This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read my full disclaimer for more information.
I love meeting new people and hearing about their adventures! I spoke to someone on Instagram recently who recommended Palmetto State Park so I added it to my to do list!! Definitely didn’t disappoint! Palmetto State Park is a great weekend getaway!!
Palmetto State Park is about an hour away from Austin and San Antonio. If you’re driving from Austin, make sure you stop by Lockhart (the BBQ Capital of Texas) for a yummy lunch. If you’re not familiar with Lockhart BBQ, then you’re seriously missing out!! Check out Black’s BBQ, Smitty’s BBQ, Kreuz Market, and Chisholm Trail BBQ. You can make a day of it; try a small serving at each place and vote on your favorite!! I’d love to hear your reviews!!
Hiking/Biking at Palmetto State Park
You could easily hike/bike the entire park in a day! The trails are short and easy…perfect for kids!! I would say the Ottine Swamp Trail is the best trail at Palmetto State Park. It definitely has a “swampy” feel to it, almost like your in the jungle. It’s so different and unique, gosh I love Texas!! I’d recommend starting with the Ottine Swamp Trail, turning left onto Mesquite Flats Trail, and left again onto Palmetto Interpretive Trail. You’ll walk on Palmetto Interpretive Trail for about 2 minutes and then you’ll see the water tower (purple dot on map below). Super neat little piece of history!! Then turn back around to hike Mesquite Flats Trail and turn right onto the San Marcos River Trail. You can easily do all three trails in three hours…super easy and relaxing!! Check out the orange route I’ve highlighted here for you:
Kayaking at Palmetto State Park
There are several kayaking options in the area, depending on the amount of time you have available and what you’re in the mood for. If you would like to stay at Palmetto State Park, then you can rent a kayak on Oxbow Lake for about $18 an hour (kayak rentals available from PaddleEZ). If you have your own kayak and you’re up for 15 minute drive, then you can put in at Luling City Park and kayak the 6-7 hour trip to Palmetto State Park. If you don’t have your own kayak, then I’d recommend renting one from Texas Canoes and Kayaks in Luling. They have a 3 hour kayaking trip that is perfect for beginners and a great way to spend the day! For other kayaking trips in the area, check out these helpful websites: City of Luling Parks and Texas Paddling Trail.
Fishing at Palmetto State Park
I don’t know that much about fishing but I saw lots of people fishing at Palmetto State Park. The majority of people were fishing at Oxbow Lake but a few people were fishing along the San Marcos River (park by the CCC Pavillion).
Swimming at Palmetto State Park
You can swim either at Oxbow Lake or in the San Marcos River by the low water crossing. I saw lots of families enjoying a quick swim and then having a picnic by the CCC Pavilion.
Camping at Palmetto State Park
I love checking out all of the campsites and picking my favorite spot for our return trips! My favorite camping sites at Palmetto State Park were 34, 35, and 36. They have a lot of privacy, shade, and are located close to the San Marcos River. Site 40 is a good site if you’re looking to be closer to Oxbow Lake. If you have an RV or just want electricity then I’d recommend site 11. It has a little more privacy than the other electric sites and there’s a huge open field behind it. Electric sites 5, 7, and 13 are all good backups. Now the absolute best spot at Palmetto State Park is the cabin on Oxbow Lake. The cabin has electricity, sleeps 6 people, and is only $65 a night. Talk about the perfect summer camping trip or I guess that’s more of a glamping trip!!