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Your guide to San Marcos
All About San Marcos
San Marcos sits deep in Texas Hill Country, midway between the major cities of Austin and San Antonio. If you’re looking to experience Texas outside its lively cities, San Marcos offers the best of both worlds — you can make the most of the great outdoors while sampling the town’s thriving nightlife. While San Marcos is mostly associated with its thriving college population — Texas State University is located in the center of town — there’s plenty of natural wonder in the surrounding area, and the region leads conservationist efforts to protect endangered species along the local rivers.
San Marcos was home to a former president during his college years, and you can see his yearbook and other memorabilia at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Museum. The city’s quirky cultural life is on full display at the Eye of the Dog Art Center and the Mermaid March, a self-guided tour of seven-foot painted mermaid statues.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in San Marcos
The city’s climate provides warm, sunny days all year round. San Marcos is predominantly a college town, so traveling during the fall and spring means more events on campus during the Texas State school year. The university’s performing arts center hosts events and performances that are open to the public.
Spring and fall, with their moderate temperatures, are ideal seasons for spending time on the walking trails. The Hill Country heats up in April, and the high, dry temperatures can last through September. Summer is the best time to have the city to yourself, as students are on summer vacation, and the San Marcos River becomes especially appealing. This is also the perfect season to take in outdoor nightlife venues and food trucks in the balmy evening air. Winter might bring colder days, but the Sights & Sounds of Christmas event rings in the festive season with carnival rides, food and craft stalls, and an ice rink.
Top things to do in San Marcos
This small side street, located in view of the Hay County Courthouse in downtown San Marcos, is known for its eclectic murals. Try to go right before the sun goes down so that the overhead string lights illuminate the area with a soft glow. If you’re lucky, you might catch one of the occasional concerts here.
Rio Vista Park
Just off South CM Allen Parkway, Rio Vista Park runs alongside a bend in the San Marcos River where you can take a cooling dip or step into a kayak for a relaxing paddle. The park is home to a range of hiking and bike trails, along with tennis and basketball courts. Join the locals tubing down the river and setting out picnics at the water’s edge.
A 15-minute drive northwest of town, Wimberley Glassworks offers a gallery of kaleidoscopic glass vases, sculptures, and mesmerizing wall art. You can catch live glass-blowing demonstrations Thursday through Sunday, and there’s an outdoor gallery where you can spot glass pieces glimmering among the native succulents.