How to Have a Week of Family Fun in San Antonio

I have always wanted to visit San Antonio for as long as I can remember and when I found out that my dad had never been to this great city and seen the Alamo, it was pretty much a done deal! Actually, we had planned to do San Antonio the summer of 2020 but I’m sure you can guess what happened that diverted our plans. We knew it was going to be hot and my husband refused to go anywhere that summer that was going to require masks, especially a place that would get up to 107 degrees during the hottest part of the day! So, we pushed our plans off until the summer of 2023 and here we are! Let me show you how to Have a Week of Family Fun in San Antonio!

Woman staring into the distance at the San Antonio Riverwalk.

This little break of 3 years gave me plenty of time to plan a trip that would make everyone happy. There is literally something for everyone. I have the thrills of rollercoasters, ziplining, and a 4-story obstacle course right alongside the relaxation of a river cruise and floating the Comal River. Not to mention the interactions with animals that my daughter so desperately craves. There is horseback riding, swimming with dolphins, and an orca show!

Throw in a little history with the Alamo and then spend the day acting like a cowboy on a working ranch complete with dinner, a bonfire, live music, and s’mores and you’ve got yourself a fantastic vacation!

Small disclaimer here: We are going to start with the things that we ate, and this was the worst part of our trip. We did not have good experiences on our food adventures, but I am partly the one to blame for this. (I’ll explain the reasons why at the very end of the post)

you can watch our adventure here!

what we ate:

Okay… we meant to make reservations for Rainforest Cafe on the Riverwalk, and I failed on that front completely. We had a long day of driving and truthfully, it just slipped my mind. I also didn’t think there would be a long wait on Monday night at 8:00 p.m. but I was severely mistaken. There was a 2 1/2 hour wait to be seated and that just wasn’t going to happen. So, we started walking and chose the first Mexican restaurant that we happened upon that didn’t have a wait. (Never a good sign)

Cafe ole


  • Food was sub-par Tex Mex.
  • Service was good
  • Menu items were a little pricey in my opinion (for what it was)
  • Their queso is not the white dip that we love, it’s the yellow cheese dip. Not a fan
A plate of Mexican food including rice, beans, and enchiladas.

In hindsight, I should have made reservations and for your reference if you are wanting to eat Mexican food on the riverwalk, I think you should try the most famous one there. They say that the food is incredible and it’s the oldest restaurant on the Riverwalk so they must be doing something right. Unfortunately, you cannot make reservations, but I feel sure that the wait would be worth it. I’ve listed it below.

Click on it to check it out!

casa rio

The next meal that we had was at Seaworld. Now, there really isn’t much to write home about when it comes to amusement park food. We were hungry and desperately needed a place to escape the 107 temperatures outside, so when we saw a pizza, pasta, and salad buffet, we practically ran inside.

rosita’s cafe

This little place had a decent salad bar and just okay pizza. (Except for the dessert pizza which was HORRIBLE) I also tried two of their pastas and they were “meh”.

A slice of dessert pizza from Seaworld.

But when it comes to pizza, I think that kids are a lot less picky than adults. Our options were also limited because on this particular day, a lot of things were closed. I’m not sure if it’s because they didn’t anticipate a large turn out with how hot the weather was or what. This lunch was sufficient and gave us relief from the heat and plenty of free refills.


  • Salad bar was okay
  • Pizza was just okay… dessert pizza was terrible
  • Price was typical for amusement park
  • I really wanted to eat at the burger place or deli, but they were closed

salt grass steakhouse

We were so tired from a full day at Seaworld, so we decided to order delivery from this Steakhouse. I would just like to say that it’s probably not a great idea to order food to be delivered if you are planning on eating a steak. We didn’t have a good experience and our food wasn’t good.

Our delivery driver got lost and our order was wrong. So… lesson learned.

pappadeaux seafood kitchen

This was hands down the best meal that we had in San Antonio. It’s a little comical that it was a Cajun seafood restaurant, but the truth is that we all know that Louisiana cuisine just can’t be beat!

My dad and I devoured some raw oysters and then he had fried oysters for lunch. My husband had some excellent fried fish while I enjoyed the delicious shrimp and grits.

It is such a nice restaurant with a great atmosphere and the food was phenomenal. I highly recommend if you are a seafood lover.

Woman wearing a black and white striped dress is eating raw oysters.

what is there to do for kids in san antonio?

riverwalk boat cruises

I had always heard about the Riverwalk in San Antonio and scores of restaurants and shops to visit, but I didn’t expect what I experienced. I truly thought it was going to be super small, like the Riverwalk in Shreveport. What I didn’t expect was for it to be in the middle of town and surrounded by all of these businesses. It was so COOL! I didn’t get to walk around the Riverwalk like I wanted to because we arrived pretty late on the first day and it was so incredibly hot, but when I go back, I plan to spend a good amount of time there!

A photo of the riverwalk in San Antonio.

