Best Day Trips from The San Antonio Area

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Find out about the stunning locations and undiscovered jewels nearby the energetic city of San Antonio, Texas. This thriving metropolis, located in the center of the Lone Star State, has a wide range of intriguing activities, a fascinating history, and a diverse population. However, there is a world of adventure waiting to be discovered beyond the city’s energetic streets and well-known attractions. In this article, we set out on a quest to reveal the top day trips from the San Antonio region, where you can get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse yourself in the beauties of nature, learn about the past, and make priceless memories.

Due to its advantageous position, San Antonio has quick access to a wide range of day trip sites that may accommodate all tastes and interests. The area contains attractions for all tastes, whether you’re looking for serene natural settings, fascinating historical places, or heart-pounding outdoor pursuits. These day tours will take you on a memorable journey of the diverse and alluring Texas environment, from small towns to breathtaking national parks.

The lovely Hill Country, a region covered with undulating hills, crystal-clear rivers, and beautiful vistas, is a haven for nature lovers. You may explore the alluring beauty of places like Garner State Park, where you can trek along picturesque trails, swim in crystal-clear rivers, and take in breath-taking vistas from the tops of limestone cliffs, only a short drive from San Antonio. The gigantic granite dome of the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, which offers thrilling rock climbing and breathtaking views of the surroundings, invites for a singular experience.

The greatest day trips from the San Antonio region guarantee an unforgettable experience, whether you’re a fan of nature, history, or adventure. Join us as we explore the undiscovered gems and breathtaking scenery that lie just outside the city. Prepare to explore the splendors of the Texas Hill Country, learn about fascinating historical locations, and partake in exhilarating outdoor activities. As we set out on a trip of adventure, discovery, and pure excitement, get ready to be enthralled.

Canyon Lake

Canyon Lake TX wide

Address: Canyon Lake, Texas, USA

Canyon Lake is only a short drive away on the first of many top-day trips from San Antonio. An hour’s drive from San Antonio puts Canyon Lake in the ideal location for a quick getaway to some of Texas’ natural wonders. You’ll like visiting this region, which is referred to as the “Jewel” of Texas Hill Country. Along with the lake, it also has the same-named little town. The lake itself is well-known for its water sports, including boating, fishing, and other activities. 

The shores of Canyon Lake are home to some fantastic tours, such as Full of Fun Boat Rides. With the Full of Fun trip, you can choose your own destination or let the driver lead the way as you cruise down a tranquil pontoon. Additionally available are fishing, lake swimming, and tub towing. A fishing guide who leads tours for Big Bassin Fishing Tours will make this traditional Texas experience come to life.

Dripping Springs, Texas

Dripping Springs Texas City Hall 2019

Address: Dripping Springs, Texas 78620, USA

Extend your Canyon Lake day excursion a little farther north to Dripping Springs, Texas, a charming tiny town in the Texas Hill Country with several nearby attractions like the Dr. Pound Historical Farmstead, Pedernales Fall State Park, and the Hamilton Pool Preserve.

One of the most gorgeous waterfalls in the United States and a crystal-clear pool beneath a granite cliff that forms a natural dome can be seen at the Hamilton Pool Preserve. When you go, be aware that swimming could not be permitted and that some trails might be closed. Unpredictable rock falls are the root cause of both of these incidents. Nevertheless, the Preserve offers fantastic hiking and camping paths that you will love. 

Wimberly, Texas

Wimberly texas downtown

Address: Wimberley, Texas, USA

Nearby Canyon Lake is another little town called Wimberly, which is ideal for those who love the outdoors. In fact, we’d like to focus on two fun activities that you may do away from San Antonio. 

Go to Blue Hole Regional Park first, which USA Today ranked among the best 10 swimming holes in the US in 2018. Enjoy four and a half miles of trails, numerous picnic spots, and the lovely Blue Hole Swimming Area. If your journey falls within those months, make sure to stop by The Blue Hole. It is open from May through September. 

