San Antonio, Texas
When you think of San Antonio, the Alamo and the River Walk may immediately come to mind. While those are two major reasons people come to visit this city of more than 1 million people—the eighth largest city in the country, surpassing Dallas — in San Antonio there’s more to do than visiting the site of a famous battle and walking along the San Antonio River.
That’s why San Antonio is a prime vacation spot all year round. From families who come in the summer to RVers who either winter here or winter a few hours south in Brownsville and other locales, San Antonio has plenty to offer. The weather is warm—more than 300 days of sunshine a year and winter temperatures of 63 degrees on average —so you’ll need a jacket in the winter and plenty of light clothing, hats, water and sunblock in the 90-degree summers. There are amusement parks, missions, golf, plenty of shopping and fine Tex-Mex dining, much of it walking distance from each other. The NBA-champion Spurs play here, as do the WNBA Silver Stars, the American Hockey League Rampage and the San Antonio Missions minor league baseball team. There are no fewer than 14 RV campgrounds and parks in the city or its suburbs. And if you need any camping or RV equipment, a Camping World SuperCenter is in nearby New Braunfels.
San Antonio Visitors Bureau Public Relations Director Dee Dee Toteete said that since September 11, 2001 people are more inclined to discover America rather than travel abroad. “If you want to go to iconic places—the Liberty Bell, the Statue of Liberty, the Alamo—places where history was made, San Antonio is on that list, too,” Toteete said.
Indeed, the Alamo or Mission San Antonio de Valero is the most famous spot in the city. It was here on March 6, 1836, after a 13-day siege by the army of Mexican President Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, 189 defenders including Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie were defeated. Texas Army Gen. Sam Houston took up the rallying cry “Remember the Alamo!” and Santa Anna was defeated on April 21, giving Texas its independence from Mexico. The Alamo is 12 miles from the San Antonio Missions National Historic Park, which comprise four other missions that were part of a colonization system that stretched across the Spanish Southwest in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.
The Alamo is located in Alamo Plaza, as are several other tourist attractions: The Guinness World Records Museum, Ripley’s Haunted Adventure, Davy Crockett’s Tall Tales Ride, The Plaza Wax Museum and Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
Within walking distance of the Alamo is the River Walk, or Paseo delrio. For three miles, the San Antonio River is transformed into one large outdoor cultural center, shopping mecca, botanical garden, meeting place, culinary center, nightclub and tourist attraction, all just below street level. It truly is the jewel of the city. It is here you will find culture, dining, history and nightlife, including:
• La Villita—a unique arts and crafts community with shops, artifacts and restaurants.
• El Mercado—the largest Mexican market outside of Mexico. Thirty-two shops bustle with activity. Nearby is a Farmer’s Market with 80 other specialty shops.
• Tower of the Americas—While Camping World was in its infancy in 1968, the World’s Fair was underway in San Antonio. The 750-foot tower remains from the Fair, offering a panoramic view of the city. It is currently closed for repairs and will reopen in the spring.
• River Walk boat tour—a 35- to 40-minute historical tour down the river, for a relaxing view of some of the highlights of the city.
Like Tex-Mex? “Honey, this is the home of Tex-Mex,” Toteete declares. “There are 300 Tex-Mex restaurants in the yellow pages.” San Antonio also has plenty of Texas-style barbecue restaurants. Just check the Visitor’s Center website at www.sanantoniovisit.com/visitors/ things_restaur.asp to find a wide assortment of restaurants.
From March to October, visitors can check out Sea World, Six Flags Fiesta Texas and Splashtown waterpark. Despite being completely landlocked, this Sea World is the largest of the marine wildlife parks. It will premiere a new Shamu show in March. Fiesta Texas boasts its collection of white-knuckle roller-coaster rides and shows. And Splashtown offers more than 50 rides and attractions for all ages. You can also ride an inner tube down the Guadalupe River as a cool treat on a hot Texas day.
The San Antonio Convention and Visitor’s Bureau has all the information you need to plan your stay. Call toll-free at (800) 447-3372 or visit online at www.sanantoniocvb.com/.