21+ Best Day Trips from San Antonio, TX

During the years that we called San Antonio home, we spent the majority of our weekends traipsing around Central Texas, seeking out the best day trips from San Antonio along the way!

From small towns to state parks, we ended up experiencing some incredible San Antonio day trips–many of which we have continually returned to in the years since.

All of these San Antonio day trips are within a couple of hours of the city, making them easy to fit into one day, and include something for every interest.

Keep in mind, though, that the driving distance calculated in this post is based on traveling from downtown San Antonio with minimal traffic, so your driving commitment may vary dramatically depending on your starting point!

Here are the best places to visit near San Antonio, Texas!

kate storm sitting under a texas live oak at the lbj national historic park

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City + Small Town Day Trips from San Antonio

If you’re looking for an adorable small town or fun city, these are the best day trips from San Antonio for you!

Fredericksburg

Known for its prevalent German heritage, fantastic peaches, and many, many wineries, Fredericksburg is the perfect getaway for wine lovers.

With plenty of vineyards to choose from, not to mention a plethora of great restaurants, shops, distilleries, and nearby hikes, Fredericksburg is easily among the top day trips from San Antonio.

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While you’re there, be sure to visit a vineyard or two, browse the shops on Main Street, tuck into a delicious German-style meal, and climb Enchanted Rock!

Nearby attractions like Old Tunnel State Park and Luckenbach are well worth a visit, too.

Driving Distance from San Antonio

1 hour, 10 minutes.

Library in Fredericksburg Texas, one of the cutest small towns in Texas to visit

Johnson City

Known for its proximity to Pedernales Falls State Park, charming downtown center, and Lights Spectacular display each December, Johnson City is a delight of a Hill Country town!

This is also where you’ll find the homestead of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s grandparents, though the town is not named for the family–just a lucky coincidence.

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Be sure to check out the wine castle–yes, you read that right–while you’re here.

Driving Distance from San Antonio

1 hour, 10 minutes.

kate storm in a red dress sitting on the porch of a historic building at johnson settlement, one of the best johnson city attractions

Austin

As arguably the best-known city in Texas on the national and international tourism scene, Austin is an incredibly fun day trip from San Antonio.

However, as someone who has driven the (supposedly) less than 1.5-hour route between the two cities dozens of times, let me warn you: the traffic between Austin and San Antonio is notoriously terrible, so try to plan your drives for well outside of rush hour!

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If you do make the drive, though, you’ll find no lack of fun things to do in Austin!

Perusing the street art and boutiques around South Congress, watching the bats fly out from under the Congress Avenue Bridge, touring the state capitol, climbing Mount Bonnell, and enjoying Austin’s famous live music scene are just a few things that might be on your agenda!

Driving Distance from San Antonio

1 hour, 40 minutes.

Skyline of Austin Texas as seen over Lady Bird Lake. Austin is one of the best weekend getaways from Dallas tx

Castroville

Located just outside of San Antonio, Castroville is an easy day trip that offers a little slice of France in Texas.

Founded by Alsatian immigrants (located in today’s northeastern France) in the mid-nineteenth century, Castroville’s visitor’s center is housed in a genuine 17th-century French home that was relocated to Texas in the 1990s.

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The town also features plenty of other Alsatian-inspired architecture, an Alsatian bakery, and even a Texas state historic site!

Driving Distance from San Antonio

30 minutes.

kate storm in front of steinbach haus, one of the best things to do in castroville tx

Boerne

The adorable small town of Boerne, Texas proudly wears its German heritage on its sleeve and is one of the easiest day trips from San Antonio.

It’s located so close to the city that some Boerne residents even commute into San Antonio for work (something we once strongly considered ourselves when house hunting).

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With a beautiful downtown packed with restaurants and antique shops, cool caves to explore, and plenty of year-round festivals to hit up, Boerne is a fun and simple way to enjoy a classic small Texas town without traveling far.

Driving Distance from San Antonio

35 minutes.

mural in booerne texas, painted on the isde of a brick building

Lockhart

Known as the “barbecue capital of Texas”, be sure to come hungry when you head out to Lockhart on a day trip from San Antonio!

Smitty’s, Kreuz, and Black’s are among the most legendary barbecue spots in the area, but Lockhart is also home to plenty of breweries and a big helping of small-town Texas charm.

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Be sure to also check out the gorgeous Caldwell County Courthouse (widely considered one of the most beautiful in the state) while you’re there!

Driving Distance from San Antonio

1 hour, 5 minutes.

spread of barbecue from blacks barbecue lockhart. eating bbq in lockhard is one of the best things to do in the texas hill country

Shiner

Shiner beer is a staple of Texas bars and barbecues everywhere!

… And, in the small town of Shiner, Texas, you can tour the Spoetzl Brewery and learn all about the process of making the classic drink.

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You can even sample some while you’re at it!

