterways in the state. For the fullest experience, Mission Kayak has it all. Choose from two, three, and four-mile river trips that all vary in difficulty with small rapids and mildly-challenging chutes. From these trips, you can choose from a self-guided or guided tour. Mission Kayak even offers a Kayaking 101 class, which features education on kayak terminology, river terminology, proper paddling techniques, and rescue techniques. 

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5 Best Trail Running Spots in Texas With its rolling plains and desert valleys, Texas is a glorious spot to go for a run outdoors. Trail running not only makes for a more interesting workout, but a more challenging one. Trail terrain can vary, creating a trek that requires more work than running on the sidewalk. Jogging on the treadmill just isn’t quite as scenic as these five awesome trail running spots in Texas! 

The Hill Country State Natural Area in Bandera, Texas, is an “undeveloped and secluded retreat,” with over 40 miles of trails. Hikers, bikers, runners, and equestrians will equally find much to enjoy on these natural tracks. 

The Bear Springs Blossom Nature Preserve has 12 different trails throughout its 125 acres, with vastly different terrain. Depending on how you set out, you might contend with rolling hills, a pond, or dry desert. 

McKinney Falls State Park in Austin has nine trails of differing terrain. Before heading out, make sure you take a good look at the trail maps, as some have hard pavement designed for strollers, and others are unpaved for runners and hikers. 

Blanco Shoals is unique in that most of its 81 acres remain completely undeveloped, with no plans for future development any time soon. That means that many trails throughout, full of high bank bluffs, tall cottonwoods, and shoals, will remain pristine for you to come back again and again. 

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Start off your San Marcos River Walk Trail experience at the City Park Pavilion before winding along the San Marcos River. You’ll run for around three miles through this nature-filled retreat. 

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7 Best Birdwatching Hikes in Texas In Texas, birders are spoiled. With over 600 different species of birds to discover, from pristine beaches to lush wildlife refuges, there’s no telling what you’ll see. Discover all the herons, hummingbirds, robins, warblers, and other fascinating rare birds on these best birdwatching hikes in the state. 

The South Texas Botanical Garden and Nature Center in Corpus Christi, Texas, has several birding guides separated by season for its guests. Consider taking a paid tour, or branching out on your own on their many nature trails. Birds you might get to see here include pelicans, herons, and terns in the summer, and hummingbirds, robins, and warblers in the winter! 

Sargent Beach in Sargent, Texas, is “one of Texas best kept secrets,” with a community of only 500 residents and excellent access to the Upper Texas Coast Birding Trail. We suggest hiking along the beach before finding the trail and exploring.

Matagorda County has been number one since 1997 for the North American Audubon Christmas Bird Count, making it a can’t-miss for any birdwatchers in the area. The Marine Education Center Nature Trail has orioles, buntings, sparrows, and much more. 

The Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Austwell, Texas, is known for its large number of whooping cranes, with “researches from multiple organization working together to track the population.” The Heron Flats trail in particular is one of the most beautiful and provides views of storks, waterfowl, shorebirds, and more. 

Cross an old river channel between the Athey Nature Sanctuary and Riverside Park to catch a view of many different woodland birds. Riverside Park is also worth a visit, with over 562 acres of woodlands and many different nature trails.

The Brackenridge Park and Campground in Edna, Texas, has a five-mile hike and bike trail that goes along the shore line, providing fantastic access to its many different kinds of birds. The park has an elevated gazebo for birdwatching. Take note: Birds intersect along two migration flyways here.

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The Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge near Anahuac, Texas, is characterized by meandering bayous “cut through ancient flood plains, creating vast expanses of coastal marsh and prairie.” This 34,000-acre refuge includes several wildlife watching and nature trails, but we recommend the Shoveler Pond Auto-Tour Loop. Bird enthusiasts will love seeing the purple gallinule, marsh wren, and others along the loop. 

