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 Sat, 23 Mar 2019 13:58:13 -0500 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? 📷: @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.

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#happycamper in her #happyplace I'm enjoying it as well

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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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http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-winter-camping-spots-in-texas http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-winter-camping-spots-in-texas Fri, 04 Jan 2019 00:00:00 -0600
Best Weekend Winter Getaway in Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site Texas has over 100 state and national parks across its 790 miles, almost all of which are open year-round. These parks range from lush forests to dry deserts and everything in between. While any number of these parks would be worthy of a weekend getaway, we think the Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site in El Paso offers a unique retreat unlike any other. While bigger parks, such as Big Bend, are overrun with visitors during the winter months, enjoy the history and solitude Hueco Tanks of the west has to offer. Here’s how to have the best winter weekend getaway at Hueco Tanks. 

Before hitting the road to make your way to Hueco Tanks, stop in at the local Alamo Shooters in El Paso. They carry a wide range of outdoor and sporting gear, perfect for any weekend getaway. If you’re so inclined, take a look at the tactical gear they have in stock, too.

Unlike bigger parks, Hueco only has 20 campsites: four with water and sixteen with water and electricity. Make sure to call ahead of time to reserve your spot. All of the spots come with a picnic table and nearby restrooms.

Hueco Tanks has an abundance of historic artifacts and paintings left over from the native Americans who lived here centuries before. Reserve your spot ahead of time to make sure you and your group is able to take a guided tour to hike through the mountains and see the beautiful imagery of El Paso’s history.

Hueco Tanks is known across the world for its unique rock climbing and bouldering options. Visitors come from Europe and Asia to climb the low mountains. While you can choose to cautiously go on your own, you can also book a guided climbing tour, as “some areas of the park can only be accessed on a tour.”

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Hueco Tanks is home to well over 200 species of birds, including pied-billed grebe, green-tailed towhee, and black-throated sparrow, among many more. Consult the latest field checklist and guide to make sure you’re on the lookout for the right birds—and don’t forget your binoculars. 

One of Hueco Tank’s claims to fame is the pictographs and petroglyphs that connect us to cultures that date thousands upon thousands of years back. The park has been sacred ground for various cultures for over 10,000-11,000 years, and you can still see many of the pictures left from the past.

Only seven miles away from the park, Rent an ATV Off-Road Adventures offers convenient ATV rentals, riding gear and parts. Take a guided tour or head straight to Red Sands just west of Hueco Tanks to explore on your own.

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Open from November to January, El Paso’s annual Winterfest is a must-experience for anyone in the area during the winter. Enjoy live entertainment every Friday, holiday music on Sunday, and open ice skating any time you visit.

Hope and Anchor in El Paso, Texas is a local favorite bar and outdoor patio. Take advantage of their generous daily specials, large beer, liquor, and wine list, or try a home cocktail. Not only will you be raving about their drinks, but their food is a local staple for many, so grab a quick snack, or meal when you stop by.

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The L&J Café opened originally in 1927 and continues to serve incredible, authentic Tex-Mex. The building is historic, known as the “Old Place by the Graveyard.” According to them, the menu combines “creative new twists on regional flavors and savory traditional plates.” 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/best-weekend-winter-getaway-in-hueco-tanks-state-park-and-historic-site http://stepoutside.org/article/best-weekend-winter-getaway-in-hueco-tanks-state-park-and-historic-site Wed, 12 Dec 2018 00:00:00 -0600
5 Cool Spots for ATV Off-Roading in Texas With more stability, but the same open-air adventure of a motorcycle, ATV off-roading is a thrill-seeker’s dream. In Texas, just as with everything else, we do things big! When it comes to ATV adventure parks and farms, you’re going to find massive expanses of land to really make the most out of your ride. Strap on your helmet and check out these five cool spots for off-roading in the state. 

When a place is deemed “the best ATV park in Texas,” you take notice! Featuring not only ATV trails, but also 4x4 and motorcycle trails, this park's got pretty much all the outdoor adventure you’ll need. Throw in camping facilities and accommodation not only for multiple vehicles but also multiple levels of skill, and the result is a great time.

Collect beautiful moments

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Brushy Creek Motor Farm offers something for everyone with its years of experience. Featuring several different tracks for several different breeds of rider, Brushy Creek will offer up a wide variety of experiences and give just about everybody something new and unusual to try out. With more than eight miles of trails over 100 acres and a motocross track thrown in, you have a recipe for a really good time. Terrain options range from open fields to mud holes. 

