Schools in the Fort Hood area will be wrapping up within the next few weeks, and families will have more time to explore the Central Texas area together during the summer.

The Texas State Parks system offers a number of locations that are easy to drive to from Fort Hood for a day or weekend experience.

Colorado Bend State Park is a short 1.5-hour drive from Fort Hood and offers a variety of activities for any outdoor enthusiast.

With over 35 miles of trails, mountain biking and hiking are popular in this park. Hikers can choose the Spicewood Springs trail, which will take visitors past waterfalls and pools and then a hike back up the canyon. The Gorman Falls trail is a more advanced hike, but also offers views of the falls.

Swimming, fishing and boating are all permitted in the river when water levels permit.

Guided tours of some of the more than 400 caves underneath the park can be reserved in advance.

RV campsites, tent-only and primitive tent sites to hike out to are available starting at $10 per night.

The park gates are open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Adults pay a daily entrance fee of $5 and children under 12 years old are free.

Visit tpwd.texas.gov for more information or call the park at 325-628-3240 for more information.

Use this additional listing of outdoor activities and upcoming events to plan out your family time:

Outdoor Fun

Summer Fun Water Park, 1410 Waco Road in Belton, is now open for the season. Summer Fun features multiple water slides, a lazy river, large swimming pool, and pavilions for parties. The park is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 1 to 6 p.m. on Sundays. Admission prices: adults, $16; children three to 12 years old, $13; non-swimmers, $7; and seniors, free. The park offers discounted rates for admission after 3 p.m., and Sunday admission is $13 for all ages. Summer Fun also features teen and adult nights throughout the summer. Go to summerfunwaterpark.com for more information.

The Killeen Family Aquatics Center, 1800 E. Stan Schlueter Loop, will open again for the season on Memorial Day weekend. The center includes a 10,360 multi-use pool, a lap pool, bathhouse, three water slides, kid’s play area, shaded rest areas and more. Day passes range from $5 to $8 based upon age, with kids 3 years and under always free. The center will be open Monday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and Sunday from 1 to 6:30 p.m.

Hancock Springs Free Flow Pool is one of the last free-flowing spring-fed pools in Texas with water staying at a cool 72 degrees no matter how hot it gets outside. The spring will reopen May 26 and is at Hancock Park, Highway 281 South in Lampasas. Adult admission fee is $3.50 per day and seniors and children are $2.50. The pool will be open Thursday-Saturday from noon to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 6 p.m.

Belton Lake Outdoor and Recreation Center, at the intersection of North Nolan Road and Cottage Road, has a number of activities for families to enjoy. Camping sites, picnic pavilions, horseback riding trails, hiking, mountain biking, as well as a man-made beach complete with a downhill water slide and more are available. Military patrons pay $3 per car; all others are $10 per vehicle. Visit hood.armymwr.com for more information.

Copperas Cove has two swimming pools at South Park, 2602 Dennis Drive, and the City Park Complex, 1206 W. Avenue B. Both pools will open for the season on Memorial Day weekend.

Upcoming Events

The Celebrate Killeen Festival will be from May 17-19 at the Killeen Special Events Center, 3301 S. W.S. Young Drive. The festival will feature a carnival, kids’ activities, musical performances, food trucks, vendors, and more.

The Armed Forces 5K Run/Walk will be at 8 a.m. May 19 at Abrams Physical Fitness Center, Bldg. 23001, 62nd St. and Support Ave., Fort Hood. The run is free and open to all. Registration is required and can be completed online at hood.armymwr.com, or on-site prior to the race from 7 to 7:45 a.m.

The Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce will host the Rabbit Fest Parade at 10 a.m. May 19 in downtown Copperas Cove. Parade will take place rain or shine. Get there early to secure a spot along the route.

The Sunday Morning Group Run will be from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. May 20 at Purser Family Park, 100 Mountain Lion Road, Harker Heights. Free and open to all ages and running paces, the route will be marked with various distances, so runners can choose their own experience. Water and coffee will be available.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.