Find out How You Can Live for Free in a Texas State Park
Don’t mind if we do!
Four years ago, Bruce and Nan Nance sold their house in Grand Prairie, Texas, and moved into an RV. Today, you can find them living in Tyler State Park, where their next-door neighbors are 100-foot-tall pines and a spring-fed lake.
The Nances, who volunteer there as Park Hosts, told NBCDFW that their only regret is that they didn’t make the move sooner.
"This is your backyard, you know, you get up in the morning like, 'Yes! Yes!'" Bruce said.
In exchange for volunteering for the park for 24 hours a week, Bruce and Nan are able to live in one of the most beautiful places in the country for free.
"When you're park hosting you don’t have an electric bill, you don't have a water bill, you don't have property taxes that you're paying so you’re saving money on that," Bruce explained.
And they commute by canoe.
According to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Park Hosts serve as “representatives and stewards” of Texas State Parks. The Lone Star State boasts 95 State Parks of varying size, geography and structure. Depending on the needs of the park, hosts assist with a variety of tasks, including fee collection, light maintenance, visitor education and campground upkeep.
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For the Nances, it’s not just about living cost-free. As Bruce explained to NBCDFW, being a Park Host also comes with a certain sense of pride in a place that’s meant to be shared.
"This is not my state park, it's our state park as Texans,” Bruce said.
For more information about the Park Hosts program and for more information on volunteer opportunities, visit TPWD.Texas.gov.