Lately it seems like more and more families have been making San Antonio their vacation destination. The Alamo, Riverwalk, and fabulous Mexican cuisine all bring visitors to this vibrant Texas city. However, there are plenty of amazing day trips from San Antonio.
The surrounding Hill Country is gorgeous and filled with amazing things to see and do. Whether you are a local or a visitor, this guide ot the best day trips form San Antonio will keep you coming back for more.
Looking for things to do in town? Check out our guide to the best things to do in San Antonio with kids.
10 Great Day Trips from San Antonio
1. Live the Strange Life in Austin
You can’t pass up the opportunity to visit a place whose motto is, “Keep Austin weird.” Check out Austin’s stunning State Capitol Building or take a stroll through the University of Texas campus.
Of course, you will want to listen to live music while you are in town. Central Market North s the ultimate kid-friendly music venue as there is a huge playground right next to the stage.
For a wide variety of activities all in one place, spend a day at Zilker Park where you can ride the miniature train, swim in Barton Springs pool, eat a picnic lunch, check out the walking path that hugs the river, and run around at the playground. You can even rent kayaks and paddle around and enjoy the skyline.
Read our full guide to things to do in Austin with kids.
2. Explore the Shops and Waterways of San Marcos
Just south of Austin, you’ll find the town of San Marcos, home to Texas State University and their glass-bottom boats. A tour guide will tell you all about the spring-fed waterway and the plants and animals that inhabit it. You can actually see the spring water bubbling up from the ground through the crystal clear water.
While you’re there, check out the small aquarium near the boarding area. On the way out of town, do some shopping at Prime Outlets and Tanger Outlets, two malls located just off I-35.
3. Mosey on Down to Bandera
The Cowboy Capital of the World, Bandera is a must-visit for families who have an aspiring cowboy or cowgirl. Stop by the old-fashioned general store located downtown and have a soda or an ice cream.
You will find the best apple pie in Texas at Love Creek Orchards. You may be able to pick your own apples, blackberries, or figs, depending on the season.
History lovers will want to take a look at St. Stanislaus Church and the Bandera County Courthouse, both of which are Texas Historic Landmarks. Be sure to visit the Frontier Times Museum, where you’ll see everything from 19th-century dental equipment to seashells.
On Saturdays, don’t miss the Bandera Cattle Company gunfighter show at the Bandera Visitor’s Center.
4. Enjoy the German Charm of Fredericksburg
Fredericksburg is one of my favorite towns in Texas. The downtown area is filled with historic buildings, including the birthplace of Admiral Nimitz.
The beautiful Vereins Kirche, a 1935 recreation of the 19th-century church that used to stand in the town’s Markplatz, is a perfect place for a few family photos. With lots of interesting shops and places to eat, you’ll find plenty to do in this Hill Country town.
Fredericksburg is also home to Enchanted Rock, a great place for hiking and exploration. Kids love walking up the massive rock and climbing into the caves. This is truly one of the best place to get active outside in the area.
Fredericksburg is one of the stops on this great Texas Hill Country road trip itinerary.
5. Make a Splash in New Braunfels
There is so much to do in New Braunfels that it will require a few different day trips from San Antonio to do it all!
First, you will definitely want to visit the original Schlitterbahn Water Park. The park is massive, and it will take at least one full day to do it all. Many of the slides and pools are nestled into the natural contours of the land, river, and old growth trees. There is even a slide that dumps into the river!
Want a more natural tubing experience? You can float both the Comal and Guadalupe Rivers with one of many tour companies that will drop you off at one spot and pick you up later down river.
New Braunfels is also home to Natural Bridge Caverns and Wildlife Park. It is basically two different parks in one. There are cave tours, a ropes course, and zip line on the caverns side and a drive-through safari on the wildlife park side.
6. Experience Even More Hill Country Fun in Boerne
Boerne’s German and Czech cultural heritage is apparent up and down Main Street, so why not emrbance it? Head to Little Gretel for sausage, beer, and kolaches.
After all that great food you will probably want to walk off some of the calories to take a stroll along the Cibolo Creek Trail toward downtown to see the shops along Main Street.
If you are craving more natural beauty along banks of Cibolo Creek, head to the Cibolo Creek Nature Center for more. If the Texas heat starts getting to you, find refuge inside the Cave Without A Name.
Even you are looking to extend your day even further, check out The Tejas Rodeo and Steakhouse Saloon for a family-friendly dinner and show. The rodeo takes place about 30 minutes outside of Boerne every Saturday evening March through November.
7. Cool off at Blanco State Park
The summer heat in Texas can be relentless, so this daytrip from San Antonio is designed to help you beat the heat.
Blanco State Park is located along the Blanco River and a great place to bring some inner tubes and float the day away. If you forget your inner tubes, you can rent them from the park store. Small children can splash the day away in the shallow wading pool next to Falls Dam.
This lovely park has plenty of cedar and pecan trees, There are also screened shelters for picnicking, nature trails and even a wildlife viewing station. This is also a fun place to do some fishing with bass, trout, and catfish up for grabs and no license needed if you fish from the shore.
8. Get Some of the Best BBQ in Texas in Driftwood
You can’t visit Texas without enjoying some authentic Texas BBQ and the grandaddy of them all, The Salt Lick BBQ, is located in Driftwood.
In addition to some of the best bbq on the planet (I recommend the family style option), there is indoor and outdoor seating, a playground for the kids, wine tasting at Salt Lick Cellars in the same complex, and a store where you can purchase some of the legendary bbq sauce to bring home. They also often have live music playing, especially on weekends.
8. Learn Some Presidential History in Johnson City
Johnson City is home to the childhood home of our 36th president, Lyndon B. Johnson. Families can take a tour of the ranch (which is technically in the unincorporated community of Stonewall) as well as visit the living history farm where docents are dressed in period clothing while they take care of the animals and make food.
Families always get a kick out of the bison and longhorn cattle that call the ranch home, and it is especially lovely during Texas wildflower season.
Pedernales Falls State Park is also near Johnson City and a great place for rock jumping, hiking, and swimming. The falls are seasonal but when they are runnning, they are a beautiful site.
9. Head to One of Wimberley’s Swimming Holes
Wimberley is home to two of the most beautiful and popular swimming holes in the state. As a matter of fact, they are so popular that they have reservation systems in place to keep crowds at bay.
Blue Hole’s swimming reservation system opens on March 1st and the swimming season opens in May. Families have a blast swing on the ropes swings, swimming in crystal clear water, sunbathing on the grassy swim lawn which is shaded with cypress trees.
Jacob’s Well is another great swimming hole in town. It’s a 15-minute walk form the parking area to the swimming hole (sturdy soled shoes are recommended because the limestone stairs can be slippery when wet), but you will be rewarded with more crystal clear water. The swimming season at Jacob’s Well runs from May 1 to September 30 each year.
Trekaroo Tip: If you stop to grab a bite to eat dowtown, be on the lookout for the 30 painted boots statues around town.
10. Admire Brilliant Fall Foliage at Lost Maples Natural Area
Fall in Texas begins in the second half of October and Lost Maples State Natural Area, about two hours from San Antonio when the reds and yellows is a great place to spend the weekend leaf peeping.
Hike, camp, bike, fish, and bird watch in this 2100-acre state park, all while enjoying Big Tooth Maple Trees showing off their colors. Fall foliage tends peak in Sabinal Canyon, where Lost Maples is located, in early November. Monitor the foliage report to best time your visit.
Lost Maples State Natural Area made our list of the best state parks in Texas. Be sure to read our guide to Texas fall foliage to make sure you don’t miss any of the best spots in the state for leef peeping.