San Marcos

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  • San Marcos truly is in the center of everything. So no matter where you are, you won’t have far to go.

    William Lindsey, Gen. Edward Burleson and Eli T. Merriman founded San Marcos, Texas in 1851. They bought the Juan Vermendi tract of land along the river and laid out the city. Legend says Franciscan Monks paddling up the Guadalupe River discovered a clear river with large springs at its source. The Monks named the river San Marcos because the discovery was made on St. Mark’s Day. The clear, cold San Marcos River rises from mammoth springs. Noted for a profusion of both plant and animal aquatic life, the river is ranked among worlds most fertile. White-tailed deer are numerous in the Hill Country and fishing is enjoyed year-round in the San Marcos River and nearby Blanco River.

    San Marcos is home to the alma mater of Lyndon B. Johnson, Texas State University (formerly Southwest Texas State University). The University campus commands an impressive view of the town.

    Historic downtown, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, features a quaint marketplace with art, gift shops and unique restaurants. In years past, these shops and restaurants on the square were grocery and clothing stores, doctors’ offices and bank buildings. Also in the center of town is the restored Hays County Courthouse.

    The 1867 Charles S. Cock House is featured annually in the Tours of Distinction Event, held the first weekend in May. However, lunch is served in the cottage kitchen on Fridays from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. throughout the year. It is located at C.M. Allen Parkway and E. Hopkins St.

    The A. E. Wood State Fish Hatchery focuses on bass, catfish, and paddlefish. It accommodates up to 150 by appointment only. The address is 505 Staples Rd. The phone number is 512-353-0572.

    The Belvin Street Historic District is one of two historic districts in town (the other is the Downtown Historic District). Superb examples of 19th-century homes along the street are shaded by huge live oaks. It is well worth a drive or stroll (it’s only a few blocks long) in the southwest part of town. All homes in this district are private residences. They are not open to the public, except during the Tours of Distinction, which is observed the first weekend in May.

    Twenty three city parks on 225 acres, dot the area. The Children’s Park, also known as Playscape, is a six-acre wooden playground located along the river.

    The San Marcos River Walkway unites five city parks along the picturesque river. It is accented by lush landscaping. There is access from Juan Veramendi Plaza, located at the intersection of C.M. Allen Parkway and Hopkins St.

    There are several scenic drives. R.R. 12 northwest to the junction with R.R. 32 is the winding ridge route called the Devil’s Backbone. It offers exceptional views of Hill Country scenery.

    Water recreation abounds. You can scuba, snorkel, fish, kayak or tube the clear San Marcos River. The water is 72 degrees year-round. The Lions Club Tube Rental and the River Taxi operate on weekends in the spring, and daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day in the San Marcos City Park. Call 512-396-5466 for information.

    San Marcos is the perfect place to stay and play. With an abundance of leisure and recreation activities, this gateway town to the Hill Country offers small-town charm with modern activities. There is a wealth of restaurants to choose from, as well as many exciting entertainment venues. The lively college town atmosphere makes the city a fun place to be any night of the week.

    Hill Country Day Trippin’

    There’s plenty of opportunities for day trips from the San Marcos area.

    Enjoy a relaxing drive through the spectacular Texas Hill Country on wide-open roads lined with breath-taking flowers and trees. Relish views only available in the Hill Country. You’ll feel like you’re light years away from a crowded freeway…because you are.

    And, you won’t have to pick up and move. No packing and unpacking. While based in San Marcos, you can stay as long as you want and experience an abundance of places to go and things to see and do.

    Here are a couple of the possibilities:

    City/AttractionMilesApproximate Drive TimeClick Below for Directions
    Canyon Lake32 miles50 minDirections
    Gruene16 miles24 minDirections
    Guadalupe River State Park51 miles1 h 4 minDirections
    Boerne68 miles1 h 10 minDirections
    New Braunfels18 miles25 minDirections
    Wimberley14 miles22 minDirections
    Blanco46 miles48 minDirections
    Dripping Springs29 miles40 minDirections
    Johnson City49 miles57 minDirections
    The Alamo (San Antonio)48 miles53 minDirections
    Sea World (San Antonio)61 miles1 hr 3 minDirections
    Six Flags Fiesta Texas (San Antonio)53 miles57 minDirections
    River Walk (San Antonio)49 miles53 minDirections
    Texas State Capitol, Austin32 miles36 minDirections
    Source: Google Maps

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