Garner State Park

Last week I was digging through the closet and came on a nice little camping tent we bought some 2 years ago… still unopened in its original box!  Could it be we’ve gone that long and not taken advantage of all the great outdoor spots here in the Hill Country?

On the spur of the moment, Dorothee and I decided to load up tent, air mattress, ice chest, etc, in the old Porsche, and head for a place we’d heard about, but never visited: Garner State Park.  Garner’s about a 3 hour drive from Dripping, and located on the Frio river.  We drove down through Boerne and Bandera before finding our destination.

Since we went during the week, we were fortunate (VERY fortunate… more later) to secure a nice little screened in cabana, with concrete floor and picnic table, just steps from the river’s edge.

Wow… this has to be one of the most beautiful hanging-out places ever!  A crystal-clear river, less than head-high in most places, but quite wide, thanks to a low dam at the far end of the park… low banks lined with ageless cypress trees, and water perfect temperature for long-term lounging… Which is what we did for most of the first day.

That evening we cruised the 9 miles into Leakey (pop. 800) and had one of the best Italian dinners ever (and cheap!)… even better, no liquor license, so we motored a couple of blocks down to the “Beverage Barn” where you drive right through the center, and an eager high-schooler grabs your booze choice out of the fridge and hustles it out to your car.  Now THAT’s what I call car-camping!

Later that evening, back at our “cabana” we got to enjoy evening fireflies; haven’t seen many of those since a kid.  With little entertainment around, we hit the hay early. 

Along about midnight all hell, and the skies, broke loose.  Thus commenced one of the most dramatic lightning and thunderstorms I’ve ever experienced.  There were continuous thunder rolls lasting up to 90 seconds (yes I counted), and the sky lit up like daylight.  Needless to say, the clouds opened up, and pummelled our little shelter, but amazingly, we stayed nice and cozy inside, and the cool air was a welcome relief from the earlier humid air. 

Next morning we awoke to a crystal clear sky and nice cool temperature.  We were sympathetic to the many tent campers around us who didn’t fare nearly as well as we.  The trees were full of soggy sleeping bags hung out to dry.  sure must have been fun for them!

This is a destination we’ll definitely have on our future yearly to-do list.

To view more pictures of this super location, PLEASE CLICK HERE


  1. Lisa Lawrence

    OK Phil and Dorothee…are you *trying* to make me really jealous??? Cos I am y’all! What a wonderful trip you had.. beautiful photos…wish we could’ve come with you.. maybe next time???? love Lis (and of course, Stewart….the Hawaiian native who refuses to move..)

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