Arsenal Bridge – 479-499 E Arsenal St, San Antonio, TX 78204
The walk around this bridge is a very pleasant break from the touristy part of the Riverwalk. But I think the best part of this bridge is the view towards downtown.
Bandera County Medina Lake Park – 14444 PR 37, Lakehills, TX 78063
Big park with great view of the lake. Sometimes the gates are open at night for a good look at the stars with the ambiance of the water lapping the shore. But don’t get too freaked out by the coyotes sounding off in the distance.
Belton Lake View point – 2207 FM 439, Belton, TX 76513
A great view of the lake and sunsets from on top of the dam. Not a lot of parking. And it is pretty dangerous to try to get out of the parking lot. Definitely recommend turning only to your right when leaving. But even then, take extra caution getting out as there is a bad blind spot and the approaching cars are sometimes driving very fast.
Big Bend National Park – Big Bend National Park, TX
I’ve never been here, but the pictures look fantastic. Harsh elements. Surrounded by a desert environment. Right on the border. Please don’t head out here without researching and planning your trip.
Brackenridge Park – 3700 N St Mary’s St, San Antonio, TX 78212
This is a big park close to downtown, Zoo, Broadway, Pearl, etc. There are a lot of water features in the park and a playground. Lots of shade and walking trails. Sometimes the area can get packed on holidays and weekends with car clubs. There are unfortunately homeless that hang out in this area. It is generally a good park, but I wouldn’t let my guard down with myself, my children, or my belongings. Probably best experienced with at least one other adult. Lots of people in the general vicinity but room enough to usually not feel crowded. Lots of ducks around the water by the Zoo.
Canyon Lake Marina – 280 Marina, Canyon Lake, TX 78133
I never get a great feeling when I go to Canyon Lake. I get more meth-head than leisure. But that being said, even if you don’t sail, I find the ambiance around the Canyon Lake Marina to be contemplative. All the swinging and noises from the aligned boats in the breeze is good for the mind sometimes. Or sitting to chat with a friend or a date. For the more adventurous, boat rentals are also available.
Chalk Ridge Falls Park – 5600 FM 1670, Belton, TX 76513
There is a cute little waterfall area here and pools for swimming. There are also shaded hiking trails and a cool little suspension bridge. But beyond the falls, the park quickly becomes very remote. I’d recommend taking anything in that you’ll need and not going alone unless you feel confident if you run upon something or someone concerning. That being said, I’ve never experienced any problems here. There is also another direction you can take that will allow you to see the dam spillway. Sometimes there is a lot of water shooting out of the spillway. Also, the walk to the falls and shaded pathways can be very hot in the heat. Highly recommend dressing accordingly and taking whatever water/food you need. The path is also very rocky, so please take comfortable shoes. You’ll even feel the rocks eventually wearing on your feet if you wear sneakers. You’ll probably be in a world of pain if you try to do it in flip flops or some other similar shoe. Sometimes it can also get busy here on popular days. Save yourself the stress and either go early or on a day when there aren’t so many people. If you’re into geocaching, there used to be a few spots here.
Chris Park – 111 Camp St, San Antonio, TX 78204
Shhhh, I know a secret. 🙂 There is a cute little park near downtown. Think cultivated, art, meditation, and peaceful versus a place big enough for much exercise. Used primarily by locals, but definitely a good place to take some photos for the socials or grab a moment of peace in downtown.
Comanche Lookout Park – 15551 Nacogdoches Rd, San Antonio, TX 78247
Looking for a short hike? Hike to the top of the hill for a quick workout in this suburban residential area. There is a view from the top. Not breath-taking, but decent. I’ve never gotten a good vibe from this area. Wouldn’t recommend it for females or people of a vulnerable population who are exercising alone.
Dana Peak – 3800 Comanche Gap Rd, Harker Heights, TX 76548
Climb up for a view of Stillhouse Hollow Lake. Very rocky trail. You’ll be in a world of pain if the soles of your shoes are too thin. There is a paid park, but you used to be able to park near the base of the Peak and hike up without having to enter the park and pay for park access. Please research accordingly if you head over.
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area – 16710 Ranch Rd 965, Fredericksburg, TX 78624
A great hike in a state where the majority of the land seems to be very flat. But fair warning, there is no shade on the way up or down. I would recommend not doing this hike during the heat of the day in the hot months. Also, sometimes this place can get pretty packed. Please research, call ahead, and probably also purchase a pass/reservation in advance to guarantee entrance to the park. This place is in the middle of nowhere, so also use the bathroom before heading out and bring along any drinks and snacks you’ll need.
