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Whether you’re seeking adventure or tranquility, Texas offers a bounty of natural wonders. Visitors can step into frontier-days history and presidential history. You can step where mammoths walked. You can experience the serene bayous of the Big Thicket, the vast Gulf coast and the remote banks of the Rio Grande. Start your adventure with this brief look at all 16 Texas sites:
Big Bend National Park
Along the Rio Grande border, Big Bend National Park represents the largest national park in the state and, with over three quarters of a million acres, the 14th largest in the country.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
The Guadalupe Mountains shelter springs, salt basins and gypsum dunes, fossils, native plants and animals, and over 300 species of birds.
Rio Grande Wild & Scenic River
A seven-day raft trip down the Wild & Scenic River stretch of the Rio Grande bisects some of the most remote wilderness in Texas.
Padre Island National Seashore
Padre Island National Seashore is located on the longest barrier island in the world.
Fort Davis National Historic Site
The Fort Davis military post, established in 1854 and serving the Texas frontier until 1891, provided a strategic defense, protecting settlers, mail coaches, wagon trains and travelers enduring the San Antonio-El Paso road.
Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park
Palo Alto honors the memory of American and Mexican soldiers who fought and died in the first battle of the U.S.-Mexican War of 1846.
Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park
Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park honors the nation’s 36th president and tells the life story of Johnson and his LBJ Ranch.
San Antonio Missions National Historical Park
Composed of four of the five missions built during Spain’s colonization efforts beginning in the 17th century. (No. 5 is the Alamo.) All five achieved UNESCO World Heritage site designation in 2015.
Big Thicket National Preserve
Big Thicket is a patchwork of preserves conserving the remaining native longleaf pine forests and cypress bayous in East Texas.
Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument
The Quarries preserve a prehistoric site (13,000 years old) where mammoth hunters once gathered stone for their tools.
Waco Mammoth National Monument
The Waco Mammoth site, designated a national park by President Barack Obama in 2015, represents the nation’s only recorded discovery of the fossils of a nursery herd of Columbian mammoths that lived approximately 67,000 years ago.
Amistad National Recreation Area
Amistad National Recreation Area comprises the American side of the International Amistad Reservoir shared with Mexico. Fishing, boating, camping and hiking share the recreation area with rock art, part of a robust cultural history.
Lake Meredith National Recreation Area
Lake Meredith, a 10,000-acre reservoir along the Canadian River, makes up much of this recreation area.
El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail
Texas and Louisiana
El Camino Real de los Tejas represents 300 years of Louisiana and Texas frontier history on a Spanish colonial road that once extended all the way to Mexico City.
El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail
New Mexico and Texas
The historic Spanish colonial trade route begins at the San Juan Pueblo in northern New Mexico, goes to El Paso, then continues into Mexico and terminates in Mexico City.
Chamizal National Memorial
Chamizal memorializes the peaceful settlement of a 100-year border dispute between the U.S. and Mexico.