It’s been a while since I’ve written a personal post, but I’m excited to share our wonderful vacation with you all!
A few weeks ago, I realized that the end of summer was sneaking up on us. Around that same time, I received an unexpected tax refund in the mail that was right around the same amount a nice family vacation would cost. Richard and I looked at each other and said “Where should we go?!” We knew we wanted to take a family vacation together before Grayson started school. And actually, over the last 7 years together, we’ve never really taken a vacation just the 3 of us. So we started brainstorming… I first wanted to go to Florida. The thought of spending a week in Seaside, FL in a beautiful beach bungalow steps from the clear water was heaven! Unfortunately, with it being so late in the summer, just about everything was already booked up. Plus, once I started looking at flights, the cost was really starting to add up. So I started looking at places we could easily drive to. Richard doesn’t love the idea of being in a car for long periods of time (his daily hour commute is enough for him) so it couldn’t be too far away. My friend had recently gone to the Hyatt Regency Hill Country in San Antonio and said she loved it! So I started researching… it appeared to be a very family friendly resort with lots of activities to keep G busy, it was right across the highway from Sea World and it was only a 2.5 hour drive. Plus, the price was right! So we booked our 5 day vacation.
The first day consisted of us making the trek to San Antonio. I made sure everyone’s iPads and headphones were charged, podcasts were downloaded and a snack bag was packed! A little over halfway there, we stopped at Bucee’s, because you can’t do a Texas Road trip without stopping at a Bucee’s! We used the clean restrooms, grabbed a cheap soda and some beaver nuggets and hit the road again.
We got to the resort and checked in around 1 PM. Official check in time wasn’t until 4 PM but I was hoping we’d be able to get in a little earlier. No such luck. But they said they would text us as soon as it was. We left the resort to grab a quick bite to eat for lunch and within the hour our room was ready! We opted to self park since the parking lot was right next to the resort and I saw no real benefit in paying double for valet parking. It really worked out for us because our room was actually at the back of the property with an exit that led straight to the parking lot.
We settled in, got our swimsuits on and headed straight for the pool! It was a little bit later in the day at this point so guests had already started retreating to their rooms and we had no problem finding an open chair. We explored the lazy river which was awesome. It feels like an actual river twisting and winding through trees and rocks. They even had a little tiki hut bar halfway through where you could get a refreshing drink. The Lazy Lemonberry was my favorite, by the way! After floating around for a while, we started to walk around and explore the property. We came across the FlowRider, which is an endless wave you can surf and boogie board on. Grayson was mesmerized. We immediately signed him up for a slot the following day. We had so much fun sitting and watching the riders cruise the waves and occasionally wipe out. As we kept walking, I noticed a group of people huddling around a firepit. Oh yes! Smores! I forgot that every evening they have smores set out for the guests. They were delicious! And I felt at ease with G roasting marshmallows since the firepits had a guard on them so you weren’t able to get too close or accidentally burn yourself. It was still pretty warm outside, even in the evening, so we headed inside to check out more of the property.
Inside the resort was a family friendly bar (children allowed until 9 PM) that had a variety of things to do – shuffleboard, pool, magnetic darts, golden tee and big buck hunter. Fun fact, they apparently have the longest copper bar in Texas. We mainly liked hanging out here because they had free unlimited peanuts!
Every night at 8:30 PM, they would show a family movie out on the lawn, complete with complimentary blankets and popcorn. The first night they showed Moana. G gave everyone a good show in the back by acting out and singing all of the songs.
After a long day, we retired to our room. I had called a few days earlier and asked about a rollaway cot for G, but they were going to charge $35/night! Instead, we borrowed a friends twin size inflatable mattress and it worked out perfectly! We found the room to be cozy and comfortable, but I will say that it could use some updating here and there. Mainly with the decor and fixtures, but it suited our needs!
G and I woke up naturally early this day while Richard slept in, so we headed down to the lobby – where I saw a Starbucks sign the day before! Once my hand was filled with an iced latte, we headed outside where they were handing out cups of feed to give to the birds, ducks and squirrels that had all flocked to what they called the “Tree of Life”. The animals got so close to us and practically ate out of the palm of G’s hand. After the birds started to scatter, G and I continued to walk around where we found a ton of bikes that were free to grab and take around the property. This sort of ended up being our morning ritual here. Coffee, birds, bikes.
I had bought a 3 day flex ticket for us to go to Sea World/Aquatica. I figured we’d play it by ear with the weather and I liked the idea of being able to go half a day a few different times so we didn’t tire out. It was going to be sunny and hot this day, so we made our way to the waterpark at Sea World – Aquatica. We actually grabbed an Uber from the resort to the park which was really convenient. It was just a few bucks, we didn’t have to pay for parking and we got dropped off right in front the gate.
There was a little bit of a line already forming before they had opened, so if you plan to go, I recommend going early so you can grab a prime spot to keep your things. The first two hours weren’t that crowded so we took the opportunity to ride just about all the rides back to back. I would start out with Stingray Falls! It’s the most popular ride so it’s great to go first thing before the line gets long. My favorite ride was called Tazzie’s Twister. It was a double seater tube ride that was reminiscent of a toilet bowl. It was so much fun! Richard and G loved the lazy river. I would say it was far from being “lazy”. It included waterfall walls that you had to go through as well as surprise rainbows of water spray and little rapids. The food wasn’t too bad here either! I of course went straight for the Dippin’ Dots – my fav! After a few hours, we decided to go for round 2 of riding the rides. By 1 PM, the lines were actually starting to form which made me so glad that I had bought Quick Queue passes! I felt a little guilty walking right past everyone and cutting in line, but it was also fantastic! I definitely recommend getting them if you’re going to be there during the middle of the day.