With a long run of trails to follow and a good variety of conditions, Buffalo Springs boasts a top-notch off-roading area. The trails are mostly hard pack, but look for loose dirt, mud, and even a few small jumps. Since it's also in the general area of a lake, there are plenty of swimming opportunities and camping to engage in as well. This is an excellent destination for anyone looking to spend a couple days.

Said to be the largest ATV and off-road park in all of Texas, Easton’s Alligator Run will make a significant case for its primacy by its sheer range of options. With hill climbs and creeks running through the park, along with dry scenic trails, there will be challenge for just about every level of rider. Throw in mud pits, drag runs, and a complete camping area with hot showers—there's even an obstacle course—and the result is a good time for most everyone. There are even special events throughout the year for that extra bit of variety.

If it's got wheels, bring it outback. That's the philosophy that guides Stanton's Outback Adventure Track. They've got space for most every kind of ATV, including four and three-wheelers, even monster trucks! With a dry lake bed as its backdrop, there's a lot to like here, starting with the Baja Roja Trail, which runs a whopping 10 miles. 

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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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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.   

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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http://stepoutside.org/article/atv-offroading-adventure-at-mud-creek-offroad-park http://stepoutside.org/article/atv-offroading-adventure-at-mud-creek-offroad-park Thu, 01 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Awesome RV Campsites in Texas The Lone Star State boasts some of the most impressive RV campsites around. Stay by the beach, in a planned resort, in the desert, or near the forest—Texas’s diverse natural environments lend to options for every kind of camper. Need help narrowing down which campsites are the best? We’ve picked out five awesome RV campsites throughout Texas just for you. Read on, camper! 

Dellanera RV Park in Galveston, Texas, offers campers their very own private beach access. With 65 full RV hook-ups and day parking, combined with their premier beachfront access, Dellanera stands out. Choose from deluxe or full sites, each providing electricity, water, and sewer. Each site boasts a picnic table and barbecue pit with beach equipment rentals available. 

Treetops is an “all-ages RV resort” named for their 2,000 oak trees that provide shade over most sites. Their 169 sites include full hook-ups and concrete patios, with the premium option of on-site grills. Two bathhouses, two air-conditioned laundry facilities, pool, and weekly game nights are part of their offerings. Nightly rates start at $52, with weekly rates of $309 and monthly rates at $624. 

While some might call Mill Creek Ranch Resort “low-key,” its rustic charm and upscale offerings make it stand out. Visitors are asked to embrace a back-to-basics approach of simplicity and country hospitality. Rent a cabin, a tiny house, or one of their RV sites. Choose from premium pull-through RV sites, premium back-in RV sites, or standard pull through or back in RV sites. Amenities include concrete pads, full hook-ups, Wi-Fi, picnic table, fire ring, and much more. Stop by and see why Mill Creek Ranch Resort is an award-winner. 

Lake Livingston/Onalaska KOA in Onalaska, Texas, is surrounded by Lake Livingston, providing ample opportunity for boating, swimming, and fishing. Book a premium lakefront RV site to ensure perfect access. Campground amenities include Wi-Fi, power, cable TV, hot tub, sauna, fishing, dog park, pavilion, and pool access. Back-in and pull-through sites available. Book on their website and take a look at their rotating “Hot Deals.”

Rayford Crossing RV Resort in Spring, Texas, “offers an endless array of activities for the whole family from nearby hiking and biking trails, fishing, and swimming to multiple rally rooms, game room, a playground for the kids, tropical pools, and so much more,” according to their website. Each site comes with concrete pads, Wi-Fi, and cable. Choose from standard back-in or pull-through, deluxe pull-through (with patio furniture, gas grill, and large front yard), or premium pull-through (with patio furniture, gas grill, large front yard, and front of the park location). Make sure to visit the George Mitchell Nature Preserve while you’re in town!

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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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http://stepoutside.org/article/5-perfect-fall-camping-spots-in-texas http://stepoutside.org/article/5-perfect-fall-camping-spots-in-texas Tue, 30 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0500
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.

