Day Trips from San Antonio  by Paris Permenter & John Bigley

Day Trips from San Antonio

by Paris Permenter & John Bigley (The Globe Pequot Press)
Day Trips from San Antonio  by Paris Permenter & John Bigley
Enjoy a welcome change of pace and discover a world you may not know exists in your own backyard. Day Trips describes hundreds of fascinating, exciting (and many free of charge) things to do, most within a two-hour drive of San Antonio. Head to the urban areas of Austin or Corpus Christi. Explore nearby small towns and practice your Spanish, German, French, and Czech. Get away from it all with a quiet walk along the beach on Padre Island. Saddle up and visit the dude ranches and rodeos in Bandera, 'The Cowboy Capital of the World'. Each day trip includes travel directions, destination highlights, other places to visit along the way, choice restaurants and lodging (including price ranges) and shopping.

© 2004 Paris Permenter and John Bigley/The Globe Pequot Press. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Day Trips from San Antonio" Guide Book
19 Trail Guides

Aransas Pass is more a genuine fishing village and less a tourist destination than many other coastal communities. Most of its 7,000 residents are employed in the fishing industry. Port Aransas, or just “Port A” to most Texans, is perched on the northern tip of Mustang Island. This guide from the DayTrips series describes many fascinating, exciting, (and many free of charge) things to do, most within a two-hour drive of San Antonio. Each Day Trip includes destination highlights, places to visit along the way, choice restaurants and lodging, and shopping.
Fulton, TX - Backpacking,Hiking
Maybe it’s the college student population that tops 50,000. Maybe it’s the live music industry that has made this city a haven for fans and performers alike. Or maybe it’s just geography, situated on a downtown lake and perched at the edge of a rambling Hill Country lake that offers everything from windsurfing to nude sunbathing. Whatever the reason, there’s one thing for certain: Austin is a town that doesn’t want to grow up. This guide from the DayTrips series describes many fascinating, exciting, (and many free of charge) things to do, most within a two-hour drive of San Antonio. Each Day Trip includes destination highlights, places to visit along the way, choice restaurants and lodging, and shopping.
Austin, TX - Backpacking,Hiking
ADD TO BOOKSHELF
Bandera, “The Cowboy Capital of the World.” This town is well known for its plentiful dude ranches, country-western music, rodeos, and horse racing. Once part of the “Wild West,” Bandera Pass was the site of many battles between Spanish conquistadors and both Apache and Comanche Indians. Legend has it that following a battle with the Apaches in 1732, a flag (or bandera in Spanish) was hung at the pass to mark the boundary between the two opposing forces. Bandera has open rodeos weekly from Memorial Day to Labor Day. This guide from the DayTrips series describes many fascinating, exciting, (and many free of charge) things to do, most within a two-hour drive of San Antonio. Each Day Trip includes destination highlights, places to visit along the way, choice restaurants and lodging, and shopping.
Vanderpool, TX - Backpacking,Hiking
To reach Blanco, go north of San Antonio past miles of cattle ranches and Hill Country vistas. Formerly a “Wild West” kind of town, the community was originally the seat of Blanco County. Although the county seat eventually moved to nearby Johnson City, where it remains today, local residents are hard at work restoring Blanco’s old limestone courthouse as a museum and art gallery. Around the courthouse square are several art galleries and antique shops aimed at weekend visitors, many of whom stop to camp at the Blanco River State Park south of town. Fischer is on the left side of the road. Today not much remains of this community, just a post office, complete with an old-fashioned postmaster’s cage and tiny brass mailboxes. Inside, enormous counters span the length of the dark and musty building. There aren’t any steep climbs or stomach-churning lookouts on the Devil's Backbone Scenic Drive; a high ridge of hills provides a gentle drive with excellent views along the way. There’s very little traffic, plus a beautiful picnic spot on the left, just a few miles out of Fischer. This stretch of road is often cited as one of the most scenic drives in Texas and is well known for its fall color.
