An awesome place to go camping! The Frio River (meaning cold) which is mostly spring fed is the main attraction at Garner. There is plenty of swimming, rope swings and when Texas is not in a drought there is tubing. They have putt putt golf, nightly dances under the oak trees, hiking, paddle boats, kayaks and new to the park is paddle boarding. The water levels vary; you can usually find a place on the river that works for all members of the family. There are some beach like areas for smaller children and deeper areas with rope swings for the older kids. This is a river so there are drop offs and if your child cannot swim I would recommend sometime of floating device, a pool noodle, floaties or a life jacket. That's all the good stuff, the bad part about this park is it is no longer a secret and is very crowded during the summer months to the point they close the park when it reaches capacity. You must make reservations a year in advance for the summer months and it is not easy to get one, in fact it has become too hard to land a reservation in the summer. However if you can go on a moment's notice you can probably get in when someone cancels. There are two parts of the park New Garner and Old Garner, Old Garner is the more favorable of the two, but getting a reservation again is very difficult. If you can bypass the summer altogether that is your best bet, if not be prepared spend a lot of time online fighting for a reservation. The park has water sites, electric and water, and some of the new sites have electric, water and sewer. All sites have a fire ring/BBQ pit and a picnic table, bring a table cloth. Some tables are 6' while others are 8'. There are also cabins and screen shelters. There is a store and a grill in the park for those items you forgot or run out of, but it's expensive (store not grill). Garner is an hour from any large town, so go to the grocery store before coming or you will be paying out the nose for the items you forgot. There is a small grocery store in Leaky which is about 10 miles from the park, but again it's expensive. The thing you MUST, MUST not forget is water shoes, I would bring 2 pair for each family member as the river is solid rock and I don't mean one or two rocks, it's more like millions. Walking in the water without shoes is pure torture. The other thing you should prepare yourself for is the wait to check in; again in the summer it is super busy. If you come during peak times you will wait more than 3 hours to check in EVEN though you have an online reservation. My advice to you come early or late to check in, when I say early like 6-7am and camp out in the parking lot. They open the office at 8am and at this time you can pull a number, then you have to wait until they call your number. This will still take you 30 mins to an hour. The other option is to come late in the afternoon; they stay open until 4:30pm. In addition to your camping fee you will have to pay an entrance fee for each member of your family. Adults are $7 and kids are free under 12 years of age, if you have teens you are better off buying a park pass, you can get them online or you can buy one when you get to the park, they are $70 and if you’re staying more than a few days it will pay for itself as you get one and half nights (camping fees) free, plus free admission to the park for everyone in your vehicle. The pass is good at all Texas State parks for one year. We stayed a week in a 30ft RV, they do have dump stations. If you have kids, have them bring their bikes, lots of park roads to ride them on and the scenery and wildlife are beautiful. There is lots of shade in the park, as with any park some sites have shade while others don't, so bring a canopy just in case. The drought is sadly taking a toll on the hundred year old oak trees. With the masses of people this park draws please clean up after yourself; bring bags down to the water with you to dispose of your trash. The rangers work very hard to keep the park clean, but it is very difficult with this many people. I find myself pick up trash while swimming. Here is some advice for the bathrooms/showers, bring either water shoes or flip flops to wear in the shower as the floors are gross sometimes. If you are a woman I would bring a shower caddy to have a place to put your shampoo, soap, face wash etc...If you are a man you can probably survive without one. Most of the time the water in showers is luke warm, rarely hot.
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