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10 Best Winter Camping Spots in Texas Your excitement for camping doesn’t have to lay dormant during the winter months in Texas. While the chillier air may send you to the comfort of a cabin or RV, there are still plenty of ways to make the most of the season. No matter what style you prefer, here are the 10 best spots for winter camping in the Lone Star State. 

While most of these options are state parks and other nature preserves, El Cosmico is easily one of the more unique options in the state. The site sits on 21 acres and calls itself a “nomadic hotel and campground,” inviting visitors to pitch tents, trailers, stay in a yurt, or even a Sioux-style tepee. It’s a must-experience. 

Are yurt serious? πŸ“·: @minkmade #elcosmicomarfa #elcosmico #marfa #bunkhousehotels

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The Big Thicket area in Southeast Texas is home to a wide array of plants and animals. Ecosystems collide in the Big Thicket as cacti grow alongside cypress trees and the longleaf pine forest. While the area doesn’t have any developed campgrounds, backcountry camping is allowed with the proper permits.  

Perhaps you’re visiting Texas this winter and don’t want to stay too far away from the city. Consider an RV park like Oak Forest, just 10 minutes away from Austin, Texas. The park sites on 15 acres of woodland, offering you easy access to nature, too.

Vineyards Campground and Cabins offer unparalleled access to the gorgeous Grapevine Lake. Stay in a full-furnished cabin or bring take advantage of their many pull-thru spots. The amenities are plentiful, making Vineyards a go-to any time of year.

Saying adios to #vacation #grapevinetx #grapevinelake

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Ask anyone about Big Bend Ranch State Park and you’re likely to hear about it’s wonderful hiking, backpacking, nearly 240 miles of trails, and the solitude it affords visitors. Winter campers in need of a little “me time” will love their backcountry sites, which are unreachable by vehicle. Find yourself a spot and spend some relaxing time on your own. 

The Guadalupe Mountains National Park “protects the world’s most extensive Permian fossil reef, the four highest peaks in Texas, an environmentally diverse collection for flora and fauna,” and so much more. The mountain temperatures can dip to 30 degrees or lower, and have high winds that can reach up to 70 miles per hour. But if that doesn’t scare you from this natural marvel, stake out a site at the nearby Pine Springs Campground or Dog Canyon Campground.

Lake Brownwood State Park in Lake Brownwood, Texas, offers historic cabins to stay in as well as full hookup campsites. Once a project of the Civilian Conservation Corps, today the park is a go-to for its proximity to Lake Brownwood, fishing, and more.

With a name like Dinosaur Valley, it would be pretty disappointing if dinosaurs didn’t once live here. Luckily, visitors can find dinosaur tracks throughout the site near the river, even during the winter (so long as it isn’t too wet). The busy season is March through November, so coming during the winter is advisable if you prefer to avoid crowds.

. . T-REX: Happy Bday bruh 🎁 πŸŽ‚ πŸŽ‰ . . Me : Thank you T- REX πŸ’―πŸ˜‰ . T-REX: I love you this muchπŸ¦– (opens arms) . . Me: Hmmmmmm ??? πŸ€” That’s not very much T-REX but thank you fam!πŸ˜‰πŸ˜˜πŸ¦– #ilovetrex ❀️ . . Anyways had a fun time camping this weekend even tho it was below 20 it was a great experience especially freezing. πŸ˜† ⛺️. Saw some dinosaur tracks πŸ¦• and I still think somebody just made a big dinosaur foot print on the ground but it was very impressive. Super thankful for my friends, family and another year of life. God is so faithful. . Swipe left >>>>>>> #bday #thankful #godisgood #godfirst #rn #dinosaur #dinosaurpark #camping #hiking #cool #loveit #joke #humor #HBD #blessed #letsparty #godisgreat #januarybirthday #januarybabiesrock

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Inks Lake State Park in Burnet, Texas, has walk-in tent campsites with electricity right on the water. According to the official government website, “Because the lake’s level usually stays constant, you can play here year-round.” With over 200 campsites to choose from and 22 cabins, this is a popular destination for campers of all ages.

