Get Outside, Not Stressed Out: Family Hiking in San Antonio

If I had to describe my family’s relationship with Mother Nature in one word, it’d be outdoorsy-ish. We’ve gone camping without any children being eaten by wild animals or being left in caves (a success in my book). Let’s be real though: the extensive preparations for family camping are stressful, and I often crave a simpler way to achieve family time in the great outdoors. Family hiking is a great alternative—you get a big dose of nature without the big minivan full of camping gear. Luckily, there are many excellent places to go hiking close to San Antonio. I’m sharing a few of my favorites so you, too, can enjoy being outdoorsy-ish more often.

Enchanted Rock

North of Fredericksburg, you’ll find Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. This popular hiking spot offers 11 miles of trails. Summit Trail takes you to the top of the famous, 425-foot granite dome. While challenging, the beautiful view is worth it! The terrain can be tricky for young children, so be sure to take appropriate safety measures. The park requires reservations on weekends and holidays and recommends them every day because they often reach capacity.

Enchanted Rock State Park

Pedernales Falls

If you want somewhere to cool off after hiking, Pedernales Falls State Park in Johnson City is the perfect place. With a backdrop of limestone and waterfalls, you’re certain to enjoy the stunning scenery. My kids loved exploring across the slabs of limestone themselves, but there are many trails for hiking as well. Be advised that there is a designated portion of the river where swimming and tubing are allowed. With visitors coming from San Antonio and Austin regularly, Pedernales Falls recommends reserving your day pass online to ensure entry.

Pedernales Falls State Park

Guadalupe River State Park

When it comes to swimming in rivers, it doesn’t get much better than Guadalupe River State Park. Many families visit solely to swim in the river, but did you know that Guadalupe also offers 13 miles of hiking trails? You can even take a guided hike of the Honey Creek State Natural Area on Saturdays and Sundays at 9:00 a.m. (This area is only accessible by guided tour, and all ages are welcome.) The Bauer Unit entrance to the park provides access to several trails on the other side of the river. Keep in mind that this portion of the park offers a more primitive experience with no bathrooms or water. As with the other state parks listed, it often reaches capacity and online reservations are encouraged. 

Guadalupe River State Park

Cibolo Center for Conservation

The Cibolo Center for Conservation, located in Boerne, is one of my favorite places to take my kids for outdoor time. There are a variety of trails to choose from. The Marshland Trail is actually a boardwalk and is perfect for strollers. My favorite thing about this area is the giant trees towering over the Cibolo Creek Trail. They’re magical. When it’s warm enough, wading in the creek is super fun. There’s also a nature-based play area and dinosaur tracks that my littles love to check out. Cibolo Center for Conservation trails are open for hiking seven days a week from 8:00 a.m. to dusk. There’s no entrance fee but donations are appreciated.

Cibolo Center for Conservation

Government Canyon State Natural Area

On the northwest outskirts of San Antonio, you’ll find the 12,000 acres of wilderness known as Government Canyon State Natural Area. Over 40 miles of hiking trails offer lots of options for an outdoor adventure. The Discovery Trail is short and ideal for beginning hikers. There’s also a playscape and dinosaur tracks that date back 110 million years! Government Canyon is only open Friday through Monday and, you guessed it, often reaches capacity. So don’t forget to make your online reservation!  


For more on these and other family-friendly hiking opportunities near San Antonio, check out these posts:

The Summer of the State Park: A Guide to Texas State Parks Near San Antonio

Family-Friendly Hiking Trails In and Around San Antonio


When Whitney fell in love with a handsome Texan, she just knew that someday they would call Texas home. Her three favorite things about San Antonio are the tacos, the family-friendly feel, and the school her children attend--Sunshine Cottage School for Deaf Children. Whitney is a former ninth grade English teacher and proud mama of two redheads nicknamed GingerSnap (daughter born in 2014) and GingerDude (son born in 2017). Her son is deaf and has bilateral cochlear implants. Sunshine Cottage provided all the tools needed to turn GingerDude into a little chatterbox and Whitney into the hearing loss/listening and spoken language advocate that she is. When she isn’t volunteering at Sunshine Cottage, Whitney spends her time serving in organizations at church, spreading awareness and encouragement on Instagram, and keeping the Weaver household in working order. She tries to make time each day to go for a run and her favorite thing to do on a Saturday is hike at a nearby state park with her family. Favorite Restaurant: Thai Dee Favorite Landmark: The Riverwalk Favorite San Antonio Tradition: Fiesta Decorations and Attire