Garner State Park is a great place to visit for a swim or hike, or to enjoy a relaxing weekend. It is one of the hill country’s most popular state parks. The park features 2.9 miles of Frio River frontage winding through over 1,700 acres of scenic hill country terrain. Visitors to the park can swim in the Frio River or float its waters on an inner tube or by paddle boat. Hikers can enjoy 11 miles of scenic hiking trails. The park also provides opportunities for camping, enjoying nature, picnics, canoeing, fishing, playing miniature golf, geocaching, riding bikes, and dancing. Overnight visitors have the option of staying in screened shelters, cabins, or campsites.
Since the 1940s, visitors of all ages have been gathering at the park’s concession building on summer evenings for a jukebox dance. That tradition has carried on to this day, and is one of the many unique qualities of this park. Visitors hoping to take part in the dance should arrive early, as parking lots get full and gates can close as early as 8:30 p.m.
Many of the park’s facilities, including the concession building and dance pavilion were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Visitors to the park can rent paddle boats, kayaks, and inner tubes. The park closes to day use when it reaches maximum capacity, often as early as 10 a.m. on Saturdays and holidays, and will usually reopen by 6 p.m. If you are planning to visit for the day, arrive early and have backup plans in case of a closure. Visitors to the park with camping reservations will be able to enter the park during these closures. It is best to make reservations for campsites and other park accommodations as far in advance as possible to guarantee availability.