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14 Great State Parks Near Dallas

If you are looking for state parks in Dallas or even state parks near Dallas, you are in the right place!

The great state of Texas is home to 80 state parks, each with its own unique geography and flora, fauna, and wildlife native to the Lone Star State.

Texas state parks offer visitors the opportunity to enjoy some time outdoors.

Whether you are visiting these state parks near Dallas as a weekend getaway or part of adding it to your Texas road trip itinerary, these parks near Dallas won’t disappoint.

These North Texas state parks are great for hiking, camping, swimming, stargazing, fishing, and more.

Each of these state parks offers a fun and unique experience, and thanks to the Texas state parks services, you can ensure that all are well maintained.

State parks are great to visit any time of year, and many make great Dallas date ideas.

The spring brings beautiful Texas wildflowers, while the winter months could find the parks covered in snow.

No matter when you choose to visit, the state parks in Dallas are always ready to welcome you to the great outdoors!

These are truly some of the best places to visit in Texas and some awesome places to experience fall in Texas!

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    Entrance To State Parks In Dallas

    sunset over lake-Dallas beaches

    Texas state parks charge an admission fee, which varies depending on the park you visit.

    If you love the state parks of Texas and plan on visiting several, consider purchasing an annual park pass from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

    An annual pass gives you unlimited access to 89 state parks yearly. At the time of publication, a pass costs $70.

    State Parks Near Dallas Within a 2-Hour Drive

    Cedar Hill State Park- 30 min

    Joe Pool Lake

    Head about half an hour south of Dallas, as you will find the closest state parks in Dallas to the city.

    Cedar Hill State Park is on the edge of Joe Pool Lake, one of our favorite lakes in Dallas!

    This is one of the Dallas State Parks that offers visitors many different activities to enjoy!

    Offering 350 campsites and nearly 600 acres of land to explore, it is easy to find your little spot in paradise when visiting Cedar Hill State Park.

    One of the top things to do at Cedar Hill State Park is to enjoy direct access to Joe Pool Lake.

    This offers visitors the perfect opportunity to enjoy fishing, boating, and, of course, swimming at the swimming beach, one of the Dallas beaches!

    There are also numerous hiking and biking trails at Cedar Hill State Park.

    You can also take a self-guided Penn Farm Agricultural Center tour at Cedar Hill Park.

    Cedar Hill State Park should be on your list of parks to visit!

    Entry fees are $7 per adult for a day pass and $5 for overnight. Children 12 and under are free.

    Read Next: 19 Texas State Parks Near San Antonio

    Cleburne State Park- 1 hour

    sunset over lake at Cleburne State Park-one of the state parks near Dallas
    Photo courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife

    Cleburne State Park is located about an hour from downtown Dallas, making it an easy day trip out of the city.

    This Texas state park is fabulous to visit during the springtime when it is often covered in beautiful Texas bluebonnets.

    Of course, a visit to Cleburne State Park is great any time of year.

    At this state park, you can enjoy hiking, fishing, or bird watching.

    A unique offering at Cleburne State Park is the 6-mile mountain biking loop!

    Lake Ray Roberts State Park- 1 hour

    sunset over lake Ray Roberts-state parks in Dallas
    Photo courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife

    Head about an hour north of downtown Dallas to find Lake Ray Roberts State Park.

    Ray Roberts Lake’s popular weekend escape allows visitors to enjoy time fishing, hiking, and horseback riding.

    One of the best things to do at Lake Ray Roberts is to enjoy the great swimming area. Honestly, it feels more like a day at one of the great beaches in Texas than stuck in North Texas.

    Ray Roberts Lake is also a park near Dallas that is great for spotting wildlife. The abundant wildlife here is due to the diverse ecosystems and terrain in the area.

    Be on the lookout for bald eagles in the winter months and roadrunners and armadillos during the summer months when visiting Ray Roberts Lake!

    The park charges $7 per adult for a day pass. Children 12 and under are free.

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    Purtis Creek State Park- 1 hour

    Photo Courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife

    Angles love visiting Purtis Creek State Park as this state park is huge on catch-and-release fishing.

    The fact that you don’t need a fishing license to fish here is a nice draw, as are the facilities available for cleaning the fish you choose to keep.