Visit the 1,000-year-old “Big Tree,” fish off of the 1,620-foot long fishing pier, or go birdwatching during your winter stay at Goose Island State Park. Camping options include 33 sites by the way or 57 sites further in, with walk-in tent sites without electricity available, too.

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Camping Done Right: 9 Best Outdoor Stores in Texas Experience the old west in contemporary Texas with a good old-fashioned camping trip. But before you pick out your spot and settle in, make sure you’ve got the perfect equipment to make your trip one for the ages. For all the best gear from top-notch brands, here are the 9 best camping stores in the state.  

Backwoods is a fast-growing sporting outlet with locations in three states, including two in Fort Worth, Texas. They stock backpacks, camp kitchen, tents, furniture, and all kinds of other equipment. 

The Bear Mountain is primarily a bike store, but they’ve got a sizable outdoor section with plenty of great camping equipment. Stocked brands include ENO, Merrell, Osprey, Yeti , and more. 

Mountain Sports in Arlington, Texas, has a wide range of excellent brands, including Big Agnes, LEKI, Harmony, Yakima, and more. Stop in to check out their many camping accessories, stoves, maps, water treatments, lights, pet gear, and much more.

Whole Earth Provision Co. has eight stores across Texas, including locations in Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and Southlake. They’ve been in business for 40 years and stuck “true to its ideals of providing goods that are relevant, educational and high quality and/or low cost,” according to their website biography. They’ve got tons of great camping equipment ready for use. 

Chachareando

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Zion Gear specializes in carrying what they call “the essentials,” most of which are necessary for a successful and safe camping experience. Consider Zion for bags, kits, prepared food, knives, lights, wellness products, and more.

While you might think Austin Kayak sells only kayaking equipment, you might be surprised to hear that they have a bunch of excellent camping equipment, too. Check out their website or come into their brick and mortar shop to see their accessories, repair parts, backpacks, camp food, coolers, electronics, headlamps, tents, and much more. 

Mountain Hideaway in Lubbock, Texas sells much of the clothing, outerwear, and gear any prepared camper would want or need. Pick up a new North Face. Select a comfortable hammock. Or simply stock up on the essentials before heading out into the wilderness. 

Happy Trails was named one of Men’s Journal’s “Best Outdoor Gear Stores in America” in their 2015 issue. We would be remiss not to include them on our list, too. Their excellent selection and small-store charm are just two of the reasons why Happy Trails remains a first-rate choice. 

In a state that does things big, you’ll find six locations for one of the biggest outdoor stores in the country: Cabela’s. For all things outdoor recreation, this is your most trusted outfitter. Find locations in Waco, Buda, Fort Worth, Allen, Lubbock, and League City. Their camping equipment is second to none, and you’ll find all of the best brands around. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/camping-done-right-9-best-outdoor-stores-in-texas http://stepoutside.org/article/camping-done-right-9-best-outdoor-stores-in-texas Fri, 12 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0600
10 Best Archery Outfitters in Texas Bow hunting and other forms of archery have deep roots in Texas. That’s why there’s no shortage of superb outfitters for the sport all across the state. Before your next hunt or target shooting session, make sure to check out the following 10 best shops in the Lone Star State.  

On Target Archery couldn’t have a better name: Their gear is, indeed, on target. They sell bows, arrows, accessories, hunting gear, and apparel. They also offer equipment rentals. Available brands include AMS Bowfishing, Barnett, Bowtech, and more. 

Texas Archery in Spring, Texas, boasts a 22,000-square-foot facility and calls itself “the premier archery shop in the U.S.” They have five unique indoor rangers as well as bows from the top brands in the industry, including TenPoint, Elite, and Bear.

West Houston Archery in Houston, Texas, sells compound bows, accessories, apparel, bow cases, and more. They’ve been in business since 2010 and carry most of the best brands in the industry in their pro shop. They also have the largest indoor range in the Houston area.

