Welcome to San Marcos, home of the Texas State Bobcats and good times! San Marcos is also located between Austin and San Antonio and is known to have one of the largest shopping outlet malls in the United States. That’s just the beginning of it all. San Marcos is also the perfect spot to go out into the town and enjoy some of the most exciting outdoor fun in Texas. There’s plenty of free things to do around town and we want to make sure you can enjoy them. We want you to know that you don’t have to spend a dime to have some fun around these parts, you just have to know where to go!

The following is the Junction’s list of the best free things to do in San Marcos, TX:

Float Down the San Marcos River

Floating the river is one of the most popular things to do during spring, summer, and fall around San Marcos. All you have to do is take your own floating device or rent it out at any of the local vendors. This is the perfect activity for those of you who are looking for a fun yet relaxing time in the city. It gives you the chance to enjoy an outing with your family or even crack open some cold beers with your friends. The water is always running so be sure to cool off during those hot summer days!

Just make sure to bring your tube to keep this activity free! Otherwise, here are some local vendors that will rent out some tubes:

In addition to floating on a tube, you can also canoe or kayak down the San Marcos River. Some of the local folks paddle down the river to see just how far it goes, then call up their buddies to pick them up at the end of their trip downstream. There are also those who like to step things up a notch and go down the river at night. Of course, you should always make sure you have plenty of lighting equipment to stay safe and enjoy the ride. Just make sure to pack up your vehicle with all of your paddling gear and you’ll be set for a fun adventure.

Have Fun at the Rio Vista Falls Park

Location: 555 Cheatham Street, San Marcos, TX 78666

Rio Vista Parks has been gaining a great reputation for the fun times on the water. From tubers to kayakers, this spot is one of the most eccentric places to cool off on hot sunny days in San Marcos. The rapids will have you begging for more fun as you realize just how fun it is to dash through the water.

This park also has picnic areas where you can enjoy a nice meal after some time out in the rapids. If that’s not enough, there is plenty of room to go hiking or play some outdoor games with your family and friends.

Join in on the Free Events Around Town

From live music to some fun in the water, there are plenty of free activities to have some fun around San Marcos. You’ll quickly find out why it’s famous for hosting signature events in the area. Stay up to date and informed on the upcoming activities and events around town and you’re sure to have something fun to do every month!

Enjoy a Day Out at the San Marcos City Park

Location: 170 Charles Austin Drive, San Marcos, TX 78666

The San Marcos City Park is one of many sites where the public can access the San Marcos River. This park covers 18 acres of land where you can spend a day full of quality fun with your family or friends. There are plenty of trails to enjoy a nice walk around the park or go out and exercise.  You can also have a cookout by the picnic tables or start an exciting game of basketball on the courts.

Visit the San Marcos Iris Garden

Location: 627 North Interstate 35, San Marcos, TX 78666

This is one of the most beautiful spots to visit during the spring season in San Marcos. The Iris Garden tends to witness the blooming season during the first four months of the year. This is the best time to take in all the beautiful and vibrant colors from the Iris Garden.

Visit the Purgatory Creek Natural Area

Location: 2118 Hunter Road, San Marcos, TX 78666

The Purgatory Creek Natural Area is perfect for those of you who love nature. The area has a nice track that will guide you around the area and help you get in touch with nature. Purgatory Creek is also known to house two of the most beautiful birds in Texas; the golden-cheeked warblers and black-capped vireos. You won’t want to miss out on snapping some pictures around these parts of San Marcos!

Watch the Free Glass Blowing Demonstrations at Wimberley Glassworks

Location: 6469 Ranch Road 12, San Marcos, TX 78666

It might sound a bit strange, but it is definitely fun to go out and see how Wimberley Glassworks does things in San Marcos. This artistic glass company creates beautiful glassware that will amaze anyone who watches live. Wimberley Glassworks has been amusing the San Marcos community for years as they put their unique glass making skills to the test. The demonstrations are completely free and are perfect for a day out with the family. We encourage everyone to take the time out and check out this one-of-a-kind talent in San Marcos.

Visit the Lyndon Baines Johnson Museum Of San Marcos

Location: 131 N. Guadalupe, San Marcos TX 78666

This museum was dedicated to Lyndon B. Johnson. The former president is known for attending Texas State from 1927-1930. It’s a great way of learning about the former president that came out of our very own Texas State University.

Visit the Spring Lake Natural Area

Location: West Laurel Street, San Marcos, Texas 78666


Are you looking for a beautiful scenery to have fun in? The Spring Lake Natural Area is a great place to go hiking with a group of close friends and family. Be on the lookout because you’ll love how amazing the wildlife in these areas look. It is home to a handful of endangered species, so be sure to enjoy this special area while your there.

Visit the Blanco Shoals Area

Location: 1201 E. River Ridge Road, San Marcos, TX 78666

You’ll love all of the outdoor activities San Marcos has to offer. Visiting the Blanco Shoals area is a great way to add on to your picture collection. There are some spots where you can take some of the best outdoor pictures and have fun at the same time!

Visit the San Marcos Wildlife Habitat

Location: 700 Cheatham Street, San Marcos, TX 78666

The San Marcos Wildlife Habitat Park does an excellent job of conserving the beauty of Texas nature. It is a more relaxed scene, but it still is a place where you can enjoy a nice outdoor adventure in town. It has some of the best natural hiking and biking trails in the city and is certainly a spot nature enthusiasts shouldn’t miss out on.


San Marcos has plenty of free experiences waiting for you to enjoy them. Just remember how much fun you can have around the city next time you’re feeling bored. There’s no need for you to stay at home because you don’t have extra money to spend at a fancy restaurant. All you have to do is get together with some of your best friends and enjoy San Marcos.