the missions in san antonio are part of the national park service and if anyone tells you that you need a permit thank them and continue what you are doing. I spent about 3 years off and on at the san antonio missions and did inquire about a permit. I was told by the head smokey the bear that only if I had a wedding party or a some big event would I need a permit. Now at the Alamo, this is a horse of a different color. The Daughters of the Republic run this as a shrine to the Independence of Texas. No photographs inside. The front outside is fair game but you need to be there early and the light is really on the wrong side for morning. Then it is hot like hell in the summer. There are 5 missions in all. San Francisco de Espada is the south most and the Alamo is the north most. Espada is a nice little area and there is an aqueduct about a half mile away also. The missions are open 8a to 5p. There has been some gang activity in the past in the evenings so a special wary eye is always good. You might not want to go alone. I did but I am crazy and they know it.