This is a guest post from Jody Halstead of Family Rambling. She blogs about her family travel adventures from Iowa. This post makes me want to go to San Antonio. Thanks Jody!
San Antonio River Walk
At first glance San Antonio seems like a dream destination. Year round temperate climate – check. History – check. Culture – check. Great food – check. And then you look a bit deeper and realize that San Antonio has everything a traveling family could ask for in a vacation spot.
San Antonio’s temperate climate makes the city perfect to visit year-round. Average lows in December and January hover around 50°F, while summer highs reach the mid-90’s. The shoulder season of April/May and September/October are perfect for visitors with temperatures in the 80’s and the summer crowds depleted. May and October are the rainiest months, but even then you’ll only lose half a day to the weather.
San Antonio for the Nature Lover
The fabulous climate makes San Antonio a great place to get outside and explore — and San Antonio has dozens of opportunities!
For underground adventure visit the Natural Bridge Caverns. Tours take you through a spectacular half mile of caverns. Not into underground exploring? Try the 350 foot long zip line. (Prices begin at $17.95 for adults, $9.95 for kids).
San Antonio is filled with parks! One of the most popular is Enchanted Rock. The park is almost 1650 acres of wilderness filled with hiking trails, rock climbing, picnicking spots and rustic camping. The centerpiece, though, is the 640 acre pink granite dome that rises 425 feet above the ground. Tip: arrive early as parking spaces can fill quickly on weekends. (entrance fee $6 per day)
For nature with a side of wild visit the Wildlife Ranch. 400 acres of open Texas hills lead you through a worldwide safari of over 500 animals. You can also get up close and personal with some animals in the petting zoo. ($16.50 adults, $8.50 kids).
San Antonio for the Historian
Texas history really begins in San Antonio and no place evokes more passion than the Alamo. Smaller than you’ll expect, it really won’t take long to explore. The Alamo is one of five missions; I suggest a drive along the Missions Trail. The other four missions are larger and more impressive, definitely worth visiting. These missions still hold regular services and are open to visitors from 9am til 5 pm. There is no charge to visit the missions.
For a look at justice, Texas Style, you’ll want to head to the Texas Ranger Museum located in the Buckhorn Saloon & Museum. Photographs and artifacts will give you an idea of Texas’ past, then take a step back to San Antonio circa 1900. Don’t miss the Bonnie & Clyde exhibit- including a replica of the “death car”. The Buckhorn Museum is filled with natural history- over 520 species of animals are represented. The Buckhorn Museum is a large tourist draw and admission prices reflect this. Food in the saloon is good, but it’s the atmosphere that will thrill the kids. (Admission to the museums $17.99 adults, $13,99 kids; keep your receipt for free second day admission. No charge to visit the saloon, cafe or arcade).
For a closer look at Texas history a visit to the Witte Museum is in order. Log cabins and historic homes of San Antonio have been moved to the museum grounds while history comes alive in special shows inside the museum. The science tree house is four stories of fun and hands on learning and makes a great adventure when the weather isn’t cooperating. (adults $8, children $6)
San Antonio for Shoppers
El Mercado is always my first stop. The largest Mexican market outside of Mexico you’ll find everything from clay figures and hand beaded bags to beautifully worked leather goods and authentic dresses. Plan to eat at Mi Tierra — a favorite of both locals and tourists. Enjoy a serenade from roaming Mariachi, savor fresh Tex-Mex cuisine and don’t forget treats from the bakery as you leave!
For arts you’ll want to stroll through La Villita, just off the Riverwalk. San Antonio’s oldest settlement now hosts artisans whose crafts range from pottery and painting to jewelry and metal work.
After indulging your artistic side at La Villita stroll down the steps of the Arneson River Theater to the famed Riverwalk. Here you’ll find shops selling trinkets and restaurants to suit any taste. Rest your feet and enjoy a tour of the Riverwalk by boat. The history is fascinating.
JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa
Where to Stay
There is no shortage of lodging around San Antonio. My suggestion is to spoil your family at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort. With its 6 acre water park (heated and open year round), incredible kids club, sensational spa and two PGA golf courses every member of your family will be thrilled.
Options around San Antonio range from budget friendly to luxurious; you’ll have no problem finding something to fit your needs and your price point.
San Antonio is a wonderful, year-round family destination. One visit will leave you wanting to return!
Photos courtesy of iatraveler on Flicker.
Review of JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa on Ciao Bambino
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