Visit the Jacob’s Well Natural Area next. The Natural Ares is the last entirely submerged cave in Texas, measuring roughly 81 acres in size and tucked in the heart of Texas splendor. From October to April, free morning excursions with a guide are offered, during which time the history of the Well, the underwater cave system, and the local animals will all be covered. As there is no lifeguard, you can swim, but only if you feel comfortable doing so.

Natural Bridge Caverns

Natural bridge caverns bridge

Address: 26495 Natural Bridge Caverns Rd, San Antonio, TX 78266, USA

Visit Natural Bridge Caverns by taking a short journey from San Antonio (or by stopping halfway between the city and Canyon Lake). You will be able to witness the natural sixty-foot limestone bridge in the caves that captured the fancy of geologists in the 1960s. They began their search for the caves that surrounded the bridge. Presently, there are five different tours available for people to take around the area and the caverns they discovered. 

1008 feet below the surface, take the Discovery Tour. Or, for something a little more adventurous, go on the Adventure Tour. Additionally, there are exclusive VIP tours that can be totally tailored to your group or family. The Bracken Bat Flight Packages allow you to observe 20 million Mexican Free-tailed bats roosting in Bracken cave, and the Hidden Passages Tour takes you on another experience that is still being developed. 

Gruene, Texas (Rustic Side of Texas)

Gruene tower

Address: 78130 Gruene Estate Rock Street, New Braunfels, TX

Gruene, Texas, the Historic District of New Braunfels, is a city within a city. San Antonio is forty minutes away, and Austin is an hour. The finest site to see Texas’ more traditional, ancient side is Gruene. At Gruene Hall, the oldest dance hall in Texas, you may see some of the top country musicians play live. A little wine sampling is ideal at The Grapevine, and the Gruene General Store is an excellent spot to buy souvenirs. Additionally, the entire town is ideal for taking pictures. 

Pedernales Fall State Park

Peranales River that sometimes flows underground near LBJ Ranch in Teaas under crazy sunset sky with fall foliage

Address: 2585 Park Rd 6026, Johnson City, TX 78636, USA

Another natural treasure is about an hour and a half away from San Antonio. Even though the Pedernales River’s levels can quickly rise, they are normally ideal for swimming. Just be mindful of your surroundings and leave the water if you see the current accelerating or the normally dry terrain turning muddy. 

In addition to swimming, you can climb to some waterfalls. One pauses at a viewpoint above Twin Falls along a short, half-mile trail. The six-mile alternate trail leads to Arrowhead Pool. This is more of a series of naturally occurring pools tumbling into one another than a waterfall. 

With ten miles of challenging mountain bike routes, this state park is also a fantastic location for this activity. Kayaking, canoeing, and tubing are also popular in this area. At Pedernales Falls, there is truly something for everyone—even horseback riding is permitted.

Luckenbach, Texas

U.S. Post Office, Luckenbach, TX

Address: Luckenbach, Texas 78624, USA

Luckenbach, Texas, is just over an hour away from San Antonio and is yet another of the best day trips from the city. There is a lot of fun nightlife in Luckenbach because it is another town well known for its music culture. Numerous festivals take place all year long as well. Otherwise, it puts you in a relaxed “Texas state of mind,” which makes it the ideal San Antonio retreat. 

Garner State Park

Garner State Park sign

Address: 234 RR 1050, Concan, TX 78838, USA

Garner State Park, located an hour and a half west of San Antonio, is yet another fantastic destination for Texas road trip enthusiasts who love the outdoors. You can swim, camp, and have a picnic here, much like in Blanco State Park. With more than 1,770 acres of Texas Hill Country within its boundaries, this park is significantly larger than Blanco. 

Here, the Summer Dance, an occasion for young people since the 1940s, is one of the best traditions. If you want to attend this popular, vibrant, and exciting jukebox dance, get there early. 