Where in Georgetown should you go for the latest and greatest archery equipment? Why, Double G Archery, of course! They stock Hoyt, Bowtech, and much more. Consider signing up for a league or lesson to improve your skills, and check their website for a full listing of events.

Live Oak Archery is Bryan, Texas’s “one stop shop for ALL your archery needs!” They have an archery pro shop, stocking compound, traditional and crossbows, as well as a target range. Brands include Mathews, Mission, PSE, and more.

Getting my time in on those #filthyskillz. #pse #archery #bryancollegestation

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Outdoor Pro in Garland, Texas, creates custom products for archers. According to their website, “we are committed to providing you a personal experience from the first contact, to excellent service for years to come.” Check their website for a full list of product information. 

Archery Country in Austin, Texas, sells a wide variety of Mathews, Hoyt, Elite, and Mission bows. They also offer tuning, maintenance, and lessons. Take advantage of their indoor range before heading out into the field.

Santa Fe Archery in Santa Fe, Texas, is a full-service, family-owned shop selling strings, cables, bows, arrows, and more. Big archery enthusiasts can also find branded apparel. Ask about their lessons and leagues, too.

#santafearchery #hoyt #carbonspyder #carbondefiant #hoytarchery

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All Star Archery services the Lewisville and Dallas areas. They sell a wide variety of archery accessories including broadheads, quivers, sights, game cameras, and much more. Recent reviews take note of their exceptional customer service.

Here ya go ladies!!! #ata2016 #bowtech @evashockey @blackallphotography

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Outdoor Connection full-service is Jacksonville, Texas’s go-to archery shop, with a full stock of Mathews, Hoyt, and PSE bows, among others. Pick up custom arrows while you’re there, and take advantage of their 50-yard outdoor range.  

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10 Best Bait and Tackle Shops in Texas It’s no surprise that Texas has a bait and tackle shop on what seems like every corner. Whether your technique is fly or conventional, anglers can access over 70 state parks across Texas. Find all of the bait and tackle you’ll need for your next outing at these 10 awesome shops in the state. 

Tightlines Premium Fishing Tackle in Killeen, Texas, sells everything from boats to tackle. They sell tournament-grade tackle and are happy to help with tips and tricks to improve your fishing game. Check their website for a full listing of products.

Terminal tackle getting stocked up

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The Lazy Pelican is a modest live bait shop, selling live shrimp, mud minnows, and mullets. They’re within minutes of the North Trinity Bay, one of the most popular fishing destinations on the Texas coast.

Fishing Tackle Unlimited has three Houston-area locations, including two in Houston and one in Sugar Land, Texas. They sell reels, rods, lures, bait, and tackle and have for almost 40 years. As one of the largest fishing shops in the area, there’s a great chance they have exactly what you need.

Angler’s Pro Tackle and Outdoors in Fort Worth, Texas, is a huge retail shop built in 2009. They provide excellent customer service in addition to their incredibly large array of products, from gun accessories, casting reels, umbrella rigs, pre-owned tackle, and much, much more. 

It’s all in the details

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Since 1983, Brannan’s Bass Shop has provided “a full line of supplies for bass, crappie, and catfish enthusiasts.” They are open early, and have a wide selection of hard baits, spinner baits, buzz baits, and casting rods. 

East Texas Archery Bait and Tackle provides the people of Mt. Vernon with fishing gear, ice, archery equipment, bait, and tackle. Bait options include nightcrawlers, livers tub, frozen shad, meal worms, and much more.

Roy’s Bait and Tackle in Corpus Christi, Texas, specializes in providing fishermen with everything they could need for saltwater, freshwater, and fly fishing. That includes rods, reels, fly fishing, kayaks, hooks, lures, and accessories. They have soft, hard, and frozen bait.

#Heaven

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April Sound sells bait, tackle, and fishing supplies. They are proud to offer veterans and first responders a 20 percent discount on their entire purchases. They have live and frozen bait. The entire shop, from floor to ceiling, is lined with awesome fishing equipment—it’s more than worth a visit. 