We booked a river cruise and I have to say that it might have been one of my most favorite things of the week and for several different reasons. First of all, it involves water. I LOVE WATER! (Secretly I’m hoping to move/retire somewhere near a body of water… that would be the dream) Secondly, it was relaxing. Once we picked up our tickets, which was a little bit of an ordeal, and boarded the boat, we were able to enjoy the sights, sounds, water, and a personal tour guide (captain of the boat).

I HIGHLY recommend doing the Riverwalk boat cruise! It’s not expensive and was totally worth it!


  • Good price for the experience
  • Relaxing and informative
  • A great way to see most of the riverwalk


If you are going to San Antonio, you probably already have this on your to-do list and for good reason. Where else are you going to be able to see killer whales up close and personally? Not to mention all of the other shows that feature sea lions, dolphins, gators, and more! It’s truly a place built for people who love animals along with a few thrilling rides thrown into the mix.

A photo of a dad and papaw with their kids on a rollercoaster.

My kiddos were so enamored with the rollercoasters that we actually missed some of the additional shows, but we made time for the Orcas and of course a scheduled swim with dolphins was one of the highlights of the day. We happened upon an afternoon feeding of a group of gators and it was their “BIG FEED” day of the week. So, we got to see these gators be fed large chunks of raw chicken and that was pretty cool for the kids.

Seaworld is pricey but it’s something that I think you have to do at least once. If I could offer some advice, I would say to go during the week like we did. We went on a Tuesday, and we had absolutely NO LINES! I’m serious. We never waited in line for a ride, a show, or a restaurant. We also showed up about 30 minutes before it opened, bought our tickets online in advance, and enjoyed our morning in much cooler temperatures.

An orca performing at San Antonio's Seaworld.


  • Orca show is great!
  • Rollercoasters were a lot of fun and accessible to all 3 of my kids (height/weight)
  • Animal encounters are informative and fun

swimming with dolphins

This is something that I’ve always wanted to experience with my kids. It’s not a cheap experience but it is certainly an experience. First, they took us behind the scenes for training, getting fitted for wetsuits and shoes, and safety procedures. After that, we were taken inside of the dolphin cove for 20 minutes of excitement.

We were able to pet the dolphins, feed them fish, catch a ride on their fin, and more! The trainers had been working with them on new behaviors, so we were able to give the signs to the dolphins and watch as they immediately obeyed and performed the trick they had been taught. This was so much fun!

A woman poses with her three kids and a dolphin in the pool at Seaworld.

After our experience, they provided us with hot showers, clean towels, water, and a chance to purchase pictures from our little adventure. If you or your kiddo is a lover of animals, I highly recommend this experience.


  • Great service and SUPER friendly staff
  • Good amount of time in the water with the dolphins

the alamo

I’ve heard about the Alamo for most of my life, mostly from my dad, but I really didn’t know all of the history behind this place. My dad would always mention Davey Crockett and the fact that they fought off all of these Mexicans for several days. So, I showed up with very little knowledge about the history of the Alamo. Thankfully, there was a short film inside of the original priest’s quarters and it really explained a lot. The entire thing was interesting, but I’m a sucker for history so it doesn’t take much for me to be interested.

The church at the Alamo in San Antonio.

The original walls, church, and artifacts are a sight to behold and the beautiful oak trees that provide incredible amounts of shade were much appreciated. (Did I mention that I have a thing for trees?)


  • Great history, artifacts, short film, etc…
  • Try to go early in the day because it’s mostly outside and gets hot very quickly

comal river (texas tubes)

We had some extra free time on this day and before we left for San Antonio a friend of mine mentioned that we should float a river while we were there. Being the water lover that I am, that was a no brainer. My dad also mentioned that he was super excited to float down the river in San Antonio and so it was settled.

I googled lots of different rivers to float, there are quite a few options, and settled on the Comal River. I checked them out online through Texas Tubes and saw that they had some man-made chutes that created really cool rapids and I knew that would be a welcome treat for the kids.

A woman and a man tubing in the Comal river in San Antonio.

In the summer months the water is a little bit low. Not low enough that you drag but low enough that the current slowed significantly. I’m only mentioning this because it increased your float time by about an hour when it’s that low. If you want to avoid this, you might want to do the float earlier in the year. The water level will probably be higher and the current much swifter.


  • Be sure to get a tube that doesn’t have a bottom. A few in our group learned the hard way.
  • Go earlier in the season for better currents and higher water
  • Take drinks and snacks in reusable containers. They don’t allow cans, bottles, plastic, etc…

natural bridge caverns and twisted trails

Last year, I took an amazing road trip with my kids, my dad, and some extended family. While on that trip, we visited some of the largest caverns in the United States and perhaps the world. These caves were located in Kentucky, and I would HIGHLY recommend that you visit. We did a 2-hour tour underground and I just can’t explain how magnificent it was. But enough about that trip, let’s get back to this one. I mentioned the other caves just to say that my kids didn’t want to see these caverns because we had already done the ones in Kentucky.

It actually worked out because we would have run out of time since I had booked the dude ranch for the afternoon, but I’m sure that these caverns would be great to see! (In other words, in another time and place I would certainly have booked a tour of these caverns.)

