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I grew up going to them and now am passing on the appreciation to my nephews.  If you have any you enjoy please post experiences or reasons why along with any pro tips.  We hope to hit them all within the next few years.  A recent trip to Washington on the Brazos reminded me again of how fun, easy and cheap a day or overnight road trip can be.    

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Garner State Park is among the more scenic state parks not located in West Texas/Davis Mountains. And it's got the frio river. I read it's the most popular state park for overnight camping and I can see why. I love it there. 

Love Pedernales because it's close to Austin, has some cool hikes, the falls are fun to explore, and the camp sites are generally pretty well maintained. 

I've always wanted to go to Lost Maples for the foliage change, but I think you have to book a site a full year in advance.

I've enjoyed Colorado Bend State Park, Inks Lake State Park, and Mineral Wells State park as well. 

Living in Austin, it's always nice to head down to McKinney Falls State Park for a hike and a swim. People seem to forget or seem to be unaware that they there are those cool rock formations to swim in

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As a trail ultramarathon runner living in San Antonio, I make multiple trips per month to Hill Country State Natural Area (Bandera) and Government Canyon. Occasional trips to Pedernales Falls and Lost Maples.

I once did a night race at Colorado Bend, so I can't say much other than it's very rocky and very dark at night. 

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Park Phone City Latitude Longitude
Abilene State Park (325) 572-3204 Tuscola 32.240731 -99.879139
Atlanta State Park (903) 796-6476 Atlanta 33.230731 -94.249693
Balmorhea State Park (432) 375-2370 Toyahvale 30.945036 -103.786663
Barton Warnock Visitor Center (432) 424-3327 Terlingua 29.269902 -103.757351
Bastrop State Park (512) 321-2101 Bastrop 30.110149 -97.286864
Battleship Texas State Historic Site (281) 479-2431 LaPorte 29.755810 -95.090349
Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park (956) 584-9156 Mission 26.186987 -98.381888
Big Bend Ranch State Park (432) 358-4444 Presidio 29.470458 -103.957922
Big Spring State Park (432) 263-4931 Big Spring 32.232288 -101.490728
Blanco State Park (830) 833-4333 Blanco 30.093082 -98.423845
Bonham State Park (903) 583-5022 Bonham 33.546727 -96.144758
Brazos Bend State Park (979) 553-5102 Needville 29.371000 -95.631921
Buescher State Park (512) 237-2241 Smithville 30.039098 -97.158295
Caddo Lake State Park (903) 679-3351 Karnack 32.680233 -94.176361
Caprock Canyons State Park (806) 455-1492 Quitaque 34.410296 -101.053264
Caprock Canyons Trailway (806) 455-1492 Quitaque 34.43238 -100.875097
Cedar Hill State Park (972) 291-3900 Cedar Hill 32.621721 -96.979087
Choke Canyon State Park - Calliham Unit (361) 786-3868 Calliham 28.465773 -98.354195
Choke Canyon State Park - South Shore Unit (361) 786-3868 Calliham 28.467458 -98.246528
Cleburne State Park (817) 645-4215 Cleburne 32.252365 -97.549617
Colorado Bend State Park (325) 628-3240 Bend 31.022965 -98.442401