Driving Distance from San Antonio

1 hour, 30 minutes.

exterior of white Spoetzl Brewery in shiner texas
Bakery2021, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Round Top

Famously home to some of the biggest and best Texas trade days around, Round Top is the place to be if you want to go antiquing near San Antonio!

While the major antique fairs are held a couple of times a year, there is plenty of shopping to go around on a daily basis.

Be sure to stop by Royers Pie Haven for one of their famously delicious slices when you need a break from shopping!

St. Martin’s Catholic Church, the smallest operating Catholic Church in the world, is worth a peek when you’re nearby, too!

Driving Distance from San Antonio

2 hours, 5 minutes.

henkel square market in round top texas, one of the cute towns in texas

Dripping Springs

Located just outside of Austin and nestled in the Texas Hill Country, the small town of Dripping Springs is primarily known for two things: weddings and the Hamilton Pool.

The many wineries surrounding Dripping Springs make it a prime wedding venue in Texas, though of course its vineyards, distilleries, and even olive farm all make the town worth visiting even without a wedding.

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Then, of course, there’s Instagram-famous Hamilton Pool, the natural pool that was carved out of limestone when a river caved in thousands of years ago, leaving a refreshing hangout (complete with a 50-foot waterfall!) behind for generations of Texans to enjoy.

Driving Distance from San Antonio

1 hour, 25 minutes.

Hamilton Pool Preserve in Dripping Springs Texas with waterfall visible on the left side of the photo

Schulenburg

Above all, Schulenburg is known for its collection of beautiful painted churches, each with a detailed interior that is a work of art in its own right.

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Primarily built in the 19th century by German and Czech immigrants, these painted churches are one of Texas’ historical treasures, and they make an excellent San Antonio day trip!

Driving Distance from San Antonio

1 hour, 30 minutes.

exterior of one of the painted churches of schulenberg, one of the best places to find a piece of european texas

Luckenbach

Home to just 3 official residents, the positively minuscule town of Luckenbach is well-known as a country music hotspot, with a popular dance hall and far more live shows than one would expect from a town of merely 3 people!

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Luckenbach is only a short drive from Fredericksburg, so you can also combine the two for a multi-stop San Antonio day trip!

Driving Distance from San Antonio

1 hour, 5 minutes.

Kate Storm in front of the former post office of luckenbach texas, one of the best things to see in luckenbach

Wimberley

Quirky Wimberley is known for its whimsy, its painted boots that decorate the town, its many art galleries, and its impressive swimming holes (two of them, Jacob’s Well and the Blue Hole, rank among the most famous swimming holes in central Texas).

It also happens to be one of our personal favorite towns in the Texas Hill Country and absolutely one of the best day trips from San Antonio!

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Keep in mind that if you’d like to hit up one of its famous swimming holes, you’ll need to make reservations well in advance.

Even traveling at the last minute, though, Wimberley is worth the drive.

Don’t forget to make the (very short) climb up Old Baldy for a great view of the Hill Country while you’re there!

Driving Distance from San Antonio

1 hour, 10 minutes.

painted boot in downtown wimberley texas

Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park

Located in blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Stonewall, Texas, the famous LBJ Ranch and Texas White House are fantastic places to visit near San Antonio for anyone interested in American history!

While the Johnson Family Homestead in Johnson City is technically part of the historic site, the Stonewall section is much larger.

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Here, you’ll find the still-working LBJ Ranch (complete with cattle), a scenic drive, the birthplace of Lyndon B. Johnson, Air Force 1 and a 1/2 (the plane the president used to travel from DC to the ranch regularly), and so much more.

Be sure to tour the famous Texas White House while you’re there!

Driving Distance from San Antonio

1 hour, 25 minutes.

texas white house at lbj national historic park

Gruene

Technically, Gruene isn’t a small town in its own right, but rather a historic district in the city of New Braunfels.

However, that wasn’t always the case, and to this day, visitors come from all over Texas to enjoy Gruene!

Known for being home to Gruene Hall, the oldest continually operating dance hall in Texas, Gruene is a Hill Country favorite with locals and visitors alike.

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This small town is both shady and walkable (both enormous wins in Texas), and packed with shops, restaurants (Gristmill, which is housed in an old cotton gin overlooking the river, is among the best), and access to tubing on the Guadalupe River.

If you’re looking for a short road trip from San Antonio that will allow you to explore a small town in the morning and go tubing in the afternoon, Gruene is the perfect stop.

Driving Distance from San Antonio

55 minutes.

front facade of gruene hall, one of the best things to do in gruene texas

Nature-Focused Day Trips from San Antonio

Looking to enjoy a bit of nature near San Antonio?

These San Antonio day trips include some of the best natural beauty in the area–but you don’t need to leave the San Antonio area at all to find beautiful hikes.

If you’re looking for a quick hike but don’t want to travel outside the city, Government Canyon State Natural Area and Friedrich Wilderness Park were our two favorite places to hike within San Antonio, and we visited them dozens of times each. 

