San Marcos is located right between a variety of towns and parks which offer a plethora of activities.
Gruene Historic District
The town of Gruene is a 20 minute drive outside of San Marcos and is a great place to shop and explore. Gruene is a historic district in Texas with many of its buildings dating back to the 1800s. Gruene is home to Texas’ oldest dance hall, Gruene Hall, which hosts live music and dancing almost every night.
Crystal Kinman, Gruene Historic District’s marketing manager, said Gruene Hall and the Guadalupe River are major attractions for college students. Along with the fun activities, Gruene also holds a history and beauty that makes it a hidden gem among small towns.
“The landscaping is so beautiful and lush and the buildings are just so historic and unique,” Kinman said.
A little farther away is Fredericksburg. Founded in 1846, Fredericksburg has numerous historic sites to see.
Aside from museums, shopping and food, the town is known for the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. Enchanted Rock, where people have camped for 12,000 years, is 18 miles north of Fredericksburg. Many mystical myths and legends surround the beautiful area, and it continues to fascinate geologists today.
“It makes you realize how large the world is and how small you really are,” Espinoza said.
Zach Espinoza, political science sophomore, a frequent visitor said it is breathtaking to experience something so large and ancient in person.
The massive pink granite dome can be hiked and explored for only seven dollars. Once at the top, it offers beautiful views of the Texas Hill Country. With nearly 11 miles of hiking trail, visitors can stay the day and get their money’s worth.
Walking in Wimberley
Wimberley hosts many attractions such as shopping, visiting the theater and sightseeing.
Because of its location in the Texas Hill Country on the Blanco River and Cypress Creek, the town is perfect for outdoor activities. Picking lavender at Rough Creek Lavender Fields and exploring Jacob’s Well are outdoor activities visitors can enjoy.
Rough Creek Lavender Fields is the largest lavender farm in Wimberley. Located by the Blanco River, it sets a peaceful stage to pick your own lavender or stop by an on-site store and relax among the fresh scents.
The Emilyann Theatre located on Ranch Road 12, features play from Shakespeare to literary based plays. The theater also serves as a military memorial and incorporates students from Hays County.
Visitors can enjoy a river side view at multiple waterhole restaurants such as Ino’z Brew and Chew, The Wimberley Pie Company and Wimberley cafe. Alongside, there are multiple wineries to enjoy as well.
Guadalupe River State Park
At only a $7 entry fee, the Guadalupe River State Park is an affordable option for college students. Centered around the Guadalupe River in Spring Branch, the park offers a variety of activities to choose from.
While students are familiar with days spent by the river, the Guadalupe River is different. It’s a host to many more activities such as mountain biking, camping, horse riding and bird watching. The abundance of trees and rocky scenery sets it apart.
Sarah Mueller, exploratory sophomore, has visited the park numerous times with her family. They usually pack a lunch and stay for a full day. Mueller typically enjoys hiking, swimming and walking her dog. The scenery provides a perfect backdrop for peaceful fun.
“It’s so relaxing and refreshing to experience nature like that,” Mueller said. She loves to unwind beside the rush of the river and listen to the sound of wind rustling leaves.
Mueller said her favorite time of year to go is in mid-November because of the cooler weather. The greenery is something to be enjoyed, and a fall day is perfect to enable visitors to soak it in.