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Exploring Texas in a Pickup: 5 Places to Drive Your Truck

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In Texas, a station wagon is considered a subcompact. Texans love big vehicles. Other states can keep their small, fuel-efficient cars. Here in Texas, we drive a truck, and we drive a lot of them. As of 2016, Texas has about 4.2 million pick-up trucks. That’s a lot of horsepower.

One of the advantages of living in Texas is that we also have a lot of highway, about 3,233 miles worth, to be precise. So, we can drive almost anywhere we want. There’s no feeling like driving down the highway with your windows down on a sunny day. Providing there’s no traffic, of course.

But what if you’re tired of driving your truck on the highway? Well, you’re in luck. Here are five places for you and your truck to explore while you’re social distancing.

1. Port Aransas

Exploring Texas in a Pickup: 5 Places to Drive Your Truck

Photo: @beatricita via Twenty20

You may not think about driving your truck onto the beach, but you have the opportunity at Port Aransas. A permit is required to drive on the beach there, but it is possible. Once you’re there, you can participate in all sorts of fun activities, like fishing and windsurfing.

There aren’t many places in the US where driving on the beach is legal, so having a tailgate party in the surf should be a new experience for you. Just make sure to get the sea salt off your truck when you leave. That stuff is murder on paint.

2. River Run ATV Park

This park’s name may say “ATV,” but the experience is “4X4” truck all the way. Close to Jacksonville, Texas, this park is on the Neches River.

While you can’t drive in the river, you have miles of trails to explore. Some of the trails are dry, while others are wet and muddy.

They have showers (for you, not the truck) and a campground, so you can stay overnight if you want. If you forget something, they even have a store on the property!

3. Luckenbach, TX

Exploring Texas in a Pickup: 5 Places to Drive Your Truck

Photo: @leighdarilek via Twenty20

If you like country music, Luckenbach is the place to go. They offer live country music every day of the week, along with an authentic 1800s general store.

Just don’t go with the expectations of early-21st century showmanship. Their website says that Luckenbach is “Siesta, Texas” not “Fiesta, Texas.” Even so, pick-up trucks and country music go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Speaking of food, Luckenbach has a little take-out place that has a varied menu, including funnel cakes. If you love funnel cakes as much as we do, you may find yourself driving to Luckenbach just to have a taste. But you should probably stay for the music!

4. Trees Ranch Offroad

Some of you may know Trees Ranch Offroad as an exotic game ranch. However, they also have 40+ trails for off-roaders. Not all trails are appropriate for 4X4 trucks, but plenty are perfect for mudding.

However, these trails aren’t for amateurs. You will need a CB radio to stay in touch with the folks running the place throughout your adventure.

Also, because things break, you’ll need a two-vehicle minimum. In other words, you can’t explore the trail alone with your truck. You need a buddy with a vehicle to make sure you don’t get stranded and lost. Sounds challenging!

5. Big Bend National Park 

Exploring Texas in a Pickup: 5 Places to Drive Your Truck

Photo: @toyotapilot via Twenty20

Let’s be clear about one thing. True “off-roading” is not allowed at Big Bend National Park. If you take a truck off-road in the park, you risk damaging valuable ecosystems as well as killing wildlife. Don’t do this.

However, there are over 200 miles of dirt and gravel roads available that are a challenge to the most seasoned 4X4 off-roader. One of these is Old Ore Road, which has spectacular views of the Alto Relex escarpment. It’s about 26 miles long but probably will feel like 75 after you’re done with it. For this road, you’ll need some experience with off-roading before you tackle it.

The Old Maverick Road, located in the park, is easier, and would be suitable for 4X4 novices. If you’re planning on driving this road, you may want to call first. After rainstorms, this road can easily become impassable. Even though this 14-mile road is easier to drive than the Old Ore Road, it can take over an hour to navigate.

While there are plenty of roads to drive and attractions to see in Texas, remember to always keep the local laws in mind. Getting a speeding ticket on the beach is possible, and it definitely isn’t any fun. Otherwise, tune your radio to your favorite station, open your windows, and enjoy the drive!