Summer is here and the time is right for day trips with grandchildren. Most of us hold dear the memories we have of time spent with our grandparents. And on the flipside, grandparents are blessed to be able to create and then to have fond memories of time shared with their grandchildren. Here are some suggestions for manageable day trips that both generations can enjoy together in and around San Antonio.
Located in New Braunfels, a short drive from San Antonio, Schlitterbahn Waterpark is open on a limited basis, with advance reservations required. A lot of the park’s rides are with water coming straight from the river. The water is pumped back into the river after its journey through the park. There are gently-flowing water areas for tubing, as well as fast-moving water areas for high adventure. Lots of shade under canopies of trees, for relaxing and enjoying a picnic. Schlitterbahn Waterpark was rated “World’s Best Waterpark” by Amusement Today.
Two hours south of San Antonio, grandma and grandpa and the kids can find themselves on the beaches of Corpus Christi. With all of the shops, ice cream parlors and local venders one expects in a mid-size city, the family will find all they might desire to explore, partake in and enjoy. The beaches are a lovely break from summertime heat. After some time at the beach, enjoy a journey to the Texas State Aquarium. Inside and outside are huge tanks, featuring a wide variety of finned and winged ocean dwellers. A short walk from the aquarium, the family can treat themselves to a bit of military history. The USS Lexington, one of our great nation’s aircraft carriers, is docked in the waters of Corpus Christi. Nothing like having our nation’s pride reinforced by grandpa and grandma, while touring an aircraft carrier.
Wimberley is a quiet, quaint, small town near San Antonio, and it is not over-crowded with visitors during the summer. The heart of the town can be toured in about an hour, if the family takes their time. A wonderful feature of Wimberley is the Emily Ann Theatre & Gardens. Plays are presented which can be enjoyed by all age groups, from children’s theater to adult-themed stories. The property is nice-sized, at 12 acres, providing lots of adventure possibilities for young and older alike.
There are child-friendly gardens in Wayne’s Meadow and even a butterfly garden. Blue Hole is a close-by natural spring swimming hole. The grandchildren would enjoy seeing granny and granddad using the rope swing! Lie back on the banks of the river after a swim, and enjoy a picnic lunch. The peaceful environment allows for memorable family time and the sharing of stories which all will cherish in the years to come.
Devils River State Natural Area
This is a beautiful natural area not too far from San Antonio. If the grandchildren are hardy enough to hike with their fishing and picnic gear for a mile, grandma and grandpa can treat them to a day of natural outdoor wonder. From the parking area to the river is a one-mile hike, and it is recommended to pack lightly. Great opportunity to leave the electronic gizmos in the car or at home. The hike is well worth the effort! And remember to bring something light to carry, to pack out the fish that you are likely to catch. Or catch a lunker, name it Leo, and throw it back into the water if you do not want to cook it up for dinner. Leo will be even bigger when you catch him again on your next visit.
Stretching out and along quite a few towns in Texas, the Brazos River is the 11th longest river in the United States. Lots of access to the river at various points, so that grandparents and their grandchildren can find a spot or three to get a line wet. Whether along the river itself, or at Possum Kingdom Lake, Lake Granbury or Lake Limestone, the family is certain to find areas which are easy to get to and enjoyable for all. If grandpa and grandma have a canoe or kayaks, the best fishing is reported to be from Possum Kingdom Lake to the Gulf of Mexico. Be ready for carp, catfish, drum and bass, both Largemouth and Kentucky spotted.
South Llano River
This is an easy-to-get-to area, and a good choice if the grandkids are on the younger side of the age spectrum. Fishing gear is available to borrow at the headquarters of the river, and youth angling is encouraged. There is no fishing license policy enforcement. Nice spot for an easy outing with grandchildren for the day.
Managed by the Guadalupe-Blanco Rive Authority, Lake McQueeney is about five miles west of Seguin, along the Guadalupe River. Lots of different species of fish, including sunfish and many varieties of bass and catfish. Bring your boat if you have one, and some extra ice to pack out the keepers that you reel in.
Falcon State Park
Nice trip for a day with the grandchildren, where the family can swim, watch birds, boat, hike and, of course, get a line wet and wait for Moby Bass to strike! Fish cleaning stations are provided, and no fishing license is required. Falcon State Park has almost 3 miles of trails, perfect for some real quality family time with a couple of generations, or three. There is a recreation hall for snacks and general refreshment. Lots of opportunity here for physical abilities from younger and sleek to slower and wise.
Southern Trail Rides
A huge part of what makes Texas so rich is the nature of being in The West. What a day to enjoy with at least a couple of generations of family, enjoying bows and arrows, horseback riding, shooting skeet and perhaps throwing axes. The West was won, in part, with these things. Safety is, of course, foremost in mind for all activities. Plenty of well-trained and highly-skilled staff to guide the way for family fun and adventure. This would be a day trip with grandchildren that they will implore you to repeat again and again.
Day trips with family, during these odd times we are in, can break the routine of being home more than any family is accustomed to. Youngsters who get to spend a day with their grandparents get to have the importance of family ties reinforced. And grandparents who spend a focused day with their grandchildren can be reminded of what it is like to see our wonderful world through fresh eyes. Kind of like getting a new pair of glasses, eh?
Here is a link if you or a loved one is looking for senior care and services in San Antonio. Senior Directory also has free Care Advisors who can help you evaluate your options, while saving you time and money.
Aaron Ainbinder is the author of “Just Before the Stroke of Seven”.