Cooper Lake State Park - Doctors Creek Unit (903) 395-3100 Cooper 33.348700 -95.663677
Cooper Lake State Park - South Sulphur Unit (903) 945-5256 Sulphur Springs 33.287730 -95.657920
Copper Breaks State Park (940) 839-4331 Quanah 34.112176 -99.743296
Daingerfield State Park (903) 645-2921 Daingerfield 33.013000 -94.690587
Davis Mountains State Park (432) 426-3337 Fort Davis 30.599103 -103.929450
Devil's Sinkhole State Natural Area (Rocksprings Visitor Center) (830) 683-2287 Rocksprings 30.015773 -100.208552
Devils River State Natural Area (830) 395-2133 Del Rio 29.939694 -100.970206
Dinosaur Valley State Park (254) 897-4588 Glen Rose 32.246194 -97.813375
Eisenhower State Park (903) 465-1956 Denison 33.810339 -96.599971
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area (830) 685-3636 Fredericksburg 30.496033 -98.819952
Estero Llano Grande State Park  (956) 565-3919 Weslaco 26.126411 -97.956518
Fairfield Lake State Park (903) 389-4514 Fairfield 31.765346 -96.073282
Falcon State Park (956) 848-5327 Falcon Heights 26.582801 -99.142716
Fanthorp Inn State Historic Site (936) 873-2633 Anderson 30.482941 -95.983824
Fort Boggy State Park (903) 344-1116 Centerville 31.187372 -95.976646
Fort Leaton State Historic Site (432) 229-3613 Presidio 29.542511 -104.326348
Fort Parker State Park (254) 562-5751 Mexia 31.592347 -96.526655
Fort Richardson State Park & Historic Site / Lost Creek Reservoir State Trailway (940) 567-3506 Jacksboro 33.206158 -98.156966
Franklin Mountains State Park (915) 566-6441 El Paso 31.842388 -106.486444
Galveston Island State Park (409) 737-1222 Galveston 29.193560 -94.954025
Garner State Park (830) 232-6132 Concan 29.598887 -99.743981
Goliad State Park & Historic Site (361) 645-3405 Goliad 28.656544 -97.387265
Goose Island State Park (361) 729-2858 Rockport 28.133503 -96.984280
Government Canyon State Natural Area (210) 688-9055 San Antonio 29.549316 -98.764715
Guadalupe River State Park (830) 438-2656 Spring Branch 29.853084 -98.504463
Hill Country State Natural Area (830) 796-4413 Bandera 29.628034 -99.181086
Honey Creek State Natural Area (830) 438-2656 Spring Branch 29.863258 -98.489913
Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site (915) 857-1135 El Paso 31.926453 -106.042437
Huntsville State Park (936) 295-5644 Huntsville 30.628404 -95.525921
Indian Lodge (432) 426-3254 Fort Davis 30.592638 -103.943469
Inks Lake State Park (512) 793-2223 Burnet 30.737356 -98.369007
Kickapoo Cavern State Park (830) 563-2342 Brackettville 29.610016 -100.452465
Lake Arrowhead State Park (940) 528-2211 Wichita Falls 33.758578 -98.395201
Lake Bob Sandlin State Park (903) 572-5531 Pittsburg 33.053955 -95.099155
Lake Brownwood State Park (325) 784-5223 Lake Brownwood 31.856987 -99.028641
Lake Casa Blanca International State Park (956) 725-3826 Laredo 27.539343 -99.451383
Lake Colorado City State Park (325) 728-3931 Colorado City 32.318219 -100.936476
Lake Corpus Christi State Park (361) 547-2635 Mathis 28.063101 -97.872178
Lake Livingston State Park (936) 365-2201 Livingston 30.656897 -95.001093
Lake Mineral Wells State Park (940) 328-1171 Mineral Wells 32.812655 -98.043368
Lake Mineral Wells Trailway (940) 328-1171 Mineral Wells 32.837278 -97.971078
