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Riley Heruska
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Photo taken in Big Bend National Park

Believe it or not, our state is filled with many stunning natural sights. Texas is home to 54 state parks, two national parks, ten national wildlife refuges, a national seashore, and so much more. Chances are, you've only glimpsed the raw beauty of this big state. Take this summer to explore some of our most impressive wonders! Here are some of the top locations to check out. 

Big Bend National Park 

Far out in West Texas lies a national park packed with rivers, canyons, and breath-taking open skies. Big Bend is home to hundreds of bird species and holds a slice of our state that is truly unforgettable. Visiting this magical place is sure to remind you how important it is to spend time outside, exploring the place we call home. Hike, kayak, camp, or do whatever outdoor activity you love. 

Hamilton Pool Preserve 

This natural swimming pool is truly a gem of Texas. Although you do have to make a reservation in advance during the summer months, the planning is totally worth it. Take in the limestone outcroppings and impressive 50-foot waterfall as you take a break from the heat in the cool water. You can also explore the surrounding areas to find pretty wildflowers or relax with their picnic tables. 
 
Hueco Tanks State Park 

If you're an outdoor enthusiast, this might be the place for you. Tackle everything from rock climbing to bird watching as you enjoy the rocky hills of West Texas. You can also marvel at the relics of ancient people who once called the area home. 

The Devil's Sinkhole 

This national landmark houses one of Texas' largest colonies of bats, and you can witness them departing from the huge cavern mouth after the sun sets. There are also tours to see the sinkhole, hiking trails you can visit, and more than a thousand acres of wild land to explore. The area has a partnership with Kickapoo Cavern State Park, so you can also check out the fun activities there. 

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area 

The natural area has been called "magical and mystical" by many viewers, and it's easy to see why when you look upon the massive pink dome that rises above Central Texas. As you hike around the area, you can take in the amazing scenery and rock formations, and you absolutely must do some star gazing. 

Jacob's Well 

The limestone caves and passage segments of Central Texas have come together to form one of the longest underwater cave systems in the state. The colorful water has been enchanting visitors for ages, and during the summer you can swim in the pool if you make reservations in advance. Trust me, you'll want to bring a camera to capture the beauty of this unique artesian spring. 

Palo Duro Canyon State Park 

This state park lies in the Texas Panhandle and is home to the country's second largest canyon. The rugged rocks and gorgeous sunsets will take your breath away. Feel free to explore the canyon however you want: by foot, on mountain bikes, by horse, or by car! You can also camp and enjoy the surrounding wildlife. 

Guadalupe Peak 

Within the Guadalupe Mountain Range, there is a trail that will lead you to the "Top of Texas." At 8,751 feet, the Peak isn't an easy destination to reach. Much of the trail is quite steep, and the trip will take you a full day, but the view is definitely worth the climb. 

Caddo Lake 

Far in East Texas lies a lake that barely even looks like it belongs in our state. Covered by huge cypress trees and Spanish moss, the maze of bayous will definitely make you feel like you've stepped outside of your normal surroundings. You can camp, picnic, fish, kayak, or just explore the place on foot. Just be careful of the alligators that like to lurk beneath the surface... 

Caverns of Sonora 

If you're ever in the Texas Hill Country, you have to stop by these incredible caves. Take a guided tour through the beautiful caverns and experience the wonders up close and personal. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and bring your camera because you'll want to explore every nook and cranny. There are 360 stairs down to a depth of 155 feet below the surface, so prepare for an adventure when you visit these caverns. 

Gorman Falls

Colorado Bend State Park is home to the marvelous Gorman Falls and a plethora of unspoiled wildlife. Some would call the falls the "most beautiful attraction in Texas," and hundreds of people travel to view them every year. Be sure to take advantage of the hiking trails, and have fun taking in this natural attracition. 

What other beautiful places do you love to visit in our Lone Star state? Share in the comments below! 

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