The Best Day Trips From San Antonio, Texas (2023 Guide)


If you’re looking for the best day trips from San Antonio to add to your itinerary we share our favorite excursions from San Antonio!

San Antonio is one of the best places to visit in Texas!

From cruising down the San Antonio River Walk to indulging in the diverse, vibrant cuisine and nightlife, San Antonio has so much to offer travelers.

But just outside the city limits of San Antonio lies so much more beauty, culture, and history to explore!

Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures, historical landmarks, or anything in between, a day trip from San Antonio allows you to further explore the wonders of the Lone Star State.

There are so many gorgeous state parks where you can take on hiking trails, mountain bike trails, and more. Go rafting down the Frio River in Garner State Park or try camping in Guadalupe River State Park.

Or venture to a small town in the Texas Hill Country for wine tasting, shopping, touring museums, and learning about the local culture.

There is so much to do in and around San Antonio. So once you’ve explored the city for a few days, try to include a day trip or two in your itinerary!

The Best Day Trips From San Antonio, Texas

If you’re looking for an epic day trip from San Antonio, you are spoiled for choice! From taking on the hiking and bike trails in the stunning state parks to checking out Texas’s capital city, there are so many amazing things to do in this part of central Texas!

Wine lovers can check out vineyards and local wineries in Fredericksburg. Adventure seekers can go rock climbing, paddleboarding, or hiking in the nature around San Antonio.

No matter what you’re looking for, enjoy these top day trips from San Antonio! We recommend a rental car for traveling around Texas as tours and public transport may be limited.

The best way to get around is to rent a car and explore on your own! We recommend Rental Cars, which has the largest range of vehicles for the best value on the market.

Canyon Lake

  • Distance from San Antonio: 43 miles
  • Driving time: 51 minutes

One of the best San Antonio day trips for a hot day is Canyon Lake. Formed by the damming of the Guadalupe River, this man-made lake spans over 8,000 acres, making it one of the largest and most popular lakes in Texas.

Its crystal-clear waters are a haven for water enthusiasts, offering ample opportunities for boating, fishing, swimming, and water sports.

The lake’s rugged shoreline is adorned with limestone cliffs, providing a dramatic backdrop for outdoor adventures and numerous parks and campgrounds that cater to nature lovers and campers.

Surrounded by picturesque hills and canyons, Canyon Lake is not only a recreational paradise but also a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of urban life.

The nearby Canyon Lake Gorge, a natural wonder carved by the powerful floodwaters, offers guided tours for those interested in exploring its unique geology and fossils. Visitors can also indulge in birdwatching, hiking, and picnicking in the surrounding parks.

With its blend of natural beauty and recreational opportunities, Canyon Lake has become a cherished destination for both locals and tourists seeking a serene and adventurous getaway near San Antonio.

Canyon Lake
Canyon Lake has stunning fresh water perfect for escaping the Texas heat!

Guadalupe River State Park

  • Distance from San Antonio: 37 miles
  • Driving time: 53 minutes

Guadalupe River State Park, located in the picturesque Texas Hill Country, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Spanning over 1,900 acres along the scenic Guadalupe River, this state park offers many outdoor activities against a backdrop of stunning natural beauty.

Visitors can explore miles of well-maintained hiking and biking trails that wind through lush woodlands and along the riverbanks, providing opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife spotting.

The clear and cool waters of the Guadalupe River are perfect for tubing, swimming, and fishing, making it a popular spot for beating the Texas heat during the hot summer months.

One of the park’s standout features is its pristine river access, where families and friends can gather for picnics, sunbathing, or simply relaxing by the water.

Camping facilities are available, with campsites suitable for both tent and RV camping, offering a chance to spend the night beneath a canopy of stars.

Educational programs and ranger-led activities are also on offer, providing visitors with an opportunity to learn about the local ecology and history of the area. Guadalupe River State Park is a true gem of Texas and one of the best day trips from San Antonio.

Read next: 21 Best Things To Do In San Antonio

Natural Bridge Caverns

  • Distance from San Antonio: 28 miles
  • Driving time: 48 minutes

Another one of the coolest San Antonio day trips is Natural Bridge Caverns, one of the most remarkable cave systems in the United States.

Discovered by a group of adventurous students in 1960, these caverns have since become a premier tourist attraction, captivating visitors with their stunning geological formations and underground beauty.

Guided tours take you deep beneath the earth’s surface, where you’ll marvel at awe-inspiring stalactites, stalagmites, flowstones, and other unique formations that have evolved over millions of years.

The Cathedral Room, a massive underground chamber with a 60-foot limestone column, is a highlight of the tour and showcases the grandeur of nature’s underground architecture.

Natural Bridge Caverns also offers more than just cave exploration. Above ground, you can embark on an array of adventure activities, such as zip-lining, gem and fossil mining, and exploring a maze.

