San Antonio: Home of the Alamo and Spirit of Texas

Today's guest blog post comes from Betty Barnes, who some of you may remember from her great post about HughesNet back in September. Since she is a native Texan who has been attending RV rallies since she was a little girl, she's the perfect person to give an RVing overview of San Antonio.

When you think of San Antonio, Texas, what image comes to you? If you are like so many others, it is the Alamo, a hallowed symbol of Texan independence and spirit. Indeed, the Alamo is on my list of “must-see” places in the area, especially if you are visiting San Antonio for the first time. There are, of course, so many other places of interest and activities for all ages in and around “The River City.” Located in what one might consider as the heart of Texas, San Antonio is a crossroads of Interstates 10 and 35. The River City lies on the border of the Texas Hill Country and is an easy drive to Austin for exploring the capitol of Texas. The summers are typically Texan – hot! The winters can be pleasant, and the area is popular for migrating snowbirds seeking temperate climes during the cold months.
What Would You Like to Do?

Keeping in mind that I am a native Texan and therefore somewhat prejudiced (she says with a grin), some of my favorite spots in San Antonio include:

  • The Alamo: This Texas shrine is located right in the middle of downtown San Antonio. Epitomizing the spirit of independence, honor, bravery and strength that I like to think all native Texans share to this day, the Alamo sees more than 2.5 million visitors annually. Although small by comparison to other historical sites at only 4.2 acres, one can almost feel the spirits of those who defended our state which was at one time its own country.
  • San Antonio River Walk: Descend from the busy streets of downtown into the soothing realm of the River Walk. Stroll along the stones, browse through the shops, stop at a cafe or pub and watch the river taxis cruise as you dine on delicious Mexican food or sip a cool beverage of your choice. Why not even book a ride on a river taxi and soak in the sights and history of downtown San Antonio from a new perspective? Refreshing in the summer, definitely take a jacket with you during the winter months as you explore all that the River Walk has to offer.

  • Casa Rio: Aah . . . Casa Rio! Growing up in Texas, you come to realize that you just cannot get “real” Mexican food once you leave the Lone Star State. Sitting here in South Carolina and talking to you about Casa Rio, well, shall we say it fills me with a longing for all those yummy dishes! Casa Rio opened its doors in 1946 on the River Walk, and my first memories of this renowned eatery are those of a child. My first visit was not in 1946, but it was many years ago. This is “the” place not only for a true meal of the region but to experience River Walk dining at its utmost. Go early for lunch or dinner, as it is very popular!
  • San Antonio Zoo: My first visits to the San Antonio Zoo began in childhood and have continued through my adult years. Naturally, as a kid I gazed in wonder at all the exotic animals and enjoyed the exhibits specifically targeted for young folks. As an adult, I stroll through the extensive grounds with camera at the ready, looking for “the shot.” It is also fun to watch little ones perhaps seeing an elephant for the first time or munching down on a hot with much relish – both the condiment and the enjoyment!

  • Japanese Tea Garden: Reopened in 2008 after extensive renovation, this oasis is located in Breckenridge Park, a short walk from the San Antonio Zoo.
  • The Mission Trail: Five missions, including the Alamo, make up the Mission Trail. At least one of these missions still serves as an active parish with regular weekly services.

Also of note are SeaWorld, Fiesta Texas and HemisFair Park. HemisFair Park was built to host the 1968 World's Fair. (I was lucky enough to experience it as a kid during its heyday) and still attracts visitors with its Tower of the Americas and nearby museums.

Places to Land with Your Rig

Displaying the same diversity of San Antonio activities are one's choices in places to call home with your RV. As we all venture to different destinations with a variety of purposes and a mix of ages in our families, again, there is something for everyone! Below is a sampling:

Greentree Village North: Located at Exit 169 off Interstate 35 on O'Connor Road, this park has a variety of short and long-term residents. We stayed here in 2008 and found it to be a very comfortable location for taking in the sights of the city. Although not immediately downtown, the drive to The River Walk, Alamo and so forth was short, straightforward and easy to navigate. We enjoyed coming home to our campsite after a day of sightseeing and being away from the hustle and bustle of the downtown area. Would we return? You betcha! Read more on

Admiralty RV Resort: According to their Web site, Admiralty offers shuttle service to Sea World, is located on the public bus system, and is 20 minutes from Fiesta Texas, the River Walk and the Alamo. I have not personally stayed at this park.

Travelers World RV Resort: This park on Roosevelt Avenue in San Antonio lists planned winter activities and location adjacent to a golf course for those of you desiring to tee off. Again, this is not a park I have personally visited.

Whatever your vision of a stay in San Antonio and no matter how much time you have to spend there, I am sure you will find a wealth of opportunities for fun, food and relaxation!

Betty Barnes is a nine-year cancer survivor, Reiki Master/Teacher, cyclist and drum circle facilitator. She and her husband Dave, originally from Scotland, began full-timing in their fifth wheel in June 2010, workamping as they travel the Lower 48. Betty's first RV experience was literally as a babe in arms over 50 years ago. She has camped under canvas, in a pop-up and travel trailers now a fifth wheel. Betty has seen much of Scotland, so now she and Dave are taking the opportunity to experience together the wonder and beauty of her native country. Betty maintains an active blog describing their adventures on the road at Phoenix Once Again. You are also invited to visit her Reiki Web presence here.