Best Things to Do in San Marcos TX This Weekend

Although San Marcos is considered a “small town,” it is full of things to do! It’s definitely more than a college town people seem to think they know it for. Known for its refreshing river, rich history, and vibrant community, San Marcos offers a plethora of exciting activities and places to eat for locals and visitors alike.

Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures along the sparkling San Marcos River, exploring the charming downtown area with its unique shops and eateries, or immersing yourself in the cultural heritage of the city, San Marcos has something to captivate every interest. Looking for something indoors? We got you covered! Want to be surrounded by the natural beauty of San Marcos? We’ve got you covered there too!

P.S. – Don’t forget to check Groupon for the best deals for things to do in San Marcos!

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Outdoor Activities for Nature Lovers

Take a Long Kayak Trip

Embark on an adventure with a long kayak trip along the scenic San Marcos River.  Immerse yourself in the beauty of nature while enjoying peaceful serenity. One popular entry point is the City Park Recreation Hall. You can also rent kayaks at several local businesses such as Canoe SMTX.

Hang Out with Texas State Tubes

Spend a fun-filled afternoon tubing down the river for three hours with Texas State Tubes. Enjoy the refreshing water and scenic views as you relax and float along the river. They are open every day from 10 am to 4:30 pm. Students/military/first responders are even eligible for a discount on tube rentals. 

People in tubes on the river

Do Yoga on the Water

Experience ultimate tranquility by renting a stand-up paddleboard from SUP SMTX and taking a yoga class on the water. You can also take them out for a spin on the San Marcos River just for fun!

Make a Difference

Volunteer to monitor and maintain all of the San Marcos Greenbelts and natural areas. Volunteers focus on trash pick-up, removing invasive species, planting native plants, protecting endangered species and building amenities around the greenbelts. If you’re interested, you can sign-up on their website.

Visit Sewell Park

This 6-acre park is technically owned by Texas State University but is actually open to the public! Although many college students hang out here, the park is a great spot to relax and soak up the sun! An added perk to this park is the San Marcos River runs right through it!

And Eddie Durham Park

At Eddie Durham Park you’ll find a unique and interactive xylophone installation where you can create beautiful melodies while enjoying the outdoors. The park is pretty small so I recommend having a little picnic too. It’s also super close to the downtown square so you can head over there afterward. 

Shops along downtown streets of San Marcos

Hike to a Grotto

Venture into the scenic Purgatory Creek Natural Area by parking at the Upper Purgatory Trailhead before and embarking on a 2.8-mile round-trip hike to the enchanting Grotto. Along the way, make sure to capture a memorable photo at Grandmother’s Tree and enjoy the breathtaking views from the pretty overlook. It does get really muddy when it rains so come prepared. There is a South and North entrance to the area as well.

Photo from inside the grotto

Swim in the Clearest Water

Experience the tranquility of Thompson Island Dam and Stokes Park, where you’ll find a hidden gem with clear water, peaceful surroundings, and the occasional stunning waterfall. This low-key, dog-friendly spot is perfect for a relaxing stroll, paddleboarding adventure, or simply enjoying the serene beauty of nature. It’s a great place if you want to get in the water, but not be surrounded by a big crowd. Keep in mind that only street parking is available.

Woman wading through the water

Explore Five Mile Dam Park

Depending on the season, Five Mile Dam Park offers diverse experiences – from dry hiking trails during the dry season to a picturesque landscape with flowing water during the rainy season. Explore the park’s natural beauty, enjoy a leisurely walk, or simply find a peaceful spot to relax. They have also opened up a 43-acre soccer complex!

Swim & Picnic at Pyramid Park

Located at the beginning of Lion’s Club, Pyramid Park provides a great place to swim in the water with your furry friend. The water isn’t too deep at this part so it could also be a great place for children or non-swimmers. Bring some food, drinks, and enjoy the river without having to pay for a tube! You’ll have to park on the street and walk to the park.

Rent a Tube

Embark on a fun-filled tubing adventure with Lions Club Tube Rental, offering a one-hour float down the San Marcos River, plus all-day access to tubes, shuttle service, and the opportunity to explore a little island before you reach Rio Vista Park. If you float all the way down the river and want to do it again, you don’t have to pay anything more! Swing from a rope, take refreshing jumps into the water, and enjoy a relaxing day on the river with the option to bring your dog along for the ride.

