See a different side of San Antonio by leaving the city behind and experiencing Texas Hill Country hospitality at a deluxe countryside spa and golf resort.
Just 30 minutes away from downtown San Antonio, Texas, the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa provides families with a relaxing escape from the busy city. The 500-room hotel offers all the amenities of a regular luxury resort including a 27-hole golf course and full service spa, but in a unique country setting. Renovated in 2006, the sprawling resort is designed to remind visitors of a traditional Texas ranch and has plenty of activities for young and old alike.
A family favorite for any age is the resort's four-acre water park. Kids will love splashing around in the park's two pools and cascading waterfall while mom and dad sunbathe on a nearby sundeck. Families can reunite for a ride through a 950-foot Ramblin' River—pick up some inner tubes and enjoy the view as the entire family floats through the Hyatt Hill Country's lush landscape. Although this fun pool isn't heated, in the colder months, kids are welcome to use the heated outdoor adult pool, and often do!
Young & Old Enjoy Resort Activities & Spa
Another great outdoor escape especially for younger children and preschoolers is the Hill Country Playground. With swings, slides, a sand volleyball pit and tetherball, even the most energetic kids will tire. Also, after dark, be sure to check out the resort's outdoor campfire and make a few s'mores before calling it a night.
Parents who want to spend some time by themselves can sign their children up for a day at Rowdy's Camp Hyatt. Available for kids ages 3 to 12, the four-hour long camp sessions cost $35 per child and combine hands-on activities with age-old Texas traditions. Kids can hunt for Indian arrowheads, listen to a cowboy storyteller and hike through nature trails while mom and dad play a round of golf. The Hyatt's new partnership with National Geographic Kids promises to add even more innovative programming to what was already a great experience for younger guests. In the evenings, the camp also operates so that adults can dine in any of the resort's restaurants, or go into town for a night out.
The Underground is a new teen-only venue (ages 12-16 welcome) that has PS2 gaming stations, billiards, various arcade games, filtered Internet access and a snack and smoothie bar. Depending on how many teens are in the house, the hotel staff also organizes pool parties or barbecues for this hard-to-please age group.
Golf is another popular activity at the Hyatt Hill Country. Voted #1 Texas golf destination by Condé Nast Traveler, the Hill Country Golf Club welcomes players of all ages. Junior Golf Camps let kids spend the day learning how to put, chip and pitch from golf professionals.
Instead, Mom might want to try some of the Wildflower Spa's unique Hill Country-inspired treatments such as the Texas Tea Bath and Peach-pecan Body Scrub. And dad will not be left out—the Wildflower offers a line of treatments for men as well. Parents are not the only ones who can enjoy spa services while staying at the Hyatt Hill Country.
The SPAhhhT Youth Spa is only open to teens 17 and under, with parent's permission. Teens can enjoy treatments in rooms adorned with lava lamps, beaded curtains and oversized beanbags, not your typical spa decor. Top 40 hits play in the background as they receive massages, manicures and Caribbean-style hair braids. Reservations and parent supervision is required, so make sure to book treatments ahead of time. After they finish their spa treatments, teens can head over to the Underground. Open to 12- to 16-year-olds, it offers teens a place to bond as they play video games, shoot pool and sip non-alcoholic "mock-tails."
True Texas Fun Around San Antonio
Families staying at the Hyatt Hill Country may want to visit nearby SeaWorld San Antonio (800/700-7786). The theme park has day camps that allow kids of all ages to interact with different sea animals and ride the park's thrilling rollercoasters. Before you hop on any rides, make sure to catch a few shows.
“Believe” features SeaWorld’s most famous whale, Shamu, performing acrobatics. SeaWorld San Antonio also has some new stars—two beluga whale calves were born in mid-2008. Shows at the Beluga Stadium have stopped for now, but guests are welcome to stop by and watch the babies bong with their mothers and ask questions. Of course, nothing beats the hot Texas heat like a refreshing dip in the pool—families line up early to get into SeaWorld’s Lost Lagoon Water Park.
For an eclectic display of history, head to the Buckhorn Museum & Saloon (210/247-4000). With over 125 years of history packed into two floors, the Buckhorn Museum features exotic items with a Texas twist. Explore the museum's unique horn collection, cowboy memorabilia and even a display of fish from the Seven Seas. The Buckhorn also has an impressive collection of taxidermy animals—its original owner used to trade alcohol for animals—which older kids will probably find fascinating, but younger ones might be scared of.
A more interactive museum experience for younger kids is the Witte Museum (210/357-1900). There is still plenty of history, including a dinosaur hall, an exhibit on ancient Texans and a mummy display, but a kid favorite is the H-E-B Science Treehouse. Trained museum employees perform daily science experiments so children can watch, learn and then experiment by themselves with simple machines, lasers, sound and electricity.
Of course, no trip to San Antonio would be complete without a stop at the Alamo (210/225-1391). Although the exterior looks much tinier than most people expect, the interior is impressive. Remember to watch the kids carefully—the Alamo is very crowded and children can easily get lost if they are separated from parents. If you have time, stop by the Tower of the Americas (210/223-3101) for an aerial view of San Antonio and a fun 4-D Skies Over Texas theatre ride.
Kids will love traveling around downtown San Antonio on the Trolley, an open-air reproduction of a rail streetcar. Parents will love the Trolley for its inexpensive fare and all-you-ride one-day pass. Purchase a San Antonio Trolley Pass online before you trip or stop by the Downtown Information Center at 260 East Houston Street.
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