San Marcos Like a Local

The Ultimate San Marcos Bike Tour: How to String Together the Town's Best Experiences on One All-Day Ride

November 15, 2018

San Marcos is a great biking city, offering good roads and lots of options to explore.

Exploring a city by bicycle on a sunny day might be the best way to see a new place. You can soak up the sunshine, smell the bluebonnets and get a little exercise while exploring the area at a leisurely pace. San Marcos is a perfect city for cycling with its good roads, a mild climate and more than enough nature preserves, swimming holes, breweries, and restaurants.

The city even has a new partnership with VeoRide, a bike-sharing program that rents bikes by the hour or by the day, making it is easier than ever to explore San Marcos on two wheels. To get you started, we’ve created the ultimate San Marcos biking itinerary to take you around town. Just make sure you give yourself time to check out the hidden alleyways, dirt paths and interesting buildings along the way.

Spring Lake Preserve

Start your day in one of the prettiest areas in Central Texas—the Spring Lake Natural Area. The six miles of natural hiking and biking trails wind through majestic live oaks draped in Spanish moss, flowering wildflowers, and sweeping meadows. The beauty of this ecological jewel will help distract you from the steep hills!

AquaBrew

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Stop for lunch and a craft beer at AquaBrew. AquaBrew

A quick 10-minute bike ride heading south on East San Antonio Street lands you at AquaBrew, a beer-garden style brewpub perfect for lunch. While waiting for an All-American burger or Thai chicken wrap, grab a seat at one of the long communal picnic tables outside.

If noon isn’t too early for an adult beverage, the 15-barrel brewery is famous for its San Marcos Blonde, a Kolsch-style ale. With an alcohol by volume content of just 5.5 percent, the beer is mild enough to allow you to finish the rest of your day unfettered. The more potent 78Tripel6 is also delicious, but with its 8.3 percent ABV, balancing on the bike might become a bit more difficult than it should be.

Ringtail Ridge Trails

After finishing your leisurely lunch, get back on your bike and head three miles northwest on Old Ranch Road 12 to the Ringtail Ridge Greenspace. The 45-acre park has a two-mile singletrack loop designed for bikers with some serious hills. If you want to stretch your legs off the bike, the loop is also a great hike. This is the perfect spot for taking pictures of the quintessential “Texas” scenery—it’s filled with hardy cactus stands, reptiles, and flowering persimmon thickets.

Rio Vista Park

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Take a break from your ride and cool off at Rio Vista Park. 

For more active fun in the sun, 3 miles south to Rio Vista Park. The 14-acre park is a local hotspot for all river-related activities: tubing, swimming, kayaking, and paddleboarding. It is also a great place to just jump in the 72-degree, spring-fed water and cool off after your long day of biking. The heart of the park with the river rapids is one of the city’s most popular swimming destinations, which means it is usually crowded.

For more peaceful spaces to unwind, walk past the river into the wooded park to find park benches, grassy clearings, and small access points to the river and clearing to get in the water.

The Square

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Biking is a great way to get around downtown San Marcos. 

Once you get your fill of nature, it is time to enjoy the other side of San Marcos. For all things entertainment-related, bike north to the historic downtown San Marcos Square. Known simply as “the Square” to locals, it features more than 300 businesses, including restaurants, bars, shops, museums, live music venues that form a square around the 1908 Hays County Courthouse.

You’ll find restaurants to satisfy any culinary craving. The Roots Cellar Cafe and Brewery can help you replenish your carbs with its prosciutto and asparagus risotto, or chow down on a hearty rib-eye steak served with horseradish mashed potatoes. Reward yourself for all the hard work with a flight of three housemade beers.

After dinner, bike to the legendary honky-tonk, Cheatham Street Warehouse. This music-lover’s paradise is where the likes of George Strait, Randy Rogers, and Stevie Ray Vaughan honed their skills, and they host live music several nights each the week.

From here, boot-scoot the night away across the wooden dance floor—if your legs are still anything left in them.

Written by Jennifer Simonson for RootsRated Media in partnership with San Marcos CVB.