14 Best Summer Vacations in Texas for Families
Last Updated on April 9, 2023
Planning a family vacation this summer and looking for the best destinations in Texas? Look no further! Texas is home to a diverse range of family-friendly destinations that offer something for everyone, from outdoor adventures to cultural experiences and everything in between.
Whether you’re seeking a relaxing beach getaway or an exciting theme park adventure, Texas has it all. From the vibrant city of Houston to the stunning natural beauty of Big Bend National Park, there’s a destination to suit every family’s interests and preferences.
Discover the best summer vacation spots in Texas for families, with the best attractions, activities, and accommodations each location has to offer.
So get ready to pack your bags and hit the road this summer with our ultimate guide to the best summer vacations in Texas for families. Whether you’re a Texan looking for a staycation near you or visiting the state for the first time, you’re sure to find something that will make your family vacation one to remember.
HELPFUL WEBSITES TO HELP YOU PLAN YOUR TRIP
HELPFUL WEBSITES TO HELP YOU PLAN YOUR TRIP
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San Antonio, Texas is a great destination for families in the summer, with plenty of fun activities to enjoy. Whether you’re looking for history, culture, or adventure, this city has something to offer everyone.
The Alamo is an absolute must-see for anyone visiting San Antonio. This historic site is where a pivotal battle for Texas independence took place, and it offers visitors a fascinating glimpse into the state’s rich history. The Alamo is also located in the heart of downtown San Antonio, so it’s easy to fit into your itinerary. You can also take a guided tour of San Antonio Missions.
Another popular attraction in San Antonio is the River Walk. This scenic walkway along the San Antonio River is lined with shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues, and offers a beautiful view of the city. You can take a boat tour to learn more about the area, or simply stroll along the path and enjoy the sights.
For families seeking adventure, Six Flags Fiesta Texas is a thrilling theme park with many rides and attractions for all ages. The park features roller coasters, water rides, and a variety of shows and events. It’s also conveniently located near downtown San Antonio, so it’s easy to access.
A guided tour of the Cave Without a Name is also a must-do for adventurous families.
If you’re looking for an educational experience, the Witte Museum is an excellent choice. This museum offers a variety of exhibits showcasing Texas’ history, culture, and wildlife. There are also many interactive displays and special events that are perfect for children.
Finally, consider a visit to the San Antonio Botanical Garden. This beautiful garden offers nature trails, interactive exhibits, and a variety of gardens showcasing different types of plants and flowers. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy nature, and it’s located near many other popular San Antonio attractions.
For a family-friendly hotel, the Hyatt Regency San Antonio Riverwalk is an excellent choice. This hotel is located right on the River Walk, so it’s easy to access many of the city’s top attractions. The hotel also offers a rooftop pool, children’s menu options, and easy access to nearby dining and shopping options.
Galveston is a great destination for families in the summer, with a variety of activities and attractions to enjoy, there’s something for everyone. The island has miles of sandy beaches that are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and building sandcastles.
Stewart Beach is a great family-friendly beach with plenty of amenities, including restrooms, showers, and concession stands. You can also head to Galveston Island State Park where you’ll find nice beaches where you can swim or kayak and 4 miles of hiking and biking trails.
Another popular attraction is the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier, featuring amusement park rides, carnival games, and a variety of food and drink options. It’s a great place to spend an afternoon or evening with the family.
For those seeking a more educational experience, the Galveston Railroad Museum is a must-see. This museum showcases the history of railroading in Texas, with exhibits featuring historic locomotives and rail cars, as well as interactive displays and special events.
Another fun activity for families is a visit to Moody Gardens. This complex features three distinct attractions: an aquarium, a rainforest exhibit, and a discovery pyramid. The Schlitterbahn Waterpark is also a great place to visit with kids to cool off on a hot summer day, with a variety of water rides and attractions for all ages.
For a family-friendly hotel, the Holiday Inn Resort Galveston – On The Beach is an excellent choice. This hotel is located right on the beach and offers plenty of amenities for families, including a kids’ club, playground, and outdoor pool.
Alternatively, you can book a vacation rental for more convenience. You’ll find many ocean-front condos that are perfect for families.
Austin, Texas is a vibrant city with a variety of activities and attractions for families to enjoy in the summer. Whether you’re looking for entertainment, history, or outdoor adventure, this city has something for everyone to enjoy.
One of the most popular attractions in Austin is the Congress Avenue Bridge. Each summer, over a million Mexican free-tailed bats migrate to Austin and roost under the bridge. Visitors can watch the bats emerge at dusk from the bridge or take a boat tour to get an up-close look.
