Mission Hike & Bike Trail

For an active diversion, take the 8-mile Mission Hike & Bike Trail (16 miles round-trip) from Mission Concepción to Mission Espada. Paved pathways designated for hikers and bikers follow the San Antonio River and go through neighborhoods and farmlands, making for an easy walk or ride for most everyone. If you choose not to take the entire route, you can go from any one of the four missions to the next, making the round trip only 6 miles. Water is available at each, with food also available at missions Concepción and San José .

Brackenridge Park

Brackenridge Park offers 343 acres of space for outdoor lovers. The San Antonio River wends alongside paved paths for walkers and bicyclists, with recreational opportunities like fishing, birding and pedal boating also available. Other attractions include a playground, the 3½-mile Brackenridge Eagle miniature train and the Japanese Tea Garden. Squirrels, ducks and birds can be found in the park, with more exotic animals in the adjacent San Antonio Zoo. Also in the park is Brackenridge Park Golf Course, the state’s oldest municipal course.

Japanese Tea Garden

The Japanese Tea Garden in Brackenridge Park is home to floral displays, a waterfall, ponds and a habitat for Koi fish and aquatic plants. It all started with a lily pond, and in 1917-18 prison laborers shaped an old rock quarry (you can still see remnants of it in the garden’s architecture) into a complex of walkways, stone-arch bridges and a Japanese pagoda roofed with palm leaves. It is adjacent to Sunken Garden Theater, an open-air amphitheater where music concerts, theater performances and local festivals take place.

San Antonio Botanical Garden

San Antonio Botanical Garden includes 33 acres of seasonal floral displays, exotic plants from around the globe, a serene forest walk, an authentic log cabin and modernistic glass pyramids. Enter the garden through the historic Carriage House, which has a restaurant and gift shop, before perusing the Rose Garden, Old-Fashioned Perennial Garden , Palm House, Fern Grotto and more. There are even collections representing species native to the Texas Hill Country and East and Southwest Texas on the Texas Native Trail. Individual glass buildings in the Lucile Halsell Conservatory house plants from the desert to the rainforest and surround a sunken courtyard and lagoon filled with aquatic plants.

Friedrich Wilderness Park

The 232-acre Friedrich Wilderness Park is a natural preserve in the hills of northwest San Antonio . Located across Interstate 10 from The Dominion Country Club, it offers opportunities for hiking (trails range in difficulty from leisurely strolls to more rugged hikes) and picnicking. Birders can also keep an eye out for golden-cheeked warblers and black-capped vireos, and wildlife lovers can watch whitetail deer, cottontail rabbits, raccoons and other animals. Interpretive hikes and educational presentations take place at the park year ‘round. No bicycles, Rollerblades, camping, smoking or pets are allowed.