One of the best features of Bastrop, Texas, besides its quaint small town charm, is the beautiful, natural scenery. From hill country to pine trees, Bastrop is an outdoor oasis for nature lovers. Bastrop is probably best known for being home to Bastrop State Park, but there are several smaller parks that are just as much fun to visit. Fisherman’s Park, located a couple of blocks from historic downtown Bastrop, is one of those parks.
Fisherman’s Park sits on the bank of the Colorado River, making it the perfect spot for a morning jog, a playdate with the kids, or an impromptu picnic. It’s one of my family’s favorite local spots, especially now that they’ve put in a new Splash Pad.
The Splash Pad is an open-air area with several water features designed to keep kids wet and cool, including a tall, yellow pole with buckets that dump out water when they fill up, a green ring that sprays water at anyone who ventures through the middle, two red poles that squirt out blasts of water, lots of jets that shoot water up from the cement pad, and a little green alligator my kids nicknamed “Humphrey.”
The Splash Pad is open seasonally from 10am-2pm and 5-7pm daily, and admission is free. The Splash Pad is gated, which is a lifesaver to a mother of three young children! There currently isn’t very much shade, but they will be putting in a shade arbor in the next month or so. In order to conserve water, the water used for the Splash Pad will be recaptured and used for landscape irrigation.
Another fun feature for kids is the playground. There are four regular swings, two bucket swings for toddlers, and two ski lift type swings. There are two “playscapes,” one for bigger kids and one for toddlers. Both have slides and climbing features. Additionally, there is a balance beam for the budding tight rope walker and a four-way see-saw with animal seats that is a playground favorite. The whole playground is surrounded by a chain link fence to keep children from wandering off.
Like any regular park, there are picnic tables, public restrooms, and a Pavillion that can be rented for special occasions. For sports lovers, there is an open soccer field (often used for Movies in the Park), a basketball court, and a volleyball court. And if you want to take a break, there are several “porch” swings and iron benches where you can rest and simply enjoy the scenery.
One thing my family can’t leave Fisherman’s Park without doing is feeding the ducks. There’s a boat dock and platform that’s great for feeding the ducks, fishing, boating, canoeing, kayaking, or tubing. Two local outfitters, Bastrop River Company and Rising Phoenix Adventures, rent canoes and kayaks, as well as offer guided tours. Bastrop River Company also offers tube rentals.
Throughout Fisherman’s Park, there are shady, tree-lined trails alongside the Colorado River that are great for running, biking, or just taking a stroll. One of the most traveled trails is the June Hill Pape Riverwalk, which connects Fisherman’s Park to Ferry Park. In December, the Riverwalk is transformed into the “River of Lights” and decorated with lighted Christmas displays. Of course, with or without decorations, Fisherman’s Park is a beautiful sight.
Even after being ravaged by wildfires back in September 2011, Bastrop is still thriving. Although much of Bastrop State Park was burned, all of the city’s smaller parks, including Fisherman’s Park, were left untouched. Come on out and experience Bastrop’s beauty and charm for yourself!
For more information about how you can support Bastrop State Park, click here.
Joleen E. Smith is the Editor of 365 Things to Do in Bastrop, Texas, a fun blog about “things to do” in Bastrop County – where playing horseshoes is the official sport, historic is hip, and even proper southern ladies aspire to be Bridgespitters. Joleen is a stay-at-home mom with three always active/often annoying/usually adorable children and a tall, handsome, hard-working husband who looks like Nicolas Cage. She despises cooking, loves big fluffy hair bands from the 80’s, and would wear pajamas 24-7 if it were socially acceptable. You can follow her adventures at http://365bastrop.com.