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13 Stunning Texas Hill Country State Parks to Visit

The Hill Country of Texas has plenty of beauty to offer anyone that visits. From incredible food to beautiful outdoor escapes, the Hill Country is definitely not lacking in unique and amazing things you and your family can enjoy, including more than a dozen beautiful Texas Hill Country state parks!

The landscape of the Texas Hill Country is made up of junipers, mesquites, cactus, and more, and can vary wildly as you drive thirty minutes one way or another. 

To experience the diverse natural beauty of the region, make your way to some of these gorgeous Texas state parks! 

close up of small waterfall in colorado state park texas

Garner State Park

With the Frio River running through Garner State Park, it’s a perfect place to escape to nature for the weekend or for a whole week away. Swim the day away in the Frio or sit back and soak in the waters in the slowing areas of the river.

An amazing aspect of the Frio River is that there is so much to do; there will be something for everyone to enjoy. During the summer nights, try your hand at dancing on the porch of the Garner Lodge. You can even have a friendly competition of miniature golf while you are visiting and hike amazing trails such as Mount Baldy.

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You can decide to stay at Garner State Park for an extended vacation by soaking up the outdoors in a tent campsite or renting a cabin. The park store also offers a variety of rentals from tubes, heaters, and more.

Garner State Park is further away from a grocery store, so the park store also offers you the basic food needs you may have during your stay.

view of frio river in garner state park, one of the best places to visit in texas

Lost Maples State Natural Area

Lost Maples State Natural Area is a great option to escape to in the Texas Hill Country.

This Texas Hill Country state park is well known for its fall color. As the maples within the park welcome the fall season with their beautiful color change, people begin to flock to the park to see the forest in all of its glory.

Lost Maples is not a giant park and offers you plenty of opportunities to soak in the beauty of nature. You can decide to relax in the comfort of hookups, or you can decide to take to a primitive campsite for the night.

fall foliage in lost maples state park texas with a pond to the right side of the photo

McKinney Falls State Park

McKinney Falls State Park welcomes you with the limestone ledges that are scattered throughout the park. Onion Creek flows over these ledges, creating a beautiful sight for all to see.

While you are visiting, you can swim the day away, throw a line in fishing, go for a long hike, or just sit back and soak in the views that surround you.

McKinney Falls is a wonderful option for a Hill Country state park if you are wanting to visit the cities as well. Located just thirteen miles from  Austin, McKinney Falls provides the best of both worlds.

mckinney falls water fall in austin on sunny day

Pedernales Falls State Park

The beautiful Pedernales River flows through Pedernales Falls State Park, creating a welcoming environment that allows you to soak up the beauty of nature. As with any river, the water can rise suddenly and aggressively, so practice caution if there is any rain in the forecast.

You can decide to have a day on the river where you soak in the refreshing waters of the river or take in the miles of hikes that weave themselves through the forests that surround you.

If you want to make a weekend out of your trip to Pedernales, you can choose between sites with electricity or decide to rough it and hike into one of many primitive sites.

If you love to horseback ride, you also have the option to bring your horse and hike the equestrian trails. When it comes to the river, you can swim, kayak, tube, and make an entire day out of your trip to Pedernales Falls State Park.

pedernales falls as seen from above, one of the best texas hill country state parks

Colorado Bend State Park

Colorado Bend State Park has plenty to see and do for your entire family.

While you’re there, be sure to soak in the views of 70-foot Gorman Falls and to take a dip into Spicewood Springs. With over 35 miles of trails, Colorado Bend State Park is a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

A unique feature of this park is that there are a variety of caves to explore. Sign up for a cave tour with a knowledgeable guide to truly experience everything Colorado Bend State Park is made of and learn something new. 

kate storm standing in front of gorman falls in colorado bend, one of the best texas state parks in hill country

South Llano River State Park

The South Llano River is a spring-fed river that provides constant entertainment throughout the year. Grab a tube and float the day away or try your hand at fishing; whatever you choose, you are sure to make memories that will last a lifetime.

