Palmetto State Park is a beautiful park that feels like stepping into Jurassic time periods. I fully expected dinosaurs to pop out of the woods and swamps at any moment!
Address:78 Park Road 11 South, Gonzales, TX 78629-5180
- 2.1 hours from Houston, 1.0 hour from San Antonio, 1.0 hour from Austin
Price: $3 daily entrance fee, $12 for basic camping site
Camping Sites & Situation
We arrived around 9:30PM on Friday night and completed the overnight arrival check-in process (always easy and painless in my experience). We did make one mistake however, we spent the night in the RV camping section. Two hammocks and my sedan didn’t really fit in next to the huge RVs!
My comment on hammock camping is that you have to make sure there are not very many mosquitos where you are camping. I spent the night in the bugnet and still ended up with 17 mosquito bites on my right tricep alone… At 4:47AM we decided to swallow our pride and sleep in my car in hopes of getting 2-3 hours of sleep.
Oxbow Lake Trail – 0.69 Miles
A quick walk next to Oxbow Lake. Only recommended if you have 20-30 minutes to kill and want an easy trail.
San Marcos River Trail – 1.25 Miles
This was a nice and pretty walk through the trees as the trail ebbed and flowed from the river itself. Below are a few pictures:
Also, right after we passed this sign we saw a doe and two fawns grazing on some grass about 60 feet off the trail. Awesome!
Mesquite Flats Trail
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this section of the hike. It is an awesome combination of forest and trees with plains and grass.
Palmetto Interpretive Trail – .26 Miles
The famous section of this park that gives it its name. Seemingly endless palmetto plants stretch across in all directions from the short swampy trail. This is where we saw many different creatures!
Final Review & Recommendations
Palmetto State Park is a great experience and can work for all sorts of travelers. That being said, the trail system all together is about 4-5 miles, which just isn’t enough to satisfy the more dedicated hikers and adventurers.
This would be a great park for a young family or anyone looking to enjoy some rare nature in the heart of Texas. If creatures are your thing, then definitely give this park a visit.
Here are some final pictures: