Several times last year, we ended up stumbling upon some pretty great places. Garner State Park in Texas happened to be one of them. State parks are actually our favorite kind of campgrounds to stay at. We feel like they offer a lot more to do outside. And out of all the state parks we’ve stayed out, I’d have to say that Garner State Park is most definitely our favorite.
There was a point in time where I doubted our decision to stay at this park. The state park ended up being way out of cell service. Our GPS even had a difficult time getting us there. At one point, I thought we were lost, for sure. Somehow, we arrived at Garner State Park without any hiccups.
It was surprisingly busy for as remote as it was. Or so it seemed. The campground was quite empty. We ended up choosing a spot close to the Frio River, and we had zero neighbors. Our campsite was so beautiful. We had a giant tree in the middle of our yard. The picnic table and fireplace was place underneath. It was so beautiful and peaceful.
The day we arrived, I had started coming down with a cold. Unfortunately, it only got worse during our time at the park, which made it difficult to want to do anything but sleep. But the park was so incredibly beautiful, and I didn’t want to miss a thing. So I oiled myself up, put on my bathing suit, and off we went with the girls to check out the river.
There was this incredibly gorgeous river flowing through the entire park. It was unlike anything we had ever seen before. The water was perfectly clear, revealing the orange and golden flat rock bed at the bottom with swirls of green. It was stunning, and we had it all to ourselves. The girls couldn’t get enough playtime in the water. Josie, in particular, will swim until she drowns. We call her our beach patrol. She’ll just wade up and down the coastline for hours.
The water was moving pretty swiftly, so we even ended up buying a tube so we could ride the current wherever it would take us. It was so hot outside during our stay at Garner State Park. The water was definitely a welcome escape. Our first night there, we had a pretty nasty thunderstorm pass through. An interesting experience in a camper just in case you’re wondering. The crashes of thunder are so loud. Needless to say, we weren’t able to fall asleep until the storm passed close to midnight. Not so much a great thing when your body is already trying to fight a nasty cold.
The next day, we decided to explore the many nature trails throughout the park. Garner State Park has a ton of hiking trails ranging from beginner level trails to more strenuous trails for the experienced hiker. Since I was still feeling under the weather, we decided to keep it pretty simple. It was a bummer, though. I would have loved to hike some of the more interesting sightseeing trails. The rain the night before made our hike interesting, though. Our shoes, and the dogs, were covered in mud by the time we returned to the camper. It was a nice excuse to spend more time at the river.
With over 1,700 acres to explore, Garner State Park offers an endless supply of things to do. It hasn’t made our Top 5 list for no reason. We’re wishing, now, that we would have spent more time there. But since we had a schedule to keep, we had to keep moving. Swimming, hiking, biking, geocaching. You name it, and Garner State Park has it. There’s no telling when we’ll be able to get back for another visit. All we know is that we definitely want to go back. A hidden gem in south-central Texas.