In a state where the stars at night are known for being big and bright, summer is the optimal time for viewing the Milky Way, when it is high in the southern sky and viewable through much of the night. State parks—such as Pedernales Falls State Park near Johnson City, where the night sky reflects in the still waters of the Pedernales River—are often far enough from light pollution for decent observation. Some of the best state parks for nighttime viewing are Big Bend Ranch, Enchanted Rock, Copper Breaks, and South Llano River, which are all designated International Dark Sky Parks by the International Dark-Sky Association.
Free access to the beach is available at multiple points between Surfside Beach and San Luis Pass along Bluewater Highway. During the summer, the water temperatures are usually a balmy low- to mid-80 degrees—perfect for fishing, swimming, horseback riding, birding, and camping on the beach.