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 Sea World.
Fast forward and I’ve lived in the great state of Texas for 20 years. I’m a huge fan of San Antonio and 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!
Travel to San Antonio
Where to stay
- The St. Anthony 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 the other side of the room, had a glass of wine, and watched a movie on the iPad after her bedtime.
- Hotel Emma 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.
- JW Marriott 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.
- Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort 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 the wiggles out.
Where to eat
- Acenar 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.
Alamo Cafe They had me at queso…but I plan to stay for the huge patio and fenced lawn area to let the kids run around at the San Pedro location!
- 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.
- 2 Bros. BBQ Market I saw it featured in my AAA magazine and the Cheesy Chop combo of BBQ beef and mac and cheese has me drooling already.
The can’t miss spots for a 2-3 day trip
- The Alamo Because. History.
- The River Walk The vibrancy of the city makes a great backdrop for family selfies.
- Sea World Where else can you pet a dolphin and get splashed by a killer whale?
- River Cruise Boat cruises are a great way to see spots that you might not catch on foot, get some good history, 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
- Guinness World Records Try to break a world record after a visit to the Alamo.
- Legoland A great option off the River Walk to spend a few hours.
- San Antonio Fire Museum Got little ones who are obsessed with rescue vehicles? Me too.
- Witte Museum
Hit the road, mama! Texas Forever.