Hays Street Bridge – 803 N Cherry St, San Antonio, TX 78202
Architecturally, this is a really interesting bridge downtown. It also has a great view of downtown at sunset. There seem to be a lot of creatives that make it here. Along with members of the local bicycling community. The surrounding area is mainly industrial and not yet completely gentrified. Just be aware that it is located very near a bridge where a lot of homeless people hang out. I’d recommend going with another adult if you are a female or member of a vulnerable population. I would suggest getting dropped off with a rideshare versus parking in or walking to the area. There are some local bars in the area that might be worth checking out if you’re into doing that.
James Kiehl River Bend Park – 118 River Bend Rd, Comfort, TX 78013
This will be the first time I publicly disclose one of my favorite spots to go to for a break from the city and relative peace and quiet. Let’s see how long that lasts. Worth the drive.
Japanese Tea Garden – 3853 N St Mary’s St, San Antonio, TX 78212
All these years and I’ve never been to this park. But it is popular and located relatively close to downtown. Also located close to the Zoo, Brackenridge Park, and other Broadway attractions.
Johnson Street Pedestrian Bridge – 100 W Johnson St, San Antonio, TX 78204
Cute bridge. I think it is a really great walking loop to start here, go as far as Nueva, and then turn around and go back on the other side of the river. For the non-touristy experience of the Riverwalk.
Judson Nature Trails – 246 Viesca St, Alamo Heights, TX 78209
Nice little walk with a lot of shade and some changes in elevation in a very basic park behind a neighborhood that has a lot of expensive houses. I still wouldn’t recommend going here alone if you are a female or member of a vulnerable population. But it is a nice place to take dogs walking if you are with another adult. Not generally frequented by big groups or families. Offers some peace and quiet in the middle of the city.
Landa Park – 164 Landa Park Drive, New Braunfels, TX 78130
A great old park with lots of big shade trees. It includes an aquatic center, golf course, paddle boats, miniature golf, miniature train, a trail, fishing pier, and playgrounds. Great place to relax and hang out. However, this park gets packed sometimes. I recommend securing your spot early on popular days if you hope to spend the day hanging out here.
Lost Maples State Natural Area – 37221 RM 187, Vanderpool, TX 78885
The place in Texas to catch the changing colors of the autumn season. Please research your trip out there and plan accordingly. It is recommended to purchase passes/reservations when available in order to guarantee entrance. This park is also in the middle of nowhere. Please plan accordingly in regard to bathrooms, drinks, gas, and snacks. That being said, the drive is one of my favorites. Lovely winding road through the hill country from either direction.
McAllister Dog Park – 8418 Buckhorn Rd, San Antonio, TX 78247
McAllister Park is a huge park located near the airport. I’ve never explored it fully, but I’ve been to the dog park many times. It is a pretty big dog park with a pathway to walk around the park while inside the fence. Lots of people and pups. There is also a huge open field next to the dog park. There is one parking area close-by and then another bigger lot that is a bit of a walk. Just be aware that there is a lot of natural wildlife in the area. Lots of deer near sunrise and sunset.
Medina River Natural Area – 15890 TX-16, San Antonio, TX 78264
Isolated park on the outskirts of town. I get bad vibes here. I wouldn’t recommend it for females going alone. I enjoyed biking here, but there is a very steep path towards the beginning of the park that leads down to the river.
Miller Spring Park – Miller Springs Park Rd, Belton, TX 76513
You can walk to see the water coming out of the dam spillway. I wouldn’t recommend going on the trails here alone if you are part of a vulnerable population as I’ve seen signs that homeless might hang out in the area.
Mustang Island State Park – 9394 TX-361, Corpus Christi, TX 78418
This used to be my go-to spot for the beach in this area. There are bathrooms and showers. Paid access. I like the waves at this spot. Calm enough but still able to bodysurf. You can walk really far out when the water is low enough.
North Beach Camping – N Beach Access Rd, Corpus Christi, TX 78418
This is one of the last free beach access points before Padre Island National Seashore state park. No frills. Bring anything you’ll need. Gas up. But there are miles of beaches to access. Drive onto the beach. Also there is an area to walk down that cars are not able to access. However, there was a naked man that approached me one time when I went down to this area alone. So please exercise caution and let people know where you are going if you go by yourself.
