Road Trip: Pedernales Falls State Park

With summer just around the corner, I’m feeling that inevitable panic. How am I going to entertain my child all summer!? Yes, we have a few camps here and there, but I’m someone that prefers to be out and about every day, doing SOMEthing. Although there are still definitely things we haven’t done here in Austin, nothing says summer quite like a road trip.

We checked out Pedernales State Falls Park recently, for the first time since I was a child. Although you can camp, my husband has no interest in roughing it, so we just did a day trip. And since the Park is only 35 miles west of Austin, it was very doable. It’s $6 per adult when you enter the park (kids 12 and under are free), and right past the entrance is a scenic overlook, from which you can see the Pedernales Falls.

It was a nice drive out through Oak Hill and on the way to Johnson City. Since it has been so temperate and rainy (knock on wood!), the wildflowers were abundant and the River was really flowing. It wasn’t a major walk to the swimming area (1/4 mile), although it was down MANY steps, which surprisingly, my four year old was able to climb up when we were done. There are nice picnic facilities with grills, bathrooms and shade. We were glad we didn’t lug our picnic supplies down to the water, although it would have been picturesque.

The current was strong enough that we had to watch our son pretty closely, but in the shade of the trees by the banks, the water is calm enough for wading, rock throwing/skipping, shell seeking and water exploration.Advertisement
Next time I think I’d like to try fishing or doing more hikes in the park. There is even a bird watching blind, and I’d be curious to see whether my son would be at all interested in checking that out.

One thing we did do on the way back was stop at Dairy Queen, where my son sampled a Blizzard for the first time. We’ll see if we can make a trip back again without stopping at DQ on the way home!

Written by: Nicole Basham

About Nicole Basham 793 Articles
A native Austinite and soccer-playing mom, Nicole uses her 10-year-old son as an excuse to rediscover her hometown through his eyes. In Thoreau's words, her mission is to "suck out all the marrow of life", or in her son's words, to cultivate in him a love of "advenchers".

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