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Officially qualified! 132 I’ll take it #bowhunting

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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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http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-archery-outfitters-in-texas http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-archery-outfitters-in-texas Mon, 29 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0500
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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http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-bait-and-tackle-shops-in-texas http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-bait-and-tackle-shops-in-texas Mon, 29 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0500
Best Places to Fish in the South This Fall Redfish are starting to move inshore and set up at the mouths of bays, inlets and deltas as their annual spawning run commences. The bottom line for fishermen is outstanding fishing from late September through November in the northern Gulf.

Likewise, bass fishing is starting to pick up again as the weather begins to cool. Huge schools of threadfin shad are starting to filter away from open-water ledges into bays and tributaries where feeding conditions and water temperatures are more optimum.

Bass follow the food, first setting up on ledges at the mouths of inlets and creeks to waylay shad, then migrating back toward shallower water to keep up with their quarry.

Fall Script for Southern Bass

Bass rule in Dixie and cooler weather brings out an army of anglers who go after them. Whether largemouth, smallmouth or spotted bass, they’re available in most waters and sometimes all three varieties are present in a fishery, ready to aggravate or gratify those who seek them.

Hot Spots To Fish: When it comes to the South’s best lakes for fall fishing, the big TVA impoundments fit the bill. Because this is bass tournament country, dozens of YouTube videos and Facebook sites of pro anglers offer useful advice on where and how to catch autumn largemouths. Likewise, guide services are plentiful; just Google “fishing guides” for the lake you’re visiting or type in the town nearest the lake you wish to fish on the interactive map on this page.

Tackle You’ll Need: A 7-foot medium/heavy rod such as the St. Croix Premier Cranking, a baitcasting reel like the Abu Garcia Revo Winch and 10- to 14-pound-test monofilament makes a good combination to fish downsized lures.

Quick tip: This is strictly a match-the-hatch deal. Use lures that are about the same size as wandering shad. If young-of-the-year threadfins are on the bass menu, try small swim baits fished on drop-shot rigs.

 

Best Lures/Baits: Shad-colored, shallow- and medium-diving square-billed or coffin-billed crankbaits are autumn standouts. Popular lures include the Strike King 6XD, Bandit 100 or 200, Duo Realis M65, Livetarget Magnum Shad BaitBall Squarebill, Megabass S-Crank, Lucky Craft Squarebill 2.5, Storm Arashi and Rapala Shad Rap.

Fish them around shoreline cover and on the flats between creek drop-offs and the bank. Other fallback baits include spinnerbaits like the Booyah Super Shad, Stanley Vibrashaft and Nichols Pulsator. Good buzzbait options can be found from Lunker Lure, Damiki, Santone and Dirty Jigs.

Rendezvous With Redfish

Along the northern Gulf Coast from Carrabelle, FL, to Grand Isle, LA, the redfish season begins in late September and continues in stages through December. Some anglers fish in the surf with cut bait, while others station themselves on area piers or in boats on relatively shallow flats near channel cuts.

Hot Spots To Fish: For boating anglers, a couple of spots stick out. Pensacola Bay Pass is a must-fish for boaters. Anchor up on the broad flat between old Fort Pickens and the channel, set out lines as the tide changes to incoming, and hang on. Need more help? Redfish University Pensacola Fishing Charters (850-748-4368, redfishuniversity.com) specializes in the big drum.

At Grand Isle, LA, book a trip with Gotta Go Fishing Charters (225-921-3642, gottagofishingcharters.com). The marshes and inshore waters around Venice, LA, are primo redfish haunts as well. Captain Mike Frenette (504-782-0924, laredfish.com or (mike@venicefishing.net) is a top guide here.

Photograph Courtesy of Strike King Lure Company 
Louisiana’s coastal waters are ground zero for the hottest autumn redfish action along the northern Gulf Coast. A variety of natural baits and artificials get the job done.

Tackle You’ll Need: “Rat” reds of 3 pounds and up, or real bruisers weighing in excess of 20 pounds require a range of tackle options. Bass fishing tackle – whether spinning or baitcasting – is perfect for handling smaller fish and for casting jigs or swimbaits that weigh less than an ounce. A Shimano Stradic spinning reel and 7-foot medium-action Shimano Compre rod with 14-pound-test monofilament.

For bigger fish, consider a Penn Battle II BTLII5000 with 20-pound-test monofilament or 40-pound-test braid, and a 30-pound-test fluorocarbon leader. A 7-foot medium-heavy spinning rod (such as the Penn Battalion BATIN1220S70) should handle any bait rigs or lures and wear down a bull redfish in short order.

