By Carla Olivo, USMC Spouse

Within an hour or two of the popular western urban center know as San Antonio, Texas are some amazing day trips! Gas up the car, pack a cooler, your fishing rod or bathing suit and prepare to enjoy!

The Great Outdoors

New Braunfels

Less than an hour north of San Antonio on I-35, New Braunfels offers two great outdoor experiences: the Comal and Guadalupe rivers. Swimming, tubing, and kayaking are popular activities. Numerous hiking and biking trails, campgrounds, fishing holes and parks make this a well-liked destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

San Marcos River

The San Marcos River is another outdoor wonderland. Opportunities abound for canoeing, kayaking, tubing, even snorkeling, scuba diving or riding on a glass-bottom boat. Hikers and bikers will enjoy more than 850 acres of outdoor fun.

Paradise Canyon Recreational Park

You can ramble around more than 12,000 acres of natural wonder at the Government Canyon State Natural Area to include Paradise Canyon Recreational Park. Situated just 36 miles northwest of Alamo City, activities include camping, hiking, fishing, and tubing and camping.

Choke Canyon State Park

On the shores of a 26,000-acre reservoir about two hours south of Alamo City – boating, fishing, birding, hiking trails, camping and breeding alligators!

Enchanted Rock

The pink granite exfoliation dome called Enchanted Rock is about an hour and a half north of San Antonio. The dome rises 425 foot above ground and covers 640 acres. Bring a kite and get ready for some great camping, picnicking and seven miles of hiking trails.

The City Scene


Visit the state Capitol to see artistic diversity at its finest! Have a meal at one of the many outdoor cafes. And if music is your thing, the music scene in Austin can’t be beat!


Enjoy some German food in this quaint city, which is a little more than an hour away from Alamo City.  In addition to its German heritage and the National Museum of the Pacific War, Fredericksburg has plenty of birding, fishing, bicycling and rock climbing opportunities.  The Fredericksburg area also boasts the second most visited wine area in the US, second only to the Sonoma wine region in California.  Visit some of the over 40 wineries in the Hill Country along the Highway 290 Wine Road outside of Fredericksburg.

A Day at the Beach

Approximately 150 miles or a 2.5 hour ride from Alamo City is Corpus Christi, on the Gulf of Mexico, This outdoor oasis features boating, fishing and beautiful beaches! There is over 100 miles of beaches along the Gulf of Mexico and the Corpus Christi Bay.

Padre Island National Seashore

The Padre Island National Seashore is the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island in the world! More than 130,000 acres of dunes, grasslands, and natural, sandy beaches make for a nature lover’s delight!

South Packery Beach

While family friendly, South Packery Beach is also vehicle friendly. Surfing, windsurfing, and kiteboarding are favorite activities.

Bob Hall Pier and Padre Balli Park

Bob Hall Pier, one of the area’s top fishing spots, has a paved parking area, car-free sand zone, and a convenient picnic area. Nearby Padre Balli Park offers campsites with all the amenities – cabanas and a bath house for visitor convenience.

North Beach

North Beach is a pedestrian access only beach. This family friendly beach on the Corpus Christi Bay offers easy access to shopping, restaurants and visitor attractions. Set aside part of your day to visit the Texas State Aquarium.

McGee Beach

McGee Beach, on the Corpus Christi Bay, is within walking distance of beautiful downtown Corpus Christi. Beach rentals are available during the spring and summer months.

Michael Ellis Beach

This family-friendly beach features a large paved parking lot, restrooms and rinse-off showers. Because of the one-mile long seawall which runs from South Packery Beach to Whitecap Beach, Michael Ellis Beach is often referred to as the Padre Island Seawall Beach.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to possible day trips from the Alamo City. Tell us your favorite haunts in the comments below!

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Author: Carla Olivo, PCSgrades Strategic Communications Director, previously served as the Director of Communications for Operation Hug-A-Hero and as the Media/Community Relations Officer for the Delaware Department of Transportation. She has garnered numerous TV industry awards including the Associated Press award for Spot News Reporting, News Writing, Enterprise Reporting, and Documentary Reporting. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, a retired USMC Lt. Colonel, their two children. You can follow her on Twitter @olivowriter.