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September 23, 2021 Slideshows » Arts

25 beautiful San Antonio-area parks to visit this fall 

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As longtime Texans, we know better than to declare that the hot days are over for the year, but it's looking like the worst of the summer temperatures may now be behind us.

If you're looking to get a breath of fresh air now that we're entering the fall season, we rounded up parks in and around San Antonio that everyone from casual outdoor enthusiasts to hardcore hikers can enjoy.
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Confluence Park
310 W Mitchell St, (210) 224-2694, sariverfound.org
Confluence Park features winding riverside trails that are perfect for biking, walking and jogging. Along the riverbanks, you can find various works of art and educational plaques. It also has a sweet, Instagram-worthy pavilion.
Photo via Instagram / gbernal73
Guadalupe River State Park
3350 Park Rd 31, Spring Branch, (830) 438-2656, tpwd.texas.gov
It's all in the name — Guadalupe River State Park, located west of 281 in Spring Branch, features four miles of river frontage, where visitors can swim, canoe, fish and tube. There's plenty to do for those that want to stay dry, though. On certain sections of the 13 miles of the park's trails, you can even ride your horse!
Photo via Instagram / mscallierenee
Phil Hardberger Park
13203 Blanco Road, (210) 492-7472, philhardbergerpark.org
At the end of 2020, Phil Hardberger Park opened its new land bridge, allowing for both native wildlife and human visitors to cross back and forth between the two sides of the 330-acre park over the top of Wurzbach Parkway. This new addition joins the park's other amenities, including massive dog parks and plenty of trails for hiking and biking.
Photo via Instagram / arun91dasan
Denman Estate Park
7735 Mockingbird Ln, sanantonio.gov
Denman Estate Park may very well have one of the most unique features on this list. It features a traditional South Korean pavilion, styled similarly to the Gwangju Democracy Bell in South Korea. Gwangju, South Korea and San Antonio, you may be surprised to learn, are sister cities. Denman Estate Park is a beautiful place to visit, not only for the pavilion, but for the pond and garden as well.
Photo via Instagram / rebekahsantoyo
Brackenridge Park
3700 N St Mary's St, (210) 207-7275, brackenridgepark.org
Brackenridge Park is located near Alamo Heights, the Witte Museum and the San Antonio Zoo. It’s also home to the Sunken Garden Theater and the Japanese Tea Garden, the latter of which also made this list. If you're short on time, its convenient location makes it the perfect place to stop for a picturesque picnic lunch.
Photo via Instagram / chesneyinsatexas
Eisenhower Park
19399 NW Military Hwy, (210) 207-7275, sanantonio.gov
Eisenhower Park features paved trails more suited for strolls, as well as more natural and rugged trails that are more suited for an experienced hiker. Since it's designated as a natural area, bikes, roller blade and skateboards are prohibited at the park, so strap on your hiking boots if you’re down for an afternoon of nature.
Photo via Instagram / clintwoosley
Enchanted Rock Natural Area
16710 Ranch Road 965, Fredericksburg, (830) 685-3636, tpwd.texas.gov
Climbing Enchanted Rock is a local rite of passage. “What makes Enchanted Rock so special?” you may ask? It’s a pink granite mountain, that’s what, and it’s the biggest one in the United States. If you're looking to make a weekend of it, you can camp at the park, or stay in nearby Fredericksburg if you don't want to leave civilization completely behind.
Photo via Instagram / danielmillering
San Pedro Creek Culture Park
715 Camaron St., (210) 302-3652, spcculturepark.com
If you want to get some fresh air but aren't feeling like a trek into one of the more rugged parks on this list, San Pedro Creek Culture Park might be just the place for you. Located on the western edge of downtown, culture, art and nature come together as a tribute to the birthplace of San Antonio. 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
Pearsall Park
4838 Old Pearsall Road, (210) 207-7275, sanantonio.gov
Pearsall Park is definitely one of the most kid-friendly parks on this list — but in reality, it’s perfect for almost everyone because it basically has it all. With two dog parks (one for big mutts and small pups), a skate park, multiple sports courts, a golf course, open areas, and paved and unpaved trails, you’re basically in outdoor heaven.
Photo via Instagram / lexiii_on_fire
Japanese Tea Garden
3853 N St Mary's St, (210) 559-3148, sanantonio.gov
To the out-of-towner, tourist or the rare San Antonian who doesn’t already know, the Japanese Tea Garden is located inside of Brackenridge Park. Built in a former quarry, the garden features elaborate pathways and carefully cultivated landscaping, as well as waterways filled with koi.
Photo via Instagram / danschaferphotography
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Cibolo Center for Conservation
140 City Park Rd, Boerne, (830) 249-4616, cibolo.org
There’s plenty to do at the Cibolo Center for Conservation, and the trails are short enough that you’ll be able to explore the entire center in a day. Throughout the property you’ll be able to hike marshes and open meadows alike.
Photo via Instagram / caitomatthews
Comanche Lookout Park
15551 Nacogdoches Rd, (210) 207-7275, sanantonio.gov
Though it encompasses 96 acres, Comanche Lookout Park is best known for having one of the highest elevation points in the city. In addition to beautiful views of SA, in early 2021, the park debuted new public artwork at the peak that honors the city's indigenous heritage.
Photo courtesy of City of San Antonio
Stone Oak Park
20395 Stone Oak Pkwy, (210) 207-7275, sanantonio.gov
More like a hike-and-bike park, Stone Oak Park has paved and unpaved trails totaling to about three miles. While it’s perfect for moving around and staying active, it also has pavilions, playgrounds and open areas to stay and play or rest for a bit.
