Check out these holiday activities at Texas State Parks

The Trail of Lights at Monument Hill and Kreische Brewery State Monument in LaGrange offers a less-crowded alternative to the Trial of Lights in Austin. Photo by Pam LeBlanc


Need a dose of holiday spirit? Quick, head to a Texas State Park.

From tree lightings to cookie decorating parties and a lantern light tour, parks around Central Texas are hosting fun, family-themed activities.

Here are some of the best:

  • The 48th annual tree lighting at Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site takes place from 6-9 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 17. The event, started by the president and first lady Johnson nearly 50 years ago, highlights German holiday traditions. Expect carolers, a live nativity, Santa Claus and refreshments. The Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm will be decorated the way families would have celebrated the holidays in the early 1900s. The park is located 2 miles east of Stonewall, 14 miles west of Johnson City, on U.S. Highway 290. For more information call (830) 644-2252.


  • Santa and Mrs. Claus greet visitors during the Trail of Lights in La Grange. Photo by Chris LeBlanc


  • Help decorate the holiday tree at Colorado Bend State Park in Bend starting at 1 p.m. Dec. 16. Closer to Christmas, join a park ranger from 6-7:30 p.m. Dec. 23 to make some Dutch oven sweet treats and enjoy s’mores and a cup of hot cocoa around a campfire. For more information call (325) 628-3240.
  • McKinney Falls State Park, 5808 McKinney Falls Parkway, will host a Light Up the Night event from 6:30-8 p.m. Dec. 22. Bring your own lantern or borrow one from the park for a guided hike and Christmas carols along the Lower Falls and Upper Falls trails. A hay ride, hot chocolate and a visit from Santa are on also the agenda, and prizes will be awarded to the best decorated campsite. The park will also host a Winter Solstice Celebration from 1-3 p.m. Dec 23. Homemade craft projects, a campfire, face painting and a Yule log are planned. Bring a sack lunch, or cook your own over the fire. For more information call (512) 243-1643.
  • Walk through a quarter-mile trail of lights and explore the home of German immigrant H.L. Kreische, decorated in traditional 1850s style, at Monument Hill and Kreische Brewery, 414 State Loop 92 in LaGrange. Mr. and Mrs. Claus will visit with children, and refreshments will be served. The trail is open from 6-8 pm Friday Dec. 8, 15 and 16. For more information, call (979) 968-5658.

To see the complete list of holiday activities at Texas State Parks, go here.

Author: Pam LeBlanc

Pam LeBlanc writes about fitness and travel for the Austin American-Statesman. She has worked for the Statesman since 1998 and written her weekly fitness column, Fit City, since 2004.

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