    Located about an hour from Dallas, you can easily visit this state park for a quick and easy getaway from the city.

    Entrance to this park costs $5 per adult for a day pass. Children 12 and under are free.

    Eisenhower State Park- 1 hour

    Photo courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife

    Another state park near Dallas, Eisenhower State Park, is located about an hour north of downtown Dallas, near the Oklahoma border.

    This state park offers families a fun day outdoors. Bring your fishing equipment or rent some from the park to enjoy a day of fishing.

    Fishing isn’t the only recreational activity offered here, though. Eisenhower State Park is home to miles of trails, too.

    This park’s unique feature is the backcountry, where you can drive dirt bikes or ATVs. Now, that’s some true outdoor fun!

    The park rangers here also host several fun events throughout the year. These outdoor activities keep people returning again and again.

    The park entrance fee is $5 per adult, and children 12 and under get free entrance.

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    Lake Tawakoni State Park- 1 hour

    lake and bridge at one of the lakes in Dallas

    You can get your nature fix when you visit Lake Tawakoni State Park. Animals spotted here include foxes, bobcats, and cougars.

    Of course, fishing is popular here, too—so popular that it has been dubbed a “fisherman’s paradise.”

    Anglers have been known to catch largemouth bass, striped bass, crappie, catfish, and more. So, grab your tackle boxes and head to this park for a fun outdoor adventure.

    And remember, you don’t need a fishing license when fishing from the land or a fishing pier on state park property.

    In addition to the fishing and wildlife spotting, Lake Tawakoni State Park also offers mountain biking trails, geocaching, and more than 376 acres of land to explore.

    If you want to include an overnight stay during your visit, you can enjoy a primitive campsite or campsite with amenities here.

    The lake’s natural beauty allows you to enjoy some time on the water or the more than four miles of shoreline.

    Driving distance to this state park is about an hour from downtown Dallas, Texas.

    Fees are $5 per adult. Children 12 and under are free.

    Lake Mineral Wells State Park- 1 hour

    Another state park near Dallas, Lake Mineral Wells State Park, is the ultimate destination for adventure seekers.

    People flock to Lake Mineral Wells to try their hand at rock climbing! Boasting one of the area’s only natural rock climbing sites, this is an outdoor paradise.

    Even the trails here are geared toward a slightly more active crowd, as they range in difficulty and have diverse terrain.

    Located 45 minutes west of Fort Worth, Lake Mineral Wells State Park also has a 640-acre lake with boat ramp access.

    It is important to note that this lake does not allow skiing, tubing, or jet skis.

    If you want to turn this into a weekend trip near Dallas, consider staying at one of their campsites or equestrian campsites.

    The cost to visit is $7 per adult for a day pass. Children 12 and under are free.

    Read Next: 23 Fabulous Things to Do in Corpus Christi, TX

    Cooper Lake State Park- 1.5 hours

    Photo courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife

    Cooper Lake State Park is about 1.5 hours from Dallas and offers a great getaway from the city.

    The creeks that run alongside Cooper Lake offer great opportunities for fishing, hiking, biking, and more.

    Other popular activities here include riding the equestrian trails and geocaching.

    Entrance fees are $5 per adult for a day pass. Children 12 and under get in free.

    Dinosaur Valley State Park – 1.5 hours

    Driving distance from Downtown Dallas. Texas to Dinosaur Valley State Park is 80 miles or about 1.5 hours.

    Dinosaur Valley State Park is one of the most unique and best state parks near Dallas, thanks to the dinosaur tracks frozen in time here!

    People flock to Dinosaur Valley State Park to see firsthand the dinosaur tracks fossilized in the Paluxy River.

    In addition to the tracks, the Paluxy River offers visitors a way to escape the Texas heat, as they can swim or kayak in the river.

    During heavy rain, take the trailhead marked Wildcat Hollow Waterfall to one of the nice waterfalls in Texas.

    Of all the state parks, this North Texas park is probably the best one for horseback riding. There are equestrian campsites and miles of trails to explore horseback.

    If you don’t have your own horse, don’t worry. A private equestrian company is on-site and will gladly take you on a guided horseback ride.

    Entrance is $7 per adult. Children 12 and under are free.