Lake Somerville State Park - Birch Creek Unit (979) 535-7763 Somerville 30.308582 -96.634692
Lake Somerville State Park - Nails Creek Unit (979) 289-2392 Ledbetter 30.290719 -96.667214
Lake Tawakoni State Park (903) 560-7123 Wills Point 32.841871 -95.993667
Lake Whitney State Park (254) 694-3793 Whitney 31.931234 -97.356833
Lipantitlan State Historic Site c/o Lake Corpus Christi State Park   27.964418 -97.818382
Lockhart State Park (512) 398-3479 Lockhart 29.855409 -97.697742
Longhorn Cavern State Park (512) 715-9000 Burnet 30.684441 -98.350970
Lost Maples State Natural Area (830) 966-3413 Vanderpool 29.807719 -99.570697
Lyndon B. Johnson State Park & Historic Site (830) 644-2252 Stonewall 30.237656 -98.626279
Martin Creek Lake State Park (903) 836-4336 Tatum 32.277950 -94.566051
Martin Dies, Jr. State Park (409) 384-5231 Jasper 30.846627 -94.165869
Mckinney Falls State Park (512) 243-1643 Austin 30.180752 -97.722007
Meridian State Park (254) 435-2536 Meridian 31.890791 -97.697566
Mission Rosario State Historic Site (361) 645-3405 Goliad 28.644374 -97.438888
Mission Tejas State Park (936) 687-2394 Grapeland 31.542272 -95.232191
Monahans Sandhills State Park (432) 943-2092 Monahans 31.618795 -102.812112
Monument Hill & Kreische Brewery State Historic Site (979) 968-5658 La Grange 29.888041 -96.876365
Mother Neff State Park (254) 853-2389 Moody 31.321559 -97.469150
Mustang Island State Park (361) 749-5246 Port Aransas 27.672162 -97.175309
Old Tunnel State Park (866) 978-2287 Fredericksburg 30.101079 -98.820704
Palmetto State Park (830) 672-3266 Gonzales 29.596906 -97.585140
Palo Duro Canyon State Park (806) 488-2227 Canyon 34.984709 -101.701867
Pedernales Falls State Park (830) 868-7304 Johnson City 30.308054 -98.257649
Port Isabel Lighthouse State Historic Site (956) 943-2262 Port Isabel 26.077984 -97.207133
Possum Kingdom State Park (940) 549-1803 Caddo 32.873573 -98.559331
Purtis Creek State Park (903) 425-2332 Eustace 32.353794 -95.993554
Ray Roberts Lake State Park - Isle du Bois Unit (940) 686-2148 Pilot Point 33.365671 -97.012150
Ray Roberts Lake State Park - Johnson Branch Unit (940) 637-2294 Valley View 33.429802 -97.056449
Resaca de la Palma State Park (956) 350-2920 Olmito 25.996275 -97.5712694
San Angelo State Park (325) 949-4757 San Angelo 31.463922 -100.508038
San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site (281) 479-2431 LaPorte 29.751578 -95.089694
Sea Rim State Park (409) 971-2559 Sabine Pass 29.675539 -94.043525
Seminole Canyon State Park & Historic Site (432) 292-4464 Comstock 29.700094 -101.312875
Sheldon Lake State Park & Environmental Learning Center (281) 456-2800 Houston 29.857461 -95.160029
South Llano River State Park (325) 446-3994 Junction 76849 30.445396 -99.804102
Stephen F. Austin State Park (979) 885-3613 San Felipe 29.811982 -96.108059
Tyler State Park (903) 597-5338 Tyler 32.482180 -95.283396
Village Creek State Park (409) 755-7322 Lumberton 30.250499 -94.178700
Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site (936) 878-2214 Washington 30.323922 -96.153673
Wyler Aerial Tramway (915) 566-6622 El Paso 31.809390 -106.478426
Zaragoza Birthplace State Historic Site (361) 645-3405 Goliad 28.647329 -97.383136

