Starting out from San Antonio? You don't need to drive far to have big fun with these 9 trips from San Antonio.
If you're using San Antonio as your jumping-off point, here are nine day trips from San Antonio to help you explore more of Texas. This list of trips from San Antonio is great for both locals and visitors seeking a day or side trip.
9 Trips from San Antonio to Take This Summer or Any Time of Year
Most of the trips on my list are within a two-hour drive (give or take based on traffic) of downtown San Antonio. For your ease, I've listed the mileage and estimated drive time from downtown so you can get an idea of what trips from San Antonio are ideal for you.
273 miles/4 hours 29 minutes
If you want to get a taste of the big city, then visit the Big D. You'll find nearly endless museum options in Dallas, including the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealy Plaza (the location where Lee Harvey Oswald shot JFK), the Dallas Museum of Art, the Perot Museum of Science and Nature, and the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum. Want quirky? There's a museum dedicated to Mary Kay. More cultural experiences can be found by attending performances at the Dallas Symphony, Texas Ballet Theater, and Dallas Black Dance Theater.
Sports fans can catch a Dallas Cowboys game or tour the AT&T Stadium—several tour options are available, including a VIP Owner's Tour and an Art Tour. I could write a book on food and drink options in Dallas, but for now, I'll just say Dallas is definitely a foodie's kind of town. Worth a small mention is the Margarita Mile, which kicks off in the summer. The Margarita Mile is a self-guided tour that's designed to let you sample several of Dallas' premier spots to grab Margaritas.
Dallas is also home to the State Fair of Texas, which takes place from late September through October. Don't feel like driving? Dallas has two major airports. If I didn't specifically mention your favorite type of activities, I recommend checking out Visit Dallas' website for a full list of everything there is to do.
64 miles/1 hour
Although the short drive from San Antonio to Kerrville makes it a great length for a day trip, there's plenty to do if you find yourself wanting to stay longer. Kerrville is a great place for outdoor adventure. Popular places to enjoy being outside are the Kerrville River Trail, which is a bike and pedestrian trail with several scenic points of interest. You can even rent a bicycle in town if you want to explore on two wheels and didn't bring your bike.
Other popular (and also quirky) spots to check out are the Empty Cross and one of the most visited sites in Texas Hill Country, Stonehenge II in nearby Ingram.
79 miles/1 hour 7 minutes
Austin and San Antonio might be a mere hour's drive apart (or so…the traffic can be fickle), but the two cities couldn't be more different. Whether you're focused on hip and trendy, live music, or enjoying the outdoors in the nearly year-round warm and sunny weather, Austin has a plethora of choices.
Austin's unofficial motto is “Keep Austin Weird,” which is reflected in some of the attractions, such as the Museum of the Weird, Toy Joy, and Sixth Street—Austin's version of the Vegas strip—just to name a few. If you're really adventurous, check out Hippie Hollow, Austin's well-known spot for nude swimming.
If weird isn't your thing, there's still much more to discover. There are tons of options for outdoor exploration, swimming, and other water activities. Check out Barton Springs Pool, Zilker Park, Lady Bird Lake, and McKinney Falls State Park, just to name a few. If you're interested in something more educational, you can tour the Texas State Capitol. And of course, if you're interested in music, you can plan your visit around one of the world's most well-known music festivals, Austin City Limits.
4. Port Aransas
178 miles/2 hours 40 minutes
As a native San Antonian, I've always appreciated that the beach is less than three hours away. While these are not the beautiful, sugar-white sand and clear, turquoise-water beaches you'll find further east, they are well-maintained and family-friendly beaches. There's a lot of clay in the sand, which accounts for the darker color. While not as pretty as Alabama or Florida Gulf Coast beaches, the upside is that this sand is great for sand castles.
The town of Port Aransas is a typical beach town, with surf shops, ice cream parlors, bike and golf cart rentals, and many casual dining options. Visitors to Port A, as its affectionately dubbed, can visit Mustang Island State Park for more beach adventures, paddling trails, and birding.
