One of the things my husband and I love to do is day trips. We head an hour or two out of town, poke around, then head back to sleep in our own bed. There are a lot of fun day trips to take from San Antonio. Here are some of our favorites:
1) The coast. Head south on 281 for a couple of hours and you end up in Corpus Christi. We like to head across the bridge and go to Mustang Beach. We like to eat at Snoopy’s, just off the bridge on South Padre Island Drive.
2) Fredericksburg. It’s a sweet little town about an hour and a half north of San Antonio (take I-10 West and take a right at the sign and drive for another good while.) It’s a German settlement in the Hill Country, with lots of cute shops and a wonderful bakery along the main street. We like to eat at Wheeler’s or The Buffalo Nickel. My mom and I go every chance we get! Also, there are a lot of wineries in the area, and you can go on a tour. If you’re not up for a tour, there are at least three places on the main street that offer wine tasting. There are some microbreweries, too.
3) Austin. Traffic is bad, no matter what time you go, but there’s a lot to see–the capitol building, Sixth Street, Stubbs, Barton Creek, lots of places to hear music. We like to eat on South Congress, but parking is always premium, and be prepared to wait for a table.
4) Lockhart. You can get there either going east on I-10 or north on 35, then exiting and traveling a bit. Lockhart is known for its barbecue (we like Black’s) but the center of town has some cute little shops, too. Not nearly as many as Fredericksburg, though.
5) Shiner. To be fair, the only reason we went here was to tour the brewery, which was WAY smaller than I expected. The tour is free, less than half an hour (and it takes a good 90 minutes to get to Shiner), but you get 5 free beer samples. We went two days in a row.
6) Johnson City. This is the birthplace of LBJ, and you can tour his ranch. There are also little shops around, and wineries. Mostly I remember seeing longhorns out that way.
7) Bandera. They call it the Cowboy Capital, but then Pleasanton says it’s the Birthplace of the Cowboy. Who knows. Bandera has a few antique shops and a museum and barbecue. The Medina River runs near there, but the last time we went, it was dried up.
8) Bastrop. This is a town east of Austin, not too far from Lockhart. Be sure to visit Historic Bastrop, a collection of cute little shops. It’s smaller than Fredericksburg–at least the historic part is. It’s right on the Colorado River, so there are water activities, too. We went in January, so not a lot of that! Also, if you travel a bit to the north, you can see the damage from the largest forest fire in Texas. It was pretty stunning to me, since we don’t have a lot of fires in Texas!
9) New Braunfels. The oldest bakery in Texas lives here, and it’s goooooood. There are antique shops as well as Schlitterbahn, the ginormous water park, the Guadalupe River, on which people like to go tubing. We don’t usually eat here because our favorite place is the next town over.
10) Gruene. My favorite. If you’re my friend on Facebook, you know I’m almost always heading to Gruene. The town has changed a LOT since we started going there. It used to be a main street with little shops, a dance hall and a few restaurants, including The Gristmill, a giant restaurant overlooking the Guadalupe River. Now it has new shops, too, which I haven’t visited, lots of restaurants, though our favorite remains The Gristmill. It also has the oldest dancehall in Texas, which was in the movie Michael, and upon whose stage I have sung
Next week: Places you want to eat in San Antonio!