3 great places to visit in San Antonio

San Antonio’s a pretty big place – you better know exactly where you’re going or you risk getting lost somewhere dark and scary… Okay, maybe not, but it still pays to know the top spots if you’re visiting the area. Due to the city’s size, your trip there will probably have to be on-point if you aim to cover as many worthwhile sites are possible – here are 3 great places you shouldn’t miss out on.

 

The River Walk: So simple, and yet such an amazing site. The Walk got its name thanks to the layers of strategically-placed concrete along the river, seemingly made for casual strolling – it doesn’t sound like much, but it’s one of the most beautiful sights in the area, especially during the night. Combined with various establishments that add to the visual appeal, a walk on any part of the ever-expanding pathway is sure to leave you in a dreamy state. Just don’t go out into the water, though, as it’s not particularly clean and makes for a bad swimming location. Anything else goes – you can even hitch a ride on one of the tour boats and experience the river from a different perspective.

Alamo: Who hasn’t heard of Alamo, eh? The site is about as historical as any other in the U.S. The structure is a perfect combination of religion and military, faith and force – it hosted the famous Wild West duke-out called Battle of the Alamo. While the location was home to a brutal conflict, its original purpose was to inspire people, and it shows in the marvelous exterior and interior, both preserved very well through present day. A visit to this place instantly justifies itself by giving you bragging rights, but once there, you’ll get to enjoy yourself by exploring a historic building inside and out. If you can leave Alamo without feeling as if you should be carrying a single-action revolver, you probably weren’t all that into Western movies to begin with.

Mission Tour: Like Alamo and want more, or simply have a fondness for religious locations? Make sure to take the Mission Tour while in San Antonio, then. Many don’t know that the Alamo fort is actually a ‘mission’ – one of five religious buildings of the same type in the area, although the most famous one by far. The Tour explores all of them in great detail – you’ll learn what it was like to worship God with a pistol strapped to your belt or a rifle at your back. The entire place was actually established as a national park some decades ago, so it has all the perks of one – the visitor’s center has a gift shop with all the souvenirs you could need, and there’s also a mini theater playing related footage for the truly interested. It could be said that Texas’ history rests upon this site – while there are quite a few notable locations throughout the Lone Star State, Alamo and its neighbor missions are a gem. No matter how religious or fond of history you are or aren’t, a full tour is always worth taking.

 

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Great things to do in Boerne, Texas

Compared to some other Texan cities, Boerne is quite small and nowhere near as famous, yet it’s managed to remain a popular tourist destination over the years in the face of tough competition. How? Being chock-full of amazing places to visit and things to do certainly helps. Here are some of them.

  • Hang out with ducks at the River Road Park: “Quack, quack” must mean “Feed us!” in duck language, because the ducks at this park are very hungry and generally have an attitude to them. If you find that enjoyable, a visit to the River Road Park will be a memorable experience – aside from its feathered residents, the park also boasts amazing natural scenery that the whole family can enjoy.
  • Explore the Cave without a Name: A funky name and a far-out location keep the Cave out of the limelight (being 100 feet underground has something to do with it, too). If you can locate it it, you’ll soon find yourself in disbelief over nature being able to create such amazing shapes all on its own. Despite the cave’s popularity, the regular tours are fairly small and you won’t have to bump into a lot of people as you explore the Cave’s mysterious depths. It only gets real crowded during the concerts – apparently, the cave provides an amazing acoustic effect, leading to quite a few music performers choosing it as a venue.
  • Partake in one of the horseback riding tours: These tours are held throughout Boerne and you should have no trouble finding one in your vicinity. They’re fairly tame and are perfect for beginners and even those who have never climbed on top of a horse before. For others, though, they might not be as appealing – cowboys didn’t have to wear helmets, did they? Still, the social aspect should be nice for everyone regardless of riding skill, and the tours frequently go through some nice and relaxing natural locations.
  • Taste the pickles at Fickle Pickles Antiques and Pickles: Come on, why shouldn’t there be a store dedicated to pickles? Apparently, the ones offered here for sampling and purchase taste better than anything you’ll find in a jar from your local grocery store. When it’s not acting as a pickle-tasting destination, the place doubles-up as an antiques store run by a nice lady. It’s definitely going to be a visit you’ll remember regardless of how fond you are of the food.
  • Shop at the Antique Mall: Did they have malls in antiquity? Apparently, as this place boasts 10,000 square feet of shopping frenzy. As you may imagine, the main thing to buy here are antique items, and there’s no shortage of them to grab as a souvenir. If you don’t know a thing about objects with a history, the clerks will be happy to shed some light on them and help you part with your hard-earned money. There are quite a few newer items to buy, too, and the place is beautiful and extremely well-kept, making it a great visit for those looking to have a break from some of Boerne’s more active destinations.
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Amazing places to go 4×4 offroading in Texas

To many, there’s no engine like the 4×4 engine. The power of these drives has created some amazing extreme-sports opportunities and has also given birth to the iconic all-terrain vehicle (ATV).

