Family-friendly campground perfect for a rookie camper? Check. Warm temperatures year-round featuring the naturally chilled Frio River to awaken your soul? Got it. COVID-safe travel alternative? Yep! Challenging hiking trails and exciting mountain biking for seasoned adventurers too? Garner State Park’s got it all!
In this ultimate guide, learn everything you need to know to make a Garner State Park RV rental the trip of a lifetime!
Garner State Park Facts
Learning a bit about your destination is an important part of a fulfilling journey. Prepare yourself with these Garner State Park facts!
Frio River Gem: Garner State Park is famous for its stunning natural beauty, and one of its main attractions is the Frio River which winds through the park. The river is a popular spot for swimming, tubing, and canoeing, and its clear, cool waters are a refreshing escape from the Texas heat.
Historical Legacy: Established in 1941, Garner State Park is one of the oldest state parks in Texas. It was named after John Nance Garner, who served as the Vice President of the United States under President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Diverse Flora and Fauna: The park's diverse ecosystem includes over 300 species of birds, making it a haven for birdwatchers. Additionally, visitors can spot wildlife such as white-tailed deer, raccoons, armadillos, and even the endangered golden-cheeked warbler.
Old Baldy: One of the most iconic landmarks in the park is "Old Baldy," a limestone bluff that offers panoramic views of the surrounding hill country. Hiking to the summit is a popular activity, and it provides a great vantage point for appreciating the park's natural beauty.
Dancing Tradition: Garner State Park is known for its nightly summer dances held at the park's concession building, the Pavilion. These dances have been a tradition since the 1940s and continue to draw visitors who enjoy live music and dancing under the stars.
Bat Cave Exploration: The park is home to a bat cave known as "The Old Weaver Bat Cave." During the summer months, visitors can witness the spectacular emergence of thousands of Mexican free-tailed bats as they swarm out to hunt for insects.
Floral Splendor: Springtime at Garner State Park is a treat for wildflower enthusiasts. Bluebonnets, Indian paintbrushes, and various other wildflowers carpet the landscape with vibrant colors, creating a picturesque scene.
Geological Features: The park's landscape showcases interesting geological formations, including limestone cliffs, caves, and the crystal-clear waters of the Frio River. This geology has been shaped over millions of years and contributes to the park's unique charm.
Camping Options: With over 1,700 acres of land, the park offers a variety of camping options, including tent and RV camping sites. The park also has screened shelters and cabins for those seeking a more comfortable camping experience.
Hiking Trails: Garner State Park boasts a network of hiking trails that cater to different skill levels. Whether you're a casual stroller or an avid hiker, you can explore trails that wind through oak and juniper woodlands, taking you to viewpoints, streams, and serene natural areas.
Best Garner State Park Campgrounds and RV Parks
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Now that you’ve got a little background about the park, let’s find your home base with this handy guide to the best Garner State Park RV campgrounds!
Shady Meadows Campground
Amenities: Looking for RV campgrounds in Garner State Park with access to all the park offers? Look no further than Shady Meadows Campground. It rests at the dead center of the park for easy access to trails, the Frio River, park amenities, and more. Visitors recommend Shady Meadows for its secluded atmosphere and ultra-convenient location.
Capacity: 42 RV sites
More Information: Shady Meadows Campground
Amenities: Oakmont is one of the Garner State Park RV campgrounds situated just next to the Frio River. That makes it a great choice for boating, swimming, or kayaking along the river. Don’t forget a rod and tackle if you’re an angler! You’ll find dense packs of largemouth bass, catfish, and sunfish ready for the taking. You’ll find 20 and 30 amp and water hookups, restrooms, a picnic table, and a fire ring nearby too.
Capacity: 66 RV sites
More Information: Oakmont Campground
Rio Frio Campground
Amenities: Rio Frio is one Garner State Park RV campground along the Frio River. It’s a short drive north of Oakmont and offers similar opportunities for adventure along the water. The location is a bit more centric than Oakmont making it a nice pick for trail access too. You’ll also find 20, 30, 50 amp and water hookups, a restroom with showers, and outdoor grills.
Capacity: 137 RV sites
More Information: Rio Frio Campground
Live Oak Campground
Amenities: Following the water farther north still takes you to Live Oak Campground, one more option for Garner State Park RV camping next to the Frio River. You’ll find the same access to the river and all the great activities it offers as listed above. Live Oak is also one of the best RV parks near Garner State Park for mountain biking since the trailhead is right outside of camp. You should take note that this spot is closed in January and February.
Capacity: 35 RV sites
More Information: Live Oak Campground
River Crossing Campground
Amenities: Finishing up our list of RV campgrounds in Garner State Park is River Crossing Campground. This is one more centric location situated near the Frio River for easy access to everything Garner State Park offers. Amenities include a picnic table, grill, and fire ring for a night of fireside eats. Sites come with 30 amp and water hookups with restrooms and showers a few strides away.
Capacity: 35 RV sites
More Information: River Crossing Campground
Parkview Riverside RV Park
Amenities: Parkview Riverside RV Park is in the middle of Texas Hill Country and provides river access to Frio and a serene camping experience. Open year-round and open to all ages, this RV park is perfect for those who are looking for a quiet vacation. Amenities include Wi-Fi and cable TV, laundry facilities, bathhouses, a propane station, and more.
