31. Take A Hike 

click to enlarge Enchanted Rock park near Fredericksburg is only about an hour north of SA. - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • Enchanted Rock park near Fredericksburg is only about an hour north of SA.

As San Antonio continues to grow and become more urbanized, locals from all sides of the Alamo City have learned where to find green spaces. There's nothing so sweet as shutting down or starting the day with a walk or jog in one of the many linear parks that make up the Howard W. Peak Greenway Trail System (sanantonio.gov/parksandrec/greenway_trails.aspx). These are the ditches we used to play in as kids, only now the city has transformed them into a system of parks that includes 46 miles of trails and 1,200 acres of green space that is close to forming a ring around San Antonio. While some are more popular, like the trails around Phil Hardberger Park (entrances at 13203 Blanco Rd. and 8400 NW Military Hwy.), don't forget other great spots like Mud Creek Park (166675 Jones Maltsberger Rd.).

But sometimes a little slice of greenery just isn't enough. Luckily, for Bexar County residents, we are surrounded by so much natural beauty that choosing a destination can be daunting. We've got a few ideas to help you in your outdoor pursuits outside Loop 1604. Take Government Canyon State Natural Area (12861 Galm Rd.), which is northwest of San Antonio and has more than 12,000 acres of the classic hills and canyons that make up the Texas Hill Country. And it also has dino tracks. The 110-million-year-old tracks are one of a kind in Bexar County and may have been left by Acrocanthosaurus and Sauroposeidon dinosaurs. The park also has 40 miles of hiking and biking trails and there are weekend overnight camping options, in case you need a break from the city.

The Hill Country is vast and parks abound, but Enchanted Rock (16710 Ranch Rd.) in Fredericksburg is worth the drive. According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, people have been visiting the gigantic pink granite dome for thousands of years. The park offers camping, hiking, rock climbing, birding and much more. And on your way home, stop off in Fredericksburg for a taste of German culture, and maybe a cold beer.

If the popular outdoor spots aren't a trail you like to hike, Hill Country State Natural Area (10600 Bandera Creek Rd.) is southwest of Bandera and more secluded. There are approximately 40 miles of trails that wind up and down through mesquite trees and by slow bubbling creeks. This isn't your typical state park and TPWD bills it as a backcountry setting for primitive camping, backpacking, mountain biking, horseback riding and equestrian camping.

Want even more options? Check out TPWD's map of SA-area parks, an information-packed resource: tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/nearby/sanantonio.

See the rest of the list.

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