Texas is a beautiful state to visit for a weekend or longer. Listed below are the best things to do in San Antonio, Austin, and South Padre Island in Texas!
I went to Texas with my best friend Ariana and her mom Tracie during the summer of 2020. The trip was a blast because we saw Austin, San Antonio, and South Padre Island.
Austin: The most memorable moments in Austin were paddle boarding for the first time and witnessing the millions of bats fly at the Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge Bats. The food trucks in Austin are delicious.
San Antonio: We headed to San Antonio from Austin for a day trip. I enjoyed the San Antonio River Boat Tour that we went on.
South Padre Island: The last trip we took in Texas was to South Padre Island. Visiting the island was my favorite activity in Texas because I always prefer beaches over cities and mountains!
Each place was unique, and you will find some great things to do at each location below.
San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio is the most visited city in Texas and is the seventh largest city in America.
San Antonio Riverwalk- The San Antonio Riverwalk follows a network of canals through the city. There are shops, restaurants, hotels, and bars to check out along the river. The Riverwalk is a must-see if you are ever in this city. I highly recommend going on a boat tour through it, where you will get to hear about the history of San Antonio from a unique perspective. Another fun activity you can partake in is kayaking or paddle boarding along the river.
Gardens/San Antonio Zoo:
- San Antonio Zoo- Feed the giraffes and witness giant Komodo dragons at the San Antonio Zoo! Did you know this company created the world’s first-ever virtual zoo? You can witness the animals in real-time right now on their website. The first live visit to one exhibit at the zoo is free!
- San Antonio Botanical Garden– Wander along the pathways of the San Antonio Botanical Garden for views of waterfalls, ponds, and beautiful plants. You’ll witness a few wild animals if you are lucky.
- Japanese Tea Gardens- The Japanese Tea Gardens feature a koi fish, a waterfall, and stone bridges. It is also home to a Jingu House Cafe where you can get a bite to eat or a delicious cup of coffee or tea.
Natural Bridge Caverns- The natural bridges and caves in San Antonio are a sight you do not want to miss. The area has three cave tours where you can climb the canopy tower before ziplining to the bottom.
Glamping in a Treehouse- There are plenty of glamping opportunities and treehouses to stay at in San Antonio. There is an impressive one along the Guadalupe River! Read 12 different glamping sites that you can compare and look at here!
White Water Rafting- The best way to experience the Guadalupe River is to go white water rafting through it. The guides provide life jackets and instructions on how to get through the river on a raft.
Tubing at Loma Falls- Loma Falls is one of the best places in San Antonio because you can rent a tube to take a trip down the Comal River. The tour guide will start at the Wurstfest grounds.
Visit a Swimming Hole- The best natural swimming areas to go to in San Antonio are Blue Hole and Hamilton Pool.
- McNay Art Museum- This museum features over 10,000 paintings inside a Mediterranean-themed mansion.
Entertainment + Shows:
- Majestic Theatre- The best place to witness a Broadway play or symphony is at this Spanish Mediterranean theatre.
- Texas Music Theatre- This theatre highlights concerts featuring local and regional country music artists.
Vineyards/Wineries- Witness the wine being fermented at Water 2 Wine and taste a few different types of wine from more than 100 options. Another great place to try wine is at the Vineyard at Gruene, where you can witness how they make wine from Texas grapes while enjoying the fresh air.
Hill Country Distillers- This distillery produces moonshine and brandy. They offer food and cocktails at their bar and patio. The facility is dog-friendly!
Visit the Farmer’s Market– The best way to experience the culture of San Antonio is to visit their Farmer’s market and try their local food.
Austin is the capital of the state of Texas and is the 11th largest city in the US. The food, culture, art, cuisine, and entertainment make Austin one of the top places to visit in the United States. Austin is home to 200 live music venues and is known as being one of the sunniest places in the US. When most people think of Austin, they think of the tasty taco trucks or the musicians performing all over town; however, there are 1.5 million Mexican Free-Tailed Bats to see while you are there. They fly out every night at the Congress Avenue Bridge.
Paddle Boarding / Kayaking- Paddle Boarding and kayaking are super fun water activities that anyone can enjoy while in Austin.
Hamilton Pool Preserve- This natural pool is a perfect spot to swim. You’ll even find a waterfall and cave to explore.
Texas State Capitol– The Texas State Capital is widely recognized because the building has a 311-foot-high dome and overlooks Austin. If you love history, then a visit to the Capitol would be for you, as it was built back in 1866.
Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge Bats– Did you know? There are 1.5 million Mexican Free-Tailed Bats who are flying out every night at the Congress Avenue Bridge.
Bee Cave Sculpture Park– The Bee Cave Sculpture Park is 7 acres and showcases sculptures, art, a pond, and plants.
Austin Aquarium– The Austin Aquarium welcomes you to an interactive experience where you get to feed exotic animals up close like sharks, stingrays, birds, and tropical islands. You can even hold a snake or a lemur if your heart desires!
Zilker Botanical Garden– This garden is unique because it has a Japanese section and cactus section. There are so many different, beautiful plants to go and see for yourself!
Brushy Creek Lake Park– This 90-acre park is a perfect spot to go bike riding for the day or explore on a kayak.
Hike Mount Bonnell– Mount Bonnell has stunning views of Austin that you do not want to miss.
The Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail– This scenic trail along the water is a perfect spot to go bike riding, walking, or running!
Lake Travis Zipline Adventures– The best way to see Lake Travis is to go zip lining above it. The guides are super friendly and professional. Book your experience here!
Maverick Horseback Riding– Looking to go horseback riding in Austin, Texas? Maverick Horseback Riding offers unique trails and water crossings for you to enjoy. Book your experience here!
Peter Pan Mini Golf– This is a perfect activity for anyone to enjoy on a beautiful evening in Austin, Texas.
Food Trucks- There are a ton of food trucks to try out in Austin. Some popular ones include Burro Food Truck, The Mighty Cone, Ranch Hand, and Vegan Nom.
Driftwood Wine Trail– If you love drinking wine, then a visit to the Driftwood Wine Trail is for you. You can taste 6 different wines for only $20.00.
Museum of Ice Cream– Visit the museum of ice cream to take iconic, Instagram-worthy pictures and have delicious ice cream.
Blues on the Green- Blues on the Green is a free concert occurring once a month during the summer at Zilker Park. It is a super fun experience, as you can see some of your favorite artists perform!
South Padre Island, Texas
- South Padre Island Birding Nature Center- This is one of the best places to watch birds from Southern Mexico and Northern Central America.
- Dolphin Watching- See dolphins in a natural environment on an hour and a half boat tour here!
- Fishing- Fishing is one of the most exhilarating activities that you can do on South Padre Island. You can go offshore fishing or inshore fishing.
- Andy Bowie Park- This park has beautiful beaches and the Laguna Madre Nature Trail to explore. The park has playgrounds for kids as well as areas to have a picnic for adults.
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