Palmetto State Park is a place that stands apart from the rest of Central Texas. With old-growth trees draped in Spanish moss and a wealth of semi-tropical vegetation, this green oasis appears pulled straight of of prehistoric times.
Located in Gonzales County, Palmetto State Park is only 1 hour from major cities San Antonio and Austin. The best time to visit is in early June, when aquatic activities can be participated in and summer temperatures are still moderate.
There is swimming aplenty at Palmetto – a welcome relief from the Texas heat. Dive into the oxbow lake, or for a more dynamic experience, wade in the refreshing waters of the San Marcos river that runs straight through the heart of the park.
There aren’t many more pleasant waters to travel on than those of the San Marcos river. Some canoers choose to paddle into the park 14 miles upstream from Luling, with one portage along the way. No rapids and a steady current offer a relaxing journey into the semi-tropical paradise. Visitors who choose to paddle on the San Marcos must make their own boat and pickup/dropoff arrangements.
The park rents: 4-person pedal boats, 3-person canoes, fishing boats and inner tubes; lifejackets and oars are provided. Boats are to be used in the 4-acre oxbow lake only.
Mountain biking can be found at Palmetto, though limited in duration as there are only 5 miles of trails.
Probably the best way to experience Palmetto’s bewitching beauty is on foot. Trails are wide, well-maintained, and offer the avid outdoor enthusiast a virtual tour-de-force of plant and animal life seen nowhere else in Central Texas.
There are 19 campsites with water that run at , 17 campsites with water and electricity, and a designated area for large groups of up to a 100 guests. Many of the campsites are conveniently close to swimming spots and restrooms for all sites are only a few paces away.
Adjacent to the San Marcos river is 1 cabin available for up to 6 people. Amenities include A/C, electricity, refrigerator, porch, furniture, and a full-size bed and bunk bed. Prices vary depending on peak and non-peak days so call ahead.
Know Before You Go
Park entry fees are separate from camping fees. Children 12 and under are free.
Dogs are welcome but must remain leashed at all times.
Because of Palmetto’s smaller size and uniqueness, overnight guests are advised to make reservations 2-3 weeks in advance from March to November.