Swim in the glistening water at Blanco State Park
Jump into the river at Blanco State Park and swim along the cascading waterfalls for an escape from the Texas heat.
Admission is only $4 per person and free for children under 12. After leaving the headquarters, the road will come to a “T,” where Blanco State Park is split in half: Go right for the campgrounds or take a left for the day-use-only area.
Both sides have impressive waterfalls that span across the Blanco River. (The waterfalls are actually man-made stone dams constructed in 1933 during the Great Depression.)
To the right is the upper dam, called Falls Dam. This is the more well-known swimming area. A wide footpath along the top allows you to walk across and feel the water rush between your toes. A shallow wading pool, accessible by ladder, is attached to the dam and perfect for the little ones.
To the left is the lower dam. The picnic area is much smaller and less crowded. I saw a few people casting their fishing lines on this side and a couple of sunbathers. The park’s pedestrian entrance is also on this side if you’re walking in from town.
Along the banks of the Blanco River are fields of lush green grass, shaded by grand old oak trees. Plenty of picnic tables and barbecue pits span the riverbank, making this a great destination for gatherings with family and friends.
Whichever side of Blanco State Park you choose, there are plenty of spots to have a picnic, jump in the water and have an all-around good time. Swim at your own risk: There are no lifeguards on duty. Additionally, it is natural water. The river comes along with all the wildlife that call it home from fish to water snakes.
If you see a water snake — which I did, because I visited the park in the early spring when they are most active — back up slowly and calmly. Do not antagonize it. Whether you can identify a poisonous snake or not, don’t stick around to find out.
In addition to swimming, picnicking and fishing, there is a short hiking trail north of the Falls Dam. The gravel trail is a very easy, ADA-accessible stroll that leads to a shaded viewing pavilion.
Blanco State Park also offers tube and canoe rentals. Stay the night at the park and reserve a campsite here.
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