From Sandboarding to Parasailing: Adventures in the Lone Star State

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Leave the desert behind; it’s all bayous and alligators at Caddo Lake State Park, where North Texas meets Louisiana. Moody and mystical, the wetland park is rich in flora and fauna. Spanish moss blankets flooded forests of bald cypress trees, where more than two hundred species of birds (and frogs, beavers and feral pigs) call their homes. With fifty miles of paddling trails to explore by canoe or kayak, it’s an endlessly scenic way to appreciate a different side of Texas.

Biking and Horseback Riding: Palo Duro Canyon

Located on the Panhandle, the “Grand Canyon of Texas” is just as impressive as its cousin to the west, but with far fewer visitors, it remains a hidden treasure. At 120 miles long and stretching up to 20 miles wide, Palo Duro is the second largest canyon in the country. 15,000 acres of hiking and biking trails give you unlimited freedom to explore, as does the 1,500 acres dedicated specifically to horseback riding. While the sweeping canyon vistas, rugged red and yellow rock layers, and marquee landmarks like Lighthouse Rock are the real draws, the park is also a notable wildlife destination; keep your eyes peeled for the Texas horned lizard, wild turkeys, bobcats and roadrunners.

South Padre Island

Parasailing, Kitesurfing and More: South Padre Island

Water sports enthusiasts, South Padre Island awaits you. Whatever your aquatic adventure, you’ll find it here. Parasailing flights, whether done solo or in tandem, propel you 700 feet into the sky, offering views of the island’s white sand beaches, azure blue waters and the island’s bottlenose dolphins. ‘Atlantic leaping below. South Padre Island’s steady winds are ideal for kitesurfing, with calm waters for beginners and gulf waves for serious thrill seekers. Jet-ski, surf, paddle, the longer your trip, the more you will be tempted to try.

Night Zipline: Lake Travis

There’s no equivalent to the adrenaline rush of a zipline, and Lake Travis boasts the longest and fastest zipline in the state. But to really increase the excitement, plan to zip after dark. The “Night Flight” is a three-hour, headlamp-led adventure tour where you’ll ride five different zip lines ranging from 250 feet to over 2,800 feet, culminating in a 20-story drop onto the lake itself . It’s an adventure that’s certainly scenic by day, but absolutely thrilling by night.

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