South Llano River State Park
South Llano River State Park is a complete vacation package. A quiet campground with a river in the mountains. All of the sites are large and roomy, but the best sites are the last numbers on the outer edge. These sites face a large field that white tailed deer visit every evening. If you need supplies, Junction is only 5 miles away from the park. Sites with water and electric hookups are $20/night. There are hot showers in the restrooms. There is an entrance fee of $4 per person per day you have to pay even if you are paying to stay the night. I was told that all the parks in Texas do this. So if you are planning on vacationing in Texas for a while, it’s worth it to buy a Texas State Park pass. It is $70 for one year, waves all your entrance fees and includes 4 coupons for half off the nightly rate.
There is plenty of wildlife to view from deer, jackrabbits, ground squirrels and many species of birds. I’ve never been a birder nor have I ever really cared about birding, but this park opened my eyes to the calming hobby. There are two bird blinds that you can comfortably sit and watch the birds come to take a bath and peck at seed. I saw at least 10 different species after just sitting for a couple minutes. Another nice thing about the park is the effort to save land for the Texas turkeys. They have large roosting fields available for them that they do not allow visitors to enter. While we were here, the turkeys were still in mating season so we didn’t get to see any in the roosting fields. While driving, we saw a hen cross the road and on one of the hikes I heard a Tom gobble, one of my favorite animal sounds by the way. Other reasons to come here other than birding, how about a natural fresh water lazy river? You can rent a tube for $5 and float down the river. Be sure to check the water level before planning this as the river was too low when we attempted to kayak. The ranger didn’t seem to know because she suggested kayaking upriver and floating down. Unfortunately we only made it half a mile and after two portages we gave up. There’s miles of mountain trails to bike or walk, with the highest elevation at 2,100 feet. We saw many mountain bikers so it must be a popular spot.
We had only intended to stay two nights here but I fell in love with this park, so we stayed three. There are a lot of nice parks in Florida, but this was the first park that I’ve experienced this ecosystem. I love that I am able to have these new adventures. I’m so far away from everything I’m used to and yet I feel comfortable. I can’t wait to see more mountains and deserts in Texas at Big Bend.
Five star scale rating
Scenery – *****
Campground – ****
Campsite – ****
Recreation – ****