Things to Do

Brownwood’s Pecan Bayou Offers Paddling by Day and Romance by Night

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Tony Maples Photography


With hillsides and open fields bursting with color, birds migrating from north to south, and clouds like puffy sheep blowing gently through cerulean skies, no one can doubt that spring has arrived in Texas. Spend time outdoors exploring the Pecan Bayou (part of the Texas Paddling Trails system) near Brownwood, then snuggle up with your special someone for a night of rustic or refined romance under the stars.

paddlers--Photo: Courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife

The newly risen sun casts sparkles like millions of tiny diamonds on the slow moving water. A rhythmic slosh, slosh is the only sound that breaks the silence as the canoe glides through the blue-green water. Slightly ahead of the paddler, a blue heron senses a would-be threat and gracefully extends its wings to fly to a safer fishing spot. The paddler takes a momentary break, sips from his coffee mug, and breathes deeply. Now, this is living.

pecan bayou 2Photo: Courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife

Fabis Primitive Park just outside Brownwood hosts a launching spot into the Pecan Bayou. According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife website, this paddling trail encompasses up to 7.2 miles, which includes a 3.2-mile loop upriver and back and a 4-mile loop downriver to the dam and back. The usually slow moving body of water drains from Lake Brownwood, but high levels of rainfall can cause the water levels to fluctuate and become undesirable for paddling.

scenic_1--Photo: Courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife

The bayou gets its name from the hundred-year-old pecan trees that line its banks, the remnants of an old orchard. Fishermen and women take note. The bayou teems with large and small mouth bass, crappie, brim, and catfish. Birdwatchers will gloat to fellow birders over sightings of heron, kingfishers, Eastern bluebirds, woodpeckers, and egrets. Eastern screech, great horned, and barred owls snooze from tree branches. Winter brings its own variety of winged visitors including Northern pintails, mallards, blue-winged teal, nuthatches, creepers, flickers, and sapsuckers.

13417444_1262289510462780_4874789240056807459_nPhoto: Facebook/Lake Brownwood State Park

After spending the day floating on the water, enjoy nature at night and spend the night camping at Lake Brownwood State Park. Choose from 4-person and 2-person rustic cabins with double beds (linens provided), full kitchens, showers, grills, outdoor seating, heat and air conditioning, and fireplaces for cooler nights. Larger parties can rent three different sized lodges with all the same amenities as the cabins. RV campsites offer amenities like water and electricity, some even with sewer availability. Finally, for diehard campers, tent sites are available, too. Tent camping starts at $12 per night, two-person cabins start at $80, and lodges start from $100. Screened shelters with indoor picnic tables are also available for $30.

star of texas bnbPhoto: Facebook/Star of Texas B&B

Looking for a more luxurious place to rest and maybe sneak in a little private time? Book a reservation at Star of Texas Bed and Breakfast. Don and Deb Morelock welcome guests onto their 20-acre slice of peace and quiet. Tranquility and romance fill the air with each of their individually designed cabins all of which offer a slightly different feel. All cabins offer air-conditioning, WIFI, coffee makers, microwaves, small refrigerators, and candles. A homemade breakfast arrives each morning at 9 a.m. right at your door. Choose to dine inside or outside on the private porch. Three of the four cabins offer hot tubs and fire pits or chimeneas.

The natural, quiet setting make Star of Texas a lovely location for small weddings, elopements, and private retreats. Check out the optional add-on packages tailored for romance, kayakers, or newlyweds. The owners have thought of all the little things that make romantic getaways so special. Rooms start from $199 per night.