Texas State Parks

Texas is a big state. Spanning over 268,000 square miles, Texas offers a wide variety of landscapes. The best way to experience what Texas has to offer, is to visit the 96 State Parks.

The parks can be divided into 5 regions: Panhandle, Houston & Pineywoods, Hill Country, Big Bend Country, and South Texas. Next time you’re in one of these areas, see how many parks you can visit!

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I’ve only been to 14 out of the 96 State Parks.

Here’s a glimpse into a few of the Texas State Parks that I’ve seen. Most of them are located in the Hill Country because I live in San Antonio. There are a few that I’ve visited in other parts of the state but I did it when I was younger, so a detailed description for those parks will not be included at this time. These include Brazos Bend (highly recommend if you’re not afraid of gators) and Galveston Island.

Whenever I visit a park, I’ll add them to this blog post. Some may warrant blog posts of their own and will have a link to a separate post.

(As I’m uploading all images, I’m realizing I haven’t been to or taken pictures at many of these parks in several years. I apologize for the poor quality or less interesting photos of some of these parks. If I return, I promise to take more exciting ones to share!)

Below are the parks I have visited and are listed in Alphabetical order.


Location: 9207 TX-17 Toyahvale, TX 79786, Big Bend County
Fee: $7 / adult (12 and under are free)
Website: https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/balmorhea
Hours: Park is currently closed until Summer 2020
Park Map: Click here for PDF

Note: These photos are from several years ago during the winter. Since then, the park has undergone some construction and restoration.

There are 34 campsites available at Balmorhea State Park. Busy season is between March and Labor Day so make reservations in advance if you plan on staying here during those months. The natural pool is fed by the San Solomon Springs, is 25 feet deep, covers 1.3 acres and stays a nice 72 to 76 degrees year round.


Location: 101 Park Road 23 Blanco, TX 78606, Hill Country
Fee: $5 / adult (12 and under are free)
Website: https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/blanco/
Hours: Open Daily
Park Map: Click here for PDF

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This park is popular during the summer with its hiking trails, picnic areas, and access to the River. There is a small dam at the entrance of the park with a shallow wading area, perfect for relaxing in the summer heat. Along with swimming, you can bring electric boats, kayaks, canoes, or tubes for floating along the river. Or rent a kayak or tube at the park store.

Enchanted Rock

Location: 16710 Ranch Rd. 965, Fredericksburg, TX 78624, Hill Country
Fee: $8 / adult (12 and under are free)
Website: https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/enchanted-rock
Hours: 6:30 am to 10:00 pm (Note: All trails are open from half an hour before sunrise until half an hour after sunset. The Loop Trail is open for hiking until 10 p.m.)
Park Map: Click here for PDF

(Photos above are from 2012. I think it’s time I revisit this park.)

Pets: Pets are only allowed in the designated day-use picnic areas, the campgrounds, and on the Loop Trail

Enchanted Rock is a popular park in the Hill Country with stunning views from the top, hiking trails, rock climbing, and camping all within 17 miles of Fredericksburg.


Location: 234 RR 1050, Concan, TX 78838, Hill Country
Fee: $8 / adult (12 and under free)
Website: https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/garner
Hours: 8 am – 10 pm
Park Map: Click here for PDF

This park has a little bit of everything for every park enthusiast! It’s one of the most popular parks in the Hill Country region and for very good reason. It covers 1,774 acres and includes 2.9 miles of the Frio River. That’s a lot of hiking and swimming!

There are 6 different camp grounds scattered over the park grounds. My favorite is the Live Oak Camping Area. It’s near the river but more secluded than the other camping areas. The Oakmont and Pecan Grove camping areas are in the older portion of the park. These are close to the river, best hiking trails, the store, mini golf, and more. But the campsites are crowded and share the space with day use visitors.

Although we have gone into the Frio River on our many camping trips to Garner, we tend to spend out time hiking. (Unless your visiting in the summer, that river may be a bit cold for swimming. It’s called Frio for a reason). For a map of the trails, click here. The two trails I have done the most are Old Baldy (steep climb with amazing views) and the Crystal Cave (for those summer visits when you need to cool down on your hike). Both of these are among the more challenging hikes.

Government Canyon

Location: 12861 Galm Rd, San Antonio, TX 78254, Hill Country
Fee: $6 / adult (12 and under are free)
Website: https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/government-canyon
Hours: Friday – Monday (Closed Tuesday – Thursday), open 7 am to 10 pm
Park Map: Click here for PDF

Government Canyon is where you go in San Antonio if you want to get a good hike in, or to see dinosaur tracks, or to feel like you’re far away from the city.

Government Canyon has two main sections: Front Country and Back Country. For a more detailed look at the trails,click here.

The Front Country has flatter, easier hikes but don’t let this fool you. There is very little tree coverage for the majority of these trails. Pack plenty of water regardless of the trail you choose to hike in Government Canyon!

There are 25 primitive camping sites located in the Front Country.

Pets: Dogs are allowed in the Front Country only and must be on a leash.

The Back Country has the best hiking and views of San Antonio. This is also where you can see real dinosaur tracks. Take the Joe Johnston Route (4 mile round-trip hike) to view the tracks at ground level, then hike up the Overlook Trail for a bird’s eye view. It’s the best way to see the size of the tracks compared to the hikers below. Again, pack plenty of water! I have overheated on these trails before and I packed a few bottles of water, so take it from me! Bring more than you think you’ll need, especially if you’re not familiar with the Texas heat.

