Boasting over 300 years of history, Goliad State Park is one of the most interesting of all state parks in Texas.
Home to the magnificent 18th century Mission Espíritu Santo, which was fully restored by Civilian Conservation Corps workers back in the 1930s, the park also features part of the El Camino Real (aka King’s Highway), as well as several other enchanting structures.
Visitors to the 188-acre state park can also engage in activities like boating, fishing, hiking and birding. Or, should they come at the weekend, take part in a ranger-led nature tour of its stunning landscape.
Located just over a two hour drive away from Houston, San Antonio and Austin, the park is a popular day trip destination for residents of these cities.
However, for those who want to immerse themselves within its stunning environment over the course of a few nights, it also offers several camping options for RVs, trailers and tent campers too.
The park provides visitors plenty of ways to enjoy its landscape via a fabulous range of outdoor recreational pursuits.
Outlined below is an overview of some of the main activities you can do while you are there.
Visiting Mission Espíritu Santo at Goliad State Park
One of the main attractions of the park is the impressive Mission Espíritu Santo.
Originally built by the Spanish in 1722, the mission was relocated to Goliad in 1749, where it provided education and jobs for several local Indian tribes, for almost 100 years.
Around 1830, the mission was forced to close due to a number of Apache and Comanche raids. It lay in a state of semi-dormant ruin until 1935, when the Civilian Conservation Corps began restoring it. A project which took over six years to complete.
Today the mission is used for weddings and events and also has a museum style section which documents its colorful history.
Boating at Goliad State Park
Goliad is home to the picturesque San Antonio River, which is a lovely spot to enjoy canoeing and kayaking.
For those who want to take to the water, put-ins are situated close to the Ferry Street Landing. A little further upstream from the park, there is also one at the Highway 59 bridge too.
While you can have fun on the river, just paddling about until your heart is content, a great thing to do is attempt the Goliad Paddling Trail.
Stretching for 6.6-miles, this delightful two-hour floating trail, provides you with a leisurely way to take in some of the park’s most scenic parts.
Fishing at Goliad State Park
For those who enjoy fishing, Goliad State Park is a great place to throw in a line.
As the banks of the San Antonio River are quite steep, most visitors tend to use the floating fish dock that resides within it.
Thankfully this does not require you to have an angling license, as they are not mandatory for dock or shore fishing in Texas.
That said, should you decide to take an unpowered watercraft out into the middle of the lake where the water is deeper, it would be worth checking with the park’s main office as to whether you would need a license.
Wherever you cast a line, you can expect to catch plenty of sunfish, bass and catfish.
Hiking at Goliad State Park
For those who enjoy hiking the park offers plenty of opportunity to explore its stunning landscape while stretching your legs.
There are several miles of trails here to tackle here, with one of the most popular being the 2.5-mile Angel of Goliad Trail. Beginning from the Angel of Goliad statue, it runs all the way down to the town itself.
Essentially an unpaved sidewalk, this flat trail is fairly easy to traverse and allows you to spot many of the different bird species that reside in the park. This includes the likes of southern bald eagles, cardinals, wood ducks and painted buntings.
The San Antonio River Trail, is also another relatively flat and straightforward trail that runs along the banks of the river.
Pets at Goliad State Park
You are welcome to bring your pets with you to Goliad State Park, however, some restrictions on their presence may apply.
To find out what they are, it is worth getting in touch with the main office for further clarification.
Camping at Goliad State Park
For those who want to stay at the park for a couple of days or more, there are a plethora of camping accommodation options available to you.
Situated near the front entrance of the park, there are 20 sites within the Karankawa camping area that come with full hookups for water, sewer and either 20-amp, 30-amp or 50-amp electric hookups.
These sites are all pull-through and can house large size motorhomes and RV’s. They also allow you to put up a tent there as well.
All of these sites come with their own picnic table, fire ring with removable grill and lantern post. Restrooms with flush toilets and hot showers are also located nearby.
Over at the Jacales Camping Area there are also 14 RV and tent sites that come with water and electric hookups, as well as 10 walk-in campsites that come with water connections. All of these sites offer similar amenities to what are found at Karankawa camping area.
Additionally, on the banks of the San Antonio River, the Longhorn and Vaquero camping areas offer 14 tent sites between them.
Should you prefer to stay somewhere a bit different, there are also 5 screen shelters, which come with water and electric hookups, situated near most of the historical structures.
Goliad State Park
108 Park Rd. 6
Goliad, TX 77963
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Goliad State Park:
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