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8 State Parks in East Texas Where You Can Unplug and Enjoy Nature
Despite my job as a Texas photographer and writer, I hadn’t visited many of East Texas’ state parks in years. In 2016, when University of Texas Press asked me to revise my 2008 guidebook, Official Guide to Texas State Parks and Historic Sites, I seized my opportunity and hit the road. The experience was a bit like renewing old friendships; I not only saw things I remembered from previous visits, but I also found new surprises. Here are some highlights from my East Texas favorites.
4 Must-See Fall Foliage Spots in Texas
Fall color takes the right kind of trees, meaning deciduous hardwoods. These types of trees practice a sort of winter hibernation, turning off production of chlorophylls, a green pigment in the leaves responsible for producing energy for the tree. Without that green, other leaf pigments become visible, including yellow xanthophyll and orange carotenoids, or the leaf turns shades of brown. Some of the best color comes from Texas red oaks and other oaks, flameleaf sumac, cedar elm, cottonwoods, walnut, sycamore, and, of course, maples—all trees found only in certain parts of the state, at least in any significant numbers.
The Spectacular Wow!
Nothing says spring in Texas like bluebonnets, paintbrushes, and other familiar wildflowers. Some years these blooms merely whisper the season’s arrival, their voices muted by drought or unseasonal temperatures, but other times they trumpet the news with great swaths of vivid color as far as the eye can see.
This spring promises to be closer to a shout than a whisper, but either way there will be wildflowers somewhere, sometime. Nature is nothing if not resilient and, this being Texas, she seems capable of handling more than we might expect. In our annual wildflower drive article, we endeavor to send you places where you’ll see the beauty of wildflowers and find plenty of other diversions to make for a great trip. We also try to cover parts of the state you might not think of when it comes to wildflowers and where you may sometimes have to work a bit harder for that photo-worthy payoff.