Garner State Park: Caves, Trails, Tubing – and Texas swing!

By guest blogger Valeka Cruz

RECENTLY I HAD the absolute joy of visiting Garner State Park. I am very fortunate to have grown up near this gem of a Texas state park. I hadn’t visited it in years but it was just as beautiful as I remembered it being! It is one of the most heavily visited parks in Texas and once you have visited it, it’s easy to see why.

Garner State Park is located about 35 miles north of my hometown of Uvalde, Texas and is named for former United States Vice-President John Nance Garner who lived and practiced law in the area. The park is filled with wildflowers, the refreshing Frio River and breathtaking cypress trees. Everywhere you go, there is something splendid to see or something fun to do!

Texas wildflowers


The Frio River

The Frio River

Frio River

Trees lining the Frio River

It is an excellent place to visit if you are interested in spending a lazy afternoon relaxing. Simply hop in a tube (traditionally, the inner tubes of 18-wheeler tires were used but tubing has come a long way since those days!) and let the ripples of water carry you along the tree-lined river banks. There’s something soothing about dangling your feet into the cool, clear water and letting nature take you where it wants to. It’s never a disappointing journey!

Pretty Frio River


Sunlight and ripples on the Frio River

It's okay to create a ripple...

If you are looking for more rigorous activities, try exploring the miles of trails awaiting your footsteps! That is one of the things I enjoy most when I visit a state park. Hiking through a park gets you in touch with all the sights and sounds that are exclusive to it. An added bonus to hiking THIS park? You get to check out some pretty cool caves! Many park visitors also enjoy fishing, canoeing or kayaking, playing miniature golf on the 18-hole course, and riding the paddle boats.

Hidden trail

Hidden trail

Garner State Park - textures and colors of nature

The textures and colors of nature

Miniature golf, Garner State Park

Miniature golf course

Since the 1940’s, one of the longest running traditions at Garner State Park has been the dances held at The Pavilion every night during the summer. The outdoor dances have that distinctive Texas flare! The old reliable jukebox spins country tunes, Texas swing and vintage oldies. It’s like taking a step back in time. Folks from the surrounding towns often go to the park just for the nightly dances under the stars.

Garner State Park pavilion

The Pavilion

View of the Frio River from the scenic overlook, Garner State Park

View of the Frio River from the scenic overlook

It wasn’t a long visit to the park but it was exactly what I needed to renew my spirit. Getting in touch with nature does that for me and having the opportunity to participate in so many fun, outdoor activities enhanced it. I’m already planning my next state park visit! I can’t wait to get out there and see what other parks around the state have to offer.

Valeka Cruz

Valeka & Karlee


Valeka Cruz (@runningonheavy) is a freelance writer and blogger living happily in Austin Texas with her three fur babies. Her weekly blog, Running On Heavy, provides health and wellness motivation along with life lessons. She loves chocolate, hiking, laughing, hot tea and, especially, writing (not necessarily in that order depending on what kind of a day it is).

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  1. What a gorgeous place you’ve found there Valeka. Awesome photo’s, and love the idea of dancing the pavillion.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks so much! Very happy that you enjoyed the photos. I had just as much fun taking them as I did exploring the scenery! It was my pleasure to share with you 🙂

  2. Valeka,
    I really want to go tubing on that beautiful Crystal clear water! It looks so refreshing and relaxing. What a beautiful park!
    Your pictures make me feel like I could just climb right through one and be there in person. Too bad we couldn’t, it would make travel so much easier…LOL
    Thank you for sharing your wonderful area. Its on my very long bucket list!

    • Hi, Betsy! I’m so happy that you enjoyed the photos! It really is a beautiful park. I took so many wonderful pictures while there 🙂 It was my pleasure to share with you! Take care 🙂

  3. I agree, there’s not always a need for long visits in order to renew one’s spirit. Getting in touch with nature does that for me as well!

  4. Roz Wilson says:

    This is one of my top favorite blogs. I absolutely love the pics! I can really imagine myself there and loving it! I think nature is a remedy for calming the spirit. It can also be very healing in many ways. I enjoyed going on your heavenly hike!

    • Thank you so much, Roz!! I had an absolutely WONDERFUL time camping there. I couldn’t have asked for a better trip 🙂

      I agree that nature can be the ultimate salve for our spirits! Looking at this post makes me want to go on another hiking excursion soon!

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