Palmetto State Park

Table of Contents

About Palmetto State Park

Palmetto State Park, 270.3 acres, is located in Gonzales County, northwest of Gonzales and southeast of Luling, and is named after the tropical Dwarf Palmetto plant that grows there. The park is adjacent to the San Marcos River and includes a 4-acre oxbow lake. The land was purchased through deeds from private owners and the City of Gonzales between 1934 and 1936, and it opened in 1936. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built the park’s beautiful stone buildings in the 1930s.

In-Season activities in Palmetto State Park

Hiking Palmetto Island State Park:

There are several trails to explore at Palmetto State Park. These range in length from 0.3 to 1.25 miles and are relatively easy, so if you’re looking for a challenge, try hiking all of them while competing to see who can find the most interpretive trail signs. The wooded area provides plenty of shade from the sun, but remember to bring sunscreen with you when you go exploring. Pay attention to snake warning signs because they teach hikers how to interact with wildlife. Hikers should try to wear closed shoes rather than open shoes when hiking because closed-toe shoes provide more protection from snakes. Each trail is well-maintained and spotless. Hikers can expect to walk along the river, through the swamps, and through the forest.

Tubing in Palmetto State Park Texas:

Tubing down the San Marcos River is a very relaxing activity. The river runs through the park, so getting in the water with your tube is simple. While floating, take advantage of the opportunity to observe various types of plants and birds. If you forget to bring your own tube, you can rent one at the park’s main office at the entrance. When you exit the river, you’ll have to climb a steep slope that leads to a trail that leads back to the camp, so save some energy for the hike back. A life jacket is required while tubing, and remember to read the safety guide on how to keep you and your loved ones safe on the water.

Fishing in Palmetto State Park:

If you’re bringing a fishing pole to Palmetto State Park, there are plenty of fishing spots, and Oxbow Lake is regularly stocked with Florida largemouth bass, rainbow trout, and channel catfish. If you intend to fish from a pier, no licence is required; however, if you intend to fish in either the lake or the river, a valid fishing licence is required. Several campsites are located right next to the lake and the San Marcos River, allowing you to fish from the shore while also enjoying the shade of your campsite. Visitors should be aware that the fishing lake also serves as a swimming pool, and that the fishing pier also serves as a swimming pier. If the pier and certain areas of the lake are crowded with swimmers, you may need to find a secluded spot on the lake or along its banks.

Boating in Palmetto Island State Park:

When visiting Palmetto State Park, bring your canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard. There is plenty of water to explore in the park, including Oxbow Lake, the San Marcos River, Rutledge Creek, and other smaller canals. There are no rapids on the San Marcos River, but there is a steady current. Before you go, make sure to check the river conditions. If you don’t have a stand up paddleboard or a two or three-person kayak, you can rent one at the park. These are outfitted with life jackets and oars. It is the responsibility of parents and guardians of younger children to supervise their children while they are on the water. When out on the water, the park recommends that you follow several safety tips. You can also try the Luling Zedler Mill Paddling Trail near Luling while you’re there. This is a family-friendly paddling trail that follows the San Marco River.

Off-Season activities in Palmetto Island State Park:

Exploring the Palmetto State Park History:

Palmetto State Park has a rich history, as many of the structures were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. Many of the park’s original historic structures can still be explored today. Simply go to the picnic pavilion, water tower, or rock table to see these historical relics. Landscape architects were hired to ensure that these structures blended in with the surrounding natural landscape. Native sandstone was used to blend these man-made structures with the natural environment.

Geocaching of Palmetto Island State Park:

Geocaching has become popular in state parks in recent years. Don’t be concerned if you’ve never heard of geocaching. Simply put, it is a large scavenger hunt that the entire family can enjoy. A GPS or smartphone with coordinates, sturdy hiking boots, a pencil or pen, a water bottle, and a bag full of small items to trade are all required for a successful scavenger hunt. To play, you may need to download a geocaching app from your app store, but the goal is to find the hidden objects and enter your name in the logbook. When approaching a coordinate, be mindful of not disturbing the landscape or any wildlife in the area, and always remember to put things back where you found them. Your cautious approach will aid in the continuation of the adventure. Geocaching is an exciting, interactive activity that the entire family can enjoy on your RV trip to the park.

