Visit a Texas Hill Country Swimming Hole: Blanco State Park
June 17, 2023
Blanco State Park is a small and peaceful park located right in the heart of Blanco, Texas on the banks of the Blanco River. Blanco was one of the first Texas parks built by the CCC in the 1930s and the original structures still remain today. The park is great for cooling off in the summer with a large river swimming area and a waterfall that flows over a dam.
As a result of the urban location of the park, the houses of Blanco residents border the park on both sides. Despite the usual TPWD facilities, the park felt more like a city park instead of a state park in my opinion.
There are two short trails in the park, the Pumphouse Trail and the Caswell Nature Trail. The Pumphouse Trail is a short .3 miles and goes by the ruins of a pumphouse built by the CCC.
The Caswell Nature Trail is 1.3 miles and winds through a small wooded area leading to a view of a second dam in the park. I enjoyed the Caswell Trail, but it hugs the edge of the park so you can see into people’s yards at times. The trail also goes directly under a busy road.
Blanco is a wonderful place for swimming in Texas Hill Country. Taking a dip around the dam at Blanco is the perfect way to cool off on a hot day. You’ll find the swimming area in the center of the park. It is accessible from either side of the river and on both sides of the dam. Connected to the dam is a concrete swimming pool area. Tubes and kayaks are also available to rent from the park for added fun. You may put in your boat for fishing or exploring as long as it has an electric motor.
Blanco offers a mix of full hookup campsites and campsites with electricity. Many of the campsites are shaded with trees. You can also rent out a picnic area or pavilion to have an event. There are many picnic tables and grills where you can spread out and enjoy a packed lunch.
The town of Blanco has a population of just over 2,000 and is halfway between San Antonio and Austin. After enjoying the park, check out the historic town square and enjoy a meal from Red Bud Cafe. Red Bud Cafe is a beloved local restaurant serving sandwiches, burgers, salads and local beer. I enjoyed my portobello mushroom sandwich in the square next to the Old Blanco County Courthouse.
Just north of Blanco, visit Real Ale Brewing Company to enjoy a cold beer in a spacious area. The brewery offers tours of their extensive brewing facility, a variety of delicious brews and has tons of indoor and outdoor seating.
About 10 minutes north of Blanco is the iconic Hill Country winery Arc De Texas. Arc De Texas is notable for its arc that resembles the Arc De Triomphe in Paris. The winery has beautiful views in all directions and delicious wine that you can taste on their large deck.
Canyon Lake is a body of water on the Guadalupe River created by a CCC-built dam. Eight park areas surround the park and can be used for swimming, camping and picnicking. I loved visiting the Canyon Overlook Park, where you can walk across the dam and see views for miles around. For a refreshing treat near the overlook, be sure to visit the nearby Kafekali & Bakery for ice cream, baked goods or coffee.
About 30 minutes east of Blanco, you can visit Wimberley, TX and swim in some of the most iconic swimming holes in Texas. Jacob’s Well is a famously deep well that leads to an underwater cave system. With a reservation, you can jump into the well and swim. Wimberley is also home to Blue Hole Regional Park, a much larger swimming hole with bright blue water and surrounded by cypress trees.
Blanco may be a small park, but it's perfect for a summer trip in Texas Hill Country! Enjoy a refreshing swim and some short hikes in this pocket of Hill Country. Whether you make Blanco a stop on a Texas road trip or a destination on it's own, I hope this guide helps you get an idea of what to expect.
For More Texas Outdoor Guides, check out these blogs:
- The Best Hiking in Texas Hill Country
- The Best Outdoor Adventures in Beaumont, Texas
- The Best Things To Do at Pedernales Falls State Park
- The Best Things To Do at Caddo Lake
- See the Best Fall Leaves in Texas at Lost Maples
- The Best Things To Do at Guadalupe River State Park
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