Uncovering Texas’ Natural Jewel

Have you ever heard whispers of the beauty found in Garner State Park? It’s the place families flock to when the Texas heat kicks in, and for good reason. 

Garner State Park is one of the most popular state parks in Texas. It boasts crystal-clear streams, scenic trails, and a variety of outdoor activities, making it a staple for both adventure-seekers and relaxation enthusiasts. It’s a bit of Texas Hill Country that holds memories for generations and promises new ones for you and your family.

Garner State Park offers something for everyone. Imagine your kids splashing in the cool, refreshing waters of the Frio River, building sandcastles on the riverbank, or exploring the scenic hiking trails that wind through the park. 

Picture family picnics under the shade of ancient oak trees and evenings spent around a campfire, roasting marshmallows and sharing stories under a star-studded sky.

With its breathtaking views, abundant wildlife, and endless opportunities for fun and relaxation, Garner State Park is the perfect destination for a family getaway. Whether you’re looking to hike, swim, fish, or simply unwind in nature, Garner State Park offers a little slice of paradise for every member of the family.

Statistics About Garner State Park

  • Size: Spread over 1,774 acres
  • Visitor Count: Welcomes thousands every year
  • Attractions: Offers nearly 3 miles of Frio River frontage and over 16 miles of scenic trails

Notable Figures:

  • Founded: In the 1930s
  • Annual visitors: Overlooked by exact numbers, but it’s known as one of the most-visited in the State Parks system.

Did these numbers pique your interest? They are a testament to the park’s allure and its capacity to offer unforgettable outdoor experiences.

Park Alerts

Before you pack your bags, let’s talk logistics.

Staying up-to-date with current conditions and important notices ensures your trip is smooth:

  • Current Conditions: As of the last update, the park is open for all your hiking, camping, and swimming pleasures.
  • Closures: None reported, but always check right before your visit.
  • Important Notices: It’s wise to book in advance during peak season; reservations can be your best friend.

Remember, everyone’s counting on you to respect the park’s natural beauty, so let’s keep it pristine for years to come!

How To Get to Garner State Park

Planning a trip to the beautiful Garner State Park in Texas?

Perfect, I’ll show you how easy it can be for you to arrive and start your outdoor adventure.


Garner State Park is a gem located in Uvalde County, Texas.

If you’re driving from Austin, you can expect a scenic journey of about 160 miles west, which will take approximately 3 hours. Those coming from Fredericksburg will have a roughly 100-mile drive to the southwest.

  • From Austin:
    1. Take US-290 W
    2. Follow US-281 S and TX-127 to Sabinal
    3. Turn right onto TX-127 W for Uvalde
    4. In Uvalde, turn left onto US-83 N
    5. Turn right onto FM 1050 to reach the park
  • From Fredericksburg:
    1. Take US-290 W
    2. Turn left onto US-83 S in Junction
    3. Left onto FM 1050 for Garner State Park

Don’t worry if you prefer public transportation options; check out local services that might take you to Uvalde or nearby cities where you can find rental cars.

Entrance Requirements

Before you roll up to the gates, just a heads up: Entrance Fees are required and vary depending on your age and vehicle:

  • General Adult Entry (13 years and older): $8
  • Children 12 Years and Under Free

Parking Lots can fill up fast during peak times, particularly in summer.

To avoid disappointment, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department recommends reserving reservations, especially if you plan to visit between March and November.

  • Parking: First-come, first-served. Arrive early!
  • Permits and Reservations: Secure your spot. Visit the Texas State Parks reservation page or call ahead.

If you plan on visiting multiple state parks in Texas, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department offers an Annual Pass, which could be a savvy option for you.

Best Time to Go to Garner State Park

When’s the ideal time for you to visit Garner State Park? Well, it hinges on what you’re after!

Let’s break it down by seasons with specific weather conditions, average temperatures, and unique seasonal highlights that make each time of year special.


Average Temperature: Expect a range from the mid-50s to high 70s.

  • Weather Conditions: You’ll experience mild and warm days, perfect for outdoor activities.
  • Why Spring? The park is less crowded, and the rejuvenating greenery is at its peak. Picture those wildflowers – they’re pretty Insta-worthy, aren’t they?