Photo via Instagram / edwardfr17
McAllister Park
13102 Jones Maltsberger Road, (210) 207-7275, sanantonio.gov
McAllister Park has a lot to offer: pavilions, picnic tables, grills, playgrounds, ample parking, dog parks and tons of trails. The park's five miles of paved trails are perfect for biking, and there's 10 miles of unpaved trails winding through the 976 acres of the park between Jones-Maltsberger and Wetmore roads. Because McAllister Park has so much to offer and so much parking, don’t expect to be alone too much.
Photo via Instagram / mcallisterpark
Mud Creek Park
16875 Jones Maltsberger Road, (201) 207-7275, sanantonio.gov
Yeah, Mud Creek park doesn’t have a sexy name, and the first leg of the trail isn't particularly picturesque. But once you get past the first hurdle, you can go down into a beautiful area surrounded by hills. A large part of the park is located at the bottom of a cluster of hills, so be careful if it looks like there might be any flash flooding.
Photo via Instagram / peach_the_mini_doxie
Crownridge Canyon Natural Area
7222 Luskey Blvd, (210) 207-5320, fosana.org
Crownridge Canyon has around 200 acres and has a variety of hiking terrain — from level 1 ADA-accessible trails all the way up to level 4 difficulties. If you’re into birding, it’s also a pretty cool spot since the golden cheeked warbler nests there.
Photo via Instagram / heathertakesontexas
Government Canyon State Natural Area
12861 Galm Road, (210) 688-9055, tpwd.texas.gov
Government Canyon State Natural Area covers a gargantuan 12,000-acres and has a whopping 40 miles of trails. If you're looking to hoof it, the 2.5 mile hike to see the park's famed 110-million year old dinosaur tracks is well worth it. But at 5 miles round trip, be sure to strap on appropriate footwear and bring plenty of water.
Photo via Instagram / photos.by.nikkie
O.P. Schnabel Park
9606 Bandera Road, (210) 207-7275, sanantonio.gov
Once dubbed “the cleanest little park in Texas,” O.P. Schnabel Park was originally named Bandera Road Park, but the name was changed in honor of, oddly enough, an insurance salesman by the name of Otto Phillip Schnabel, who dedicated his life to raising awareness for making San Antonio a beautiful city by encouraging people to clean up trash and not to litter. So...the more you know. The park itself features abundant natural vegetation and woods, you’ll be surprised how untouched this section of San Antonio is.
Photo via Instagram / beck.collin
San Antonio Botanical Garden
555 Funston Pl, (210) 536-1400, sabot.org
More like a carefully curated living museum than a natural area, the San Antonio Botanical Garden is a gorgeous place to get some fresh air (and take some pictures for Insta). In addition to both outdoor and greenhouse spaces filled with beautiful flora, the garden plays host to all sorts of events, including movie screenings, plays and classical music concerts.
Photo via Instagram / momjortz
Southside Lions Park
3100 Hiawatha St, (210) 207-7275, sanantonio.gov
Southside Lions Park, also known as Hi-Lions Park because it’s near Highlands High School, is a 600-acre plot of land that was actually originally going to be used in part as a landfill. The park has miles of paved and unpaved trails from which you can enjoy the beautiful scenery that Southside Lions Park has to offer. If you're looking for a more relaxed outdoor experience, you can go fishing in Lions Park Lake — just don't forget your license!
Photo via Instagram / alyssa_johnson
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McClain Park
15700 O'Connor Road, (210) 207-3000, sanantonio.gov
Brian McClain Park, named for a student who was killed in the Texas A&M bonfire collapse of 1999, is one of the lesser-known parks in SA. What it’s most known for, actually, is the 18-hole disc golf course, perfect for a fun day out with your buds.
Photo via Instagram / kathrynrose
Woodlawn Lake Park
1103 Cincinnati Ave, (210) 207-7275, sanantonio.gov
Picture this: an idyllic park is located close to St. Mary’s University. The sun is shining but there’s a cool breeze. You’re eating a raspa on the lakeshore. You can hear the sounds of San Antonio in the background, but they feel far off, even though you’re in the middle of the city. Sound perfect? Then go to Woodlawn Lake Park.
Photo via Instagram / laurenbleser
Hill Country State Natural Area
10600 Bandera Creek Road, Bandera, (830) 796-4413, tpwd.texas.gov
If you’re into rugged terrain, Hill Country State Natural Area is gonna be your jam. It offers primitive camping — so like, without plumbing — as well as horseback trails. The 5,000-acre area has beautiful landscape, including tranquil creeks and rugged terrain.
Photo via Instagram / brady_kunkel
Friedrich Wilderness Park
21395 Milsa Dr, (210) 207-3781, fosana.org
A favorite for bird-watchers, Friedrich Wilderness Park is an internationally-known bird watching destination, and is home to two endangered species: the black-capped vireo and the golden cheeked warbler. It also has about ten miles of hiking trails of varying difficulties, and includes steep hills and deep canyons.
Photo via Instagram / ldubb41
James Kiehl River Bend Park
118 River Bend Road, Comfort, (830) 249-9343, co.kendall.tx.us
A straight shot north on IH-10 for about an hour, James Kiehl River Bend Park is located in Comfort, an adorable little town where you can get pizza, ice cream and antiques.You can comfortably stroll along the river and explore the riverbanks as well as visit downtown Comfort — perfect for a day trip.
Photo via Instagram / chaseschippers
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Confluence Park
310 W Mitchell St, (210) 224-2694, sariverfound.org
Confluence Park features winding riverside trails that are perfect for biking, walking and jogging. Along the riverbanks, you can find various works of art and educational plaques. It also has a sweet, Instagram-worthy pavilion.
Photo via Instagram / gbernal73

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