The park’s natural setting is a perfect blend of education and entertainment, making it an ideal destination for families, school groups, and adventure seekers alike.

With its breathtaking underground wonders and exciting above-ground activities, Natural Bridge Caverns provides a unique and unforgettable experience.

Johnson City

  • Distance from San Antonio: 63 miles
  • Driving time: 1 hour

This charming town located in the heart of the Texas Hill Country is renowned for its rich history, picturesque landscapes, and warm community spirit.

Named after President Lyndon B. Johnson, who spent his formative years in the area, Johnson City offers a glimpse into Texas’ past and the life of the 36th President.

The LBJ National Historic Park, which includes Johnson’s childhood home, provides visitors with an opportunity to explore the humble beginnings of one of America’s influential leaders.

The park also features the Texas White House, where President Johnson conducted official business during his presidency, offering a unique historical perspective.

Beyond its historical significance, Johnson City is celebrated for its scenic beauty. The surrounding Hill Country boasts rolling hills, clear rivers, and vibrant wildflowers, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Johnson City is also home to several wineries, where visitors can savor the flavors of Texas wine while enjoying the serene countryside. With its blend of history, natural beauty, and small-town charm, Johnson City offers a tranquil and enriching Texas Hill Country experience.

Pedernales Falls State Park

  • Distance from San Antonio: 75 miles
  • Driving time: 1 hour and 20 minutes

Another one of the best day trips from San Antonio for nature lovers is the beautiful Pedernales Falls State Park. This natural wonderland offers visitors a captivating blend of rugged landscapes, pristine waterways, and outdoor recreational opportunities.

The park is renowned for its dramatic limestone waterfalls and cascading rapids along the Pedernales River, which contrast with the surrounding arid terrain. Hikers and nature enthusiasts can explore a network of well-maintained trails that wind through the park’s diverse ecosystems, showcasing the region’s unique flora and fauna.

For those seeking a thrill, swimming in the river’s cool waters, fishing, and even tubing are popular activities during the warmer months.

Camping is a popular way to immerse oneself in the park’s natural beauty, with numerous campsites available, including primitive sites and those with full hookups.

The night sky at Pedernales Falls is a stargazer’s delight, as the park is far enough from city lights to offer breathtaking views of the stars.

With its stunning landscapes and recreational opportunities, Pedernales Falls State Park provides an ideal escape for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers, offering a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of city life in the heart of Texas.

Pedernales Falls State Park
The natural landscapes of this natural park are breathtaking.

Garner State Park

  • Distance from San Antonio: 90 miles
  • Driving time: 1.5 hours

Garner State Park stands as a pristine natural gem and one of the Lone Star State’s most beloved outdoor destinations. This enchanting park, encompassing over 1,700 acres along the crystal-clear Frio River, offers a wide range of recreational activities and breathtaking scenery.

One of its most iconic features is the stunning, spring-fed Garner State Park Dance Pavilion, where visitors can partake in the longstanding tradition of nightly summer dances under the stars. These dances have been a cherished tradition for generations, creating a sense of nostalgia and camaraderie among park-goers.

Beyond the dancing, Garner State Park offers a plethora of outdoor adventures for nature enthusiasts. Visitors can explore over 11 miles of scenic hiking trails, winding through lush forests and leading to panoramic vistas, such as Old Baldy, which offers sweeping views of the Frio Canyon.

The Frio River, with its gentle currents and cool waters, is perfect for tubing, swimming, and kayaking.

Birdwatchers will find plenty of opportunities to spot native Texas birds, while campers can enjoy the park’s spacious and well-maintained campgrounds. Garner State Park is a true Texas treasure, providing an idyllic setting for family gatherings, outdoor escapades, and San Antonio day trips!

Find more of the best things to do in Texas with our complete guide!

Lockhart State Park

  • Distance from San Antonio: 67 miles
  • Driving time: 1 hour and 10 minutes

Just over an hour’s drive from San Antonio is Lockhart State Park. This charming and historic park offers visitors a delightful combination of outdoor recreation and a rich cultural heritage!

One of the park’s standout features is the scenic 9-hole golf course, complete with rolling fairways and challenging greens, making it a popular destination for golfers looking to tee off in a tranquil natural setting.

The park’s limestone-edged swimming pool, fed by the cool waters of Clear Fork Creek, is a refreshing oasis during the hot Texas summers, providing a perfect spot for families to relax and cool off.

In addition to its recreational amenities, Lockhart State Park also preserves a piece of Texas history. The park’s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) structures, built during the 1930s, showcase the craftsmanship and architectural style of that era.

Visitors can explore these historic buildings, including a pavilion and a refectory, which add to the park’s unique character.

Nature enthusiasts can take advantage of the park’s hiking trails, which wind through oak and cedar forests, offering opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife observation.

