April 09, 2021

23 gorgeous state parks within driving distance of San Antonio

What better time than now to hop in the car and travel to one of Texas' many state parks to enjoy the Lone Star State's natural beauty?

Whether you want to stay close to home or make a weekend road trip out of it, plenty of beautiful state parks lie within driving distance of San Antonio. There's no excuse not to enjoy Texas' amazing outdoor wonders. 
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Guadalupe River State Park
3350 Park Rd 31, Spring Branch, (830) 438-2656, tpwd.texas.gov
Located just north of San Antonio, Guadalupe River State Park is perfect for an outdoorsy day trip. On certain sections of the park's 13 miles of trails, you can even ride your horse! If you want a rougher terrain, try the lesser-traveled Bauer Unit.
Photo via Instagram / guadaluperiverstatepark
Guadalupe River State Park
3350 Park Rd 31, Spring Branch, (830) 438-2656, tpwd.texas.gov
Located just north of San Antonio, Guadalupe River State Park is perfect for an outdoorsy day trip. On certain sections of the park's 13 miles of trails, you can even ride your horse! If you want a rougher terrain, try the lesser-traveled Bauer Unit.
Photo via Instagram / guadaluperiverstatepark
Garner State Park
234 RR 1050, Concan, (830) 232-6132, tpwd.texas.gov
Just about two hours west of San Antonio, Garner State Park lies in Concan, which is near literally not a whole lot else. Part of the beauty of Garner is its distance from large cities. It’s a place for you to camp with less light pollution and less reminders of back home. Plus, it’s gigantic and located right along the Frio River.
Photo via Instagram / hiking_yessie
Garner State Park
234 RR 1050, Concan, (830) 232-6132, tpwd.texas.gov
Just about two hours west of San Antonio, Garner State Park lies in Concan, which is near literally not a whole lot else. Part of the beauty of Garner is its distance from large cities. It’s a place for you to camp with less light pollution and less reminders of back home. Plus, it’s gigantic and located right along the Frio River.
Photo via Instagram / hiking_yessie
Pedernales Falls State Park
2585 Park Road 6026, Johnson City, tpwd.texas.gov
Not too far from Johnson City you’ll discover the tranquil, though sometimes turbulent waters at Pedernales Falls. This park should be visited by folks who thrive in natural scenery as it offers camping, hiking, biking, bird-watching and horseback riding on dry land. There’s even a butterfly garden if you truly want to kick back and enjoy every bit of nature. Certain areas are available to swim in, but there’s also chances for tubing, canoeing and kayaking down the river.
Photo via Instagram / flora.the.explora231
Pedernales Falls State Park
2585 Park Road 6026, Johnson City, tpwd.texas.gov
Not too far from Johnson City you’ll discover the tranquil, though sometimes turbulent waters at Pedernales Falls. This park should be visited by folks who thrive in natural scenery as it offers camping, hiking, biking, bird-watching and horseback riding on dry land. There’s even a butterfly garden if you truly want to kick back and enjoy every bit of nature. Certain areas are available to swim in, but there’s also chances for tubing, canoeing and kayaking down the river.
Photo via Instagram / flora.the.explora231
Bastrop State Park
100 Park Road 1A, Bastrop, (512) 321-2101, tpwd.texas.gov
West of Austin, Bastrop State Park is a great spot to take the family. Camping, picnicking, biking and hiking – it’s all here. Oh, and plenty of wildlife for you to check out. Though there’s only seven miles of trails, there’s also the 12-mile ride between Bastrop SP and Buscher SP. Now that’s a ride for seasoned bikers (or anyone with a car).
Photo via Instagram / truemarmalade
Bastrop State Park
100 Park Road 1A, Bastrop, (512) 321-2101, tpwd.texas.gov
West of Austin, Bastrop State Park is a great spot to take the family. Camping, picnicking, biking and hiking – it’s all here. Oh, and plenty of wildlife for you to check out. Though there’s only seven miles of trails, there’s also the 12-mile ride between Bastrop SP and Buscher SP. Now that’s a ride for seasoned bikers (or anyone with a car).
Photo via Instagram / truemarmalade
McKinney Falls State Park
5808 McKinney Falls Pkwy, Austin, (512) 243-1643, tpwd.texas.gov
