Here are 5 ideas for a fun day trip or a quick overnight adventure I shared with Shelly Miles on San Antonio Living on News 4 WOAI, my old TV home. The first two suggestions are easy day trips. I’d do the last three destinations as overnight trips, although #4 could be a day trip or overnight. All of these are three hours or less from San Antonio. These are great ideas for a weekend getaway too.
San Antonio Staycation – Free fun and get a history lesson
San Antonio Missions National Historical Park has the largest concentration of Spanish colonial missions in North America. It is also one of 24 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in United States and the only one in Texas. World Heritage Office San Antonio has audio tours for each mission. In the 18thFor an evening of free fun, catch The Saga video art installation projected on the facade of San Fernando Cathedral several times four nights a week. It’s free and fabulous. The first time I saw it, I watched it twice.
Visit a national monument – Waco Mammoth National Monument
Texas is home to 16 national park sites, including two national parks (Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains). I’ve visited over 100 national park sites and have found national monuments are often less crowded than national parks.
Fresh Air Fun – Canyon of the Eagles Resort in Burnet
Burnet, pronounced BUR-knit, is your gateway to Lake Buchanan, which is pronounced Buck-CAN-nun. It’s the northernmost and second largest of the seven Highland Lakes in Central Texas. It’s about 2.5 hours from San Antonio. You could easily combine a visit to Waco Mammoth National Monument with a stay in one of the guest room cabins, RV site or campsite at Canyon of the Eagles Nature Park and Resort. It’s on northeast shoreline. It’s been named best nature-based resort in Texas. It’s a birders paradise. You can rent kayaks, do a private guided hike or hike on your own in nature preserve.
See waterfalls while hiking at Colorado Bend State Park, about an hour drive from resort. Check out my blog on hiking the Spicewood Springs trail. Longhorn Cavern and Inks Lake State Parks are nearby too. After hiking, go wine tasting at Fall Creek Vineyards in tiny town of Tow is on northwest side of lake. It was the first winery in Texas to plant Tempranillo grapes. After wine tasting, enjoy the scenic drive around lake from vineyards to resort. For breakfast and dinner, dine at Overlook Restaurant at the resort.
*Canyon of the Eagles has an observatory with twilight and dark sky programs. It will be in the central path of solar eclipse on April 8, 2024. You can book starting Jan 1, 2023.
Hill Country Holiday – Concan
Concan is in the Texas Hill Country River Region and only 1.5 hours from San Antonio. It is nestled along the banks of the Frio River flanked by huge cypress trees. When I need a R&R weekend to decompress, this is one of the places I go. Stay in one of the cabins, homes and RV sites at Frio Country Resort. Hike in nearby Garner State Park. Old Baldy trail is short and steep with great views of the Frio River and surrounding Hill Country. Neal’s is a must for a meal, especially for breakfast.
At sunset go see 10-12 million Mexican free-tailed bats heading out for their nightly flight. It’s one of the largest colonies of bats in Texas. Check out my blog on the Frio Bat Flight for more information.
Coast Getaway – Port Aransas
I’ve been to Port Aransas, also called Port A, many times. It was hit hard by Hurricane Harvey in 2017 but has come back even better than before. It’s about 2.5 hours from San Antonio. You go for vitamin “sea” and for some fun in the sun. There’s more to Port A than just relaxing on the beach or fishing. Visit the Chapel on the Dunes. It was built in 1937-1938 and has survived Hurricanes Carla, Celia and Harvey. Open for tours on first and third Saturday of the month. Even if it’s not open, it’s a nice quiet place to visit. You do have to walk up some sandy stairs to get to the chapel.
Take the short ferry ride, which is only a couple of minutes, to uninhabited St. Joseph’s Island, also called St. Joe’s. Legend has it pirate Jean Lafitte buried treasure on the barrier island and his ghost continues to protect it. Spend a morning or day on the expansive beach, fishing or looking for wildlife like crabs and turtles. Check out my blog Fall Weekend in Port Aransas, Texas for more on St. Joe’s. My blog Girls R&R Weekend in Port Aransas, Texas has great suggestions for where to eat including the Donut Palace. Their drive-thru always has an early morning line of pickup trucks, golf carts and walkers. Stay in a condo or home at Sunflower Beach Resort and Residences. For something a little more rustic and a lot of fun, spend the night on the beach. Whether spending the day on the beach or overnight, beach parking permits are required. They are $12 and you can one at a grocery or convenience store in Port A.
Author Jennifer Broome lived in San Antonio for 10 years where she was chief meteorologist for News 4 WOAI. Now based in Denver, Colorado, she returns often and loves exploring Texas. Check out more Texas travel ideas in the Explore Texas section of Swept Away with Jennifer Broome.