WIN A HOLIDAY
River Walk, San Antonio
Miller Outdoor Theater, Houston
The Saga, San Antonio
Discovery Green, Houston
Hermann Park, Houston
Enchanted Rock, San Antonio
Mission Reach, San Antonio
With more than 300 days of sunshine annually, San Antonio is an ideal destination for outdoor experiences all year long. Immerse in the region's iconic history by kayaking, hiking or biking the Mission Reach of the River Walk, which connects four of the city’s World Heritage-designated Spanish colonial missions.
Enjoy the surrounding Hill Country by hiking up the massive pink granite mounds of Enchanted Rock or spelunking through Natural Bridge Cavern. To make your explorations of this culture-rich city easy, take advantage of the city's bike share program to journey through historic neighbourhoods and beautiful parks. A unique experience is The Saga, a free display celebrating the history of South Texas’ people, shown several evenings a week on the façade of the historic San Fernando Cathedral in Main Plaza.
Newsflash — Houston is an outdoor city. The metro area offers tons of places to get out and experience nature in small ways (an urban downtown park) and big (a 2,000-acre preserve). So read on and start planning already!
Houston rates first among the nation's 10 most populous cities in total acreage of parkland, beating out Phoenix's 45,020 acres and San Diego's 47,383 acres, according to a 2011 report by The Trust for Public Land. Houston has 49,643 acres of total park space, with 22 acres per 1,000 residents. The national average is 12.4 acres per 1,000 residents.
Welcome to Natural Bridge Caverns, Texas – a premier natural attraction – where you’ll find adventure and fun around every bend. Like on the Discovery Tour, where you’ll see massive, otherworldly formations formed by single drops of water and the slow passage of time. Or, explore our Hidden Passages Tour, where shadows dance over delicate formations and mystery awaits in every shadow. Take to the skies high above Texas, as you ascend the Canopy Challenge, or for a true test, try tackling one of our adventure tours.
San Antonio BCycle is a new way to get around. San Antonio BCycle members can pick up a bike at any BStation and return it to that same station or any other BStation when they’re done. Using their BCards, annual BCycle members can unlock a bike in seconds.
Returning a bike is even easier. Just roll it into a dock, watch for the blinking green light to confirm the bike has been correctly secured and walk away. The onboard BCycle trip computer allows annual members to track all the miles they ride, the calories they burn, and the carbon emissions they avoid.
Discovery Green is a 12-acre park that opened in 2008 next to the George R. Brown Convention Center. Here you’ll find a multitude of things to do, no matter what the season—from a weekly farmers market and film screenings to art exhibits and yoga classes. There are also two restaurants, The Grove and The Lake House, each with a distinctive menu and dining atmosphere. During the holidays, Discovery Green gets into the spirit with a 7,200-square-foot ice skating rink.
The Mission Reach Ecosystem Restoration and Recreation Project has transformed an eight-mile stretch of the San Antonio River into a quality riparian woodland ecosystem. This unique project restores riverine features and riparian woodlands, reintroduces native plants, enhances aquatic habitat, and reconnects cultural and historical features.
The massive pink granite dome rising above Central Texas has drawn people for thousands of years. But there’s more at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area than just the dome. The scenery, rock formations and legends are magical, too!
You can hike, backpack, camp, rock climb, picnic, bird, study nature, geocache and stargaze. Take a virtual tour with our Interactive Trails Map. (You cannot swim here or ride bikes on the trails. The Summit Trail may close in wet weather.) Rock climbers must check in at park headquarters. You can pick up route maps there and read the climbing rules.
For more than 100 years, the San Antonio Zoo has existed near the city's Brackenridge Park, delighting visitors of all ages with one of the most diverse and well-showcased animal collections in the country. Since 1914, the collective efforts of dedicated individuals have helped the San Antonio Zoo evolve to include a wide variety of animals representing 750 species on 56 acres. More than 1 million guests visit the Zoo annually – including more than 13,100 of those being children participating in education programs and 80,000 schoolchildren coming on field trips. Among the San Antonio Zoo’s accolades: It has one of the largest bird collections in the country, including an acclaimed breeding programs for endangered and threatened species such as white rhinoceros, snow leopards and whooping cranes.
Since the mid-1990s, a multi-million dollar master planning effort has transformed Hermann Park into one of the crown jewels of Houston, making this a prime destination for 6 million visitors annually. Bordered by the Museum District, Rice University and the Houston Medical Center, Hermann is a 445-acre urban park offering a gamut of activities including peddle boats on Lake McGovern, antique miniature train rides, an 18-hole golf course picnic areas, a large amphitheater for live performances, multiple children's play areas and much more.
Hermann Park is home to the Houston Zoo, one of the city's most popular attractions showcasing more than 4,500 exotic animals from all over the world. See big cats up close, visit the Wortham World of Primates and hang out with a large herd of Asian elephants. But that's just the beginning. This past December, the zoo opened the first phase of the most ambitious project in its history, African Forest. Set on 6.5 acres, the first of African Forest includes new habitats for the zoo's chimpanzees, rhinos, giraffe herd and cheetahs, all set in an environment designed to emulate the forest landscape of western equatorial Africa.
It’s no exaggeration to say that Houston owes its very existence to Buffalo Bayou. It was on a stretch of this 52-mile serpentine body that the brothers August and John Allen stepped ashore in 1836 and laid claim to the land that would become the nation's fourth largest city.
Through the years the bayou helped Houston thrive as a commercial hub, now it's a focal point of recreation for the millions who live here and visit every year. You can take in the view from one of the many paths that line Buffalo or tour the bayou via kayak or canoe.
Ever feel like you just need a nice long walk through the trees? Enter Mercer Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. This 250-acre preserve set on Cypress Creek in Humble has one of the largest collections of native and cultivated plants in the Houston region.
Here you’ll find miles of hiking trails, picnic areas a butterfly house and a boardwalk over a cypress swamp among other features. You’ll also see a wide-ranging collection of flora and fauna, from vibrant camellias and orchid trees to Pine Warblers and Black-capped Chikadees.
This 7,000-sq.-ft. projection with custom choreographed music in surround sound will narrate the historical discovery, settlement and development of San Antonio. Projected on the facade of historic SAN FERNANDO CATHEDRAL, it is a video art installation available on Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings and is free and open to the public.