Quick Tip: Incoming tides in late evening or at night are primo times for reds as the fish free-spawn then in the mouths of coastal bays and estuaries. If you can’t fish any other time, make sure you fish the incoming tides.

 

Best Lures/Baits: Redfish aren’t particular about their dietary requirements and will eat anything from blue crabs to halved mullet. Swimming spoons such as the Johnson Sprite (johnsonfishing.com), swimbaits and jigs or even topwater poppers, such as the Heddon Saltwater Spook, will elicit strikes.

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Photograph Courtesy of Strike King Lure Company Photo By Garrick Dixon Shallow- to medium-running crankbaits probably account for more bass than any other lure in the fall when the fish are on the prowl for shad in feeder creeks and coves. http://stepoutside.org/article/best-places-to-fish-in-the-south-this-fall http://stepoutside.org/article/best-places-to-fish-in-the-south-this-fall Thu, 11 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0500
10 Best Outdoor Fall Activities in Texas The motto “Everything is bigger in Texas” applies to just about everything, especially the festivities. Texans know how to celebrate fall right, with a festival almost every weekend, hiking trails waiting to be explored, and food that is sure to “wow” you. With so much excitement, who would know where to begin? Consider the following 10 best outdoor fall activities to plan your perfect Texas fall. 

The Texas Rose Festival began in 1933 and remains a quintessentially Texan event. Kicking off with the coronation of a festival queen, the festival includes a Rose Show, Queen’s Tea, and Rose Parade. Additionally, the festival, which goes on in the middle of October, hosts crafts fairs, art shows, live music, and much more. 

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While the Rose Festival encapsulates all of Texas’s Southern, traditional charm, the Texas Renaissance Festival showcases the charm of yesteryear. Lasting from the end of September through the end of November, the Renaissance Festival offers themed weekends, ye old shoppes, jousts, gift shops, Halloween celebrations, campground options, and much more. 

The State Fair of Texas’s mission statement is to “celebrate all things Texan by promoting agriculture, education, and community involvement through quality entertainment in a family-friendly environment.” The fair hosts livestock exhibitions, creative competitions, live music, family fun shows, college football, and just about anything you want to eat, so long as what you want to eat is deep fried.

Wurstfest in New Braunfels is Oktoberfest, but in November. This indoor and outdoor festival includes German food, beer, themed live music events, as well as dancing, carnival rides, games, and more. Revel in the Bavarian culture during this weeklong event.

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Barton Hill Farms hosts their own fall festival from the end of September to early November. According to their website, Barton Hill Farms invites you to wander through the corn maze, jump on the huge jumping pillow, pick out your own pumpkin in the pumpkin patch, visit the farm animals, and so much more! In other words, they invite you to have the perfect family weekend.

Have an hour to kill? Not afraid of tall corn? Then the Graff 7A Ranch South Texas Maize is for you. Open from mid-September until the end of November, the South Texas Maize covers over seven acres and takes at least an hour to complete. Admission also includes hayride, hay bale jump, pig races, and more.

Big Bend and Lajitas Stables offers “exceptional Texas horseback trail riding” for those that want to experience all that fall has to offer but aren’t lucky enough to own a horse themselves. They have stables in Big Bend and Lajitas, providing two excellent starting points. Choose from hourly rides or overnight trips, each guided with an expert horseback rider. 

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By the River Campground in Kerrville, Texas sits along the Guadalupe river and spans 65 acres of trails, picnic areas, and campsites. They offer pull thru, back-in, and waterfront campsites with 30 and 50 AMPs. Enjoy the cooler weather and the splendid colors from your very own RV.

The City of Bridgeport offers an excellent off-road vehicle park, called the Northwest OHV Park. Prices are quite reasonable with a substantial discount for residents. Choose from over 25 miles of trails with varying degrees of difficulty all throughout the park.

Wandering through the golden trees at Lost Maples State Natural Area is the ultimate way to soak in all this season has to offer. October and November provide you with tolerable temperatures, crisp air rolling in, and an array of red-toned colors scattered throughout the trees. There are over 10 miles of trails to explore, campsites to stay at through the night, plenty of fishing opportunities, spots to go bird watching, and more.

