This Southern State Park Offers Otherworldly Swimming Spots And Epic Hiking Trails

If you love natural swimming spots and palm-fringed walking trails, then head to Texas to have your dreams fulfilled in a delightful area that will make you think you left the country. Palmetto State Park is a slice of tropical paradise, especially as it is filled with sun-loving plant life like the dwarf palmetto. This park is just an hour's drive from the Texan cities of Austin and San Antonio but it feels a world away.

As it is intersected by a spring-fed winding river, it provides ample opportunities to get in the water and you can easily find swimming spots while hiking. There are also numerous side trails you can look to escape the crowds while taking in the sights and sounds of this epic state park. You can choose how you want to explore the swamps, lake, forest, and river as various adventurous pursuits are available here. If you don't want to leave, it is possible to stay the night in an RV, tent, or cabin, and wake up in the morning imagining you're in the tropics.

Things to do at Palmetto State Park

The San Marcos River is a top spot for water activities. You can kayak, canoe, paddleboard, swim, and tube in this beautiful area. If you want a bigger challenge, take the Luling Zedler Mill Paddling Trail which is 6 miles long and takes two to four hours to float down. It is also possible to paddle from Luling City Park to Palmetto which takes six to seven hours. You can also fish in the river or cast off from the Oxbow Lake fishing pier. 

For those who want to stretch their legs while enjoying plant life, then take the Palmetto Trail, which is lined with these tiny palms. There are eight hiking trails to choose from in the park, as well as places to bike and geocaches to find. Nature lovers can look out for wildlife like deer, squirrels, armadillos, and raccoons. It is also a haven for bird life and it forms part of the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail. Over 240 feathered species have been recorded in the park, including the crested caracara and the red-shouldered hawk, so keep your binoculars at the ready.

Staying at Palmetto State Park

For those looking for the best adventure in a Texas state park, there are several options for staying overnight. There are 17 spaces for RVs, with the maximum length being 65 feet. It costs $18 per night and each spot comes with an electricity hookup, water hookup, picnic table, grill, fire ring, and lantern post. Shower facilities and restrooms are also nearby.

There are 19 sites for tents and these are more basic with potable water, a picnic table, a grill, a fire ring, and a lantern post. Each spot costs $12 per night with access to restrooms. If you want to enjoy this park with friends, then there is a group camping site for 24 people for $60 per night. For those who prefer four walls, there is a cabin with beds for six people which has air conditioning and a heater for $65 a night. The cabin is in a beautiful area close to a pond and the lake. As the park still charges the entrance fee for each night spent, consider purchasing a Texas State Park Pass to save money on this dream camping destination.