Traveling San Antonio

 Please Note :: I can’t begin this post without giving a HUGE shout out to the San Antonio Visitors Bureau for coordinating this entire trip and the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa for being such generous and hospitable hosts.  Thank you so very much for providing my family with the perfect weekend away – it was just what we needed!

Summer is upon us, and I’m not sure about you – but I am always in desperate need of a break this time of year.  A chance to get away from the never ending pile of dishes, a chance to disconnect and not stress about work, and a chance to spend some much needed quality time with the hubs and my two little loves.  Enter the beautiful City of San Antonio!  With it being just a quick three hour trip from home, it makes the PERFECT getaway for my family of four.  {You know – not too far where the kids become terrors in the car, but far enough so that it actually feels like a vacation.}

In an effort to kick off summer with a bang, we packed up and headed west just a few weekends ago.  I had a blast sharing our #hmbtakesonsa vacation with so many of you over on Instagram, but now I am really going to dive in and give you all of the information you need to make traveling San Antonio with your family fun and easy this summer too!

Where to Stay

There are sooo many options of where to stay in San Antonio, and honestly – it all depends on where you want to be and what exactly you are looking for.  For this trip, my husband and I wanted a few things…a hill country feel, a family-friendly atmosphere, and a luxurious appeal that allowed for us to feel a bit pampered.  Pretty tall orders, right?  Not for the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa!  Have you been there yet?  If not, you must, must, MUST add a stay to your 2014 calendar.  Seriously.  Write it into your calendar right now.  I promise, you will be so very glad that you did!

Traveling San Antonio - JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa

Ranked as one of the top 500 hotels IN THE WORLD, I can totally see why.  The landscaping is immaculate, the facilities are pristine, and everyone on staff – from the bellhops to the concierge – makes you feel totally and completely at home.  Each person in my family had their favorite amenity at the resort, and it didn’t take long to discover what those were…

Traveling San Antonio - JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa 2

Me :: Lantana Spa.  It is quiet.  It is peaceful.  It is serene.  It is basically the complete opposite of my every day life and a much needed refuge for this tired mama.  Plus, they have just about every spa service and treatment you could ever imagine.  From herbal organic aromatherapy massages to an adult only pool and from a state-of-the-art fitness center to caviar facials…they just might have it all.

The Hubs :: As soon as I brought up the idea of going to the JW Marriott, he exclaimed – “You mean the host of the Valero Texas Open?”  Yes, honey.  That one.  Now, I don’t know much {okay, I know NOTHING} about golf, but my husband does…and ever since our trip, he has been raving and raving about TPC San Antonio and what an incredible course it is.

The Kids :: Everything?!?  Both of my kids fell madly in love with the entire resort and all of the activities available.  The morning rubber duck races were so much fun, and we all cheered when my little bit took home one of the big prizes.  The game room entertained my son and daughter – even after we ran out of quarters, and I promise they could have run around on the back lawn each night until they fell asleep in their tracks.  Oh, and the nightly campfire s’mores?  A total hit.  If I just HAD to choose their absolute favorite though, I would say it was the children’s pool and River Bluff Experience.  I mean, c’mon…a lazy river, water slides, and pools galore.  How could it not be, right?  I kid you not when I say that my kids literally cried when we had to leave. {Yes, we were that family.}  Don’t worry kids.  We will definitely be back.

Traveling San Antonio - JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa 3

*One other thing I have to note for all of you traveling with older kids, the JW Marriott has an awesome program called the Range Riders Kid’s Club!  It basically looks like a kid’s night out with video games, crafts, and toys…but it is really the perfect child care option for children ages 4 and up so that you and your hubby can go have a nice dinner alone!

