Can't carry firearms on "government" property, which includes national forests and parks. State parks, I am not sure on, presumably no, because it is still "government" property. You would talk with local park personnel to be sure.
I would suggest a thigh holster, but that takes away from having a concealed carry. Another option is using a fanny pack, and they even make velcro ones specifically for holstering firearms. That way you just rip the 'pack' part off and you can un-holster your firearm.
Be sure what your handgun carry permit covers, concealed carry or open carry. You can get into a lot of trouble for carrying concealed when you only have an open carry permit.
Think of it not as a failure but as a success in how not to do it.
Don't look in a horses mouth for a gift.