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2023 Locals Love Us Favorite Park: Badu Park

Roy B. Inks Bridge spans the Llano River in the background of this photo of Badu Park. The beloved city park is within walking distance of historic downtown Llano and is one of the best swimming holes around. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

Badu Park stretches along the northern shore of the Llano River in full view of the iconic Roy B. Inks Bridge. It’s also within walking distance of downtown Llano, and it might be the best swimming hole around.

As a venue for countless events, including Starry Starry Nights, Rock’n Riverfest, and the Llano River Chuck Wagon Cook-Off, Badu Park earns its place as a 2023 Locals Love Us Favorite Park, voted on by The Picayune Magazine readers and KBEY 103.9 FM Radio Picayune listeners.

The beloved city park is a favorite hangout for Llano families enjoying mild weather in the spring and fall, cooling off in the blistering summer, and walking in a wonderland of Christmas lights in the winter.

“It's called quality of life,” Llano Mayor Kelli Tudyk said. “If we didn't have parks like this, we wouldn't be much of a town.”

Badu is a versatile park with something for everyone, including playgrounds and basketball courts, fishing along the riverbank, pavilions and picnic tables for get-togethers, and, of course, prime access to the water, right on the Llano Dam. It's also one of the best places in the Highland Lakes to catch a sunset.

“I like it because of the walking paths,” Tudyk said. “Besides being beautiful, it's in a great location.”

The park is in the heart of Llano. You can be playing Marco Polo in the river one minute and exploring the city’s historic downtown the next. For a little town, Llano has a lot going on, so grabbing a gift, burger, or drink, catching live music, or seeing the sights is all part of the Badu Park experience.

To see the park at its best, swing by during its seasonal sweet spot: at the end of spring, when the flowers are still blooming, the sun is shining, the water is warm, and the heat hasn’t hit a slow burn.

Also voted Favorite Park were Inks Lake State Park for the Burnet area and Johnson Park for the Marble Falls area.

Flip through the digital 2023 Locals Love Us magazine for a full list of winners.

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