From San Antonio
By Marisa Charpentier
For the Wine Connoisseur
Miles from San Antonio: 47
Photos by Melanie Grizzel
The Kendall County town of Comfort, population around 2,200, is a quaint Hill Country retreat. Founded in 1854 by German immigrants, Comfort is known for its well=preserved historic downtown. A stroll among its old buildings, cafés, bed and breakfasts, bookstores, and antiques shops feels like a walk through the past. It’s all nestled between ranchland and vineyards, so after a day of antiquing, you can drive out to wineries for a sampling of Texas varietals.
STAY: Relax in the heart of downtown at Hotel Giles, named after the architect who designed it. First built in 1880, the rooms (starting at $135/night) in this stylish boutique hotel have been upgraded, but the hotel’s historic character remains. Pass the morning lounging on rocking chairs on the front porch that overlooks High Street or enjoying the shade under the property’s gazebo. For a more outdoorsy getaway, try Camp Comfort (starting at $114/night). The hotel property was originally built as an athletic club and bowling alley in the 1860s. Options include a cabin with a view of Cypress Creek or a renovated Airstream.
DO: Kick the day off at 8th Street Market, which sells coffee, vintage finds, and art out of a repurposed 1940s Ford dealership. Nearby Comfort Antique Mall contains treasures ranging from colonial times to the 1950s. To get the drinks flowing, head to one of the downtown area’s tasting rooms, like Newsom Vineyards or Branch on High. Singing Water Vineyards offers affordable wine tastings, gorgeous views, and live music. Bending Branch Winery, dubbed the “best winery” by mysa.com readers, offers low-key wine and bourbon tasting experiences on a 56-acre property.
EAT: High’s Cafe & Store is a casual eatery with a selection of delicious artisan sandwiches. The Tangy Turkey—smoked turkey topped with a surprising orange-chipotle-cilantro slaw—is a standout. If you’re itching for some comfort food, the Cypress Creek Inn Restaurant has been serving dishes like grilled pork chops since 1952.
For the Beach Bum
South Padre Island
Miles from San Antonio: 300
Photos by Melanie Grizzel
Southeast of San Antonio, in the Rio Grande Valley, an island adventure awaits. South Padre Island’s roaring waves, 34 miles of beaches, and more than 300 days of sunshine a year make for an endless summer. Unwind on the beach or unleash your inner adventurer and go parasailing over the Gulf.
STAY: Isla Grande Beach Resort offers all the fixings of a resort stay—swimming pools, poolside bars, live entertainment, and easy access to restaurants. Opened in 1959, the beachfront resort (starting at $72/night) is located near many of the island’s attractions. Alternatively, Airbnb and Vrbo offer cute bungalows or bay houses on the island and on the mainland in Port Isabel.
DO: Pack a cooler of drinks (no glass) and lay on the beach, or take a sandcastle lesson with American champion builder Andy Hancock. For something more adventurous, parasail over the Gulf of Mexico via SPI Excursions, and learn to surf with South Padre Surf Co. Since 1997, Osprey Cruises has been offering beachgoers sunset dolphin watches, eco tours, deep sea fishing excursions, and cruises on a pirate ship. For late night entertainment, Coral Reef Lounge is a popular local spot for dancing and karaoke. Every Sunday morning, SPI’s first-ever farmers market takes place outside The Shores resort. Visitors can pick up fresh flowers, locally sourced veggies, and potted plants.
EAT: Pop into Clayton’s Beach Bar, aka “the biggest beach bar in Texas,” for seafood, burgers, and Tex-Mex. The bar also does a fireworks show every Friday and Saturday from April to October. There are plenty of other places around the island to get seafood, including Sea Ranch, Ceviche Ceviche, and Cafe on the Beach.