5 fantastic road trips from San Antonio to do right now

Is there anything more American than a family road trip? Books, songs and entire movies have been devoted to the desire to fuel up (or recharge) the family roadster and hit the road. At least a change of scenery offers a reset from the daily grind. At its best, a road trip offers a chance to reflect and return with a new sense of wonder. (It’s also a great opportunity to catch up on podcasts that have accumulated.)

In this fall of quiet weaning, it is above all a question of enjoying our free time. And the ideal trip is one that can be done in a weekend (or even a day) and has the most fun possible in a short time.

If you’re ready to escape the city of Alamo, every stay on our list is about two hours from San Antonio, which is about the right amount of time before a road trip turns into a fun experience in a chore. So stock up on Buc-ee’s beef jerky, fill the Yeti with sparkling water and get ready to embark on a fabulous fall getaway.

Johnson City Coffee Co. brings quality coffee and baked goods to the Texas Hill Country.

Johnson City Coffee Co.

Find out what it’s all about in Johnson City

Travel time from San Antonio: 1 hour 15 minutes

Johnson City are having a good time, y’all. Stories highlighting this Hill Country hamlet have popped up in magazines and TikToks and everything in between. The city, of course, best known as the hometown of Lyndon B. Johnson (it was founded by a relative of the former president), is also quickly becoming a de facto destination for city dwellers fleeing San Antonio and Austin.

The town is small, but it offers great culinary options ranging from adorable cafes (Johnson City Coffee Co.) to breweries (Pecan Street Brew) to biker-friendly burger joints (Fat Boy Burgers). Johnson City is an hour and 15 minute drive from downtown San Antonio, making it an ideal destination for a day trip or weekend getaway with stops in nearby Blanco and Stonewall.

The Lost Maples State Natural Area is a great place to spot beautiful fall leaves.

The Lost Maples State Natural Area is a great place to spot beautiful fall leaves.

Christian R. via Yelp

Get lost in the fall foliage at Lost Maples State Natural Area

Travel time from San Antonio: 1 hour, 43 minutes

The search for a dose of fall foliage? Grab your boots and hike the 90 miles west to Lost Maples State Natural Area. Lost Maples is managed by Texas Parks & Wildlife and is famous for protecting what is known as a large stand – or group – of Uvalde Bigtooth Maples. (From mid-October, travelers can check the TPWD leaf tracker here time the journey correctly.)

Once the leaves are sighted, stick around Lost Maples and treat yourself to the ultimate outdoor getaway. Pitch a tent at one of 30 campsites with water and electricity hookups ($20 per night, 8 people per site) or backpack at one of 50 primitive sites ($10 for 6 people per site ). Bird watching, fishing, and more than 10 miles of hiking trails are guaranteed to bring you back to Alamo City recharged.

Smithville General Store in Smithville, Texas.

Smithville General Store in Smithville, Texas.

Smithville General Store via Yelp

Stroll through scenic Smithville

Travel time from San Antonio: 1 hour 47 minutes

Smithville is the quieter, more scenic sibling of nearby Lockhart. This small central Texas town has been the backdrop for several Hollywood movies, though it’s perhaps best known for “Hope Floats,” which was filmed here in the late 1990s. Smithville is just as adorable today, even if it has not escaped the real estate boom that has rocked the region over the past 10 years.

Begin the tour on historic Main Street, home to restaurants, bars, and a general store-turned-café that offers a small-town vibe alongside its lattes. Art is the undercurrent of Smithville culture, and the town boasts two museums, three art galleries, and 10 (yes, TEN!) live music and theater production stages, enough to earn it a designation. of cultural district. Smithville also hosts events throughout the year, but that’s especially true in the fall, when it hosts everything from a chicken wings and chilli festival to a Spooktacular Halloween and Christmas Parade.

Head to Rockport for all things hummingbirds.

Head to Rockport for all things hummingbirds.

Larry Keller/Getty Images

Fly to Rockport to watch the great hummingbird migration

Travel time from San Antonio: 2 hours

There are never a bad time to go to the beach, but mid-September is particularly pleasant. Every fall, from mid-September to early November, the south coast of Texas is awash with hummingbirds heading south for the winter. September 15-18, the towns of Rockport and Fulton celebrate all things hummingbird at the 34th Annual HummerBird Festival. Learn all about these whimsical creatures during special presentations, boat tours and even a Hummer Home Tour, where guests can watch the birds feeding before their journey south. (Fun fact learned while reporting this story: According to the San Diego Zoo, hummingbirds consume between 3 and 7 calories per day, which would be the same amount as a human eating 155,000 calories over a 24-hour period. )

If you miss the festival, nearby Rockport, Fulton and Corpus Christi still host dozens of activities each fall, including Oktoberfests (and Surftoberfest!) and Halloween celebrations. Music lovers should take note of the 61st edition Texas Jazz Festivalwhich will take place in Corpus Christi from October 14 to 16.

Wimberley is just over an hour from the town of Alamo, making it the perfect fall getaway.

Wimberley is just over an hour from the town of Alamo, making it the perfect fall getaway.

Katie Friel/MySA

Be hip in Wimberley Square

Travel time from San Antonio: 1 hour 23 minutes

If there’s one thing to do on every San Antonio foodie’s bucket list this fall, it’s grabbing a table in Carriqui. Once this is secured, the second element should make the trip to Wimberley for a meal at RR12 Dinner Club. Wimberley has long been a destination for San Antonians looking to shop around the pretty town square or swim in the Blue Hole and Jacob’s Well, but it’s rarely been on the shortlist for a good dinner (The Leaning Pear being an exception). Expect that to change with the arrival of the RR12 Supper Club, which opened in the summer of 2022.

Chef Mark Grimes and his team promise “a finely cooked meal complemented by a firm drink” in a classic Hill Country setting. True to its supper club roots, the restaurant is members-only on Tuesdays, but is open to the general public Wednesday through Saturday (Sunday brunch is currently served at the restaurant’s discretion). Since the drive from Alamo town is just over an hour, it’s possible to make the drive for just one dinner, but consider booking an Airbnb and making it a proper weekend getaway. Although Jacob’s Well will unfortunately be closed for the foreseeable future, Blue Hole is open and Cypress Creek, the large creek that runs near the town square, is just as beautiful as its famous counterparts, with blue-green waters and old tree roots joining together. along the shore.

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