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May 07, 2021 Slideshows » News, Arts

20 outdoor activities in San Antonio for your spring bucket list 

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The sun's warming up, school's winding down and summer is just around the bend. This is the time of year that San Antonians love to get out and play.

In case you're drawing a blank on how best to enjoy your outdoor time or are just tired of going to the same old park, we gathered 20 unique opportunities in local outdoor spaces that should be on every local's bucket list.

Whether you're looking to immerse yourself in art or just get your sweat on, there are plenty of ways to experience all the Alamo City has to offer, no matter your budget.
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Kayak the historic San Antonio River Walk
100 Auditorium Circle, (210) 383-0872, mat-tx.com
For the last 30 years, the only boats allowed on the San Antonio River Walk were tourist-packed river barges. But after several trial months, the no-paddle zone was lifted in March 2021, permitting year-long kayaking through a 3.5 mile stretch of the River Walk’s business district. Mission Kayak is the only outfitter allowed to operate on the River Walk, offering advanced reservation kayak rentals from 8 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Fridays-Mondays, which costs $60 for two hours. River goers can also choose to launch their own kayak at a $30 rate.
Photo via Instagram / missionadventuretours
Go birding at Friedrich Wilderness Park
21395 Milsa Dr., (210) 207-7275, sanantonio.gov
Friedrich Park is an internationally known nesting site for two federally listed endangered species of birds, including the Black-capped Vireo and the Golden-cheeked Warbler, which nests nowhere else but the Texas Hill County. The oasis to these threatened songbirds is located 15 miles from downtown near Fiesta Texas, attracting birders from all around the world. The Park is open sunrise to sunset and offers about 10 miles of hiking trails.
Photo via Instagram / momstheword12
Visit the Korean Pavilion at Denman Estate Park
7735 Mockingbird Ln., (210) 207-7275, sanantonio.gov
Tucked in a residential neighborhood is a hidden treasure: Denman Estate Park. At 7735 Mockingbird Lane, the former estate of philanthropist Gilbert Denman Jr. is a serene park full of trees, walking trails and a Korean Monument overlooking a pond. The Korean-crafted pavilion was designed to represent the cultural friendship between San Antonio and its sister city of Gwangju, South Korea.
Photo via Instagram / rebekahsantoyo
Climb the Medicine Wall at Salado Creek Greenway
3104 N Loop 1604 W, texasclimberscoalition.org
After 20 years without legal access, rock climbers were officially given the go ahead to ascend the popular sport climbing crag known as Medicine Wall last July. Accessed through the Salado Creek Greenway trail system, the outdoor climbing area offers nearly 50 bolted routes on an 80-foot limestone bluff. The City’s first officially sanctioned outdoor climbing wall is reached through the Greenway's parking lot off Loop 1604.
Photo via Instagram / nick.ackermann
Hike to the dinosaur tracks at Government Canyon
12861 Galm Rd., (210) 688-9055, tpwd.texas.gov
Home to South Texas’ only known dinosaur tracks on public land, Government Canyon State Natural Area’s Joe Johnston Route was marked by prehistoric creatures from about 110 million years ago when San Antonio was the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico. The 5-mile round trip takes hikers on a rugged trail to Marker #19 where two types of dinosaur tracks can be found, the three-tip theropod and the rounded sauropod print.
Photo via Instagram / governmentcanyon
Visit the new wildlife bridge at Phil Hardberger Park
8400 NW Military Hwy. or 13203 Blanco Rd., (210) 207-7275, sanantonio.gov
The 150-foot long land bridge connecting Phil Hardberger Park from east to west opened December 2020 and is the first in the world designed for safe passage for both people and wildlife. Deer, raccoons, coyotes and humans can stroll across what is deemed the largest wildlife crossing in the U.S. to date. The land bridge can be reached via the park’s Northwest Military or Blanco Road entrances.
