While many parts of the nation bundle up come winter months, the state of Texas stays comparably mild. Sure, in recent years there’s the occasional surprise snow flurry here and there, but that should do nothing to deter you from putting this Gulf Coast state down on your list of places to beat the winter blues. And if you’re at a loss as to just where to focus your attentions with so much range to cover, we’ve got some suggestions for outdoorsy things to do in Texas to save your from sure cabin fever.
For one, consider a visit to a national park. Texas has two, Big Bend, along the border with Mexico, and Guadalupe Mountains National Park, roughly 300 miles to the north. In either park you might see a winter storm rattle through, but so long as you pack in cold weather gear you could be treated to a peaceful hike through snow-dusted desert in solitude.
Looking rather for things to do in Texas closer to open water? Less crowded during winter months, the Lone Star State’s beaches can be just as beautiful on short December days as they are mid-summer. Temperatures are lower, of course, but popular beach destinations like South Padre Island, Galveston and Corpus Christi stay relatively busy year round - spend Mardi Gras in Galveston if you need convincing. And though you might want a wet suit, you’ll find you have good company in windsurfers, even when the skies are sultry, otherwise you can stay dry and still spend time on the water with a day of offshore fishing. If that’s not relaxing enough, definitely plan to while away lazy days beach combing along the sands of Padre Island National Seashore, where winters are usually short and mild.
And finally, for wildlife watchers, kayakers and campers, there’s no overlooking Big Thicket National Preserve, an extremely diverse UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in southeastern Texas. Between a winter climate that hovers somewhere around the low 60’s and miles of woodsy hiking trails on offer, this is a natural choice for birds, birders and hikers alike.
So don’t let those winter months drive you on to some foreign destination to the south. Try Texas, and you might be pleasantly surprised to find yourself a regular “Winter Texan” without much arm twisting.