Birds in Palmetto State Park Texas:

Palmetto State Park is a great place to go birding. With over 200 bird species in the park, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to see unusual birds like the red-shouldered hawk and the crested caracara. The park is located on the Great Texas Birding Trail, making it a popular destination for all types of birds. Bring a pair of binoculars and possibly a bird snack from the park store in your RV. If you look around the park store, you’ll find a book filled with recipes for bird snacks.

Picnic at Palmetto State Park:

If you are passing through the area for the day or camping overnight, the park is a great place to picnic. Picnic tables, restrooms, and, in some areas, a playground for children can be found throughout the park. These locations are mostly near the banks of the San Marcos River, where you can enjoy the stunning views while eating, and where children can splash around in the shallows and even swim. The park’s pavilion, which is still in use, is one of its historical relics. It can hold up to 100 people and is suitable for people with disabilities or mobility issues. Picnic tables, a grill, folding tables and chairs, and a kitchen with refrigerator, oven, and range are all available at the pavilion. Because it can be reserved, this pavilion is ideal for family reunions and group gatherings.

Palmetto State Park Camping:

The park has 37 campsites, 17 of which have water and electricity hookups for RVs. There is only one full hookup site available, and it is more expensive. Nineteen of the sites only have water access, but they are only for tents or pop-up campers. Each location includes a picnic table, a fire ring, and a grill. If you want to try your hand at barbecuing, a few of the campsites have smokers. Clean showers, restrooms, and a playground for children are among the amenities. The majority of the sites are in a beautiful wooded area, providing a peaceful atmosphere and plenty of shade from the Texan heat. Pets are welcome to accompany you but must be kept on a leash. Pets are not permitted in any park structures. Because most of the campsites do not have sewer hookups, there is a dump station on the way out of the park. There is no time limit for staying, but if you intend to stay for more than two weeks, an annual pass is recommended. Those who wish to stay at the park for an extended period of time can become camp hosts, who are responsible for greeting new campers and keeping the park clean. There are also primitive sites, group sites, and cabins available.

Cabin Palmetto State Park:

Palmetto State Park has one cabin available for visitors to use. This cabin was designed with ADA accessibility in mind. There is an ADA picnic table, as well as an ADA stove and fire ring. It has a bunk bed and three larger beds that can sleep up to six people. Visitors are welcome to pitch a tent outside the cabin, but the total number of visitors staying overnight inside or outside the cabin cannot exceed eight. Guests must bring their own lawn chairs. Unless you use the microwave, cooking is not permitted inside the cabin. The cabin has a refrigerator, ceiling fans, and air conditioning. There are no indoor bathrooms in the cabin, so visitors must walk 400-800 feet to the communal restrooms.

The San Marcos River runs alongside the cabin, and there is a path down to the river that allows for swimming and fishing. The cabin is located near a small pond and not far from Oxbow Lake.

History of Palmetto State Park:

Gonzales was founded in 1825. It was the capital of Impresario Green DeWitt’s Colony and the farthest west Anglo settlement until the Texas Revolution ended. The Mexican government sent Gonzales a six-pound cannon as protection against the Indians in 1831. On October 2, 1835, the first shot of the Texas Revolution was fired from this cannon during the “Come and Take It” battle. While in Gonzales, General Sam Houston learned of the Alamo’s defeat from Mrs. Almeron (Susannah) Dickinson. The only survivors of the siege were Mrs. Dickinson, her baby, and two servants. When General Houston learned of this incident, he gathered troops and ordered Gonzales to be burned. He then embarked on the famous “runaway Scrape,” gaining time and gathering troops in preparation for a stand at San Jacinto. Santa Anna was defeated there, and Texas gained its independence from Mexico. Gonzales now has a population of 7,500 people. It has an unusually large selection of antique shopping, dining, lodging (b&bs and motels), recreation (city park with nine-hole golf course, boating, fishing, swimming pool, picnicking, camping, bird watching, and nature study), historic home tours (restored homes from the 1880s to the 1920s), and the Gonzales Memorial Museum.

Luling was founded in 1874 as a gathering point and supply centre for cattle drivers travelling along the Chisholm Trail. Cotton dominated the economy until the discovery of oil in 1922. The oil field was producing 16 million barrels of oil per year by 1924. Luling now has a population of 5,500 people. It has a year-round Farmers’ Market, antique and collectible shopping, dining (including world-famous barbecue), lodging (motels), recreation (city park with nine-hole golf course, swimming pool, and picnicking), the Central Texas Oil Patch Museum, and nearly 200 colorfully-decorated pump jacks.