Austin, Texas

Top Outdoor Activities to Do in Texas

Texas is a massive state. In fact, it is the largest state in the southern United States, encompassing nearly 300,000 square miles. Also called the Lone Star State, Texas is known for its vast cattle ranches, rich oil fields, and large thriving cities, such as Houston, Dallas, and our favorite Austin. We spent Meg’s 30th birthday in Texas a couple years ago and vowed to get back soon.

Texas also offers many beautiful natural areas where you can enjoy horseback riding, birdwatching, rafting, hiking, or kayaking. Discover the following top four destinations for outdoor activities located throughout the magnificent state of Texas. 

Trying to narrow down the areas we want to visit was starting to feel daunting. Do we want to rent a car? Do we want to camp? Are there hotels near the things we want to see? Then we found RV Share, an incredible RV rental service. They have so many options, everything from a pull behind to driveable RV’s. I’m most excited that we found pet-friendly options, hello long overdue dachshund friendly vacation! Since we’ll have a hotel on wheels we can hit all of these epic spots.


Take a Horseback Ride in Palo Duro Canyon   

Known as the grand canyon of Texas, Palo Duro Canyon is a colorful and rugged canyon set in the Texas Panhandle. With more than 30 miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails to explore, Palo Duro Canyon is an ideal destination for any outdoor enthusiast. We’re excited to be traveling by horseback. We’ve been told it’s a fun way to explore the canyon. Saddle up with a horse provided by Old West Stables and let your guide take you on a stunning tour through this colorful and magnificent canyon.

Southwestern Texas: Go Rafting in Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park lies in the southwest section of Texas. The Rio Grande River runs through it. Floating down the river is one of the best ways to experience this rugged park. Book a guided tour with Big Bend River Tours for a half-day or multi-day raft trip. I was on a rafting tour at Ohiopyle State Park in Pennsylvania as a kid and have been dying to do it again. Here your rafting trip will take you through the canyons carved by the Rio Grande River where you can enjoy the thrill of riding through rapids or the tranquility of simply floating along and admiring the amazing views.

Central Texas: Bird Watch at the Trinity River Audubon Center

The Trinity River Audubon Center is located outside of Lancaster, Texas. This 130-acre site is home to the Great Trinity Forest, the largest urban hardwood forest in the United States. The diverse ecosystems that are part of the Trinity River Audubon Center include bottomland hardwood forests, wetlands, and a prairie habitat. 

To see a vast array of bird species, take an early morning birding tour with guides who are extremely knowledgeable of the birds that inhabit the area. Since the tour takes place early in the morning, you will enjoy staying in the town of Lancaster, a place which offers plenty of comfortable lodging options for when we just need a night or two off of the RV  in a room hopefully with a bathtub. Hey, a girl can dream.  When you wake up, you only have to drive a few minutes to the center for your amazing birding experience.

The Rio Grande River running through Santa Elena Canyon at Big Bend National Park in Texas. A hiker rests by the riverbank in the lower right, facing away from the camera.

Eastern Texas: Canoe the Swamps in Big Thicket National Preserve

The Big Thicket National Preserve calls southeastern Texas home. In 1981, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) dedicated this site to become an International Biosphere Reserve due to its rich and complex diversity.

The fascinating and slightly mysterious black water swamp makes the Big Thicket National Preserve one of the largest attractions. You can kayak or canoe along paddling “trails” that wind past knobby-kneed cypress trees loaded with overhanging Spanish moss. Paddle through the Niches River and into Pine Island Bayou to see many diverse species of water birds, fish, and interesting mammals such as flying squirrels, beavers, nutrias, and armadillos. 

Whether enjoying hiking, horseback riding, rafting, or kayaking, Texas has plenty of outdoor activities for you to enjoy.

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