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Garner State Park
Camping is like my new thing. It’s inexpensive (once you have the gear), it’s relaxing, and it’s fun!! We get to visit new places within our budget, spend time around the campfire, and it’s just so relaxing!! Recently we took a trip to Garner State Park, one of the most popular parks in Texas. Garner State Park is known for hiking in the cooler months and floating the Frio River in the warmer months. There’s something to do year around at Garner State Park!!
Garner State Park is about a 3 hour drive from Austin and a 90 minute drive from San Antonio. If you’re driving from Austin, I suggest taking the scenic route through Fredericksburg. It’s such a pretty drive! Plus you can stop at Johnson City Coffee Company or a winery on your way (depending on the time of day, not that I judge for drinking wine with breakfast!!).
Hiking at Garner State Park
The most popular trail at Garner State Park is Old Baldy Trail. It’s a challenging trail with a bird’s eye view of the park and the Frio River. Another popular trail is the Bridges Trail which then connects to the Crystal Caves Trail. Unfortunately all of the popular trails are incredibly steep and difficult!! We were planning on hiking a few of the trails mentioned above but then we just didn’t have the energy after spending the day on the river. Instead of hiking the more difficult trails we decided to hike the Blinn River Trail which was easy and pretty!!
Floating the Frio River at Garner State Park
If you’re visiting in the summer, then you have to float/swim the Frio River!! It’s so clean, pretty, and refreshing on a hot summer day!! You can rent tubes for $10 and catch the shuttle for $3-$5!! Can’t beat that price!! They also have SUP and kayaks for you to rent down by the damn, it’s about $10-$15 per hour. If you’re wanting to stay on a budget, just bring a chair/tube and find a spot along the river to relax. You can also do your own float trip, just drive up to the bridge on FM 1050 and float back down to your campsite (assuming you can carpool with friends back up to your car afterwards). Before you get started on your float trip, I recommend talking to a park ranger about float times. I’ve heard it takes anywhere from 4-8 hours based on the water levels and there’s a big difference between a 4 hour float and an 8 hour float!!
Camping at Garner State Park
I know it can be hard to reserve a campsite online. You wonder is site 15 pretty or are we backed up to the highway with neighbors only 2 feet away?? Two things that help me with online reservations are Google Earth and this awesome website I just found: campsitephotos.com. The website shows a picture of each campsite and tells you the best campsites for that park. My recommendations for Garner State Park would be sites: 17, 108, 109, 111, 122, 210, 212, 218, 302, 304, 306, 308, 310, 436, 438, 467. The best screened shelters would be 15, 35, 37-40. Shelters 5, 6, 17-20 look really good too. We’ve stayed in the screen shelters and camped, both great options for this beautiful park!! I definitely recommend a screen shelter if you’re going to be visiting in the summer months though.
Summer JukeBox Dance
Every night from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend people gather at the stone pavilion to dance!! It’s so festive and a great way to end the day at Garner State Park!!
We are foodies, which means we like to try new places even when we’re camping. We decided to drive over to the Bent Rim Grill in Leakey and it did not disappoint!! It’s about 12 minutes from the park entrance and the burgers are amazing!! Definitely recommend!!