Located at the confluence of Onion Creek and Williamson Creek, this Austin spot is truly an escape from city life without being out in the sticks. The park offers pretty much all of the outdoorsy fun. Camping, hiking, mountain biking, road biking, bouldering and geocaching are all up for grabs, or you can head to Onion Creek for fishing and swimming.
Photo via Instagram / krl_photo
McKinney Falls State Park
5808 McKinney Falls Pkwy, Austin, (512) 243-1643, tpwd.texas.gov
Located at the confluence of Onion Creek and Williamson Creek, this Austin spot is truly an escape from city life without being out in the sticks. The park offers pretty much all of the outdoorsy fun. Camping, hiking, mountain biking, road biking, bouldering and geocaching are all up for grabs, or you can head to Onion Creek for fishing and swimming.
Photo via Instagram / krl_photo
Blanco State Park
101 Park Rd 23, Blanco, tpwd.texas.gov
Sitting along a mile of the Blanco River, this park offers camping, picnicking, nature trails and even a wildlife viewing station. 
Photo via Instagram / txparksccc
Blanco State Park
101 Park Rd 23, Blanco, tpwd.texas.gov
Sitting along a mile of the Blanco River, this park offers camping, picnicking, nature trails and even a wildlife viewing station.
Photo via Instagram / txparksccc
Choke Canyon State Park
700 Texas 72, Three Rivers, (361) 786-3868, tpwd.texas.gov
The Choke Canyon Reservoir is the big attraction here, since it offers first-class fishing with plenty of largemouth bass and catfish for you to catch – either from the shore or from your boat. If you’re into birds, consider stopping by as the park is a known stopover for migrating flocks. Looking for something more active? You can swim, camp and hike here as well.
Photo via Instagram / beardedyaks
Choke Canyon State Park
700 Texas 72, Three Rivers, (361) 786-3868, tpwd.texas.gov
The Choke Canyon Reservoir is the big attraction here, since it offers first-class fishing with plenty of largemouth bass and catfish for you to catch – either from the shore or from your boat. If you’re into birds, consider stopping by as the park is a known stopover for migrating flocks. Looking for something more active? You can swim, camp and hike here as well.
Photo via Instagram / beardedyaks
Palmetto State Park
78 Park Road 11 S, Gonzales, (830) 672-3266, tpwd.texas.gov
Just an hour away you’ll find the oases of Palmetto State Park. With multiple water sources, including the San Marcos River, the park is home to a variety of animals and plants. If that's not enough for you, there's also swimming, tubing, finishing and exploring by canoe as well as hiking.
Photo via Instagram / tawa_ties
Palmetto State Park
78 Park Road 11 S, Gonzales, (830) 672-3266, tpwd.texas.gov
Just an hour away you’ll find the oases of Palmetto State Park. With multiple water sources, including the San Marcos River, the park is home to a variety of animals and plants. If that's not enough for you, there's also swimming, tubing, finishing and exploring by canoe as well as hiking.
Photo via Instagram / tawa_ties
Lockhart State Park
2012 State Park Rd, (512) 398-3479, tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/lockhart
Just a day trip from both Austin and San Antonio, a unique feature of this park is its historic golf course. It has the other classic amenities, too, like fishing, summer swimming and camping.
Photo via Instagram / eigi_einhamir
Lockhart State Park
2012 State Park Rd, (512) 398-3479, tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/lockhart
Just a day trip from both Austin and San Antonio, a unique feature of this park is its historic golf course. It has the other classic amenities, too, like fishing, summer swimming and camping.
Photo via Instagram / eigi_einhamir
Hill Country State Natural Area
10600 Bandera Creek Road, Bandera, (830) 796-4413, tpwd.texas.gov
If you’re into rugged terrain, Hill Country State Natural Area is gonna be your jam. It offers primitive camping — as in without plumbing — as well as horseback trails. The 5,000-acre area has beautiful landscape, including tranquil creeks and rugged terrain.
Photo via Instagram / brady_kunkel
Hill Country State Natural Area
10600 Bandera Creek Road, Bandera, (830) 796-4413, tpwd.texas.gov
If you’re into rugged terrain, Hill Country State Natural Area is gonna be your jam. It offers primitive camping — as in without plumbing — as well as horseback trails. The 5,000-acre area has beautiful landscape, including tranquil creeks and rugged terrain.
Photo via Instagram / brady_kunkel