AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Parks and Wildlife has officially launched its online reservation system for state parks, making it easier for visitors to plan a day or overnight trip to their favorite Texas State Parks.
For the first time, through the new "Save the Day" feature, visitors will be able to reserve a single day entry pass in advance, ensuring access to even some of the busiest and most popular parks at the most popular times. That includes parks such as Enchanted Rock, Brazos Bend, Balmorhea, Pedernales Falls and McKinney Falls State Park.
The new system will also allow visitors to purchase state park passes online.
"Technology moves quick and it's always a fast paced environment and this is a really big way that we can stay up with the times and stay relevant and accessible to everyone," said Tommy Cude, superintendent of McKinney Falls State Park. "Imagine the frustration in someone who drove from El Paso to Balmorrhea to go swim for the day and they're full and you gotta turn around and drive back. So this is a really great option it's gonna help the staff at the park, it's going to help the visitors visiting that park, it's going to be a really positive, positive change."
Reservations can be made online using your laptop, tablet or smart phone. Through the new system, patrons will get to specifically choose what camp site they want at their desired park by looking through pictures of the camp sites. Visitors can also find specific information for each site including shade, proximity to bathrooms and showers and length to make sure your trailer can fit. Being able to reserve spots next to other groups in your party will also be more of a possibility.
A park like McKinney Falls sees up to 300,000 visitors each year and gets packed pretty easily. However, thanks to the new online reservation system, folks will no longer need to worry about being turned away if the park is at full capacity since they'll be able to book ahead of time.
"Advanced sale on day use tickets, so this is a growing thing around the state of Texas. People are wanting to get outside, they're wanting to visit the state parks and state natural areas so a lot of sites are experiencing capacity issues," Cude said.
"With this new system, it'll allow you to plan ahead earlier in the week or three weeks out, or four weeks out. Say, 'I'm going to go to McKinney Falls this weekend,' you can pull open the online reservation system and choose Saturday morning, you want to come to McKinney falls and buy those tickets in advance, then you're guaranteed entry into the park."
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