Guadalupe River

Location: 3350 Park Road 31, Spring Branch, TX 78070, Hill Country
Fee: $7 / adult (kids under 12 are free)
Website: https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/guadalupe-river/
Hours:  8 am – 10 pm
Park Map: Click here for PDF

I have only made a pit stop at this State Park (way back in 2012). We were traveling on back to San Antonio from camping (I think…2012 was a long time ago) and decided to make a detour so our dog could stretch his legs. We wandered along the River, let our pup wade in the water, and climb over the amazing roots of the cypress trees lining the banks.

If you love this park, share you favorite things to do and see in the comments!

Indian Lodge & Davis Mountains

Location: TX-118 N., Park Rd. 3, Fort Davis, TX 79734; Big Bend Country
Fee: $6 / adult (kids under 12 are free)
Website: https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/davis-mountains
Hours: Open Daily
Park Map: Click here for PDF

Indian Lodge Trail - Indian Lodge: A West Texas Getaway - www.lauraenroute.comIndian Lodge Trail - Indian Lodge: A West Texas Getaway - www.lauraenroute.com

I visit Indian Lodge frequently with my in-laws. The lodge is tucked inside the Davis Mountains State Park.

This park deserves a post all on its own! There is so much to do and see. To read about visiting the Lodge, check out my post on the Indian Lodge here.

Inks Lake

Location: 3630 Park Road 4 West, Burnet, TX 78611, Hill Country
Fee: $6 / adult (12 and under free)
Website: https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/inks-lake
Hours: Open Daily (office hours vary)
Park Map: Click here for PDF

Inks Lake is one of those parks I need to revisit more often. The last time I was here was for a New Year’s Eve camping trip. We rung in 2013 with rain and fog. It may have been a bit miserable, but the park was still beautiful!

The lake offers plenty of activities besides hiking and camping: swimming, boating, water skiing, scuba diving and fishing. You can rent canoes, paddle boats, and kayaks, too.

Lost Maples

Location: 37221 FM 187, Vanderpool, TX 78885; Hill Country
Fee: $6 / adult (Under age 12 are free)
Website: https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/lost-maples
Hours: Open Daily
Park Map: Click here for PDF

This is a popular park during the autumn because the river is lined with Maple trees that turn beautiful colors during the fall. But its a popular destination during warmer months, too, as there is a swimming hole surrounded by picnic tables not too far from a parking lot.

Spend a day or camp over night at this hill country park. If you plan on camping, make your reservation several months in advance. There’s a limited amount of camp sites and even fewer primitive sites.

My photos are from a trip in December 2019. It was the week before Christmas so there were maybe 6 other people in the park that my friend and I saw during our hike.


  • One of the best hiking paths is the East trail at 4.6 miles. Many of these trails cross over streams, some with boulders as natural bridges, others without. You will likely get your feet wet. So, bring extra socks or a change of shoes for your car ride home.
  • Save the Day Pass: If you plan on visiting in the fall, make a reservation online! You may still have to wait in line as cars try to enter the park, but it will ensure that you’re allowed in. I also suggest arriving early and on a weekday if possible.
  • Always pack plenty of water for you and your furry friends when you go hiking.
  • If you forget your dog’s poop bags at home, there are some at the picnic area at the East Trailhead.

Lyndon B. Johnson

Location: 199 Park Road 52, Stonewall, TX 78671, Hill Country
Fee: No Entrance Fee (for State Park)
Website: https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/lyndon-b-johnson
Hours: The nature trail, grounds, and day-use picnic areas are open until dark. Vistor’s Center and Farm’s hours vary
Park Map: Click here for PDF

I have a separate blog post for this park. Read more about this park here!

There is also the LBJ Ranch, across the river, which is designated a National Park. My blog post for the Park goes into more detail.

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McKinney Falls

Location: 5808 McKinney Falls Parkway, Austin, TX 78744, Hill Country
Fee: $6 / adult (13 and under are free)
Website: https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/mckinney-falls
Hours: 8 am – 10 pm
Park Map: Click here for PDF

There are 81 campsites, hiking and biking trails, and swimming in Onion Creek at this State Park only 13 miles from the State Capitol.

The photos above are from several years ago (so far back I forgot I had even been to this park) and during early spring. You can tell we were in a drought period because it looks more like McKinney Drips than McKinney Falls. I was very disappointed after seeing all of the amazing photos of this place. So I suggest visiting after there has been some rain or during normal water levels. Otherwise, your view may look like the photos above. I will say that my dog enjoyed the low water levels because he could easily wade through the river and lay down wherever he pleased.

Pedernales Falls

Location: 2585 Park Road 6026, Johnson City, TX 78636, Hill Country
Fee: $6 / adult (12 and under free)
Website: https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/pedernales-falls
Hours: 8 am – 10 pm
Park Map: Click here for PDF

This park gets its name from the river that flows alongside the park. The huge limestone rocks lining the river bed create small waterfalls in low tides and natural slides of swimmers. Small swimming holes pop up through out the river, tempting swimmers to jump in (just be careful if you do!). The river is known for rapid flooding so beware if you are visiting during rainy season.

Aside from swimming in the river, a major draw for this park, there are plenty of hiking and biking trails to choose from. Have a horse? There’s 10 miles of trails for you and your horse, too.

My photos from this park are from 2012. Another visit is long overdue!

South Llano

Location: 1927 Park Road 73, Junction, TX 76849, Hill Country
Fee: $5 /adult (12 and under free)
Website: https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/south-llano-river/
Hours: Open Daily
Park Map: Click here for PDF

The main draw to this park is the hiking. There are shorter, easy hikes close to the camp sites and longer hikes on the south side of the park. In addition to hiking, there is a 2 mile stretch of river, amazing night skies, and turkeys!

The last time I visited this park was over a new Year’s Eve camping trip where the temps dipped below freezing. It was so cold that we saw frost flowers on the morning we were leaving.

How many Texas State Parks have you been to? Which one was your favorite?

Share in the comments!

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