Ah, summertime in San Marcos – it doesn’t get much better than that. The Texas sun can be ruthless, but San Marcos’ cool attractions, chilly river and cold beer make it the perfect place for a summer respite.   

San Marcos River Adventures

A San Marcos trip isn’t complete without a dip in the San Marcos River. Rent a tube at Lion’s Club Tube Rental for a family-friendly float through town, give stand up paddle a try with SUP SMTX, or find a shady spot in the shallows to sit and relax for a while. Looking for a unique river SMTXperience? Take a Glow Tour with Paddle SMTX or Get Up And Go Kayaking when the sun goes down! LED lights illuminate the river beneath your clear kayak for a one-of-a-kind look at the local flora and fauna below the surface. Find more river adventures here.


New River Rules

Also, note that there are some new rules in place for the San Marcos River Parks. As of May 1, 2024, single-use drink containers are OUT and reusable drink containers are IN. Bring your favorite beverage in a reusable container (that's not glass) to stay hydrated along the river's edge or in water. Planning on enjoying the river from afar? You can sip on your bottled or canned beverage from a distance to your heart's content! If you plan on bringing your cooler to the water's edge, or on the water while floating or paddling the river, there is a limit of one 30-quart cooler per person allowed. This is to help cut back on those accidental spills while you're enjoying yourself. And remember, no disposable drink containers in those coolers next to or in the river! Learn more about the new rules HERE.


Helpful Tips

  • Bring your drinks in reusable containers to help keep the river clean
  • If you must bring your drinks in disposable containers (like plastic water bottles, pouches, cans, etc.) stick to the Go Zones, or the areas of the park where there are picnic tables
  • Bringing a cooler into the water? There is a limit of one 30-quart cooler per person allowed in the water and along the water's edge.
  • San Marcos is full of natural beauty and we really want to keep it that way - take what you bring and dispose of trash properly
  • Remember, it's a real river! We recommend life vests for inexperienced swimmers and children
  • S-U-N-S-C-R-E-E-N, seriously
  • Stay hydrated! Bring plenty of water as fun in the sun can be quite dehydrating
  • Leave glass and styrofoam at home
  • Wear shoes that are strapped firmly to your feet - ditch the cute shoes, you'll thank us
  • Have a plan just in case you get lost from your group in the water
  • Don't bring anything to the river that you don't mind losing
  • Stick to public access points
  • The San Marcos River does not go in a circle... 

Morning Hikes

One of our favorite ways to explore natural San Marcos is with a morning adventure on some of San Marcos’ many hiking trails. From leisurely strolls to more challenging hikes, there are plenty of trails for outdoor adventurers of all fitness levels. And don’t forget sun protection and plenty of water for the crew, including any four-legged companions! 

Helpful Tips

  • Please keep your pets on their leashes and pick up after them
  • Don’t listen to Robert Frost, stay on trail paths and within natural area fencing
  • Keep your phone charged in case of emergency, but also for all the photos you’ll want to take
  • Bring a map or use a GPS device
  • Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen! And maybe a hat…
  • Campfires, glass containers, motor vehicles, weapons, horses and camping are a no-go 


Cool Attractions

Of course, San Marcos has lots of really cool attractions you’ll want to visit. Head over to The Meadows Center for a quintessential San Marcos experience – the Glass-Bottom Boat Tour! The 30-minute tour of Spring Lake via boat allows you to see the very bottom of the lake through a glass panel. You’ll see lots of flora and fauna, as well as the springs that give the lake its name.


Escape the summer sun by exploring an earthquake-formed cave at Wonder World Cave & Adventure Park. Guides lead small groups deep into the Balcones Fault Line Cave for an educational and entertaining cave tour. After the cave, you have to visit the park’s other quirky attractions like the Anti-Gravity House, Tejas Observation Tower, and Texas Wildlife Petting Park.


Coming June 1: Planning on exploring the cave, taking a Glass-Bottom Boat Tour, and floating the San Marcos River? Get a discount with the San Marcos Summer Savings Pass! The 3-in-1 wristband is $49.95 per person and is good Monday through Friday, June 1 through August 30. You can learn more about the San Marcos Summer Savings Pass here.


History lovers will love seeing the airworthy historic military warbirds housed at the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Central Texas Wing! The 1943 vintage wooden hangar has some real gems in the collection, including “That’s All, Brother,” the Douglas C-47 Skytrain that led the Allied invasion on D-Day in Normandy.

These are just a few of our wonderful San Marcos attractions. You can peruse the rest of our awesome attractions HERE


Once the sun sets, things really heat up in San Marcos. Laid-back hole-in-the-wall hangouts, big two-story concert theaters, romantic courtyards, the lively Downtown Square, and some of the best breweries in all of Texas – you’re always in for a good night in San Marcos. Hoping to catch some live music while you're in town? Check out our Listen San Marcos lineup