With all these cooler temps, the Ross bunch was itching to get out of doors. So, we loaded up and headed off to one of our favorite state parks, Dinosaur Valley State Park. Located in Glenrose, Texas, Dinosaur Valley is about two and a half hours away.
About Alvarado, we are always ready for lunch and eat at the McDonald’s there. These days we usually avoid that kind of fast food, but this is a tradition of ours. We made our first camping trip there when Cheyenne was 5 and Savannah was 3 and the others had not arrived. Now, they are 18 and 16, my how time does fly. We usually hit the river 3 or 4 times a year and stop at that McDonalds every time. Depending on the season, we take sandwich fixings and a watermelon or something like that and enjoy a picnic at one of the many beautiful spots in the park.
Due to its westward location, the air is always to dry and crisp. The sky is always so blue. The park is crossed by the Paluxy River which runs deep in some areas and shallow in others. I guess this is one thing that has made this park a favorite for so many years. When the kids were little, they could spend hours sitting in the shallows with the water running over them while they busily moved rocks around to create pools and waterfalls. The Paluxy is loaded with rocks! Rocks of all sizes and shapes. What great memories.
However, as they got older they needed a little more excitement. So, we looked at the park map and noticed a “swimming hole” noted in a bend we had not explored yet. This “hole” is really deep. We have never felt the bottom, even yesterday after the worst one year drought in Texas history. The water was so cold that we could hardly stand it with the cool breeze blowing. We had heard that the river was spring fed in places, but had never known where- now we do. This swimming hole is also surrounded by huge boulders, some of which are flat and jut out over the water. The big kids love to jump off, while the little ones can still find plenty of rocks to rearrange in the shallows with the river running over them.
The terrain is very different from East Texas. There is a lot of greenery, it is just different- lots of cedars, post oaks, mesquite and other items that I have no idea what the names are. We might call them mountains, but folks from other parts of the country would call them hills. At any rate, the hiking and climbing are great. When you get to the top of the “mountains” you are rewarded with some wonderful vistas. The trails are challenging enough to enjoy the vigor it takes to follow them, but easy enough that kids can keep up without any trouble. Mountain biking is allowed as wells as horses. We have yet to take our horses, but that is high on our to-do list.
One of the things we enjoy the most is watching the deer. Once we are done swimming and have packed our gear, we drive around the park and look for deer. Never have we been disappointed. The best memory we have of the dear was watching twin fawns playing tag in a meadow. They raced about so fast, zigging and zagging all about. After a few minutes though, Mama Deer appeared at the edge of the woods and bleated, a bleat so low you could hardly hear it. The twins acted as if they had been caught being naughty and darted back into the woods with their mother. The kids talk about this every time we go. The deer come out at dusk, so if you go plan to stay at least until dark. You will also see some awesome bats swooping around at this time.
The town of Glenrose is very quaint and family friendly. There is a really good Dairy Queen and a Chicken Express. There are several other restaurants in town, we have eaten at a few times and they were good. Usually, we are cooking at our campsite. Food cooked while camping out just tastes better! If you forget something, there is a Dollar General that has always had whatever we needed.
We have traveled for the better part of 20 years with children. This state park is one of the best, actually it is probably my favorite. Whether it is a day trip or an overnight camping trip, this park fits the bill. If you are looking for an inexpensive family outing, this is fabulous. Even if money is no option, this is a must see destination for a young family. Check out the photos below and you will see why!