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San Marcos

Have fun on the river that runs right through campus when you make your home in the friendly college town of San Marcos

When the sun is shining, it’s impossible to resist the allure of the San Marcos River, which winds through town, right next to Texas State University. The water is warm all year round, so jump in and take a swim, or hire a tube and float away your study stress as you bob along past the stunning riverside scenery. If you’re after an adrenalin rush, ride the rapids at Rio Vista Park, or drive out to Jacob’s Well Spring where you can jump from the cliffs into the small, but very deep, water hole.

If you’d rather stay on dry land, top up your tan on Bikini Hill in Sewell Park, or take a stroll along the Riverwalk trail, which follows the river through town. Alternatively, get back to nature at Purgatory Creek, where you can listen to birdsong as you hike the rocky trails. Afterwards, get your caffeine fix at Tantra Coffeehouse.

For a change of pace, meet friends in Downtown Square, which is lined with shops, cafés and bars. Get together after class and hang out at The Root Cellar Café, or browse the nearby shops – check out the rails of vintage clothes at Retro Exchange, or pick up the books you need for class at Colloquium Bookstore. When you need more choice, drive to nearby Tanger Outlet Mall, or head to Austin – it’s only 35 minutes away by car. 

Downtown Square comes alive after dark, so join friends for dinner and drinks, before going dancing at Nephews. The biggest party happens at Float Fest, the annual music festival which takes place on the San Marcos River every summer.