Start Making Your Own Outdoor Memories At Cooper Lake State Park

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By Steve Killian, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas State Parks, Cooper Lake State Park Complex Superintendent

Christmas in the Park at Cooper Lake State Park

Cooper, Texas — December at Texas State Parks is special! Imagine a cold night huddled around a roaring campfire roasting marshmallows and listening to tales of Christmas past as lonesome wails of coyotes sing in the distance. You look up just in time to see a shooting star framed in the protected dark skies at the park. The fire warms your face as you sip a hot chocolate. You see the reflections of the flickering fire in your friend’s and family’s eyes. You immerse yourself in this magical moment being grateful. This could be you! Camping and December are not usually thought of together but here at Cooper Lake State Park, they should be! The park has a variety of overnight camping accommodations from cabins nestled on the banks of the lake, cottages, RV campsites, and tent sites too. Start making your own outdoor memories at a Texas State Park!

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“Christmas in the Park” is our highlighted event for the month. This traditional celebration will be held at the Doctors Creek Unit on Friday, December 9th and Saturday, December 10th f from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. nightly. Festive campers will decorate their campsites for all our visitors to see and enjoy. Camping is free for all holiday decorators! We may have a couple of campsites available due to late cancellations. If you are interested in joining in the holiday FUN, please contact Doctors Creek at 903-395-3100. We are waiving all entrance fees and camping fees for this “give back” event; for entrance into the park, we are asking each visitor to donate a nonperishable food item. All donated food items will be given to the nonprofit Delta Hope House for distribution within Delta County.

Christmas in the Park at Cooper Lake State Park

To kick off a healthy and happy 2023, both Cooper Lake State Park Units will host a First Day Hike on January 1st, 2023! Are you ready for an adventurous hike winding through a post oak forest? Park Rangers will guide you along the trail, stopping often to tell stories about our park and the natural world. This is a Must to get 2023 started off right! Your health and wellness journey begins with your first step. Keep it going throughout 2023 hiking and walking in the outdoors. The South Sulphur Unit First Day Hike will begin at 10 a.m. Please meet the Park Ranger at the Coyote Run Trailhead. The Doctors Creek Hike will start at 2 p.m. Please meet the Park Ranger at the Pelican Point Day Use Area near the playground.

Normal Park entrance fees are $5 for adults, with kids 12 and under always free. Senior Texans 65 or older will only pay $3 to enter the park daily with a Bluebonnet Pass. Unlimited Park entrances for you and everyone in your vehicle can be accomplished with the purchase of a Texas State Park Annual Pass for $70 which is good for over 12 months. All programs are free with paid entrance fees. For more information on this or other events and programs at Cooper Lake State Park, please visit and like our Facebook pages, or call Cooper Lake State Park – South Sulphur Unit at 903-945-5256 and Cooper Lake State Park – Doctor’s Creek Unit at 903 395-3100.

Recreational and Educational Programs Upcoming

Doctors Creek Unit

  • Saturday, December 3
    • Country Christmas – Make and take home a country Christmas inspired ornament. Meet at Pelican Point Pavilion at 10 a.m.
  • Friday, December 9
    • Christmas in the Park – a drive through experience! Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and kick off the holiday season viewing the decorated campsites. Bring your camera and join the fun starting at 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 10
    • Master Naturalist – 10 a.m. Meet at Pelican Point Pavilion. Enjoy a discussion with a Master Naturalist, topic to be announced.
  • Saturday, December 10
    • Christmas in the Park – a drive through experience! Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and kick off the holiday season viewing the decorated campsites. Bring your camera and join the fun starting at 6 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 11
    • Rain Deer – 10 a.m. Meet at Doctors Creek Pelican Point Day Use Area. Watercolor painting – create a winter themed inspired landscape painting.
  • Saturday, December 17
    • Stargazing – Join us as we explore the night sky. We’ll have the telescopes out for viewing a planet or two, viewing starts at 6:30 p.m. at Pelican Point Swim Beach. We’ll also be on the lookout for a meteor or two from the Geminids meteor shower.
  • Saturday, December 24
    • Self-guided Stargazing – Ursids Meteor Shower – pick up an informational flyer at Headquarters.
  • Saturday, December 31
    • Kid’s Fishing – 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. Meet at the Bluebonnet Fishing Pier and Day Use Area. Bring your own fishing gear. No pole? No bait? No worries. We have fishing poles available to borrow. No experience needed!
  • Saturday, January 1st – DC
    • First Day Hike – Meet at 2 p.m. at Doctors Creek Pelican Point Day Use Area. Begin your 2023 health and wellness adventure!

South Sulphur Unit

  • Saturday, December 3
    • Country Christmas – Make and take home a country Christmas inspired activity. Meet at Heron Harbor Day Use Area at 2 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 4
    • Mr. and Mrs. Claws – 10 a.m. at Heron Harbor Day Use Area– Learn about talons of various animals – dare to complete this matching game.
  • Saturday, December 10
    • Roving with the Ranger – Starting at 1:30 p.m. Stop our ranger as she roves around the park to discuss the interpretive item(s), she’s carrying around with her.
  • Saturday, December 17
    • Gems of the Universe – 2 p.m. at Heron Harbor – Learn about the Geminids Meteor Shower, where, when, and how to view them. Create your own Gem of the Universe make and take.
  • Saturday, December 24
    • Self-guided Stargazing – Ursids Meteor Shower – pick up an informational flyer at Headquarters.
  • Saturday, December 31
    • Kid’s Fishing – 2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Meet at the Heron Harbor Fishing Wall.
  • Saturday, January 1
    • First Day Hike – Meet at 10 a.m. at South Sulphur’s Coyote Run Trailhead. Begin your 2023 health and wellness adventure!

Author: Faith Huffman

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