 

https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/nearby

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My favorite might be Balmorhea SP. No camping, but the pool is sublime. Imagine Barton Springs in the desert with mountains in the background. It even has what might be the last public high dive in the state, as far as I know.

It was closed for a year or so due to maintenance issues with the pool, caused by deferred maintenance, caused by budget shortfalls.

It re-opened for the summer, but is now closed for 6 more months due to maintenance issues on the septic tank, due to deferred maintenance, due to budget shortfalls.

There is also concern that fracking in the area may fuck with the springs that feed the pool. No evidence of that happening yet...

 

Anyway, state parks are great, but they are criminally underfunded.

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2 minutes ago, Walden Ponderer said:

Huntsville State Park was one of my favorite weekend getaways for the longest time. Nothing extraordinary about it, just... forest and a pond. Which is frequently all one needs in life.

Big Bend Ranch, meanwhile, is extremely underrated. Love that place.

 

What is nice about Big Bend Ranch is that its pretty undeveloped. If you wish to bushwhack, there is a LOT of bushwhacking room, and you can really get away from it all.

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3 minutes ago, High Plains Drifter said:

My favorite might be Balmorhea SP. No camping, but the pool is sublime. Imagine Barton Springs in the desert with mountains in the background. It even has what might be the last public high dive in the state, as far as I know.

It was closed for a year or so due to maintenance issues with the pool, caused by deferred maintenance, caused by budget shortfalls.

It re-opened for the summer, but is now closed for 6 more months due to maintenance issues on the septic tank, due to deferred maintenance, due to budget shortfalls.

There is also concern that fracking in the area may fuck with the springs that feed the pool. No evidence of that happening yet...

 

Anyway, state parks are great, but they are criminally underfunded.

Not sure if you meant that you don't do camping there, but they definitely have camping.  Probably my favorite part, swimming for a few hours, then head back to the campsite when it gets real crowded, grab a bite, maybe play some cards and have a few libations, then back to the pool when the crowd starts to thin out in the evening.  And waking up in the middle of the night, looking up out of the skylight in the tent and seeing a billion stars is pretty cool.

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3 minutes ago, High Plains Drifter said:

There is also concern that fracking in the area may fuck with the springs that feed the pool. No evidence of that happening yet...

Last time I was out there, the stench from the nearest burn off was wind-aided right towards the pool. Made it pretty unpleasant, and not at all like I remembered it from my childhood. I asked, and the locals stated that it was pretty unusual for the wind to be blowing from that direction, so it isn't like that happens all the time, but it is clear that there are multiple side effects from the local economy (such as it is) that negatively affect Balmorhea.

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1 minute ago, Walden Ponderer said:

Last time I was out there, the stench from the nearest burn off was wind-aided right towards the pool. Made it pretty unpleasant, and not at all like I remembered it from my childhood. I asked, and the locals stated that it was pretty unusual for the wind to be blowing from that direction, so it isn't like that happens all the time, but it is clear that there are multiple side effects from the local economy (such as it is) that negatively affect Balmorhea.

 

I haven't experienced that, but I have been there when the dust was really really bad.

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4 minutes ago, UTCzech III said:

Not sure if you meant that you don't do camping there, but they definitely have camping.  Probably my favorite part, swimming for a few hours, then head back to the campsite when it gets real crowded, grab a bite, maybe play some cards and have a few libations, then back to the pool when the crowd starts to thin out in the evening.  And waking up in the middle of the night, looking up out of the skylight in the tent and seeing a billion stars is pretty cool.

Probably my biggest gripe with state parks is the alcohol policy. No public display or consumption of alcohol is allowed on public land, so you have to hide it in your tent. I understand wanting to prevent partying and litter, but come on. 

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55 minutes ago, irishtexan said:

Garner State Park is among the more scenic state parks not located in West Texas/Davis Mountains. And it's got the frio river. I read it's the most popular state park for overnight camping and I can see why. I love it there. 

Love Pedernales because it's close to Austin, has some cool hikes, the falls are fun to explore, and the camp sites are generally pretty well maintained. 

I've always wanted to go to Lost Maples for the foliage change, but I think you have to book a site a full year in advance.

I've enjoyed Colorado Bend State Park, Inks Lake State Park, and Mineral Wells State park as well. 

Living in Austin, it's always nice to head down to McKinney Falls State Park for a hike and a swim. People seem to forget or seem to be unaware that they there are those cool rock formations to swim in

If you want to be there for the Fall colors, then you definitely have to book a year out.

And if you want to hit Garner in the Summer, you'll also want to book a year out.  I prefer old Garner to new Garner but sometimes you don't have much choice and just have to book what you can get.

