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Palmetto State Park

Palmetto State Park

Dwarf palmettos and other beautiful tropical vegetation make this a botanical wonderland.

Central Texas Tropics!

A little piece of the tropics lies just an hour from Austin and San Antonio. With multiple sources of water (including the San Marcos River), Palmetto State Park is a haven for a wide variety of animals and plants. Look for dwarf palmettos, the park’s namesake, growing under the trees.

Things to Do

This small park offers a large amount of fun, both on water and land.

On the water, you can swim, tube, fish and canoe. Besides the flowing river, the park also has an oxbow lake, an artesian well and swamps.

  • We rent four-person pedal boats, three-person canoes, one-person kayaks, one-person paddle boards, and a fishing boat for use on the lake. Life jackets and oars are included.
  • We rent inner tubes for the lake and river.
  • Read through our water safety tips before you visit.

On land, hike or bike our trails, camp, geocache, go birding or study nature. Hike the Palmetto Trail which winds through a stand of dwarf palmettos. Host a gathering at our CCC-built picnic pavilion, which has an air-conditioned kitchen.

Stay at one of our 19 tent sites or 18 RV sites. Camp with up to 99 of your friends at our secluded group site. Or rent our air-conditioned cabin (for up to six people).

Go fishing in the river or in Oxbow Lake, which has a fishing pier. We have some fishing equipment to loan. Remember, you do not need a license to fish from shore in a state park.

Canoe the San Marcos River. The river has a steady current, but no rapids; check river conditions at the park. Bring your own canoe and arrange your own shuttles.

  • Experienced paddlers can put in at Luling City Park. The six- to seven-hour trip to the park will require portage around a broken dam. Private land borders the river, so put-in and take-out points are limited.
  • Explore the Luling Zedler Mill Paddling Trail.
  • Find information on the San Marcos River.

Ranger Programs

Kids: Become a Junior Ranger!

  • Pick up a free Junior Ranger Activity Journal at headquarters. Complete tasks to earn a badge.
  • Borrow a Junior Ranger Explorer Pack, loaded with tools for exploring the park.

Summer Day Camp: Sign up 8 to 12-year-olds for our Wild Outdoor Adventure and Ecology Program. This two-week program runs Monday through Thursday, the first two weeks of June. Certified teachers lead hands-on activities that promote awareness of and appreciation for the environment. Kids will also spend time playing in the river and lake. Call the park for more information.

Civilian Conservation Corps: The men of the CCC built many facilities at this park, including the picnic pavilion and water tower. Learn more about their work on The Look of Nature: Palmetto.

Area Attractions

Palmetto State Park is a great weekend destination, with lots to do in nearby towns.

Luling is home to the Luling Oil Museum and is renowned for watermelons, barbecue and colorfully decorated pump jacks. Luling hosts the Watermelon Thump the last full weekend in June.

Texans know Gonzales as the "Cradle of Texas History," where the first shots were fired for Texas Independence. The city celebrates this heritage with the Come and Take It Celebration (first weekend of October).

If you’re hankering for barbecue, head north to Lockhart, the official Barbecue Capital of Texas.

78 Park Road 11 South
Gonzales, TX 78629-5180

Latitude: 29.586683

Longitude: -97.576914

(830) 672-3266

Make reservations online

Reserve by phone: (512) 389-8900

Entrance Fees
  • Adult: $3 Daily
  • Child 12 Years and Under: Free

Open daily.
Gate is locked only when the park is closed for emergencies.

Office Hours

Open 8:15 a.m. – 4:45 p.m. daily; closed from noon – 1 p.m. on Tuesday.

Busy Season

Make overnight reservations at least two to three weeks ahead of time from March to November.


January average high is 61 degrees and average low is 38 degrees. July average high is 96 degrees and average low is 73 degrees.

National Weather Service forecast for this area

292 feet

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