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Boating and Floating

July is a great time to be on the water in Texas either kayaking, canoeing, tubing or boating. With all the recent rains, the rivers, lakes and bays are full and ready for families to get out and enjoy them.

A few tips before you jump in:

1. Make sure someone knows where you are going and it is best to file a trip plan that has a map where you will be recreating.

2. Make sure all family members, including yourself, has a proper fitting life jacket.

3. Check your craft for leaks.

4. Make sure the lake, river or bay that you are visiting is open. With all the recent flooding and heavy rains, many boat launches are still closed.

5. Stay clear of debris piles in the water and near the shore.

6. Check the weather.

You can find even more safety tips at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's website.

Now you just have to find the perfect place to visit that has access to the type of water you want to enjoy. Nature Rocks Texas has the most comprehensive list of city, county, state and national parks, rivers, lakes and beaches listed for various regions. You can also visit the TPWD website to find the state parks near you or visit the Army Corp of Engines website for some of their lakes.

TPWD and the National Park Service also have several Paddling Trails in Texas that scenic and fun. Remember when enjoying outdoor recreation on the water, it is alway important to know your limits and the limits of the people with you.

If you don't have the gear, many city, state and national parks have boats and lifejackets for rent.