1st Stop: San Antonio

1st Stop: San Antonio 1

Originally, we planned on heading up the West Coast first - through captivating California, awesome Oregon, and wondrous Washington.

Upon further reflection and discussion, however, we decided to head the opposite way due to weather concerns. We didn't want to get stranded in our RV with icy rain pouring down.

We'll be heading along the gulf coast, where the sun is shining and the temperatures generally stay above 30. Our first stop is San Antonio, TX. From there, we'll probably meander through Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida - doing good as much as we can, whenever we can.

We'll be sharing specific projects soon. In the meantime, we want to hear from you!

What non-profits/churches should we work with in San Antonio? What attractions, restaurants, parks, and other kid places should we visit?

Also - can we get a friendly Texas hello from any of our readers in The Lone Star State?

21 comments on “1st Stop: San Antonio”

  1. We did a class there 2 years ago and loved it. The Riverwalk is great, the food is so good and (if you live traditional Jazz) catching the Jim Cullum Band "Live on the Riverwalk" is well worth the money spent.

    Here are some photos from our week there.

    The Alamo is worth a visit even if to force you to reconcile the greatness of it's significance against its diminutive size.

    Just a bit north are some caves & safari that my sister did and enjoyed but we didn't make it up there.

    Our general route is from Atlanta south and then west - so there's a good chance we'll be crossing paths at some point.

    1. Thank you for the recommendations. Whenever we mention "San Antonio," people instantly tell us not to miss the Riverwalk so we'll be going there for sure. ;)

      I do hope our paths cross. We'd love to meet up with your family and hear about your experience thus far.

      1. One of the things I wanted our trip to be - and that hasn't happened yet - is "missional". We weren't feeling called to call the whole trip a mission trip, but I did want to look for serving opportunities. That hasn't happened yet (mainly because I haven't been intentional in making it happen). I want to change that on this next leg - so if we are able to piggyback on anything you guys have going that would be awesome.

        1. Sounds great - but we'll have to play it pretty loosely. Our schedule tends to be pretty last-minute, and we haven't decided yet if we're going to try and catch the 2/3 Space Shuttle launch in FL or head west before then.

        2. Our schedule will be pretty loose/flexible too. Hopefully, it will work out for our paths to cross sometime in the coming year… :)

          P.S. Do you think you will extend your trip beyond 1 year? I’m curious.

        3. We've said a year just to give the trip "weight" and help make decisions. Honestly if we kept it to a year we'd be back in MI just in time for winter, which doesn't sit well with MsBoyink. So yes, there's a good chance it'll be a year plus a few months.

          But - based on our experience being stuck here in Atlanta this week, it's all subject to Gods will..;)

  2. I'm from San Antonio! I'm living in Austin right now (also DEFINITELY worth a visit), but I lived in SA for the first 18 years of my life (and am actually visiting family right now, so I'm in SA as I type this).

    I definitely second the River Walk and the Alamo. You can do all of that stuff in one afternoon, easily. My favorite restaurant on the river is Rio Rio, but there are tons of fantastic Tex-Mex places on the river. You can take a fun barge ride on the river and learn a lot about the history of the area. La Villita is just above the river walk and is filled with little shops and restaurants, mostly with a Mexican influence. The Alamo is a bit disappointing to some, because it's rather small and right in the middle of downtown. However, if you are looking for a more authentic Spanish Mission experience, Mission San Jose still retains most of its complex, and is still a thriving Catholic parish. It's on the outskirts of the city, but is beautiful and contains a lot of history.

    Natural Bridge Caverns are the caves the previous commenter mentioned. They are spectacular. Only about 20 minutes north of the city. Definitely worth the drive. The wildlife preserve is part of that too. You drive through it and see some animals. I was there as a toddler when an ostrich stuck its head through my open backseat window to eat the food pellets out of the bag in my lap. My mom tried to drive away, but it just kept running alongside the car!

    As for other child-friendly activities, Sea World and Six Flags Fiesta Texas are fun, but not really unique to the area. I'd recommend the Witte Museum on Broadway. It's kind of a natural history museum with mummies and dinosaurs, etc, but there is a FANTASTIC kids "treehouse" which is basically a mini children's museum. Tons of hands-on science demonstrations, etc. Outside the museum there are also some cool frontier-type homes (very little house on the prairie) that you can walk in and explore. There's not much in them, but they're still pretty cool. The SA river flows by the museum, and sometimes there are ducks, but I'm not sure about in January.

