Must-See State Parks near Concan, Texas

March 2019

Our family has traveled to and explored some great state parks in Texas so far. These two state parks had some of the prettiest scenery and best hiking trails.

As you may have already read, we decided to buy a camper in the spring of 2018. At that time I had a 7 year old boy, a 1.5 year old boy and my little girl, in my belly, on the way. We spent the rest of that year taking short trips to state parks that were relatively close to home. This helped us get used to handling and living out of the travel trailer on weekends here and there.

This year with THREE kids and feeling like pros at this point apparently, we decided it’d be a good idea to take a trip that was a little further away and go for more than just a couple of weekend days. I did some searching online and came across Garner State Park. It looked beautiful and there were other parks in the area not too far so we were sold.

Garner State Park was about a six hour drive for us. For some reason we decided to brave it with three kids (two younger ones) and our pretty large dog. I’m not going to lie that it was a rough ride. So much so that we decided not to travel that far from home for a camping trip until the kids are older.

The two younger kids (the baby doesn’t sleep in the car AT ALL) just have a hard time being in the car that long. Pulling a trailer makes the process take even MORE time. This is something to definitely keep in mind when you are planning a trip with children. Think about their ages, how close of proximity they’ll be sitting next to each other in the car and how they each do in the car for longer amounts of time. Also make sure to have some snacks and activities available to them to make things easier.

View snacks and activities to keep kids occupied on trips »

Now I am one that likes to plan ahead but never do far enough in advance, so we have never actually STAYED at the state parks that we visit. State parks are booked SO far in advance. It’s too hard for me to plan our trips out a year in advance with all my husband’s work travels and 3 kids. If you don’t have those issues, then take my word that it’d definitely be worth it to book in advance to stay at a state park! Instead, we always stay in an RV park nearby and drive to the park and get a day pass.

For this trip I did some searching and then settled on Parkview Riverside RV. I am SO glad I did because it did not disappoint! The VIEWS and lake right by the campsite were AMAZING. The site was really nice and the RV spaces weren’t too close to each other. They also listed their amenities and other things to do nearby on their website which was really helpful.

There would have been plenty to do if we had just stayed around the campsite (they have tubing and fishing, but it was a little chilly still in March) but we like to go hiking and exploring so that’s just what we did! 

Garner State Park

Inside the state park they had this nice little area with a food truck and some little shops. We stopped to eat and get some ice cream from a shop before we headed out on our hike!

Crystal Cave at Garner State Park

Garner State Park had many trails to choose from that sounded great; Painted Rock Overlook or Horseshoe Footprint Bollards and others. We chose the hike to Crystal Cave. This hike is a must-do, especially if you have kids! We all thoroughly enjoyed it and my 2-year old hiked the whole thing on his own and didn’t want any help. Side note, this hike is somewhat steep and rocky with some slippery areas. If you have younger kids like us and they want to walk on their own, make sure you stay close to them and keep an eye on them so they don’t fall.

It gets pretty steep for awhile but once you get to the end there’s a dark little cave that you can crawl down into. The kids really enjoyed seeing and going into the cave.

Monkey Rock at Lost Maples State Park

The next day we went to Lost Maples to hike. The kids were a little more burnt out by this point so we didn’t walk as long. We went on a hike to see Monkey Rock. It was rocky but relatively flat and was an easier hike than the one at Garner. It was definitely easier for smaller kids to walk by themselves. When we got to Monkey Rock, it really did look like a monkey! There were lots of places for kids to climb and explore and it was a nice little area. After exploring there the kids were pretty tired so we decided to call it a day.

Both of these state parks were great places to visit alone or with kids! We want to go back in the future to hike some of the other trails that we weren’t able to do since we had kids that were too young and tired to do them all. If you’re planning a trip and want to know any other information, feel free to reach out and ask!

I’d love to hear about your experiences or suggestions for these state parks or others, post in the comments below!