Happy New Year! Living in Texas may be hard in August, but our reward is our usually mild winters! Take advantage of these cool days, many of which still require shorts, and pack your calendar full of places to visit and explore around the Lone Star State!
Texas State Parks First Day Hikes and Bikes
Ring in the New Year with Midnight hikes or one of the many First Day Hikes organized at Texas State Parks! Imagine reaching the summit of Devil’s Backbone at Inks Lake SP right at midnight, or hiking on New Year’s Day to Fehr’s Overlook at Bastrop State Park. What’s more, almost all the hikes are FREE with park admission. The parks also offers races, bike rides and much, much more! Click HERE to visit their website for more information!
Hugo’s New Years Day Brunch
There are lots of New Year’s Day Brunches in Texas, but only one El Buffet que te Vuelve a la Vida! The New Year’s Day Return to Life Brunch Buffet offers plenty of FIRST to start an adventurous new year, such as sweet potato masa pancakes stuffed with beef cheeks in mole de Xico to duck carnitas, grilled octopus and more, plus plenty for the epicuriously timid! Click HERE to visit their website.
Reserve Your Cabins in Big Bend!
January 1st is the first day you can reserve the MUCH sought after Roosevelt Stone Cabins in Big Bend National Park for the following year, and believe me, these cabins go quickly, especially for weekends and holidays, and with amazing views of sunsets through The Window right from your front porch, it’s no surprise! Click HERE to visit their website.
Take a Polar Plunge!
Nothing makes you feel quite as alive as a plunge into cold water, and there are several Polar Plunges in Texas on New Year’s Day and throughout the winter!
Balmorhea State Park does a Polar Plunge on New Year’s Day in their artesian spring-fed swimming pool, the largest in the world! Spring-fed waters are a constant 68-72 degrees, so this may be one of the warmest places you can plunge! Entrance fees to the park are waived. Click HERE to visit their website.
Special Olympics host Polar Plunges across the state on varying dates as a fund raiser. Click HERE to find a location near you!
The Corpus Christi Polar Bear Plunge on New Year’s Day is a way to have fun and raise money for a good cause, ALS. Click HERE to visit their website.
5K’s and Marathons
We all make our New Year’s Resolutions, and if your’s is to finally earn a 13.1 or 26.2 sticker, then January is a great time to find a race!
The City of Allen in North Texas host the annual New Years Double, two marathons in 2 different years, but each held just a few hours apart! Click HERE to visit their website.
For something unique, Port Isabel’s Queen Isabella Causeway over the beautiful Laguna Madre 5K and 10K on January 13th. Click HERE to visit their website.
For a list of more 5K’s, half and full marathons in January, click HERE to be directed to Running in the USA.
Quandrantids Meteor Shower
Bundle up and enjoy the show on January 3rd from midnight to dawn. Unlike other meteor showers, which may be viewed for a day or two before and after they peak, the Quandrantid has a very short, although productive window. Enjoy the relaxed sleep schedule offered by Winter Break, and take the kids out away from the city lights for an evening of wishing on shooting stars! Click HERE to visit my favorite go-to site for all celestial events, EarthSky.
Attend a Winter Boat Show
I always thought January was a crazy time to hold a boat show, but it’s a great time to be inside and dreaming of summer! The Houston and Austin Boat Shows are both happening this month, with the Dallas show in early February! Ask any child, and they’ll tell you the BEST thing about the Boat Show is Fish-O-Rama, where they can try their luck catching their very own fish!
The Houston Boat Show is January 3-12th, and in addition to great boats, you can cheer on during live gator wrestling! Click HERE to visit their website.
If you think your kids would love fishing, but can’t make the Boat Show, your in luck. Texas Parks and Wildlife stocks thousands of Rainbow Trout in local fishing ponds all over Texas during the winter, and January is a great time to catch them! These cold-water loving fish won’t last in our hot summer lakes, and the farm-raised fish are the perfect size for dinner! Best of all, Rainbow Trout love corn kernels straight from a can, so no ichy worms to touch!
Click HERE to visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife page and find a pond near you.
January is also a great time to learn the sport of Fly-fishing, as many places offer classes this month! Click HERE to visit the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens, to see their list of classes.
The Texas Fly Fishing School in Houston offers year-round lessons and workshops! Click HERE to visit their website.
Classes are also offered at the Country FlyFisher Shop in Fredericksburg, click HERE for more information.
San Antonio Draining of the River
The San Antonio River in the Alamo City use to be drained every year to remove trash, debris and silt, which was a cause for celebration, resulting in the annaul Mud Festival, when eager partygoers would play in the river mud! First, the city stopped revelers from going down into the muddy riverbottom, then upgrades to the River’s filtering system made annual cleaning unnecessary, and the Mud Festival was no more. The next river draining is scheduled for January 6-9, 2020, so mark your calendars! Click HERE to visit their website.
There is more to the San Antonio River than just the Riverwalk, paddling trails in the city include man-made riffles on paddling chutes, and miles and miles of paddling trails down through Goliad, as well as many parks and special events, such as movies in the park. Click HERE to visit San Antonio River Authority to learn more!
These amazing birds migrate from the Canadian tundra to spend the winter in our warmer Texas marshes and waters. Visit Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge in North Central Texas, where you can see thousands of snow geese from your car on their driving tour. It’s also home to migrating white Pelicans in January, as well as nesting bald eagles. Click HERE to visit their website.
Anuhuac National Wildlife Refuge in Southeast Texas is also a winter home to snow geese, as well as a year-round home to alligators. Anahuac is considered to have the largest concentration of alligators in Texas, and even in January it’s not uncommon to see them sunning along the banks during the driving tour. The beach at Anahuac is a favorite for surf fishing. Click HERE to read more.
Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo
Grab your boots and head to the FWSSR, the first of the state’s annual stock shows and rodeos! Click HERE to visit their website.
Bald Eagles nest in Texas from November through March, and the Rains County Eaglefest in Emory, named the Eagle Capital of Texas, on January 20th is a great place to take a tour by boat or bus to see them and learn more about these majestic Winter Texans. Click HERE to visit their website.
Texas host about 200 mating pairs of Bald Eagles, click HERE to read a list of some of my favorite places to see them each winter!
Heat up your January at the annual Zestfest in Irving! January 24-26th are when things get HOT as celebrity chefs, live music and spicy food afficionados are converge to celebrate the spice of life! Click HERE to visit their website.
Get ready for an amazing time at this annual celebration at Six Flags Fiesta Texas, with nightly Mardi Gras parades, music and food in the park!