Centrally located in Texas Hill Country, San Antonio is a vibrant and historic city, with plenty of things to see and experience. You can check our recommended list of best things to do in San Antonio for some inspiration.
When you need to get out of town though, there are also plenty of great day-trip destinations within a few hours from San Antonio, from small hill country towns with plenty of charm and history to large, coastal cities.
Here are some of the best day trips destinations from the Alamo City (Best day trips from San Antonio).
Located around 80 miles away, Austin is one of the best day trip destinations from San Antonio, with plenty to see and do.
Home to a thriving arts and culture and culinary scene, the state capital of Texas is known as the “Live Music Capital of the World.”
Visit the historic Sixth Street District to explore Austin’s many live music venues, bars, restaurants and art galleries.
To indulge in some retail therapy, check out the 2nd Street District, with more than 40 boutiques and retail outlets.
For a bit of history, stop by the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library and Museum or the historic State Capitol for free
There are also plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation, including Lady Bird Lake, Barton Springs Pool, Zilker Metropolitan Park and Mount Bonnell.
For a unique experience, head to the Congress Avenue Bridge where you can see thousands of bats that live under the bridge take flight at dusk.
At around 190 miles away from San Antonio, Houston is just close enough for a long day trip. One of the largest cities in the country, there are plenty of reasons to visit Houston.
One of the top attractions is the Space Center Houston, where visitors can learn all about space exploration and tour a space shuttle.
Museum fans will be spoiled for choice, as there are nearly 20 museums just in the city’s Museum District. Top choices
include the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Children’s Museum.
The Houston Zoo and the Downtown Aquarium are also popular options, particular for families with kids.
To enjoy the outdoors, head to Hermann Park or Buffalo Park. There are also plenty of great shops and restaurants to indulge in some retail therapy and some tasty bites.
For a hassle-free experience, opt for a tour that covers the main highlights of Houston in just a few hours.
If you end up in Houston , don’t forget to checkout our 15 Best things to do in Houston for some quick travel tips.
Located around 70 miles from San Antonio, the city of Fredericksburg offers plenty of Old World charm, history and some of the best wineries in the states.
Settled by German immigrants more than 160 years ago, many historic homes and buildings are well preserved and can be explored.
Don’t miss sampling some German cuisine while you are here.
There are also more than 45 vineyards and wineries in and around Fredericksburg. There are several tasting rooms right on Main Street which you can walk to, or opt for a wine tour to different wineries nearby.
Maritime and war buffs should stop at the National Museum of the Pacific War, which explores World War II as it relates to
And for outdoor enthusiasts, Fredericksburg also offers opportunities for hiking, cycling, rock climbing, fishing and birdwatching.
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area just north of the city is also a great hiking spot and offers spectacular views of the countryside from its summit.
4. New Braunfels
When the temperature soars, get out of town and head to New Braunfels to cool off in the water.
Located just 32 miles northeast of San Antonio, New Braunfels has not one, but two, beautiful rivers running through it: the Guadalupe River and the Comal River.
Both rivers are ideal for swimming, tubing, kayaking, canoeing and rafting.
For something more thrilling, New Braunfels is also home to Schlitterbahn Waterpark, one of the largest water parks in Texas, where visitors can enjoy plenty of water play in the form of water slides, rides, and a man-made wave pool.
For a more relaxing option, visitors should head to Landa Park, which offers hiking and biking trails, a lake with paddle boats, swimming pool, children’s playgrounds, a rideable miniature train, golf and miniature golf.
5. San Marcos
Located around 50 miles northeast of San Antonio, the city of San Marcos is an outdoor lover’s paradise.
There are more than 800 acres of outdoor recreation opportunities within the city limits itself, with plenty of parks, open spaces, and hiking and biking trails.
A big draw for locals and visitors is the San Marcos River, perfect for swimming, tubing, canoeing and kayaking. You can also go snorkeling or scuba diving here.
For those who want to get on the water but don’t want to get wet, a glass-bottomed boat is a great alternative.
For a bit of history and culture, visit the Calaboose African American Museum or the Centro Cultural Hispano de San Marcos.
The city is also home to Texas State University, with a vibe typical of a buzzing college town.
Visitors can also indulge in some retail therapy in San Marcos, with several popular outlet malls in town, including
the San Marcos Premium Outlets and the Tanger Outlets.
6. Corpus Christi
Located along the Gulf of Mexico, Corpus Christi is one of the closest beach towns to San Antonio at around 140 miles away.
Enjoy the ocean breeze, sandy shores and plenty of wildlife at one of the many beaches along the Padre Island National Seashore.
Corpus Christi is also home to the USS Lexington, which fought in World War II. There’s an onboard museum, escape room, flight simulator and theater.
Animal lovers and families with kids should definitely include a stop at the Texas State Aquarium, home to more than 450 different species of sea creatures, including some native to the Gulf of Mexico.
Other interesting museums include the Art Museum of South Texas, the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History and the Selena Museum.
Located 52 miles away from San Antonio, Bandera is the self-proclaimed “Cowboy Capital of the World.”
Established in the 1850s, there are numerous intact historic buildings to explore.
Rodeos are held here on a regular basis, and a popular way to experience the western, cowboy culture of the town is to go horseback riding at one of the many guest ranches nearby.
History buffs should check out the Western Trails Heritage Park, the Frontier Times Museum and the Bandera Natural History Museum.
There are also plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation, such as fishing, swimming, tubing and canoeing, including at the Bandera County Park at Medina Lake, the Hill Country State Natural Area and Bandera Park.
