Out of the way, pumpkin spice. You’re blocking my view. My sign that it’s fall? Seeing fall leaves and bright colors taking over the trees. Think that’s not possible in San Antonio? Think again! Despite what you hear about our leaves going from green to brown, we really do have fall color to enjoy—if you know where to look. And you don’t have to go very far to see fall leaves near San Antonio.
If you’re looking to enjoy the yellows, oranges, and reds of Mother Nature’s fall wardrobe—and get amazing IG-worthy pictures—start in town. From mid-October to mid-November, you can see a show. A great option to see some fall color is the San Antonio Botanical Garden. The trees on the garden’s Texas Native Trail put on a great show and there’s the fun of feeding the turtles and ducks to keep the littles entertained. But roam the whole garden to see changing colors—and wear the kids out!
Another option to see fall color around San Antonio is to get out and explore city parks like Eisenhauer, where you can hike among the leaves and look out over the city. Or try the Medina River Natural Area, where you’ll feel worlds away from San Antonio thanks to the river and natural views.
An easy ticket to see fall leaves is to explore the state parks near us. For a great family view of state parks that are easy driving distance from San Antonio, check out this great state park guide from ACM Contributor Jill. Many of the spots on her list also offer fantastic fall leaves.
You can also peep some bright leaves at Government Canyon State Park. Take a short drive to the north side of town where you’ll find 40 miles of trails and exploring, including dinosaur tracks. Note: reserve day passes to make sure you can see the leaves. Like all state parks, Government Canyon requires passes and often sells out. Book online and your pass will be waiting for you. Haven’t done that before? It’s easy! Create an account with Texas Parks and Wildlife and you can book day passes or campsites online 24/7. The system allows you to see how many passes are available and you can book up to 30 days in advance.
Another spot on the north side of town is Guadalupe River State Park. A short drive to Spring Branch reveals breathtaking color and river views. Enjoy the leaves—and bring along swim gear and a change of clothes because your kids will want to play in the water. For more exploring, check out their Saturday morning guided hikes of Honey Creek. Advanced reservations are required for the hikes, so book online and explore.
Small road trips = big leaf rewards! Outside of Austin, you’ll find great fall leaves just an hour from San Antonio at McKinney Falls State Park. Bring along the swimsuits because the water here will also lure the kids in, and let’s face it: crisp fall air is a rarity in South Texas. Don’t be surprised if you are enjoying fall leaves while wearing shorts and sandals.
If you want a day of fun AND leaves, hit Pedernales Falls State Park in Johnson City. See the leaves and explore Johnson City, scoring huge cool mom points with a stop at the Science Mill for kid fun (and learning, though if you talk that up, those cool mom points might disappear).
Known for its hiking and big pink dome, Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is a great leaf destination as well. In addition to the great views from the dome, there are a number of trails that lead you through fall foliage, even as late as Thanksgiving. It’s a popular destination year-round, so definitely book your day passes online to make sure you don’t miss out.
One of the best areas in Texas for fall leaf viewing is Garner State Park, where the Frio River winds through cypress trees that provide an array of bronze color along the riverbanks. A favorite summer destination for water fun, Garner is a popular spot in the fall, too, so be sure to book your day passes in advance or you might get to the park and find they’re sold out for the day. And for more tips, check out Whitney’s guide to family fun at Garner.
Saving the best for last, Lost Maples State Natural Area is a MUST for anyone in search of vibrant fall color. It makes every list of “where to see fall color in Texas,” making it a popular destination once October hits. Pack a picnic lunch and hit the road to see the maples put on a show—and know that you won’t be alone with nature while you’re there. If Lost Maples is on your fall leaf bucket list, definitely book day passes. It routinely sells out on weekends, so plan ahead. The first two weeks of November are usually ideal and you can book your reservations 30 days out. Want to keep up with the leaves? Follow Lost Maples on Facebook.
Have you seen fall popping out in style around town? Share where you’ve peeped leaves so we don’t miss out!