Average Temperature: Gear up for warmth with temperatures averaging from the high 70s to mid-90s.

  • Weather Conditions: Hot and usually sunny, tailor-made for water activities.
  • Long Days & Sunshine: More daylight for all the hiking and floating on the Frio River. And, ahem, the opportunity for a two-step at an evening dance party anyone?
  • Advantages of Visiting: The quintessential Texas summer can be yours, complete with rope swings, BBQs, and a dip in the cool Frio River to beat the heat.


Average Temperature: The range is comfortable, between the mid-60s and low 80s.

  • Weather Conditions: Typically dry with a crispness that whispers ‘pumpkin spice.’
  • Fall Colors: Those leaves aren’t just turning; they’re putting on a show! Expect vibrant hues that are seriously photo-worthy in October.
  • Seasonal Events: Keep an eye out for local events that may mark the season.


Average Temperature: Chilly days ahead with averages from the low 40s to mid-60s.

  • Weather Conditions: It can be unpredictable, so pack layers.
  • Cozy Vibes: Winter brings a quiet charm to the park, with fewer visitors and peaceful trails.
  • Accessibility: Some areas might be less accessible, but the serene environment makes up for it.

Top 3 Things To Do at Garner State Park

Looking for a perfect weekend escape or a delightful day trip?

Garner State Park in Texas is your go-to spot! With a plethora of outdoor activities, you’ll find something that tickles your fancy.

Let’s dive into the top three things to do here that’ll make your visit unforgettable.

Hiking and Trails

Got your hiking boots ready?

You’re in for a treat with over 16 miles of scenic trails that cater to all skill levels.

One of the stars is the Old Baldy Trail, a popular route providing panoramic views once you reach the summit.

If you’re up for a challenge, the Foshee Trail offers a mixture of rugged paths that reward with stunning vistas.

Equally enticing is the Crystal Cave Trail, which leads to an alluring cave to explore.

For those who prefer a group setting, guided hikes are available to learn about the park’s flora and fauna.

Wildlife Watching

As a nature lover, keep your eyes peeled for native wildlife that calls this park home.

From the fluttering of birds to the swift movements of deer, nature’s symphony is always in full swing here.

Whether you’re on a hike or just sitting back at your campsite, look out for some common species like:

  • White-tailed deer
  • Wild turkeys
  • Armadillos
  • Various bird species

Other Activities

Beyond hiking and wildlife watching, there’s an array of activities to enjoy:

  • River Fun: Can you hear the Frio River calling?

    Grab a paddle boat, kayak, or canoe and glide along the tranquil waters.

    If you’re more the laid-back type, floating on inner tubes is the perfect way to soak up the sun.
  • Sports & Games: With facilities for sports such as basketball and volleyball, staying active is a breeze. Or how about a round of miniature golf with the family?
  • Picnic & Swimming: Wouldn’t a picnic by the river sound delightful?

    Bring your favorite snacks and enjoy a dip in the cool waters for the ultimate relaxation.

Best Places to Stay Near Garner State Park

Looking for the perfect spot to bunk down after a day of adventures at Garner State Park?

Whether you prefer the rustic charm of camping inside the park or the comfort of nearby lodgings, I’ve got you covered.

Inside the Park

Campsites & Screened Shelters: You can connect with nature by staying at one of the park’s many campsites. Choose from:

  • Old Garner: A favorite for its proximity to the Frio River.
  • Shady Meadows Camping Area: For those who prefer more tranquility and shade.

Both areas offer a variety of options, including:

  • Campsites with water and electricity
  • Screened shelters for those who want a touch of comfort without leaving the great outdoors.

Cabins & Lodges: Don’t have camping gear? No problem!

There are also cabins that come with all the basics, plus the added bonus of air conditioning. They do vary, so be sure to book in advance during peak seasons.

Nearby Accommodations

Resorts & Hotels: Resorts near Concan offer plush comfort and additional amenities.

If you’re looking for more upscale accommodations, these resorts are perfect.

Motels: Budget-friendly motels are within a short drive, providing all the necessities for a good night’s sleep.