Another great outdoor activity is a visit to Barton Springs Pool. This natural spring-fed pool is a refreshing place to cool off on a hot summer day, and is surrounded by beautiful parkland.
For families seeking a more educational experience, the Texas State Capitol is a must-see. This beautiful building offers tours, exhibits, and a wealth of information about the state’s history and government.
Another popular attraction in Austin is the Austin Nature and Science Center. This center features a variety of interactive exhibits and educational programs about the natural world, as well as a wildlife rehabilitation program.
Finally, consider a visit to Zilker Park. This expansive park offers a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking trails, playgrounds, and a miniature train ride.
For a family-friendly hotel, the Omni Austin Hotel Downtown is an excellent choice. This hotel is centrally located and offers many amenities for families, including an outdoor pool and spacious family rooms.
Houston is a diverse and bustling city with plenty of family-friendly activities and attractions to enjoy in the summer. Whether you’re looking for outdoor activities, educational experiences, or entertainment options, this city has something for all ages to enjoy.
One of the most popular attractions in Houston is the Space Center Houston, offering a variety of interactive exhibits and attractions related to space exploration, including a tram tour of NASA’s Johnson Space Center.
Outdoorsy families looking for outdoor activities can head to Buffalo Bayou Park. This 160-acre park features hiking and biking trails, a skate park, and a paddleboat and kayak rental, as well as a dog park and a nature play area for kids.
For families seeking a more educational experience, the Houston Museum of Natural Science is a must-see. This museum features a variety of exhibits about natural history, including a butterfly exhibit, a planetarium, and a collection of dinosaur fossils. The Children’s Museum of Houston is also worth checking out. It features interactive exhibits and activities related to science, math, and culture.
For a family-friendly hotel, the Marriott Marquis Houston is an excellent choice. This hotel features a lazy river, a spa, and a variety of dining options.
With its beautiful beaches and variety of family-friendly activities and attractions, Corpus Christi is a popular destination for families in the summer looking for a beach vacation.
One of the most popular activities in Corpus Christi is a visit to the beach. The city’s long stretch of coastline offers a variety of options, including the family-friendly beaches of Mustang Island State Park and Padre Island National Seashore, which feature clean sand, calm waters, and plenty of opportunities for beachcombing, kayaking, and swimming. You can also camp at both parks.
Another great outdoor activity is a visit to the South Texas Botanical Gardens and Nature Center. This 180-acre park features a variety of gardens, nature trails, and wildlife exhibits, as well as a butterfly house and a birdwatching platform.
Kids will love spending some time exploring a retired aircraft carrier and exhibit related to naval history and aviation at the USS Lexington Museum on the Bay.
For a family-friendly hotel, the Omni Corpus Christi Hotel is an excellent choice. This hotel offers stunning views of the bay, as well as an outdoor pool, spacious family rooms, and a variety of dining options.
You’ll also find many good vacation rentals close to the water.
One of the best destinations for a family summer vacation in Texas, Fredericksburg is a charming town located in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, known for its rich German heritage and beautiful vineyards.
One of the most popular activities in Fredericksburg is visiting the local wineries. The town and surrounding area feature over 40 wineries and vineyards, offering tastings, tours, and beautiful scenery, and most are kid-friendly. Some of the most popular wineries include Becker Vineyards, Grape Creek Vineyards, and Messina Hof.
Another great outdoor activity is a visit to Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. This park features a large pink granite dome that rises over 400 feet above the surrounding terrain, offering hiking trails, rock climbing, and stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
For families seeking a more educational experience, the National Museum of the Pacific War is a must-see. This museum offers a variety of exhibits and programs related to World War II in the Pacific, including a collection of artifacts, aircraft, and interactive exhibits.
Another popular attraction in Fredericksburg is Main Street, which features over 100 shops, galleries, and restaurants housed in historic buildings. Visitors can also take a trolley tour to explore the town’s rich German heritage.
Finally, consider a visit to the Wildseed Farms. This working farm and garden features acres of colorful wildflowers, as well as a gift shop and a butterfly exhibit.
For a family-friendly hotel, the Fredericksburg Inn & Suites is an excellent choice. This hotel offers a large outdoor pool, a hot tub, and a variety of room options, including suites with separate living areas. You’ll also find several nice vacation homes in and around town.
South Padre Island
South Padre Island, is a beautiful barrier island located on the southernmost tip of Texas, surrounded by the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. It’s one of the most popular summer vacation spots in Texas for families looking to spend some time at the beach.
The island features over 30 miles of pristine white sand beaches, perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and building sandcastles. You can also easily rent beach chairs, umbrellas, and other equipment to make your beach day even more enjoyable.