Twisted Trails ziplining and obstacle course in San Antonio.

But we showed up for the Twisted Trails obstacle course and zip-lining. I’ve already done one of these in Denver, Colorado in the mountains with my brother and had a blast so I was thinking that this was going to be much of the same, but it wasn’t.

This obstacle course is much more geared towards kids and that made it perfect for this trip. (The one in Colorado was a little bit more mature and challenging.) We harnessed up and spent about 45 minutes on obstacles and zip lines that were 4 stories off the ground. These obstacles tested your balance, strength, and agility. There are some benches in the shade below so that your observers can enjoy the show from a safe and comfortable distance.

A young teen balancing on an obstacle course.


  • During the Summer months, go early in the day (10:00 a.m.) It gets hot really fast.
  • The pizza on site is actually quite good if you are looking to eat lunch there.
  • Book your tickets and time online ahead of time and avoid any lines while you are there.

rancho cortez

This was another highlight of our trip. Many months before leaving, I had scouted out dude ranches that offered a half day experience for families. I had certain things that I was looking for and this place hit them all… on paper.

Here are the things that I was looking for, what we had planned for the half visit, and how it turned out to be in real life.


  • Horseback riding
    • Lasted about 45 minutes
    • The trail wasn’t shaded for the most part and it was HOT
    • Horses were lovely, calm, and beautiful
    • Guided rider was funny, informative, and made us feel safe
A woman sitting on top of a horse at a dude ranch with her son on top of a horse in the background.
  • Lasso lessons
    • Not organized in any way
    • Same man that guided our horse ride, showed us how to lasso different ways
    • Was a lot of fun to try and the guide was very helpful and informative
A cowboy teaching a young teen how to lasso a cow.
  • Indoor/outdoor pools
    • Very clean and beautiful
    • Easily accessible
    • Not crowded and clean towels provided

what about the food?

  • Dinner
    • Food wasn’t very good and salad bar was very sad
      • Pork loin with no flavor, instant mashed potatoes, chunky broccoli casserole, and a store-bought roll. I must say that the bread pudding that was for dessert was the best thing that I had all day!
    • Service of dinner was a little odd and we were never greeted by ranch owners or operators
    • No instructions or interactions with other guests
A plate of food that includes a porkchop, mashed potatoes, roll, and broccoli casserole.
  • Miscellaneous ranch activities
    • Wagon ride and feeding cows
      • This was exactly how it sounds. The kids really enjoyed it. I grew up around cattle so it wasn’t a big deal to me, but they really enjoyed feeding the cows and donkeys by hand so it was totally worth it.
A young girl feeds a cow.
  • Horseshoes
    • My kiddos had never played horseshoes but picked up on it rather quickly since they are so used to playing cornhole at home. It was nice to introduce them to a new activity and to just hang outside.
  • Bonfire, S’mores, and live music
    • This was a real treat mostly because I’m a lover of bonfires and live music. My kiddos enjoyed the s’mores, and this was the one time of the day that I felt there were connections and good conversation made. There were two other guests that were staying overnight on the ranch that joined us and we all began to make musical requests of our guide, who just so happened to be a pretty good singer and guitar player. We sang, harmonized, laughed, and connected with new people and that felt nice.
A cowboy plays his guitar beside a bonfire.

So, if you’ve ever contemplated taking your family to San Antonio or taking a trip with your friends, here is my advice… DO IT!! This week was so much fun. And even though most of my food experiences on this trip weren’t great, it’s not the fault of San Antonio. Part of the issue with our food endeavors is that I have really picky eaters in my group, and they are just incredibly hard to please. The other issue is that I didn’t make food plans. This is very abnormal for me. I usually always know where we are going to eat and I have reservations if possible. This trip I just tried to show up and wing the food side of the trip and it didn’t work out so well.

Please, learn from my mistakes but don’t let that stop you from your visit. This city is so much fun that I want to return in the future and try to tackle all of the things that we weren’t able to fit in.

If you have any questions or comments for me, please drop them below and I hope you make this trip!

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A Week of Fun in Dallas/Fort Worth

A Weekend in Denver, Colorado

A Few Days Relaxing in Hot Springs

our itinerary:

Travel to san antonio – day 1

  • Arrive at hotel and check-in
  • Go to Riverwalk for River Cruise
  • Eat dinner on the Riverwalk.

Aquatic Adventure – Day 2

  • Spend all day at Seaworld
  • Lunch at Seaworld
  • Swim with Dolphins
  • Ordered food to be delivered to hotel room for dinner

Relaxing with history – Day 3

  • Visit the Alamo
  • Go eat lunch
  • Float the Comal River
  • Eat dinner

Zip lines and cowboys – Day 4

  • Visit Natural Bridge Caverns to do TWISTED TRAILS
  • Eat lunch on site
  • Drive to Rancho Cortez to spend the day
    • Horseback riding
    • Lasso lessons
    • Swimming
    • Dinner on site
    • Feeding longhorns and cows and trailer ride
    • Bonfire, live music, and SMORES

Travel home – Day 4

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