Texas state parks ideal for family, group gatherings


More than 70 state parks offer group facilities ranging from large, indoor lodges with kitchens and overnight bunkhouse-style accommodations to cozy cabins and open-air pavilions, some with fireplaces. Some group facilities can be rented for day-use only, while others offer facilities that can be rented for up to two weeks.

Houston area families or groups looking for a quick getaway for a day, for example, can rent either the screened group picnic pavilion that accommodates up to 75 people for $40 or the heated and air-conditioned group recreation hall with a full kitchen than handles up to 200 people for $150 during the week or $250 on weekends.

The view from the hilltop Civilian Conservation Corps-built group facility at Lockhart State Park, less than an hour from Austin, is tough to beat for $200 a day. The limestone recreation hall, which features a full kitchen with a spacious patio and shaded picnic tables, can be used by up to 75 people during the day or 40 people overnight. A minimum two-night rental applies.

Some state parks host family reunions year after year for families that enjoy breathing fresh air and starry skies. Lake Brownwood State Park is one of those family-friendly parks because it offers a handful of different overnight accommodations. Families and other groups can choose from among 16 cabins, four group lodges that sleep from 4 to 26 people and a group camp with a dining hall and four bunkhouses that can accommodate even larger groups. The park's accommodations are especially popular during winter months because of their fireplaces that stoke the holiday spirit.

Check out the cabins, lodges and other group facilities in more than 70 Texas state parks by visiting: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/parkinfo/facilities/lodging/.

Advance reservations for these group facilities must be made by calling the Customer Service Center in Austin at (512) 389-8900. Reservations for individual state park campsites can be made online at http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/business/park_reservations/.

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