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Outdoor activities near Houston/Galveston/San Antonio area?


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We are thinking of renting an RV and going on a trip in January as our Christmas gift to all of us this year. Our 2 college age kids don't have to go back to spring semester until after MLK day, so we've got a couple weeks after the holidays. Obviously with covid we will want to be outdoors as much as possible, and that's our preference for vacations anyway. We usually hike and visit state and national parks. We were looking at Galveston Island State Park, but I can't tell how much hiking there is there. There's a beach at the campground we're looking at, but in January we won't want to spend much time at the beach. We also thought we could hit The Alamo on our way there or back.

Any suggestions?

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If you'll be in San Antonio, you could visit the Riverwalk. It's fun. Lot's of outdoor dining options. I lived in SA a few years, but my kids were young at the time, so we didn't go on many outdoor adventures. I would Google "hiking Texas Hill Country". Or "camping TX Hill Country". You may be able to do some camping on a ranch in the area. Have you ever used Hipcamp?

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1 hour ago, popmom said:

 I would Google "hiking Texas Hill Country". Or "camping TX Hill Country". You may be able to do some camping on a ranch in the area. Have you ever used Hipcamp?

TX hill country is just the kind of thing I need to know- thanks!

Never heard of Hipcamp - what is it?

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24 minutes ago, Momto6inIN said:

You may be able to do some camping on a ranch in the area.

My dd did this. She and a friend found a rancher who allowed them to camp on his ranch away from everyone else except the cows for $20/night. I don't know how she found his information, but I could ask her if you're interested.

Same dd also really liked Lost Maples State Park. There was good hiking and a nearby lake.

Edited by Wilrunner3
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The other missions, besides the Alamo, on Mission Trail in San Antonio are interesting for outdoor activities.  Pedernales Falls park and Lost Maples are interesting.  The LBJ Ranch state/national park is another option north of San Antonio.  Weather at that time in San Antonio and Galveston can range from pleasant and warm to miserable, dreary, and ice storms.  I enjoy Galveston when it isn't so crowded for quiet walks on the beach, but that time of year heavy fog is common in Galveston.  We were there the first few weeks in January a couple of years ago and there was an ice storm and major water issues because pipes were breaking all over town (the buildings were built to withstand hurricanes, not insulated for hard freezes).

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It’d be difficult to socially distance on the Riverwalk. The walk itself is a sidewalk lining both sides of a paved channel. It’s a popular tourist attraction at the holidays, and the restaurants spill out their seating by the Riverwalk. There’s perhaps some hope at the Alamo, which is just across the Plaza, but not really. If I were you, I would go to the various Missions in San Antonio instead. Few tourists make it outside of downtown and they are each unique and beautiful.
 

I’d also look up around Johnson City to the science museum there, the LBJ ranch, the 1900-ish farm, etc. Fredericksburg is also nice at Christmas. Both of these towns are in the hill country just north of San Antonio.

One of our favorite Christmas things was to spend time at the North Padre seashore. The locals think it’s freezing,  but 50-60F weather is still pleasant for beach combing if you are coming from up north. Port Aransas’s grocery store sells firewood if you want a beach fire on Port A’s beaches next door.

Enchanted Rock, Pedernales, and Lost Maples are all decent Texas spots to visit. It’s not like hiking and camping elsewhere—make sure you look up photos beforehand so you know what you are getting into. Honestly, if I wanted a Covid-free Christmas Texas, I would stop by a Buc’ees on the way through, but go to Big Bend national park instead. 

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2 hours ago, Momto6inIN said:

TX hill country is just the kind of thing I need to know- thanks!

Never heard of Hipcamp - what is it?

Hipcamp is sort of a VRBO for campers. There is a website and an app. You can type in a location and search for people offering  campsites on their private land. Pretty cool! I also would recommend The Dyrt and Alltrails (for hiking).

 

Edited by popmom
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