In October 2022 the summer weather of Texas finally gave way to a beautiful crisp fall weekend. My husband and I were anxious for a weekend getaway to enjoy the change in weather. Unwilling and unable to travel far, we used a 2 hour travel time limit as our guide and began to search the Texas State Parks. We knew we had found our desired destination when we found Goliad State Park–an exactly 2 hour ride from our home that also had an available campsite! The campsite was located at the Longhorn Tent Camping site which sits close to the shores of the San Antonio river. It’s a short distance to the perfect site to launch a kayak and head down the river. Our campsite had water, a fire ring, and a picnic table and was an economical $10 a night. The bathroom was a short 3 minute walk up a small hill from our campsite.
Goliad is an important city in Texas history. Within the park is situated the Spanish Mission, Nuestra Señora del Espíritu Santo de Zuniga. A whitewashed mission with simple yet beautiful folk art interior sits on a lovely treed piece of property. Established in 1722 Spain established this mission to convert the Indians to Christianity. It went on to become the first large cattle ranch in Texas with almost 40,000 heads of cattle. The small museum attached to the chapel is informative and concise and gives you a window into what it would’ve been like to be an Aranama Indian in those days and regimented to do things the Spaniard way.
Literally a minute or two down the road from the state park sits La Bahia, a fort constructed by the Spaniards in 1747. Take time to explore the presidio and mission and learn about the battles and massacre that happened there. It will give you a much better understanding about how Texas came to be established. There are also the Fannin Monument and Angel of Goliad statues to visit that will enlarge your understanding of Texas history. For example, since our trip to Goliad, every time I drive on Fannin street in downtown Houston I think about James Fannin and his men who were massacred in the Texas Revolution by the Mexican Army.
Although the historic sites enhanced our experience, the park alone was full of pleasures. There were easy walking and biking paths and park rangers that provided nature walks to those interested. I personally enjoyed bird watching and exploring the park. As we wound down our short visit my husband had some work issues arise. He pulled out his laptop at the picnic table and worked to resolve those problems. As I watched him work in the dark night I couldn’t help but think that if you have to work after hours there isn’t a better place to do it than at Goliad State Park.