Boost your mood by visiting these San Antonio parks

By Brittany Wagner

Spending the last year and a half in a pandemic has us all feeling cabin feverish. As the San Antonio summer starts to taper off into a slightly cooler fall (fingers crossed), now is the ideal time to get outside and reconnect with nature.

Outdoor activities in San Antonio

Walking, hiking and biking all release endorphins, hormones that naturally relieve stress and pain. Doing these activities outdoors doubles the reward. Studies show that spending time outdoors helps lower blood pressure and boosts your immune system.

Other outdoor activities you can do during COVID-19 are:

  • Soccer, tennis, basketball, softball, etc.
  • Roller-skating/rollerblading
  • Geocaching
  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • Swimming
  • Rock climbing
  • Hosting a socially distanced barbecue or picnic

Want to get outside but you aren’t sure where to start? Here is a list of parks and trails around San Antonio you can access for free or for a few bucks.

Northwest side

  • Friedrich Wilderness Park
    • Challenging hikes with elevation
    • Backcountry trail makes the city feel far away
  • Hardberger Park and Conservancy
    • Brand-new land bridge over Wurzbach Pkwy connects the two sides of the park
    • Skywalk through treetops for easy birdwatching
  • Orsinger Park
    • Playgrounds including sand box, climbing equipment and swings
    • Pavilion, picnic tables, short walking trail

Northeast side

  • McAllister Park
    • Dog park, fitness stations, paved biking or walking trails
    • Playground, pavilions, picnic tables and sports fields
  • Comanche Lookout Park
    • Hiking trails, stone tower vantage point, playground
    • Native Americans used this hill as a lookout point for hunting and warfare
  • Walker Ranch Park
    • Paved, easy trails for walking, running or biking
    • Playground, pavilion and amphitheater

Westside

  • O.P. Schnabel Park
    • 200 acres with nature trails, pavilions
    • Baseball and soccer fields, basketball courts
  • Government Canyon ($6 adults; free for kids 12 and under)
    • 12,000 acres of Texas wilderness; 40 miles of trails
    • Dinosaur tracks, mountain biking, camping and geocaching
  • Stablewood Farms Park
    • Playground, paved biking trail, bike rack
    • Basketball court, easy walking trail, stationary workout equipment

Central/Downtown

  • Brackenridge Park
    • Nearby the zoo, Japanese Tea Garden and downtown fun
    • Ancient oak trees, flat walking trails and picnic tables for barbecues
  • Confluence Park
    • Designated inland paddling trail
    • Access to Riverwalk, Swell Cycle bike-share hub and the North American Friendship Garden
  • San Pedro Springs Park
    • Crystal clear pool to cool off in
    • Nearby tennis courts, library and theater

Southside

  • Medina River Natural Area
    • Riverfront park with easy access to fishing, paved and dirt trails
    • Birdwatching, trail running, hiking
  • Braunig Lake Park (entrance fees vary by age)
    • Fishing, boating, water sports
    • Camping, hiking, bike riding, RV hookups, covered pavilion
  • San Antonio Missions
    • The only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Texas
    • Ranger-led day programs, regular church services, Missions hike and bike trail

Eastside

  • Converse City Park
    • Athletic fields and courts, walking trails, Olympic-sized swimming pool
    • Butterfly garden, two lakes, pavilions, playground
  • Kardon Park
    • Playground, softball field, short paved walking or biking trail
    • Outdoor fitness equipment, picnic tables, grills for barbecue
  • Martin Luther King Park
    • Basketball and tennis courts, baseball field, paved walking/biking trail
    • Playgrounds, gazebo, grills and picnic tables

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