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Texas State Parks in South Texas

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Although it is one of the driest regions in the country, South Texas boasts a surprising number of lakes. Several Texas State Parks in the South Texas region border these lakes. Each of these oasis offers great outdoor recreational opportunities such as boating, fishing, swimming, birding, hiking, camping and more.

1. Lake Casa Blanca State Park

Located right in the center of Laredo, one of Texas’ most impressive border cities, Lake Casa Blanca International State Park offers a wide array of outdoor activities for visitors and residents alike. The park offers a variety of both land-based and watersport activities, with the central attraction being the 1,650-acre Lake Casa Blanca. The lake itself offers plenty of opportunities for boaters, water skiers, swimmers and fishermen. It is also an excellent lake for paddlers, as it is laid out in a user-friendly design and affords numerous opportunities to view wildlife. And, wildlife is abundant at Lake Casa Blanca International State Park, despite its somewhat ‘urban’ location. Whitetail deer, javelina, rabbits, ground squirrels and a variety of bird species are commonly spotted by park visitors.

2. Falcon Lake State Park

Located in deep South Texas on the Texas/Mexico border, Falcon State Park offers great access to Falcon Lake, as well as campsites, nature trails and plenty of other outdoor activity. Situated between Roma and Zapata, Falcon State Park covers 572 acres adjacent to the famous lake. Of this, 144 acres are developed with campsites, playgrounds, boat ramps and other amenities. The balance of the park remains in its natural state, making it a nature lover’s delight. Fishing, swimming, skiing, jetskiing and other water sports are available – and popular – on Falcon Lake. Those liking a little slower pace should try paddling the scenic shores along the State Park by canoe or kayak. Birding is also a popular pastime in the park and good sightings are common from both land and water.

3. Choke Canyon State Park

Located barely more than an hour's drive from San Antonio, Choke Canyon Reservoir is among Texas' best big bass lakes and perhaps the biggest bass fishing secret in the country. Since it is surrounded by state park land, Choke Canyon is devoid of any shoreside development. This lack of development has certainly aided in Choke's relative anonymity. But, the fact it is surrounded by public land is also a major bonus to anglers. Texas Parks & Wildlife maintains Choke Canyon State Park as two separate 'units' - the Calliham Unit lies in McMullen County, while the South Shore Unit is in Live Oak County.

At 1,100 acres, the Calliham Unit is the large of the two. The Calliham Unit is fitted with screened shelters and a variety of campsites for those wanting to stay on the lake itself. It also has 2 miles of hiking trails, a mile-long birding trail, a wildlife educational center, four boat ramps and a man-made 75-acre lake. In short, the Calliham Unit offers everything needed for an all-around outdoor experience.

Though the South Shore Unit contains only 385 acres, it is still an excellent shoreside spot for a variety of activities. This unit is a 'day-use' only facility, meaning no overnight camping is allowed. However, there are plenty of spots within the park that allow for picnicking, birding, hiking and wildlife viewing. The South Shore Unit also houses a 6-lane boat ramp.

4. Lake Corpus Christi State Park

When most anglers hear Corpus Christi, they think beach, bay and a host of inshore salt water species. However, just a short drive away from the city it provides water to, a freshwater impoundment provides a completely different angling experience. Though Lake Corpus Christi takes its name from the Sparkling City by the Bay, and though it is a short drive away from its namesake city, from an angling point of view, it is worlds apart. With a 356-acre state park located on its shores, Lake Corpus Christi is easily accessible for anglers as well as other visitors.

Covering just over 21,000 acres just outside the tiny town of Mathis, Lake Corpus Christi is fed by the Nueces River. It was the Nueces River, in fact, that provided most of the resident fish population found in Lake Corpus Christi today. Unlike many other Texas reservoirs which rely heavily on regular fish releases, Lake Corpus Christi has maintained its fish populations with little outside help. Florida strain largemouth bass have been planted in the lake, however, on three different occasions.

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