Things To Know Before Visiting Garner State Park
Before heading to Garner State Park, there are a few more things you should know!
It costs $8 per person per day to visit Garner State Park. If you camp at the park, this fee will be added to your reservation. Otherwise, you will have to pay every day that you enter.However, if you have the Texas State Parks Pass, youll be able to get in for free! This pass is $70 per year and gets you into all state parks for free for the year, as well as discounts on camping. Its totally worth the cost if you plan to visit a few state parks a year.
We highly recommend making reservations before visiting Garner for both day passes and camping. Because of COVID, the park is currently limiting capacity, so its best to get your pass in advance so you dont risk being turned away at the gate. During the summer, the park fills up FAST, so youll especially want to make a reservation if visiting then. You can book your day pass one month before your visit.For camping, we got one of the last few available spots, booking about a month out. They were limiting campsites, to keep campers distanced from each other, as well as had some seasonal campground closures, so there were less spots available to begin with. You will definitely want to book your campsite as early as possible, up to 5 months in advance.
There are rentals + a store in the park
The park has a restaurant
Where to launch kayaks and tubes
Texas Parks & Wildlife
Texas Parks & Wildlife is a weekly, half-hour television series aired on Texas stations, as well as on a number of other PBS stations around the country. Viewers can stream episodes on the PBS website and on the TPWD YouTube channel.
Originally titled Made in Texas, the series began production in 1985 as a magazine style show, with three or four different segments each week. For several years, the show focused on one topic each week, documentary style. In 1991, the name of the series changed to Texas Parks & Wildlife and reverted to its original magazine format.
County Established And Growth
In November 1855, Reading Wood Black successfully lobbied the to organize Uvalde County. On May 12, the county was formally organized. On June 14, Encina was named county seat. The second floor of the courthouse was made into a school, and six school districts were organized for the county in 1858. The San Antonio-El Paso Mail route was extended along the county’s main road with a stop at Fort Inge in 1857.
Conflict between and during and after the Mexican War continued in Uvalde County, with the reported lynching of eleven Mexicans near the in 1855. Laws passed in 1857 prohibited Mexicans from traveling through the county.
Residents of Uvalde County voted 7616 against from the . The abandonment of Fort Inge immediately after secession was followed by renewed Indian attacks. Many men in Uvalde County fought for the , while some Unionists fled to Mexico to avoid .
The Uvalde Umpire began publication in 1878 and the Hesparian in 1879.
The Galveston, Harrisburg, and San Antonio Railway was built through the county, passing through Sabinal and Uvalde City, in 1881.
William M. Landrum introduced to the area in the 1880s. By the turn of the century, goats outnumbered cattle.
lived in the county from 1891 to 1900.
The local bee industry developed a product that received first place in the 1900 World’s Fair.
The , completed in 1937, produced a million , and in the 1970s.
Approximately 45 million was generated by farming in Uvalde County in 1974.
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Group Camping At Garner State Park:
Cypress Springs Group Camp
Maximum People Allowed: 40
The group camping area at Garner is actually a private dining hall and five bunkhouses. It is located on the other side of the Frio River from the rest of the park. No RVs, tents or pets are allowed in this area. The bunkhouses are equipped with air conditioning and heating, and each house 4 sets of bunkbeds. The area also includes a restroom with showers.
Garner State Park & The Frio River
The beauty and peacefulness of the Concan, Texas area never ceases to amaze us. Just over a three-hour drive from Austin, this area offers a gorgeous natural setting for hiking in the scenic Hill Country terrain, camping, stargazing, bird watching, and of course enjoying a swim, tube ride or paddle down the clear waters of the Frio River.
Our editors family recently took a weekend trip to Concan, and were sharing some thoughts and photos below to help inspire you to put this area of Texas on your travel bucket list. This area can be enjoyed any time of year. In the fall you can typically expect some color changes in the foliage, the winter offers cooler temps to help make challenging hikes a little more comfortable, and summer is the perfect time to make a splash in the river.
Concan is a small community in Uvalde County in the southwestern portion of the Hill Country. It sits along the Frio River close to Garner State Park. Other nearby destinations include Leakey, Utopia, Lost Maples, Hill Country and Devils Sinkhole State Natural Areas. Youll find that Concan is a very popular summer vacation spot with lots of private cabin rentals along the Frio. Youll find a few quaint shops, kayak rentals, private river access points offering day-use passes, and guided nature tours. For a best overview of lodging, dining, and rental options in this area, we suggest visiting www.visituvaldecounty.com
We hope you enjoy exploring this beautiful area of Texas!
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How Much Time Do You Need In Garner State Park
We only had a full Saturday and part of a Sunday to enjoy the park and while we could easily have spent a week at Garner State Park, just enjoying the scenery, kayaking, hiking, and relaxing, we felt like we got to see and do everything we wanted.To see the top sights, such as hiking Old Baldy and getting on the Frio River, having two full days would be the most ideal. But if you want to relax a bit, you could definitely still enjoy the park for longer!
