Off The Beaten Path

Did you only visit the top 5 venues posted by the travel bureau?  Standing in long lines like sheep unto the sheering questioning why you paid 25 dollars to take  picture with a carny  in a mascot costume.  Upon packing did you regret buying the 3 foot tall souvenir cup, giant foam finger, or the themed hat with ears? Did you leave feeling like you missed something? Perhaps there’s a better way to vacation!

For example, when in San Antonio, visit  the Alamo, tour the Missions Trail, have brunch on the River Walk, we did. Buy a few fridge magnets, take a selfie, then  quickly escape with your dignity and credit score still  intact. If your looking for authentic experiences and adventure stay away from theme parks! Has standing in long lines  slurping a sub-par mix machine margarita from a giant twisty straw souvenir cup ever changed your life for the better?  Motivated by the beauty and tranquility of a $10 corn-dog were you inspired to volunteer for the Peace Core? No theme parks you say, what would we do? Well there are three caves in the  San Antonio area, and an amazing Zip Line park!untitled-7056untitled-7187

Cascade  Caverns offers great photography opportunities, onsite camping, and clean facilities. As for the cave the tour is personable, and kid friendly. If your a  Patrick Swayze fan Cascades was featured in his 1993 movie “Fatherhood”. I’m obviously more of a “Point Break” fan, but “Dirty Dancing” wasn’t bad. Patrick Swayze aside the “Barney” like dinosaur from “Fatherhood” still stands as a backdrop to countless family photos and selfies.Cascade Cavernsuntitled-8

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Natural Bridge Caverns is by far the largest cave network in the area. If you like the thought of squeezing through tight passages in dark muddy depths check out a  wild cave tour. Be warned Natural Bridge Caverns is a borderline theme park, steer clear of the tourist junk, and in the name of all things holy skip the sub-par zip line.Natural Bridge Cavern Cascade Cavernsuntitled-23

Helotes Hill country Ziplines, AKA “the ziplines you should be doing”.  With lines up to 1000 feet you can reach speeds over 35mph. Soaring over the trees from a hill side is an experience no theme park could offer. The staff and owners have a passion for nature and preservation. As such their ziplines work with the terrain, allowing you to see the Texas Hill Country from a new perspective. Helotes hill country ziplinesuntitled-3

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Last but not least, the Cave With Out A Name. I admit it’s somewhat confusing, naming something by not naming it. However, the lack of name aside, I loved this cave. Rarely does one find such a well preserved privately operated  cave. A+ job on preservation and education. Very nice onsite camping, offering power and water for RV’s and plenty of shaded grassy pads for tents. Always a sucker for a campfire and open night sky, Cave with out a Name is secluded, peaceful, and beautiful both above and below ground! Cave With Out A Name untitled-14untitled-16

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Assuming your an avid reader of “Little Adventures” your probably looking for the moral of the story. The “after school special” moment where the Bully admits he likes classical music and has a lot in common with the chess club captain. Well here goes, don’t do drugs and stay in school….. or maybe just don’t be an obnoxious tourist in a Hawaiian shirt who pretends  the world revolves around them because they’re on vacation. Stop expecting a theme park or package resorts to deliver authentic, beautiful, experiences. For the love of all things amazing  be a visitor, learn a few things, respect the culture, be nice to your waiter. Wait for it, do something awesome. Go caving, enjoy a zipline hike a few trails, take a skydive, vacation with less regrets. Maybe just live with less regrets, but now I’m needling!

9 thoughts on “Off The Beaten Path

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