 

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1 minute ago, Eggo said:

Probably my biggest gripe with state parks is the alcohol policy. No public display or consumption of alcohol is allowed on public land, so you have to hide it in your tent. I understand wanting to prevent partying and litter, but come on. 

You just have to pour it into a cup.  Yeti Ramblers with lids are your friend.

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3 minutes ago, Eggo said:

Probably my biggest gripe with state parks is the alcohol policy. No public display or consumption of alcohol is allowed on public land, so you have to hide it in your tent. I understand wanting to prevent partying and litter, but come on. 

Yeah, lots of trips to top off my "coke" in my red solo cup.  And don't let the little ones near my special "water" bottle...

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unless you're being an asshole they don't care about alcohol. i've talked to park rangers while drinking a can of beer in a koozie multiple times. and if you plan on camping in a state park this fall you should make your reservations now. 

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38 minutes ago, utee94 said:

You just have to pour it into a cup.  Yeti Ramblers with lids are your friend.

I've never had a problem as long as we were on our campgrounds. we've had bottles of liquor out and beers/wine. It's when you leave your campground that they'll ticket you. My old man got a ticket at Garner while sitting in the Frio drinking a yellow belly in a kozie

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started going to garner when i was in high school, 30+ years ago.  the park rangers were grumpy asshats then but they were harmless.  i don't remember them having guns though i'm sure they did.  now the rangers wear bullet proof vests, at least during the dance they do.  times have definitely changed.  but the park is a gazillion times more popular, especially with day campers.  i guess it's warranted, but i was shocked the first time i saw it.

garner is by far the busiest state park.  there isn't even a close second.  during the summer, that place is an absolute zoo.  many of the families i went to garner with 30 years ago do not do garner anymore.  they do river houses and other campsites from leakey down to concan.  we only do garner for the dance and early morning for hike to ice box cave and old baldy.

most state parks are awesome.  everything smells and tastes better, especially the beer and hot dogs.  i think it's more the getting away and relaxing than the amenities of the state parks.

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4 minutes ago, crash_davis said:

started going to garner when i was in high school, 30+ years ago.  the park rangers were grumpy asshats then but they were harmless.  i don't remember them having guns though i'm sure they did.  now the rangers wear bullet proof vests, at least during the dance they do.  times have definitely changed.  but the park is a gazillion times more popular, especially with day campers.  i guess it's warranted, but i was shocked the first time i saw it.

garner is by far the busiest state park.  there isn't even a close second.  during the summer, that place is an absolute zoo.  many of the families i went to garner with 30 years ago do not do garner anymore.  they do river houses and other campsites from leakey down to concan.  we only do garner for the dance and early morning for hike to ice box cave and old baldy.

most state parks are awesome.  everything smells and tastes better, especially the beer and hot dogs.  i think it's more the getting away and relaxing than the amenities of the state parks.

Guadalupe River State Park is a similar scene on weekends and holidays, to a lesser degree. 

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Just now, Eggo said:

Guadalupe River State Park is a similar scene on weekends and holidays, to a lesser degree. 

i did guadelupe river sp once.  we were sitting on lawn chairs in the guad.  upstream, a family allows their large dog to take a giant shit in the shallower rapids part.  we yelled at them to pick up the shit, they flipped us off and went their merry way.  we got out of the river, packed up and went home.  that was the straw that ruined the trip for us.  the 2 previous night of not sleeping because of the 50 fucking million raccoons in the bush and trees 10 feet the tents having a party every night was the other main reason.  haven't ever returned.

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my recommendation for the frio is Seven Bluffs Cabins.  it's towards the pricier option but the property is awesome.  

big property with long stretch of river access.  they do not stack cabins and campsites on top of each other so the property is pretty much dead compared to the other campsites.  it's right at the 3rd low water crossing up from concan.  most of the tube outfitters put in at the 3rd crossing.  it's fun to sit on the seven bluffs bank side and watch the stupidity and scenery with nary anyone around you.  also, the upstream side of the low water crossing is pretty much dead so you can get in the river upstream and still keep a little sanity because it's not bank to bank full of people and tubers.