Capacity: 95 RV sites
More Information: Parkview Riverside RV Park
4J Riverway Cabins & RV Park
Amenities: This family-oriented RV park near Garner State Park features quality pull-through RV sites with grills and picnic tables. With opportunities for horseback riding, tubing, volleyball, horseshoes, and more, you’ll never be bored at 4J Riverway Cabins & RV Park.
Capacity: 8 RV sites
More Information: 4J Riverway Cabins & RV Park
Nana's RV Park On the Frio
Amenities: This river-front RV park offers RV sites with full hookups, picnic tables, and fire rings. There are even fire rings and picnic tables down by the river for people to enjoy a morning cup of coffee by the tranquil water. There are clean restrooms and showers, along with a camp store on-site.
Capacity: 40 RV sites
More Information: Nana’s RV Park On the Frio
Best Time To Visit Garner State Park for RV Camping
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Now that you’ve found the perfect campground to settle into, it’s time to think about when to start your next adventure RV camping in Garner State Park. The answer there seems to depend on your activity of choice. Read on for a breakdown of the best time to visit Garner State Park!
One downside of Garner being an extremely popular park in Texas is the crowds. If you’re looking for peace and quiet, high season Garner State Park RV camping might not be ideal.
Throughout most of the year, you’ll find tents and RVs packed in tight clusters within most campsites. The exception to the rule here is winter. Even though the temperature stays around 50 degrees on average, you’ll find the quiet solace you’re looking for around December and January. The Frio is still swimmable too but might be a touch chilly to be pleasant for most.
The park begins to warm at the start of April and stays temperate through mid-May before the summer heat rears its head. Spring is a fantastic time to avoid the high season of summer if you’re worried about the crowds. At the same time, it’s also a better time to enjoy aquatic adventures in the Frio.
The temperate weather also means it’s just right to walk trails or take in some panoramic views after a tough hike. Spring is at the top of our list for the best time to visit Garner State Park. Keep in mind that May is the wettest month of the year, so pack some rain gear. And avoid a spring break visit if you can help it.
Summer is the high season for a visit. Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day is the most densely populated period of the year for RV camping in Garner State Park.
The natural spring that feeds the Frio keeps the waters cool and refreshing all year round. That means a dip when the temperature swells to a scorching 90-plus degree afternoon, it makes a dip in the water that much more inviting. It’s undoubtedly the best time to enjoy this reliable quality of the Frio, but expect to be crowded in most campsites.
If you’re interested in photo-ops from your trip RV camping in Garner State Park, fall is the season for you. The vibrant, varied color scheme of the fall foliage simply screams “capture me.”
Junipers, bald cypress, and oaks paint yellow, orange, and amber tones reflected along the Frio while the evergreens add a verdant life to the bluffs towering in the background. Aim for mid-October for the sweet spot of coloration in the leaves. Do remember that the temperature hovers around the high 80s until early November.
Things To Do in Garner State Park
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This family-friendly park has plenty to see and experience, so read on for some of the best things to do in Garner State Park!
Dive into the Frio. This naturally cooled 2.9-mile stretch of river is the perfect way to refresh your body and mind. Grab a kayak, inner-tube, paddleboat, or plain ol’ swim trunks and dive in!
Hike the trails. Garner State Park boasts a whopping 16 miles of trails that weave throughout the entire park. There’s a little something for everybody with hikes ranging from an easy 1-mile trek to a 7.1-mile climb.
Ascend the Bird Trail Loop. Not for the faint of heart, Bird Trail is just a 1.8-mile loop but includes some steep sections. About midway through, you can visit a cave for a little reprieve. Though Old Baldy is the most popular viewpoint in the park, the overlook at the highest point of Painted Rock here seems to be superior.
Ride the mountains. For your daily dose of adrenaline, don’t forget to bring your bike! Garner State Park is loaded with mountain bike trails to tackle at speed. Consider a stay in Live Oak Campground if you’re drawn to the hills since you’ll have direct access to the mountain bike trails.
Tips for Visiting Garner State Park
You’re just about ready to go! Before you hit the road, check out these handy tips for visiting Garner State Park.
The Frio is a running body of water, not a swimming pool. If you’re not confident in your swimming abilities, don’t get in! Or at least throw on a life jacket to stay safe.
Protect local wildlife and preserve the trails by not feeding the animals. It generates litter and disrupts the natural biosphere of the park.
Bring a map in case of an emergency since phone reception can be spotty.
Protect your feet with boots or sturdy shoes even during the summer months.
RV Rental for Garner State Park
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Well, friend, that wraps up our guide for one amazing Texan experience you’re not soon to forget. From the water of the Frio to the peak of the highest limestone bluffs and everything in between, there’s no shortage of family-friendly enjoyment to be had in this stunning park. Going Garner State Park camping should be on your bucket list.
Need a Garner State Park RV rental? Cruise America’s got you covered. Choose from our ready-to-ride fleet of RVs to fit any party size or budget. With a built-in shower, stovetop, fridge, beds, and toilet, each vehicle has everything you need to make the road your home away from home.
Book with Cruise America today for one heck of an adventure!