Seapony Bait and Tackle styles themselves as “The Best LITTLE Tackle shop in town,” in Winnie, Texas. They sell bait for redfish and shark including sheep head, as well as fresh and frozen mullet. In addition, check out their array of reels and circle hooks.

Fat Boys Bait and Tackle is another small bait and tackle shop, but it makes a big impact with large signage and a free ramp. Visitors to Galveston, Texas, can expect great selection, sparkling customer service, and helpful tips and tricks for the local waters.

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ATV Off-Roading Adventure at Mud Creek Off-Road Park It wouldn’t be a Texas off-roading adventure if we didn’t do it big. With Mud Creek Off-Roading Park, you won’t just find any off-roading location, you’ll find a mudding experience like no other. After you’re ride, there is plenty to explore in the surrounding areas of Jacksonville and Canton. Intrigued? Check out this ATV off-roading adventure in the Lone Star State. 

It’s time to begin your adventure with a family-oriented, home-style breakfast. Beverly’s Country Café has everything you could want in a breakfast. Enjoy filling options such as the “Charro Breakfast,” made with two eggs, scrambled with sausage, tomato and jalapenos, served over hash browns, and smothered in chili with a biscuit or toast. 

Waffle wars. #jacksonvilletx #jacksonvilletexas

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Now, let the fun begin. Mud Creek is an ATV park only. The park spans 4,100 acres with rolling hills, wooded patches, and several small creeks. To get the full experience, Mud Creek’s website suggests traveling to the east side of the park where riders will discover miles and miles of wilderness trails. The route through Mud Creek bottom traverses several bridges which were designed to take you deep within the East Texas wilderness. There are also amenities on site such as places to camp in your RV (in case you decide to stay the night here), restrooms, hot showers, an event barn, and concession.   

@big_dave758 @mudcreekoffroad

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You must be getting hungry again now. After a day in the mud, stop into Stacy’s for a savory and succulent barbecue dinner! The brisket here comes recommended highly as well as the heaping quantities of potato salad. Finish off the meal with the mind-blowing peach cobbler. 

We’re sure by this point you’re ready to settle in for the night. Head up to Canton, Texas, to the quaint Azalea House Bed & Breakfast. The suites here have their own private bathrooms and will make you feel like you’re at home. Azalea House has also received numerous accolades from TripAdvisor. 

I think we can work from here for a few days! #BedandBreakfast #PoolSide #GirlTime

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This memorial was created to honor those the Van Zandt County, Texas, community members who served this country. It was designed as “a place of beauty and reverence where families and comrades can find peace in the memory of lost loved ones.” Stop by this memorial to remember and commemorate Texas locals that fought for this country. 

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5 Energizing Hikes in Texas Do you consider yourself a hiker of some regard, always looking for new and rewarding challenges? In Texas, you have some of the very best options for a hike that will challenge you. The following five energizing hikes from all over the Lone Star State will surely get your heart rate up! 

Hikers near Austin, Texas, have plenty of fantastic options to choose from, but overlooking the Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail would be a huge mistake. This out-and-back route is heavily trafficked and features a beautiful, shimmering waterfall. The trail covers eight miles and almost 900 feet of elevation.

The North Shore Trail courses through Murrell Park, near Grapevine, Texas, for almost 10 miles. This out-and-back trail has almost 1,100 feet of elevation gain, and features a lake. This multi-faceted trail has many options for adventurous hikers to choose from.

The St. Edwards Park Creek Trail is an easier route than the previous two, coming in at just over 2.9 miles along its loop. The elevation gain is just under 400 feet, and features a beautiful stream with cacti throughout. 

Big Bend National Park has over 150 miles of hiking opportunity along various terrain, including desert hikes, mountain hikes, and river hikes. For our purposes, let’s focus on the Chisos Basin Loop Trail. The trail is only 1.8 miles round-trip, but forces the hiker to manage through vegetation. It’s not uncommon to see bears and mountain lions, too, so make sure you are totally comfortable before heading out.

