Houston day trips: Brazos Bend State Park

Last weekend, we were itching to get out of the city, so we changed into some hiking clothes, lifted Lucy (our pup) into the back of the Prius, and headed off for Brazos Bend State Park.

Of course, when we left the house, it was sunny, but by the time we arrived dark clouds spread across the sky and threatened to pour down on us. We tried to ignore the gloomy weather and just enjoy the fresh air and the open expanse of land.

IMG_8573The park was… swampy. If you’ve never been to Texas, it’s a little bit of a surprise – at least for me, after 6 years of kayaking and jogging around placid, clear lakes in the Pacific Northwest, the swampy waters here in Bayou City took a little getting used to. But there’s a silver lining – alligators (see sign above.)

When we arrived, there was a baby alligator petting event going on in the Nature Center. The little gators were so, so cute – I didn’t take any photos because their eyes are still fragile, but needless to say, baby alligators = adorable.

After holding the little baby alligators and asking the park rangers 3,892,769 questions about them, we headed off down a hiking trail. Bayou5Bayou6One of the best things about these natural areas in east-central Texas is the Spanish moss that hangs from large old oak trees. It always reminds me of Gone with the Wind, and those stereotypical southern plantation homes.



A flock of birds suddenly landed in the middle of the lake, and Lucy flipped out. Before we realized what she was doing, she ran over to the edge of the water, did a big belly flop onto the surface, and swam out to chase the birds.



Bayou9 This was a pretty epic adventure for a city dog! We adopted Lucy a year and a half ago, and she’s never so much as dipped her paws in water voluntarily. (Obviously, we bathe her, but she probably wouldn’t agree to that if given the choice.)

It was a fun little family get-away, and I’d definitely recommend it to other Houstonians searching for ideas of day trips from the city. There were plenty of other trails (including ones designated for bikers),  there were exhibits for kids in the Nature Center, and lots of picnic tables and barbecue grills for having cook-outs. We’ll be back when the weather’s better! (And I am fully counting on spotting at least one full-sized adult alligator. That’s a must.)



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