A suburb of Dallas, DeSoto is surrounded by tons of parks and nature preserves (even more than I’ll mention here). You can hang out in the forest or on the lake, go for a game of golf, or to the local waterpark. Full of hiking trails, swimming areas, and other recreational activities galore, DeSoto is the nature lover’s ultimate destination.
1. Explore Cedar Hill State Park
There’s lots to do here - you could make a day of it. Hike or bike around trails that cover 1,200 acres (486 hectares), have a picnic, do some geocaching, or do some camping (there’s 350 campsites with bathrooms, showers, water, and electricity). If you’d rather spend the day on or in the water, you can swim, fish, boat, or kayak on the lake. Plus, there’s other events and ranger programs, and an old farm that is now Penn Farm Agricultural History Center; you can easily take a self-guided tour through here.
Cedar Hill State Park
Address: 1570 West FM 1382, Cedar Hill, TX 75104
Website: Cedar Hill State Park
2. Visit the Cedar Ridge Nature Preserve
Cedar Ridge Nature Preserve for the July/August 2015 FD magazine. Photograph by Trevor PaulhusPosted by THE PHOTO DIVISION on Monday, 6 July 2015
This conservation site spreads 600 acres (243 ha), and has 9 miles (14 kilometers) of trails surrounded by nature and wildlife. Picnic areas are limited in order to protect the site, and for the same reason, bikes and vehicles are not allowed on the trails. Be on the lookout for wildflowers, birds, butterfly gardens, and more; be sure to check their website for any events going on.
Cedar Ridge Nature Preserve
Address: 7171 Mountain Creek Parkway, Dallas, TX 75249
Website: Cedar Ridge Nature Preserve
3. Hang out at Lynn Creek Park
Get outside and play! LakeParks.net - Grand Prairie Parks & RecPosted by Lynn Creek Park at Joe Pool Lake on Sunday, 9 April 2017
There’s 785 acres (318 ha) of space here, right on the lake. There’s a beach perfect for lounging around and swimming, a playground for kids, a sand volleyball court, a couple of boat ramps for boating, and some covered picnic areas with a concession stand. There are also bathrooms and a changing room; check their site for information on events like the 4th of July fireworks event.
Lynn Creek Park
Address: 5610 Lake Ridge Parkway, Grand Prairie, TX
Website: Lynn Creek Park
4. Camp or fish at Joe Pool Lake
Joe Pool Lake is the lake that you’ll probably see or find yourself in at one of the parks mentioned here, but to help make you more aware of lake activities, it gets its own description. Boating and fishing are popular on the lake, and there are 7 different boat ramps around the lake, scattered in the different parks: 2 in Cedar Hill State Park, 2 at Lynn Creek Park, 1 at Lynn Creek Marina, 1 in Britton Park, and 1 at Loyd Park. Camping is offered at Cedar Hill State Park, and the Joe Pool Marina and the Lynn Creek Marina offer fishing, boat ramps, and kayaking.
Joe Pool Lake
Address: 1570 FM-1382 West, Cedar Hill, TX
Website: Joe Pool Lake
5. Take a trek in Loyd Park
Another of Joe Pool Lake’s parks, Loyd Park has pavilions for picnicking and having barbecues, a playground for kids, a beach volleyball court, and a grassy area for baseball; there’s about 6 miles (10 km) of hiking trails in this park, and you can also bike or go horseback riding through them. There is also, of course, a swimming area for swimming in the lake. This park also has a concession stand and bathrooms with a changing room.
Address: 3401 Ragland Road, Grand Prairie, TX
Website: Loyd Park
6. Experience the Windmill Hill Nature Preserve
This 75-acre (30 ha) preserve has been called the “Best Urban Hiking Trail” by the Dallas Observer. The trails here are leisurely, except for the occasional steep hill, and at Ten Mile Creek there’s a bridge to cross (the bridge is named after Stevie Ray Vaughan). If you’re looking for somewhere quiet to wander through, this is definitely the place; there’s plenty of opportunity to enjoy the surrounding flora and fauna.
Windmill Hill Nature Preserve
Address: Southeast Corner of Duncanville and Wintergreen Roads, DeSoto, TX
Website: Windmill Hill Nature Preserve
7. Get some exercise at Thorntree Country Club
The Thorntree Country Club opened in 1983, and the Dallas Business Journal has dubbed its 18-hole golf course one of the toughest courses in the area. If golf isn’t your thing, don’t worry - there’s other activities. There are 6 tennis courts on the property, as well as a 13-foot deep junior olympic sized pool that’s open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Guest fees for both the tennis courts and the pool are 5 USD; check their site for guest fees for golf games and golf carts.
Thorntree Country Club
Address: 825 W Wintergreen Road, DeSoto, TX
Website: Thorntree Country Club
8. Soak up some sun at Bahama Beach Waterpark
Sunday Funday! Open today Noon-6:00pm. #sundayfunday #bahamabeach #funPosted by Bahama Beach Waterpark on Sunday, 29 May 2016
After all that hiking and other recreational activities, you might be in the mood for a good old fashioned waterpark. At the Bahama Beach Waterpark there’s a children’s area, a lazy river, waterslide rides called the Bermuda Triangle (which is actually 3 slides), the Riptide Slide, and the Bahama Bullet. There’s also a mat racing slide and a water balloon game, and you can rent your own table, cabana, or pavilion if desired.
Bahama Beach Waterpark
Address: 1895 Campfire Circle, Dallas, TX
Website: Bahama Beach Waterpark
Immersed in nature
There are so many places to immerse yourself in the surrounding nature you might not even make it to them all. If you don’t want to do any hiking, there’s plenty of ways to hang out on the beaches of Joe Pool Lake, or even visit local facilities like the Thorntree Country Club or the waterpark. Especially if you’re a nature lover, you’ll certainly never be bored here.
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