Marion Samsom Park’s trail system is broken down into sections, but ultimately boasts 11 miles of intermediate to expert-level trails. Enjoy sections such as the Lone Wolf Loop, the Dam Drop, the Grass Loop, and more. Check out the map on the park’s website to find out which route is best suited for you. 

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5 Beautiful Backpack Camping Spots in Texas Texans are of the earth. It’s a fact. When a Texan yearns to get back to mother nature, the only thing that’ll do is to have the ground underneath and the stars above. No cabins for you. These are five of the most beautiful backpack camping spots in the entire Lone Star State. It’s time to get back to nature. 

Big Bend Ranch State Park is not for the casual backpacker. The park is remote, featuring “rugged mountains, steep canyons, amazing views, unparalleled night skies, and solitude in a high desert setting,” according to the official website. But for those backpackers with a bit of experience and searching for a challenge, you could do no better.

Lake Bob Sandlin State Park near Pittsburg, Texas, is situated on the beautiful Lake Bob Sandlin. Sixteen hike-in primitive camping sites are available. Just hike between a quarter of a mile and a mile to find the areas. Take note: getting from the camping area to the lake is a bit of a trek, but well-worth it.

Palo Duro has hike-in primitive camp areas and basic campsites galore. Permits are given on a first-come, first-serve basis. The backpack area can support 40, whereas the basic campsite area can support eight to each of their 25 sites. Why camp in the Palo Duro Canyon State Park? As the second largest canyon in the country, you’ll enjoy majestic views unlike those available anywhere else. 

The rugged limestone hills and beautiful dispersed prairies make Cedar Hill a beautiful spot to escape to. Try out the DORBA Trail, named after the Dallas Off Road Biking Association, for an excellent hiking experience across 1,200 acres. In the area, you will find 30 primitive, hike-in campsites to rest your head after a long day of exploring. Campfires are not permitted in the area and these sites are not near water, so come prepared. 

Enjoy exploring the mountains? Then you must come experience the incredible rugged terrain of the Davis Mountains. There are many miles of trails throughout the park to explore, including the 4.5-mile Skyline Drive Trail and the 1.75-mile CCC Trail. This is a great spot for bird watching during the day, and a magnificent place to stay up late and stand in awe at the twinkling night sky above. The primitive hike-in campsites can accommodate four people per site and is roughly four miles up a mountain.  

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5 Stunning Foliage Hikes in Texas Texas’ diverse topography and natural ecology makes for dazzling opportunities to enjoy the colors of the changing seasons. Climb to the top of a mountain, get lost in a state park’s forest, or go for a hike in your hometown. No matter which of the following five options you choose, you’re in for stunning foliage.  

Lost Maples is known primarily for its fall color and abundant wildflowers. Stop by the canyon walls and take a gander at the Sabinal River. According to the official website, “Lost Maples protects a special stand of Uvalde bigtooth maples. Many folks come here to see colorful leave son these and other trees in autumn.” Make sure to check their online fall foliage report before stopping by to ensure you’re getting the best views possible.

Daingerfield State Park in the town of the same name boasts 507 acres in total, with paddle boating, ranger programs, camping, hiking, and nature viewing galore. The park is surrounded by lush forest trails that offer exquisite views of the changing seasonal colors. You’ll pay $4 daily to enter, but the memories you make will be priceless.

Garner State Park is on the Frio River, providing easy access to all kinds of water activities. Enjoy over 11 miles of trails through the forest to better acquaint yourself with the fall foliage. Take a look at the Interactive Trails Map to chart your course before heading out, available on their website.

The Guadalupe Mountains offer a diverse viewing experience unlike most others. Known as the world’s most extensive Permian fossil reef, the area also includes a “diverse collection of flora and fauna,” and a fair amount of foliage. Climb one of mountain peaks to get a better view of the forests spanning out below.

