Meridian State Park Overview:
Meridian has over 505 acres and was built in 1933-34 by a World War I Veteran Company as part of the Civilian Conservation Corp projects. This is a great park with full hookups, water and electricity, and primitive sites with water. It is centered in the Bosque hill county and is 1000 feet above sea level - reminds you of a mini Texas hill country.
The main attractions here include hiking, a small 72-acre lake, good camping, fishing, and bird watching. Speaking of birds, usually around March 9 the golden checked warbler, which is an endangered species, migrates to the park to stay in the cedar trees - this is one of only a few public sites in Texas on the migration path.
Book early, this popular park gets over 90,000 visitors a year. Limited cell service was available when we visited in March 2006.
Support your State Park system in any way you can - budget cuts are impacting staffing, maintenance and improvements to all Texas State Parks.
Amenities and Fun Things To Do:
Meridian State Park has 8 full hook up sites; 7 water and electric sites; 14 primitive sites (8 with water); a group camping area for up to 88 people with a dining hall with full cooking facilities; 4 water and electric sites; and 7 shelters (number 12 has a great view of the lake); 11 screened shelters, 6 of which are right on the water; a boat ramp; a very nice day use picnic area with tables and a swimming beach; and hiking trails.
There are over 8.5 miles of hiking trails which are very rough for biking, so be prepared to carry you bike, unless you are an expert rider. Texas Outside gave the trails a rating of 4 with low to moderate strenuous level. The kids will enjoy the trail around the lake.
Go fishing, the lake is well stocked and has some big ones waiting for you.
A Typical Texas Outsider Day:
Start the day (after a hearty breakfast of sausage, hash browns, and hot eggs - crack some eggs on top of salsa, cover with cheese, and cook with a lid until poached) with a 2.3-mile hike around Lake Meridian. If it's hot, you can cool off at multiple swimming spots around the hike.
After lunch, decide on which of the other trails to hike or if you're in good shape bike the one-way loop within the park which is up and down some fairly steep hills.
Launch the boat (5 miles per hour speed limit) and do some fishing - Lake Meridian is well stocked with catfish and brim plus a cross between Florida Strain Largemouth and Texas Native Largemouth bass and the lake holds a record 12.19 pound catch. There are lots of spots for fishing from the bank or from your lawn chair in the day use area!
Thanks to Texas State Parks Family Fishing Celebration? program, no fishing licenses are required to fish in any of the Texas State Parks - so there are no excuses for not planning a fish fry for dinner.
Kayak or canoe the lake.
Stop at the Park entrance and visit with Jody Lee, the Park manager - what a great guy and a wealth of information about his Park.
Cool Nearby Activities:
Visit the antique shops in Meridian, golf at Bosque Valley Golf Club (254 435-2692), check out some local history or genealogy at the county seat in downtown Meridian, or drive 25 miles or so to explore Lake Whitney, Cleburne State Park, Glen Rose, or Dinosaur Valley State Park (the kids will love it here - dinosaur tracks, some history, and pictures). Check out the Discover Texas and the Thank God For Weekends section to find more things to do in or nearby the Meridian State Park.
Restaurants in Meridian include Papa Doc's (pretty good buffet dinner with ribs, chicken fried steak and catfish), El Jardin, and Zapatas (excellent breakfast).
If you want to water ski or wake board, head north on 174 and just before you get to the bridge that crosses the Brazos River is a boat ramp. This stretch of the Brazos River offers some of the best and smoothest water in Texas for skiing and boarding - go for it!
- Overall Rating:
- Scenic Beauty:
- Things To Do:
Additional Pictures of Meridian State Park
Texas Outside uses a tough rating scale and it’s difficult for a campground to get a “10”. Each park is rated on:
- Scenic Beauty: a campground that is flat with no trees or character gets a “1” and hills, lots of trees, beautiful lake site, and lush ground cover gets a “10”
- Park Condition: the cleaner, well kept, and maintained campgrounds receive high scores
- Amenities: we are looking for lots of amenities like restrooms, dump stations, playgrounds, boat ramps, shelters, concession stand, rental toys, and more.
- Campsites: low scores are given for sites that are right next to each other (good for getting to know your neighbors, but not what we’re looking for when we’re camping); have no lantern holder, no water or electricity, no fire pit, no grill, or no picnic table (or it’s rotten wood); have no trees and no view; the ground cover is crushed rock (my bare feet hate that stuff!); and they require a lot of work to get your rig level.
- Things To Do: Bonus points are given for campgrounds that offer lots of fun things to do at the park or very nearby – this includes: biking, hiking, climbing, boating, entertainment, golf, swimming, fishing, volleyball, horseshoes, and more