Garner State Park Overview
Garner State Park campground is very large with 323 single-family campsites situated along or near the Frio River. There are 199 sites with electric hookups, 7 with full hookups and 117 with water hookups. Group camping and cabins are also available.
Campsites are suitable for tents, trailers and RVs. Each site also has a table, fire ring and grate.
Campground amenities include drinking water, flush toilets, hot showers and a dump station. The park also has a camp store, nature center/gift shop, concession building & dance pavilion, picnic areas, miniature golf course,
Garner State Park Area Recreation
The feature attraction is the beautiful Frio River that winds 2.9 miles through the scenic Hill Country terrain in the park. Visitors can swim, fish, kayak, canoe and float in an inner tube on the river. Other activities include hiking on the 16 miles of trails, biking, picnicking and wildlife viewing. Paddle boats, kayaks and inner tubes are available to rent.
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How To Get There
The park is located in Uvalde County, about 30 miles north of the town of Uvalde. For the most scenic route from Austin, get on TX-1 Loop S and then merge onto US-290 W. From here, youll take Hwy 16, I-10 W, TX-41 W and US-83 S to FM 1050 in Uvalde. Total drive time from Austin is roughly three hours, without stopsalthough if you take this route, there are several stops worth checking out, from the shops in Fredericksburg to the many Hill Country wineries along the way.
The History Of Garner State Park:
Once part of an ancient sea, the canyons and rock formations that we see today at Garner State Park were formed millions of years ago when the limestone of the Edwards Plateau shifted upward. The Balcones Canyonlands, of which this park is a part of, are home to unique topography and eye-catching views. Some folks we met on the trails were excited to meet a geologist in the park who showed them how to identify prints of ancient sealife in the rocks!
Attracted by the spring-fed, clear waters of the Frio River, historians believe that people began inhabiting this area as many as 12,000 years ago. As the automobile began to make travel easier and camping started to become a favorite pasttime, the family who owned this land in the 1920s began to allow visitors to camp along the river.
During the Great Depression of the early 1930s, President Franklin Roosevelt created the Civilian Conservation Corps as a program to develop public parks and restore natural areas. To be considered for a CCC project site, communities had to present their application showing donation of interesting, unique, culturally or historically important land. Roosevelt’s Vice-President was John Nance Garner who made his home in nearby Uvalde, Texas. Garner wasn’t thrilled with the idea of requesting federal funds for a park project in his home county. Mrs Garner, however, disagreed. She and several community members led the successful charge for this area to be considered for park development.
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Discover The Best Garner State Park Cabin Rentals And Go Glamping Texas Is Just A Click Away
Don’t look anywhere else for the best camping near Garner State Park! Camping rentals at this incredible location are sure to leave you satisfied after a wholesome break away. This state park is part of the community of Concan, Texas and is also located in Texas Hill County. Camping in this tranquil area will give you access to all of the stunning views on offer. Book yourself Garner State Park cabins right here and you’ll be enjoying a luxury camping getaway in Texas in no time at all! Book your Texas vacations right here and ensure your next camping break is a great one. Go glamping: Texas awaits.
Choke Canyon State Park
Location: 700 TX-72, Three Rivers, TX 78071
A lengthy 117 miles Southeast of Uvalde, Choke Canyon State Park is a little out of the way, but if you are on your way to Corpus Christi and headed for the Gulf of Mexico, this would definitely be a great spot to stop along the way.
The park has two sections. Calliham is a full campground for overnight visitors who wish to stay a night or two and take advantage of all the outdoor sites and activities. Campers can enjoy fishing, swimming, and hiking in the park during their stay.
There are group sites available for rent along with a youth camp, which offers picnic pavilions, basketball courts, tennis courts, a soccer field, group halls, and a gymnasium.
The South Shore section of the park is for day use only, and visitors can enjoy boating, fishing, and birding. Both sections have boat ramps, and Calliham has a rock jetty and fish cleaning shelters.
There are many ranger programs available for kids at the park. Visiting youth or school groups can take advantage of these programs to give them an educational experience in addition to the recreational activities offered at the park.
Whether you are visiting for an afternoon or several days, this serene park is sure to be a highlight of your travels.
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Alerts And Important Information
Campsite reminders: * Beware of feral hogs in the area. Do not leave any food unattended. Hogs will get into coolers/ice chests. * Beware of ticks. Wear insect repellent and check for ticks daily.
The Live Oak and Persimmon Hill Loops close annually for the winter from December thru February.
DAY USE FEE: OFFICE AND GATE INFORMATION:PARK PHONE NUMBER:
Garner State Park Information:
CCC Park? Yes! Visit the Park Pavilion and Old Entrance Trail
Park Store? Yes! Next to Pecan Grove Camping Area in Old Garner
Gift Shop? Yes! In the Park Pavilion in Old Garner and Visitor Center in New Garner
Pet Friendly? Yes! All pets must be on leash. Pets are not allowed inside buildings.
