Blanco State Park Texas

swimming blanco state park texas

On the Banks of the Blanco

Come for a picnic, afternoon swim, fishing trip or a weekend campout on the banks of the spring-fed Blanco River. We’re just an hour from Austin and San Antonio.

Things to Do

This small park hugs a one-mile stretch of the river. On the water, you can swim, fish, paddle or boat. On land, you can picnic, hike, camp, watch for wildlife, and geocache. Reserve the CCC-built picnic area or pavilion for your next group gathering. Take a virtual tour with our Interactive Trails Map.

Be safe in the water! Read through our Water Safety Tips before your visit.

Fishing

Anglers fish for largemouth and Guadalupe bass, channel catfish, sunfish and rainbow trout. TPWD stocks the river with trout in the winter. You do not need a license to fish from shore within the park.

  • Borrow fishing rods and reels at headquarters to use in the park (when available).
  • Fishing Tip Sheet
  • Winter Trout Stocking Schedule

Swimming

Swim anywhere along the river. Small children will enjoy the shallow wading pool next to Falls Dam. Rent tubes at the park store from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; return tubes by 4 p.m.

Boating

Bring your canoe, kayak or boat (electric motors only). Or rent a single or double kayak or tube at the park store to use in the park (available seasonally; $20 credit card deposit required). Rental hours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; return kayaks by 4 p.m.

Camping

Choose from full hookup sites or sites with water and electricity. Or reserve a screened shelter overlooking the river.

Shopping

The park store sells clothes, gifts, souvenirs, field guides, and more.

Civilian Conservation Corps

The CCC built the picnic pavilion with its stone walks and stairs to the river. CCC boys also built picnic tables and benches, stone dams, and bridges, all during an 11-month period in 1933 and 1934. Learn more on our History page.

Area Attractions

The park is within easy driving distance of Austin and San Antonio. Several small towns nearby, including Blanco, have restaurants, museums, and shopping.

Take the short drive north to Johnson City, home of the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park. Explore the Sauer-Beckmann living history farm at the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park & Historic Site. Scientists of all ages will enjoy the Hill Country Science Mill.

Directions

The park is located on the south side of Blanco, 40 miles north of San Antonio on U.S. Highway 281. Turn on Park Road 23. From Austin, travel 48 miles west on U.S. Highway 290 to U.S. Highway 281, and then eight miles south on U.S. Highway 281 to Park Road 23. The park is at the corner of U.S. 281 and the Blanco River, four blocks south of the town square on the right.

Park Address:
101 Park Road 23
Blanco, TX 78606

The Park HQ is located at:
Latitude: 30.093082
Longitude: -98.423845

Campsites

Full Hookup Campsites (Premium – 30/50-amp)
People per Site: 8 Number of Sites: 8
Non-peak is November through February.

Picnic table
Water hookup
Sewer hookup
30 amp hookup
50 amp hookup
Shade shelter
Lantern post
Restrooms nearby
Fire ring with grill
Campsites #3-10

 

Full Hookup Campsites (30-amp)
People per Site: 8 Number of Sites: 9
Non-peak is November through February.

Picnic table
Water hookup
Sewer hookup
30 amp hookup
Shade shelter
Lantern post
Restrooms nearby
Fire ring with grill

Campsites with Electricity
People per Site: 8 Number of Sites: 12
Non-peak is November through February.

Picnic table
Water hookup
30 amp hookup
Shade shelter
Lantern post
Restrooms nearby
Fire ring with grill

Note: Information and prices are subject to change. Please call the park or park information (1-800-792-1112) for the latest updates.

Screened Shelters

People per Site: 8 Number of Sites: 7
Non-peak is November through February. RVs are not allowed in this area. Tents are allowed at these sites.

Ceiling fan
Picnic table
Water
Electricity
Lantern post
Restrooms nearby
Fire ring with grill

Note: Information and prices are subject to change. Please call the park or park information (1-800-792-1112) for the latest updates.

