By Hannah Holder
Blog Content Contributor
If Spring is your favorite season, like me, then I’m sure you’re just as thrilled as I am that it is finally here! Spring brings more sunshine time, blooming flowers (mostly bluebonnets because Texas), warmer water and more outdoor activities. San Marcos is the perfect city for Spring because of its beautiful river, parks/trails, historic downtown and its close proximity to two major cities: Austin and San Antonio. Now is the time to start enjoying some outdoor festivities because of the perfect Texas weather — warm enough to enjoy being outside, but cool enough to not pass out from heat-exhaustion, because ya know, Texas. Without further ado, let’s get started.
San Marcos Festivities
The most obvious Spring activity here, river floating… but I’m still going to mention it anyways because who gets tired of floating the river? The best thing about floating the river is the only thing you need to pay for is the tube you’ll be floating in. You do not have to rent a tube from a tube company, you’re welcomed to bring your own tube from home. However, if you bring a cooler, it must have it’s own tube and be packed in there tightly. Tubing tips: always pack water because the Texas sun can dehydrate you, and refreshments cannot be in glass bottles or styrofoam cups. And most importantly, do not litter! San Marcos is home to one of the cleanest rivers as well as to some endangered species. Do not put the river and these creatures in danger!
If you’re looking for something a bit more active, San Marcos is home to some great parks and trails! Parks and trails are a great way to get active. San Marcos offers the well-known hiking trail, Purgatory Creek, which offers roughly ten miles of land to roam. Dogs, bikes and jeeps are welcomed to come along the trails. Sewell Park and Rio Vista Park are also two other main parks that are located along the river. Sewell Park is located on the Texas State University campus, and offers grills as well as beach volleyball. Rio Vista is a bit more kid and dog friendly with a swimming pool and a kids playground. You can also grill out here or enjoy some beach volleyball and even tennis. Many locals kayak and/or tube at these beautiful parks.
Though I have yet to try this, I have heard awesome things about the glass-bottom boat tour San Marcos offers. These tours run daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you’re looking to find out more pricing or directions, you can find it here. Let’s not forget about the beautiful historic downtown of San Marcos. From antique shops, to museums, to restaurants and bars, there is always something to do in downtown San Marcos. Going downtown is perfect for a day of sightseeing and non-aquatic fun.
To south Austin from San Marcos is about a 30 minute drive. Austin offers kayaking and paddle boarding while seeing some of its gorgeous downtown. The best part of all, you can definitely take your furry friend kayaking or paddle boarding with you since Austin is home of one of the most pet-friendly cities. There are paddle boarding and kayaking shacks everywhere along Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin, so don’t worry about not being able to find one. Another popular area for these types of activities is Lake Travis, which is a legal “clothing optional” area. In this area, fishing, scuba diving and boating are very common. Skinny dipping is pretty common here too so this may not be an option for families with younger children, though, it is an experience for us older people!
Another neat thing about Lake Travis is it offers a zip-line adventure; literally, it is known as Lake Travis Zipline Adventures. With five zip-lines and three of the fastest and longest zip-lines in Texas, how could this spot not be worth trying out? After being worn out from kayaking, zip-lining or whatever Austin brought you, you may be needing some energy to regain your strength… time to hit up the food trucks. Austin offers a variety of food trucks, from BBQ to tacos, to pizza to vegan foods, you can find them located throughout different parts of Austin.
San Antonio Festivities
San Antonio is about a 45 minute to an hour drive from San Marcos, depending on traffic. San Antonio is home to Six Flags Fiesta Texas, an outdoor amusement park. Typically, Six Flags is always loaded with people, but that is expected from an amusement park that has a lot to offer for families, couples or students. If you’re looking to be away from the crowd, San Antonio offers a drive-thru zoo, Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, which in my opinion, is better than Sea World or a zoo where animals are locked up and are forced to entertain. In a drive-thru zoo, you can be in the comfort of your own vehicle while seeing and even feeding the free-to-roam animals. A drive-thru zoo is much cheaper than Sea World or a zoo, too.
If you’re looking for something a bit more casual, San Antonio offers tours of the Alamo as well as its historic Pearl district and the riverwalk. The Pearl is well known for its unique restaurants and relaxation area that is dog-friendly. The riverwalk contains many shops and restaurants separated by the river. You can also take a boat tour through the river learning about the history and culture of San Antonio. One of my favorite things to do when in downtown San Antonio is attend the Mexican Market, which happens to be right near the riverwalk. The Mexican Market, known as the Historic Market Square, offers handmade arts and crafts, Tex-Mex foods and several antique shops to look at.
As you can see, there is so many things to do this Spring that require being outside! Whether you want to be active through parks and trails, relaxing in a tube, adventuring in a kayak or by a zip-line, hanging out with the crowd at Six Flags or wanting to spend the day at the beautiful shops downtown, there is something for everyone this season. Spring is the best time of the year because of the beautiful Texas weather, so go out and enjoy it!
Featured image by Hannah Holder.