With a vacation rental in Texas, you have access to National Historic Sites such as the San Antonio Missions and the El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro Trail, as well as hiking in National Parks such as the Guadalupe Mountains and Big Bend. These locations are great for family activities, such as scuba diving, kayaking, and junior ranger programs. Here are Tripping.com’s top 10 national parks in Texas.

1. Big Thicket National Preserve

Located in Beaumont, which is in the southeastern part of Texas, the Big Thicket National Preserve features nine ecosystems. Go hiking and explore 40 miles of trails. Participate in a ranger-led program and challenge your kids to earn a Junior Ranger badge. You can also go kayaking through creeks and on the Neches River.

2. Amistad National Recreation Area

If you’re looking to go scuba diving, swimming, and sunbathing, head over to Lake Amistad, which is part of the Amistad National Recreation Area. It’s a popular spot for scuba diving since the water is extremely clear, allowing divers to see submerged caves and other rock formations. You can also go camping, fishing, boating, and hiking.

3. Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument

If your vacation rental is in or near Fritch, Texas, make sure to visit the Alibates Flint Quarries. The site is an astonishing 13,000 years old and features petroglyphs and colorful flint. Head to the Alibates Visitor Center when you arrive to see exhibits and learn about ranger-led hikes.

4. Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Guadalupe Mountains National Park is a beautiful place to visit since it includes dunes, the desert, canyons, and mountains. There are over 80 miles of hiking trails. Devil’s Hall Trail is a 3.8 mile trail that weaves through canyon walls. For a more challenging hike, take the Guadalupe Peak Trail to see beautiful views at a height of 3,000 feet.

5. Padre Island National Seashore

Located in Corpus Christi, Texas, the Padre Island National Seashore is known for being the site of ancient Spanish shipwrecks, having over 380 species of birds, and the separation between Laguna Madre and the Gulf of Mexico. You can watch a sea turtle hatchling release, go camping, or kayak the Laguna Madre.

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6. San Antonio Missions

If you’re looking to learn more about the history of South Texas, make sure to visit the San Antonio Missions. You can go along the Mission Riverwalk Hike and Bike Trail, go kayaking on the San Antonio River, and challenge your kids to become Junior Rangers.

7. El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail

Also known as the “Royal Road of the Interior Lands”, this National Historic Trail goes for over 400 miles through Texas and New Mexico. The trail is one of the oldest in America and linked the Spanish territory in America to Mexico.

8. Big Bend National Park

Big Bend is a National Park with a seemingly endless number of activities, some of which include day hikes, biking, kayaking the Rio Grande, and going on scenic drives through the park. There are more than 150 miles of hiking trails along the river, Chisos Mountains, and in the desert.

9. Fort Davis National Historic Site

Learn more about the Indian War by visiting Fort Davis, which was a military post from 1854 to 1891. The fort has special events throughout the year, including Junior Ranger days, small arms demonstrations, and lantern tours. If you have kids age 4 through 14, they can become junior rangers by going on a park scavenger hunt.

10. Lake Meredith National Recreation Area

Lake Meredith is a National Recreation Area in Fritch, Texas. Look for reptiles such as Collared Lizards and Ornate Box Turtles or go hunting for turkey, quail, white-tailed deer, and more. You can also go hiking on the Harbor Bay Trail, Mullinaw Trail, or the challenging South Turkey Creek Trail.

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