Abstract There are a wide variety of vegetated, eolian depositional landforms associated with the south Texas sand sheet, attesting to the past dominance of eolian processes. Mapping identified two sets of parabolic dunes elongating with winds from the southeast and the northwest. Parabolic dunes elongated by northwesterly winds are older than ca. 200 years and may be associated with eolian depositional events ca. 2700 and/or 2000 years ago. The latest dune migration event, associated with southeasterly winds occurred ca. 200 years ago and at one site is inset into northwesterly-extended parabolic dunes. This period of dune migration may be coincident with particularly severe drought identified in the tree-ring record centered at AD 1790, when the Palmer Drought Severity Index was − 4. A threshold of dune movement may have occurred ca. in the 11th, 15th and 20th centuries when there are two or more consecutive years with a Palmer Drought Severity Index of < − 4, corresponding to 30–50% reduction in precipitation. Dune systems on Coastal Plain of Texas to reactivated repeatedly due to climate variability in the past 3000 years.