Lodges & Cabins Outside the Park:

  • Lodges offer spacious environments, ideal for families or groups looking to relax and reconnect.
  • Cabins sit a short distance from the park and can cater to various group sizes, ensuring privacy and convenience.

Here’s a quick roundup of options with their allure:

  • River Bluff Cabins: Located near Garner State Park and Lost Maples, combining rustic charm with comfort.
  • Frio River Cabins: Not just a cabin but an experience with the river at your doorstep.
  • Airbnbs: If you fancy the homely feel, there’s a selection of Airbnbs around, like the Park Divide Cabin in Real County, about 10 miles from Concan, offering two-bedroom facilities fit for eight guests.

Helpful Tips: Making The Most of Your Adventure to Garner State Park

Eager to make memories at Garner State Park? Here’s the low-down on crafting the perfect visit, whether it’s a family weekend, a summer dance night, or nature getaway.


Best Weekend Getaway Itinerary

  • Day 1: Start your morning with a spectacular sunrise hike; the trails offer breathtaking views.
  • Then, wrap up the day with a family-friendly dance at the park pavilion.
  • Day 2: Rent paddle boards or take a refreshing swing from the rope swings at the Frio River.
  • Afterward, visit The Garner Grill for a satisfying meal.

Best 3-Day Itinerary

  • Day 1: Check into a cozy cabin or set up at a campsite. Spend the evening exploring the walking trails.
  • Day 2: Join one of the ranger-led activities, and don’t forget to explore the gift shop for souvenirs.
  • Day 3: Try out mini-golf, and unwind at the ice cream shop for a sweet treat.

Best 7-Day Itinerary

  • Day 1-3: Cover the weekend itinerary, adding in extra time to relax by the river.
  • Day 4: Indulge in some retail therapy at the park store.
  • Day 5: Dedicate this day to water activities; the rope swing is a must!
  • Day 6: Participate in more ranger-led events or enjoy a lazy day at your cabin or campsite.
  • Day 7: Bid farewell with your go-to hike or a leisurely walk to soak in the beauty one last time.

Remember, the dance events are typically in the summer. Contact the park for dates and times to plan your trip around these vibrant gatherings.

What to Bring

When packing for your adventure, always think seasonally!

Essential Packing Lists for Each Season

  • Summer:
    • Multiple swimsuits: The Frio River is calling your name!
    • Eco-friendly sunscreen: Protect your skin and the environment.
    • Hiking boots: There’s no better way to explore the terrain.
    • Refillable water bottles: Stay hydrated in the heat.
  • Fall/Winter:
    • Layers: Temperatures can swing, so be prepared.
    • Durable hiking boots: Trails can be slick with fallen leaves or ice.
  • Spring:
    • Light rain gear: Don’t let a shower dampen your fun.
    • Comfortable walking shoes: Perfect for those lengthy explorations.

For All Seasons

  • Every Trip:
    • A camera or phone: You’ll want to capture every moment.
    • Trash bags: Keep the park pristine; always pack out what you bring in.

Recap of Highlights

Ever been to the heart of Texas Hill Country? If not, pull up a chair, and let’s chat about Garner State Park in Uvalde County. Picture this: you’re lounging by the crystal-clear Frio River with the Texas sun beaming down.

Quick Facts:

  • Location: Uvalde County, TX
  • Visitors: Very popular, especially during holidays
  • Reviews: Stellar! Visitors rave about the scenic beauty and the friendly staff.

What’s there to do? Well, you’re in for a treat!

  • Float & Swim: Drift along the Frio River, a cool retreat in the summer heat.
  • Hiking & Views: With trails for all levels, your hike will reward you with incredible vistas.
  • Camping Options: Choose from 8 different campsites to suit your style, just remember to book ahead!
  • Dancing: Yes, you read that right! Cut a rug at the summer dances—a true Texan experience.

Connect With Nature:

  • Wildlife: Spot some local fauna and snap photos, but remember, no feeding!
  • Stargazing: Night skies are a canvas here. Can you find the Big Dipper?

Holiday Heads-Up: Planning a trip on a holiday? It gets busy, so book early to snag the best spots.

So, have you packed your bags yet? Whether you’re after photos to make your friends jealous or seeking a serene escape, Garner State Park’s highlights are the real deal. And don’t just take my word for it—let those glowing reviews be your guide!

Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

Is Garner State Park worth visiting?

Garner State Park is definitely worth visiting. It offers great hiking trails, both flat and steep, clear water, and excellent camping areas. The steep hike to Old Baldy provides a good workout combined with great scenery. It is the kind of park that merits more than a day visit.

What is the closest town to Garner State Park?

Garner State Park is located in the heart of the beautiful Hill Country of Central Texas, near the towns of Concan and Leakey.

Do you need a reservation to enter Garner State Park?

Yes, it is highly recommended to make a reservation for Garner State Park, especially during peak season and weekends, as it is a popular destination and campsites fill up quickly.

How far in advance can you book Garner State Park?

You can reserve up to 5 months in advance through the Texas State Parks reservation system. Make reservations early, especially for high-demand parks or facilities.

Can you stay overnight at Garner State Park?

Yes, you can stay overnight at Garner State Park. The park offers a variety of camping options, including tent sites, RV sites with full hookups, screened shelters, and cabins. Reservations are recommended, especially during peak season.

Activities and Amenities

What is there to do in Garner State Park?

There are many activities to enjoy at Garner State Park, including:

  • Hiking to Mt. Baldy for spectacular views
  • Swimming in the Frio River
  • Exploring Crystal Cave
  • Enjoying the scenic trails and rocky areas next to the water
  • Attending the nightly dances during the summer

Can you float at Garner State Park?

Yes, there is a two-hour float inside the park that does not require a shuttle service. You can hop in at the pavilion and float down to the dam. Tube rentals are available, or you can bring your own.

Can you bring your own tube to Garner State Park?

Yes, you can bring your own tube or rent tubes from the park store located at the entrance to the Pecan Grove Camping Area in Old Garner.

Can you bring your own kayak to Garner State Park?

Yes, you can bring your own kayak. The park concession also rents tubes, paddle boats, stand-up paddle boards, and kayaks.

Is there water at Garner State Park?

Yes, the Frio River flows for almost 2.5 miles through the park, providing plenty of spots for swimming and water activities. The river usually flows between 100 and 30 cubic feet per second.

Is it safe to swim at Garner State Park?

Yes, it is safe to swim at Garner State Park. The Frio River is spring-fed and stays around 68 degrees Fahrenheit year-round.

Costs and Fees

How much does it cost to go to Garner State Park?

The daily entrance fee is $8 per person aged 13 and older. Park access hours are from 8 am to 10 pm.

How much does it cost to stay at Garner State Park?

Camping fees vary depending on the type of site you choose. Tent camping sites typically range from $20 to $30 per night, while sites with water and electricity hookups for RVs can cost between $25 to $35 per night.

Do you have to pay for Garner State Park?

Yes, the day use fee is $8 per person aged 13 and older.

How much is a day pass for Garner State Park?

The day pass is $8 per person aged 13 and older.

Pets and Regulations

Can dogs go to Garner State Park?

Yes, dogs are welcome at Garner State Park, but they must be leashed at all times.

Are pets allowed in Texas state parks?

Pets are allowed in most Texas state parks, but they must be on a leash and are not permitted in certain areas like buildings and swim areas.

Can you drink alcohol at Garner State Park?

Open consumption of alcohol is not permitted in Texas State Parks, including Garner State Park.

Can I conceal carry in Texas state parks?

Yes, you can carry a concealed firearm in Texas state parks without a license if you are at least 21 years old and may lawfully possess a handgun.

Popular State Parks and Comparisons

What is the most popular state park in the US?

Some of the most popular state parks in the US include Olallie State Park in Washington, Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve in New York, and Minnewaska State Park Preserve in New York.

What state has the most beautiful state parks?

States known for their beautiful state parks include Utah, New York, South Dakota, Texas, Oregon, Hawaii, California, and Florida.

Which state has the nicest state parks?

States with highly regarded state parks include Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

What are the prettiest state parks in Texas?

Some of the prettiest state parks in Texas include Big Bend Ranch State Park, Inks Lake State Park, Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Caprock Canyons State Park & Trailway, Caddo Lake State Park, Seminole Canyon State Park & Historic Site, and Dinosaur Valley State Park.

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