January 1, 2014

Bastrop County Bucket List - Part 1

Happy New Year!!!!!! I love making New Year's resolutions... yet I inevitably end up disappointed by the end of January, as I've usually broken almost all of them. Plus, I often make them too vague, like eat healthier or spend more time with the kids, which means there's really no way to measure whether I'm actually meeting those goals.

This year, instead of resolutions, I decided to create a "bucket list" of all the things I'd like to do in Bastrop County in 2014. There were too many to post in just one article, so this will be a two-part series. (Read Part 2 here.) If you have anything you'd like to add to the list, leave a comment below!

1. Light o' the Moon Float Trip at McKinney Roughs Nature Park

I grew up in New Braunfels, Texas, so I love rivers! One thing I've never done, though, is floated down the river at night. So, one of the first items on my "bucket list" is the Light o' the Moon Float Trip in McKinney Roughs Nature Park. Here's the description from their website:
"Floating by the light of the moon, you'll be serenaded under the stars by the nocturnal creatures of the river corridor. Take in the beauty of the sun setting on the Colorado and the cool comfort of the night air as your raft is gently guided down a stretch of tranquil river."
Doesn't that sound so relaxing and wonderful? The next one they have coming up is on Feb. 14th, 2014. This year on Valentine's Day, instead of a romantic dinner out on the town, you just might find me on the Colorado River!

Photo by Marcus Calderon.

There's also several other LCRA programs I'd like to do this year, including Stargazing at the Roughs and the Texas Outdoor Adventure Day (TOAD) which starts off at the challenge course with a zip line and rock-climbing wall and finishes up with GPS hiking and a rafting trip down the Colorado. FUN!!! Click here for the LCRA calendar and here for the McKinney Roughs Nature Park outdoor programs list.

2. Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) with Bastrop River Company

Along the same lines as #1 on my list, there's not a lot of things I haven't done on a river, but stand up paddle boarding is one of them. My family and I went to the inaugural SUP Cup last August, an event where paddle boarders from across the country come to compete in races and challenge courses on the Colorado River, and it was awesome! It definitely made me want to give SUP a try. We might not have surfing or snowboarding, but we do have SUP, thanks to Bastrop River Company!

You can also give SUP a try through Rising Phoenix Adventures, who additionally offers kayak and canoe rentals and tours, as well as camping and fishing supply rentals. Bastrop River Company also offers kayaking, canoeing, and tubing.

3. Take a class at Earth Native Wilderness School

I'm sure you're starting to see a theme here. If I was making a list of New Year's resolutions, one of them would most definitely be spend more time outdoors. Since the work I do is mostly in front of a computer, I really want to focus on being more active and spending time appreciating nature. Earth Native Wilderness School is an environmental education and self-sufficiency school. Their mission and passion is to help people build strong relationships with the natural world and become more self-sufficient in their daily lives through increased knowledge and awareness. Sounds good to me!

Earth Native Wilderness School offers programs on numerous topics including wilderness survival skills, wildlife tracking and animal behavior studies, Ethnobotany (useful local plants), crafting bows & arrows, navigation, awareness, sustainability, and more! They are based in Austin but offer many classes in Bastrop/Cedar Creek to both adults and youth. Some of their upcoming classes include Plant Medicine, Escape & Evasion, Knife Making, Intro to Wildlife Tracking, and a Wilderness Survival weekend. Click here for a list of adult classes and here for more info about the youth programs.

4. Go camping at Bastrop or Buescher State Parks

I've spent a fair amount of time at Bastrop and Buescher State Parks over the 8 years I've lived in Bastrop County, but I haven't camped overnight at either one. In all honesty, I'm not that fond of camping. I always flashback to the first time my husband and I went camping together (in Colorado) after we were married. We didn't know it until it was too late, but our tent had a couple of small holes in it, and of course, it rained. There's not a lot I like less than being cold and wet, so that trip left a bad taste in my mouth for camping.

However, I would love to try again! This time, though, I think it would be fun (and definitely a lot drier) to stay in a cabin. Bastrop State Park has 14 cabins that range in price from $80-$200/night and sleep from 2-8 people. They have water, electricity, A/C, kitchens, fireplaces, bathrooms, and lots of other modern day amenities. Bastrop State Park also has plenty of campsites for tents and RVs.

Photo by Jeff Lynch.

Buescher State Park offers 3 limited use cabins that sleep up to 4 for $75/night. They have water, electricity, A/C, a refrigerator and microwave, and restrooms are located nearby. Additionally, Buescher State Park offers 4 screened shelters, which sleep up to 8 and have water and electricity. Screened shelters are only $25-$45/night. Like Bastrop State Park, Buescher also has several campsites for tents and RVs.

Photo by Jeff Lynch.

Besides camping, there are a lot of fun activities at both parkshiking, biking, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, and more! Plus, both parks have playgrounds and offer activities for kids including the Go Fish! Learn-to-Fish Event, and Busecher State Park has Junior Ranger Explorer Packs that can be checked out for free. We're very lucky to have not one but TWO state parks in our backyard, so take advantage of it!

Photo by Jeff Lynch.

That wraps it up for Part 1 of my Bastrop County Bucket List! Come on back next week for Part 2 to see what else I want to do in Bastrop County this year. I'd love to hear what would be on your list in the comments!


  1. Great to see Bastrop and Buescher State Parks listed, in my opinion, the crown jewels of Bastrop County. Looking at "The List" linked from the top of this page, I don't see the Bastrop Brewhouse. Between the parks and the Brewhouse, makes the hour drive to Bastrop well worth the trip.


    1. Yes, I love the state parks! They are definitely the crown jewels of Bastrop County. Perfect way to describe them, Tom. The Brewhouse is great, too. I love the atmosphere!

      "The List" is sadly out-of-date. I'll have to give it a makeover soon. Actually, the whole blog will be getting a makeover soon. :)