196 miles/3 hours
Houston is currently the fourth-largest US city, so whatever you like to do, chances are Houston has it available. Houston is home to many museums and educational experiences, such as the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Children's Museum Houston, and Space Center Houston, just to name a few. If it's an outdoor adventure you want, Houston has a robust list of parks to explore.
Houston is also heaven for pro-sports fans. The city is home to the Houston Texans (NFL), Houston Rockets (NBA), Houston Dynamo FC (MLS), and of course, our Houston Astros (MLB.) You can do just about anything in Houston, except maybe snow sports. Don't want to road trip? Houston has two major airports.
69 miles/1 hour
If you're a wine lover then chances are, Fredericksburg is already on your list of trips from San Antonio. While wine tasting is a huge draw, there's so much more to do in Fredericksburg than just wine tasting. Enjoy spring wildflowers and strawberries and summer peaches.
Go hiking or camping at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area or explore LBJ's birthplace. The Sauer Beckmann Farmstead, which is attached to the LBJ National Historical Park, is a great living history museum with farm animals, and docents performing farm tasks to show what life was like in this area in the early 1900s.
There's also unique lodging, tons of shopping options along the main street, and delicious food.
7. Fort Stockton
312 miles/4 hours 25 minutes
Fort Stockton, in West Texas, is the longest trip I've added to this list of trips from San Antonio, but the drive is doable for a weekend and ideal for a three- or four-day weekend. My kids and I fell in love with this small West Texas City when we decided to stop for the night on our way to El Paso.
Things to do in Fort Stockton include the Annie Riggs Memorial Museum, the Old Pecos County Jail Museum, and historic Fort Stockton. Grab a drink at the Gray Mule Saloon, which is a historic building that's been remade into a cute and trendy wine bar. Don't forget to stop by the visitor's center for more information on things to do in the surrounding area. If you can handle a little more driving, Fort Stockton is a great jumping-off point to explore Fort Davis, Alpine, Marfa, and Balmorhea State Park.
And don't forget to stop and snap a picture of Paisano Pete, the 11-foot statue of a road runner in downtown Fort Stockton.
8. Driftwood and Dripping Springs
74 miles/1 hour 18 minutes
Less than 10 miles apart, Driftwood and Dripping Springs are located on the outskirts of Austin and can be explored together. This is one of my favorite parts of Texas. You're so close to the big city but it's easy to pretend you aren't. Dripping Springs is home to Hamilton Pool Preserve, Reimer's Ranch, and several wineries.
Driftwood is home to more wineries, Desert Door Distillery, and the famous Salt Lick BBQ. My favorite way to spend an afternoon in Driftwood is to do a wine tasting, eat my fill of BBQ at Salt Lick, then go for a hike in Charro Ranch Park.
And, while technically within the city limits of Austin, Jester King Brewery is very close to Driftwood and is absolutely worth a stop. This one's a no-brainer if you're a beer lover but even if you're not, they have…wait for it…baby goats.
91 miles/1 hour 27 minutes
Shiner is just a short drive from San Antonio, so it's easily doable as a day trip. It's a clean, picturesque city with a spacious park in the center of town. Shiner is home to the state's most famous craft brewery—the Spoetzl Brewery brews Shiner Beer. There's an onsite tasting room and gift shop (non-drinkers can have a lemonade), spacious, scenic grounds, and an opportunity to tour the brewery.
Visitors can also check out Bluestem Shiner, a small artisan mall, or Shiner Escape Room for something not centered on beer. There's really not much else to do in Shiner, although if you stay for dinner, the beer cheese and pretzel appetizer at Werner's Restaurant is delicious. Gonzales, 18 miles west of Shiner, has more dining options and a few museums dedicated to Texas and pioneer history.
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More Options for Trips from San Antonio
If I included every charming small town in every direction from the center of San Antonio, this list would be 100 longer than it is. I hope these ideas for trips from San Antonio will get you started and that you'll find more places that inspire you to explore. Also, check out Wander for ideas for trips from Houston and trips from Austin. Some of the suggestions will overlap, but many of these destinations can be adapted for trips from San Antonio.