Section Fort Parker State Park to Confederate Reunion Grounds State Historic Site, near Mexia
Length and duration 5 miles, 2–4 hours
Reward yourself Take a seat at Jim’s Krispy Fried Chicken, in Mexia.
Canoeing/Kayaking, Kid-Friendly, Overnight Camping
Fort Parker state park, just south of Mexia, is perfect for a lazy family weekend. Campsites along the shore of Fort Parker Lake—which is simply one end of the Limestone Bluffs Paddling Trail—boast great views of the sun setting over the park’s fishing pier, and there’s also a boat dock and some short hiking and biking paths. Although you never entirely leave the hum of civilization behind, paddling this five-mile stretch of the Navasota feels like slipping off into another world. The surrounding farmland is mostly flat, but it doesn’t take much topography to be impressive from water level, and the main attraction is a series of cute limestone mini-bluffs. In fact this river seems to have a little bit of everything—juniper trees reminiscent of the Hill Country, tall pine trees as in East Texas, and the dense hardwood bottoms one would expect to find in these parts. Here’s a secret: This section of the Navasota isn’t just lazy, it’s practically asleep. So save the entrance fee to the state historic site and start your trip upriver from the park’s put-in point. The still water makes this safe for kids and a great place to relax while you wait for a catfish or bass to bite on your line. It’s a George Strait song come to life.