Another great outdoor activity is a visit to the Sea Turtle, Inc. This non-profit organization works to rescue, rehabilitate, and release injured sea turtles, as well as raise awareness about the importance of ocean conservation. You can take a tour of the facility and even watch as staff members release rehabilitated turtles back into the wild.
For families seeking a more adventurous experience, Gravity Park is a must-see. This amusement park features bungee, go-karts, mini-golf, and plenty more entertainment options.
Finally, consider a visit to the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center. This center features a variety of hiking trails and birdwatching opportunities, as well as a boardwalk and observation tower for stunning views of the island’s natural beauty.
For a family-friendly hotel, the Hilton Garden Inn South Padre Island is an excellent choice. This hotel features a large outdoor pool, free parking, and direct beach access, as well as an on-site restaurant and comfortable family rooms.
You’ll also find several nice vacation rentals offering all the comfort of home.
Big Bend National Park
Big Bend National Park is a vast and rugged wilderness area located in southwestern Texas, covering over 800,000 acres of desert, mountains, and river canyons. It’s a great destination for outdoorsy families looking for some adventure on their summer break.
One of the most popular activities in Big Bend National Park is hiking. The park features over 150 miles of hiking trails, ranging from easy nature walks to challenging mountain climbs. Some of the most kid-friendly trails include the Balanced Rock via Grapevine Hills Trail, the Santa Elena Canyon Trail, and the Window Trail.
Another great outdoor activity is a scenic drive along the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive. This 30-mile route offers stunning views of the Chisos Mountains, the Rio Grande, and the surrounding desert landscape, with opportunities for picnicking, hiking, and wildlife viewing.
For families seeking a more educational experience, the Fossil Discovery Exhibit is a must-see. This exhibit showcases a variety of fossils from the park’s ancient past, including dinosaur tracks and marine fossils.
Another popular attraction in Big Bend National Park is the Rio Grande River, which offers opportunities for rafting, kayaking, and canoeing. Visitors can also take a scenic river tour to learn about the area’s history and ecology.
Finally, consider a visit to the Hot Springs Historic District. This area features a series of natural hot springs, as well as a historic bathhouse and ruins from the area’s mining past.
For a family-friendly lodging option, the Chisos Mountain Lodge is an excellent choice. This lodge offers a variety of room options, including cabins and motel-style rooms, as well as a restaurant, gift shop, and stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
Camping is also a great experience. You’ll find three developed front-country campgrounds within the park that provide drinking water and restroom facilities – backcountry camping is also permitted. There are plenty more options outside the park if you want more amenities.
New Braunfels is a charming city located in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, known for its scenic beauty, outdoor recreation, and German heritage. It makes a great summer vacation destination for families looking for a blend of outdoor and cultural activities.
One of the best kid-friendly attractions in New Braunfels is the Schlitterbahn Waterpark. This park features a variety of water attractions, including water slides, lazy rivers, and wave pools, as well as a variety of food options and gift shops. Visitors can also enjoy live music and other entertainment throughout the summer.
Another great outdoor activity is a visit to the Comal River. This scenic river features crystal-clear water and a variety of recreational opportunities, including tubing, kayaking, and swimming. You can also enjoy picnicking and hiking along the riverbanks.
In town, the McKenna Children’s Museum features a variety of interactive exhibits related to science, history, and culture, as well as a children’s play area and outdoor space.
Stroll around the Gruene Historic District where you’ll find a variety of shops, restaurants, and outdoor spaces, as well as a historic dance hall and live music venues. You can also take a walking tour of the area to learn about the history of the town and its German heritage.
The Comal Inn is a great place to stay with kids – the rooms are big and comfy, breakfast is included, and it’s located within walking distance of sights, restaurants, and shops.
You’ll also find plenty of vacation rentals, some right on the river!
Grapevine is a charming city located in the heart of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, known for its historic downtown, wineries, and family-friendly attractions.
One of the most popular attractions in Grapevine is the Grapevine Vintage Railroad. This train ride takes visitors on a scenic tour of the Texas countryside, with stops at historic landmarks and wineries. Visitors can also enjoy themed train rides throughout the summer, such as the popular Grapevine Wine Train.
For families seeking outdoor activities, the Grapevine Botanical Gardens is a must-see. This garden features a variety of plants and flowers from around the world, as well as a children’s play area and walking paths. You’ll also find several hiking trails and swimming areas around Grapevine Lake.
Another popular attraction in Grapevine is the Legoland Discovery Center. This indoor theme park features a variety of Lego-themed rides and attractions, as well as a 4D cinema and interactive exhibits.
