Outdoor Fun

Abilene State Park

  • Overnight camping reservations are now available
  • Day-use reservations must be made online at www.texasstateparks.org or by calling 512-389-8900.
  • Guests must wear masks. 
  • Maintain 6 feet from other guests. 
  • Follow the park's Facebook page for news. 

Birdwatching in Taylor County

Now is a great time for birdwatching, according to Abilene’s ornithologist extraordinaire, Jay Packer. Many species are passing through on seasonal migrations. 

Here are resources to help get started. You want to start a digital journal and document your work as a citizen scientist through a free account and smartphone app via eBird.org. Bird fans also can join the Big Country Audubon Society group on Facebook and share findings with other bird lovers. Expert Jay Packer has documented more than 289 bird species in Taylor County during a birding “Big Year,” in 2019 and his daily blog of the adventure is a colorful catalog. 

Texas Parks & Wildlife recommends these places to spot different avian species. Grab binoculars and visit Fort Phantom Hill, Seabee Park at Fort Phantom Lake,  Lake Kirby Nature ParkWill Hair Park, Grover Nelson Park, or Abilene State Park and the adjacent, Lake Abilene. 


  • Dogs can enjoy off-leash freedom in the two, large fenced parks: Dogs under 30 pounds and another for bigger dogs.
    • Water and waste-bags are available on-site.


Golf Courses


City of Abilene Parks & Recreation

Parks are still open for people to enjoy: take a walk with your leashed animal, fish or feed prairie dogs.

Here's a list of City of Abilene Parks.

  • Basketball, tennis, disc golf, and fishing are open to the public.
  • Water play Splash Pads open Friday, May 22. 
  • Adventure Cove remains closed.

Spot wildflowers or birdwatch at Lake Kirby Nature ParkWill Hair Park, or Grover Nelson Park

Play disc golf at Cal Young Park or Will Hair Park.

Take a walk, throw a frisbee or picnic at these parks:


Disc Golf


Dodge Jones Youth Sports Center

  • The facility is open and summer events are coming back online. 
  • Local athletes also will be sharing their life in an “Around My Block” segment.
  • Follow social media channels: AYSA on Facebook and Instagram, Dodge Jones Youth Sports Center on Facebook.

The Swenson House Gardens

Gardens are blooming and families are welcome to social distance and tiptoe through the blooms. A scavenger hunt list is available in the small library in the front yard. Family time!


Sup Abilene Kayak and Paddle Board Rentals at Fort Phantom Lake

  • 9 Cherokee Circle, 5 miles from the Walmart on East Lake Road
  • Rentals open for the season Friday, May 22.
  • Call or text 325-269-1812 for info.
  • SUP Yoga events happen monthly. Also called paddleboard yoga, this is the latest craze in the watersports and yoga world: yoga on a board surrounded by the beauty of nature on a perfect sunset lake setting.
    • No prior paddle or yoga experience required only basic swimming skills.
    • Tickets $25, include paddleboard, paddle, life jacket and yoga.
    • Call Amy 325-269-1812 for directions or Camie 325-721-4937 for tickets. Follow on social

Picture yourself in the Storybook Capital

You will find characters of every kind strolling the downtown cultural district, home to the largest public collection of storybook characters in the country, if not the world.


Explore Fort Phantom Hill

Reopening when Texas Historic sites go to 100% capacity. Check the website for updates.

Standing over a remote grassy plain, the brick chimneys of Fort Phantom Hill aren’t just a ghostly sight; they’re a living piece of history. It was here, in 1851, that the U.S. Army established the fort to protect the Texas frontier as it moved west. Walk around the grounds (admission is free) and you’ll see three of the fort’s original stone buildings, more than a dozen chimneys, and the fort’s original foundations. Take a moment to savor the peace and quiet and you’ll get a sense of what life was like for those stationed at the fort. Keep your eyes open for songbirds and butterflies, like the variegated fritillary and red admiral that are attracted to the area’s colorful wildflowers.


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