    Taco Cabana is a favorite fast-food Tex-Mex restaurant--you can't miss them. They are all over the city, and they are bright pink. It's fast food, but it is wonderful! Great for quick breakfast tacos or something. EZ's is another local SA chain that's kid friendly--burgers, pizza and milkshakes kind of place. They grill the pizzas in a wood-fire oven that you can see, so it's pretty fun. There are tons of other good restaurants, but I'm not sure where you'll be, but I can give you more suggestions if you like.

    As for organizations to work with, I would highly recommend the SAMMinistries (San Antonio Metropolitan Ministries). I worked with them through my youth group in high school, and volunteered in the homeless shelter with my dad. They do all sorts of different things besides the shelter, such as a furniture consignment shop to raise money and provide jobs. The House of Neighborly Service is another organization I worked with as a teenager. They are both nondenominational organizations that are supported by local churches throughout the city. Also, my dad is on the Board of the local Salvation Army, so if you are interested, I could get you more specific information about the ministries they do.

    That's probably enough for one comment, but I'd love to help more if you want more information. Feel free to e-mail me. And do plan a stop in Austin! It's a wonderful city as well.

    1. Thank you for the excellent recommendations, Caitlin! It's so helpful to hear from "locals" like you. :)

      We may also venture up to Austin. What's the weather like up there right now?

  3. Lots of good stuff in the comments above! We lived just outside of San Antonio, in New Braunfels, for 4 years. There are so many great ministries and churches in the area. Maybe try to get involved with one of the Hispanic ministries since that is a big aspect of culture in the area. It's also a big military town with Fort Sam and Lackland and Randolph AFB right there so perhaps look to the military for some work or contacts as well. I attended an Air Force graduation ceremony at Lackland once and it was amazing! Brian was on staff at Tree of Life Church (it's been a while now) during those years - they do a ton of good work and have excellent programs in the community with deep ties. Also, something that might interest you, as a homeschooler, is a homeschool co-op called ENNACT, I believe, that is quite a cool concept. So many good people in the area - you'll love it! The friendliest people I ever met in my life were in the San Antonio area.

    1. Thank you for the recommendations, Sarah! I just bookmarked the ENNACT website. I'd love to see how the homeschooling co-op concept works.

  4. We moved from SA about a year ago. Definitely check out the Japanese Tea Gardens. They are a lovely place, especially if you guys are looking to take any family pictures or anything. The riverwalk is definitely a must-see, although I have found most of the restaurants to be over priced and nothing great. Down near there is the Mexican market, which is a great place to find all kinds of things made in Mexico. We loved visiting and shopping for gifts there. (http://www.sanantonio.gov/dtops/marketsquare/mercado.asp) I recommend eating at Mi Terra there (http://www.mitierracafe.com/).

    The Children's Museum in New Braunfels is supposed to be great. We never made it up there, but I've only heard great things.

    I recommend Seton Home (http://www.setonhomesa.org/). They help pregnant/parenting teens.

  5. I'm not sure if you remember me, but we worked together at EHS a few years ago (Hamblin, then). We moved back to Texas last year and my husband is from S.A. so we visit often.

    There is a new theme park designed specifically for special needs kids, but open to the general public as well. It is called Morgan's Wonderland and is north of the city. I wonder if there is some type of service project you could do there. I am sure your girls would love it.

    In addition to all the bases are the military hospitals. Many soldiers go to S.A. to recover from war wounds and I am sure even just a visit and word of appreciation would make for a great service project.

    Good luck with your adventures! Prayers for safe travel.

    1. Hello Jamie! Of course I remember you! How are you? What are you up to these days?

      Funny you should mention Morgan's Wonderland. I just stumbled across it a few days ago and we definitely plan to contact them - what a cool concept.

      Thank you for the ideas!

      P.S. Are you on Facebook? We should become "friends." :)

  6. I am also beginning my year plus trip via RV . I am leaving Chicago and heading to Daytona first. Check out my itinerary on my website http://www.ljpeterlin.com. My kids are grown so I have my dog with. I will be doing some habitat builds and walks for fundraising. Hopefully our paths will cross and we can meet up at some point! Hope to see you on road.

    1. I just checked out your blog! It looks like we're both in the "preparation phase." It's exhausting, isn't it? And overwhelming! And wonderful too!

      I look forward to meeting you.

  7. You should stop here, in Midlothian/Mansfield area before heading to SA! I would so feed you! lol....we are doing a church wide study on Max Lucado's book "Out Live Your Life" (which you are certainly doing). We meet in dif homes throughout our church. Anyway, I think what you are doing is awesome!!!!

Our family spent 2011 traveling the USA in an RV, striving to intentionally "give every day" for the glory of God. We interviewed CEOs of nonprofits and served alongside over 40 organizations and churches.

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- To observe the needs in our country/community – and then do something about them.
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