Garner State Park

A few days ago I added Garner State Park to the Campsites page of my website. Since the campsite page of my website is to just tell about the basics of a campground, I can’t add some of my personal experiences of a particular place. This blog is a better place to add personal experiences and impressions of a given area.

Garner State Park and the Concan area has played an important role in my life. I first went to Garner with my church MYF group when I was about 12 or 13 years of age. As a kid I was very impressed with what Garner had to offer and thoroughly enjoyed the time we spent outside. As youngsters we took advantage of all of the things that Garner had to offer, including the paddle boats, swimming and tubing in the Frio River and hiking up Old Baldy. Until I graduated from high school, I came back to Garner a number of times, not only with the MYF goup from church but also with the Boy Scouts.

One of the things that made Garner memorable was the nightly dances at the pavilion.  In fact, the dances at the pavilion is what makes Garner rather unique among the State Parks here in Texas.  The nightly dance is a family tradition that goes back to the early 40s.  The dance draws not only from the people who are staying at the park but from the locals who live in Concan, Leaky and other areas around the park.  The nightly summer dance is the reason that a lot of teenagers went to Garner.  My wife has told me hundreds of times about her mother taking her and some of her friends to Garner every summer mainly for the dance.  In that era, the girls wore the petti coats under their dresses so they had to pack all of the petty coats for the trip.  Her father would follow her mother to Garner just to take all of the paraphernalia that the girls needed for the dances.  All I needed was a pair of jeans, a T shirt and tennis shoes!

As I understand, at one time there was a live band that played for the dances.  However, that gave way to the jukebox which now provides the music for the dances.  In fact, that’s the only music I have ever heard played at the dances.  The dance is so popular that people take their lawn chairs up to the pavilion in the early afternoon and stake out a place to sit.  This is a very family oriented event.  There is always a bunch of teenagers there for the dance but there are kids who are barely old enough to walk out on the dance floor along with folks almost too old to walk or should I say stand up.  Everyone has a good time and no one cares whether you really know how to dance or not.

Many years ago when our children were young, we took them to Garner State park and to Concan.  At that time we, stayed at Neal’s Lodges in Concan rather than in Garner.  However, we did the things in Garner and tubed in the Frio River.  The kids loved it!  Now we are going back to Garner State Park and the Concan area and taking our grandchildren with us.  Since we have a camper, we stay at Parkview Riverside RV Park which is across the river from Garner.  We can walk across the river into Garner.  We still do the things in Garner and I climb Old Baldy every year that we go.  From atop of Old Baldy you get a panoramic view of the entire area.  The most favorite thing for the grandkids is the nightly dance at the pavilion.


Garner Park Sign

Pavilion At Garner State Park

Picture of Family


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