Allow a few extra days for a great 230-mile Hill Country tour. Start by driving 80 miles north on I-35 up to lively Austin, the political, music, computer, and education capital of Texas. Be sure to stop in historic New Braunfels en route, or shop-'til-you-drop at the outlet malls in San Marcos. Detour to relaxing Wimberley to recharge your batteries. From Austin, go west on Highway 290 about 80 miles to Fredericksburg, with a stop at the LBJ National Historic Park in Johnson City. Tear yourself away from Fredericksburg's many shops and fascinating museums to hike up Enchanted Rock, then zoom back down to San Antonio, a seventy-mile drive south. Kerrville, Comfort, and Boerne are all close to the highway and worth a stop. Check a map for driving details; you can just as easily drive this route in the opposite direction. Information on Hill Country inns…


Location:
San Antonio is located in south central Texas, and is easily reached by car or plane. It's about 200 miles west of Houston and 275 miles southwest of Dallas. The best way to visit downtown attractions is via the streetcar system. It costs only 50 cents a ride, including free transfers; monthly passes are just $5 each, and many innkeepers will loan you one. The streetcars are antique, authentic open-air trolleys, mounted on bus chassis, and the drivers are friendly and helpful.

Activities:
A top Texas tourist attraction, The River Walk (Paseo del Rio) dates back to the 1920s, and was the brainchild of architect Robert H.H. Hugman. According to one (probably apocryphal) story, Hugman told a local official that he planned to complement the River Walk's arched stone bridges, fountains, and lush landscaping with Venetian-style gondolas. "Oh," the local pol supposedly responded, "that's a fine idea. We won't even need to buy many gondolas. We can buy a pair and raise our own." Despite the failure of the gondola breeding program, today's visitors can cruise the river via Yanaguana Cruises, or stroll the shady sidewalks past lively cafes and peaceful residential areas.

Other downtown attractions include La Villita, the city's original settlement, alive with craft shops and restaurants, and El Mercado (210-207-8600), a Mexican-style market. Most famous is the Alamo, built in 1724 as a mission, then fortified during the Texas Revolution. For a more complete flavor of early frontier life, follow the Mission Road parkway just south of the city to visit the other Spanish missions, dating back to 1720: San Jose, San Juan, San Francisco, and Concepcion. The largest, best restored and most complete picture of 18th century frontier life is found at the Mission San Jose. All are part of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, stretching for nine miles along the San Antonio River. Among many other attractions are the Blue Star Art Complex and the Institute of Texas Cultures. More information…

December offers a rich collection of events, from the lighting of the River Walk with 130,000 colored lights, to such traditional proceedings as Los Pastores (the shepherds), a Christmas miracle play, and Las Posadas (the inns), a Spanish-Mexican pageant depicting the Holy Family's search for an inn. More details…

King William District Inns:
This beautifully restored area is perfect for strolling, and is a pleasant streetcar ride from downtown.

The Beckmann House is elegant and well-cared for by long-time innkeepers Betty Jo and Don Schwartz, who restored their 1886 home as a B&B in 1992. Brackenridge House is homey and comfortable; our favorite was the Charlie's room, done in antique red. The Little Flower Inn is a super value, with two appealing guest rooms, and a lovely swimming pool. The luxurious Noble Inns combine elegant antiques with all modern amenities. The compact grounds include a stained glass conservatory with an oversized hot tub. Oge House has a great location close to the Riverwalk, with a gracious setting. Ask for one of the two king-bedded rooms, which open to the second floor veranda. The Riverwalk Inn consists of five chinked log cabins transported from Tennessee. We love the serene spareness of the cabins' country primitive décor, and the rustic stone showers. Rene and Sam Martinez are the friendly, young owners of the Royal Swan B&B. Breakfasts are home-cooked and delicious, and both the guest rooms and common areas are comfortable and attractive.

Monte Vista District:
Although you'll need a car if you stay in this residential neighborhood, we have two excellent recommendations. The elegant Inn at Craig Place has wonderful original woodwork, spacious frou-frou free common areas, and handsome guest rooms. The leopard-themed Hildebrand Room is a dramatic choice. The family-friendly Irish-themed O'Casey's B&B just up the street is a great value, and offers a warm and welcoming atmosphere. More San Antonio inns…










Find a B&B | Specials | Recipes | Message Boards | Gift Certificates | Store | Book Online