Austin is Underrated

I recently read an article that claimed Austin is overrated. That same article also said “Go to Houston instead.” I won’t do the internet community a disservice by linking to that hack. You’ll just have to take my word on it. I’m just not that good of a writer.

The Barton Springs Greenbelt is a great example of how Austin is underrated. That’s right. I said it. Underrated. How can that be? Good writers say Austin is a great town for food, sports, live music, politics, festivals, drafthouses, and races among other things.

cap 10k
borrowed from

They usually still say it’s a city and most people outside of Austin probably think of it as a city. It’s really so much more.

McKinney Falls State Park, Bull Creek Park, Zilker Park, Northwest Hills, well the list goes on and on of great places to hike and enjoy the outdoors. And they’re all within the city limits. It’s amazing when you think about it and even greater to experience it.

Think about Austin right now. Session is going strong and it’s crazy around the capitol.

austin capitol with crowd outside

Multiple giants of industry are opening new offices or expanding (VISA, Google, GM, Samsung, Apple, etc). Movies are being filmed all over the place. There’s an F1 track in case you haven’t heard. I’ll admit that the track is not actually in Austin, but everyone in town felt the effect of the race going on that week. Every week there is a major event of some kind. It’s just crazy around here. Yet a few blocks from the capital you can escape and find yourself out in the middle of nowhere it seems. You go from the pictures above to this:


This picture was taken less than two miles from the Texas State Capitol. Overrated? No way. I can only begin to paint the picture for you. You have to experience this city to understand why many Austinites feel the way they do. I’ve been here almost 9 years now and I’ve only just begun on my Austin adventure.

How it all began…

An attempt to visit all of the Texas State Parks and Historic Sites

At some point in the fall of 2012 I messaged one of my good friends, “I think I’d like to visit all the state parks.”

Response: “I’m in.”

This site documents our story. Below is a list of the sites we’ve visited so far. There are blog posts on each park. I have personally been to some of them more than once so there are multiple posts about several of the sites. I hope you enjoy and I hope that our story inspires you to visit some Texas State Parks. There are some amazing treasures out there and the only way to experience them is to get our there and explore.

The main focus of my site is the attempt to visit all 93 parks. Several people have asked about a post that tells a little about myself or my story. Ask and you shall receive.

My name is John. I’m an 8th generation Texan and proud of it. I was born in the Houston, TX area and got to Austin as quick as possible. I went to the University of Texas at Austin and decided it was so great I’d never leave. I started working full time for the University and still hold a position today.

I’ve always enjoyed the outdoors. My dad would take me fishing at Lake Livingston State Park when I was 5 or 6 years old. I can vividly remember waking up and staring at the alarm clock waiting for it read 5:00 AM. I knew that would mean my dad would be coming to wake me up to take me fishing at the state park. That is my earliest memory of a state park, but there would be countless more to follow.

Shortly after my dad passed away, I joined the cub scouts where I met a family which would become somewhat of a surrogate family to me. Over the next eleven years they would include me in many of their family trips to state parks, national parks, or any number of other outdoors destinations. Not only did my love of the outdoors stem from this relationship, but this family was also responsible for me becoming a Longhorn. I can’t begin to put in words how important these people were in my life growing up and continue to be today.

In 2004 I enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin. A love of sports developed and I made it a point to see as many events as possible while a student. It has helped to fuel my passion that some of the greatest athletes in the history of Texas Athletics have come through while I have been on campus. Cat Osterman, Vince Young, Sanya Richards, Colt McCoy, Kevin Durant, Lamarcus Aldridge, Derrick Johnson, Brendan Hansen, Ian Crocker, Aaron Peirsol, Cedric Benson, Aaron Ross, Michael Huff, the list goes on…

Through various friendships and connections I met some of my closest friends today. Every fall we combine our love of UT Athletics, BBQ, and having fun and host tailgates for our friends and family. It was after one of these tailgates that I sent one of my friends the text.

“I’d like to visit all of the state parks in Texas”

New cover photo and a Slideshow

Things I’ve learned/added in the past week:


I added some categories for my posts. I’m still trying to figure out how to use categories as pages like my friend’s blog. Hopefully she can show me next week.


I added a slideshow to my recent post on Homer Bailey’s No-hitter. That could be a useful feature for my next post about a hike.

New cover photo:

I took this picture on my recent hike at Doeskin. It was much better quality than the other picture I was using.