The Missions Trail, San Antonio, TX
Last week we took the time to drive the Missions Trail in Texas. A great addition to any visit to the Alamo, we enjoyed this part of our stay in San Antonio very much.
We began our missions tour with a stop at the San Jose Mission, which is also the location of the San Antonio Missions National Historic Park visitor’s center. We are always on the lookout for National Parks, and love to do the Jr. Ranger program as a supplement to our roadschool history and science curriculums. At San Jose, we picked up Jr. Ranger booklets about the San Antonio Missions, and the kids completed them while we toured the mission.
Mission San Jose is one stop on the Missions Trail, which consists of the remaining 5 of 6 original missions in the area (the Alamo is one of the 6). San Jose is a large mission that is very well preserved. You can self tour the mission, or take a 45 min. guided tour. We were surprised to find the entire exterior wall, surrounding the mission, is comprised of rooms that were used for Indian quarters and as military barracks for soldiers. The mission is beautiful, and we took the time to walk the square and tour the rooms that have been restored and are open to the public. We also went through the exhibits in the visitor’s center, and watched the film on the missions.
After we took the time to tour San Jose and the visitor’s center, we drove the rest of the Missions Trail. This is a driving route that takes you past all 5 missions – north to the Alamo, and south to Mission Espada (there is also a trolley ride that takes you along the route). The missions are beautiful, and there is convenient parking at each site if you would like to get out and see them close and personal. The Trail is clearly marked, and you can pick up a map at the visitor’s center at San Jose. The trail can be driven in an hour (I think – we made lots of stops) – or if you would like to stop at each mission, you could make it an entire day’s outing. Either way, a tour of Mission San Jose, and a drive along the Missions Trail, are great additions to any visit to San Antonio!