The Natural Bridge Caverns are a massive network of underground caves, tunnels and otherworldly formations discovered in 1960. Home to astounding beauty that is accessible to any age and fitness level, this natural wonder is especially popular with spelunkers and cavers.

The best way to explore the mighty caverns is by joining one of the numerous tours available, each providing a unique experience depending on the type of adventure you are seeking. However, all the fun is not just underground as you can find your way through Texas’ largest outdoor maze, or test your agility along a high-flying zip-line and rope course.

Natural Bridge Caverns in San Antonio - one of the highlights of 10 Things to Do with Kids in San Antonio and 10 Best Outdoor Adventures in San Antonio (Read all about San Antonio here)

What are the highlights of the Natural Bridge Caverns?

Your first trip to the Natural Bridge Caverns should start with the Discovery Tour. This hour-long tour takes you past awe-inspiring rock formations such as towering stalactites, flowstones, and soda straws. For a more in-depth view of the cave’s most delicate formations, opt for the 70-minute Hidden Passages Tour which finishes with the lights being turned off and you being plunged into total darkness. Finally, for the adventure junkies there's the 3-hour Adventure Tour where you repel, hike, and squeeze through the wilder parts of the caverns just like the first explorers.

Above ground, try your hand at vanquishing the 50-plus obstacles on the Twisted Trails adventure course, pan for gold at the Mining Company, or find your way through the massive 5,000-sq-ft outdoor maze. Once you’ve built up an appetite, grab a snack or guilty pleasure at Big Daddy’s Candies, Treats and Brew, or opt for something more filling at the Cavern Café.

A brief history of the Natural Bridge Caverns

Convinced that a large network of underground caverns existed underneath the 60-ft bridge, 4 college students from St. Mary's University in San Antonio obtained permission to explore the area in the spring of 1960. Their first 3 attempts came up empty, but on the 4th, a powerful draft of air attracted the group through a rubble-filled crawlway, revealing miles of underground rooms and passages.

The group immediately knew the significance of what they found, promptly telling the landowners what astonishing natural features lay beneath their land. Eventually, a half-mile walkway was developed in the most spectacular part of the caverns – the Discovery tour route – and it has been accessible for the enjoyment of the general public ever since.

Good to know about the Natural Bridge Caverns

The Natural Bridge Caverns is in the beautiful countryside around 30 minutes northeast of San Antonio. As the attractions are underground, this is a great family activity on a rainy day. Ample free parking is available, so renting a automobile or using a ride-sharing service is the most convenient way to the caverns. Make sure to buy your tickets in advance. For the best deals, visit midweek to enjoy 20% off the standard weekend charge.

Food and candies are available onsite, so there’s no need to bring your own. However, make sure to save space for San Antonio’s famous Tex-Mex for dinner. If you’re visiting in the spring, make sure to stop by the Bracken Cave Preserve on the way out to witness thousands of Mexican bats take to the sky.

Natural Bridge Caverns in San Antonio

Location: 26495 Natural Bridge Caverns Rd, San Antonio, TX 78266, USA

Open: Daily from 9 am to 4 pm

Phone: +1 210-651-6101

Ryan Thomas McNutt | Contributing Writer