Brazos Bend State Park

We spent the weekend camping, playing and not fishing at Brazos Bend State Park, located about an hour south of downtown Houston!  We had an amazing time, just look at all there is to do!

Know Before You Go

If you are planning to camp, make reservations early, as the park fills up quickly on weekends and holidays.

Camping

Brazos Bend State Park offers some beautiful campsites, far away from any alligators, for tent and RV camping.  After a dinner on the grill and a relaxing evening sitting around the campfire, we slept in our tent under some beautiful old pecan trees.  As do most state parks, Brazos Bend also offers shelter camping.  Shelters are great because you don’t need a tent, just cots or air mattresses since they are empty inside.  I loved this Shelter #1, because it’s right next to the playground, a huge plus when camping with kids!

It also comes with a couple of roommates who live in the attic, three cute baby squirrels!  This one was so curious, he kept coming out to look at us.  Like a good roommate, they stayed in their room, and can’t get into the shelter!

 

Hiking and Biking

If you love to hike or bike, or just watch animals, you have got to visit Brazos Bend!  The park offers over 30 miles for hiking and biking, some paved trail and most off road but easy as the terrain is mostly level.  The very LONG roads through the park make for excellent riding, too!  The park itself covers over 5,000 acres !  It’s BYOB (Bring Your Own Bike) because the park doesn’t rent them, although they should!  My kids loved climbing the observation tower on one of the trails!

The trails are beautiful as they wrap around the 6 lakes in the park.  Much of the trails are wooded, under some beautiful oak trees draped in moss!


In addition to the trails being beautiful, there is the wildlife!  We spotted our first alligator under the fishing pier!  My four year old was so excited, and cried because he wanted to take him home!

We also came across a mother alligator eating a fish and her babies hanging out around her. In all, I think we counted about 12, and they are so adorable!

But we saw some large gators, too!  We spotted this crazy guy trying his skill as an alligator whisperer while we were in the observation tower!  He should have stayed on the trail like he was told, but the alligator thought he was delicious!  Just kidding, that’s my husband.


Of course, there is lots of other windlife in the park.  We saw some amazing ducks, birds and waterfowl!  It looks like this silly turtle is posing for us, but he’s really just stretching his limbs out, trying to catch as much sun as possible on the overcast day.  Turtles and alligators are both cold blooded, and rely on the heat of the sun to maintain body warmth.

Nature Center
We really enjoyed the park’s nature center, filled with information about the park’s early history.  Covered by a shallow sea millions of years ago, ocean fossils have been found by at nearby Damon Mound Salt Dome, as well as prehistoric arrowheads.  During the years that Texas was under Mexico’s rule, the land was part of one of the first Anglo land grants.
The Nature Center also houses native snakes and reptiles, and has interpretive displays of the parks three major ecosystems.

Inside we met a 13 year old park volunteer “in training” who was showing off the baby alligators.  The babies were hatched in the park, and will be returned to the wild when they are a year old.  Brazos Bend State Park has a terrific volunteer program, and offers classes for those interested.   The volunteers help with the numerous programs being offered in the park.

 George Observatory
We missed the shows at the George Observatory on Saturday, (kid’s darn baseball and soccer games), but I was still excited to get to go see the observatory (and thinking I want to come back when I learn more about the Challenger Learning Center!).
 But this is what we found guarding the trail!
  I can’t tell you how startled I was to see him laying there!  At first, I really thought it was a statue or something.  By the way, I took this picture without using my camera’s zoom or anything, he was THAT close!  We gave him his space, and came back a little later to watch as he slipped in the water, then continued on up to the observatory.

Trees

There are some of the most amazing trees in the park.  Big, beautiful oaks and pecans whose limbs just reach all the way down to the earth!  We sat beneath one and pretended we were the first Texans to live here, when these trees were just tiny seedlings!

 


Brazos Bend State Park   

 21901 FM 762 Rd, Needville

Click HERE to visit their website.    

Click HERE to visit the Friends of Brazos Bend State Park for upcoming events.


Keep Having Fun in the Texas Sun! 

Michelle 

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