Grab your sunscreen, because there are over 30 fun activities just waiting for you at Joe Pool Lake in North Texas!
1. With over 350 campsites at Cedar Hill State Park, you are certain to find the perfect one for you! Each April the park is filled with bluebonnets and more butterflies than you can count! Being the only state park in the DFW Metroplex, reservations do fill up quickly!
2. Learn how to camp during the Outdoor Family Workshop. All the equipment is provided for this overnight event! Click HERE for more information.
3. Enjoy one of the various fishing activities all year long, including Family Fishing Day, Kids Fishing Derbies, and Learn to Fish workshops. The Perch Pond is stocked with rainbow trout in the late Fall. All Texas State Parks allow fishing without purchasing a fishing license within the boundaries of the park. However, if you are on the lake in a boat, and over 16 you must have a license.
4. There is a fun point at the end of the park, with a sandbar, where boats tend to congregate to swim and enjoy the cool water. It is only accessible by boat.
5. Hike the trails at Cedar Hill State Park, or attend one of the guided tours along the Duck Pond Trail, offered about once a month. We really enjoy the Talala Trail, with great views of the lake!
6. DORBA, the Dallas Off Road Bicycle Association, has built an intense network of trails for mountain bikes. Because of the naturally hilly terrain, caution should be used before taking young children on these trails, and always wear a helmet. The trails also close when muddy, for up to date information on trail closures, call 972/291-3900 and press star 2.
Historical Tours and Markers
Visit the remains of the Penn family farm, see tools and machinery used throughout the years. Self guided tours are available, and guided tours are offered once a month. Each December a guided lantern tour is offered, followed by cookies, hot chocolate and carols sung around a campfire.
Attend one of the many interpretive programs offered FREE with park admission. Learn about the mammals and reptiles that live in the park, and the Blackland Prarie itself, during monthly interactive presentations.
For more information on Cedar Hill State Park, please click HERE.
The trails at Dogwood Canyon through the cedar and juniper forest seems more at home in the Texas Hill Country, making it one of the most unique terrains in North Texas! They Center offers nature education classes, as well as preschool storytime, scout badge workshops and even birthday parties!
8. Lynn Creek Marina, Grand Prairie
9. Blue Sunshine Patio Bar and Grill Formerly The Oasis, the restaurant is now under new ownership and management, with a new menu! Enjoy the lake breeze and watch as boats come and go across the water, and live music on weekends during the summer.
10. Get out on the lake! Lynn Creek Marina offers a variety of rentals, including ski boats, pontoon boats, jet skis and paddleboards! Play on the lake or tie up at Party Cove for a fun day on the water!
11. Sit back and enjoy a guided sunset boat cruise on Joe Pool Lake! $20/person with a five person minimum for an hour tour.
12. Shop the marina for all your water sport and fishing needs this summer, including life jackets, swimsuits, ski ropes, water toys and even fishing licenses!
13. Feed the ducks, coots and other water birds from the shore or bridge that make a living from the restaurant’s visitors! Huge carp that live here also love leftovers, and they make the water appear to boil when on a feeding frenzy!
14. The Lynn Creek Yacht Club has races on Joe Pool Lake during the months of May and June. There is nothing prettier than watching these beautiful sailboats as they glide across the water! Cheer for your favorites and learn a few new nautical terms! For more information and racing schedule, click HERE.
Lynn Creek Park, Grand Prairie
15. Pack up the cooler and pick a table near the water and under the trees in Lynn Creek’s Day-use area. Grills are located at all the tables, so all you need to worry about are the hot dogs!
16. Grab your favorite water toys and head to Lynn Creek’s Swim Beach. Don’t forget your children’s life jackets, as there are no lifeguards on duty!
17. Your kids will love the big playground near the Swim Beach. There is also a sand volleyball court, making this a great place to spend the day! Tables are first come but pavilions can be rented through the city of Grand Prairie. Click HERE to read more.
18. Prairie Lights shine bright from Thanksgiving to January when the park is lit up with thousands of Christmas lights during this drive-thru light show and Santa’s Village. Click HERE to read more about Prairie Lights.
Loyd Park, Grand Prairie
20. Spend the night camping under the stars! Loyd Park offers RV and tent camping, as well as cabin camping. Summer weekends and Holidays often fill up, so make your reservations early. The park is hosting Summer Movies on the Beach on Saturday evenings.
21. The Swim Beach at Loyd Park is a great place to cool off from the summer heat! Life jackets are provided, as no life guards are on duty.
22. Loyd Park opened the Walnut Creek Paddling Trail in 2011, one of the Texas Parks and Wildlife designated Paddling Trails. This 4.9 mile round trip trail offers paddlers a wonderful chance to experience Walnut Creek from the lake to Hwy 360. Canoes and kayaks are available for rental at Loyd Park for $30 and $40 for 4 hours. There is no age restriction, and life jackets are provided.
23. Hike the Walnut Creek Hiking Trail at the South end of the park, which runs along side much of Walnut Creek.
24. Bring your bikes to ride in the park, or the 20+ mile off-road bike trail winds through the park! Call ahead for information as to if the trails are open, they close when muddy.
25. For two weekends in October, campers delight in decorating their campsites as eerily as possible for the Forest of Fear Haunted Hayrides! Click HERE for more information.
Britton Park, Mansfield
26. This small park offers a boat ramp and shore-line fishing. Although not a recognized paddling trail, it’s also a great place to put in and paddle up Mountain Creek, or through the dead trees towards the lake. During the spring, the trees are used by waterfowl for nesting areas, and it’s a treat to see the babies in their nest!
Here’s a safety tip. It’s really shallow. You’ll see kids on the railroad bridge jumping in the water, but not only is it very unsafe because of the depth and submerged objects like big logs, it’s illegal!
Search for Fossilized Shark Teeth
Just a quick paddle or boat ride from Britton Park, along a little beach covered in pebbles, we stopped for a lunch and swim. While taking a break from swimming I decided to do a little beach combing, which consist of sitting down and looking through the tiny little rocks for shark teeth. I was probably there about 30 minutes when I came across the smaller shark tooth, and my daughter, who had joined me, found the larger not 5 minutes later!
Fossilized shark teeth can be found ALL over North Texas, and are the remnants of when Texas was covered by a huge, shallow sea during the Cretaceous Period. So, these shark teeth were lost when dinosaurs still roamed North Texas! The teeth are in the dirt, rain and erosion carry them out into the lake, where waves push them up on the beaches.
Should you find teeth, click HERE for a good resource to try to identify them.
Be careful not to search at Cedar Hill State Park, where it is illegal to take rocks, plants, fossils or artifacts.
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