Located less than two hours from Houston, Texas, Big Thicket National Preserve measures over 105,000 acres and is home to 10 distinct ecosystems, more than 1,000 flowering plants, 85 tree species, and at least 186 bird and 50 reptile species.
Big Thicket was the first preserve in the National Park System and protects an area of rich biological diversity. Visitors can tour the preserve by foot on approximately 40 miles of trails or can explore by car, bike, boat, canoe or horseback.
Other activities include wildlife viewing, bird watching, fishing, nature walks and hunting.
Children visiting can take part in the Junior Ranger Program by picking up a guidebook at the visitor center. They can earn a ranger badge and certificate by completing activities in the book.
Admission to the preserve is free.
This destination comes from the National Park Getaways series, which helps people find new places to reconnect with nature, history, family and friends.
Each Wednesday, the National Park Service posts a new getaway idea on its website, nps.gov/getaways. There's a new park idea every week and most of the activities listed are free, so they're good, budget-friendly vacation options.