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We've been to Cleburne and Meridian several times, loved them both, especially Meridian.  Lots of camping and screened shelters right by the lake, ton of wildlife for the kiddos to look at (armadillos, deer, had a coyote walk down the fence line about 20 feet away from me, he didn't care), some good hiking areas as well and great lake for fishing or swimming.

 

Cleburne used be really nice, had a general store where you could get supplies, ice cream for the kids, rented canoes, etc.  Last time we went is was all shut down, don't know if they ever opened it back up.  

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Hopefully the parks will see some revitalization, but I wouldn't hold your breath: https://www.texasobserver.org/all-it-took-was-25-years-legislature-ponies-up-cash-for-underfunded-texas-parks/

Quote

Texas state parks have been a convenient piggy bank for the Legislature whenever money was short elsewhere, but this session they got their due. Lawmakers put more funding than ever into state parks, and additionally are giving voters a chance to approve a constitutional amendment this November to ensure a long-term source.

The amendment, passed by more than two-thirds of the House and Senate and signed by Governor Greg Abbott this weekend, is basically a fulfillment of funding that was promised in 1993. That year, lawmakers dedicated a portion of revenue from the sales tax on sporting goods to fund state parks ‚ÄĒ 94 percent of the revenue was meant for parks and the remaining 6 percent to the state‚Äôs 22 historic sites. Since then, though, legislators have consistently appropriated far less than parks‚Äô full share, moving the money around to other parts of the budget and leaving some of the¬†most beautiful and popular places in the state woefully underfunded. Until 2007, state parks‚Äô slice of the sporting goods tax was capped at $32 million. Parks have received less than half of the dedicated revenue since 1993.

Screen-Shot-2019-06-11-at-3.46.14-PM.png
LEGISLATIVE BUDGET BOARD

The new constitutional amendment, which a majority of voters must approve this November, would guarantee that parks and historic sites get their share into the future. Ultimately, it’s a matter of catching up with intent from 1993.

In addition to the constitutional amendment, lawmakers ponied up funds ‚ÄĒ the full $322 million from the sporting goods tax revenue earmarked for state parks ‚ÄĒ that will be appropriated regardless of the November election. That‚Äôs about¬†10 times¬†what parks were allotted in 2007, and marks the third consecutive session that parks got their full share owed under the law.

The success for state parks this session is about as good as it gets, according to George Bristol, the founder of the Texas Coalition for Conservation and former chair of the Texas State Parks Advisory Committee and Audubon Texas. Bristol has been lobbying the Legislature for the past nine sessions.

parks, enchanted rock A long line to get into Enchanted Rock State Natural Area the morning of March 17, 2018.  EARL NOTTINGHAM/TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE

Advocates hope the Lege’s newfound appreciation for wide open spaces helps address issues caused by record visitor numbers (nearly 10 million in fiscal year 2017). Advance online reservations are just about the only assurance of getting in to the most popular parks during busy periods.

‚ÄúWe need more parks, and more parks close to our major metropolitan areas,‚ÄĚ Bristol said.

The unplugging of the budgetary logjam will allow for the development of Palo Pinto Mountains State Park, located west of Fort Worth. Lawmakers approved $12.5 million in funding for Palo Pinto, along with $10 million from TxDOT to build roads to the park and another $10 million in matching funds to be raised by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation. Other large, 10,000-acre-plus tracts in the system, including prime Hill Country and coastal habitat, are lined up behind Palo Pinto Mountains waiting to be developed into state parks.

What happened this year that made the difference?

A rosy revenue estimate from the comptroller at the beginning of the session didn’t hurt. It was a lubricant for school finance reform and other spending measures that have been on the chopping block in past years.

Screen-Shot-2019-06-11-at-3.51.56-PM.png
LEGISLATIVE BUDGET BOARD

Public pressure to improve parks, many of which are on the verge of falling apart, helped, too.