The Frio River is undoubtedly Garner State Park’s treasure. Outdoor fans should not miss this. You may kayak down this freshwater river while taking in the stunning scenery.

Lost Maples State Natural Area

Lost maples scenic overlook

Addresd: 37221 RM 187, Vanderpool, TX 78885, USA

Beautiful scenery may be found at Lost Maples State Natural Area, especially in the fall. You only need to envision stunning fall foliage set against soaring canyon walls and the raging Sabinal River to decide to make this one of your San Antonio day tours. Due to its distance from major cities, Lost Maples also features one of the darkest skies. Because of this, it’s a great location for stargazing. You may even take a ranger-led tour of Texas’ night skies at the park’s star parties. 

New Braunfels, Texas

Guadalupe River, Interstate 35, New Braunfels, Aerial view

Address: New Braunfels, Texas, USA

The classic small-town escape, New Braunfels has stores, cafes, and pubs. A lot of museums exist as well, such as the Heritage Museum of the Texas Hill Country. More than 200 dinosaur footprints are preserved in this museum, which also has working dinosaur fossil digs, gardens, and hiking trails. 

There are a lot of galleries in New Braunfels as well. Within the historic downtown is the Historic Outdoor Art Museum. It is actually a collection of art projects spread out over the city, rather than one specific location. On a gorgeous sunny day, this is a wonderful self-tour.

But most widely? Families seeking a vacation to escape the summer heat can consider going tubing in New Braunfels. image from before the pandemic.

You might also enjoy painting the Guadalupe River, which flows through New Braunfels. Your host will meet you there and provide you the supplies you need to start painting. This is a wonderful way to unwind while taking in the breathtaking landscape along the river.

Blanco State Park

Blanco State Park 12

Address: 101 Park Rd 23, Blanco, TX 78606, USA

A trip to Blanco State Park is another of our top outside-of-San Antonio activities. Even though Blanco State Park is only a little over one square mile in size, there is a lot to do there. The Blanco River’s lovely flowing waters, which in some places cascade into little waterfalls, will be the first thing you can notice.

Most of the time, this river’s current is good for swimming, but always pay attention to the weather and heed any safety warnings. In addition to swimming, you may geocache, walk, and camp. Without a license, you can fish here as well. Last but not least, if paddling is your preferred form of recreation, you may rent a kayak from the park store and explore the Blanco from the comfort of your own boat.

Johnson City, Texas

Blanco county courthouse

Address: Johnson City, Texas, USA

The Finger Lakes region of upstate New York comes to mind when we take a quick glance at Johnson City, Texas. In fact, this area contains a historical tiny hamlet and the beginning of the 290 Texas Wine Trail. Explore the downtown’s art and antique shops, have a beer at Pecan Street Brewing, or go to the Johnson Settlement for more enjoyable activities outside of San Antonio. 

The 1860s-era town belonged to President Lyndon B. Johnson’s grandparents. In reality, it’s important to note that Johnson City is not named after the President but rather after his uncle, who gave the town of Johnson City a sizable piece of property along the Pedernales River in 1879.

Fredericksburg, Texas (Wine Country)

ChrisLitherlandFredericksburg

Address: Fredericksburg, Texas, 78624, USA

West of Johnson City and close to both Luckenbach and it, Fredericksburg, Texas is home to various lodging options for visitors to Luckenbach.

Taking a tour is one of the finest ways to see these Texas day trips from San Antonio. This well-liked Fredericksburg wine tour takes tourists on a full-day excursion to two separate vineyards before returning to the Fredericksburg Visitor Center, where you may continue your independent exploration of the town on foot. 

This Boutique Winery Experience is another excursion that should not be missed. This itinerary, which includes three different winery stops and a boxed lunch cooked by a chef, is the ideal way to discover the Texas Hill Country’s wineries. You can schedule this tour alone or with friends; either way, it will be enlightening and delectable.