What to Do

With so much to see and do at the JW Marriott, it’s tempting to just stay on property the whole time.  {I’m just going to assume you’ll be staying there too.  M’kay?}  But you’ve got to venture out at least once to explore all that San Antonio has to offer.  Because there is A LOT!  Naturally, I turned to our sweet sister site Alamo City Moms Blog for expert advice on what to do in San Antonio during a weekend away with kids.  They have a fully comprehensive list called ABC’s of San Antonio Activities :: 80 Local Outings to Make Your Summer Fun that is pretty amazing, but here’s the consolidated version for you weekend warriors like me…

The Alamo :: I am a firm believer than every Texan needs to visit this historic site AT LEAST once in their lifetime, and I also think that you can never start
teaching Texas history too young.

Louis Tussaud’s Wax Works, Ripley’s Belive It or Not!, & Ripley’s Moving Theatre 4D :: This was one of my absolute favorite San Antonio attractions growing up, and I still enjoy it today.

Traveling San Antonio - River WalkMorgan’s Wonderland :: Love, love, LOVE this place!  It is the world’s first and only theme park designed especially for kids with special needs but also made so that everyone can enjoy it – and I know your family will too.

Natural Bridge Caverns :: Another one of my childhood favorites, this is definitely one of the natural wonders of Texas that your family has to see to believe.

Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch :: Exotic animals literally come right to your car as you drive through the safari park, and then you can get up close at the petting zoo afterwards too!

The River WalkRio San Antonio Cruises :: Shopping, restaurants, and people watching abound on The River Walk!  But did you know it is rich with history too?  Hop on the river boat to learn more.

San Antonio Botanical Gardens :: So many great photo opps from the gorgeous plants to the life-sized birdhouses.

San Antonio Children’s Museum :: Three floors of family fun, and with a planned remodel – it is only going to get better and better!

Traveling San Antonio - ZooSan Antonio Zoo :: One of the top zoos in the nation!  My kids loved the butterfly house and their new Zootennial Plaza Carousel, and I was thankful for so many indoor exhibits to help beat the heat.

SeaWorld San Antonio :: The world’s largest marine life park with shows, rides, animal attractions, and educational experiences – perfect for all ages!

Six Flags Fiesta Texas :: I’m a huge chicken when it comes to rollercoasters, but I am all for great shows and family fun.  Plus, there is a water park that’s open during the summer too!

Witte Museum :: Another of my long time faves, I am really digging the new H-E-B Body Adventure exhibit that recently opened.

Where to Eat

First of all, if you’re staying at the resort {which you will be, remember – we’ve gone over this already!}, then you have got to try out ALL of the restaurants on site.  We personally loved Cibolo Moon‘s unbelievable breakfast buffet and High Velocity‘s out of control appetizers, but you really can’t go wrong with any of the options at any time of the day.

As for where to eat when out and about in San Antonio, you know I had to ask my friends over at Alamo City Moms Blog for recommendations once again – and they had some GREAT suggestions!  You can check out their post on top kid-friendly restaurants in San Antonio for full details on seven different hot spots, but I will go ahead and give you my top picks for breakfast, lunch, and dinner…

Breakfast @ The Guenther House :: This sweet little spot was a recommendation from one of you…and I am so thankful you reminded me about it!  Order the pancakes, and be sure to buy a few of their gourmet mixes so you can make some deliciousness at home too.

Lunch @ WD Deli :: An absolute gem down in the heart of San Antonio.  The ambiance is adorable, the service is great, and the food is so fresh and so good.  I’m partial to their soups and salads, but everything on the menu is yum!

Dinner @ The Cove :: A restaurant, beer garden, live music venue, laundromat, and car wash all rolled into one?  Um…okay!  It might sound unconventional {and it is!}, but you and the kids are guaranteed to have an absolute blast at this one of a kind place!

Traveling San Antonio - Restaurants

As you can see, San Antonio makes for a fun and affordable family vacation, and best of all – it is just a hop, skip, and a jump away!  But remember that no matter what you do or where you go, the memories that you make with your family are what truly counts.  No words can describe how good it was for my family to get away from the hustle and bustle and just enjoy this precious time together.  The hubs and I are already talking about an anniversary trip this fall sans kids, and you better believe we have our reservations booked for a family vacation early next summer again too!  Will we see you there?

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