Arlington, Texas, is close to an array of State Parks that offer adventure and fresh air to those who seek some respite from their everyday hustle.
You will be able to find everything from lakes and mineral wells to dinosaur valleys and rolling tallgrass prairies just a quick drive away.
Take advantage of these five state parks near Arlington, Texas, for a day or weekend filled with natural beauty and exploration.
Make sure to visit the park’s website for specific information on what they offer, cost, reservations, and any restrictions they may have in place.
Continue reading to learn more about our carefully curated list of parks, where they are located, and what they offer during your vacation.
Map of State Parks Near Arlington TX
Here is a map of the Texas state parks covered in this post:
List of State Parks Near Arlington
Here are each of those state parks with distance from Arlington and the features that make each special.
1. Cedar Hill State Park
Location: 1570 FM1382, Cedar Hill, TX 75104
A mere 15 miles away and a quick 20-minute car ride from downtown Arlington, escape away from the city and enjoy a breath of fresh air at Cedar Hill State Park.
Offering a view filled with rugged limestone hills, spontaneous pockets of tallgrass prairie, and over 100 miles of shoreline, it is reminiscent of Texas Hill Country.
Located just at the shore of Joe Pool Lake, the park offers a variety of activities for all age groups. These include fishing, paddling, swimming, boat renting, biking, hiking, camping, geocaching, and nature watching.
The park offers a glimpse into the rural life of Texas farmers in the mid-1800s as it is also home to the Penn Farm Agricultural History Center. Don’t miss out on a self-guided tour through the facilities for a quick history course on farming throughout the years.
2. Lake Mineral Wells State Park & Trailway
Location: 100 Park Rd 71, Mineral Wells, TX 76067
Located in the heart of cattle country, Lake Mineral Wells State Park & Trailway sits along Rock Creek, a large branch of the Brazos River. This area was originally the home to the Comanche as well as other Native American tribes.
The area was settled between the 1850s and 1870s and was primarily used by ranchers for Longhorn cattle. Ranching is still the areas’ primary economic purpose.
Only 61 miles away from Arlington, this park is home to various plants and animals. You will find blackjack oak trees and willow, sumac, mesquite, pecan, and walnut trees, amongst others. Its wildflowers include milkweed, Engelmann daisy, sunflower, blanket, Mexican hat, and the famous Texan state flower – the Bluebonnet.
You will also spot animals like white-tailed deer, turkey, raccoon, waterfowl, squirrel, and lots of songbirds. The lake is also home to bass, catfish, crappie, bluegill, and sunfish.
You can do several activities like camping, fishing, and hiking, but by far the most interesting one is their natural rock-climbing formations. Penitentiary Hollow is made from sandstone rock and is one of the few natural rock-climbing venues in North Texas.
Those climbing must be at least 17 years old. You will need a parent or legal guardian present if younger than 17.
3. Cleburne State Park
Location: 5800 Park Rd 21, Cleburne, TX 76033
Cleburne State Park is a mere 1 hour away from Arlington. Deep woods and expansive prairies surround its flowing springs.
The park sits at the edge of Hill Country, making it the perfect quick getaway from the chaos of city life. Its lands are filled with beautiful trees covering its heels like oak, elm, cottonwood, and sycamore, to name a few.
Dive into their water activities in the lake by taking up canoeing, kayaking, fishing, and swimming.
Venture into the explorer life on land with almost 13 miles of trails for activities, from camping and hiking to geocaches and biking.
If you want to opt for a more relaxing experience, simply take part in their nature watch and keep an eye out for their white-tailed deer, turkeys, ducks, bobcats, cottontail rabbits, opossums, coyotes, and more!
4. Dinosaur Valley State Park
Location: 1629 Park Rd 59, Glen Rose, TX 76043
Take a walk into the past by visiting Dinosaur Valley State Park. Whether you decide to ride your horse along with its 100-acre South Primitive Area or discover dinosaur footprints along the river bend, this park has a lot to offer outdoor explorers of all ages.
While the main attraction may be glimpsing into the past and spotting a dinosaur track (Acrocanthosaurus and Sauroposeidon Proteles), the park sits across the Paluxy River. It is home to many ecoregions that host a variety of plants and animals.
You will find a lot of different creatures like white-tailed deer, coyotes, bobcats, lizards, snakes, raccoons, beavers, skunks, opossums, birds, rabbits, and small rodents. You will also find many fish like yellow catfish, striped and largemouth bass, alligator gar, and freshwater drum in the river.
Plants like the American elm, cedar elm, Texas sugarberry, bur oak, pecan, walnut, cottonwood, sycamore, and green ash grow in the bottomlands and well-watered zones.
Make sure to look at their activities list. This site offers all sorts of experiences like camping, swimming, paddle boarding, fishing, and even carriage rides.
With more than 20 miles of trails, many campsites, a small park shop, and an interpretive center, this park will become one of your family’s favorite holiday stops.
5. Ray Roberts Lake State Park
Location: 100 P W 4137, Pilot Point, TX 76258
Plan your escape from everyday life and venture into vast natural beauty by simply taking a quick one hour and fifteen-minute ride to Ray Roberts Lake State Park.
Early hunter-gatherers who populated this area are speculated to be some of the first humans in North America. The world-famous Aubrey Clovis site is near the park and is said to be more than 11,550 years old.
Explore their 20-mile multiuse Greenbelt Corridor by hiking, biking, horseback riding, rollerblading, or backpacking. Take a splash into their water activities by swimming in the lake or taking advantage of their beach areas. (Keep in mind there are some restricted areas of the trail for horseback riders).
The Park has several overnight facilities like Lone Star Lodge or walk-in campsites. They also offer four picnic pavilions.
Arlington is close to many exciting State Parks, just a quick drive away. Plan a fun-filled day or weekend where you can learn about the earliest North American settlers, track dinosaur footprints, or ride your horse along with the rugged Hill Country.