By Kaitlyn Benacquisto
Assistant Web Content Manager
Brazos Bend State Park is only a short drive from Houston, but seems as if it’s worlds away from the city. Wildlife is abundant, with alligators around every corner, over 300 species of birds and around 50 species of mammals, reptiles and amphibians.
Brazos Bend has a $7 entrance fee for those over 12 years old. Camping is available for $25-$20 per night, or $12 for primitive walk-in sites, which still includes a fire pit and restrooms with showers. There are 37 miles miles of trails to explore at Brazos Bend, including some that are wheelchair- and equestrian-friendly. Other attractions include a nature center and the George Observatory. There is truly something for everybody here.
This park is a favorite of my family, so I’ve been here several times. We love to go here when we have family in from out of town because Brazos Bend is quintessential Texas: wild wetlands, alligators and snakes just feet away from you, vast spaces. Everyone from my infant cousins to my grandparents love it.
The best time to go is between the fall and spring, on days that are not too cold or hot, but when the sun is out so the gators will be out basking. Alligators breed and nest during March through May. If you are able to go during this time period, it is super neat to see the freshly hatched alligators. They look like mini lizard dinosaurs. Be careful while observing though, because the mothers are very protective.
It’s probably a good rule of thumb to be careful and courteous while observing any of the gators. Remain alert while walking around, because there are alligators that will be casually hanging out by the waters edge that can be hard to spot. Keep pets close to you. One time while I was here, I was going to use a restroom on the trail, which was a mix between an outhouse and a normal restroom. Pro tip: always check the tops of the restroom doors and inside the restroom for critters! There was a big snake right on the top of the door that I probably would’ve locked inside the bathroom with me if the person I was with wasn’t as wise. Brazos Bend is a haven for all sorts of wildlife–just make sure you’re prepared for it!
There are a ton of trails at this park, so you can visit several times and still see something new. I have never been to the observatory, but the nature center is very cool to check out if you are interested in knowing a little bit more about the park, especially the gators.
Brazos Bend isn’t exactly the Wild West– perhaps it is closer to the Wild Wetlands– but it can feel like it. It’s really humbling to be able to such a powerful creature as an alligator in its natural habitat, along with all of the other critters that call Brazos Bend State Park Home.
Featured image by Gabrielle Hardy.