Old Tunnel State Park – 10619 Old San Antonio Rd, Fredericksburg, TX 78624
This used to be a place you could go to for peace and quiet. Last time I went here, that was not the case. Apparently the word is out. The main story of this spot is that it is an old train tunnel bridge where a bat colony resides. During certain times of the year people come here to watch the bats exit the tunnel in large groups around sunset as they go foraging. There is an area that you can hang out for free. But there is also an additional viewing area and education experience that you can pay money for access to. This park feels like it is in the middle of nowhere; bring whatever you need in terms of gas and water. Also recommend gassing up and using the restroom before heading out here. There is a restroom that is open onsite when the park personnel are onsite. Also, be careful of deer when leaving after dark. They are plentiful in the area and the road is full of turns.
Olmos Basin – 651 Devine Rd, San Antonio, TX 78209
Lots of old trees and shade near a very expensive part of town. This area also floods dramatically with a heavy rain. Unfortunately some people make their way here that leave me to not recommend going alone if you are a female or member of a vulnerable population. Unless you stay off the isolated trails and remain where there are a lot of people. Good place to relax and take in the nature while being close to downtown, Broadway, and the Pearl areas. I recommend grabbing a bite to go at Central Market and then enjoying it here at the park.
Padre Balli Park – 15820 Park Rd 22, Corpus Christi, TX 78418
This is my new favorite spot to go to the beach in the Corpus Christi area. Bathrooms and showers. Also have some covered picnic tables. And a big elevated pier that you can pay to access. Beach parking permit required to use the park. You can usually buy these at any convenience store in the area.
Phil Hardberger Park (East) – 13203 Blanco Rd, San Antonio, TX 78216
Unfortunately the word is out about my favorite park in San Antonio. Lots of shade and walking trails. A big playground and a big, active dog park. Picnic tables near the parking. The new Robert L. B. Tobin Land Bridge over Wurzbach Parkway to connect to the west side of the park. The main problem here is that the parking fills up quickly on weekends with good weather. Better luck on weekday mornings. If there is no parking at the main entrance off Blanco, check out the parking at the dog park or way down off Voelcker Lane. This is a good spot to start biking. The park is part of miles of a connected park system. Usually lots of people, but I still wouldn’t recommend going here alone if you are a female or part of a vulnerable population. A female reported a rape in this area a few years ago. There are too many spots and too much time in between people passing for an opportunistic person to wait and pounce. Also, homeless are known to hang out in the section from Wurzbach Parkway going towards West Avenue. But if you go with at least one other adult, I’d highly recommend exploring this park. Lots to do.
Quadrangle Fort Sam Houston – 1405 E Grayson St, Fort Sam Houston, TX 78234
I guess this spot has a museum that I missed, but I went to photograph a family for a birth announcement. And the best part in my opinion was the peacock, other birds, and deer that are allowed to roam the grounds and will get very close to you. These grounds are located on a federal military base that allows access to this section to the public. Just check with them before heading over as rules and access are subject to whatever is going on with the base. Also, be careful what you bring in as you are subjecting yourself to potential search by the federal security onsite. Very safe on the base. But the area around the base is not a place to hang out except the more gentrified areas. I mention that just to not leave anything in your car that would appeal to opportunistic people.
Pearsall Park – 4838 Old Pearsall Rd, San Antonio, TX 78242
A newer park on the south side of town. Not a tourist destination. Used primarily by locals. Has a big playground and splash pad for kids. Also has a trail, basketball courts, a skate park, and a dog park. But there is almost no natural shade here. And the park is located near some areas that are known for violence and crime. So please be aware of your surroundings and protect you and yours. I would not recommend going on the trails by yourself if you are a female or a member of a vulnerable population. I’d also recommend keeping a hawk eye on who is interacting with your children.
Robber Baron Cave – 155 Camellia Way, San Antonio, TX 78209
Did you know there is a cave in the middle of a residential neighborhood in San Antonio? This isn’t a proper tourist attraction in that it is literally right in the middle of a residential neighborhood. There are almost no signs and you can barely tell it is there. But if it is open, you’ll be able to walk down a little pathway that takes you to the entrance of the cave. You can’t go into the cave, but it is interesting and a bit spooky to think about all the history and possibilities. Just a quick 15-minute jump out of the car if you are in the area.