Enjoy the fall foliage without ever leaving the city in this Austin, Texas “urban oasis.” Managed by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, the Greenbelt provides biking, running, rock climbing, swimming, and hiking paths with trails totaling just over seven miles. 

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5 Perfect Fall Camping Spots in Texas This fall, take in the amazing bigtooth maple trees, delight in the cottonwoods, and relish Texas’ massive oaks while appreciating the changing colors of the leaves. For the best views, consider camping at the following five perfect spots in Texas.  

The Lost Maples State Natural Area is one of the most exquisite sites for fall foliage in the Lone Star State. While beautiful colors are one of Lost Maple’s year-round delights, the fall colors, particularly in their bigtooth maple trees, attract campers from far and wide. Thirty campsites with water and electricity exist in the area, along with six primitive campsites.

Treat yourself to incredible views of sweetgum, oak, and piney woods in the Daingerfield State Park. The park recently underwent a $5 million renovation and upgrade, and now offers campsites for tents and RVs, as well as group facilities and cabins. 

Cooper Lake is one of the summer’s busiest state parks, but fall might be the best time to visit. With school back in session, you’ll have less families to contend with for the limited campsites. They have sites with water and electricity, walk-in campsites, cabins, and equestrian campsites. Ride your house down the 10.5-mile Buggy Whip Equestrian Trail to take in the more than 600 acres of shaded forest. 

With over 90 miles of trails and free-roaming bison galore, the Caprock Canyons State Park and Trailway offers a unique camping experience. Fall campers will enjoy the hiking, horse and bike riding, geocaching, picnicking, and fishing options. Choose from water and electric campsites, water-only sites, primitive sites, or eight equestrian campsites. 

Palo Duro Canyon State Park is home to the second largest canyon in the country, also known as the Grand Canyon of Texas. Fall is one of the best times to visit, as you’ll more easily be able to explore the more than 30 miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails. Campsites include those with water and electricity, primitive drive-up sites, backpack camping areas, equestrian sites, cabins, and a pavilion. 

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5 Cool Rock Climbing Spots in Texas With the incredible diversity of Texas’ landscape, it’s no surprise that the Lone Star State makes for some of the most beautiful climbs. Texas is home to many magnificent climbing structures, from mountainous state parks to truly enchanted natural areas. Here are five cool rock climbing spots to check out in Texas!

The Franklin Mountains State Park in El Paso, Texas, is known for its hiking, biking, and rock climbing. Situated on 27,000 acres, the park has over 100 trail miles. Climbing is limited to the McKelligon Canyon or Sneed’s Cory. Make sure to bring your own equipment and $5 to cover the daily entrance fee.

Eisenhower State Park in Denison, Texas, is known for its mix of sandstone and limestone—both soft stones that can easily break. Therefore, it is recommended that only experienced climbers interested in pushing him or herself make the trip. But for those that are willing to brave this mostly bouldering park, the feeling of accomplishment is exhilarating. 

Referred to as “Magical, mystical, enchanted,” the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is home to a pink granite dome that has been around for thousands of years. Today, the dome attracts hikers, backpackers, campers, rock climbers, and stargazers. Rock climbers, make sure to check in at park headquarters and bring $7 for the daily fee. 

Close to Fort Worth, Lake Mineral Wells State Park and Trailway is in Mineral Wells, Texas. It is a fantastic spot for camping, hiking, biking, geocaching, and horseback riding, in addition to climbing. Check in at headquarters before going to Penitentiary Hollow, one of a precious few natural rock climbing spots in North Texas. Only bouldering is allowed at the park.

Milton Reimers Ranch Park in Dripping Springs, Texas, is considered the “crown jewel of central Texas limestone climbing” by Texas Climbing Adventures. Other activities include mountain biking, swimming, fishing, hiking, and trail riding. For the locals, Reimers Ranch is the go-to spot. 

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