IMAGE: Texas Parks & Wildlife — Even in the winter, with temperatures dropping and sun setting, Lake Livingston State Park is an idyllic fishing setting.

Wake up, snooze the alarm, get dressed, drink coffee, commute, work, waste time on the internet, commute again, socialize, go to bed.

Houstonia readers endure such daily routines, well, routinely—which is why many are attracted to the word “escape.” Not just in the geographic sense, but in not having to follow a schedule. A trip to any place where words like “routine” have no discernible value. 

Hence annual holiday trips to exotic locales, whether by plane, boat, or automobile. The destination and the means of reaching it usually don't matter as much as the idea behind it all. If escape is involved, then we tend not to mind beaches at Christmas or skiing in the summer.

But why go to such extremes when you can pack your car, drive a few hours northeast of Houston and land yourself for a weekend at Lake Livingston State Park? Sure, there's a month to go before the first official day of winter, but that doesn't mean a calming cuddle close to the campfire won't do the trick. There's nothing more exotic than a cold lake in Texas.

The park's chief attraction is the lake, the bulbous thigh of the Trinity Watershed just above the river's fat foot in Trinity Bay. All of the campgrounds, save one, border the lake. This closeness guarantees ease of access for relaxing campers and hardcore fishers alike. Several hiking trails, designated swimming areas and boat ramps provide visitors with direct access, but it all comes back to the fish. Even on the coldest nights in late December and early January, you're guaranteed to find a few anglers sitting in boats or standing on the piers.

Although spring, summer and fall are the busiest and best times for fishing, many come to Lake Livingston during the winter months for the lack of business. A few take a shot at having Pine Island all to themselves for the duration. Fewer people in the park doesn't necessarily mean better fishing, but it will definitely be quieter. Besides, channel and blue catfish – angling staples of Texas freshwater bodies – are ripe for the picking all year.

IMAGE: Texas Parks & Wildlife — There's much more than fishing in Lake Livingston State Park, though leaving the lake behind is always a tough choice.

If fishing's not your style, there's always the hike and bike trails strewn throughout the park. Moving along these paths will surely warm you up on the coldest of cold nights this winter season, but they'll also make the campfire at the end of the day that much sweeter. The Livingston Trail runs midway between the lake and the park road, connecting all of the campgrounds with nearly three miles of bike paths and foot trails. 

Otherwise, the Main, Oak Flat and Pineywoods Nature trails provide access to the eastern side of the park. The latter includes a duck pond which, considering the time of year, will likely feature a resident population of ducks, geese and other fly-south-for-the-winter aviators. Bring plenty of extra bread on the hike.

But only if you want to feed the ducks, and only if you ever decide to take advantage of the hiking trails. Or the fish, the lake and anything else during your weekend residence on Lake Livingston. That's the deal, remember? This weekend is about escaping the confines of your daily routine, going somewhere exotic (a swimmable lake in December!) and doing absolutely nothing.

Give it a shot. You won't be disappointed.

 

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