Sun. Wide open spaces. Room to run.
Exploring the best outdoor things to do in Lubbock is easy with the weather of West Texas.
For most of the year, warmth abounds and there’s nothing better than grabbing the family, packing a picnic, and heading out to a park or recreation area.
In this guide, we’ll also explore some of the best golf courses in Lubbock, which, after all, are some of the best things to do in Lubbock outdoors if you prefer practicing your swing.
1. Prairie Dog Town
Part of Mackenzie Park, Prairie Dog Town is a beloved part of Lubbock that features a herd of prairie dogs that had been in the city since around the 1930s.
Bring some carrots or lettuce and you can feed them, or just sit back and watch their antics as they pop in and out of their tunnels and squabble over who has had more to eat.
They’re super cute, fun to see for the kids who haven’t seen one before (and the adults too), and it’s completely free thing to do in Lubbock which makes it a Lubbock nature must-do.
2. Mackenzie Park
With over 200 acres to explore, Mackenzie Park is one of the best parks in Lubbock and definitely on the list of the best things to do in nature in Lubbock.
Not only will you come across the prairie dog park, but there also is an (actual) dog park to let your furry friends run around, as well as an amusement park with carnival rides, plenty of benches for picnics or people-watching, as well as a beautiful creek leading to a lake.
In the summer, outdoor events are held here so you may find yourself here listening to live music in the park, but it’s a great place to visit at all times of the year when you want some grassy areas and places to spread out in Lubbock.
3. Mae Simmons Park
One of the “wild” parks in Lubbock, Mae Simmons Park offers a chance for those who want to get out in an untamed Lubbock and explore the wild plants and landscape to be found.
Not only is it the start of the Mae Simmons Outer Loop hiking trail, which hikers love for its hills, open prairie, and views of downtown Lubbock, but it also holds a disc golf course making it one of the best things to do in Lubbock for college students.
This course has everything from wooded areas to river beds, though you will want to bring some mosquito spray throughout much of the year to keep those natural pests away!
There’s also a fishing lake if you prefer to have a more peaceful afternoon as you wait for them to bite.
4. Eastlawn Memorial Gardens
I’ve included Eastlawn Memorial Gardens not as a place to hang out in Lubbock, as it’s a cemetery, but an outdoor thing to do in Lubbock that houses so much history.
Famous singer Buddy Holly is buried here, as well as other Lubbock names like Virgil Johnson and Bobby Layne, and it’s a peaceful place to pay your respects.
5. Clapp Park
You’ll also find a lake, plenty of benches, one of the best dog parks around called Hub City Unleashed (your pooch will thank you), and the Lubbock Swimming Pool.
Come to play sports in the sports fields, simply walk around and soak in the sun, or let the kids run wild on the playground.
6. Maxey Park
Located near Lubbock’s Medical District, Maxey Park has a big lake to walk around, as well as a swimming pool.
There’s also a playground that the kids will love, lakeside picnic tables, and plenty of space to get some exercise and fresh air.
7. McAlister Park
With Little League fields and a large playground called Legacy Park Village (a must-do for kids in Lubbock as this is a traditional wooden playground), McAlister Park has been a staple in Lubbock park life, but recently Lubbock residents have drawn up plans for an upgrade.
Not only will the park be getting a new dog park in 2021, but there are also plans for splash pads and a food court to attract more locals to enjoy the park and to make sure that it’s spotless, shining, and well-manicured, showing off the best of Lubbock.
8. Shadow Hills Golf Course
With 18 holes and and a flat and open course, Shadow Hills Golf Course is a great option for golfers in Lubbock who want a game of golf with friends or family.
Some water features and trees add some difficulty as you go around the course, and watch out for the Texas winds that can definitely give you a challenge!
There’s also a driving range to warm up, and golfers consistently rate their greens as well-kept and looked after.
Get some wind in your hair and sun on your face as you enjoy being outdoors in Lubbock at this golf course.
9. Rawls Golf Course
One of the best golf courses in all of Texas, Rawls Golf Course is on the campus of Texas Tech and was built to be an NCAA Championship golf course.
Golfers of all skill levels are accepted to play here, and you’ll fall in love with the landscaping as it’s meant to mimic a landscape of valleys, canyons, and plains.
There are lots of bunkers to work your way around, and golfers love how well-kept this course is.
A beautiful pro shop and restaurant are also great options for spending some time after play.
10. Hodges Park
With a large fishing lake and plenty of shade, Hodges Park is a great place to go when you want some peace and quiet.
Take a walk at sunset for some beautiful views or enjoy the walking trails during the day to see the people fishing and get some exercise.
Locals love it for being a spacious park for community and family events.
11. Buddy Holly Recreation Area
The Buddy Holly Recreation Area is one of the most beautiful places in all of Lubbock, and there is plenty to do here including over a 2 mile route around a lake, plenty of walking paths, an outdoor workout center, and more.
Play basketball on the basketball courts, or try your hand at fishing in the lake.
Picnic areas give you a chance to sit down with your sandwiches and watch the world go by.
Locals love it at sunrise and sunset when the colors in the sky are at their peak beauty.
12. Yellow House Canyon Park
To the southeast of Lubbock is Yellow House Canyon, one of the hidden secrets near Lubbock and a beautiful place to visit.
This is a narrow and shallow canyon, with lots of lakes and water recreation areas.
The greenery surrounding the local area provides a beautiful contrast to the starkness of the canyon and is a fun natural place to visit.
13. Earl Crow Park
Earl Crow Park is a nice compact park in Lubbock with a lake for fishing, a small playground for the kids, and some picnic tables.
The ducks are most people’s favorite part of this park, as they’re super friendly and fun to watch.
This is a nice neighborhood and nice place to spend a few hours.
14. McCullough Park
From dog walkers to disc golfers, Lubbock residents love McCullough Park!
The disc golf course is 9 holes and a really fun course to play that’s easy to navigate.
There’s a small pond, which you can fish in, as well as a walking path and a playground for the kids.
This park, much like many of the other parks in Lubbock, are really staples in their neighborhoods and a great example of how many green spaces you can find here.
15. Leftwich Park
Locals love this park for the beautiful trees, making it a great spot to eat lunch or spend some time relaxing.
There’s also a lake, a playground for the kids, and picnic tables so you can sit down and eat or gather for a family or birthday party.
It’s also fantastic for bird-watching as you see which birds gather in the lake and on the shores of it.
16. OW Ribble Park
When everyone needs to burn off some energy, head to OW Ribble Park.
Here, there is plenty of grassy areas to run, as well as a playground with a swing and a slide, a lake with ducks, and also a small stadium where you can play volleyball and other sports.
There are also barbecue areas and picnic spots, so you can pack up your food and enjoy an afternoon out in the sun.
17. Clifford H Andrews Park
This park may be small, but don’t count it out! The lake provides opportunity for fishing, with locals catching carp and other fish.
The playground is uniquely designed with interesting curves and twists that mean your kids can spend time exploring some new play structures that they probably haven’t encountered before, making it one of the best things to do in Lubbock with kids.
There’s also a winding path around the park so you can push a stroller or walk the dog, and a basketball court provides another opportunity for people of all ages to get together and play sports.