If packing a lot of equipment and staying overnight are not in the cards for you but you’d still like to have a Texas state park experience, give Blanco State Park a try. This 104-acre park is located on US Highway 281 in Blanco, about 50 miles west of Austin. (The address is 101 Park Road 23 but use 29 Main Street, Blanco, TX, for GPS.) The primary feature of the park is the beautiful Blanco River.
Blanco State Park opened in 1934. You can read more about the park’s history here.
Before jumping in the water, we wanted to explore the Caswell Nature Trail (shown on this park map).
There is some shade on the trail, which is less than half a mile long. Check the events calendar for trail walks with a master naturalist. The trail is easy enough for kids to do. Our two-year-old walked almost the whole way! We only had to carry him for a bit at the end.
After we finished the trail, we headed toward the eastern section of the park to explore the river. Many families were enjoying picnics and activities along the riverbank.
We then walked back toward the western side of the park, which is visible when you driving along US Highway 281. This area has a dam and a “pool” (pictured below). While the water in the pool is very shallow, the water above the dam is pretty deep. Trees along the riverbank provide some shade when you swim in that area. We saw some people with tubes floating around in the deeper section.
Austin Active Kids Opinion
Blanco State Park is easy to get to and easy to enjoy, too!
About 2 hours (not including driving to Blanco) but you definitely could stay longer, or even camp!
Make a reservation online. The admission fee is $5 per adult. Kids 12 and under are free! Pets are allowed must be on a leash. Tube, kayak, and canoe rentals are available at the park. Campsites and cabin shelters are available as well!
What else should I know?
There are no lifeguards on duty at Blanco State Park. Make sure to bring your children’s swimming safety gear as well as floats, inner tubes, hats and sunscreen. Pack plenty of snacks and drinks, especially water. There are several picnic areas throughout the park so you can bring a picnic along if you’d like.
6 a.m. – 10 p.m.
101 Park Rd 23, Blanco, TX 78606