MilFam Travel: 10 Things to Do Near San Antonio

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Located 150 miles from our nation’s southern border is one of the largest joint bases in the DOD: Joint Base San Antonio. Comprised of Fort Sam Houston, Randolph Air Force Base, Lackland Air Force Base, Camp Bullis, Camp Stanley, and the Martindale Army Airfield, more than 80,000 Military employees call this city in south-central Texas home.

Founded as a Spanish mission in 1718, San Antonio still maintains its rich colonial history through historic preservations, museums, and its vibrant, diverse culture. Boasting the world’s first museum of modern art in the state of Texas as well as several UNESCO World Heritage sites, San Antonio is an ideal destination for anyone looking for a taste of southwestern charm.

If you’re looking for things to do in San Antonio, check out these 10 places to get the fun rolling.


1. San Antonio River Walk

Full of dining, shopping, and entertainment, it’s easy to say that the San Antonio River Walk is the heart of this vibrant city. Connected to museums, shopping areas, and natural parks, this public park is free to visit and is San Antonio’s most popular tourist attraction.

Dine with the kiddos at several family-friendly restaurants or rent some bikes and explore the River Walk at your own pace. If you desire more relaxed exploration options, Go River Cruises offers boat tours and taxis to take you all over the city to see the natural beauty of the San Antonio River.


2. Natural Bridge Caverns

Discovered in 1960, Natural Bridge Caverns is a geographical marvel in the heart of Texas. Depending on how adventurous you’re feeling, choose from a wide variety of tours and explore the natural wonder of the caves, towering caverns, and otherworldly formations.

If being above ground is more your style, there are zip lines and an adventure park to get your heart pumping. With shopping at the trading post, dining at Big Daddy’s Sweets, and gem and fossil mining at the Discovery Village Mining Co., you can easily spend a day exploring all there is to do at Natural Bridge Caverns.


3. SeaWorld® San Antonio

Dive into adventure at SeaWorld® San Antonio! Go from land to sea on Journey to Atlantis, a family ride that’s part water ride, part coaster. Or get up close and personal with some of the ocean’s most loveable animals such as dolphins, beluga whales, and sea lions.

A bonus? Through SeaWorld San Antonio’s Waves of Honor Program, active duty servicemembers and up to three of their dependents get complimentary tickets once per year, making it the perfect getaway for your family.


4. The Alamo

With free admission, living history demonstrations, and engaging talks, The Alamo is a San Antonio staple. This famous church in downtown San Antonio was the site of the Battle of the Alamo which helped cement Texans’ identity in their fight for freedom and liberty in 1836.

Visitors can select from guided or self-guided tours, or just walk around and take in the history at their own pace. Discover some of the preservation projects going on or visit the Fortress Alamo: The Key to Texas exhibit to learn about the site’s Military history.


5. San Antonio Museum of Art

Located on the Museum Reach of the River Walk, the San Antonio Museum of Art (SAMA) has the most extensive and comprehensive collection of ancient Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and Asian art in the southern United States. Additionally, SAMA is home to a large collection of Latin American art and a growing collection dedicated to defining Texas’ artistic identity.

With events to engage your mind and your family, SAMA is dedicated to expanding our shared understanding of humanity across boundaries and time. Come by water taxis and book a tour to explore the wide range of human artistic expression through their collection of European, Oceanic, Contemporary art and more.


6. Tower of the Americas

Dominating the skyline of San Antonio, the Tower of the Americas offers spectacular panoramic views of the city and award-winning dining. This 750-foot tower boasts the revolving Chart House Restaurant, free concerts on Fridays, and the interactive Flags Over Texas Observation Deck where photographs on the deck’s floor identify key landmarks around the city.

Learn about the history of San Antonio through historic photos and travel across the Lone Star State through the Skies Over Texas 4D Theater Ride. Plus, with Military discounts, movies in the park, and the Alamo City LX Mopar Car Show every month, you can always find something new to do at the Tower of the Americas.


7. Brackenridge Park

Founded in 1899, Brackenridge Park is home to the San Antonio Zoo, the San Antonio Botanical Garden, a miniature train, and much more. Explore the natural beauty of the area through its multiple hiking and biking trails, picnic pavilions, playgrounds, and the Alamo City Golf Trail.

With archeological evidence dating back 11,000 years, Brackenridge Park is one of the most significant archeological sites in Texas, but its culture doesn’t stop there. Spend a day at the Witte Museum, explore Japanese culture at the Japanese Tea Garden, or attend a performance at the Sunken Garden Theater.


8. La Villita Historic Arts Village

Located on the south bank of the River Walk, La Villita offers some of the most coveted stores in San Antonio. On the U.S. government’s National Registry of Historic Places, you can walk through romantic courtyards and 300-year-old architecture as you pursue local artisan shops and dine at innovative restaurants.

Offering venues for concerts, theater, dance, and festivals, La Villita is a cultural community unlike any other. Taking in the allure of the past with the spirit of the present, you can stroll this one-square block of old- and new-world charm and indulge in an atmosphere of life, culture, and energy.


9. Six Flags Fiesta Texas  

Spend a day getting your thrill on at Six Flags Fiesta Texas. Get your heart going on BATMAN: The Ride, the world’s first 4D free-fly coaster, or take it easy on the Gully Washer, a white water rafting experience that takes riders straight through the heart of Crackaxle Canyon.

With live entertainment, White Water Bay water park, dining, and shopping, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at Six Flags. Listen to authentic New Orleans jazz with the King William Brass Band at the Rockville Theater, or celebrate Mardi Gras every day with the Mardi Gras Parade, featuring stilt walkers and a double-decker riverboat float.


10. San Antonio Missions National Historical Park

The San Antonio Missions National Historic Park maintains four of the city’s oldest churches, echoing its rich history. Still home to active Catholic parishes, the four churches that belong to the Historic Park are open to the public for guided and audio tours.

Explore the park along the Mission Hike and Bike Trail or narrow in on an individual mission. Each church offers its own host of engaging activities, such as live loom weaving on Tuesday afternoons at the Mission Espada or the Four Voices exhibit at Mission Concepción, which explores the stories of people who lived at these missions when they were first founded.


Whether you’re new to the area or have lived in San Antonio for years, there’s always something new to explore and see in this historic city!


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