Park Spotlight: Sheldon Lake State Park

Photo courtesy of Texas Parks & Wildlife

In our Park Spotlight series, we take a closer look at Houston’s vast array of public recreational areas to shine a light on hidden and not so hidden gems. This week we’ll be spotlighting Sheldon Lake State Park. Join us as we take a trip through Houston, park by park.

Located just 30 miles north of Downtown, Sheldon Lake State Park offers those in northeast Harris County a diverse microcosm of the Upper Texas Coast complete with four distinct habitats: bottomland woods, restored coastal prairie, open water and marsh of the lake, cypress swamp, and, of course, lake amenities for fishing.

Designated a state park by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in 1984, this 2800-acre outdoor education and recreation facility features plenty of recreational opportunities outside of fishing including, group camping, picnic areas, a 0.5-mile hiking trail that passes 28 ponds, alligator and wildlife watching, and educational exhibits at the Environmental Learning Center.

Photo courtesy of Texas Parks & Wildlife

Special Features at the Park

While you’re there, check out the John Jacob Observation Tower –an 82-foot wheelchair-accessible structure, allowing park visitors opportunities to view the surrounding wetlands and prairie, as well as a unique view of Houston’s Downtown skyline.

The primary activities at the lake unit are fishing and wildlife observation. Sheldon Lake is open every day to public fishing with appropriate licenses and catch-and-release fishing is permitted for children accompanied by adults, in the two fishing ponds.

Boats must not exceed headway speed while operating on the lake; they may be launched at the south boat ramp on Pineland Road. Bank fishing is permitted year-round.

Check out alternative energy technologies and green building demonstrations (photovoltaic, solar hot water, wind turbine, and ground coupled-geothermal) at the Pond Center.

And be sure to take in the wildscape demonstration, where visitors can learn about garden show techniques for using native plants and wildflowers to attract birds, butterflies, and other wildlife to your backyard.

Sheldon Lake State Park

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Cody Swann is a writer and musician born and raised in Houston. When he isn't recording or touring the country with his band, Wild Moccasins, he can be found covering live music and arts events for 365 Things to Do in Houston.