Last Blast of Summer

Uncrowded Lake Parks for a Labor Day Getaway

Three days off from work and school — the perfect time to load up the car and head to a state park to enjoy the last bit of summer fun before fall scheduling keeps us too busy. The getaway's even more fun when you can cool off or fish in the lake. 

But it's Labor Day weekend. Won't every place be too crowded? It’s not much fun to wait in a long line, and even less fun to find the park’s already full for the day. 

Not every park gets as crowded as Garner or Enchanted Rock, so why not stretch your horizons to find someplace less well-known that still scratches your get-away-from-it-all itch. Here’s a trio of our favorite hidden gems. Do you have a “secret” getaway park where you can find some privacy for your adventure?

A scenic 3-mile roadway winds around the serene, spring-fed, 116-acre lake with a beautiful 1930s-era stone masonry dam and bridge. Close to Fort Worth, Dinosaur Valley State Park and Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, the park offers geocaching and 5.5 miles of mountain biking.

Connect with the pioneer lifestyle by attending Dutch oven cooking classes or visiting the graves of Fort Sherman’s settlers. The lighted pier is a nighttime hot spot for crappie and bass. Bald eagles winter on the lake; every fall, watch the changing colors of dogwood, redbud and maple trees.

This park near the Oklahoma border features a no-wake lake and hand-built local limestone and eastern red cedar structures: a dance terrace, picnic tables, water fountains and barbecue pits. Nearby attractions include Eisenhower State Park and Sam Bell Maxey House State Historic Site.

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