Although San Marcos, which is home to Texas State University (formerly Southwest Texas State and alma mater to President Lyndon Baines Johnson), is a popular tourist destination year around, it is summer when San Marcos truly shines. Outdoor activity is what draws most visitors to San Marcos each summer. One of the most popular water sports in the state, tubing the San Marcos River, is centered in San Marcos. Additionally, kayakers, canoers, snorkelers and swimmers enjoy playing in the cool, clear waters of the Guadalupe, as well as the San Marcos and Blanco rivers.
Many popular area attractions are also river-based. Aquarena Center has long been a tourist favorite. Once privately owned and known as Aquarena Springs, Aquarena Center is now operated by Texas State University with the purpose of educating the public about the San Marcos River and Edwards Aquifer. However, many of the popular features of Aquarena Springs still exist, most notably the famous glass bottom boat rides over the crystal clear waters of the San Marcos River. Nearby New Braunfels is home to the original Schlitterbahn Waterpark, offering visitors yet another opportunity to get wet.
However, although much of San Marcos' charm lies in the water, there are plenty of things to do while staying dry. Wonder World Park offers cave tours, educational earthquake programs, a wildlife park, train rides and many more activities for the whole family, all based around a natural cavern formed by a long-ago earthquake along the Balcones Fault. Additionally, shopping draws visitors from across the state and beyond to San Marcos. Beyond its many, unique shops located in and around the Courthouse Square, San Marcos is known for its large outlet malls.
Finding a place to stay in San Marcos is no problem, either. The town has a full compliment of national chain hotels and motels. However, many residents choose something a bit more quaint like the Crystal River Inn, an 1883 Victorian-style inn.