Situated in the heart of central Texas, less than an hour from Waco, Fort Parker State Park is a fascinating place to visit.
An area rich in history, culture and stunning topography, the park is named after a historic 19th century structure that played a leading role in the conflict between settlers and Native Americans.
Set within almost 1,500 acres, the Texas state park is a haven for those who enjoy boating, swimming and fishing. With the shimmering waters of its namesake lake providing a beautiful backdrop in which to partake in these activities.
Also offering several interesting hiking trails in which to observe its scenic terrain and ecosystems, the park is renowned for its stunning sunrise and sunsets.
It is also a terrific place to spend a few days camping. With several accommodation options being available within it for RV and tent sites, as well as screened shelters, cabins and group camping.
During your time at the park you can engage in a wide range of outdoor activities.
Here are just a handful of the many recreational activities you can engage in whilst you are there.
Water activities at Fort Parker State Park
One of the park’s main attractions is the stunning 750-acre Fort Parker Lake, which provides a wonderful aquatic playground for kayaking, SUP and canoeing.
These activities are particularly advisable at sunrise or sunset when the stunning hues of the sky add a magical element to the experience.
Should you fancy doing a bit of exploring whilst on the water, the 5.3-mile Limestone Bluffs Trail is a great way to explore the park’s various ecosystems.
If you didn’t bring watercraft with you on your trip you can always rent canoes and kayaks from the park ranger.
Although there is no designated area set aside for it, swimming is a popular activity at the park. If you want to go for a dip you will have to do so at your own risk because the area is not lifeguarded.
But if you do enter the water it is a lovely way to cool off from the heat of the often punishing Texan sun.
Fishing at Fort Parker State Park
For those into fishing Fort Parker Lake is a serene spot in which to cast a line.
If you stick to the shoreline, especially close to the campground, you should be able to hook a good haul of catfish.
Should you visit the park during the summer, you might be able to catch some white bass over at the dam. Though you might well need to access them via a boat.
You do not need a license to fish in the park, and like with the watercraft, if you don’t bring any fishing gear with you, they can be hired out from the park ranger.
Hiking at Fort Parker State Park
Hiking is a lovely way to explore the park’s picturesque landscape and there are several trails that will take you around it.
The majority of these are relatively short, so should be suitable for those with a reasonable level of physical fitness and hiking ability.
Some of the most popular trails to attempt are the two mile long Navasota River Trail, which provides you with fantastic views of the lake. On the opposite side of the lake, the Baines Creek Trails also showcases scintillating waterside views.
Jaw-dropping views can also be seen on the Limestone Bluffs Trail, which you can reach by hiking or paddling to the imperious limestone bluffs the region is known for.
Cemetery at Fort Parker State Park
It might sound a bit morbid, but the park has an historic cemetery that many guests decide to pay a visit to.
Once a thriving community in the 19th century, Springfield quickly became a ghost town, after a double blow, which saw the town of Groesbeck being chosen to be the county seat and the local post office shutting its doors in 1878.
Today, the only remaining feature of Springfield is its cemetery. Within it lies a veteran from the American Revolution, as well as two Texas Revolution veterans who hailed from San Jacinto.
If you decide to pay your respects to them, be sure to do it during daylight hours. We all know good things do not happen in graveyards after dark!
Pets at Fort Parker State Park
Dogs are allowed in some parts of the park, so you can bring your pooch with you if you want.
However, some restrictions on their presence may be in place. So it is worth contacting the main office, should you want to find out how it might affect you.
Camping at Fort Parker State Park
For those interested in staying a few nights at the park, there are a number of camping options available to you.
At the main campground there are 23 RV sites situated close to the Recreation Hall. Most of these offer fantastic lake views and are back-in sites. Except for 4 which are pull-through.
Each of these sites comes with hookups for water and 30-amp electricity. They also have their own picnic tables and barbecue grills/fire rings.
Amenities at them include restrooms and a shower area, a playground, group picnic areas and a sheltered picnic area.
If you are looking for alternate camping options, the park also offers eight screened shelters, two cabins and 10 tent-only sites that you can stay at.
There is also an excellent group camping facility that can accommodate youth groups of up to 50 people, as well as group barracks that can sleep up to 20 people.
Fort Parker State Park
194 Park Rd
Mexia, TX 76667
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Fort Parker State Park: