Touring Suggestions Near San Antonio

Old Jan 8th, 2018, 04:19 PM
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Touring Suggestions Near San Antonio

Happy New Year from New Jersey....We would like to visit San Antonio next November but would like to know how to plan a 10 day trip around it....
a. how many days would adequately cover the area
b. where should we go before/after (drive or fly) We have little experience with this part of the country.

In General.....We like outdoor festivals, and not so much indoor museums


Thanks for your time!!

Suzy
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Old Jan 8th, 2018, 05:55 PM
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https://www.nps.gov/saan/index.htm
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Old Jan 9th, 2018, 07:48 AM
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If you want an outdoor festival, go to ACL. But it's in late September/early October (two weekends) and it's in Austin.
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Old Jan 9th, 2018, 08:44 AM
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Gruene, Texas is just north of San Antonio (and south of Austin) and there is usually something fun going on:

http://gruenetexas.com/festivals.php
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Old Jan 9th, 2018, 09:11 AM
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My train/car plan would be to take the Amtrak Crescent all the way to New Orleans and rent a car there to go into Texas.
As they say "Remember the Alamo". Take at least 1 boat ride in the city.
Return the car to New Orleans and take the Amtrak "City of New Orleans" to Chicago. From Chicago you can either take Amtrak to either New York or to Washington DC with a NE Regional to get you back to New Jersey. If you are short of time, fly back from New Orleans or Chicago.
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Old Jan 9th, 2018, 10:11 AM
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Fredericksburg is a great little antiquing heaven. Austin for sure.
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Old Jan 9th, 2018, 01:46 PM
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>

Geez.

No train. We now have air travel, which is safer, faster and less expensive. Also the planes run on time or close to it, even out of Newark and the northeast, Amtrak doesn't.

Oh yeah, New Orleans has the Voodoo Music and Arts Experience (aka Voodoo Fest) in late October. If you're going to go there from San Antonio, it'll be quicker to fly.
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Old Jan 10th, 2018, 08:47 PM
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We did a short trip (about 4 days) to San Antonio this summer. As mentioned above, definitely do the Riverwalk. The boat ride is worth it, they tell you a bit about the history of the neighborhood and different sites. We did visit the Alamo--be sure to go back and see it lit up at night. Really liked the San Antonio missions, and in fact much more than the Alamo. You will need to rent a car to see them. Get GPS unit or a use your phone's navigation.

We also did the Mercado--largest Mexican market outside of Mexico. I enjoyed the actual shopping here more; the Riverwalk was more shops like we'd have at home. If you love silver, rustic art, religious art, anything Western, some nice art prints... plus much more. Also, we ate lunch at Mi Tierra, which is a pretty famous institution at the Market. It is open 24/7 and you want to check in right away and get a number, then come back later when your buzzer goes off. It was good food and definitely worth going.

We flew in and out of Austin due to the better prices, and visited Austin our last day. We did a college tour but we didn't get to the LBJ library, which I wanted to do. We did make it to see the bats leave the bridge on South Congress. Very cool to see but we were there in late June. Not sure how many bats in November.
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Old Jan 11th, 2018, 07:36 AM
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"We did visit the Alamo--be sure to go back and see it lit up at night"

Yeah, the contrast between the 19th century mission and the surrounding city is interesting.

And you need a car, period. It's Texas. The cities are sprawling (Dallas and Fort Worth EACH have a larger area than NYC; Houston is more than double NYC's size) and the countryside is not serviced by public transportation of any usefulness.
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Old Jan 11th, 2018, 02:06 PM
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Another suggestion for some “cool” touring, literally, is Natural Bridge Caverns. https://www.facebook.com/naturalbridgecavernstx/ Their facebook page has plenty of pictures, but if you don’t have a FB account, just google them. They are pretty impressive. Quality of the guided tours varies by whomever is leading it, from pretty good to outstanding. They have expanded in recent years and now also include zip lining, a maze, panning for gems, as well as the drive through animal park that has always been there. The caverns are the thing though...easy walking, but wear good shoes. Cavern paths can be damp.

It’s located between San Antonio and Gruene, so it’d be a good idea to include both the same day, easily doable. Hit the caverns first then on to Gruene to spend as much or as little time as you like. Gruene Hall for sure, but the town is fun to wander (tho becoming less so as it’s been “discovered” in a big way). Weekends there can be hordes of people there, but the music scene is better.

Word of caution...we live off the road to the caverns. Garden Ridge Police just love the tourists that pass between I-35 and the caverns (up 3009). It’s mostly a 2 lane road and police love hunkering down just over the crest of any hill lying in wait. When the speed limit drops from 60 to 40 (abruptly) don’t even think about not dropping your speed!! You’ll smile when you see them just over that hill!

Last edited by OO; Jan 11th, 2018 at 02:14 PM. Reason: correct typo
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Old Jan 13th, 2018, 08:29 AM
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Before visiting the Alamo we watched the Alamo movie at the nearby Imax theater and it made it much more interesting.

OO's suggestion of Natural Bridge Caverns is a good one. And I don't know if there is a bat "season" but a couple miles from the caverns is a bat cave, home of 20 million bats. They do group tours of watching the bats fly out of their cave at dusk. We were on a private tour so I'm not sure how it normally works but it was pretty cool. 20 million is a lot of bats.
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Old Jan 14th, 2018, 10:12 AM
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There is a bat season—they return to their cave (from Mexico) beginning in March, with numbers increasing as spring progresses. We’ve done both the private tour through BCI and one sponsored now by Natural Bridge Caverns as well. In their expansion of activities, they now offer an emergence viewing in conjunction with one of the cavern tours—not sure what month those tours begin. As our house is about 3 miles south of the caverns...we get our own emergence viewings many summer nights...and we thank them as they fly by for the smaller insect population in our area!

Looking for videos of the emergence (google Bracken Cave) I found this VERY detailed YouTube video of the caverns. And I meant “VERY”!! He starts at his motel and films from there all the way up 3009 (Natural Bridge Caverns Rd) to the caverns, the gift shop, and on and on. It’s about an hour worth of video, but he includes the interior of the caverns too so it gives you a good idea of what you will be seeing, as well as the conditions in the cave for walking. You can jump ahead in the video to the 14 or 15 minute mark when he enters the caves leaving off the gift shop and the drive up 3009.
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Old Jan 14th, 2018, 10:13 AM
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Gads! I didn’t realize that link would produce a huge picture with it! Sorry. That is the guy who did the filming and his wife. Note their shoes...perfect for the cavern.
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