Visit the Meadows Center

Experience the wonder of Spring Lake’s crystal-clear waters with glass bottom boats, kayaks, snorkeling, or a scuba-diving tour offered by the Meadows Center. We did the snorkeling tour and it was one of the coolest outdoor activities in the city!

People snorkeling and kayaking on the lake

When you ride on their glass bottom boats, you can marvel at the underwater ecosystems and vibrant marine life through the boat’s glass floor  while learning about the rich history and preservation efforts at this unique natural spring. You can also hike around the Spring Lake Natural Area.

Glass-bottom boats parked at the Meadows Center

Slide Down the Rapids

This is another great entry point to the river at Rio Vista Park if you want to kayak or just enjoy a nice swim! There are three rapids you can slide down which is one of the main attractions. Some people take their tubes and other people just opt to body surf. The park also has a basketball court, tennis courts, pool, bathrooms, and a playground. They do have limited parking so I recommend carpooling if possible.

Thrilling Things to Do

Try Out the San Marcos Skatepark

Embrace the spirit of adventure and try out some rad tricks at the San Marcos Skatepark. Whether you’re a seasoned skater or a beginner, this well-designed park offers ramps, rails, and bowls that cater to various skill levels, providing a thrilling and active date experience for skateboarding enthusiasts.

Go on a $20 Helicopter Tour

Led by experienced pilots, Leading Edge Helicopter Tours provides a captivating adventure and takes passengers over iconic landmarks, picturesque rivers, and breathtaking landscapes. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply looking for an unforgettable experience, the Leading Edge Helicopter Tour promises stunning panoramic views and a memorable journey through the skies. The tours start as low as $20 and they can go as far as Canyon Lake. Note the $20 ride is about 90 seconds long, but it’s still something fun just to get up in the air and they do have other options for all budgets.

Drive a Race Car

The Longhorn Racing Academy provides participants the opportunity to learn high-performance driving skills and try them out on the track in a controlled and safe environment. With professional instructors and a fleet of powerful vehicles, the academy caters to individuals of all skill levels, from beginners to experienced drivers. Whether you want to satisfy your need for speed, improve your racing technique, or simply enjoy the thrill of the track, San Marcos Longhorn Racing Academy delivers an unforgettable and adrenaline-pumping experience.

Book a Nighttime Kayak Tour

Go on a magical evening adventure with Glow Paddle SMTX, a 75-minute tour that takes you along the river with three stops to learn about the local ecosystem. As you paddle, keep your eyes peeled for an array of wildlife including beavers, raccoons, possums, deer, bats, and fish. The tour starts at Rio Vista Park, located at 555 Chatham St, offering a convenient and picturesque starting point.

Go Paintballing

Lost Paintball in San Marcos TX is an exceptional paintball facility that caters to both novice and seasoned players. With a variety of themed fields and scenarios, such as wooded areas, speedball arenas, and obstacle-filled battlegrounds, the park offers diverse and thrilling gameplay experiences. 

Whether you’re visiting with friends, participating in group events, or looking for a unique date idea, Lost Paintball provides all the necessary equipment, including paintball markers, masks, and protective gear, ensuring a safe and memorable adventure.

Jump Out of a Plane

Skydive Spaceland San Marcos is a premier skydiving center that offers tandem jumps, solo training, and advanced skydiving courses. With highly trained and certified instructors, state-of-the-art equipment, and a commitment to safety, Skydive Spaceland provides a secure and exhilarating skydiving experience.

Whether you’re a first-time jumper or an experienced skydiver, the center caters to all skill levels, ensuring an unforgettable adventure in the skies over San Marcos. It’s cheaper to book online! Be sure to check out Groupon before you book!

Explore A Cave

Wonder World Park features a guided tour of the majestic Wonder World Cave, allowing visitors to explore intricate rock formations and experience a fascinating underground realm. It’s the only natural dry-formed cave in Texas that allows it to be touched by visitors. 

Neon lights illuminating a cave

Additionally, the park offers exciting activities like the Anti-Gravity House, where gravity seems to defy the laws of physics, & a train ride through a Texas Wildlife Petting Park. With a combination of educational elements and adrenaline-pumping adventures, Wonder World Cave & Adventure Park offers an unforgettable experience for people of all ages.