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http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-outdoor-fall-activities-in-texas http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-outdoor-fall-activities-in-texas Tue, 09 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0500
The Ultimate Guide to Beginner Hiking in Texas From the rugged Palo Duro Canyon to the awe-inspiring Big Bend National Park, Texas boasts some of the most uniquely beautiful hiking terrain in the country. Whether it’s traversing sprawling mountains or trekking through dense green forest with towering trees, the variation is endless. To get some ideas on where to hike, what to wear, and what to bring in your pack, check out our beginner guide to hiking in the Lone Star State.

Where to begin? The sheer volume of Texas' spectacular natural beauty makes it almost impossible to pick just one place to start. If it's a satisfying yet not-too-rigorous hike you seek, we have you covered. Check out some of the best hiking trails the Lone Star State has to offer. 

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Proper footwear is one of the many keys to a successful hike. Before you hit the trails in Texas, it's imperative to find a supportive pair of boots that will suit your specific needs. Here are some of our favorite comfortable and sturdy hiking boots. 

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Prepare to be dazzled. As the season shifts, Texas comes to life with vibrant displays of orange, red, and yellow, making hiking adventures all the more rewarding. Whether you're trekking deep into a state park or climbing a mountain, expect magnificent views on these breathtaking foliage hikes in Texas. 

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If a more serious hiking adventure is in order, packing a backpack is imperative. How do you strike the balance between packing all of the essentials and ensuring that your back isn't going to hurt after a few hours on the trail? Pack smart. Here's how to pack your backpack the proper way in just 5 easy steps. 

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Now let's get that heart rate up. If you've explored some of the easier trails Texas has to offer, kicking things up a notch is the next step. It's time for a challenge. If you want to get a real workout on the trails, check out these invigorating and energizing hikes in Texas. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/the-ultimate-guide-to-beginner-hiking-in-texas http://stepoutside.org/article/the-ultimate-guide-to-beginner-hiking-in-texas Mon, 24 Sep 2018 00:00:00 -0500
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. 

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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 Wed, 15 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Gorgeous Beach Campsites in Texas Texas enjoys incredible access to the Gulf of Mexico, along with a plethora of other beaches, lakes, and bays. As a result, there is absolutely no shortage of gorgeous, waterside landscapes to enjoy a weekend away. Below, you’ll find five of our favorites. Enjoy!

The Padre Island National Seashore park protects 70 miles of coastline, prairies, dunes, and wind tidal flats. It is home to over 380 species of birds and many Spanish shipwrecks. Camp right on the beach away from civilization. Keep in mind: there are no RV hookups, so you’re better off setting up camp right on the sand. Don’t forget your permit (available from kiosks at the campground entrance).

Galveston Island State Park is home to both a beach and a bay, depending on which side of the park you decide to camp on. Common activities include swimming, fishing, picnicking, bird watching, hiking, mountain biking, paddling, and more. Rent a cabin or a campsite and choose between one with water and electricity or go without.

Roll up with your RV, rent a cabin, or stay at the Discover Event Center to enjoy the 52-acre Quintana Park beachfront. Enjoy the excellent bird watching, fishing, swimming, beachcombing, surfing, and nature viewing year-round. Quintana Beach County Park does not offer primitive tent camping on-site, although the nearby towns and other beaches can accommodate tent campers for up to two weeks. 

Mustang Island State Park near Port Arkansas, Texas, offers more than five miles of coastline, perfect for swimming, surfing, camping, picnicking, fishing, hiking, and more. The park boasts 48 water and electrical campsites and 50 drive-up primitive sites with water, cold-water rinse showers, and portable toilets along the beach. Full restrooms are on-site, too, and are located near the water-electric campground for easy access. 

Texas invites you to stay at the Sea Rim State Park near Sabine Pass, Texas. With over 5.2 miles of Gulf shoreline and 4,000 marshland acres, you’ll never run out of opportunities to go beach combing, paddling, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, fishing, or even hunting (in season). Choose from 15 campsites equipped with utilities, their cabin, or many primitive camping options right on the beach. 

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Alena Ozerova/Shutterstock.com http://stepoutside.org/article/5-gorgeous-beach-campsites-in-texas http://stepoutside.org/article/5-gorgeous-beach-campsites-in-texas Tue, 14 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0500
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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http://stepoutside.org/article/5-beautiful-backpack-camping-spots-in-texas http://stepoutside.org/article/5-beautiful-backpack-camping-spots-in-texas Tue, 14 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0500