Running With the Alligators and Other July 4 State Park Adventures

At Brazos Bend State Park, you never know when you'll be up close and personal with a gator.
At Brazos Bend State Park, you never know when you'll be up close and personal with a gator.
Photo by Gary Beaver

It’s July 4 and really there’s nothing much to do before the nighttime fireworks. Other than eat a lot. So you can either just lie back and crack open another bottle of beer, or work off some of that lard butt by going on a hike or something else semi-strenuous in one of the Texas State Parks. Park entrance fees vary.

For instance:

And now for his closeup — not shot with a long lens. Some visitors think the alligators are lawn art — until they move.
And now for his closeup — not shot with a long lens. Some visitors think the alligators are lawn art — until they move.
Photo by Gary Beaver

Brazos Bend State Park has alligators galore. Most visitors are respectful of them, but there are always a few idiots who get too close and then have to hightail it. If you're interested in finding out more about the reptiles, check out All About Alligators from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. There’s lots of birds and other forest and water creatures as well. Climb to the top of the observation tower and see for miles. Then get back on one of the trails and go around a few times. Also, there's a Creekfield Lake nature walk from 10 a.m. to 11.

Galveston Island State Park will teach you beachcombing skills if you get there by 10 a.m. and meet with Ranger Lisa. Just bring along a beach set of shovels, pails and rakes and you should be all set. Check out the directions to the park entrance.

Lockhart State Park in Caldwell County (not that far from San Marcos) is open for business for those of you who'd like to go further afield for the day. They're giving you a chance to come fishing with them from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

LBJ and Ladybird Johnson in wildflowers.
LBJ and Ladybird Johnson in wildflowers.
Photo courtesy of Lyndon B. Johnson State Park & Historic Site

Lyndon B. Johnson State Park & Historic Site has a full day of activities planned. You can fish, swim and walk among whatever wildflowers have survived this far into summer.  There's even a herd of longhorn cattle there. And visit the old Sauer-Beckmann Farmstead. Folks in period clothing will be popping in and out of there all day long doing old-time chores while you just relax.


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