With its combination of outdoor activities and historical significance, Lockhart State Park provides one of the best day trips from San Antonio!

Mustang Island

  • Distance from San Antonio: 168 miles
  • Driving time: 2.5 hours

Those looking for a seaside getaway can head down to Mustang Island, situated on the picturesque Gulf Coast of Texas. This captivating barrier island is known for its pristine beaches, abundant wildlife, and outdoor recreational opportunities.

Stretching approximately 18 miles along the Texas coastline, this barrier island offers a haven for beachgoers, anglers, birdwatchers, and nature enthusiasts alike.

The island’s sandy shores are perfect for sunbathing, swimming, shelling, and sandcastle building, making it a popular destination for families and beach lovers.

Mustang Island State Park, nestled on the northern end, provides camping facilities, hiking trails, and an excellent opportunity to explore the island’s diverse coastal ecosystems.

For those with a passion for wildlife, Mustang Island is a true treasure. It’s a significant stop along the Central Flyway for migratory birds, making it a birdwatcher’s paradise. The island hosts a variety of bird species, including pelicans, herons, egrets, and the endangered piping plover.

Additionally, anglers flock to the island to enjoy some of the finest fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, with opportunities for surf fishing, bay fishing, and offshore excursions.

Though it’s a bit of a drive from the city, Mustang Island is one of the top day trips from San Antonio!

Check out our 10-Day Texas Road Trip Itinerary for more ideas!

Austin

  • Distance from San Antonio: 90 miles
  • Driving time: 2 hours

As the capital city of Texas, Austin is a vibrant and culturally diverse metropolis known for its unique blend of southern hospitality, natural wonders, and live music scene.

Austin boasts a relaxed atmosphere that contrasts with the state’s more traditional stereotypes. Often referred to as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” Austin is a hub for musicians and music lovers alike.

The city’s Sixth Street entertainment district comes alive at night, offering a plethora of bars, clubs, and venues where you can catch live performances ranging from country and blues to indie rock and hip-hop.

Beyond its music scene, Austin is a thriving tech and cultural center, home to numerous tech startups and corporate giants. The South by Southwest (SXSW) festival, held annually in Austin, has gained international recognition, drawing innovators, filmmakers, musicians, and tech enthusiasts from around the globe.

The city’s appreciation for the arts is evident in its many galleries, theaters, and cultural events, including the Long Center for the Performing Arts and the Blanton Museum of Art.

Austin is also home to the beautiful Lady Bird Lake, which offers many opportunities for outdoor adventure. Go kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding and escape the Texas heat!

Austin Texas
Austin, Texas is a must-see city!

San Marcos

  • Distance from San Antonio: 49 miles
  • Driving time: 50 minutes

San Marcos is a fun city that also makes one of the top day trips from San Antonio. Known as one of the state’s fastest-growing cities, San Marcos is cherished for its picturesque landscapes, cultural richness, and vibrant community.

The city is perhaps best known for the crystal-clear San Marcos River, which flows through the heart of town. This pristine waterway offers opportunities for tubing, snorkeling, paddleboarding, and kayaking, making it a haven for water enthusiasts and nature lovers.

The San Marcos River is also home to several endangered species, including the Texas blind salamander, adding to the area’s ecological significance.

San Marcos is home to Texas State University, lending a lively, college-town atmosphere to the city. The university’s presence contributes to a diverse cultural scene, with live music venues, art galleries, and theaters that cater to both residents and students.

The charming downtown area features historic buildings, boutique shops, and a variety of dining options, offering a blend of modern amenities and a nostalgic small-town feel.

With its natural beauty, educational institutions, and cultural attractions, San Marcos is a dynamic and growing community that offers a unique blend of Texas charm and contemporary vibrancy.

Read next: The Ultimate 3 Days In Austin Itinerary

Fredericksburg

  • Distance from San Antonio: 69 miles
  • Driving time: 1 hour

Renowned for its German heritage, welcoming atmosphere, and unique charm, Fredericksburg is one of the best day trips from San Antonio for those who love culture, wine, and sightseeing.

Founded by German immigrants in the mid-19th century, the town’s heritage is celebrated through its half-timbered architecture, quaint storefronts, and hearty cuisine.

Visitors can explore the Pioneer Museum Complex to gain insights into the town’s history and the enduring influence of its German settlers.

Fredericksburg’s Main Street is a vibrant hub, lined with specialty shops, art galleries, wine-tasting rooms, and cozy restaurants serving up traditional German dishes, making it a haven for foodies and shoppers alike.

One of Fredericksburg’s key attractions is its burgeoning wine scene. The Texas Hill Country has emerged as a notable wine-producing region, and Fredericksburg is at the forefront of this viticultural movement.

The town is surrounded by numerous wineries and vineyards, offering tastings and tours that showcase the region’s award-winning wines.

