MY TOP TEXAS DESTINATIONS FOR NOVEMBER
MY TOP TEXAS DESTINATIONS FOR NOVEMBER
I love November in Texas! The hurried pace of October is over, leaving only time to watch the leaves fall and dream of Thanksgiving dinner. These are some of my favorite places to visit in Texas, and I would love to hear about some of your favorites, too!
1. Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, Glen Rose Texas
Amid all the exotic animals at this huge, drive through animal park, my favorites in the fall are the native ones! Beautiful white tail deer come up to your car alongside the antelope, and wild turkeys can be seen throughout the park. Visit the park, spend the night in one of their “safari tents”, the Bunkhouses or for a more luxurious stay, The Lodge. On a previous trip, we stayed in the Bunkhouses, and had a wonderful time! Click HERE for more information.
Spend the weekend and enjoy a visit to Dinosaur Valley State Park, and hike up above the Paluxy River on the Blue Trail to see fossilized coral reef formations from North Texas was a shallow sea. Click HERE to read more.
Glen Rose is also home to several rodeo-type events in November, as well as the McPherson Fiddle Contest.
For a look at beautiful fall foliage, you can’t beat a visit to Lost Maples State Natural Area. The native Bigtooth Maples in their autumn colors last about two weeks in November. Take your camera and a sense of adventure, hiking throughout the park is exciting and a little strenuous due to the rocky terrains and hill country topography. The camp sites are limited, as are the number of cars allowed in the park at one time, and lines can be long, so visit early or on weekdays if possible!
Not all events in Texas are to be celebrated, but should be remembered and memorialized. The Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas chronicles the death of President John F. Kennedy, and the people involved in that sad day in American on November 22, 1963. We visited the museum last year after I finished reading, 11/22/63 by Stephen King, http://havingfuninthetexassun.blogspot.com/2012/03/sixth-floor-museum.html.
A visit to the Sixth Floor Museum isn’t complete without a trip to the Texas Theater to see where Oswald was captured. Although they don’t do tours, and seldom offer family friendly movies, they will be showing the new Star Wars in December! The theater still uses 35mm film, as opposed to digital, and it’s going to be a fun and different way to see the movie, especially if you anticipate your family wanting to see it more than once, like mine!
While in Oak Cliff, grab dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, La Calle Doce, which offers authentic Mexican seafood dishes, as well as Tex-Mex favorites, in one of the areas renovated old homes with a courtyard and a mariachi band.
4. Texas Citrus Season
Beautiful, red grapefruit grown in the Rio Grande Valley, the Texas Rio Red, is in season! Purchase some and enjoy, or find new recipes to make that highlight the official Texas State Fruit, which was designated in 1993.
You can always order by mail, but for a real treat, why not head down to the Valley over Thanksgiving and pick up your own from one of the fruit stands along the road. While you are there, you can always enjoy the resorts and beaches of South Padre Island, because winter in South Texas is amazing.
5. Visit Amarillo
In 2014, we spent the week of Thanksgiving visiting the Palo Duro Canyon. We had amazing hikes in the state park, which offers cabins along the rim of the country’s 2nd largest canyon. Outside of the park, enjoy horseback and jeep tours, as well as zip lining across the canyon! For more information, click HERE.
During our visit, we also enjoyed a visit to the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum in Canyon, seeing numerous prairie dog towns, visiting Happy, TX, as well as dinner and fun at the Big Texan Steakhouse, shopping and sight-seeing on historic Route 66 and of course, the iconic Cadillac Ranch!
Celebrate the season in Nacogdoches, the oldest city in Texas, at their annual Nine Flags Festival! Unlike the rest of Texas, 9 flags actually flew over the city since it’s inception in 1685! The charming town has daily (and nightly events), running from November 19 – December 12th!
7. See a Bison as they are meant to be seen!
It’s impossible to imagine the sights and sounds, as well as the smell, of the hundreds of thousands of American Bison that once roamed the plains of Texas, but a visit to Caprock Canyons State Park will take you as close as you can get! Not only can you drive through the bison herd that roams free through the park, but there is also a large prairie dog town right near the campsites. We even spotted a porcupine on our last visit! The beautiful canyon makes for terrific day hikes in the cooler fall weather! Click HERE for more information.