‚ÄúMore and more House members had been called out by their constituents about their particular state park ‚ÄĒ the bathrooms didn‚Äôt work, the automobile lines were too long. So there was some consensus to fix it, and fix it permanently so we don‚Äôt get this grief every two years,‚ÄĚ Bristol said.

He also pointed to the leadership of Senator Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, and Representative John Cyrier, R-Lockhart, the sponsors of the legislation in their respective chambers. Support from Texas Parks and Wildlife commissioners, House Speaker Dennis Bonnen and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick was also key, he said.

‚ÄúWe had to have two-thirds of the vote of the House and Senate to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot, and we got it walking and riding,‚ÄĚ Bristol said. ‚Äú‚Ķ There was no opposition. Everybody signed on and made it work.‚ÄĚ

  Bentsen state park viewed from its hawk observation tower.  GUS BOVA

Joseph Fitzsimons, former chair of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission and founder of the Texas Coalition for State Parks, also pushed the effort this session. He described the constitutional dedication as ‚Äútransformative‚ÄĚ for state and local parks. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a logical nexus between taxation and public benefit ¬†‚ÄĒ what a concept!‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúAll it took was 25 years of perseverance by park advocates.‚ÄĚ

Updating woefully outdated park facilities will take time. ‚Äú$800 million in deferred maintenance can‚Äôt be addressed all at once,‚ÄĚ Bristol said. ‚ÄúThere aren‚Äôt enough design engineers and technical people to do it. But the Legislature has recognized nearly every state agency is way behind in maintenance funding.‚ÄĚ

Now all eyes turn to voters in November. Bristol is raising money for the constitutional amendment election, utilizing a coalition of 74 organizations that he says represent more than 1 million Texans.

‚ÄúWe‚Äôre making up for 30 years of neglect. But we‚Äôve got these tools now to get started and do something meaningful, sustainable and substantial,‚ÄĚ he said.

 

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7 hours ago, smuggs said:

Inks Lake. Grew up camping there with my family. There's not much better in this world than hopping into Inks on a hot summer day.

Such a nice like. My mom still lives on the water, there. Small, with little traffic due to almost no public access outside the park. Just fantastic. 

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On 9/18/2019 at 12:29 PM, irishtexan said:

I've never had a problem as long as we were on our campgrounds. we've had bottles of liquor out and beers/wine. It's when you leave your campground that they'll ticket you. My old man got a ticket at Garner while sitting in the Frio drinking a yellow belly in a kozie

My high school senior class trip in ‚Äė79¬†was to Garner SP. ¬†One of my friends¬†pilfered a some¬†large hypodermic needles/syringes from his dad‚Äôs vet¬†clinic, and¬†we used them to inject a large bag¬†of oranges with vodka. We never even stepped foot in a campsite.¬†

Damn kids those days. 

I loved GSP back in the 70s and 80s. We were in the area in ca. 2000, and I suggested we drop by for a picnic. Big mistake, as if was crowded as fuck, so no picnic for the ImWP family. From some of the comments above, I can only imagine what it’s like now. 

Edited by ImissWallyPryor
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5 hours ago, michaelpshayes said:

Palo Duro mid October through Thanksgiving...

Caprock Canyons same time of year, except there you won't see many/any people + random buffaloes everywhere are awesome 

 

I was on a business trip to Amarillo in the late fall¬†in ‚Äė87 or ‚Äė88, and I had some time to kill. I took a detour to Palo Duro, and was pretty blown away by it, much¬†better than I expected. I didn‚Äôt see another vehicle in the hour+ that I was in the park. I did, however, come across¬†the largest rattle snake¬†I have ever seen warming¬†itself on the shoulder of the road. I‚Äôve always wanted to go¬†back, but I haven‚Äôt.¬†

Edited by ImissWallyPryor
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On 9/18/2019 at 12:46 PM, Eggo said:

Probably my biggest gripe with state parks is the alcohol policy. No public display or consumption of alcohol is allowed on public land, so you have to hide it in your tent. I understand wanting to prevent partying and litter, but come on. 

