Since I first heard they had yurts for overnight camping, I’ve had Abilene State Park on my extremely long and complicated “to-go-to” list. I mean, who wouldn’t want to stay in a yurt?
After spending a fun afternoon in Abilene at Frontier Texas!, we drove out to the state park, which is located just minutes south of town. From downtown Abilene, you can see the silhouettes of the Callahan Divide, a low range of hills, in the distance. We were excited as we drove closer and closer to them, heading to the park.
We made it!
After a quick drive through the park, we found our yurt! Yurts were used for centuries in Asia by nomads, but the yurts at the park are permanent, with a concrete floor and electricity. The site includes a grill, table and a fire ring. The park sells fire wood, but not after 5pm, which is why we had smores in the microwave that night.
Yes, our yurt had a microwave! It also came with a refrigerator, bunk beds and a futon. Hardly camping at all, but we didn’t complain that night as the temperatures dipped into the high 20’s, and we were snug in our beds! The yurts have a “swamp cooler” for summer use, and a space heater. We brought an additional space heater with us, and stayed toasty warm all night!
Okay, here’s a terrible picture I took with my phone of my 3 kids, and one small stuffed bear cuddling on the top bunk, but it shows off my favorite feature of the yurt, the roof! It’s a clear plastic, not open, so the heat didn’t escape, but it was so nice to lay back and watch the stars in the sky! We had a full moon, and were serenaded by coyotes, too! Simply beautiful evening!
And here is what we saw when we woke up! Our campsite was full of deer!
A couple of tips about the yurts:
- During the summer, make your reservations well in advance.
- No bedding, etc is provided, so bring your own sheets, blankets, pillows,etc. If traveling with kids, a broom comes in handy, too.
- The restrooms are located across the street, with #1 being the closest yurt to them.
The next morning we decided to do some exploring around the park, which opened in 1934 and has many structures built in the 30’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, like the concession stand next to the pool.
As of June, 2016 the swimming pool has been repaired and is OPEN!! I love that it’s SO big, and 12′ deep at the end with 2 diving boards! There is also a wading pool for younger children.
Across from the pool is a huge field, and my little 6 year old said he just wanted to run for awhile, which he did. There is also a sand volleyball court, a baseball field and a playground. And deer. There were deer everywhere. They seemed to enjoy watching my little guy as he ran.
We stayed here a couple of hours, my kids exploring and I sat, soaking up the warm rays of the sun. It was a near perfect day!
Hiking and Biking
We enjoyed a nice little walk along a nature trail near the campsites, about 1.5 miles long. Not only did we walk up on some deer, but a young armadillo rooting around right off the track. There is a longer trail, about 5 miles, that winds around Lake Abilene, however it was closed during our visit for a youth hunt.
Buffalo Wallow is a small fishing pond located inside the park. Because it is entirely in the park boundary, you do not need a fishing license to fish here. My kids were excited because the park had just been stocked the day before our visit with trout! The trout are a cold water species, and the lakes are stocked with them for the catching and keeping, as they will not survive during the hot summer.
Lake Abilene, which is also located in the state park and does not require a fishing license, offers good fishing for crappie, largemouth bass and catfish. Click HERE for fishing regulations. There is a fishing pier, and several places where you can fish from the bank. There are two boat ramps in the park, also.
Canoes and Kayaks
Visitors can rent canoes and kayaks at the boat house on Lake Abilene.
Abilene Things To Do
Buffalo Gap Historical Village lets you step back in time to pioneer Texas with hands-on interactivie exhibits! Click HERE to read more!
Abilene Zoo has plenty of animals, giraffe feeding station and a fun little train ride! Click HERE to read more!
Since 1947, Play Faire Park has been providing miniature golf to West Texas! The course is still fun! Click HERE to visit their website.
Perrini Ranch Steakhouse. It’s amazing! Click HERE to find out why!
Abilene State Park
150 Park Rd 32, Tuscola,
Click HERE to visit their website.
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