Wimberley, TX - Backpacking,Hiking
ADD TO BOOKSHELF
This is an easy day trip from San Antonio, a journey through three small towns that share a strong German heritage. During the 1880s, Boerne became known as a health spot, and vacationers came by railroad to soak in mineral water spas and enjoy the clean country air. Although no mineral spas remain today, Boerne still offers a quiet country atmosphere and dozens of antique shops in which to browse. Boerne is also home to the Boerne Village Band. For nearly 140 years this German band (the oldest continuously active German band in the country and the oldest in the world outside of Munich) has entertained residents and visitors with their Old World sound. Weekends are the busiest time to visit, but even then the atmosphere is relaxing, unhurried, and, well, comfortable. From Comfort, head out to nearby Sisterdale, best known as the home of a small winery. The burg, like nearby Boerne, was settled by a group of intellectuals. Today the population has dwindled to a handful of residents, and you have to look carefully to keep from passing right through town.
Boerne, TX - Backpacking,Hiking
This weekend trip has a lot to offer, from shoot-’em-up fun at Alamo Village to an afternoon dip in Del Rio’s San Felipe Springs. Hop across the border for some bargain shopping, a margarita, and a Mexican dinner in Ciudad Acuña. The next day, take your choice of Del Rio’s historic sites, a cruise on Lake Amistad, or a look at prehistoric drawings in Seminole Canyon. This eTrail from the DayTrips series describes many fascinating, exciting, (and many free of charge) things to do, most within a two-hour drive of San Antonio. Each Day Trip includes destination highlights, places to visit along the way, choice restaurants and lodging, and shopping.
Del Rio, TX - Backpacking,Hiking
ADD TO BOOKSHELF
Castroville is only 20 miles west of San Antonio on US 90, but it’s another world in terms of mood and atmosphere. This small town serves up a mixture of many cultures: French, German, English, Alsatian, and Spanish. It’s best known for its Alsatian roots and sometimes is called “The Little Alsace of Texas.” Word has it that the town of Concan is named for “coon can,” a Mexican gambling game. Today it’s a safe gamble for outdoor recreation from swimming to camping. This eTrail from the DayTrips series describes many fascinating, exciting, (and many free of charge) things to do, most within a two-hour drive of San Antonio. Each Day Trip includes destination highlights, places to visit along the way, choice restaurants and lodging, and shopping.
Concan, TX - Backpacking,Hiking
Named for a San Antonio judge, Devine is a quiet town that’s best known as an agricultural center. Six miles southeast of the town lies the smaller community of Bigfoot, named for Texas Ranger Bigfoot Wallace, who took part in the Texas War for independence. Pearsall, home of just under 8,000 residents, is the capital of the region’s peanut crop (there’s even a peanut monument downtown). Drive south to the community of Dilley, also known for its agriculture. Although peanuts are also grown in this region, here watermelons are king. Dilley’s economy also has benefited from another benefactor: oil. Many visitors have another reason to visit this community of just 3,000 residents. With more than 250 species spotted, Dilley is known for its birding. It’s a popular weekend trip with college students, shoppers, and anyone in search of fun. Nuevo Laredo, with over 500,000 inhabitants, is far larger than its American sister. The city engages in an enormous import-export business and holds the title as the largest port of entry on the Mexico-U.S. border. A seemingly endless procession of trucks crosses the bridge all day and night.
Laredo, TX - Backpacking,Hiking
ADD TO BOOKSHELF
Go southwest from San Antonio to Eagle Pass and its sister city, Piedras Negras. These destinations are popular for a weekend of shopping, partying, and south-of-the-border fun. Like other border towns, Eagle Pass is bilingual. Many Mexican citizens cross the border to shop at the large Mall de las Aguilas and in the downtown dress and specialty shops. For Americans, much of Eagle Pass’s appeal lies in its proximity to Mexico. Many visitors spend the cooler hours shopping in Piedras Negras, then return to Eagle Pass for a swim and an evening meal. This eTrail from the DayTrips series describes many fascinating, exciting, (and many free of charge) things to do, most within a two-hour drive of San Antonio. Each Day Trip includes destination highlights, places to visit along the way, choice restaurants and lodging, and shopping.
