Texas Travel

Destinations at the Edges of Texas

By Haley Shapley 8.14.17

When you consider just how big Texas is — it covers more than 268,000 square miles and is almost double the size of Germany — it’s understandable if you haven’t made it to every nook and cranny yet. But there are some delightful spots on the fringes of the state that you shouldn’t miss. So buckle up for a long ride when you hit the road this summer. It may not always be easy to get to the edge, but it’s worth the effort.

Sabine National Forest

East: Sabine National Forest

Get out into nature for a real wilderness experience at Sabine National Forest, the easternmost of Texas’ national forests. You can choose developed campgrounds or primitive camping for your Piney Woods adventure, depending on your family’s comfort level. Highlights include fishing, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, and boating at the Toledo Bend Reservoir.

Northeast: Caddo Lake

Rent a canoe and paddle slowly through the winding network of bayous, sloughs, and ponds of Caddo Lake State Park, on the northeast Texas-Louisiana border. Surrounded by cypress trees dripping with Spanish moss, this mysterious East Texas lake is home to alligators and owls — and maybe even Bigfoot, as the rumors go.

edge of the lone star state

North: Lake Texoma

Located on Texas’ Oklahoma border, the “Playground of the West” is a popular place for boating, picnicking, camping, horseback riding, and especially fishing — here, you can cast your line for anything from catfish to crappie and bass to bluegill. The lake was created by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and is the 12th-largest federal reservoir. If you’re a bird watcher, you won’t want to miss the bald eagles, wild turkeys, Canada and snow geese, and shorebirds that migrate here.

South: Boca Chica Beach

A beach unlike any other, Boca Chica has the typical sandy expanses, but it also boasts saline flats, mangrove marshes, and dunes swept together from windblown clay. Boca Chica, located in a “wildlife corridor” where the Rio Grande spills into the Gulf of Mexico, is part of a national wildlife refuge. The valley is home to the ocelot, a rare wildcat that used to roam Texas, now endangered to a population of around 50. If you’re lucky, you may also spot the endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle, the rarest and smallest species of sea turtles, nesting this summer.

edge of the lone star state

West: Big Bend National Park

Way out in West Texas, Big Bend beckons visitors with star-filled skies, day hikes through the Chisos Mountains, scenic drives past historic sites, and bird-watching opportunities everywhere you go. In the summertime, look for the Colima warbler, a species that can’t be found anywhere else in the U.S. Even when other attractions are crowded, you’re sure to find peace and quiet out here.

Before you take off on your road trip, make sure everything’s in order with this road trip checklist.

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