Mission Concepcion in San Antonio. Photo by Will van Overbeek

The Spot: The Alamo

San Antonio’s historical gem and a point of pride for the entire state, The Alamo is a must for many traveling in the San Antonio area. The landmark is free to explore, the only costs being for optional guided tours ($15) or audio tours ($7), and of course ice cream on the Alamo Plaza to make the summer heat bearable. After Mexican forces under General Santa Anna defeated Texan rebels in the 1836 Battle of the Alamo—leaving no survivors—“Remember the Alamo” became a rallying cry for Texan forces for the remainder of the Texas Revolution, which was ultimately won at The Battle of San Jacinto. As the birthplace of this Texas credo, the Alamo is flooded with visitors year-round, but particularly in the summer. For travelers looking to make a historical pilgrimage with lighter crowds, there are other options.


Didn’t start thinking about your weekend plans until Friday? You might as well forget about floating the Frio in Garner State Park or exploring Enchanted Rock. This weekly series assists in finding great alternatives to Texas’ popular summer hangouts, from watering holes to museums, for those who prefer (whether intentionally or by accident) to plan their trips spontaneously.

The Alternative: San Antonio Missions and Goliad

For those interested in San Antonio’s history as a Spanish missionary outpost, San Antonio Missions National Historical Park offers visitors a look at four missions: Mission San Jose, Mission Concepcion, Mission San Juan, and Mission Espada, which is the oldest of the four, dating to 1690. The park’s admission is free, and park rangers give guided tours of the missions throughout the day. Historic Texas battlegrounds are in no short supply in the area, either; about 90 minutes from San Antonio, the town of Goliad was the site of the largest loss of life in the Texas Revolution. Between the battle at nearby Fannin Battleground State historic Site (10 miles outside of Goliad) and executions at the prison in Goliad proper, 350 Texians were killed. In the victorious Battle of San Jacinto, Texan soldiers used not only “Remember the Alamo!” but also “Remember Goliad!” as a rallying cry.

The June 2024 cover of Texas Highways: Treasures from the Coast

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