Fun, Simple and Close By
Twenty-six minutes north of San Antonio (clocked from 1604 & Blanco) is an amazing get-away for you and the kids. This nearby river trip can be made into a half day or full day outing filled with exploration of nature, fun and water. We started taking our family here when the kids were two and three years old and I can foresee us utilizing this gem of a park well into their adolescent years.
I’ll tell you everything you need to know to have one of the best family excursions of the summer and early fall, for way less than the price of a movie for your family.
Things To Do
- Tubing (There are no real rapids, rather we use them mainly just to lounge) TIP: This past Saturday morning, there was a large tube and canoe rental truck set up in the main parking lot, if could rent some there or you can buy good tubes with mesh bottoms, pictured below, at Academy for $9.99.
- Canoeing (Yes, there were four there, just this past weekend.)
- Swimming & Lounging In The Water – Most of this main area has waters that are less than 2 feet deep with many parts being just a few inches.
- Exploring & Finding Wild Life: At ages five and six, this is what you will find my kids doing. We had lots of buckets and nets, scooping up minnows and tiny frogs, which truly kept them entertained for three hours. Before I knew it, there was a group of twenty kids looking for things together.
- Skipping rocks – Your little ones will find an endless number of rocks to skip and build walls with. This was my kid’s favorite activity when they were two and three years old.
- Hiking – There are numerous trails to explore.
Location & Cost
The state park is located at 3350 Park Rd. 31, Spring Branch, Texas 78070. You can get there one of three ways.
- (From San Antonio) 281 North to Hwy 46, turn left (or West) on Hwy 46 and go 8 miles and finally turn right on Park Rd 31, where you will see clear signs marking the park entrance.
- (From San Antonio) Travel North on Blanco Rd from 1604 about 15 miles until you dead-end into Hwy 46, where you will see clear signs having you turn right on to Park Rd 31, less than half a mile down Hwy 46.
- (From Boerne) Travel 13 miles East on Hwy 46 before turning Left on Park Rd 31.
Day Entrance Fees : $7.00 per person 13 and older (Ages 12 and under are FREE!) or you can get an annual State Park pass that will get you in to ALL state parks across the great state of Texas. They accept cash, personal checks, VISA, MasterCard and Discover credit cards.) ***Bring your ID, they do check it.***
When To Go & What To Bring
The gate is open 8AM – 10PM.
With young children, we always go early, arriving by 10AM. It’s still easily warm enough to be in the water but not too oppressive with the summer heat. Last weekend, we stayed about three hours and left after we ate lunch.
TIP: After driving to the end of the main road and parking in the main lot, you will have a little walk down to the river. My husband and I can usually carry everything in one trip however with the baby, he carried everything down in two trips. I don’t recommend a stroller for babies, as there are stairs. In this surrounding area, there are some picnic tables and grills to cookout that are first come first serve. Also, when we were leaving at 1:30PM, that main parking lot was full and cars were circling or having to park in the lot further up. (Another reason to go early.)
Strongly Recommend To Bring:
- Water shoes for everyone (not just the kids)
- Sunblock and hats
- Towels (however you mainly dry off in the sun, you can use them to have kids sit on and eat)
- Packed lunches, snacks and lots of drinks (TIP: NO alcoholic beverages are allowed in Texas State Parks)
- Chairs for the adults
- Some kind of open-sided tent or cover, especially for the young kids (NO standard camping tents are allowed to be set up down by the water)
- Water toys for kids – buckets, nets, balls, plastic boats, kick boards, tubes, blow-up rafts, life jackets (if it makes you feel more comfortable with younger children)
- Dry clothes to change into before you leave (TIP: There are bathrooms nearby where you park)
Other Things To Know
- You can bring your dog, as long as they stay on a leash.
- There is a new Children’s Discovery Center just off the main parking lot area. This is a FREE, interactive place to allow your kids to have hands on experiences with items found in the park. (TIP: It is air-conditioned so it’s a great place to visit when you need a break from the heat.)
Maybe it’s the great outdoors, but we always leave this place so happy, re-connected as a family and in disbelief that it is so close to San Antonio.