The last half of the day, we headed back to the resort and we all took a 2 hour nap!! We were exhausted. But that evening we had signed up G to do the FlowRider wave and he was stoked! He was completely fearless and jumped right in. The instructors were also great! He was even able to get up on his knees during the second attempt. While G cruised around on his board, I ordered Jimmy Johns since they delivered to the hotel. I definitely recommend going that route if you don’t want to drop $25 a plate at the general restaurant buffet. We cleaned up and headed to the lawn where they were showing Hotel Transylvania 3, one of our favorites!
We repeated the same morning as the day before. Enjoyed coffee, feeding birds, riding bikes, etc. Then we headed to the pool. I loved that it opened at 8 AM and didn’t close until 10 PM! Even though we went an hour after the pool opened, I liked that there were still plenty of chairs to choose from. No having to go down early or fight to get the best shaded spot. There were tons of shaded spots with all the trees around the pool. The lazy river was actually almost entirely shaded. I still applied sunscreen religiously on me and the boys, but it was so nice and cool while the temperatures were pushing 3 digits. We grabbed a bite to eat at the pool cafe and it was actually pretty good. I recommend the quesadillas!
That afternoon we headed back to Sea World. This time we went to the main park. I figured the park might be less crowded later in the day and in the summer they have a lot of evening activities. G was so excited to ride the roller coasters! We started off with the Steel Eel coaster and I couldn’t believe how brave G was! But yall, I screamed the ENTIRE TIME. I also realized that I am not as young as I used to be! The ride was bumpier than I remembered and gave me quite the headache. But I rallied and chugged a bottle of water before heading the next ride. We rode every ride there except for the Great White since G wasn’t tall enough. I had bought Quick Queue passes again since I anticipated the same scenario as the day before. But… there was hardly anyone there. I spent $75 in fast passes to bypass 2 people. It was a flop, but what can you do? You just never know!
We ended the night with an evening show of Shamu and got SOAKED! If not by the whale then by the trainers. We then headed over to the stadium to watch the water ski night time firework celebration. The musical performance was actually really good and I love fireworks so it was the perfect ending to a fun day.
This was probably my favorite day because my sister came to visit! She lives in the area so she came to the resort and spent a few hours floating around with us. We spent the entire day hanging out in the lazy river, drinking cocktails, and ordering food poolside. I also forgot to mention that there’s a spot in the lazy river where there’s a beach entry. And I don’t mean a zero entry, I mean there’s actually a sandy beach that goes into the water gradually. So awesome!
If I didn’t mention it before, this resort also has a golf course. They were running a special for “Family Express Golf” which was 9 holes and included rentals. We decided to try it out and signed up for a 5 PM tee time. Apparently we were the only crazy people that decided to play golf during that time and I figured out why. It was 102 degrees. Before we even got to the second hole, I had complete sweat through my shirt. We were only able to make it 5 holes, but it was actually pretty fun! The facilities and rentals were really nice and the golf carts even had interactive virtual maps!
We headed back to the room to get cleaned up and ordered pizza. Double Daves wasn’t far away and we were starving. I noticed a few others in the lobby waiting for pizza delivery. It’s cheap and easy! We ate while watching other guests ride the FlowRider. G was really wanting to do it again, so we signed him up for the first slot the next morning.
For dessert, I snuck in one last smores sandwhich and then we headed downstairs where earlier I had spotted an ice cream vending machine. But it wasn’t exactly a vending machine. It was soft serve frozen yogurt that was delivered with optional toppings by a robotic arm. I’m currently on the hunt to buy one, so if you see one listed for sale, please let me know!
Our final day… We got up bright and early and headed down the FlowRider wave. G enjoyed one last hour of boogie boarding and even got up on his knees! The instructors were really great. They encouraged the kids to try new things and helped them have proper form.
We packed up and headed out and on the way home stopped by the Tower of the Americas. I wanted to do one last thing in San Antonio before we headed home and we had all already been to the Riverwalk and Alamo before so I thought we’d try this. The tickets came with what they called a 4D experience. It was basically a 20 minute short film in a theatre where the seats moved, vibrated and sometimes mist would spit out at you to make you feel like you were really in the movie. It was interesting… not necessarily my favorite, but G loved it. We then headed up the 750 foot observation tower that had a great 360 degree view of the city. While there wasn’t much to do, it was a fun little pit stop before heading back home.
Overall, we had a fantastic week in San Antonio staying at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort. If you’re thinking about coming here, I would definitely recommend! If you think the price is a little steep, I recommend that you bring some groceries and snacks to help offset the above average prices of the food. I had a granola bar and banana each morning for breakfast and I brought cereal and milk for G plus some lunchables and various snacks (chips, crackers, fruit chews, etc). We never did really eat at any of the restaurants at the resort. I don’t know why, we just preferred to have some of our favorite foods delivered. This place is great for a combination of fun and relaxation. I never made it to the spa, but it will for sure be on my list next time! I’m also already researching for our next vacation and I’ve got my eye on the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines resort in Bastrop, TX.