City Park in the center of San Marcos is a great place to begin an expedition around the city or relax and enjoy the San Marcos River. City Park was one of the first parks developed by the city and is one of 10 municipal recreation spots on the river’s path through the heart of San Marcos. San Marcos is a growing town of 50,000 roughly equidistant between San Antonio and Austin.
The other parks along the river include the city’s Nature Center in Crook Park, Texas State University’s Sewell Park, the university’s Aquarena Center, and the river’s artesian springs source in Spring Lake. A highlight of City Park is the wide bank walks of flagstone and concrete with canoe launches and steps into the river’s crystal clear and consistently cool waters.
Anthropologists tell us that these same shores have been enjoyed for over 12,000 years, placing these banks among the Nation’s shortlist of longest continuously settled places.
The local ecosystem is host to several species indigenous to the area, and is perhaps the only place in the world some can be found. Those species include several forms of small aquatic life and a variety of wild Texas rice that grows in wetland areas along the river’s edge. Spending time under the tall, shady cypress, towering oaks and proud pecan trees that grow on the banks, you may catch a glimpse of rare and special wildlife. Walking tours and a visit to the Nature Center are available almost year-round to enhance the experience and help visitors appreciate the unique qualities of this environment.
Enjoy Tubing, Canoeing and Kayaking or Just Relax in the Warm Sunshine
As one of the largest park spaces in the river park chain, City Park’s 18 acres provides picnic tables and BBQ grills, a playground, basketball court, hike-and-bike trails, and benches that beckon you to sit down, cool your heals and relax. City Park is also home to the climate-controlled, 3,000 square foot City Park Recreation Hall, which includes a catering kitchen and is available for rent.
Parking is ample for most functions throughout the year, but can get a little scarce during the late summer months when the park is a favorite for tubing, canoeing and kayaking trips that can stretch up to 40 miles or more. During this peak season, the water is full of people-powered watercraft of all shapes, sizes and colors, either drifting along with the current or gently guided with paddles. For those who enjoy people watching, it’s a hard act to beat. There is ample space along the grass banks to work on your tan, and this section of the river is well-known for its sun worshippers, as is nearby Texas State University’s Sewell Park.
Glass Bottom Boat Tours, Wedding Receptions and a Lifetime of Wonderful Memories
Ask a few of City Park’s many visitors from over the years what the park means to them, and you’ll receive a variety of responses. You might hear about a couple’s first kiss on one of the glass bottom boat tours which started in 1928 (and later their wedding reception at the Recreation Hall). Or you might hear about a family picnic when a youngster left his floaties on the bank and swam on his own — and 25 years later helped his own children take their own first real swim. Regardless of the details, you’ll hear some wonderful stories about the many adventures and memories in City Park.