Things to Do

Life’s Better Outside at Garner State Park

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Lifes better outside at Garner State Park

By Lisa Fitzsimmons

Few places in Texas can claim the title as “most visited” but Garner State Park, with its clear, spring-fed river, CCC-built cabins, and the nightly summer dances gets to claim the title of being the most visited overnight state park.   Garner State Park is located thirty-one miles north of Uvalde, Texas in the small resort community known as Concan; just off Hwy. 83 on FM 1050.  The park is nestled in the foot hills of the Texas Hill Country alongside the cold waters of the Frio River.

Lifes better outside at Garner State Park

Photo: tpwd.texas.gov

Each summer the park is filled to capacity with campers, hikers, water enthusiast and yes, even dancers; you see, the summer dance on the concrete Pavilion is a rite of passage for most Texas teens.  The historic slab has been hosting dances ever since the CCC boys cranked up an old juke box hoping the local girls would hear the tunes and come do the boogie-woogie with them after a hard days work of constructing, what would soon become, the most popular spot in the State Park system.  Each night, hundreds of moms, dads, teens and everyone in between gather at the Pavilion to line dance to traditional songs such as Rockin Robin, Whip It and crowd favorite, Puttin On The Ritz.  But it‘s not all line dancing; there is the Bunny Hop, The Whip, and the belly-rubbin Two-step that bring new romances together with country classics like Pop-a-top and one or two George Strait signature classics.

Lifes better outside at Garner State Park

Photo: havingfuninthetexassun.com

Garner State Park was built from 1936 – 1941 by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) at the height of the depression and war years by young men helping to support their families.  Named after John (Cactus Jack) Nance Garner, former Vice-President to Franklin D. Roosevelt, the park opened to the public in 1941, encompassing 320 acres of prime hill country real estate.  In 1976, the park acquired 790 more acres, and again in 2009, the back side of “Old Baldy” was purchased, rounding out the size of Garner to 1774 acres of publically owned land to enjoy your favorite outdoor activity in.

Lifes better outside at Garner State Park
Photo: tpwd.texas.gov

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