Roberts Point Park – 301 J C Barr Blvd, Port Aransas, TX 78373
A great spot to see the ferry boats coming in from Aransas Pass. The parking for the ferry can get very long on busy days. This will impact your trip to the park.
Roosevelt Park – 331 Roosevelt Ave, San Antonio, TX 78210
A smaller park downtown that packs a lot of punch. Located on the section of the Riverwalk that starts to get less populated. A park for kids, a public pool, a basketball court, some nearby water features. Not a lot of shade. Near the Lone Star area that is still under construction (as of January 2022). I think there are probably a lot of locals that hang out here as opposed to tourists. Probably a good place to start biking north or south from. But I wouldn’t make this my first choice. And I wouldn’t go here if I was alone as a female or a member of a vulnerable population. The area is being gentrified, but it isn’t populated enough to discourage desperate or opportunistic people from hanging out in the area.
San Antonio Botanical Garden – 555 Funston Pl, San Antonio, TX 78209
Every time I’ve been here, I’ve never felt like I exhausted what there is to see. Every time I go, I feel like there is still more to discover. You could spend hours here or do a quick walkthrough. There is a very popular light experience during the holidays. I really recommend visiting especially when the wildflowers are in bloom, but really there is sometime to enjoy any time of the year. Some of my favorites have been the tropical plants, cactus, Japanese garden, oversized chairs, and the pond area. But there are plenty of good spots to check out inside. You can tell there is money and thought being invested in this experience. If you think you’ll go more than once a year, I’d recommend buying the membership. If you live in the area and want somewhere to go that feels safer to walk around alone, I’d really recommend coming here. There are lots of trails, the grounds are fenced, only people who pay have access, and it feels safe. This is another attraction in the downtown, Pearl, Broadway area. Please consider the Texas heat when scheduling your trip here. In the summer, you’ll want to go as early as possible in the morning.
San Antonio River Lock & Dam – Brooklyn Locks, San Antonio, TX 78215
This is also one of my favorite things to do in San Antonio. You can go here to watch the boats go through the locks. I highly recommend this for children and people interested in construction, science, architecture, etc. You can view the locks for free. Or you can check with the river tour provider to catch a ride on a boat going through the locks. That is a different experience and also fun. This is also a good place to start walking on a more calm section of the Riverwalk either towards downtown or towards the Pearl. There are a lot of beautiful flowers on this section of the Riverwalk (when they are in bloom). There are homeless that wander into this area from time to time, but in general there are enough people around that it is safe to be by yourself during the daytime. Just might have to look for free parking for a few minutes – and don’t leave anything valuable out in the open in your vehicle.
South Padre Island County Beach Access #3 – Beach Access 3, South Padre Island, TX 78597
Free access to the beach. No frills. Bring what you’ll need. And shoes to walk across the parking lot to the beach. Unless you roll like that. You can walk a long long way on the beach in either direction. Flat beach.
The Park at Pearl – 312 Pearl Pkwy, San Antonio, TX 78215
The Pearl in general is a great place to walk around and explore. It is also directly connected to the Riverwalk – so you can continue your walk downstream. But, this park is a cool little outdoor hangout spot in the thick of the Pearl. Lots of people watching, interesting architecture, a water feature, and cool place to bring your dog and sit outside. They even have tables setup next to electrical outlets. Good place to also hang out, grab a bite or a drink, and meet with friends. Also a good spot to meet a potential first-date. Lots of people around so it is usually safe. Just keep an eye out for opportunistic people that might take advantage of tourists letting their guards down.
Woodlawn Lake Park – 1103 Cincinnati Ave, San Antonio, TX 78201
Very small lake surrounded by a trail in a part of town that is unfortunately known for crime. There are a lot of people in the area. Probably fine if you go with another adult, but just proceed with caution if you are from out of town. You will most likely stand out like a sore thumb. Definitely keep a hawk eye on your kids in this area.
Yanaguana Garden at Hemisfair – 434 S Alamo St, San Antonio, TX 78205
The grounds around the Hemisfair offer playgrounds for kids and even a splash pad (check to make sure it is open before venturing over). There is a lot of space here right in downtown to explore and walk around. During the day, it’s probably okay to venture here by yourself. But I wouldn’t go by myself at night.