Photo via Instagram / texasbyair
Take a yoga class at Hays Street Bridge
803 N Cherry St., mobileomtx.com
Mobile Om’s motto is “yoga without bounds,” and in practice, it’s just like it sounds — mobile yoga classes in unconventional outdoor spaces. One of those boundless studios is on top of the Hays Street Bridge overlooking the downtown skyline. This East Side location is where Mobile Om got its start. In its signature class, guests can roll out their mats for an all-level practice and breathe in the open air and city views. Single classes are $10 with drop-ins welcome.
Photo via Instagram / mobileom
Immerse yourself in art at San Pedro Creek Culture Park
715 Camaron St., (210) 302-3652, spcculturepark.com
Located on the western edge of downtown, culture, art and nature come together as a tribute to the birthplace of San Antonio. The San Pedro Creek Culture Park features local artists’ works, created with the story of the diverse cultures drawn to the banks of San Pedro Creek for 12,000 years in mind. Murals, tiled benches, ceramic art and historical texts and poetry can be seen along with the creek's natural flora and fauna.
Photo via Instagram / milesmeasured
Bike the San Antonio Missions trail
6701 San Jose Dr., (210) 932-1001, nps.gov
The Spanish missions were once travelled by carriage and the best way to simulate that experience today is to follow the scenic Mission Trail and vibrant San Antonio River by bicycle. Mission Adventure Tours offers guided bike tours to the missions, with a walking historical tour at each stop. Book a 2-Mission Tour for $65, or a 3-Mission Tour for $85. Each rental includes a touring bike, helmet, bike lock and bike basket. Electric bike upgrades are also available.
Photo via Instagram / christina.provost
Visit Kunamoto En at the Botanical Garden
555 Funston Pl., (210) 536-1400, sabot.org
Authentic Japanese Garden, Kunamoto En was a gift to the San Antonio Botanical Garden from our Japanese sister city, Kunamoto. Detailed stone walks, peaceful water features and woven bamboo fencing were designed by landscape artists and craftsmen from Japan. This unique haven is worth the visit.
Photo via Instagram / sabotgarden
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Take the kids to play at Yanaguana Garden at Hemisfair
434 S. Alamo St., (210) 709-4750, hemisfair.org
Hemisfair’s Yanaguana Garden is a park created with kids in mind. The play area was designed by cognitive development specialist Susan Goldmen to incorporate learning into play. The play land includes circular swings for activating balancing skills, climbing structures that reinforce coordination and a sandpit requires teamwork to accomplish tasks.
Photo via Instagram / therandycarroll
Take a swim at San Pedro Springs
2200 N. Flores St., (210) 732-5992, sanantonio.gov
The blue, clear waters found in San Pedro Springs Park have been used since hunters and gatherers roamed the land nearby and drank from its springs. As the second oldest public space in America, it’s likely that your ancestors have swam in the park’s pool. There’s no fee for San Antonians looking to jump in this cold-refreshing water hole this summer.
Photo via Instagram / michelletcarson
Trek the Westcreek Trail by horseback
12230 Westcreek Oaks, (210) 616-6585, westcreektrailrides.com
You can’t live in Texas without a little time on horseback. San Antonio horseback riding center Westcreek Trail Rides offer guided trips through wooded trails just west of Sea World. Whether you want to take the entire family out for an adventure, host a child’s birthday party, or enjoy a romantic getaway, Westcreek offers Western-style riding that is suitable for all groups and abilities. Rides are $40 per person, or $30 per person in a group.
Photo via Instagram / meganalexiss_
Let your pup run free at Phil Hardberger’s two dog parks
8400 NW Military Hwy. or 13203 Blanco Rd., (210) 207-7275, sanantonio.gov