Nature At Blanco State Park

Despite its small size, Blanco State Park is home to many plants and animals.

Trees such as Ashe juniper, pecan, and bald cypress cover the hilly terrain along the river. Wildflowers bloom seasonally. Look for bluebonnet, Engelmann daisy, Texas paintbrush, Firewheel, green thread, and four-nerve daisy.

Wildlife in the park

Three red-eared sliders perched on a log in the river. Watch for wildlife while you’re here. Great blue herons perch atop the CCC dams, waiting patiently before diving into the water to catch a fish. Red-eared sliders, spiny softshell turtles, and river cooters bask on logs along the river. Look for common musk turtles (not as common as the name suggests!) at the bottom of small pools. You may also see green herons, squirrels, cricket frogs, Gulf coast toads, and leopard frogs.

Most mammals are secretive and nocturnal. We usually see only their tracks and scat. These include the striped skunk, opossum, raccoon, white-tailed deer, cottontail rabbit, and grey fox.

Four types of bats appear in the park: Mexican free-tailed, Eastern red, cave myotis, and tri-color.

Largemouth bass, channel catfish, sunfish, and rainbow trout (stocked in winter) swim the river.

The Blanco River

Springs from the Trinity Aquifer feed the Blanco River, which begins in northeast Kendall County.

The river’s name comes from its white limestone ledges and river bottom. The limestone here dates back to the age of the dinosaurs.

The river flows about 87 miles southeast through Blanco and Hays counties, before joining the San Marcos River in San Marcos. It is mostly shallow, except above low water dams like the two dams in the park.

History of Blanco State Park

The Blanco River attracted Native Americans, the Spanish, and early settlers to its waters. Springs in the park provided water even when the river was dry. In 1721, the Spanish named the river “Blanco” for its white limestone banks.

Settlers arrived in the area in the 1800s. They established ranches, grazed cattle and built homes near the Blanco River.

Ranchers donated or sold their land to create Blanco State Park in 1933. With 104.6 acres, it is one of the smallest state parks in Texas.

Blanco State Park was one of the first four parks in Texas to receive a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) company. Franklin Delano Roosevelt created the CCC to help unemployed young men get back to work during the Great Depression.

Like some other CCC parks, Blanco was convenient for motorists traveling across Texas. Tourists could pull off the road to relax, swim, picnic, or camp.

Company 854 arrived here on June 16, 1933, and worked for 11 months building bridges, dams, structures, picnic areas, and roads. The CCC transformed the landscape and created a park where Texans could swim, fish, and camp.

You can still see their work today. Have a picnic on a stone bench or stone picnic table. Take a hike out to see the remnants of the pump house. Swim in one of the pools created by the CCC dams.

2015 Flooding

The Hill Country received record amounts of rainfall in May of 2015. On May 23, 10-13 inches of rain fell at the headwaters of the Blanco River. The soil was already saturated and unable to absorb the rainfall. Most of the rain ran straight into the river.

The river swelled and rose an astounding 30 feet. Water rushed through the park, rising over the Kendalia and Texas 163 Loop bridges and touching the bottom of the U.S. Highway 281 bridge. The river continued on this path, devastating the park and land downstream.

Rebuilding The Banks

Picnic table caught in flood debris beside the river floodwaters receded and left behind substantial damage. Uprooted trees, branches, sand, silt, and trash littered the park. The high waters lodged uprooted trees 20 feet high in the surviving trees.

Park rangers and volunteers worked through the summer of 2015 repairing buildings, removing debris, and preparing the south side of the park to open on Aug. 1. After restoring the rest of the day-use areas the whole park reopened on Oct. 24.

You will see signs of the flood today as you walk through the park. Our trees still lean in the direction of the floodwater and debris piles are scattered throughout our trails and native areas.

More Texas State Parks

Check out the Texas State Parks page to find more state parks in Texas.