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Itinerary help--leaving this afternoon for San Antonio

Dallas, Tx
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643 posts
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Itinerary help--leaving this afternoon for San Antonio

My kids are on an extended Thanksgiving break. They are boys ages 16, 14, 9 and 3. I am a mom who is joining her husband who is in San Antonio (already) on business. I will be taking the kids around by myself while he works. He may join us at night for some things if he can. We are staying in the northwest section of San Antonio in an all-suite hotel with an indoor pool. Please give me your thoughts on the things we are planning. You should know that in March I took them for three days to Fredericksburg and we saw the Alamo then but it wasn't overly enjoyable because of the crowds. I have a couple of kids who would like to see it again (and some who roll their eyes at the idea....)

Tomorrow (Wednesday) forcast of 82 degrees. I am considering driving out to Lost Maples. I have heard there is still color on the trees and I chose this day to do this as it is the last day of great weather. Is there something you would suggest we do if we go there? I am thinking of grabbing an inexpensive lunch or snack in Bandera. Any recommendations? Ice cream (maybe)?

I had considered the option of skipping Lost Maples and instead hiking the Friedrich Wilderness preserve much closer to our hotel. Thoughts? I have never been to either place. (We have been to Enchanted Rock and Perdenales Falls) We like a place with a good view/scenery.

This would be the warmest evening to go to the River Walk. I really don't want to do that without my husband--hopefully he can go. Do the canal boats run at night? I thought it would be nice if the Christmas lights were on to ride the boats after dark. Would you say it is best at night or would you suggest I take the boys during daylight?

Thursday--forcast is a high of 65 degrees. I have two plans in mind and I can't decide between the two.

One plan has us going to the IMAX to see the Alamo movie, revisiting the Alamo,

possibly walking the Riverwalk during the day (if you don't think night time will work), maybe the Spanish Governor's House (should I?), and possibly the San Fernando Cathedral.

The second option has us forgetting all of the above and just heading out to Natural Bridge Caverns. Thought on doing this when it's 65 degrees? I heard the caverns are humid. If we did Lost Maples the day before the Caverns would mean another day of a lot of driving...Thoughts?

The third day--Friday--weather--high of 58 degrees--I have us touring the missions. Any thoughts? We did some of this 6-7 years ago and enjoyed it then. None of us remember that much, though. I think we wanted to start out at Mission San Jose and for sure go to Concepcion. If you had to choose one mission NOT to do--which would it be. Anything you can recommend we do while at the missions? I have read something about there being trails. Too cold?? Worth it? Anything we could do in the area for an inexpensive lunch? Starbucks? icecream?

Off topic--is your hockey arena worth a visit even if we can't see a game? I have some HUGE hockey fans and a son who plays ice hockey. I thought this might be another night time excursion if dad is available.

Any other suggestions would be appreciated. This is trip with a very limited budget as it has not been planned for until yesterday. :-))

San Antonio, Texas
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1. Re: Itinerary help--leaving this afternoon for San Antonio

Lost Maples is a good idea, but it is rather far to drive. Friedrich Wilderness is nice, but it's rather small (to me). Another park that I've discovered that has great, long hiking trails with good views that is much closer than Lost Maples is: …state.tx.us/spdest/…

the boats on the riverwalk run at night, and this would be a great thing to do as the Christmas lights are up, and it's very festive. Natural Bridge caverns would be fun, and there's also a wildlife park that you can drive through....also, they have a zip line that your kids would love: naturalbridgecaverns.com/tours-clwZiplines.a…

I don't know how exciting the mission tour would be for the kids, but maybe they really like the history of it? here's a few more ideas:



http://www.sazoo-aq.org/ (although it doesn't compare to the dallas zoo....still a fun outing for a few hours)

San Antonio, Texas
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2. Re: Itinerary help--leaving this afternoon for San Antonio

It is a long drive to Lost Maples, but such a beautiful drive! Depending on where you are on the northwest side, you could get there in about 1.5 hrs. My concern for you is trying to hike that with a 3 year old. There are several very steep sections and a lot of rubble. We have been grateful for the added stability of our hiking boots. Most everyone going up is huffing and puffing in the steep areas. We just did both the East and West trails a couple of weekends ago...about 6 miles total and lovely hikes although the color seemed muted this year. West trail has long vistas, East trail follows a canyon bottom for much of it.

Even Friedrich is a bit much for a 3 year old IMHO although you don't have to do the whole thing and the bottom portion would be fine. Actually....you could just do the lower portion of Lost Maples too, but would lose the best of the views. Government Canyon is very easy...more a nice walk than a hike, but lacks the spectacular scenery that Lost Maples has. A rattlesnake crossed our path last time there so you may see some wildlife...perhaps more than you bargained for, especially if it's a warm sunny day. :)

We live down the road from Natural Bridge Caverns. It's 35-40 minutes from downtown. Guesstimating where you are staying, it'll be about the same from there. The caverns are an even temperature year round, so no day would be better than the other except for crowds. The caverns are really quite impressive and the kids would love it. No strollers allowed, but it's not that far to walk. We've never done the Wildlife Drive there, adjacent to the caverns but separate tickets. Your kids might enjoy it, but I understand they charge by the number of people in the car and it can get $$$

Be sure to take the kids to the film at the visitors center at San Jose. We've done the missions several times, but never the film until the last visit. Very very well done!! I can't recommend that enough..

Dallas, Tx
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3. Re: Itinerary help--leaving this afternoon for San Antonio

Well, I left before receiving all your helpful input. Here is what we did:

Lost Maples -LOVED IT! The leaves were practically gone but it was still gorgeous! We had some lovely adventures straying off the paths just a bit for the boys to climb a big rocks, etc.

Would love to go back and spend some time in the quaint towns of Medina and Bandera! Only had DQ in Bandera as the 3 year old was sleeping after hours of hiking and we needed a drive-thru.

River Walk after dark--after seeing this at Christmas it's hard to imagine it could ever be so beautiful at any other time. Stunning! We loved the river cruise!

The Missions--freezing cold the day we went. The only one that we foundly interesting at all was Mission San Jose. That one was very well done. From there we went back to River Center mall and had lunch in the food court. Shopped a bit and then walked over to the Alamo. It was more enjoyable this (compared with last spring break) time because of low crowds.

This morning--check out of the Embassy Suites and headed to the AT&T center so we could see where the Rampage play. We could not get a look inside other than the gift shop. Nice place from the outside. Headed over to Fort Sam Houston and really enjoyed taking in the Museum there. It is small but well presented. The three year old just wanted to come home and play with his army men after that! (Seriously, it was not interesting for him but for everyone else it was)

Found a great spot to eat on the way back to Dallas. Chuy's for Mexican food was terrific!. We were very excited to find that they have a location in Dallas . We will be hitting that soon.

Thanks again for trying to help. Your information will not be wasted as we will be back down there soon!

4. Re: Itinerary help--leaving this afternoon for San Antonio

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