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Texas Sportsman
Family-Friendly Fishing
If that's your goal for this summer's vacation, then check out this great lineup of Texas destinations. (June 2009)

Schools out! Kids of all ages go busting out the door for summer vacation, a break generally lasting 2 1/2 to 3 months. Naturally, the small fry to teenagers are ecstatic. On the other hand, for some parents the combination of summer and vacation may be something to be dreaded, perhaps even a little feared.

What will the family do, where will they go, how will they occupy their time? And, of course, in these days and times, how much will it cost? All this and more instantly come to mind.

Family summer vacation . . . ah, memories come bounding back of energetic children, long hot days, the smell of hot dogs and hamburgers on a grill, loud laughter, and starlit nights with a small campfire to roast marshmallows. Depending on where you may have gone, you also might have encountered mosquitoes, poison ivy, bugs drawn to night lights, sunburn, bad weather and a dozen other not-so-enjoyable things that can appear out of nowhere. Most often, though, it's the fun that's so easily recalled -- and rightfully should be.

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Summer vacation frequently brings to mind fishing, as in a family fishing holiday. That sounds really entertaining and eventful. But what if some family members don't want to fish the entire time? Perhaps they don't care to fish at all, but everyone still wants to go on an adventure as a family. What then?

It's simple. Choose a place that offers choices. No one knows your family better than you do. Let your children provide input as to what they would like to do in addition to fishing. Anyone not desiring to fish will have some ideas, too. Alternatives to either need to be thrown in as well.

It will help your family bond together while building anticipation and excitement. Depending on the length of time you have for your adventure, perhaps family members could have their own day. The family would participate in the events or visit the places the individual chose.

To ensure a great vacation you should always have plans A (first choice), B (second choice) and C (if all else fails) in place. For whatever reason, if someone gets sick or it rains nonstop, for example, you have a backup resolution. It will lessen the chance of someone moping around complaining about what could have been! This is equally important regardless of your children's ages. Let's explore some possibilities.

Texas being so vast and wide, there simply are too many places to name where a family can go fishing but also enjoy sightseeing and participate in various other activities. There are, however, a few places that may possess less desirable choices. Keep in mind that you want to include some fishing. To start, get out the map or get on the Internet. By doing your research first, you'll save time and effort later!

For that reason, West Texas may not be the best place. There is limited water and other activities, and it's a long way between stops. The same may also be said about certain areas of the Panhandle. The Hill Country has endless possibilities. Many places have their own private fishing holes or access to other private waterfront property. East Texas and deep South Texas possess many places to go including numerous rivers and lakes both big and small.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department oversees our state park system. It is a fabulous resource many vacationers fail to use. A multitude of state parks and recreation areas offer great fishing opportunities, as well as assorted activities not only within their confines but also just a short drive down the road.

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