My first trip to San Antonio was sometime in the late 80s. There were 5–6 of us stuffed in my grandma’s tiny blue Ford Escort for a 12+ hour drive all the way from rural Arkansas. After fighting for space in the backseat with my cousin, being disciplined on the side of I-10, and sweating through my favorite Minnie Mouse shirt, we eventually arrived for our family reunion in Victoria, Texas. Once we enjoyed time with my grandma’s six siblings, their kids, and a huge crew of cousins of all ages, we took a side trip to San Antonio to see the Alamo and pet the dolphins at SeaWorld.
Fast forward, and I’ve lived in the great state of Texas for 20 years. I’m a huge fan of San Antonio—it was our first official road trip as a family, not long after I became a mom. My husband was a student-athlete at Trinity University (Go Tigers!), so we planned our trip around a home football game to see some of his former teammates.
Here are some of my favorite spots and what I have on my list for the next time we go!
Plan a Trip to San Antonio
WHERE TO STAY
When we checked in, we knew this place looked familiar. If you’re a fan of The Bachelorette (guilty!), you will recognize it from Kaitlyn Bristowe’s season. It’s in a fantastic location downtown and is walkable to the Alamo and several other attractions. The rooftop pool is gorgeous. The crib we requested was in our room when we arrived, and the room had a partition, so we let the baby sleep on one side, while we had a glass of wine and watched a movie on the iPad after her bedtime.
This award-winning hotel is right on the river. Enjoy the pool and the complimentary cruiser bikes if your family is old enough to get around on two wheels.
This is the perfect spot for the warm months so the whole family can enjoy the water slide, the lazy river, and the beach. You might not want to leave the resort! S’mores are available every Friday and Saturday. No wonder it was ranked in America’s Most Family-Friendly Resorts by FOX News.
If much of your time will revolve around SeaWorld, this is your place as it’s right next door! The five-acre water park and bike and walk trails will make sure the kids get their wiggles out.
WHERE TO EAT
Texans love Tex-Mex and this place doesn’t disappoint. The best part is the location right on the River Walk. Happy hour is 3–6 so take the family and enjoy a margarita after seeing the sights.
They had me at queso…but I plan to stay for the huge patio and fenced lawn area at the San Pedro location—so the kids can run around!
Chris Madrid’s award-winning burgers are the real deal. Last time we were there we even saw a local sports celebrity. It burned down not long after we visited, but I can’t wait to visit the new location. It’s an iconic eatery for every budget and you won’t feel compelled to shush the kiddos thanks to the bustling crowd.
La Panaderia is a great spot to stop for a quick and delicious breakfast and coffee before exploring some of downtown San Antonio.
I saw it featured in my AAA magazine and the Cheesy Chop combo of BBQ beef + mac and cheese has me drooling already.
THINGS TO DO
Can’t-miss spots for a 2–3-day trip:
The vibrancy of the city makes a great backdrop for family selfies.
Where else can you pet a dolphin and get splashed by a killer whale?
Boat cruises are a great way to see spots you might not catch on foot and get some good historical background. And being on a boat is always fun—especially for the kids.
If you enjoy wildlife and natural pursuits, pick one of these spots:
San Antonio Zoo
San Antonio Aquarium
San Antonio Botanical Garden
Natural Bridge Caverns
Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch
Indoor options in San Antonio in case of heat or rain:
Try to break a world record after a visit to the Alamo.
A great option off the River Walk to spend a few hours.
Got little ones who are obsessed with rescue vehicles? Me too.
Hit the road, mama! Texas Forever.