Visiting San Antonio with Kids: A Family-Friendly Vacation
by Stacy Curtis
What was I thinking, planning our vacation to San Antonio at the height of summer? We were in the midst of a 27-day streak of 100+ degree temps, many of which were record-breaking. But between Girl Scout activities and visits to family, it was now or never for our mini-vacation. So we loaded up the car and headed down I-35.
Below are a bunch of reviews of specific places to visit. But there's a lot more to San Antonio than what we were able to cram into a weekend! This time around, we missed Natural Bridge Caverns, Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, and the San Antonio Children's Museum, to name just a few. A great place to start planning is VisitSanAntonio.com, where they also provide you with all kinds of coupons and suggestions for ways to save.
Just about every place in Texas is "historic," but when we passed historic West, Texas right around breakfast time I finally gave in to those enticing billboards suggesting we stop at the Czech Capital of Texas for their famous kolaches. It's justifiably much more famous for its food than its history! Read about that experience here.
Outlet Shopping with 'Tweens in San Antonio ("No way, Mom!")
I also choose this trip to outlet shop for back-to-school clothes. Was it wise? Shopping with 'tweens is both a blessing and a curse. They haven't quite got into expensive labels, but they hate to traipse from shop to shop trying on clothes. Planning your outlet shopping is definitely something you want to do ahead. For ways to plan and save, click here.
As a shopping reward, we splurged on dinner at Red Lobster (it's Crabfest!) where we ate our weight in crab legs. My girls learned even before kindergarten how to crack their own crab legs. Here's the best way to do that if you don't already know how.
The next morning, clouds threatened to dim our tubing fun as we drove to the Tube Haus on the Guadalupe River. Our mission: to plunge in no matter what the weather. Did we do more than dip our toes into the famously chilly waters? Is this a place you'd want to visit with your family? Find out here. (We used a Groupon for our Tube Haus excursion; click here to read more about using Groupons on trips.)
We couldn't wait to get to our first bed & breakfast experience that evening. My review of Brackenridge House of San Antonio also provides a bunch of tips for getting the most from a B&B experience with kids.
Because our B&B was in the historic King William district, we walked one block over and took a trolley to the Riverwalk. The San Antonio Riverwalk is beautiful at night. Check out our experience with that and some good pointers here.
We had managed to pack so much into the past two days, I wasn't sure I was up to the challenge of a major theme park - Sea World. The next morning, B&B owners Lily and Roland Lopez cooked an amazing three-course breakfast to start our day and off we went. In the end, we were there from opening to close and all three of us agreed....this was the best part of the vacation yet! How did we do it? Here are some great tips for experiencing Sea World San Antonio.
San Antonio Riverwalk, Part 2
Our final day of vacation was bittersweet. We had another fabulous 3-course breakfast and headed out to visit the Riverwalk one last time. With far fewer tourists on a weekday morning, we were able to drift along and enjoy it much more. We also took the riverboat tourand learned much of the history.
We based a lot of our trip to San Antonio around the coupons we were able to find in advance, especially Groupons. So I've written a separate article on how to use Groupons to plan a vacation. I hope you find it useful wherever your travels may take you!
I once read that giving your kids experiences last far longer than buying them things. We certainly banked many great memories this vacation. And we found out that San Antonio is a place we want to go again!
©2011, Stacy Curtis.
Stacy Curtis is a freelance writer based in Fort Worth, Texas.