Be Thankful for Outdoor Activities!

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on November 24, 2015
Fall in Texas is absolutely glorious. The summer heat finally abates, and the humidity level drops into comfortable ranges. While most parts of the country are too cold in November to enjoy outdoor activities, Texans have it made this time of year. Coastal Mister loves nothing more than seeing people enjoying time outside. Making the outdoors enjoyable is our mission and our passion! Here are three of our favorite fall activities in Texas that will get you out of the house and spending time outside while the weather is clear and crisp, but not yet chilly.

Take a Camping Trip

There are tons of places to go camping in Texas, both near the big cities and hundreds of miles away from anything. Sam Houston National Forest is a great place to camp if you don’t want to spend countless hours in the car, and offers hiking trails, campgrounds, a swimming hole, and recreational activities. All this about 45 minutes north of Houston! RV or tent camping is possible, although very large RVs may have a hard time getting around. The park’s official website provides detailed information about planning a visit.
If you’ve got a bit more time to drive, plan a visit to the Guadalupe River State Park, full of rolling hills and nine miles of the scenic Guadalupe River. During the warmer months, the river is swamped with rowdy crowds of college kids drinking lots of beer and floating the rapids, but it’s much calmer in the fall when it’s too chilly to be in the water. The state park offers campsites for tents and RVs, and there are tons of places nearby – but off the park – where you can rent a cabin for more luxurious accommodations. In the fall, rental rates are low for riverfront properties, so take advantage of them! “Glamping,” or glamorous camping, is a new trend taking Pinterest by storm, where visitors rent a teepee, treehouse, or permanent tent equipped with A/C, a real bed, and running water. If you’re not the type to sleep on the ground, this is a good option, and it’s still more “outdoorsy” than a stay at the Ramada Inn. For more information about camping along the Guadalupe, click here.

Hit the Hiking Trails at Big Bend National Park

Big Bend is known for its hiking trails and scenic vistas, and there’s no better time to visit than in the fall when crowds are thin, mosquitos are few, and the weather is cool. The famous South Bend Trail will take you on a 12-mile loop along the southern edge of the Chisos Mountains. Enjoy views of canyons and cliffs along your way – you can even see across the Rio Grande into the Quemada badlands of Mexico as you make the trek! Trails are clearly marked and not overly difficult, with plenty of switch-backs to accommodate beginners. No serious climbing is necessary. If you want to really take your time, plan a camping trip and stay overnight halfway through the trail, although the whole thing can be completed in one long day. For serious hikers and adventurous spirits, the strenuous Boot Canyon and Lost Mine hiking trails might be more exciting. Both are less than five miles, but quite steep and not for the faint of heart. Beginners and newly-reformed couch potatoes may prefer the quick and easy path on the Window View Trail, which is wheelchair accessible and less than half a mile long. The view of the sunset between the mountains at the end of Window View Trail is breathtaking and worth a visit even if you’re a seasoned hiker. The National Park Service website has tons of tips for planning your visit to Big Bend, including places to sleep, park, and eat.

Go Stargazing in Marfa

While getting to Marfa is a bit of a trek from almost everywhere, it’s well worth the trip to see the amazing night sky views. Marfa’s isolated location means there are no city lights polluting the sky, and the mind boggles over the sheer number of stars visible to the naked eye. Visit the McDonald Observatory’s regular “star parties” to see them up close and personal through high-powered telescopes. Reservations are recommended for these events, although you can visit at other times without booking ahead. The observatory is definitely worth your patronage, but we enjoy the sky views from a sleeping bag or around a campfire just as much. (Plus, you can’t make s’mores inside the observatory. We checked.) One of Marfa’s greatest attractions is the mysterious, famed Marfa Lights. The lights are visible between Marfa and the Paisano Pass when facing southwest, and they appear to twinkle, disappear, move, and split apart. There is a viewing station set up on Highway 67, nine miles out of town, near the site of an old air base where pilots trained during World War II. Nobody knows what causes the strange lights, and popular theories range from UFO activity to ghosts of Spanish conquistadores to luminescent swamp gas (probably the most likely explanation). Regardless of what actually causes the Marfa lights, they are fascinating to witness if you are lucky enough to be there on one of the days they appear. Marfa is also something of a desert retreat for arty types, so there are tons of interesting art galleries (mostly modern and minimalist) to check out during daylight hours while you’re visiting. Click here for more information about getting to Marfa and what to do when you get there.

Fall Activities in Your Own Backyard

Many an adult fondly recalls childhood campouts and touch football games that took place right in their own backyard. Even if you don’t get a chance to take an al fresco getaway this fall, there will be plenty of opportunities to make outdoor memories with your family. Contact Coastal Mister today to set up a consultation to get your backyard ready for at-home outdoor fall activities mosquito- and worry-free.

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