It isn't summer if you don't have at least a little fun in the sun, right? So, if you can manage to peel yourself out of the comfort of the air conditioner, grab a friend and venture outside to try one of these activities! But don't worry if you do get a little overheated, just stop by one of our picks and cool off on the way home!

1. Hiking


Here in East Texas, we often take for granted the beauty that surrounds us each day. We are surrounded by enormous trees of every kind, colorful flowers and wildlife.  So, if you are interested in walking down scenic trails surrounded by nature, check out one of East Texas' many hiking trails. You can check out the Fair Breeze Nature Trails by Nacogdoches, and explore everything that the piney woods have to offer.

If you are interested in a more strenuous and lengthly hike, than you may want to take on The Trail Between the Lakes, a designated 28 mile hiking trail that winds from the southern half of the Sabine National Forrest and extends to the easternmost point of the Sam Rayburn Reservoir. The trail features interesting topography, gorgeous plant life and scenic views of streams and lakes. The trail is exclusively for hikers; horses, mountain bikes and off-road vehicles are prohibited. The Trail Between the Lakes crosses roads at many locations, so it is very easy to plan shorter hikes if 28 miles seems a bit much.

2. Fishing

Fishing Pole

Grab your fishing pole and boat and head out to Sam Rayburn Reservoir for a relaxing day of fishing. This lake not only serves as a wonderful place to water ski and tube, but also as a perfect fishing hole. With a plethora of fish inhabiting the lake, (such as large mouth bass, crappie, catfish and white bass) bringing home fish to fry should be a piece of cake. Check out the Rules & Regulations of Sam Rayburn before you head out there, and don't forget the sun block!

3. Waterslides


If you don't mind the drive, Schlitterbahn Waterparks are debatably the funnest way to spend a hot summer day. With rides and attractions for all ages, it is definitely worth the drive. There are 3 Schlitterbahn Waterparks in Texas, located in Galveston, South Padre Island and New Braunfels. Each park equipped with speed slides, lazy rivers and wave pools, entertainment is a definite guarantee.

If you make it out to Schlitterbahn New Braunfels, the newest feature is a water coaster called "Dragon's Revenge".In this intense water coaster, riders go through a series of uphill blasts passing through ruins of a castle, and encounter theatrical lights, fog, and even an angry dragon!

Here's a clip on the "Dragon's Revenge" water coaster from the Travel Channel!

4. Camping


Grab your tent and camping supplies and bring the family out for a weekend of outdoors fun at Ratcliff Lake Recreation Area. Located in Kennard, TX in the Davy Crockett National Forrest, this campground surrounds a 45 acre lake and is fully equipped with restrooms, hiking trails, canoe rentals, picnic tables and even an amphitheater!

Popular activities include fishing, hiking, bird watching, swimming in the lake and picnicking. If you are looking for a relaxing getaway, head out to Ratcliff campgrounds and spend the weekend under some East Texas hardwood and pine trees.

The park is currently closed due to tornado damage, but should be up and running in no time! To keep updated on Ratcliff Lake Recreation Area, check out the facility's Facebook page!

5. Flying a Kite


It seems so simplistic, but bliss is often found in the simple things that life offers. One of the best things about kites is that you can become a professional kite flyer in your own backyard, all you need is a kite, some string and a gust of wind. There are so many kite options to choose from nowadays, the colors are endless and stores even offer 'stunt' kites now, which are kites built to do interesting tricks in the air. Kite flying is an entertaining way to pass time and enjoy the company of your family during the dog days of summer, and the only physical labor it requires is sitting and watching the fabric dance in the sky.

Find a park near you, and try kite flying with friends and family

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