Trip Report: Cedar Hill State Park

When you are camping at Cedar Hill State Park you are right in the middle of the city, but surrounded by nature! This park is the perfect getaway for your family and friends because you don’t have to travel far away from “modern” life to get the escape you want. You’re only 10 miles from Dallas, but you’d think you were much farther away.

Sunset
The sunset from our campsite in the Hog Wallow Camping Area. November 2012

Located in Cedar Hill, Texas, this park offers lots to do for families of all ages, interests, and abilities. You can fish in the lake by boat or on a pier, let your kids feel the thrill of catching a fish in the perch pond, kayak and canoe on the water, camp, hike, go birding, or find the park’s hidden geocaches. If you are just interested in a day visit, you can set up shop at one of the many picnic tables and barbecue grills located throughout the park. If you want to get in some exercise, work up a sweat on the hundreds of miles of mountain biking and hiking trails.

TenaFamily
The Tena family tried kayaking for the first time, thanks to Texas Outdoor Family! November 2012
The Garcia family loves to fish! During a Texas Outdoor Family workshop they were able to try their luck in the perch pond. April 2013
The Garcia family loves to fish! During a Texas Outdoor Family workshop they were able to try their luck in the perch pond. April 2013

Another very fun and historical part of Cedar Hill SP is the Penn Farm Agricultural Center, which dates back to the 1850s. Remnants of structures from the original Penn Farm are still intact within and Park Rangers provide tours of the area, but you can also do a self-guided tour any time the park is open. The farm gives you a glimpse into agricultural history when farms operated with less complex machinery than is used today.

Knock, Knock! The Tena family checks out one of the buildings on Penn Farm. November 2012
Knock, Knock! The Tena family checks out one of the buildings on Penn Farm. November 2012
Members of two North Texas Kids Outside families walk during the guided tour of Penn Farm in April 2013.
Members of two North Texas Kids Outside families walk during the guided tour of
Penn Farm in April 2013.
JoePoolCedarHill
After a tour of the farm, it was time to play by the lake!
One of our youngest campers inspects his tent for the night.
One of our youngest campers inspects his tent for the night.
The best part about enjoying a local state park like Cedar Hill is that you don’t have to be an expert to do any of the activities. All you need is a little curiosity. You can join a Texas Outdoor Family workshop, which is what I did! 
North Texas Kids Outside (NTKO), sponsored families to attend two workshops at this park. One workshop took place in the fall, from November 10 – 11, 2012 and the other took place in the Spring from April 6 – 7, 2013. We took 3 families camping during each trip, paid all the fees for them, and cooked meals during the entire weekend! Look for my future post about how I learned (the hard way) to cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner over a campfire for about 20+ people! We also made sure the kiddos had some outdoor toys they could continue to use in their own backyards! We couldn’t have done this without our wonderful sponsors! If you’d like to see more pictures of the families engaging in activities, visit our Facebook photo album for November and April
During November, the temperatures were warm and cooled off a little at night, but weren’t too bad! The wind did pick up at night, so be prepared and stake your tent down! In April, the weather is PERFECT and the bluebonnets are definitely a sight to see! It can be a little windy during this time, too, but you will definitely have a great time.
Geocaching (aka looking for hidden treasures) in a field of bluebonnets at Penn Farm in Cedar Hill State Park. April 2013
Geocaching (aka looking for hidden treasures) in a field of bluebonnets at Penn Farm in Cedar Hill State Park. April 2013
When you are looking for a place to vacation with your family, I hope you consider Cedar Hill State Park! Below is some more information from the TPWD site:
Where is Cedar Hill State Park?
1570 West FM 1382 
Cedar Hill, TX 75104
This address is sometimes hard to find with a GPS device, so it is better to follow these directions.
How much does it cost to visit?
What can you do at Cedar Hill?
  • picnic (individual and group picnic sites)
  • camping (water/electric)
  • primitive camping/ backpacking
  • hiking
  • mountain biking
  • bird watching
  • swimming at the beach
  • boating
  • fishing
  • Kayak and Mountain Bike Rentals (March through October)
  • Joe Pool Marina
  • Penn Farm Agricultural Center
Visit the Interpretive Center and learn about the area and the local animals!

Maps:
Cedar Hill Overview

Do you know of any places where you can be in nature, but still be close to a city?
Share your favorite spot in the comments below!

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