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John C. Jack Hayes statue in downtown San Marcos, Texas
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Outdoor dining at a San Marcos restaurant in Texas
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Colorful nachos platter in San Marcos, Texas
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The best deals can be found in San Marcos Outlets, Texas
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Cyclist enjoys a ride in downtown San Marcos, Texas
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View of Pottery Barn at San Marcos Premium Outlets in Texas
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Ann Taylor Factory Store at San Marcos Premium Outlets in Texas
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Tubing on the San Marcos River in Texas
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The San Marcos River in Texas is the perfect place for family fun
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I traveled to San Marcos, Texas, thinking that the only thing to do there is shop.

After all, it is home to the largest outlet center in the U.S. However, it took me just a few minutes in this Texas city, situated between San Antonio and Austin, to realize how wrong I was.

Shopping Served with a Side of Fun!

A very important tip for those visiting San Marcos is to come here with plenty of room in your luggage – or plan to buy more. San Marcos is a shopper's paradise! You will need at least two or three days to visit the 111,000 square meters of shops that the two outlets in the city offer at San Marcos Outlets.

On one side is San Marcos Premium Outlets and walking distance from there is Tanger Outlets. Both have brand name stores, and many will refund sales tax for international shoppers. Here you’ll find everything you need from footwear, apparel, accessories and even furniture and home décor.

Beyond Shopping

The outlets are just minutes away from downtown San Marcos. If you’re done shopping or not planning to shop, take a stroll through San Marcos for a really nice experience. The main square is surrounded by great restaurants, bars and shops, and hosts a farmer’s market every Saturday. On the second Saturday of each month, you can catch "Art Squared," when dozens of artists open booths on the courthouse lawn for an outdoor art market. All over San Marcos, it’s also easy to find delicious local and international cuisine!

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A College Town and Youthful Atmosphere on the River

San Marcos is also known for its college Texas State University, a beautiful campus next to the San Marcos River. I was fortunate to visit during the Texas Wild Rice Festival, an eco-celebration intended to draw attention to the need to preserve the plant known as Texas Wild Rice, which grows in the San Marcos River. Hundreds of university students as well as visitors strolled among the vendor booths, listened to live music and were even treated to a unicycle football match. Everybody enjoyed the gorgeous weather. Some decided to sunbathe; others simply preferred to swim and cool off by floating down the river on inner tubes. That sounds like a plan, right?

A Perfect Place for Water Sports

With a water temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year and beautiful, clear, sparkling waters, the San Marcos River deserves a separate mention. College students aren’t the only ones enjoying the San Marcos River. It’s a favourite for both residents and visitors. Some sections offer starting points for tube excursions along the river. In addition to floating in a tube, you can stand up paddleboard, kayak and even snorkel. The area is also great for picnics and family gatherings.

Because of its excellent location, outlets, shops, restaurants and beautiful river, San Marcos, Texas is an excellent choice for a stop on your Texas holiday.

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