State parks all around the Upper East Side of Texas are offering safe, socially-distanced holiday activities that encourage enjoyment of the outdoors — from craft projects to scavenger hunts to decorating a campsite drive-through light displays.

When planning a trip to a Texas State Park keep in mind that parks are operating at a limited capacity. Reserving a day pass in advance is highly recommended. Some parks will reach their capacity limit for special events. Reserve day passes online or over the phone by calling (512) 389-8900.

Lake Tawakoni State Park Twinkle Tour

Come camp at Lake Tawakoni State Park in Hunt County and adorn a campsite with festive Christmas decorations. There will be a campsite decorating contest with prizes for the favorites. Guests who decorate their site will receive their second night of camping for free.

The Twinkle Tour occurs 5-9 p.m. on December 5. Visitors can drive through the park to enjoy the festive Christmas lights. Stop by the amphitheater to participate in a holiday mistletoe craft. Event fee of $5 per vehicle. Call (903) 560-7123 for information.

Christmas in the Pineywoods at Martin Creek State Park

Take a drive through the Pineywoods and enjoy the decorated campsites at Martin Creek State Park in Rusk County from 6 to 9 p.m., December 5-6. Enjoy a Christmas family event and social distance safely at the same time. This is a wonderful way to celebrate the holidays with your family. 

Entrance fees are waived for all visitors who bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to the local community's Operation Blue Santa. Call (903) 836-4336 for information.

Tyler State Park Reading Ranger and Nature Wonderland Hike

Reading Ranger Christmas Edition — 3:30–4 p.m. December 5. Sit around a cozy campfire and listen to A Tale of Two Beasts and, since it’s Christmas time, Santa’s Sleigh is on its Way to Texas. Bring your imagination, a chair or a blanket, and dress for the weather. Meet at the amphitheater fire ring. Call (903) 597-5338 for information.

Nature Wonderland Hike — 4–6 p.m. December 12. Join us for a walk around Tyler State Park Lake as the sun goes down and enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of winter. Dress for the weather, wear sturdy shoes, bring water and be ready for a two-mile hike. Meet at the Silver Canoe Park Store. Call (903) 597-5338 for information.

Lake Bob Sandlin State Park 9th Annual Christmas in the Park

Drive through and see the entire Lake Bob Sandlin State Park in Titus County decorated in lights from 6-9 p.m. December 11-12. On Friday and Saturday evenings local churches host a Walk Through Bethlehem. On Saturday night there will be crafts, games, a visit with Santa, and even an ugly Christmas sweater contest. Free entry for visitors during the event.

Campers who agree to decorate their campsites will camp for free; cabin campers decorating will receive a 50 percent discount. Reservations are available through the park only. Call the park directly to sign up. Participating campers may begin arriving on December 9. Displays must be  ready by noon on December 11. Call (903) 572-5531 for information.

Cedar Hill State Park Christmas at Penn Farm

Located just 10 miles southwest of Dallas, Cedar Hill State Park invites visitors to explore a Christmas-themed Penn Farm from 6-9 p.m. on December 12. Learn about the history and pioneering spirit of the Penn family and the farm they started building more than 150 years ago.

Conclude with caroling around a campfire with sweet treats and hot chocolate. Call (972) 291-3900 for information.

Winter Wonderland at Cooper Lake State Park

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and join Cooper Lake State Park's Doctors Creek Unit in Delta County for a fun-filled Winter Wonderland celebration 6–8 p.m. on December 18 and 19. 

Campers are encouraged to decorate their campsite and participate in the holiday festivities. Visitors can enjoy a free drive through to view the decorated park. Bring a camera and join in the fun. Reservations required for persons wishing to camp. Call (903) 395-3100 for information.

Light Up the Park Drive Through at Eisenhower State Park
Join Eisenhower State Park in Grayson County in bringing Christmas cheer by decorating a campsite for the holiday. Campers who decorate their sites will be allowed to camp for up to a full week for free. Set-up runs from December 14-17. 
The annual holiday decorations and lights drive through event runs sunset to 10 p.m. on December 18 and 19. During the drive through, the park is waiving entry fees with a donation of a new, unwrapped toy per vehicle for a child 13 or younger. All toys will be donated to the Grayson County Welfare Board, which works in coordination with children in Child Protective Services.
Kids can bring Santa letters to drop off at Santa’s North Pole mailbox. Each child receives a candy cane and a do-it-yourself reindeer food kit while supplies last. Call (903) 465-1956 for information.

Christmas in the Park at Atlanta State Park

Decorate your campsite at Atlanta State Park in Cass County and join in bringing Christmas cheer. Camping fees waived for those who participate by decorating their campsite.

Visitors can enjoy a free drive through the decorated park and will get the chance to see Santa, Mrs. Claus, the Grinch and Smokey Bear. Call (903) 796-6476 for information.

Daingerfield State Park 8th Annual Christmas in the Park

Experience a Pineywoods Christmas at Daingerfield State Park in Morris County, 6-9 p.m. December 16-17 and 6-10 p.m. December 18-19.

Follow the lights through the pine forest where you will find the campsites and day-use area decorated with Christmas cheer. Feel the excitement of Christmas everywhere and maybe catch a glance of Jolly Old St. Nick himself.

Free entrance into the park; donations will be accepted. Call (903) 645-2921 for information.

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