For off-leash adventures with four-legged friends, Phil Hardberger Park has two dog parks that make up the City’s largest dog-dedicated outdoor space. The Park’s east entrance has a 1.8-acre park for dogs to stretch their paws, while the on the west side is 1.5 acres. Both parks have large and small dog areas, and are equipped with amenities including obstacle courses, a two-story doghouse for smaller pups and a shady area with picnic tables and seating for owners to lounge.
Photo via Instagram / the_heckin_philosodog
Go mountain biking at O.P. Schnabel
9606 Bandera Rd., (210) 207-7275, sanantonio.gov
With 10 miles of mountain bike trails, including six easy rated trails, three intermediate and one difficult, it’s no wonder mountain bikers of all levels flock to O.P. Schnabel Park. Smooth trails in the upper part of the park are suitable for beginners while a single-track trail following the dry creek bed offers drops and downhill areas for those who like to free-ride. The Monkey Loop is the most difficult, with up to 3-foot jumps and 4-foot drops.
Photo via Instagram / big_shred_e
Take a street art bike tour
(210) 901-8981, sanantoniomuralride.com
San Antonio Mural Ride offers guided bicycle street art tours to over 20 mural stops throughout the Alamo City. Guides are local cyclists knowledgeable in the history of the local street art scene including graffiti and murals. A favorite tour stop is Essex Modern City, a mixed-use urban infill development that attracts artist from across the country. Book group and private tours with bike rental for $45 per person.
Photo via Instagram / mural_ride
Go skating at Pearsall Park
4838 Old Pearsall Rd., (210) 207-7275, sanantonio.gov
Pearsall Park’s 13,000 sq. ft. concrete skate park is the largest offered in the City. The skate park’s smooth flow and clean obstacles attracts skillful skaters around the city to features like its handrails, flat rails, half bowl, slick curbs and ledges, pole jam and stair set.
Photo via Instagram / dazeskateboards
Catch unique freshwater Red Drum at the Calaveras and Braunig lakes
Calaveras Lake, 12965 Bernhardt Rd., (210) 635-8359, tpwd.texas.gov
Braunig Lake, 17500 Donop Rd., (210) 635-8289, tpwd.texas.gov
Red Drum are known for being caught along the Texas coast, but the temperature of two nearby freshwater lakes create a uniquely hospitable environment for these Redfish. With power plants nearby, Calaveras Lake and Braunig Lake stay warm enough year-round to host Red Drum, with thousands stocked annually as fingerlings. Red Drum is known as a great sport fish because it will take most kinds of bait.
Photo via Instagram / sanantoniofishing
Practice your photography skills at the Japanese Tea Garden
3853 N St Mary's St., (210) 207-7275, sanantonio.gov
Bring your camera to the Japanese Tea Garden and put your amateur photography skills to the test, capturing images of numerous tropical and native plants, koi ponds and a 60-foot waterfall. Take a break from the camera and head to the Jingu House Café for a bento box and a blooming tea pot.
Photo via Instagram / texascountrypups
Learn local history on a downtown walking tour
Various locations, (210) 560-0807, amigowalkingtours.com
“Fun, friendly and free,” Amigo Walking Tours combine sight-seeing and storytelling into an immersive visitor experience. Various themes of stories and history are offered on two routes: Downtown Tour and King William District Tour. The current downtown tour is themed “Challenge and Triumph in San Antonio.” Schedules and history themes are released monthly. Reservations are required.
Photo via Instagram / amigosatx
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Kayak the historic San Antonio River Walk
100 Auditorium Circle, (210) 383-0872, mat-tx.com
For the last 30 years, the only boats allowed on the San Antonio River Walk were tourist-packed river barges. But after several trial months, the no-paddle zone was lifted in March 2021, permitting year-long kayaking through a 3.5 mile stretch of the River Walk’s business district. Mission Kayak is the only outfitter allowed to operate on the River Walk, offering advanced reservation kayak rentals from 8 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Fridays-Mondays, which costs $60 for two hours. River goers can also choose to launch their own kayak at a $30 rate.
Photo via Instagram / missionadventuretours

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