Eagle Pass, TX - Backpacking,Hiking
Named for James W. Fannin, Jr., a hero of the Texas Revolution, the town of Fannin is home to the Fannin Battleground State Historic Site, a site of interest to those tracing the history of the revolution in towns such as Goliad and Gonzales. Termed “the crossroads of Texas,” Victoria is located equal distances from San Antonio, Austin, Houston, and Corpus Christi. Named for the first president of Mexico, the city was founded by forty-one Spanish families. Later the town became one of the first three towns incorporated by the Republic of Texas. Port Lavaca is a community of about 12,000 residents, located on Lavaca Bay, is a center for fishing and agriculture but also contains some visitor attractions. The region is a favorite with bird lovers and beach buffs who find miles of beaches at several parks. Birders also enjoy the challenge of this destination, which is home to eight birding sites along the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail. Anglers also find plenty of activity with several bay charters. Today little remains of the ghost town. The coastal community of Port O'Connor is just about the end of the road; from here Texas gives way to the Gulf of Mexico. Port O’Connor is a destination for many anglers as well as birders. The commercial fishing center is also the gateway to Matagorda Island State Park.
Port O'Connor, TX - Backpacking,Hiking
ADD TO BOOKSHELF
The most popular stop in Johnson City is the LBJ Boyhood Home, managed by the U.S. Park Service. LBJ was five years old in 1913 when his family moved from their country home near the Pedernales River to this simple frame house. The visitors center provides information on this location, nearby Johnson Settlement, and other LBJ attractions. Park admission is free of charge, a stipulation of the late president. Johnson City hosts Historic Nugent Street Market Days on the third weekend of every month from April through October, with antiques, crafts, collectibles, and food booths. From Johnson City, head west to the tiny community of Stonewall, the capital of the Texas peach industry. The road passes through miles of peach orchards, and during early summer, farm-fresh fruit is sold at roadside stands throughout the area. According to Indian legend, the rock is haunted. Sometimes, as the rock cools at night, it makes a creaking sound, which probably accounts for the story.
Fredericksburg, TX - Backpacking,Hiking
Leon Springs is a popular stop for folks driving west and for city residents who are looking for a few hours of country living with a little antiques shopping, a plate of good food, and a chance to two-step their cares away. But Leon Springs' role as a travelers' stop is not a new one. Before the days of speeding cars, Leon Springs was a stage-coach stop offering travelers services—of all kinds. Over 10,000 animals range the hills, including zebra, ostrich, giraffe, emu, and ibex. This eTrail from the DayTrips series describes many fascinating, exciting, (and many free of charge) things to do, most within a two-hour drive of San Antonio. Each Day Trip includes destination highlights, places to visit along the way, choice restaurants and lodging, and shopping.
Ingram, TX - Backpacking,Hiking
ADD TO BOOKSHELF
Lockhart is a conglomeration of the stuff of Texas legends: Indian battles, cattle drives, cotton, and oil. This small town, located south of Austin, contains a state park and lots of history. Lockhart is also well known as the home of Mebane cotton. Developed by A. D. Mebane, this strain is resistant to the boll weevil, an insect that can demolish not only whole fields but entire economies as well. Bastrop is a popular day trip for Austinites looking for a chance to shop and savor some quiet country life in a historic setting. Outdoor lovers can enjoy two nearby state parks and also the Colorado River, which winds through the heart of downtown. Canoe rentals and guided trips along the river are available. Today all that’s left of the community of Alum Creek is a collection of over a dozen antique and junk shops. It’s a fun stop for avid collectors. The shops are located on the left side of the road as you head east; many are open weekends only.
La Grange, TX - Backpacking,Hiking
Luling is best known as an oil town. Oil was discovered here in 1922, and fields pumping this “black gold” can be seen throughout the Luling area. Even before that time the town had a reputation as “the toughest town in Texas,” frequented by gunfighters like John Wesley Hardin and Ben Thompson. Luling was also a cattle center and the end of a railroad line to Chihuahua, Mexico. When oil was discovered, the economy of the town shifted to this profitable industry. Today 184 wells pump within the city limits. The main structure in Praha is the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church, often called St. Mary’s. Built in 1895, it is one of a half dozen painted churches in the area. Although few examples remain today, it was not unusual for nineteenth-century rural churches to boast painted interiors. These beautifully painted buildings are reminders of the area’s rural traditions and ethnic background.
