Some of the 101-plus fun things to do in the Highland Lakes can be done at any of the area’s 17 parks. Whether you like a lakefront setting or a rocky climb or you want to swim, hike or ride a bike, Highland Lakes parks have the place to do it all. From state to municipal, there’s a park to fit your family’s style.
Here’s a list of 17 of the best parks around. Did we leave out a little-known park that’s one of your favorites? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. We’ll be happy to add it.
• Pedernales Falls State Park, 2585 Park Road 6026 east of Johnson City off FM 2766 — Features camping, picnicking, hiking, swimming, mountain biking, fishing, bird watching and horseback riding (bring your own horse — no overnight equestrian camping allowed). For more about the park, call (830) 868-7304 or visit www.tpwd.state.tx.us. For reservations, call (512) 389-8900.
• Colorado Bend State Park, located near Bend just west of Lampasas — This 5,300-acre park includes 15.8 miles of hiking trails and 14 miles of mountain-biking trails. Backpackers can make a night of it at one of the two primitive backpacking areas: the River Back Pack Area and the Windmill Back Pack Area. To find the park, go north on U.S. 281 to Lampasas, and, from the 281 and U.S. 183 intersection, take FM 580 west 24 miles to Bend. Then, follow the signs to the park entrance. For more about the park, call (325) 628-3240 or visit www.tpwd.state.tx.us. For reservations, call (512) 389-8900.
• Inks Lake State Park, 3630 Park Road 4 West in Burnet County — The park hosts several events during the spring and summer including the Go Fishing With a Ranger program, canoe-skills clinics, guided hikes and even a family outdoor workshop. Inks Lake has plenty of fishing opportunities from shore or boat. The park has the only public boat ramp on the lake. The park is on Park Road 4 a few miles west of U.S. 281 in Burnet County. For more about the park, call (512) 793-2223 or visit www.tpwd.state.tx.us. For reservations, call (512) 389-8900.
• LBJ National Historical Park and the separate LBJ State Park & Historic Site, located between Johnson City and Stonewall on U.S. 290 — The parks offer visitors a chance to get a more intimate look at President Lyndon B. Johnson. The two-room dogtrot Behrens Cabin, which is attached to the visitor’s center, includes furnishings that were typical during the 1870s. At the Sauer-Beckmann Farm, costumed interpreters demonstrate how people from 1900 to 1918 would have lived. The state park also has plenty of wildlife to see, including the American bison.
• Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, 16710 RR 965, south of Llano and north of Fredericksburg — The rock is an ancient, pink-granite dome rising 425 feet into the air. Remember, the park reaches capacity (in terms of parking) and frequently closes on weekends (sometimes as early as 11 a.m.) Reopening usually occurs at 5 p.m. Call ahead or have alternate plans if you arrive at the park and find it closed. Primitive backpacking, camping, hiking, technical and rock climbing, picnicking, geological study, bird watching and stargazing are some of the park’s activities. Restrooms, showers, tent pads, playscapes, picnic tables, fire rings, hike-in primitive sites, a pavilion, an interpretive center and a park store are available. For more, call (830) 685-3636 or visit www.tpwd.state.tx.us.
• Longhorn Cavern State Park, 6211 Park Road 4 South in Burnet County about six miles west of U.S. 281 — The park features a great cavern to explore on daily tours. There are things to do above ground as well: hiking, bird watching or picnicking. There are plenty of legends associated with the cave. The outlaw Sam Bass and his gang are reputed to have hidden from the law there in the days of the Old West, and American Indians held powwows. Confederate soldiers used the caves to make gunpowder, and, during Prohibition, the underground refuge was a speakeasy. For more, call (830) 598-CAVE (2283), (512) 756-4680 or toll free (877) 441-CAVE or visit www.longhorncaverns.com.
• Pace Bend Park, 2501 Pace Bend Park Road in the Travis County part of Spicewood — The park has places for fishing, camping, picnicking, sunbathing, hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. And you’ll find primitive and improved campsites along with picnic tables, two boat ramps and restrooms. For more, call (512) 264-1482 or visit the website.
• Reimers Ranch Park, 23610 Hamilton Road in Dripping Springs — To get to the park, take Texas 71 toward Austin and turn south (right) on FM 3238 (Hamilton Pool Road), then travel 12 miles to the entrance on the right. The park offers fishing, hiking, mountain biking and even rock climbing. For more, call (512) 854-PARK (7275) or visit the website.
• Johnson Park, 230 Ave. J South located along Backbone Creek at Yett Street and Johnson Avenue in Marble Falls — The park offers shade trees, horseshoe pits, a sand court for volleyball, swings, two children’s playscapes, a boat ramp and an off-leash dog area. An open pavilion is available, and restrooms are on site. Fill out a reservation request form for the pavilion online at website.
• Lakeside Park, 307 Buena Vista Drive on the shores of Lake Marble Falls — The park features picnic tables, a boat ramp and tennis courts. The Marble Falls city pool also is located here as is Lakeside Pavilion, a large venue operated by the city of Marble Falls that can be used for anything from weddings to corporate retreats. Visit the website.
• Llano County Park, located next to Robinson City Park on the banks of the Llano River just west of Llano on RR 152 — The park has a nearby rodeo arena and an 18-hole golf course. Water, electricity and sewage hookups are available for campers. A playground and gravel paths provide nice accents.
• Robinson City Park, located along the Llano River about two miles west of Llano on RR 152 — The park covers about five acres with restrooms, picnic tables and grills. A boat ramp is on site, but motorboats aren’t allowed. Fishing, an 18-hole golf course, a playground, volleyball, half-court basketball and hiking are just a few of the activities available. A pavilion and barbecue areas also are available with reservations.
• Hamilton Creek Park, located just off U.S. 281 and Texas 29 in Burnet — The park is a great place to picnic or take a leisurely stroll along the banks of Hamilton Creek. It features a walkover bridge, fountains and a playground for children. For a listing of Burnet city parks, visit the website.
• Tommy White Park, located in the 900 block of Texas 29 next to the city swimming pool in Burnet — The park offers picnic and playground facilities and volleyball courts.
• Wallace Riddell Park, located at the intersection of Texas 29 and Rhomberg Street in Burnet — The park is the scene of local activity every weekend and offers picnic tables, a playground for children and a baseball field.
• Westside Park, 1610 Second St. off Avenue N in Marble Falls — The park features a disc-golf course and a playground.
• Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park, located south of Fredericksburg on Texas 16 near the airport — The park covers 150 acres and features activities including swimming, picnicking and fishing. There also are six tennis courts, four of which are lit. The park has the enclosed Pioneer Pavilion, which can accommodate up to 500 people. Visit the website for more.