Swim, hike and tube at Texas state park just 45 minutes from downtown San Antonio

There are several ways to visit Guadalupe River State Park for free

Guadalupe River State Park is one of the closest state parks to San Antonio — just a quick 45-minute drive north of downtown.

Many visitors take advantage of the swimming opportunities but the park is also the starting point for the 5-mile Guadalupe River State Park Paddling Trail.

In addition to swimming and paddling along the park’s 4 miles of Guadalupe River frontage, visitors can also go tubing, fishing, camping, hiking and geocaching. There are also opportunities to ride bikes and horses or go bird watching.

Camping reservations range from $24 a night for campsites with electricity and RV hookups to $15 a night for tent campsites.

The 1,938-acre park was acquired from private owners in 1974 before it opened to the public in 1983.

According to the Texas State Historical Association, the land on the south side of the river is the 1,239-acre tract that opened as a park in 1983. On the north side is a 661-acre tract that is undeveloped and not open to the public.

A variety of wildlife lives within the boundaries of the park including white-tailed deer, coyote, gray fox, skunk, raccoon, opossum, bobcat and armadillo and the endangered golden-cheeked warbler.

Video of the park can be viewed in the media player at the top of this article.

If you want to visit, the park is open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Admission is $7 for adults and children 12 and younger are free.

Visitors who want to explore even more can purchase a Texas State Parks Pass for $70. It’s good for unlimited free entry to 89 parks around Texas and allows guests to get in free as well as long as the pass holder is present. A second pass can be purchased for someone else who lives at the same address for just $25.

There are also discounts and opportunities to get a free Texas Parkland Passport for seniors, people with disabilities and disabled Veterans with a 60% or more service-connected disability or loss of lower extremity. These passports include full or partially-paid entrance fees for a companion and allow free entry to Texas state parks.

Reservations can be made online or by calling 512-389-8900.

Guadalupe River State Park is located at 3350 Park Road 21 in Spring Branch.

Upcoming events at the park include:

  • “Finding a Balance” Documentary - Watch Texas Parks and Wildlife’s “Finding a Balance” from 7:30-9:30 p.m. on March 18. This one-hour documentary explores how the demand for water is expected to grow dramatically over years to come and weighs the impact that growth will have on the state. The documentary shows how the steps we take or don’t take will impact Texas and its people, including the wildlife.
  • Star Party with the San Antonio Astronomical Association - Members of the San Antonio Astronomical Association and park staff will be on-site with their telescopes to point out the moon, constellations, planets and more. Drop in any time between 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. on April 1. Additional dates for Star Parties tentatively include May 6, June 3 and July 1.
  • Guadalupe River State Park Birthday Bash! - Admission to the park will be free on June 3 in celebration of Guadalupe River State Park’s 40th birthday. Guarantee entry by reserving your free day pass up to one month before this special event. This is one of many 100-year celebration events happening in Texas state parks this year. Entry to a park is free on the day it hosts an official 100-Year celebration event (applies to day passes only).
  • 100 Years of Camping in Style! - Head to the park Nov. 10-12 to see unique RVs that represent different decades from the past 100 years. Visitors will be able to tour the RVs during select times and vote for their favorite.

About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.