Schulenburg, TX - Backpacking,Hiking
ADD TO BOOKSHELF
If you’re looking for a romantic getaway in a historic inn or a weekend of outdoor fun, New Braunfels is the place. Just half an hour northeast of San Antonio, this town of 30,700 offers something for every interest, from antiques and water sports to German culture. One hundred years after its founding, investors began restoring Gruene’s historic buildings and, little by little, businesses began moving into the once-deserted structures. Now Gruene is favored by antique shoppers, barbecue and country music lovers, and those looking to step back into a simpler time. On weekdays you may find Gruene’s streets quiet, but expect crowds every weekend. Gruene is compact, with everything within easy walking distance. This eTrail from the DayTrips series describes many fascinating, exciting, (and many free of charge) things to do, most within a two-hour drive of San Antonio. Each Day Trip includes destination highlights, places to visit along the way, choice restaurants and lodging, and shopping.
New Braunfels, TX - Backpacking,Hiking
If you weren’t aware of its interesting history, you might just call Panna Maria another pint-sized Texas town, perched on a shady hilltop with a nice breeze and a beautiful view. But there’s a lot more to Panna Maria, which means “Virgin Mary” in Polish, than meets the eye. This quiet community holds the title of the first Polish settlement in America, and it still maintains a place in the history of Poland, well known among the people of the old country. Like the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto, Goliad holds a special place in Texas history. Founded by the Spanish, Goliad is the third oldest city in Texas. Today the Presidio and the Mission Espíritu Santo are restored and open to the public. You also can visit Colonel Fannin’s grave and see the monument that marks the resting place of the Texas soldiers. This eTrail from the DayTrips series describes many fascinating, exciting, (and many free of charge) things to do, most within a two-hour drive of San Antonio. Each Day Trip includes destination highlights, places to visit along the way, choice restaurants and lodging, and shopping.
Goliad, TX - Backpacking,Hiking
ADD TO BOOKSHELF
Like neighboring New Braunfels, San Marcos is best known for its pure spring waters. The San Marcos River, which has been used by humans for over 13,000 years, flows through town, providing the city with beautiful swimming and snorkeling spots and a family educational park. Permanent settlement of the area began in 1845. Today San Marcos is a popular tourist town and the home of Southwest Texas State University. On the third weekend of every month, the downtown courthouse lawn plays host to Market Days. Shop for arts and crafts, antiques, and specialty food and gift items at this old-fashioned outdoor market. This eTrail from the DayTrips series describes many fascinating, exciting, (and many free of charge) things to do, most within a two-hour drive of San Antonio. Each Day Trip includes destination highlights, places to visit along the way, choice restaurants and lodging, and shopping.
Buda, TX - Backpacking,Hiking
Many towns boast nicknames, from Austin’s “River City” to San Antonio’s “Alamo City.” Seguin, though, has one of the most unusual: “The Mother of Concrete Cities.” A Seguin chemist held several concrete production patents, which accounts for the use of the material in over ninety area buildings by the end of the nineteenth century. The most beautiful area of Seguin is Starcke Park. It offers picnic tables under huge pecan, oak, and cypress trees, and a winding drive along the Guadalupe River. Today twelve leather companies in Yoakum produce belts, saddles, bullwhips, gunslings, and wallets. Although the companies do not sell directly from their factories, the Leather Capital Store operates as a showroom and factory outlet for many Yoakum manufacturers. Tours of the leather companies are offered during the annual Land of Leather Days festival, the last weekend in February.
Yoakum, TX - Backpacking,Hiking
ADD TO BOOKSHELF
Located halfway between San Antonio and Corpus Christi, the community of Three Rivers is best known as the gateway to Choke Canyon. Continue south to Corpus Christi. This city of 275,000 residents is a popular year-around destination. During the summer months, the nearby beaches of Padre and Mustang Islands appeal to surfers, families, and sun worshippers. The bayfront is a combination fishing village and tourist spot, and the downtown piers are lined with picturesque shrimp boats. High-rise luxury hotels, specialty shops, and seafood restaurants overlook the bay. The heart of Corpus Christi is Shoreline Boulevard, with its proud palms and spectacular views of the water. The surf is usually gentle and shallow enough to walk for hundreds of yards before reaching chest-deep water. Occasionally undertow is a problem, but on most summer days the waves are gentle and rolling, and the water is warm. Perhaps no other destination quite epitomizes “Texas size” like the King Ranch. Larger than the state of Rhode Island, the King Ranch sprawls across 825,000 acres and, even more importantly, stands as a symbol of Texas ingenuity.
Corpus Christi, TX - Backpacking,Hiking

State Log Book

Feb 2019