In addition to wine, Fredericksburg is known for its annual festivals and events, including Oktoberfest, which brings the town to life with live music, dancing, and, of course, plenty of German beer and cuisine.

Fredericksburg’s mix of history, culture, and wine make it a charming and popular day trip destination for visitors in Texas.

Dripping Springs

  • Distance from San Antonio: 73 miles
  • Driving time: 1.5 hours

Dripping Springs, often referred to as the “Gateway to the Hill Country,” is a gorgeous and rapidly growing city located in the picturesque Texas Hill Country, just southwest of Austin.

Known for its natural beauty, Dripping Springs offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The area is characterized by rolling hills, scenic vistas, and numerous creeks and springs that lend their name to the city.

Visitors and residents alike can explore the Hamilton Pool Preserve, a natural swimming hole with a stunning waterfall and dramatic limestone formations, making it a popular spot for cooling off and enjoying the great outdoors.

Dripping Springs also boasts a vibrant cultural scene, with a thriving arts community and a rich history. The city hosts various events and festivals throughout the year, celebrating everything from live music and local cuisine to art and heritage.

The historic Mercer Street in downtown Dripping Springs is lined with quaint shops, art galleries, and restaurants, offering a taste of the city’s unique character.

Dripping Springs is not only a wonderful place to visit but also a fantastic place to live for those seeking a balance between small-town charm and the natural beauty of the Texas Hill Country.

Hamilton Pool
Hamilton Pool Preserve is a highlight of Dripping Springs!

Corpus Christi

  • Distance from San Antonio: 143 miles
  • Driving time: 2 hours

Travelers looking for a day trip to the Texas coastline should consider Corpus Christi! Often referred to as the “Sparkling City by the Sea,” this coastal city is located on the Texas Gulf Coast.

Corpus Christi is renowned for its stunning beaches, vibrant cultural scene, and rich maritime heritage.

The city’s coastline stretches for miles, offering a range of beach experiences, from the family-friendly shores of North Beach, home to the Texas State Aquarium and USS Lexington Museum on the Bay, to the windswept beauty of Padre Island National Seashore, one of the longest undeveloped barrier islands in the world.

These beaches provide ample opportunities for sunbathing, swimming, fishing, windsurfing, and birdwatching.

Corpus Christi’s cultural offerings are equally enticing. The city features a thriving arts and music community, with numerous galleries, theaters, and live music venues.

Visitors can explore the vibrant downtown area, where you’ll find trendy shops, eclectic restaurants serving fresh seafood, and a lively nightlife scene.

The Texas Surf Museum and Art Museum of South Texas showcase the city’s unique blend of coastal and artistic heritage. You can even go on a ghost tour to learn the spooky side of the city’s history!

Whether you’re interested in relaxing on the beach, exploring maritime history, or immersing yourself in the local arts and cuisine, Corpus Christi is an excellent day trip destination on the Texas Gulf Coast.

New Braunfels

  • Distance from San Antonio: 33 miles
  • Driving time: 50 minutes

New Braunfels, Texas, is a charming and historic city located just under an hour from San Antonio. Located on the banks of the pristine Guadalupe and Comal Rivers, this picturesque town boasts a rich cultural heritage dating back to its founding in 1845 by German immigrants.

The influence of these early settlers is still palpable today, evident in the town’s unique blend of Texan and German traditions.

One of the most iconic symbols of New Braunfels is the historic Gruene Hall, Texas’ oldest continually operated dance hall, where visitors can enjoy live music and two-stepping in an authentic Texas setting.

The city’s historic district is a treasure trove of well-preserved 19th-century architecture, inviting visitors to take leisurely strolls through its cobblestone streets, explore boutique shops, and savor delicious German cuisine at local restaurants.

Nature enthusiasts are drawn to New Braunfels for its stunning natural beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities. The Comal and Guadalupe Rivers offer some of the best tubing and water activities in the state, while nearby Canyon Lake provides a serene escape for boating, fishing, and picnicking.

In the spring and summer, the city comes alive with festivals and events, including the renowned Wurstfest which celebrates German heritage with food, music, and fun.

New Braunfels seamlessly combines its rich history with the beauty of the Texas Hill Country, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking a blend of culture, adventure, and relaxation in the Lone Star State.

DISCLAIMER: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, which means if you book accommodation, tours or buy a product, we will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. These commissions help us keep creating more free travel content to help people plan their holidays and adventures. We only recommend the best accommodations, tours and products that ourselves or our fantastic editorial team have personally experienced, and regularly review these. Thanks for your support, kind friend!



Source

Natasha Predovic
Natasha Predovic
Natasha is a creative, freelance and ghostwriter for industries that include but are not limited to the arts & entertainment, travel, publishing, real estate, pets, personal and professional development, and much more.
- Advertisement -

Latest

More articles

- Advertisement -