15 Best Things to Do in Copperas Cove, TX

Copperas Cove, TX
Nisachon Poompuang / shutterstock.com

Copperas Cove is a wonderful place to visit, as it nestles in a scenic location amid five hills in Central Texas.

Founded during the 1870s, Copperas Cove is the largest city in Coryell County, with more than 30,000 residents.

The early growth of this city was propelled by the railway expansion in its area during the late 1880s.

The establishment of Camp Hood (Fort Hood) west of Copperas Cove in 1942 further enhanced the development of the city.

Copperas Cove’s name drew its inspiration from a local spring with a mineral taste.

Centrally located on Highway 190 between IH-35 and scenic US-281, the city retains much of its natural allure.

In the rolling hills around it, you can see roadrunners, deer, armadillos, and wild turkeys.

There’s so much more in this city to appreciate, for sure, and you can check out these on the following list of things to do in Copperas Cove City.

Cool Off at Copperas Cove City Park

This park spreads over 88 acres off West Avenue B and is home to the city’s main public swimming pool.

Kids love this zero-entry pool because of its special play area designed with a mushroom fountain and a circular slide.

Additionally, the Copperas Cove City Park provides children’s playscapes, outdoor basketball, and volleyball courts, as well as baseball, softball, and soccer fields.

The park likewise features picnic areas with grills plus a “duck pond” where you can go fishing.

From May to October, a Farmer’s Market is held Thursdays at the park’s parking lot from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Watch US Cavalry Riders at Rabbit Fest

The grounds of Copperas Cove City Park have hosted the Rabbit Fest of the Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce annually for more than 40 years.

Typically held around mid-May, this festival each year draws more than 42,000 people.

Rabbit Fest offers carnival rides, food and craft vendors, live entertainment, and a parade.

Riders of the Fort Hood 1stCavalry Division Horse Detachment typically join this parade to provide added zest to the Rabbit Fest.

Visit the Ogletree Gap Preserve

This preserve is a historical site sprawling over 218 acres, making it the largest park in Copperas Cove.

Located off Post Office Road (Highway 190 West), the Ogletree Gap Preserve is home to a stone house built in 1878.

A local pioneer, Marsden Ogletree, built this dwelling for his family when they migrated from Georgia during the 1870s.

Ringed by a chain link security fence, the Ogletree home is well-maintained and still holds a cistern and root cellar.

The preserve that now bears the name of the Ogletree family also has the original stage stop of the old Copperas Cove town.

Besides its passive hike and bike trails also good for dog-walking, the Ogletree Gap Preserve features a pavilion for recreational and special events.

Enjoy the Ogletree Gap Heritage Festival

The Ogletree Gap Preserve hosts the annual Heritage Festival, traditionally held every October.

This festival, held since 1985, is a delight with its mix of live music entertainment, food stalls, and vendors of arts and crafts.

Other festival activities include reenactments of Old West gun battles by a group called Cowographers.

Native American storytellers and pioneer craft demonstrations are also among the highlights of the Ogletree Gap Heritage Festival.

Explore More of the City’s Parks

The City of Copperas Cove boasts several other parks besides its City Park and the Ogletree Gap Preserve.

For a scenic location, visit South Park on Dennis Street, which overlooks the city’s surrounding hills.

This park features a pool and splash pad, playground, and soccer fields.

South Park also offers an out-and-back trail of nearly 2 miles stretching along a creek with lush trees.

High Chaparral Park, on its namesake road on the west side of Copperas Cove, is another park in a scenic countryside location.

This 5-acre park overlooks the Ogle Tree Gap Preserve and provides a covered pavilion, playscape, baseball/softball backstop, and a sprawling open grass field.

Pay a Visit to Hills of Cove Golf Course

Hills of Cove Golf Course is an 18-hole municipal golf link owned and operated by the City of Copperas Cove.

Built in 1972, originally with nine holes, this layout was expanded to a full 18-hole course in 1999.

The original front nine of the course is relatively flat, while the back nine added poses a challenge with its multi-level greens and multiple blind spots.

Located off Golf Course Road, The Hills of Cove Golf Course plays at par 72 over 6,295 yards from the longest tees.

Professional golf lessons are available in this facility which also offers a lighted driving range, a full-service pro-shop, beer sales, a grill, and a fleet of 40 golf carts.

Spend a Night Out at Cinergy Cinemas

Copperas Cove is host to one of the eight locations of the luxury entertainment provider Cinergy.

The city’s Cinergy Cinemas’ marquee invites you to “Eat, Drink & be Movied!”

In this theater, you can have a night out watching the latest Hollywood blockbuster seated on reclining seats with swivel tables.

This setup will allow you to enjoy a pizza or burger along with a glass of wine or beer.

After the show, you can play video games in the cutting-edge Cinergy arcade.

Go on a Drive-Thru Safari at Topsey Exotic Ranch

Enjoy the rare experience of driving on a free range of 350 acres with more than 50 species of wildlife.

Located on Country Road 118, the family-owned Topsey Exotic Ranch has been operating its free-range safari since 1988.

The ranch’s setup enables visitors to watch wildlife, such as tigers, zebras, and reindeer, in a natural setting.

Although the animals in the ranch are wild, most of them are so gentle that you can feed them from the safety of your car.

Topsey Exotic Ranch also features a petting zoo that is popular among children visitors.

Take the Kids to MAKS Family Fun Center

“Make A Kid Smile” reveals what MAKS is all about as a family-friendly amusement center.

Located on US Highway 190, MAKS provides a wide selection of facilities, such as a roller skating rink, laser tag, and a go-kart track.

You can also enjoy “Cosmic Golf,” a glow-in-the-dark mini-golf game, while kids are having fun in the Bouncy Castle.

