Most San Antonians head for the hills -- that is, nearby Hill Country -- for outdoor recreation. Some suggestions of sports in or around town follow.
Biking -- With the creation and continuing improvements of the biking paths along the San Antonio River, part of the larger Mission Trails project, local and visiting cyclists will finally have a good place within the city to spin their wheels (it's not quite there yet, but soon . . .). Other options within San Antonio itself include Brackenridge Park; McAllister Park on the city's north side, 13102 Jones-Maltsberger (tel. 210/207-PARK [207-7275] or 207-3120); and around the area near SeaWorld of Texas. If you didn't bring your own, Blue Star Bike Shop, in Southtown at 1414 S. Alamo (tel. 210/212-5506; www.bluestarbrewing.com), will rent cruisers and other bikes ($20 for 6 hours). Another bike rental place is Brackenride (tel. 210/826-7433), at 3619 Broadway. Perhaps the best resource in town is the website of the San Antonio Wheelmen, www.sawheelmen.com, with details on local organized rides, links to bicycle shops in the area, and more (it's even got an essay on the history of bicycling).
Fishing -- For good angling close to town, try Braunig Lake, a 1,350-acre, city-owned reservoir, a few miles southeast of San Antonio off I-37, and Calaveras Lake, one of Texas's great bass lakes, a few miles southeast of San Antonio off U.S. 181 South and Loop 1604. A bit farther afield but still easy to reach from San Antonio are Canyon Lake, about 20 miles north of New Braunfels, and Medina Lake, just south of Bandera. Fishing licenses -- sold at most sporting-goods and tackle stores and sporting-goods departments of large discount stores such as Wal-Mart or Kmart, as well as county courthouses and Parks and Wildlife Department offices -- are required for all nonresidents; for current information, call tel. 512/389-4800, ext. 3, or go to www.tpwd.state.tx.us/publications/annual/fish/fishlicense.phtml. Tackle Box Outfitters, 6330 N. New Braunfels (tel. 210/821-5806; www.tackleboxoutfitters.com), offers referrals to private guides for fishing trips on area rivers and on the Gulf coast ($250-$400 per person).
Golf -- Golf has become a big deal in San Antonio, with more and more visitors coming to town expressly to tee off. Of the city's six municipal golf courses, two of the most notable are Brackenridge, 2315 Ave. B (tel. 210/226-5612), the oldest (1916) public course in Texas, featuring oak- and pecan-shaded fairways; and northwest San Antonio's $4.3-million Cedar Creek, 8250 Vista Colina (tel. 210/695-5050), repeatedly ranked as South Texas's best municipal course in golfing surveys. For details on both and other municipal courses, log on to www.sanantonio.gov/sapar/golf.asp. Other options for unaffiliated golfers include the 200-acre Pecan Valley, 4700 Pecan Valley Dr. (tel. 210/333-9018), which crosses the Salado Creek seven times and has an 800-year-old oak near its 13th hole; the high-end Quarry, 444 E. Basse Rd. (tel. 800/347-7759 or 210/824-4500; www.quarrygolf.com), on the site of a former quarry and one of San Antonio's newest public courses; and Canyon Springs, 24405 Wilderness Oak Rd. (tel. 888/800-1511 or 210/497-1770; www.canyonspringsgc.com), at the north edge of town in the Texas Hill Country, lush with live oaks and dotted with historic rock formations. There aren't too many resort courses in San Antonio because there aren't too many resorts, but the two at the Westin La Cantera, 16401 La Cantera Pkwy. (tel. 800/446-5387 or 210/558-4653; www.lacanteragolfclub.com) -- one designed by Jay Morish and Tom Weiskopf, the other by Arnold Palmer -- have knockout designs and dramatic hill-and-rock outcroppings to recommend them. Expect to pay $55 to $60 per person for an 18-hole round at a municipal course with a cart, from $70 to as much as $130 (Sat-Sun) per person at a private resort's course. Twilight (afternoon) rates are often cheaper. To get a copy of the free San Antonio Golfing Guide, call tel. 800/447-3372 or log on to www.sanantoniovisit.com/visitors/things_golfhome.asp.
Hiking -- The 240-acre Friedrich Wilderness Park, 21480 Milsa (tel. 210/698-1057; wildtexas.com/parks/fwp.php), operated by the city of San Antonio as its only nature preserve, is crisscrossed by 5.5 miles of trails that attract bird-watchers as well as hikers; a 2-mile stretch is accessible to people with disabilities. Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, near Fredericksburg, is the most popular spot for trekking out of town.
River Sports -- For tubing, rafting, or canoeing along a cypress-lined river, San Antonio river rats head 35 miles northwest of downtown to the 2,000-acre Guadalupe River State Park, 3350 Park Rd. 31 (tel. 830/438-2656; www.tpwd.state.tx.us/park/guadalup), near Boerne. Five miles north of Hwy. 46, just outside the park, you can rent tubes, rafts, and canoes at the Bergheim Campground, FM 3351 in Bergheim (tel. 830/336-2235). Standard tubes run $10 per person (but the ones with a bottom, at $12, are better), rafts are $15 per person ($10 for ages 12 and younger), and canoes go for $35. The section of the Guadalupe River near Gruene is also extremely popular.
Swimming/Watersports -- Most hotels have swimming pools, but if yours doesn't, the Parks and Recreation Department (tel. 210/207-3113; www.sanantonio.gov/sapar/swimming.asp) can direct you to the nearest municipal pool. Both SeaWorld and Six Flags Fiesta Texas are prime places to get wet (the latter has a pool in the shape of Texas and a waterfall that descends from a cowboy hat). Many San Antonians head out to New Braunfels to get wet at Schlitterbahn, the largest waterpark in Texas.
Tennis -- You can play at the 22 lighted hard courts at the McFarlin Tennis Center, 1503 San Pedro Ave. (tel. 210/732-1223), for the very reasonable fee of $3 per hour per person ($1 for students and seniors), $3.50 per hour ($2 for students and seniors) after 5pm. Log on to www.sanantonio.gov/sapar/tennis.asp for additional information about McFarlin, which requires reservations for you to play, and for a list of other city facilities (all operate on a first-come, first-served basis).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.