San Marco, Texas

By: Erica I. Pena-Vest and Paul Vazaldua

With the upcoming Tax-free holiday weekend in Texas approaching, it’s hard to talk about shopping in the state without thinking of San Marcos, Texas.  With some of the best shopping around, San Marcos is the perfect place to spend your tax free weekend (Aug 20-22). 

San Marcos, Texas, located between San Antonio and Austin in Central Texas, boosts an annual average temperature of 68.8 degrees with over 300 days of sunshine a year.  The San Marcos River offers your family an array of outdoor activities from tubing to kayaking and is the perfect place to bid adieu to the summer.  There is great access to the San Marcos River and all the supplies you will need for your water sport of choice at the City Park. We also recommend the glass bottom boat rides at the Aquarena Center at Texas State University.  A fantastic outing for families with kids of all ages; this 30 minute tour is operated year round, rain or shine.  Visit for more details and for an online coupon.

On our trip to San Marcos, we stayed at the Comfort Suites. Comfort Suites offers a year round special rate for the military and stays true to its name in providing comfort.  Traveling for a living, I often stay at expensive hotels with poor bedding and wonder what could possibly be more important that a comfy bed?  The all suite hotel was a great experience in hospitality from their friendly staff, spacious rooms, military discount, soft bedding and cleanliness. I would recommend it highly to anyone visiting the area.   

In addition to the San Marcos River and all of the natural beauty of the community, San Marcos offers shopping that is second to none in the state and delectable food that will leave you coming back for more.

Tanger Outlet Center, Prime Outlets-San Marcos and the San Marcos Historic Business District offer everything you would want in a shopping excursion. You can find everything you need to send the kids back to school and much more, and if the major discounts offered by the outlet stores are not enough, VIP coupon books are available to active duty military year round by showing your military ID at their customer service centers.  Check with the San Marcos Convention and Visitor Bureau ( for more details.

To truly experience San Marcos, you have to visit Centerpoint Station.  This staple of central Texas is a must-visit offering both shopping and culinary fun! Their café offers a family-friendly menu with tasty hamburgers and some local twists (I recommend the frickles – deep fried pickles served with ranch dressing dipping sauce) and the boutique store inside is bound to be a traveler’s favorite rest stop with an eclectic assortment to new and antique products.  I can’t imagine ever visiting San Marcos and not stopping by Centerpoint Station.  It has now become a family favorite. Don’t leave without trying the fudge!

I can’t talk about this next restaurant without my mouth watering.  While in San Marcos, we stopped to pay homage to the Saltgrass Steakhouse.  Known for its incredible steaks and ribs, the restaurant boasts a Texas-sized menu you could only find in the Lone Star state!  There is definitely something for everyone.  We tried the steaks, ribs and chicken and everyone went back to the hotel raving about their meal and asking if we could go back the next day (I’m not ashamed to say we did!). Don’t forget to go out back and soak your feet in the river after your meal.

We get to visit a lot of places throughout the U.S. here at Guide to Military Travel, and I’m proud to say San Marcos has made itself at home on our list of favorite places to visit.  Despite having a schedule jam packed with travel, we can’t wait to go back and enjoy everything San Marcos, Texas has to offer!