If you’re looking for an affordable hotel to go with your bargain purchases at the outlet mall , one of the better deals in San Marcos  is Rodeway Inn (1635 Aquarena Springs Dr., 512/353-8011, www.choicehotels.com , $69 d). It’s quite close to Texas State University—within walking distance of Bobcat Stadium, in fact—and offers a free continental breakfast, Internet access, and an outdoor pool.
If proximity to the outlet malls is a top consideration, it doesn’t get much closer than AmeriHost Inn (4210 I-35 South, 512/392-684, www.amerihostinn.com , $75 d). The hotel features an indoor pool (heated from Nov.–Mar.), a fitness center, free Internet access, and a free continental breakfast.
A bit pricier yet slightly more upscale is Hampton Inn & Suites (106 I-35 North, 512/754-7707, www.stonebridgehotels.com , $139 d), offering free Internet access, a free continental breakfast, an outdoor pool, and an exercise room.
Those looking to get away from the hustle and bustle can stay at Crystal River Inn (326 W. Hopkins St., 512/396-3739, www.crystalriverinn.com , $105–150) a bed-and-breakfast and garden complex with 13 rooms in three buildings. The quaint structures surround a garden with roses, fountains, and stately pecan trees, and Crystal River’s gourmet breakfasts offer a wonderful way to fuel up for a day of shopping without dropping.