The Fort Worth Nature Center also has a herd of Bison, with Bison feeding hayrides on Nov. 24th and 25th. These sell out quickly, so don’t delay in making your reservations.
Take a drive to East Texas and visit Bright Star Farms. Purchase some Texas grown sweet potatoes for a pie or Thanksgiving Dinner. I love sweet potatoes served everyway, baked, in casseroles, pies, fried crisp (with a little sugar sprinkled on top), but my favorite is mashed with heavy cream and mixed with a small can of Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce! Whew, these are spicy, but with a GREAT flavor!!
Hunting is big in Texas, and if you would like the opportunity to take your child/children hunting, the Texas Youth Hunting Program offers workshops, information, as well as safe and affordable hunts for Texas Youth and an adult caregiver. Not sure about hunting? Why not let your child participate in their Texas Youth Outdoor Writing Competition?
You just can’t beat fall fishing in Texas! Texas Parks and Wildlife knows this, and host plenty of opportunities to get your gear wet. From fishing derbies to fly fishing instruction, check out their Calendar of Events. November is also a great time to plan an offshore fishing trip, consider chartering a boat, some specialize in family fishing trips! YUM, Fresh Red Snapper!!
11. The Texas State Railroad
Enjoy the Fall Leaves of East Texas with a brunch as you enjoy one of these excursions from Rusk to Palestine and back on a real Steam Train. Their popular Polar Express Train begins trips on November 20th.
12. Learn about the Native Americans that called Texas “Home”
Although the Wampanoag Indians, with whom the Pilgrims shared their first Thanksgiving, lived in far to the North of Texas, November is still a wonderful time to learn about the Native Americans who called Texas home. The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas in Livingston host the Bulls and Arrows Bull Riding event, and an Indian Arts and Crafts Fair in November. Caddo Mounds State Historic Site in Alto is a wonderful place to learn about the indigent Caddoan Indians Fort Martin Scott in Frederickburg is a restored United States Army Outpost. Learn about the Meusebach- Comanche Treaty, and their present day fight with the Former Texas Rangers Association! Or take the Fate Bell Shelter Tour at Seminole Canyon State Park, as guides take you to see American Indian Rock Paintings, estimated to be about 12,000 years old.
13. National Take a Hike Day, November 17th
There are so many wonderful places to explore in Texas, pick a trail and go!
The Leonids Meteor Shower should peak on November 17-18th, offers a good view! Visit Franklin Mountains State Park and their dark skies for a perfect place to watch the skies!
15. Visit a pecan farm
Pecans are ready for your pies, so why not visit a local pecan farm? The Frio Pecan Farmis the perfect Texas Hill Country getaway, and they even offer overnight accomodations so you can relax, sit back and peel a few!
16. Veterans Day
Veterans Day is November 11th. Take some time to recognize this important day to your children. Hang your American Flag, get down some old pictures of family members who have served, or visit one of the National Cemeteries in Texas.
17. King Ranch’s Annual Ranch Hand Festival
Each year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, the legendary King Ranch host a Ranch Hand Breakfast! In addition to eggs, sausage, biscuits and gravy, they also serve up a big helping of life on the largest ranch in Texas! Watch team roping and old-time cow camp cooking demos, plus much more! Spend the entire weekend in Kingsville, and enjoy “Historic Kingville Celebrates the Ranch Hand”!
18. Take in a Texas Thanksgiving Day Parade –
Many of our major cities host Thanksgiving Day Parades, making them Turkey Day traditions. The El Paso Sun Bowl Parade is celebrating it’s 79th year, and the HEB Holiday Houston Parade has been a tradition for 66 years!
In the process of updating this each year, I always have to remove 1 or 2 of our favorite events for one reason or another. I was truly sad this year when I called Fort Richardson State Park in Jacksboro to confirm the annual Civil War Reenactment, and was told that it was cancelled for this year. We’ve attended and my kids have participated in the reenactment for years, and just loved it. Although there won’t be a reenactment, Fort Richardson is still an incredible state park, with reconstructed and furnished buildings in the fort. For more information, please click HERE to read my previous blog post.