MAKS Family Fun Center also boasts a wide array of games in its arcade, where you can play first-person shooter games like Jurassic Park and Robin Hood.

Enjoy a Getaway at Camp Caylor

This unique watering hole and dining venue is located on Country Road 4814.

Its attractions include a tasting room where you can sample a variety of Texas wines and beers.

Camp Caylor also holds outdoor games and musical performances on its band stage.

It also features a camping area with weekly themes and activities reminiscent of youth camps.

Food servings in Camp Caylor are best sampled at its Camp Grill, offering specials like Steak Night Thursday and Fish Fry Friday.

Discover the Murals of Copperas Cove

Follow the Five Hills Mural Tour across Copperas Cove to capture the creativity of the city’s homegrown artists and their passion for local history.

One of the standouts of this public art effort by the local Five Hills Art Guild is the mural titled “Tales of Copperas Cove.”

Located at the city’s public library on South Main Street, this mural depicts the Oglea horse-drawn stagecoach on the familiar western landscape of Copperas Cove.

The locations of other murals include the outdoor porch at the Ledger Furniture Building on the corner of Main Street and Avenue D and at the Donlie McMullin Realty Building at the corner of Avenue D and South 1st Street.

There are also mural panels at Ken’s Automotive and at Screen & Covers/H.I.S Contractors, both on South Main Street.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Enjoy a Day on Belton Lake

Aerial view of Belton Lake
Regan Bender / Shutterstock.com

This lake, a large public recreation area, is located in Belton City, about 28 miles east of Copperas Cove.

Belton Lake provides many recreational opportunities, including swimming, boating, and fishing.

Belton Lake is an excellent fishing spot for striped bass and smallmouth.

Off the water, you can go hiking, horse riding, or play paintball in various areas around the lake.

Silhouette of a bird during sunset over Belton Lake
David Bruce Mace / Shutterstock.com

Just south of Belton Lake, you have an option on Stillhouse Hollow Lake on the other side of Interstate 35.

This lake also offers watersports and fishing, as well as hiking by the Lampasas River.

A trek around Stillhouse Hollow Lake offers endearing sights of a waterfall and spring-fed creek.

There’s also a chance of seeing wildlife roaming along the lake’s tree-lined shore.

Highway over Belton Lake
Regan Bender / Shutterstock.com

Hike the Eagle Nature Trail

This trail is on the campus of the Central Texas College in the city of Killeen, about 6 miles east of Copperas Cove.

You can access its trailhead behind the Metroplex hospital and use its little gravel parking lot on Ranch Road.

A 2.9-mile loop, this trail features beautiful wildflowers, a mix of open and wooded areas, and it offers opportunities to see plenty of wildlife.

The path of the Eagle Nature Trail follows a creek bed, and its terrain varies from very rocky to grassy to forested sections.

The chances of getting lost on this trail are slim, as it has markers at every kilometer.

Mayborn Science Theater

The Mayborn Science Theater is located on the campus of Central Texas College in Killeen, 6 miles east of Copperas Cove.

This facility, located off the West Central Texas Expressway, was inaugurated in August 2003, and it has drawn thousands of visitors since then.

Visitors troop to the Mayborn Science Theater to enjoy the laser light shows and star shows of its planetarium.

These programs offer a state-of-the-art imaginary journey through time and space.

The theater’s planetarium boasts a million-dollar, full-scale digital full-dome display allowing more entertainment opportunities.

The last Saturday of each month is a special day at the planetarium.

On these days, the planetarium’s staff astronomer conducts a “tour” of the constellations that will be visible in the following days.

Go Camping and Horse Riding in Killeen

The city of Killeen, which is12 miles southeast of Copperas Cove, offers the Parrie Haynes Ranch Equestrian Center along the Lampasas River.

This is a family-friendly ranch with a full-service campground providing a slew of facilities for outdoor activities like horse riding.

It has a total land area of 1,600 acres, 24 acres of which hold the main camp of the ranch.

Its guests can choose from 40 RV sites with water supply, 30 and 50 amp electricity, and pens per site.

All in all, the ranch has several corrals and 86 pens, including a half-size arena, round pen, and a fun obstacle course.

The trails of the ranch are open not only to horse riders but also to hikers, trail runners, and mountain bikers.

The path surfaces along the trails are a combination of sand, rock, and caliche sediments.

The acreage, which you will pass along these trails, wind through pastures, rolling native prairies, a crystal-clear stream, cedar/oak trees, and native plants.

Beautiful in summer as well as winter, all these natural elements combine to harbor a teeming wildlife population in the ranch’s confines.

This acreage also still holds the foundations of Killeen’s pioneer homes, including the Priddy Cabin built there in 1859.

A clubhouse is also among the amenities at the Parrie Haynes Ranch Equestrian Center.

This clubhouse features a kitchen, a dining room, a meeting room, and a covered back porch.

The clubhouse also boasts the Parrie Haynes Ranch Museum, which may be small but a labor of love for the ranch being a part of the history of Central Texas.

Watch a Play at Killeen’s Stage

The city of Killeen, 12 miles from Copperas Cove, is home to the popular community Central Texas Theatre.

Also known as Vive Les Arts Theatre, it has a Main Stage and a Children’s Theatre.

The Central Texas Theatre thus attracts various types of audiences for its productions.

Its seasonal presentations include not only plays but also musicals, ballet, and children’s shows such as stage adaptations of Lion King and Bob Square Pants.

Final Thoughts

Copperas Cove combines with its suburbs to offer visitors many exciting points of interest in Western Texas.

The things to do in this city and its neighbors form an endearing combination of urban and natural delights that all members of the family can enjoy.