And don’t leave town without trying some of its famous local cuisine, including Tex-Mex and down home country cooking.
There are plenty of places with good barbeque in the state of Texas, and arguably the best place for it is in Lockhart – there’s a reason it’s known as the “Barbeque Capital of Texas.”
Located around 70 miles away from San Antonio, there are four barbeque heavyweights in town that draw crowds of visitors:
Black’s Barbeque, Smitty’s Market, Kreuz Market and Chisholm’s Trail BBQ. But there’s more to Lockhart than just great
Explore the town’s rich history at the Caldwell County Courthouse, the Caldwell County Jail Museum and the Dr. Eugene Clark Library.
For something unusual, visit the Southwest Museum of Clocks and Watches. And to enjoy the great outdoors,
head to Lockhart State Park.
At just 60 miles north of San Antonio, a day trip to Luckenbach is an easy one that will make a big impact.
A teeny tiny town with only a few buildings, Luckenbach has the feel of a ghost town but with a very welcoming and friendly vibe.
Enjoy a bite and a drink, listen to live music and shop for souvenirs at the two must-see destinations in town, the
Luckenbach Dance Hall and Bar and the Luckenbach Texas General Store.
Country music is huge here, with live music nearly every day. There are also several wineries just outside of town where you can enjoy tastings.
The nearby Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park offers visitors a chance to explore nature, a working cattle ranch and the Texas White House.
Guided tours are available to make the experience easy and hassle-free.
Escape the big city to the small town of Concan, located around 80 miles west of San Antonio.
A swim or a float along the Frio River is a must with any visit to Concan, and numerous shops in town will offer rentals of tubes and rafts.
You can access the Frio River from Garner State Park, which also offers miles of hiking trails and nature.
Golf fans should play a round at the Golf Club of Texas.
Alternatively, try a round of mini golf at the River Oaks Mini Golf. Other popular activities include hunting, fishing,
birdwatching, bat flight tours, horseback riding and even helicopter tours.
Stop for a bite at Horse Pasture Cattle Company or Big Iron BBQ, and shop for souvenirs at Fergie’s River Store or Frio’s Dry Fifty.
Head to the Mexican border during your day trip with a drive out to Laredo, located around 150 miles southwest of San Antonio.
Laredo’s historic district is worth exploring.
Wander around the cobblestone streets of Zaragoza Street and shop for souvenirs or grab a bite to eat.
Check out historic landmarks like the Republic of the Rio Grande Museum and the Cathedral of San Agustin.
History buffs should include a stop at Zacate Creek and Fort Mcintosh, important sites during the Civil War.
For outdoor enthusiasts, there’s Lake Casa Blanca, a popular spot to go fishing and to enjoy various water sports.
Located around 90 miles east of San Antonio, Shiner is an ideal day trip destination for beer fans.
A small town, Shiner comprises a few blocks of historic buildings, a cute commercial area, and the Spoetzl Brewery.
Founded in 1909, the brewery is the oldest independent brewery in Texas, and Shiner beer has been a Texas institution ever since.
Visitors can take a brewery tour and learn all about how Shiner beer is made, and the history of the town and brewery.
Enjoy several small samples at the end. To enjoy full size versions, visitors can stop at any of the bars and restaurants in town.
Browse for antiques and artisan products at Antiques, Art and Beer.
For a bit of history, check out the Edwin Wolters Museum.
12. Canyon Lake
Located around 45 miles northeast of San Antonio, Canyon Lake is obviously known for water fun on the lake – there’s a reason it’s known as the “Water Recreation Capital of Texas.”
Besides swimming, tubing, rafting and fishing on Canyon Lake and the Guadalupe River, you can also hike the rolling hills and limestone bluffs nearby, or go hunt for dinosaur footprints at the Heritage Museum of the Texas Hill Country.
Head underground at Natural Bridges Cavern.
Drive around one of the many scenic country roads or play a round of golf at the lakeside Canyon Lake Golf Club.
There are also several wineries, breweries and distilleries in the area for visitors who would rather
sample the local flavors.
For a small town escape, head to Wimberley. Located around 60 miles northeast of San Antonio, the quaint town is full of cute artisan shops and restaurants.
Shop for some unique souvenirs downtown. Or sample rum at the only rum distillery in the area.
There’s also plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. Head to Blue Hole Regional Park or
7A Ranch to go for a dip and cool off.
Or swim in a fully submerged cave at Jacob’s Well.
Scuba divers can explore an extensive cave system here as well. For spectacular panoramic views of the Texas Hill Country, head up to the summit of Prayer Mountain, also known as Old Baldy. Or soar through the air at Wimberley Ziplines.
If horses are more your thing, go on a horseback riding tour.
15. Port Aransas
Located on Mustang Island in the Gulf of Mexico, Port Aransas is around 180 miles southeast of San Antonio. While somewhat far, it’s still doable as a day trip if you don’t mind a long day.
Port Aransas is a great option for those who want to hit the beach, offering 18 miles of wide, sandy beaches.
Enjoy an array of watersports, including surfing, sailing, jet skiing, windsurfing and kiteboarding. Or head out to sea on a fishing or dolphin watching excursion.
For stellar views, head to the observation tower at Roberts Point Park, which offers wonderful sea views.
There are also plenty of hiking and biking trails, and nature conservation centers. For a change of speed, there are also
plenty of shops, boutiques, galleries, and bars and restaurants.