Lodging Options at Garner State Park: RV Camping, Tent Camping, Group Camp, Cabins, Screened Shelters
Amenities: CCC structures, birding, wildlife viewing, geocaching, hiking, biking, nature trails, mini golf, Garner Grill, nature center, playground, tube rentals, boat and paddleboard rentals, fishing, store, ice cream parlor, candy shop, basketball court, sand volleyball, birdblind
Operated By: Texas Parks and Wildlife
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A Typical Texas Outsider Day:
When we stayed here we spent most of one day enjoying the Frio River. We also hiked up to the scenic overlook and mountain biked around the campground and on one of the trails.
On one trip we camped at Garner State Park after attending the Frio River Song Fest which is an annual event with some great music by talented Texas singer songwriters. Here is a link to our review of the Frio River Song Festival.
And if we stay here, we’ve got to play The Club at Concan Golf Course which is an excellent 18 holes of golf – read our review of The Club at Concan Golf Course to learn more.
Do Not Miss While At Garner State Park:
There is so much to see and do here, that our answer to this is almost impossible! We suggest trying to spend as many days here as you can.
If you like to hike, you will love Garner State Park! We would absolutely rate the hiking here as a “must do” experience. Whether you are looking for birds, historic information, river views or incredible vistas, you can find it on a hike here.
Be sure to walk down by Garner Dam at the Frio River and take a look at the huge Bald Cypress Trees. We’ve read that this type of cypress tree can live to be 600 years old, but we’ve also read that some of these trees at Garner State Park might be as much as 1,000 years old! One thing is for sure, these trees are HUGE and they obviously thrive here drinking water from the Frio. A tip we learned from Kay and Gaylynne: walk past the dam and toward Old Baldy on the foot path… you’ll find a huge bald cypress tree on the right that is hollow. An entire family can fit inside this tree!!
Bald Cypress Trees on the Frio River
Huge Hollow Cypress Tree
Mentioning Kay and Gaylynne brings us to another “do not miss” point. While you are at Garner State Park, talk to as many folks as you can. People have been coming to this park annually for decades and are eager to share their experiences and memories. We heard so many great stories during our stay and learned to look for things in the park that we probably would never know about without these conversations.
Garner CCC Pavilion and Dance Floor
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Government Canyon State Natural Area
Location: 12861 Galm Rd, San Antonio, TX 78254
If you are heading in the direction of San Antonio, Government Canyon State Natural Area is a great place to stop to get away from the city for a while.
The 12,000-acre wilderness that lies just north of San Antonio protects the citys drinking water.
The expansive natural area is open to visitors Friday through Monday and offers over 40 miles of trails for hiking, geocaching, and biking.
Government Canyon is a great place for kids to explore as well. Guided hikes and nature programs are offered to teach kids about the natural wonder around them.
Take your young ones on the Discovery Trail to observe birds and other wildlife, or you can relax with a cool drink and a picnic lunch while your kids tire themselves out on the playscape.
A highlight of the hiking trails for both kids and adults is the walk past 110-million-year-old dinosaur tracks, the only known tracks in Bexar County.
Campgrounds are open on Friday and Saturday nights only, and can be reserved ahead of time. There are twenty-three walk-in tent sites and two walk-in group sites.
To make the experience even easier, Texas Park Outfitters provides camping equipment for rent and even includes setup. To extend your visit even further, stop by the park store for books, nature items and souvenirs or even take a virtual tour with the Interactive Trails Map.
This is a great stop on your travels and offers a unique natural experience for the whole family.
Other Amenities At Garner State Park:
Stores: You don’t have to worry if you forgot anything for your trip! Garner State Park has 3 stores located within its boundaries. The Visitor Center offers souvenirs and books about the local area, birding and wildlife. The Gift Shop in the Park Pavilion offers a variety of souvenirs, and the Park Store near the Pecan Grove Camping Area sells everything from food, to charcoal, ice, swim gear and camping supplies.
Nature Center: The Visitor Center next to the Shady Meadows Camping Area also houses a small nature center. This building used to be the park headquarters before the current entrance was built.
Butterfly Garden: Right behind the Visitor Center you will find a butterfly garden which is maintained by the Friends of Garner State Park. You can wander its paths or sit and watch.
Playground: Located between the Shady Meadows Camping Area and the Visitor Center, the park’s playground gives kiddos an area to run around and blow off some steam.
The Garner Grill
A Small Section of the Park Store
Ice Cream Parlor: We love that Garner State Park actually uses it’s CCC Pavilion today. One of the businesses housed within the Pavilion is the park’s ice cream shop. The shop is open daily during the summer and on weekends in the off-season.
Candy Shop: Besides being the place to rent your mini golf gear, the park’s candy store offers a variety of unique candies and sweet drinks, as well as some old favorites. If you have a sweet tooth, be sure to check this place out.
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