Hill Country Roadside Park

Texas roadside parks were a big part of my childhood. I’d hate to try to estimate the number of bologna sandwiches I consumed at a concrete picnic table under an oak tree. But as interstates replaced state and U.S. highways, stops at roadside parks were replaced by less bucolic stops in large rest areas. I see fewer roadside parks on my travels these days.

But there is one roadside park that I see each week. It’s on Texas Highway 16, just southeast of Bandera on the way to San Antonio. I’ll pull in here when I need to kill a few minutes before a scheduled event and I sometimes eat a quick lunch, but I seldom get out of the car and the air conditioning.

One day it occurred to me that I had driven past this park at least 2500-3000 times over the 17 years I’ve lived in the area. That number could be doubled if I count passing the park going both ways in a round trip. But I’d never really given the park the attention it deserved. So I got out and wandered around.

I’d seen this dedication marker but it had suffered the fate of most of the roadside historical markers I see: I’d never actually looked at it. It turns out this park looks like the classic roadside park I remember because it is of that generation. TXDOT has a detailed history of the parks and the building project began in the 1930s, so this 1936 dedication was in the early years. There was a big push to construct parks to mark the 1936 Texas Centennial.

The park is a pleasant little stopping place and it gets good use. It’s not unusual to see a few vehicles there and I often see folks eating, reading, or just resting at the picnic tables. The oak trees cast wonderful shade, despite the oak wilt a few of the trees are suffering. The trees have hung in there for a long time, so I’m hopeful they will make it for many years to come.

I don’t stop here every week but I’d miss it if I lost the opportunity to take a shady break on a hot Texas afternoon. It beats an interstate rest area hands down.

2 thoughts on “Hill Country Roadside Park

  1. shoreacres

    It looks like a nice spot. I’ve never seen it, since I’ve never gotten past Bandera on TX 16. I just followed it down to San Antonio on the map, and had a revelation. I usually take Anderson Loop around to I-10, and head to Kerrville that way. But if I kept going a bit farther on the Loop, I can pick up TX 16. Thinking about my last trip up I-10, I could be tempted– and I could stop at your roadside park!

    1. Charles Prokop Post author

      I highly recommend avoiding I-10 north of San Antonio. It was not too bad before all the new growth of that area and the associated construction, but it’s a guaranteed traffic jam these days. The stretch of 10 between San Antonio and Boerne is always a headliner in the morning news traffic reports. TX 16 is a pleasant drive, and after going through Bandera you can either take the scenic route to Kerrville on 16 (through Medina) or you can take the quicker route on 173. Enjoy the park – it’s on your left as you approach Bandera, about a half mile to a mile after you cross Privilege Creek.

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