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Port Aransas, Texas

Spotlight: San Marcos

Go deeper into the heart of Texas in this fun town

The quiet city of San Marcos sits halfway between the buzzing central Texas hot spots of Austin and San Antonio on Interstate 35. The trendy streets of the former are just 30 miles away to the northeast, while the rustic and historic relics of the latter are just 50 miles away to the southwest. So it’s really no surprise that the tourism spotlight so rarely shines here, given its nearest neighbors.

That’s a pity. This small city of less than 60,000 residents offers a perfect balance for out-of-town visitors seeking some small-town atmosphere, great public parks and easy access to world-class attractions in nearby major cities. In short, this is the ideal spot to set up camp and enjoy the best of all possible worlds while still savoring some rest, relaxation and solitude.

That formula appears to have deep roots as well. The San Marcos area is littered with archaeological dig sites, with new finds occurring all the time. One recent groundbreaking discovery unearthed artifacts dating to 12,000 years ago and the prehistoric Clovis Indians, the oldest known inhabitants of the western hemisphere. To some experts, this puts San Marcos in the running for longest continuously inhabited community on the continent.

Canyo Lake near San Marcos.

Down by the River

If the Clovis Indians did, in fact, call this Texas Hill Country spot home, it was likely because of the San Marcos River, which winds its way straight through the layout of the town.

Today, the river still serves as one of the community’s best attractions and most accessible sources of recreation. Lazy, aimless tubing is a popular pastime, especially for a place that boasts an annual average of 300 days of sunshine each year.

The headwaters of the river start at nearby San Marcos Springs. Glass-bottomed boat tours that depart from the heart of downtown San Marcos make the 4-mile journey upstream, offering incredible below-surface views.

For More Information

San Marcos Convention and Visitor Bureau
Texas State Travel Guide