Blooming Cactus in central Texas as seen on a San Antonio day trip

Guadalupe River State Park

Floating the river is a time-honored tradition all over Texas–and nearby Guadalupe River State Park is one of the most accessible places to float near San Antonio.

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For those not inclined to grab a tube, the park has some lovely hiking as well.

Driving Distance from San Antonio

55 minutes.

Guadalupe River State Park with cypress trees in the background and the river in the foreground. This park is home to some of the best camping near san antonio tx

Pedernales Falls State Park

With plenty of places to both hike and swim, Pedernales Falls is an incredibly fun place to enjoy the great outdoors.

It’s also located right next door to Johnson City, which it can be combined with for a great San Antonio day trip that balances multiple interests.

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While you can’t swim in the main falls themselves, there are places to swim in the park, so be sure to pack your suit!

Driving Distance from San Antonio

1 hour, 25 minutes.

pedernales falls as seen from above, one of the best texas hill country state parks

Cascade Caverns

The stunning Cascade Caverns are located just a few miles south of Boerne and date back 140 million years, making them a fascinating place to visit.

While the typical daily tours are very interesting, if you’re the adventurous sort and can get a group together for the tour through the lower cave system, we highly recommend it.

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Even after traveling full-time for years through nearly 50 countries, we still consider our spelunking tour of Cascade Caverns to be one of our favorite tours that we’ve ever taken!

Driving Distance from San Antonio

35 minutes.

Kate Storm and Jeremy Storm covered in mud after touring Cascade Caverns on a day trip from San Antonio TX
If you do sign up for the spelunking tour, though, be sure to wear clothes that you’re comfortable destroying! We snapped this photo right after finishing our tour.

Garner State Park

Located on the beautiful Frio River, Garner State Park makes an excellent day trip for visitors looking to hike, swim, or float the Frio River (which we personally loved to do there).

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We are a bit biased, but Garner State Park is one of our favorite state parks near San Antonio, and it makes an absolutely sublime day trip!

Driving Distance from San Antonio

1 hour, 35 minutes.

View of the turquoise water of the Frio River in Garner State Park, one of the best weekend getaways from Austin TX

Lost Maples State Park

Lost Maples, as you can probably guess from the name alone, is best known for its stunning fall foliage–but it’s a beautiful place to hike and explore year-round!

Given that this is Texas, if you are aiming for the best foliage, you’ll want to head out a bit later than in many parts of the country!

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The foliage tends to peak in November, but use the foliage tracker to know what you’re getting into before setting off.

Driving Distance from San Antonio

1 hour, 40 minutes.

Jeremy Storm and Kate Storm hiking in Lost Maples State Park, one of the best day trips from San Antonio TX

Natural Bridge Caverns

Named for its famous, naturally occurring, 60-foot limestone bridge, the Natural Bridge Caverns as we know them today were discovered in 1960, and are part of the largest cave system in Texas that is open to the public.

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With a wide variety of tours to choose from (varying in both price and intensity), there’s a visit to Natural Bridge Caverns that works for everyone.

Driving Distance from San Antonio

35 minutes.

Photo of the interior of Natural Bridge Caverns, one of the best San Antonio day trips

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

Enormous, pink, and mostly free of vegetation, Enchanted Rock is unmissable as you approach it.

Made of granite and soaring 425 feet into the air, summiting Enchanted Rock is a classic Texas Hill Country experience.

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The hike doesn’t take long, but it is very unprotected, so be sure to bring a hat and plenty of water, especially if you’re hiking on a hot summer day.

Enchanted Rock can be visited independently on a day trip from San Antonio, or combined with a stop in nearby Fredericksburg.

Driving Distance from San Antonio

1 hour, 30 minutes.

Kate Storm standing on Enchanted Rock near Fredericksburg, one of the best places to visit in Texas

Canyon Lake

Beautiful Canyon Lake, located on the Guadalupe River and known for being an excellent place to hit the water, is one of the most popular day trips from San Antonio and an excellent place to cool off on those brutal summer days.

It also happens to be home to several of the best beaches near San Antonio!

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With beautiful turquoise water, plenty of swimming and hiking opportunities, and easy access to other beautiful spots like New Braunfels and the Guadalupe River, you will definitely find plenty of fun things to do in and around Canyon Lake for a day!

Driving Distance from San Antonio

1 hour.

2 photos: library in Fredericksburg TX on top and Guadalupe River on bottom. Black text on a white background reads "15 best day trips from san antonio tx"

3 thoughts on “21+ Best Day Trips from San Antonio, TX”

  1. We have friends in San Antonio and we love to visit. There are so many great things to see and do in the city (the missions & trail, Japanese garden, River walk, Briscoe Museum, just to name a few) and surrounding area. We have been to several of the day trips on your list and we will definitely check out some of the others the next time we are there (restrictions permitting). Happy travels!

    Reply
  2. Well written, Andrea. Thank you very much for putting those fun places together in your article. I lived in SA for 10 years but only had been to a handful places in your list. Will definitely go back and check the rest out. Happy travels!

    Reply

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