State parks honeymoon

Submitted by Mick Haven, Texas State Park Ranger

My beautiful wife, Ellen, and I were just recently married this April. We had a brief outdoor ceremony in an Arkansas State Park. (I pushed for Texas, but it was a good halfway point for both our families). In deciding where we should go on our honeymoon, I realized my bride had never been to west Texas or the Big Bend region. I quickly decided that must change and that we must visit every state park along the way. (This was the one decision I got to make.)

A yurt at Abilene State Park (photo TPWD)
We set out from Arkansas on a seemingly endless drive until we arrived at Abilene State Park, a park I had never visited. We spent our first night as husband and wife in a yurt, gazing out through the roof window and watching lightning crackle across the sky and listening to the sounds of the raindrops falling all over the yurt.

The following morning we awoke with the sunrise and once again got into the car. Luckily, this stretch of interstate provided a few more interesting stops. First stop: Big Spring State Park. This is a beautiful park full of wonderful views of the city below. We felt that it was a shame it was so unknown and so undeveloped. After a brief time at the overlook, we were on the road again.

 

The next park was the one Ellen wanted to visit most: Monahans Sandhills State Park. Online this park looked absolutely boring. A bunch of sand dunes? Who cares? What can you do with sand? I was so wrong. This is easily the most fun we had during our honeymoon. We rented a sand sled from the amazing visitor center, got a tip on the best dunes, and headed out. The sand wasn't good for sledding that day and the terrain was intense, but it was a great amount of fun falling up and down the dunes.

Monahans Sandhills State Park (photo TPWD)

After that we headed towards Balmorhea State Park to see the great work of the CCC in the state park system. Ellen was in awe of the swimming pool and basically demanded I take a job there. It's an amazing sight to see. 

 That night was stayed in what is now probably my favorite park. We booked a room at the Indian Lodge at Davis Mountains State Park. Incredible views of the sunset beckoned from the porch outside our room. The interior was stupendous, the restaurant was delicious, and we would have never left if we were able.

Down into the Big Bend we visited Barton Warnock, and traveled the River Road west to Presidio and Fort Leaton, an amazing historic structure with a colorful and interesting history. 
This isn't even all of it, but it's all I can fit. Texas state parks helped create memories to last a lifetime.

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