If you own an ATV, you’ve no doubt wanted to test its considerable limits on the appropriate terrain – muddy, slippery, challenging and maybe even dangerous. If you don’t own an ATV… well, you probably always wanted to drive one, so you might want to check out these Texas offroading places. The mere fact that many of them offer little more than mud and dirt and yet still make for popular destinations should be enough to pique your interest.

General Sam’s ATV & Offroad Park: What does the General have in store for you? Probably a whole lot of fun if you own an ATV or another 4×4 vehicle. While this Huntsville park won’t provide you with the vehicles, you’ll get the next most important thing – a wild and muddy zone where you can let loose while cranking up the gas. Other than ATVs, pick-up trucks and similar vehicles are a common sight and might be preferred by those who don’t enjoy being drenched in dirt – if you’re planning to ride an ATV, you’d best bring your gardening clothes.

Hidden Falls Adventure Park: This park has less mud and more beautiful nature, making it great if you’d like to do some sightseeing on top of wild driving. The terrain is also more varied, featuring the perfect mixture of dirt, grassy terrain and rocky formations. Unlike some similar locations, Hidden Falls Park offers ATV rentals, meaning it’s a nice destination if you were struck by a sudden itch for 4×4 madness – the rentals are a bit pricey, however, so be warned. Due to the lush nature in several areas and the relatively low amount of people, the park is also a fairly popular place to set up a tent.

Creekside Offroad Ranch: Do you find most 4×4 offroading places too tame and feel as if you could really use a dirty adventure? Look no further than Creekside. Here, if your ATV or pick-up doesn’t get stuck in the mud, you’re not trying – in fact, some areas are best not ventured into if you don’t know how to swim. What sets this ranch apart from similar locations is its camping appeal – other than letting you set up tents and stay for lengthy periods of time, the park also has an RV site with electricity and clean water for those times when you feel like you could use a break from all the riding dirty.

Xtreme Off Road Park and Beach: This Crosby gem is the opposite of Hidden Falls Adventure Park – it has no shortage of fun-loving individuals crowding the place and showing off their 4×4 handling skills. If you ever wanted to race someone through the mud, this is the place to test your skills – other than competition and ample social opportunities, you’ll also find spots to camp, fish, and do everything else that makes for a great outdoors vacation in the company of powerful engines.

 

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River rafting in Big Bend National Park

If you have the opportunity to visit the Big Bend National Park, you’ll no doubt enjoy the amazing historical sights that provide insight into what life was like centuries ago. You’ll definitely marvel at the hundreds of different species of plant and animal life, too.

All that admiration is bound to leave you wanting some action, though, which is why you’ll want to grab a raft and head down to the water to test your prowess at staying afloat. Let’s hope that rafting in Big Bend Park won’t lead to you bending over some rocky formations in unnatural ways. For the most part, rafting in the park is perfectly safe yet still manages to provide a bit of excitement even for the adventurous visitors.

The rafting tours

All of the tours feature a knowledgeable guide who will talk about what makes the park so special and will also take you to a few spots you might not be able to find on your own. The guided tours are generally free of adrenaline rushes and instead focus on sightseeing from a raft or similar floatation device.

For the best experience, you might want to opt for a horseback and raft tour – it’s like a miniature program that makes you feel as if you’re receiving a workout while simultaneously sitting back and relaxing.

Of course, those looking for something more will undoubtedly want to brave the park’s river on their own – this is most often done in a canoe or kayak, although rafts are just as able to give you a good time if you can keep them steady and avoid menacing rocks.

Rafting on your own

Don’t feel like having a tour guide tell you what to do and where to go? You can always grab a floatation device and board the water yourself. It won’t even have to be your own – there are plenty of outfitters in the area that rent quality equipment for a reasonable fee.

The biggest problem is knowing where to go – the park is quite large, and it’s not a stretch to say that you could get lost if you forget where you entered the water. You probably aren’t going to use a GPS device on a raft, so you’d do well to memorize the various parts of the river before entering the water and then try and translate the map into real life once you’re floating.

The Rio Grande River in the Big Bend is not without its treacherous parts, and inexperienced rafters could flip and even sustain injury if they judge their paths poorly. If you’re unsure of your rafting ability or are floating with inexperienced or unreliable undividuals, do your best to stick to safe parts with minimal unpredictability.

If you can deal with the river’s few unpredictable turns, rafting without a guide will likely prove more rewarding – you’ll be able to stop and look around whenever you like, and you’ll also save some money on top of it, since the knowledge and expertise of a rafting guide don’t come free of charge.

 

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