Just put it in a plastic cup, or your yeti or whatever, and be cool about it.

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On 9/18/2019 at 12:49 PM, utee94 said:

You just have to pour it into a cup.  Yeti Ramblers with lids are your friend.

This here, just not at the pavilion dance at Garner.  Sawed-off Barney Fife likes to get in everyone's face and demand that you show him whats in your cup.  Ice water you asshole, ice water.

Garner, Palo Duro, Inks Lake (Devil's waterhole ya'll), Enchanted Rock, Balmorhea and Village Creek are favorite's. 

It's been many years since we actually camped at Garner as we usually get a cabin elsewhere, but we head up early to the park 2 or 3 times during a weeks stay and spent the day in the Frio at the park.  We grab a day site next to the river, set up chairs and hammocks, unload the kayaks and stuff and hang out for the day.  I usually cook a big brunch on a campstove then spend the day trying to coax a few bass out from underneath a couple of specific ledges.

Lot's of scout trips to both sections at Somerville and some backpacking trips on the trailway.   Our troop used to do a great aquatics campout at Birch Creek.  We would have a swim area set up, kayaks, canoes, a couple of boats for tubing/boarding and a couple for fishing.

Village Creek is pretty fun if you tag in a canoe/kayak trip down the creek.  Lots of great sandbars for swimming upstream of the park.

 

Edited by davidg
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Garner's still good but definitely way busier and more of a shitshow than it was a few decades ago.  That's true of almost anywhere though.

Also, @davidg is 100% right about packing in your booze at the dance, just don't do it.  But honestly, I let my kids go to the dance and I don't really even bother anymore.

 

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I'll throw this out here as it was a great experience for my daughter.  If you have young adults aged 18-30 that love the outdoors and the state park system,  have them look at becoming a State Park Ambassador.  My daughter was selected as the ambassador for Garner State Park for the fall of 2018.  Read more at the link, but the mission is "To connect conservation-minded young adults with recreation and volunteer opportunities to foster a new generation of State Park stewards."  

Prior to the training week, each ambassador had to create a flier for the park and bring it to the training to review and discuss how to utilize it to help increase engagement with park users.   Here is a draft of one my daughter created for Garner.  That's my hand with the fish and my in-laws at the dance, circa 1984.

Garner-front.jpg

Garner-back.jpg

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3 minutes ago, davidg said:

I'll throw this out here as it was a great experience for my daughter.  If you have young adults aged 18-30 that love the outdoors and the state park system,  have them look at becoming a State Park Ambassador.  My daughter was selected as the ambassador for Garner State Park for the fall of 2018.  Read more at the link, but the mission is "To connect conservation-minded young adults with recreation and volunteer opportunities to foster a new generation of State Park stewards."  

Prior to the training week, each ambassador had to create a flier for the park and bring it to the training to review and discuss how to utilize it to help increase engagement with park users.   Here is a draft of one my daughter created for Garner.  That's my hand with the fish and my in-laws at the dance, circa 1984.

Garner-front.jpg

Garner-back.jpg

Pics of daughter in Garner State Park?

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23 minutes ago, davidg said:

...and my in-laws at the dance, circa 1984.

He rocks in the tree tops all day long
Hoppin' and a-boppin' and singing his song
All the little birdies on Jaybird Street
Love to hear the robin go tweet tweet tweet

Rockin' robin, rock rock
Rockin' robin
Blow rockin' robin
'Cause we're really gonna rock tonight

/every dance

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Just now, HenryJames said:

He rocks in the tree tops all day long
Hoppin' and a-boppin' and singing his song
All the little birdies on Jaybird Street
Love to hear the robin go tweet tweet tweet

Rockin' robin, rock rock
Rockin' robin
Blow rockin' robin
'Cause we're really gonna rock tonight

/every dance

My FIL passed away in 2001 but my MIL gives you all her rep.

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