Description - Palmetto State Park, 270.3 acres, named for the tropical Dwarf Palmetto plant found there, is located in Gonzales County, northwest of Gonzales and southeast of Luling. The park abuts the San Marcos River and also has a 4-acre oxbow lake. The land was acquired by deeds from private owners and the City of Gonzales in 1934 - 1936 and was opened in 1936. The beautiful stone buildings in the park were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the 1930s.
Copyright: Texas State Parks & Historical Sites
Palmetto State Park
Gonzales was established in 1825. It was the capital of Impresario Green DeWitt's Colony and was the farthest west Anglo settlement until the close of the Texas Revolution. In 1831, the Mexican government sent a six-pound cannon to Gonzales as protection against the Indians. This cannon was used in the "Come and Take It" Battle on October 2, 1835, when the first shot of the Texas Revolution was fired. General Sam Houston, while in Gonzales, learned of the defeat of the Alamo from Mrs. Almeron (Susannah) Dickinson. Mrs. Dickinson, her baby, and two servants were the only survivors of the siege. After learning of this event, General Houston gathered troops and ordered Gonzales to be burned. He then began the famous "runaway Scrape," gaining time and mustering troops to eventually take a stand at San Jacinto. There, Santa Anna was defeated and Texas gained its freedom from Mexico. Today, Gonzales has a population of 7,500. It offers an unusually large selection of antique shopping, dining, lodging (bed and breakfasts and motels), recreation (city park with nine-hole golf course, boating, fishing, swimming pool, picnicking, camping, bird watching, and nature study), historic home tours (restored homes dating from the 1880s to the 1920s), and the Gonzales Memorial Museum.
Luling was established in 1874 and served as a gathering point and supply center for cattle drivers along the Chisholm Trail. Cotton ruled the economy until oil was discovered in 1922. By 1924, the oil field was producing 16 million barrels of oil per year. Today, Luling has a population of 5,500. It offers a year-round Farmers' market, antique and collectible shopping, dining (including world famous barbecue), lodging (motels), recreation (city park with nine-hole golf course, swimming pool, and picnicking), the Central Texas Oil Patch Museum, and almost 200 colorfully-decorated pump jacks within the city limits.
- This is an unusual botanical area that resembles the tropics more than Central Texas. The ranges of eastern and western species merge, resulting in an astounding diversity of plant and animal life. Most notably, a stand of dwarf palmetto (Sabal minor) plants, from which the park gets its name, is found around the park's ephemeral swamp. These palmettos are found in east and southeast Texas, as well as much of the southeastern United States, but only individuals or small clumps are found to the west and north of this park. Wildlife frequently seen in the park includes white-tailed deer, armadillos, squirrels and raccoons. Moreover, the park, located on The Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail, has long been noted as a birding "hot spot." Over 240 species of birds have been observed within the park's boundaries. Some of the birds most often spotted include the Crested Carcara, Prothonotary Warbler, and Red Shouldered Hawk.
The San Marcos River runs through the park. Boaters can put in at Luling City Park and travel 14 miles to Palmetto, portaging around one dam along the way; or put in at Palmetto and take out at Slayden bridge, 7.5 miles down river. It is a two-day trip from Luling City Park to Slayden bridge, overnighting in Palmetto along the way. We strongly recommend that boaters wishing to overnight call the Central Reservation Center. Take-in and take-out points are limited, mostly bordered by private land. There are no rapids, but almost always a steady current. Check river conditions at the park. Bring your own canoe and arrange your shuttles.
The park additionally offers various guided tours, call the park for details.
Facilities include 18 campsites with water and electricity; 1 campsite with water, electricity, and sewage (available when not occupied by a park host); 21 campsites with water; 1 premium (large capacity) campsite with water (weekly rates are available on all campsites); a group camping area; a group picnic shelter with kitchen (ideal for family reunions, company picnics, and weddings); restrooms with showers and baby changing stations; playgrounds; a trailer dump station; picnic tables; and 3 miles of interpretive and hiking trails. Be sure to stop by the Texas State Park Store to rent pedal boats or horseshoes, and buy fire wood, ice,ature books, post cards, and other Palmetto State Park gifts and souvenirs.
Nearby attractions include Pioneer Village Living History Center (1800s reenactments); the Gonzales Memorial Museum (Gonzales); the Central Texas Oil Patch Museum (Luling); Lockhart State Park; Sebastopol State Historical Park; the site of the Elks' Hospital and Warm Springs Rehabilitation Center; the City of Gonzales, the "Cradle of Texas History," where the first shots were fired for Texas Independence; the City of Luling, renowned for watermelons, barbecue, and colorfully decorated pump jacks; New Braunfels, with Landa Park and the Guadalupe River; Luling's "Watermelon Thump" (third weekend in June); and Gonzales' "Come and Take It" Celebration (first weekend of October); and Ottine's "Swamp Festival" (the last weekend in October).
Camping and entrance fees vary. Current weather conditions, including fire bans and water levels, can vary from day to day. For more details, call the park or Park Information at 1-800-792-1112.
Recreation - Activities include camping, picnicking, hiking, fishing, birding, nature study, pedal boat rentals, swimming, tubing, and canoeing.
Climate - Palmetto State Park is located at an elevation of 292 feet. Temperatures within the park range from an average January maximum of 61 degrees and an average minimum of 38 degrees. The July average maximum is 96 degrees and the average minimum is 73 degrees. Current weather conditions can vary from day to day. For more details, call the park or Park Information at 1-800-792-1112.
To reach the park, travel 10 miles northwest of Gonzales on US 183 to FM 1586, then west on FM1586 for two miles to Ottine, then south on Park Road 11; or go six miles southeast of Luling on US 183, then southwest on Park Road 11 for two miles.