(Last Updated On: November 2, 2022)

a trail through the trees at Palmetto State Park

Texas has more than 70 state parks, all of which have their own ecosystem and fascinating landscape to explore.

Nestled within the south western part of the state, Palmetto State Park has often been referred to as the most tropical of all them.

Covering around 300 acres, across two counties, the park features a huge network of trails, as well as several rivers and a picturesque four acre lake. All of which provide fabulous opportunities for hiking, boating, fishing and swimming.

Situated roughly an hour’s drive from San Antonio and around two hours from Houston, it is a popular day trip destination from both cities.

However, for those who want to spend a few days and nights here to enjoy the delights of this fantastic public recreational space, there is also a modern campground, with good amenities for guests to make use of.


The park provides visitors with plenty in the way of outdoor recreational pursuits to enjoy.

Here are some further details about all the activities you can do while you are there.

Boating at Palmetto State Park

Palmetto is renowned for its various waterways, which provide fabulous playgrounds for those who enjoy canoeing, kayaking and SUP.

Some of the places you can partake in these activities are at the San Marcos River, Oxbow Lake and Rutledge Creek.

When attempting any of these pastimes please take the necessary precautions by wearing a life jacket.

Stand up paddleboards and either two or three person kayaks can be rented from the park if you did not bring them with you.

Tubing at Palmetto State Park

Tubing is a very popular thing to do at Palmetto, especially in the summer months when the Texas sun can be very unforgiving.

The river runs throughout the whole park so you can access it easily to undertake these activities.

While tubing, be sure to take the opportunity to observe the local flora and fauna, which includes several types of lush plants and colorful birds.

Again, tubes can also be rented from the park, and you should take the proper precautions by wearing a lifejacket.

Fishing at Palmetto State Park

As you would expect, given the variety of water locations the park offers, fishing is a well practiced activity. With anglers coming from all over Texas, as well as neighboring Louisiana to cast a line here.

Whilst at Palmetto, you can choose to fish at Oxbow Lake, which is stocked regularly with rainbow trout, Florida largemouth bass and channel catfish.

You can choose to throw in a line by the shore, or on the pier that is located there. The river is also another excellent spot for you to fish.

As with all state parks in Texas, you do not need a permit or license to fish here.

Hiking at Palmetto State Park

If you are into hiking the park offers several trails for you to check out, that run along the river and swamps, as well as its forest areas.

Most of these trails are fairly short, varying from 0.3 miles to 1.25 miles, but they are all well maintained and clean. They also showcase Palmetto’s breathtaking natural beauty, though you would be well advised to look out for snakes, as they do frequent those areas.

For that reason, make sure to wear closed shoes, as this will give you more protection against them. Also take a hat and plenty of water with you as it can get very hot out there. Especially between the period of 11 am to 4 pm within the summer months.

Pets at Palmetto State Park

Pets are welcome in the park, although some restrictions do apply.

To find out what they are, and how they might affect your visit there, it is worth contacting the park’s main office for further clarification.

Camping at Palmetto State Park

For those wanting to spend a few nights at the park, its main campground offers 37 campsites for guests.

Only one of these sites comes with a full hookup for water, sewer and electricity, although this comes at a higher price than the rest of the sites.

Of the remaining sites, 17 come with water and electricity hookups for RVs, while the other 19 only provide water hookups. (These are designated for tent or pop-up campers only).

All of these sites come with a picnic table, as well as a fire ring and a grill. Some even have a smoker too, should you fancy indulging in a spot of barbecuing.

Amenities at this campground include restrooms with flush toilets and hot showers and a playground for children. You’ll also find a dump station there too.

While there is no limit on the length of time you can stay, if you want to stay for more than two weeks, you will be better off buying an annual pass.

As well as these sites, the park also offers an ADA accessible cabin. This comes with a fridge, air-conditioning and ceiling fans and can sleep up to six people in four different beds – of which one is a bunk bed.

This cabin also comes with a picnic table and an ADA stove and fire ring. However, cooking is not allowed inside the cabin, other than via the microwave.

For those visiting the park in a large group, primitive group camping is available near the San Marco River.

Shaded and quiet, it can accommodate up to 100 people in 12 different sites, and features a range of amenities including picnic tables, water, fireplace for cooking and campfires, as well as grills.

Park Location

Palmetto State Park
78 Park Rd 11 S
Gonzales, TX 78629
Phone: 830.672.3266




Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Palmetto State Park: