On the Road: San Antonio, Texas Hill Country and Austin

Explore Texas with experts on a bigger-than-life adventure as you discover Tex-Mex in San Antonio, learn about music and politics in Austin and visit LBJ's Hill Country ranch.
Rating (5)
Program No. 10459RJ
7 days
Starts at
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7 days
6 nights
15 meals
6 B 4 L 5 D
Orientation, Welcome Dinner, SAGA show
San Antonio, Texas
Drury Plaza Hotel San Antonio Riverwalk

Activity note: Ability to walk up and down stairs.

Afternoon: Hotel check in after 3:00 p.m. If you like, stop by the hotel meeting room between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. to meet the group leader and get your materials. At the meeting, the Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions in a meeting room on the 4th floor. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date Daily Schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions you may have. Indicated times are approximate. Program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. We have set aside some free time in the schedule for your personal independent exploration. The Group Leader will often be available during free time to accompany informal excursions, activities, or meals that have been excluded from the program cost. You are welcome to join if you like, with any associated costs on your own. Your group leader will give you an overview of San Antonio, explaining how the River Walk was developed and providing a short explanation about how various cultures converged on the area to make it the unique place that it is today.

Dinner: After the meeting, if you wish, you may enjoy the kickback reception on the 2nd floor of the hotel, featuring free hot food and cold drinks. The group will continue to get acquainted over dinner at a nearby restaurant, featuring a variety of entrée choices.

Texas History, Cathedral, Alamo/Downtown, River Barge Cruise
San Antonio, Texas
Drury Plaza Hotel San Antonio Riverwalk

Activity note: Climbing up and down stairs. Boarding public bus and standing 1-2 hours in museums. Walking 2-3 miles at a moderate pace. Ability to board a river barge.

Breakfast: At the hotel, you’ll get to choose from a breakfast buffet that includes these tasty treats: scrambled eggs, bacon or sausage, biscuits and gravy, pancakes, yogurt, granola, fresh fruit, bagels, toast, muffins, jellies and jams, oatmeal, cold cereal, coffee, juices, tea and milk.

Morning: Since the first footsteps of the Spanish Conquistadors landed on the soil of Texas over 500 years ago, there have been fascinating stories of conflicts and compromises, love affairs and bitter hatreds among the many peoples of Texas. Award-winning Professor Emeritus, Dr. Caroline Castillo Crimm, will lead you on an enthralling, fast-paced, two-hour trip through Texas history from its earliest beginnings to the modern day. As she envelops you in the history of Texas, you will be drawn into the lives of those early citizens and find yourself torn by the same challenging choices that the people of the day had to make in order to survive. Those never-to-be-forgotten stories of the past will help you understand the Texas you will see over the next few days. Discover the city's wide variety of architectural styles in downtown San Antonio on a guided walking exploration. Visit the San Fernando Cathedral, founded in 1731, the oldest continually operating religious community in Texas. You’ll appreciate the efforts of the historical conservation society in preserving the city’s past while encouraging new development.

Lunch: Take a break along the walk to enjoy a sumptuous luncheon buffet, featuring salads, soups and a custom, made-to order pasta bar, with terrific desserts!

Afternoon: Led by a local expert, we’ll continue the walking field trip to explore some of San Antonio’s most iconic sites. We’ll also learn about the development of the River Walk and its impact on the transformation of the area. The Spanish colonial mission we know as the Alamo was established in 1718, and moved to its current location in 1724. Its history is fascinating and complex. After the gallant defense by 182 Texans against Gen. Santa Anna’s army in 1836, “Remember the Alamo!” became a rallying cry for Texas independence. You'll hear the story of the Alamo, then get some time to go inside to visit the Shrine, view artifacts, and watch a short movie. The Menger, oldest continuously operating hotel west of the Mississippi, was established in 1859 and set the standard of luxury for its day. Among the historic events that took place here, Teddy Roosevelt recruited his “Rough Riders” cavalry brigade. Your expert guide will take you inside for a peek at the elaborately appointed lobbies and the Menger bar, to see memorabilia from Roosevelt's time.

Dinner: We'll enjoy dinner at a restaurant near the hotel with a variety of entree choices. Water, tea and coffee are included.

Evening: Step outside to the River Walk— the heart of the city —for a barge ride on the San Antonio River, located 20 feet below street level and just steps from the famed Alamo. See how stone pathways connect shops, restaurants, hotels and museums with a blend of historic and modern architecture that resonate the depth of this centuries-old metropolis. The barge driver will tell you all about the history of the area and the buildings you pass as you float along the river. If you like, after the barge, you may walk across the plaza adjacent to the hotel to the San Fernando Cathedral to see it like never before during a light show put together by French artist Xavier De Richemont. This 24 minute show tells the story of San Antonio from its beginnings to present day. The Cathedral of San Fernando was built from 1738-50 by settlers from the Canary Islands who had been granted land by Spain's King Philip V. Santa Anna raised the red flag of “no quarter” from the church tower during the siege of the Alamo. One of the most interesting of the cathedral’s holdings is what purports to be the final resting place of Davy Crockett, William Travis, and Jim Bowie.

Spanish Missions, West Side, Marketplace, Fredericksburg
Fredericksburg/Johnson City
Fredericksburg Inn & Suites

Activity note: Walking up to one mile and standing up to one hour. Getting on/off coach; traveling 120 miles for 2 1/2-3 hours over the course of the day.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel prior to check out and departure.

Morning: Explore the city’s early Spanish mission complex Travel by private motorcoach to San Antonio Mission National Historic Park for an exploration of the missions that make up the complex. With experts, learn about the early settlement and efforts of the Spanish to convert people to the church and an agricultural form of life. Discover the beauty of Mission San Jose y San Miguel de Aguayo, the Queen of the Missions, restored by the WPA in the 1930s. See how Spaniards used irrigation (acequia) systems to develop self-sustaining agricultural communities along the San Antonio River. Find out about the city's progress in its effort to make this area a United Nations World Heritage site. Visit the city’s historically rich west side to learn more about Hispanic culture. Enjoy colorful murals while our group leader shares information about governmental efforts to help some of the area’s poorest residents. Find out why so many San Antonio residents and politicians are proud of their west side roots.

Lunch: Eat lunch in the largest Mexican Marketplace in the U.S. Enjoy an authentic Tex-Mex meal at one of San Antonio's most popular restaurants.

Afternoon: Visit the city’s historically rich west side to learn more about Hispanic culture. Enjoy colorful murals while our group leader shares information about governmental efforts to help some of the area’s poorest residents. Find out why so many San Antonio residents and politicians are proud of their west side roots. Travel to the Texas Hill Country and get settled into your hotel. Explore Fredericksburg on your own for a bit before enjoying dinner with the group. The group leader will provide a brief orientation to the town from the bus upon arrival. You'll have some time to explore Fredericksburg, if you wish. In addition to the city's breweries, there is a thriving wine industry. Find a tasting room or explore the city's other points of interest.

Dinner: Multiple entrée choices await you at a Bavarian restaurant. Enjoy a traditional German dish, or a lighter vegetarian choice.

Evening: In the hotel meeting room, your group leader will present information about Austin in anticipation of your visit there.

Pacific War Museum, LBJ Ranch Visit, Barbecue Dinner, Austin
Austin, Texas
Courtyard Marriott Austin Downtown

Activity note: Standing in museums for up to 2 hours and walking about 2-3 miles per day. Getting on/off coach; traveling 120 miles for 2 1/2-3 hours over the course of the day.

Breakfast: The hotel features a breakfast buffet on the first floor with a variety of entree choices to enjoy before check out and departure.

Morning: Begin your day at the National Museum of the Pacific War, the only museum in the continental United States dedicated solely to the battles of the Pacific theater during World War II. Immerse yourself in Pacific history and appreciate the contributions of those who served as you learn about American and Japanese cultures during that era.

Lunch: On your own in Fredericksburg

Afternoon: The LBJ Ranch rests along the banks of the Pedernales River where Hereford cattle, white-tailed deer, and turkey abound. In the spring and summer, wildflowers, so beloved by the former first lady, accent the picturesque countryside. Visit park exhibits and enjoy a Ranger-led exploration of the grounds surrounding the family residence.

Dinner: Stop at one of Texas’ top barbecue joints to enjoy smoked barbecue and fixin’s at their best. Choose from several meats and side dishes.

Evening: Check into your hotel in Austin, located near many downtown night spots.

Texas State History Museum, Scenic Overlook, LBJ Library
Austin, Texas
Courtyard Marriott Austin Downtown

Activity note: Ability to stand in museum for up to 2 hours, ability to board motorcoach with minimal assistance several times a day. Walk to scenic overlook involves 100+ stairs or a walk up sloping terrain on uneven nature-type trail

Breakfast: Enjoy a hot breakfast at your hotel in the restaurant before you begin your day.

Morning: We'll start our day trip around Austin at the Bob Bullock Texas History Museum. Learn about all parts of this vast and varied state's land and culture! See Austin from its highest point with a stop at Mount Bonnell. From this vantage point, you can see the skyline to the east, and the Hill Country and Colorado River to the west.

Lunch: We'll eat lunch at a cafe on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin prior to visiting the LBJ Library and Museum.

Afternoon: Visit the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum. With an archivist, learn the history of presidential museums and libraries in the United States, as well as the origins of the LBJ museum, the first to be located on a university campus. Listen to recordings made during Johnson’s years in the White House that reveal much about his personality and style and illustrate why he was able to rise to power and accomplish what he did during his career. Visit the library and museum to learn more about Lyndon Johnson, the man, and the impact that his programs still have on society today, during the 50th anniversary celebrations of the passage of the Great Society legislation.

Dinner: Dinner is on your own tonight to choose from one of the many restaurants near your hotel in downtown Austin. You are located near the new warehouse district, with many award-winning new restaurants. Your group leader can tell you how to get to the trendy South Congress area if you want to venture there.

Texas Politics Lecture, Downtown Exploration, Live Music
Austin, Texas
Courtyard Marriott Austin Downtown

Activity note: Walk up to two miles on downtown streets and sidewalks with moderate elevation change.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: “Texas Political Traditions”- Explore the colorful history of Texas’ political past and present with a university professor, who will explain how the evolution of political parties changed the face of Texas politics. Find out how a state once full of “yellow dog Democrats” became one of the most conservative states in national politics today. We'll head out with a local expert to explore Austin's downtown area and learn about the city's history. We'll walk down a bit of Sixth Street and stop in the historic Driskill Hotel.

Lunch: Our lunch today will be in the beautiful lobby of the historic Driskill Hotel. We'll dine under the stained glass while we enjoy a tasty meal.

Afternoon: After lunch, you'll finish the walking exploration of downtown and have a few hours of free time. You may want to explore the Texas State Capitol and take one of the guided tours offered by the staff there. Or, you may want to head down to South Congress Avenue to explore its quirky shops and clubs. Be sure to be back at the hotel by 4:00 p.m. for a special treat as a Grammy-award winning musician gives us a private performance in the hotel meeting room. You'll enjoy the music and learning about what life is like for musicians in the "Live Music Capital of the World".

Dinner: Celebrate the end of a week of fun and learning with a festive farewell dinner.

Program concludes
Austin, Texas

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Program ends.Flight departures from Austin airport are recommended.

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