You can also book an outstanding LBJ Tour that departs from San Antonio. You will be picked up for this tour at 8:30 a.m. from your hotel. and will be driven into the Hill Country in a vehicle with air conditioning and a live guide. Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site entry is included in the cost (starting at $109 USD). Following Fredericksburg, where you can eat lunch on your own, the tour continues to Luckenbach, where there will be live country music.

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

Enchanted rock 2006

Address: Fredericksburg, Texas 78624, USA

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area must be mentioned before we leave the Fredericksburg region. There are eleven miles of hiking trails, campgrounds, and other amenities in this region, which is unlike any other we’ve described. It is a large pink granite dome. The park contains more than 400 archeological sites where people have resided and visited for more than 12,000 years. 

Why is it magical? The Tonkawa Indians believed that the pinnacle of the dome was where ghost flames burnt. A virgin is said to haunt the dome in a different ghost story. Another legend claims that a Spanish conquistador hid among the rocks, leading the local Native Americans to believe that he had cast an enchantment over the region. It is undoubtedly a magical land in the end.

San Marcos, Texas

Hays County Courthouse historic district

Address: San Marcos, Texas 78666, USA

San Marcos, which is home to Texas State University, is a well-liked resting place because of its proximity to many of the best tourist destinations in the area. Our list of San Antonio escapes continues with a trip to San Marcos. San Marcos, like San Antonio, has a bustling downtown area, a variety of attractions, and a passionate art culture. The San Marcos Art Center, for instance, has a large collection of sculpture and fine art on display. It’s also pretty fascinating to visit Wimberley Glassworks, where you can view glass-blown artwork both finished and being displayed. 

The Premium Outlets are San Marcos’ most notable claim to fame. Between any day adventures north of San Antonio, it makes the ideal pit break. Or a pleasant trip on the route from San Antonio to Austin.

The San Marcos River

San Marcos River, San Marcos, TX, USA - downstream from the headwaters

San Marcos is where the San Marcos River originates, hence the River itself is a San Marcos attraction. Even a tour can be scheduled if you want to fully experience the River. Try out this eco-tour that includes glass bottom kayaking. While admiring the surroundings, you’ll be able to see deep down into the San Marcos’ crystal-clear waters. The tour lasts for two hours and costs $40, making it quite reasonable and the ideal length for an adventure.

Gorman Falls in Colorado Bend State Park

Gorman falls a cleansing water creek it empties into the colorado river

Address: 4200 Smith School Rd. Austin, TX 78744

A stunning waterfall called Gorman Falls is tucked away in Colorado Bend State Park’s Colorado River Wilderness. The 70-foot-tall falls are fed by a spring and are themselves. You’ll need to travel three miles roundtrip across difficult terrain to get to them. As a result, when you go there, be sure to have excellent walking shoes, a walking stick, and something to take pictures of. 

In other areas of the park, you may go swimming in Spicewood Springs, canoeing along the river, or taking advantage of the 35 miles of bike trails.  

Guadalupe River State Park

Guadalupe river state park bluff

Address: 3350 Park Rd 31, Spring Branch, TX 78070, USA

This state park and swimming hole are surrounded by stunning rocky cliffs and distinctive trees. You can spend a day exploring the thirteen miles of hiking and bike trails, or you can rent camping equipment on-site and utilize it overnight. The park’s Bauer Unit offers primitive camping and hiking opportunities and is largely undeveloped. Finally, you can paddle along the five-mile Guadalupe River State Park Paddling Trail to experience the river’s currents. 

Corpus Christi, Texas

Corpus christi 2014

Address: Corpus Christi, Texas, USA

Two hours southeast of San Antonio, on the Gulf of Mexico, is Corpus Christi. Numerous activities are available, including going to the Texas Surf Museum and strolling over the sands of Padre Island National Seashore. In fact, there is so much to see that we advise thinking about taking a two-day trip from San Antonio to see everything that might be of interest to you. 

