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6 of the best day trips from San Antonio, Texas

A street scene at night with people milling around in a blur

Located between Texas Hill Country and the Gulf of Mexico, San Antonio is a great base for day trips into the wider region.

The surrounding area offers a mix of rolling hills for hiking and coastal plains full of amazing wildlife, as well as a thriving wine region and charming towns with quirky attractions, boutique shopping, and charismatic art scenes. Once you’ve experienced the best of central San Antonio, this guide to the region’s top day trips will help you experience the different flavors of Texas just a short journey away.

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Make time to hang out on 6th Street in downtown Austin © dszc / Getty Images

1. Soak up the vibes in Austin, Texas’ capital

Travel time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Austin and San Antonio vie for the top tourist destination in Texas, but the two cities are close enough together that you don’t need to choose and can experience both in one vacation. Ideally, make it more than a day trip and plan to spend a night or two in the capital of Texas, home to fantastic barbecue, phenomenal outdoor spaces and a nightlife full of live music shows.

Start your day with a swim or hike. Lady Bird Lake draws travelers for its water activities, but it’s not the only place to take a dip in Austin. Barton Springs Pool and the Barton Creek Greenbelt are local swimming spots surrounded by open space and parkland. Hiking and climbing are extensive in the Greenbelt area, too. Downtown Austin is home to 6th Street – the entertainment district full of clubs, bars and restaurants. Be sure to check out different neighborhoods for different vibes. South Congress Avenue and East Austin are two of our favorites.

How to get to Austin from San Antonio: Driving north on I-35 is perhaps the easiest and quickest route, though you could save some cash with a ride on a Greyhound or Megabus, or by taking the Amtrak Texas Eagle train. Just keep in mind that the Amtrak train ride to Austin is 3.5 hours which is quite a bit longer than the hour and fifteen-minute drive by car.

People in silhouette gaze at a sky filled with stars
Stay a little longer at Enchanted Rock to enjoy its Dark Sky status © Arnab Guha Photography / Getty Images

2. Take a hike in the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

Travel time: 1 hour 30 minutes

The pink granite dome of the Enchanted Rock has drawn humans for over 12,000 years. Indigenous people have romantic, tragic and ghostly legends about the rock. For instance, the Tonkawa people…

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