Download maps for walking/jogging or biking around town - plus how to rent or "share" a bicycle. If two-wheeling is your style, bicycles are available from B-cycle stations downtown and at many points on the River Walk, including the Museum Reach and Mission Reach sections.
A cool river lined with towering trees, cobblestone paths, restaurants, museums and much more meanders four miles through the heart of the city. Destinations also include the Pearl complex along the Museum Reach section to the north and the Spanish colonial missions along the Mission Reach to the south. Walk or, between downtown and the Pearl, ride a river taxi. Part of the fun of taking a cruise is going through the river's lock and dam.
Canoes and kayaks can be paddled along a 1.6-mile stretch of the San Antonio River from Mission Road to Padre Park.
This 15-acre urban retreat with strolling paths has something for everyone. Highlights include a children’s Magik Theatre, a playground built like a fortress, cascading waterfalls and diversions such as the Institute of Texan Cultures, the Instituto Cultural de México and the 750-foot tall Tower of the Americas.
Hugging the headwaters of the San Antonio River are 343 acres of woodland, trails and a historic par-72 golf course. You will also find the San Antonio Zoo, an elegant Japanese Tea Garden and the Witte Museum, which features historic and science artifacts and the H-E-B Science Treehouse. Kids will love riding a miniature train that circles the park.
A chain of four Spanish colonial missions—Concepción, San José, San Juan and Espada—is linked by the San Antonio River and eight miles of paved cycling and walking paths. The trails wind along the river, through old neighborhoods and past farmlands. Canoes and kayaks can be paddled along specific sections of the Mission Reach, including a 1.6 mile stretch from Mission Road to Padre Park. Drinking water is available at each mission and a visitor center is located at Mission San José. Don’t miss the Espada Aqueduct, built in the 1700s and still in use.
Anchoring the eastern end of Mahncke Park, which runs through a historic neighborhood, this verdant 38 acres of floral displays and exotic plants offers nature trails, Texas ecological areas, plant conservatories and manicured gardens, including one for the blind.
San Pedro Springs is the second oldest municipal park in the nation (only Boston Common is older) and is the quintessential urban oasis. The 46 acres feature strolling paths and a lake that’s a free summer swimming hole.
Parks and Wilderness Areas
North of town lie 320 acres of wooded hills, rocky canyons and dry creek beds. The park includes five miles of hike-and-bike trails, a playground with a climbing wall, an interpretive house and picnic pavilions.
Five miles of hiking trails through this heavily forested and hilly 232 acres include paths for disabled hikers and access to nature study and bird watching.
Phil Hardberger Park is an island of green in a sea of urban development in the heart of San Antonio’s north side. The 311-acre former dairy farm is San Antonio’s newest city park and the largest to be opened here since the 1800s. The park contains two sections, one accessible from Blanco Road and the other from Northwest Military Highway. Both feature playgrounds, walking trails, picnic tables and dog parks.
This 8,622-acre spread encompasses historic ranching sites, rugged trails, steep slopes, scenic overlooks and an interpretive center and gift shop.
Birdwatchers come from around the world to see more than 300 species—such as pelicans, egrets, roseate spoonbills, wild ducks and hawks—at this deep-water lake and surrounding brushland. This 624-acre preserve is located on a migratory bird route and includes 7.5 miles of trails winding through wildlife habitats.
San Antonio’s linear park system, which will eventually ring the city, currently links 41 miles of hike-and-bike paths along the Salado Creek, Leon Creek, San Antonio River and Medina River. Many of the sections are surrounded by subdivisions; others are in less densely populated areas.
A population of breeding alligators is one major draw at this park, which is on the shores of a 26,000-acre reservoir about two hours south of San Antonio. The park also has superb boating, fishing, birding, hiking trails and camping.
To call Enchanted Rock, about an hour and a half north of San Antonio, a “pink granite exfoliation dome” is beside the point. The fact that the dome rises 425 foot above ground and covers 640 acres also seems irrelevant—until you climb it. At the top, the rock’s enchantment, the draw for over 11,000 years of human visitation, is truly apparent. Bring a kite. The park also includes camping, picnicking and seven miles of hiking trails.
Fire hydrants, dog-height water fountains and fenced areas with exercise equipment make ideal playgrounds for dogs and their owners.
In downtown San Antonio, the .65-acre dog park at Madison Square Park features a fenced off-leash area, mutt-mitts, a doggie drinking fountain, and benches.
The 1.5-acre Pearsall Park includes picnic tables and play features.
McAllister Park has 1.5 acres set aside for dogs, which include a covered picnic area and walking trail.
Hardberger Park at 13203 Blanco Road has 1.8 acres for dogs, including separate areas for small and large dogs and a two-story doghouse. On the west side of Hardberger Park, at 8400 NW Military Highway, you’ll find an enclosed 1.5-acre area for dogs, divided into sections for large dogs and small dogs.