For a family-friendly hotel option, the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center is an excellent choice. This hotel features a variety of room options, including suites with separate living areas, as well as a restaurant, outdoor pool, and spa.
A perfect family-friendly summer vacation spot, Tyler is a charming city located in the Piney Woods region of East Texas, known for its natural beauty, rose gardens, and family-friendly attractions.
One of the most popular outdoor activities in Tyler is a visit to the Tyler Rose Garden. This beautiful garden features over 38,000 rose bushes, as well as walking trails and picnic areas for relaxation.
In town, check out the Discovery Science Place featuring a variety of interactive exhibits and displays, as well as a planetarium and outdoor play area. The Tyler Museum of Art is also worth checking out, they often have classes and workshops for visitors of all ages.
Outside of town, you can head to Waterpark at The Villages or enjoy the outdoors at Tyler State Park Lake.
The well-rated Residence Inn by Marriott Tyler is a great place to place for families thanks to its spacious rooms, each with a fully-equipped kitchen, indoor pool, and free breakfast. You’ll also find plenty of nice vacation rentals in the area, some right in town and some in more secluded areas if you want something more peaceful for your vacation.
Known for its western heritage, museums, outdoor activities, and family-friendly attractions, Abilene is a great destination to visit over the summer.
One of the most popular attractions in Abilene is the Frontier Texas! museum, featuring fun interactive exhibits and displays about the history and culture of the Texas frontier. A visit to the Historic Fort Phantom Hill is also a must – there, you can take a self-guided tour of the fort and other historic buildings.
The Abilene State Park is great if you want to spend some time outdoors. This park features a variety of hiking and biking trails, as well as picnic areas and a lake where you can enjoy the beach and launch a boat.
Another popular attraction in Abilene is the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature. This museum features exhibits and displays about children’s literature and illustration, as well as interactive workshops and events for children.
The Adamson-Spalding Storybook Garden is also a must-visit with kids. The garden showcases sculptures of characters from Garth Williams’ books such as Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little.
If looking for a place to stay, the Hilton Garden Inn Abilene is an excellent choice for families. This hotel features spacious family room options, each with a kitchenette, an on-site restaurant open for breakfast and dinner, and free parking.
There are also plenty of nice vacation homes in town if you are looking for more privacy and all the comforts of home.
Located in the Gulf Coast region, the coastal city of Rockport is known for its beautiful beaches and rich wildlife. It’s a great destination for a family summer getaway. Spend some time on the beach, go wildlife watching, and enjoy spending time outdoors.
The most popular beach is Rockport Beach Park, featuring a variety of amenities including a fishing pier, playground, and picnic areas.
For outdoor activities, head to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge where you can spot a variety of wildlife, including whooping cranes and alligators, as well as go hiking through one of the many nature paths.
You’ll also find several areas where you can rent and launch kayaks.
In town, don’t miss the Texas Maritime Museum, which features exhibits and displays about the maritime history of Texas, as well as educational programs and events for visitors of all ages. The Fulton Mansion State Historic Site is also worth checking out to learn more about the history of the area.
For a family-friendly hotel, the Lighthouse Inn at Aransas Bay is a great pick. This hotel features waterfront cabin-style rooms equipped with kitchenettes (some have a stove), as well as a restaurant, outdoor pool, and pier.
You can also check out the vacation rentals, many are right on the water and are conveniently located within walking distance of the beach and restaurants.
Palo Duro Canyon State Park
Palo Duro Canyon State Park is a natural wonder located in the Texas Panhandle region, known for its stunning canyon views, hiking trails, and outdoor activities. It makes a great budget-friendly destination for a summer trip.
The park features over 30 miles of hiking trails, ranging in difficulty from easy to challenging. Some of the most popular trails include the Lighthouse Trail, which leads to a rock formation resembling a lighthouse, and the Juniper Trail, which offers stunning views of the canyon.
For families seeking adventurous activities consider mountain biking, and trying rock climbing. The park is also known for its stargazing and birdwatching opportunities.
Another great attraction for families is the Texas Outdoor Musical, which takes place in the park during the summer months. This musical features live music, dancing, and storytelling about the history of the Texas Panhandle.
Within the park, you’ll find several types of accommodation, The park feature several campgrounds with a variety of camping options, including RV sites, glamping, and tent sites, as well as restroom facilities, showers, and picnic areas. They also have several cabins – make sure to book ahead.
If you need to buy something there, you can go to the Palo Duro Trading Post, which features a variety of souvenirs, gifts, snacks, and camping supplies.
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