We visited the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Ranch on the 4th of July. The ranch appears to be one of the most popular attractions in the area. LBJ State Park and Ranch should earn a spot on your “must-do” list if you are looking for historical landmarks, free things to do, short hikes, dog friendly places, farms, or wildflowers.
An entire day could easily be spent wandering this 700 acre park in Stonewall, Texas. The former home of our 36th President has something for all adventurers and lovers of history. Here are a few things to do at LBJ State Park and Ranch in Texas Hill Country.
LBJ State Park is Free to Visit
Phone: (830) 644-2252
Hours of operation: LBJ State Park is open everyday from 8:30am – 4pm
Unlike many of our Texas State Parks, LBJ State Park is free to visit. The Pedernales River cuts through the park. On the north side of the river we found the LBJ Ranch, along with the Texas White House (which is not free). On the south side of the river we found a nature walk and Living History Farm.
Online reviews were a bit confusing and lacked details coming from various perspectives. Some people stated the tour was self guided within their own vehicle, while others said they walked through nature trails and a farm. It turns out that both statements are true, and both are free.
Things to Do South of the Pedernales River
If you stop at the visitors center on the south side of the river, you can obtain a map of the state park. The map reveals a Living History Farm, trails through wooded areas, trails through wildflowers, and athletic activities such as tennis, baseball, and swimming. There are also exhibits as well as a playground for the kids.
All of these activities are free and take place on foot. However, if you would like to see the LBJ Ranch, you must cross the Pedernales River. You will follow LBJ Ranch Tour signs in your own vehicle through the ranch.
LBJ State Park is Dog Friendly
If you are looking for dog friendly things to do in Texas, LBJ State Park is one of them. Dogs are allowed anywhere inside the park, except for indoors. We began at the visitors center and headed through a nature trail which spat us out at the Living History Farm.
Our girl, Abbey, is well behaved and was not a threat to the farm animals. While going through the farm it is possible to get up-close-and-personal with the animals, and tour the buildings as well. We exited the farm on the opposite side and re-entered the wooded area. The trails near the farm are short and well-shaded.
The wooded area is pleasant to hike. Even though it was hot outside, we were comfortable under cover of the woods. In most areas I could see the outer edge, so it’s unlikely to get lost in the woods. Upon exiting the woods we found ourselves walking among fields of wildflowers. There are benches to sit on within the fields, although some of them looked to be overrun by flowers.
Eventually, we came upon the statue of LBJ and took the opportunity to get the perfect picture. Overall, the walk through LBJ State Park was very enjoyable and great for dogs. If your dog does not behave well, you may want to avoid the farm animals. Abbey thought the Longhorns and Bison were quite spectacular, albeit scary if they moved.
LBJ State Park Contains Great History
Here in Texas, LBJ is known as one of our greatest Presidents of all time. If you spend only a small amount of time here, you will undoubtedly learn some things you did not know. What kind of man was LBJ? Why is the river called Pedernales? What was it like to live life on the farm? What kinds of people lived in this area?
You will learn the answers to questions such as these and more. Next to the visitors center on the south side of the river you can find various exhibits. On the north side of the river, there is another visitors center at the ranch.
LBJ Ranch Visitors Center
The Ranch Visitors Center is right next to the jet, you cannot miss it. Drive around the one way loop in your vehicle. Follow the signs through the ranch as you pass the longhorns guarding the airstrip. There are several potential stopping points along the way with educational displays.
This is a good opportunity to enjoy the air conditioning if it is hot outside, assuming your A/C is operational. Once you reach the jet you can park and view the area on foot. The jet is a must-see if you have any interest in aircraft.
At the Ranch Visitors Center you can view historical objects, use the restroom, watch a brief video of LBJ, or purchase tickets to tour the Texas White House. I cannot give you any info. on the White House because I did not take the tour. I imagine that it’s very retro.
If you tour the White House, come back and let us know how it looks. Feel free to post a pic or two. They may not allow photos inside, but there are plenty of other great images to capture at LBJ State Park and Ranch.
More Things to Do at This Historic State Park
Unfortunately, we couldn’t spend a full day at LBJ State Park because we scheduled three Texas State Park visits for the day. There are several other things you can do at the park.
- Fish the Pedernales River
- Swim in the pool during the summer ($3 per person)
- Play tennis
- Reserve the group hall
- Tour a cabin from the 1870’s
- Youth group camping
I’m a certified personal trainer in San Antonio. After adopting Abbey, I created Places for Pups to help you get outside, exercise with your dog and have fun doing it.
We have mastered hiking in Texas Hill Country. Though we emerge from the woods unharmed, we are not responsible for you or your pets. You are solely responsible for trying exercises, or places discussed on this site.
Grab the best hiking gear and go dog friendly. I wish you good fortune on the trails to come.