23 gorgeous state parks within driving distance of San Antonio 

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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
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
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
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
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
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
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Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
16710 Ranch Road 965, Fredericksburg, (830) 685-3636, tpwd.texas.gov
If you can’t go far from home, Enchanted Rock is a more than sufficient option for appreciating the beauty of Texas’ natural wonders. While the giant pink rock is usually the draw here, the gorgeous landscape is worth a visit in its own right.
Photo via Instagram / cjkevin
Government Canyon State Natural Area
12861 Galm Road, (210) 688-9055, tpwd.texas.gov
Government Canyon State Natural Area covers a gargantuan 12,000 acres and has a whopping 40 miles of trails. Not too far outside Loop 1604, Government Canyon gives you a break from the city life without going too far. And for the paleontology-lovers out there, there are even dinosaur tracks to check out.
Photo via Instagram / photos.by.nikkie
Lost Maples State Natural Area
37221 FM 187, Vanderpool, (830) 966-3413, tpwd.texas.gov
The two-hour drive to Lost Maples is totally worth it. The park features more than 10 miles of trails, including one loop that offers an insane view from the top of a 2,200-foot cliff. The park is worth a visit at all times of year, but Lost Maples is especially renowned for its annual explosion of fall colors, which we Texans often miss out on.
Photo via Instagram / texas_lovers_zz
Inks Lake State Park
3630 Park Road 4 W, Burnet, (512) 793-2223, tpwd.texas.gov
If you’re looking for hills, Inks Lake is worth the visit. With a variety of trees and plants – cedar, live oak, prickly pear cacti and yucca – the landscape is absolutely gorgeous. North of Austin, Inks Lake is a prime spot to appreciate nature, which you can do while camping, backpacking, picnicking and hiking. Just make it a point to swing by the Devil’s Waterhole.
Photo via Instagram / fittaustintx
Buescher State Park
100 Park Rd 1-C, Smithville, (512) 237-2241, tpwd.texas.gov
Located not too far from Bastrop State Park, Buescher has scenery that’s worth the drive out there. While hiking is definitely an option here, those who prefer wheels will definitely want to hit up eight miles dedicated to mountain bikers. And if you’re thinking of going two-for-two, the drive to Bastrop State Park is absolutely beautiful, too.
Photo via Instagram / cafejax
Lake Corpus Christi State Park
23194 Park Road 25, Mathis, (361) 547-2635, tpwd.texas.gov
This family-friendly park should definitely be on your shortlist if you enjoy water recreation, wildlife and, most of all, relaxing in nature. The waters here let you swim, paddle, fish, water ski or explore via boat. Seriously, fishers can likely post up at the 18,256-acre Lake Corpus Christi and be fine all day. Bird-lovers will be content here as well as there are more than 200 species that have been spotted at the park. You can also hike, bike, camp and nature-watch.
Photo via Instagram / marcusc_photo
South Llano River State Park
1927 Park Rd 73, Junction, (325) 446-3994, tpwd.texas.gov
Be sure to bring your sense of adventure to South Llano State Park so you can take your pick between swimming, floating the river, paddling and fishing. You can stay dry by camping, hiking or biking. If you’re into astronomy, you may want to reserve time for some stargazing, as SLRSP is an International Dark Sky Park.
Photo via Instagram / psychadelic_bee
Devil's Sinkhole State Natural Area
101 N. Sweeten St., Rocksprings, (830) 563-2287, tpwd.texas.gov
Fans of the Mexican free-tailed bat should definitely plan a visit to the Devil’s Sinkhole, a natural bat habitat. The national natural landmark houses one of the state’s largest colonies of bats of this species. And here’s another reason why this spot is so badass: the enormous cavern is vertical, meaning that the bats literally fly out of the ground. It’s so big that many consider it the largest single-chamber cavern in the Lone Star State.
Photo via Instagram / ranger_ross_
Colorado Bend State Park
2236 Park Hill Dr, Bend, (325) 628-3240, tpwd.texas.gov
If you’re up for a slightly long drive, head north to this Central Texas park. Located about three or four hours northwest of Austin, Colorado Bend gives you access to “unspoiled wilderness” that you will want to explore for an entire weekend. The main attraction here is Gorman Falls, a 70-foot spring-fed waterfall that you can reach after taking a hike that includes rocky terrain.
Photo via Instagram / jasontrovela
Lake Somerville State Park & Trailway
14222 Park Road 57, Somerville, (979) 535-7763, tpwd.texas.gov
Not too far from the Alamo City you’ll find the calm oasis of Lake Somerville. Its available fishing, paddling, swimming, camping, mountain biking, birding and hiking offer something for anyone who enjoys being outdoors. If you just want to see where your adventure takes you, consider exploring the nearly 40 miles of trails.
Photo via Instagram / kaitlyn_angela
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Mustang Island State Park
9394 TX-361, Corpus Christi, (361) 749-5246, tpwd.texas.gov
Head toward Corpus Christi and you’ll be able to explore a whole five miles of coastline here. If you choose to hit the beach, you’ll be able to spend time swimming, surfing, kayaking and having seaside fun like building sandcastles. Further inland there’s space to camp, hike and more.
Photo via Instagram / vic_franco96
Goose Island State Park
202 S Palmetto St, Rockport, (361) 729-2858, tpwd.texas.gov
Goose Island State Park is a great choice for nature lovers who want to hit up the coast. Fishing enthusiasts in particular can enjoy 1,620-foot-long pier.
Photo via Instagram / doris.in.the.forest
Brazos Bend State Park
21901 FM 762 Road, Needville, (979) 553-5102, tpwd.texas.gov
South of Houston you’ll find Brazos Bend, which prizes itself in offering a “wild” experience. For a true getaway where you can be one with nature, bring your binoculars and camera so you can appreciate the beauty of the park. Or, you’re always welcome to hike, bike, fish and ride your horse. There are 37 miles of trails waiting to be explored.
Photo via Instagram / swilcox1208
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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

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