The fun doesn’t stop after the sun goes down at South Llano River State Park. The night sky is incredibly majestic in the park, and it’s easy to see plenty of stars during your visit.

The park office also rents out GPS units that you can use throughout the park.

While you are visiting, you may even see a glimpse of a turkey and other wildlife that call South Llano River State Park home.

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Old Tunnel State Park

While Old Tunnel State Park is not a very well known park, there is a special feature that draws people in time and time again.

From March through October, when dusk closes out the day, the old tunnel railroad tunnel that the park was named for puts on quite the show. As dusk falls, hundreds of bats that live in the tunnel emerge to begin their night of searching for food.

When you visit, stay on the designated trails and watch as a cloud of black travel into the night sky.

Make sure to bring water when you visit because there is no water located within the park. Old Tunnel State Park is a unique stop for catching a glimpse of a bat colony, but if you visit the park early, you are likely to spot other forms of wildlife that call the park home.

bat tunnel in texas old tunnel state park as seen from the nature trail

Guadalupe River State Park

Guadalupe River State Park is a wonderful Hill Country gem that is a must-visit during your Texas travels. With the Guadalupe River running through the park, the possibilities are endless for all of the fun to be had.

Take to the water for a day of soaking in the refreshingly cool water by kayak, canoe, or simply swimming.

Guadalupe River State Park has some incredible walking trails right up from the water where you can hike to the perfect spot to set up for the day. Just up the hill from the river are plenty of campsites that offer you partial hookup utilities.

Guadalupe River in Texas lined with cypress trees

Inks Lake State Park

Inks Lake State Park is a Hill Country favorite for the variety of activities you can partake in. With a giant lake that remains at a constant level throughout the year, you can swim, fish, or try your hand at water sports.

One famous area of Inks Lake State Park is the Devil’s Sinkhole in which you can hike in to see. The best part is that once you get to the Devil’s Sinkhole, it is the most perfect spot to swim the day away.

Don’t forget to bring your fishing poles to sit back and relax as you throw your line in as you hope to catch a perch or bass.

Kayakers in a rocky part of Inks Lake, one of the best places to camp near austin tx

Blanco State Park

Blanco State Park is a small Hill Country park, but it shouldn’t be skipped. Encompassing over one mile of the river in charming Blanco, Texas, Blanco State Park offers you plenty of opportunities to set up for a day of fun in the water.

The park even has tube rentals at the park store, allowing you convenience and a perfect way to soak in the water the park offers.

While you are visiting, don’t forget to bring your fishing pole to try your hand at fishing in various spots throughout the park. There are plenty of areas to throw in a line and fish the day away at Blanco State Park.

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Lyndon B Johnson State Park & Historic Site

If you are a history buff, the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park is one of the best Texas Hill Country state parks for you and your family to visit. You can spend the day walking through the living history farm, where you step back in time and learn all about the Johnson family.

During your trip, you will be greeted by longhorns and bison that are scattered throughout the park.

There is also more fun to be had with tennis courts and a place to play baseball. After hiking and learning, you can relax in the cool waters of the pool conveniently located within the park as well.

Don’t forget to grab your fishing pole as there are a variety of spots you can fish for all types of fish to make your day complete.

cow in lbj national historic ranch

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

This looming rock of pink granite has fascinated people for more than 10,000 years–and climbing it is one of the most fun things to do in Texas.

Located just outside of Fredericksburg, Enchanted Rock is easily among the most popular Texas Hill Country state parks.

You can summit the rock in less than an hour, but be prepared for a workout while doing so! Plus, with little-to-no shade, Enchanted Rock can be a dangerous scorcher on hot summer days.

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Longhorn Cavern State Park

The beautiful Longhorn Cavern was formed by an ancient river and has a distinct appearance that separates it from many typical Texas limestone caves.

While the trails and picnic areas in this Hill Country state park can be visited at any time, touring the cavern–either on a basic walking tour or on the more-adventurous wild cave tour–requires booking a guided tour.

two photos of texas hill country state parks, guadalupe river and mckinney falls. black and red text on a white background reads "13 epic state parks tx hill country"

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