    Read Next: Driving From Dallas To San Antonio: Tips and Stops

    Fort Richardson State Park- 1.5 hours

    Photo courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife

    Fort Richardson State Park is a great state park to visit if you are a history lover, thanks to the historic buildings on site.

    You can visit the historic Fort Richardson, a Civil War fort built in 1867. The property includes a hospital, officer’s quarters, a guardhouse, and a bakery.

    Located within driving distance of Dallas and Fort Worth, this state park has a rich history and offers numerous outdoor activities.

    There are miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails and areas to enjoy swimming and fishing.

    If you want to spend the night here, you can stay in the cabins or on-site campsites.

    Adults pay a $4 per person entry fee, but children 12 and under are admitted free.

    Tyler State Park – 1.5 hours

    Tyler State Park is a great state park located near Dallas.

    Tyler State Park is a fabulous state park offering a 64-acre lake surrounded by gorgeous pine trees.

    Lake Tyler offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy a day on the water. Here, you can enjoy a day of fishing or lounging in the sun.

    If you don’t have a boat, don’t worry. You can rent a boat on-site!

    In addition, there is a great picnic area, screened shelters, cabins, and campsites to enjoy.

    Of course, you can also explore the 13 miles of trails intertwined throughout the property.

    The entrance fee is $6 per adult. Children 12 and under are free.

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    Lake Texoma State Park

    Head north of Dallas toward Oklahoma, and you will find Lake Texoma, one of the best lakes in Texas, bordering the two states.

    As the second largest lake in the state, Lake Texoma offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy a day out on the water.

    Lake recreational activities are popular here. You will see people skiing, swimming, wakeboarding, and boat riding.

    Of course, like most Texas lakes, fishing is also popular here, especially for striped bass.

    No matter what you choose to do, a day out at Texoma is a great day for sure!

    Dallas State Parks Within a 2-3 Hour Drive

    Possum Kingdom State Park- 2 hours 15 min

    Located about two hours west of Dallas-Fort Worth, Possum Kingdom State Park is a great place to spend a day outdoors.

    The biggest draw to Possum Kingdom is the lake! Beautiful Possum Kingdom Lake is the perfect lake to try your hand at some water sports.

    People flock to Possum Kingdom to wakeboard, ski, jet ski, and fish. If you don’t own your own water toys, don’t worry—all of these are available to rent!

    This state park offers primitive campsites and some great lakeside cabins (complete with air conditioning).

    Possum Kingdom is also a popular location for scuba diving and snorkeling, thanks to its clear water.

    During your visit, be on the lookout for wildlife. There are deer everywhere!

    Possum Kingdom State Park charges $4 per adult for day passes, and children 12 and under can visit for free.

    Read Next: Lakes in Houston That Are Worth a Visit

    Caddo Lake State Park- 2.5 hours

    lake with cypress trees

    Visiting Caddo Lake State Park makes you feel like you have been transported far from Texas.

    The area is covered with bald cypress trees dripping with Spanish moss that looks as if you are in the bayou of Louisiana, not Texas.

    Located about 2.5 hours east of Dallas-Fort Worth, Caddo Lake is the perfect place to spend a weekend in nature.

    Popular activities here include fishing, kayaking, and hiking. Do note that there are designated swimming areas here, as alligators are known to be in this lake.

    If you want to take a tour of the lake (and possibly see an alligator or two), then be sure to book one of the tours offered of the lake.

    Facilities at Caddo Lake include historic cabins, screened shelters, campsites, and a group hall that can be rented.

    After you have had your fill of exploring the lake, be sure to hike the forest land that surrounds the lake.

    Admission is $4 per adult. Children 12 and under are free.

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    Michelle Snell founder of That Texas Couple and Totally Texas Travel

    About The Author

    Michelle Snell is a travel writer, history buff, wine lover, and enthusiast of different cultures. Michelle enjoys bringing places to life through her informative writing style on her blogs, That Texas Couple and Totally Texas Travel.  Her practical tips and suggestions help make travel dreams a reality while immersing her readers in the history, culture, and food of a region.  She is happiest sipping wine in Italy or chilling on a beach with her husband, Marty.

    Alex

    Saturday 4th of June 2022

    Texas is such a beautiful state! You showcase it so well. Thank you for sharing these state parks!