Mustang Island State Park might be one of these attractions. The natural beach at Mustang Island State Park is ideal for activities like swimming, surfing, kayaking, and more. If you want to spend your entire Corpus Christi vacation on the beach, you can also tent here.

Alternatively, you might take a glowing kayaking excursion out of North Padre Island, where you’d paddle in a transparent, LED-lit kayak under the full moon. You’ll be able to see various marine creatures, including stingrays and blue crabs.

Finally, take into consideration scheduling this tour of the Padre Island Canals. On a stand-up paddleboard, you’ll leave North Padre Island for the intercoastal waterway. The two-hour journey costs $75 and includes drinks, snacks, and a live guide.

Austin, Texas

Austin Congress Street Bridge and Texas Capitol Building

Address: Austin, Texas, USA

Austin has been referenced several times in this post, although San Antonio and Austin are actually not that far apart. One of the best San Antonio escapes for dining, shopping, and nightlife is the exciting hour-and-a-half journey from San Antonio to San Marcos to Austin. However, keep in mind that Austin’s rush hour traffic can be awful.

Even though Austin is a large metropolis, it is still smaller than San Antonio. Austin is anything but a tiny town. And similar to Corpus Christi, you might want to schedule a few days here or get an early start on your day excursion. 

If you enjoy biking, Austin is the Texas city for you because it is also crisscrossed with bike trails. The Barton Creek Greenbelt, the Southern Walnut Creek Trail, and the bike paths at McKinney Falls State Park are a few well-known biking routes.

Make sure to check out the North Loop Neighborhood while you’re in Austin. This area includes distinctive stores and eateries and is close to the University of Texas. All three of these elements contribute to the neighborhood’s lively atmosphere.

Considering how congested Austin is getting, be sure to make any restaurant appointments well in advance!

Why not go on a culinary tour while you are in Austin to learn about the local food scene, sample foods like BBQ brisket and breakfast tacos, and see Downtown Austin? The tour may be reserved here.

On this Haunted History Tour, you might also discover more about Austin’s eerie past and hear about local ghost stories. As well as visiting some of the locations known for paranormal activity, such as the Driskill Hotel (rumored to be Austin’s most haunted hotel), you’ll hear a variety of haunting tales.

Castroville, Texas

Castroville City Hall

Addredd: Castroville, Texas 78009, USA

You can get to Castroville, Texas, from San Antonio by heading due west for thirty minutes. A day excursion to Castroville’s parks and historical attractions is worthwhile. First, the Steinbach Haus was constructed in France between 1618 and 1648 and was relocated to Castroville by Alsatian residents in the 1990s.  This unusual house is really intriguing, especially as it recalls a long-standing bond between the French settlers in the region and their homeland.  It now functions as a tourism center. 

Visit Castroville Regional Park for outdoor leisure. The park contains a swimming pool, access to the Medina River, and 126 acres of wooded space.

Explore Texas Hill Country on Horseback

Horseback riding lessons at Camp Waldemar, one of several summer camps in the Texas Hill Country near the town of Hunt, near Kerrville in Kerr County, Texas

A day of being a cowboy sounds fun. In the Texas Hill Country, you can. With the help of a local guide and her horse Misti, you can really tour the Hill Country on horseback with this excursion. You will be given the perfect horse for you, and the guide will lead you on an hour-long trail ride through the hills. On your journey, you’ll pass by forests, ponds, and a cemetery. For an additional $25 per person, they provide a shortened ride for families with young children, making this a family-friendly experience.

Conclusion

There are plenty of amazing day trips in and around San Antonio that can satisfy any taste or interest. There is something for everyone to enjoy, from the calm beauty of the Hill Country to the historical treasures in adjacent towns and the heart-pounding outdoor pleasures awaiting adventure seekers. These day tours offer the ideal chance to get away from the city and discover nature, history, and exhilarating activities. Pack your luggage, go on an adventure, and make lifelong memories as you learn about the top-day trips from the San Antonio region.

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