Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps back in the 1930s, Meridian State Park is one the most popular public recreational areas in Texas Hill Country.
Situated just 50 miles from Waco, the park’s main attraction is the 72-acre Lake Meridian, which provides fabulous opportunities to enjoy paddling and swimming. It is also a renowned spot for fishing, as well as hiking, bird watching and geocaching.
A popular weekend getaway destination for those who want to rest and relax in nature, the park also boasts a small but very good campground. Catering to RVs, trailers and tent campers, it also has options for youth and group campers too.
If it’s peace, relaxation and serenity you are looking for, there are few better Texas state parks to go to.
Visitors to the park can engage in several outdoor recreational activities during their time at Meridian.
Outlined below are more details about what you can do while you are there.
Water Activities at Meridian State Park
As the whole lake is classified as a no-wake zone, most visitors tend to spend a bit of time either paddling or swimming on it.
The likes of canoeing, kayaking and SUP are particularly popular, as it enables guests to take in the beauty of the shoreline from a water vantage point.
If you didn’t bring these types of watercraft with you to the park, you can hire them out from the rangers. All rentals include lifejackets and paddles.
The main swimming area is situated at the south east corner of the lake and is a lovely place to cool off from the intense heat of the Texan sun.
As the lake is not lifeguarded, if you do decide to go for a swim here, you will be doing so at your own risk.
Fishing at Meridian State Park
Along with paddling and swimming, another popular pastime at the lake is fishing.
Anglers can choose to fish from the shoreline. Alternatively they can do so from the ADA accessible pier which is situated near the boat launch, or by watercraft on the lake.
The lake is full of catfish and bass who tend to stay at the dirtier areas of the lake and the underwater vegetation respectively. Plenty of sunfish can also be found in the shallower areas too.
Depending on what time of the year you visit the park, trout might also be available. The rangers add around 2000 of these species every year. So if you want to specifically fish for them, it might be worth contacting the main office to determine when they are due to be at their highest levels.
Hiking at Meridian State Park
It’s not just on the water that visitors have fun at Meridian. The park also accommodates over 5 miles of hiking trails which are popular with geocachers and also showcases its stunning natural scenery.
One of the most popular trails at the park is the Bosque Hiking Trail. A challenging 2-mile track that takes you through the imperious limestone cliffs that reside on the northern part of the lake.
This trail ends at Bee Ledge, which is a fabulous lookout. If you do make it there you will have to exercise caution, as you are after all, on a high up ledge.
Another noteworthy trail is the Shinery Ridge Trail, which is a pleasant and scenic loop which conveniently starts and ends at a parking area.
While on these trails you will see a diverse range of flora like the renowned Texan bluebonnets wildflowers.
You should also see plenty of birdlife too, including the likes of American Avocet, Eastern Phoebe, Least Bittern, White-rumped Sandpiper, Mourning Dove, Green-winged Teal. All of which reside in the park either permanently or for a part of the year.
Pets at Meridian State Park
Guests are welcome to bring their pets to the park. However, they must remain on a leash at all times.
Some other restrictions may also apply, so it would be worth your while to contact the park’s main office to clarify what they are.
Camping at Meridian State Park
For those who want to stay for a few nights, the campground at the park is quite small. However, it does provide a few different styles of camping options across four different areas.
At the Crosstimbers Campground you will find 8 full hookup campsites that are best suited for RVs that are over 20 feet long.
All of these pull-through sites can accommodate 8 people and come with individual lantern posts, picnic tables, waist high grills and fire rings with fold-away grills. They are also situated fairly close to restrooms that have flush toilets and warm showers.
In addition to these sites, there are also 6 sites that come with the same amenities, as well as water and electricity hookups. These sites do not allow RVs that are over 19 feet long, so are better suited to vans, tents and smaller pop-ups.
Another 8 tent primitive camping options can be found at Shinnery Ridge West, which is situated in an area of rolling woods that is close to Lake Meridian. Depending on which of the tent sites you are at, the nearest restrooms are between a 200 yard and one mile walk away.
If you intend to camp in a group, the Cottonwood Cove Campground has a group camp that can accommodate 24 people. It does not allow RV or camper trailers in here though and there is a maximum of 6 tents allowed.
At the Cedar Ridge Campground, there is also a youth group camp for sponsored youth groups that are adult-supervised.
For those who prefer a slightly more upgraded accommodation option, there are 3 cabins available that can each sleep up to 6 people. These all have electricity and both air conditioning and heating, in addition to bunk beds and an outside water spigot too.
Meridian State Park
173 Park Road #7
Meridian, TX 76665
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Meridian State Park: