Yeehaw! Are you planning to explore The Lone Star State with your little ones but unsure where to start? Don’t worry as we’ve prepared a list of the best family vacation spots in Texas to get you started. From its amazing landscapes to interesting museums and fun parks, you will surely never run out of things to do in this place.
Top 10 Best Family Vacation Spots in Texas
Visit Dallas with your kids and you’ll never fall short of fun activities throughout your trip! Let your little ones explore the beauty of marine life and visit the Dallas World Aquarium. You can even extend this exploration to about 2,000 animals more in the Dallas zoo. The place also has ample museums to choose from including Moody Family Children’s Museum, Dallas Museum of Art, and Dallas Firefighters Museum.
For those who are keen to get free rides on the country’s oldest streetcar, you can head to McKinney Avenue Trolley. Going to the Six Flags Over Texas for whirlwind coaster rides and many more is also a great idea. But it doesn’t stop there; don’t miss the one-of-a-kind Crayola Experience and fill your trip with colors and fun!
There’s also the famous Legoland Discovery Center near the area which is as awesome as it sounds. If you have kids who just love the water, Dallas Arboretum is packed with adventures that will surely leave everyone soaked. And if that’s not enough, visit Epic Waters Indoor Waterpark for some extra splash! This place has 11 waterslides, indoor pools, a lazy river, an outdoor wave pool, and Rascal’s Round-Up inside. Overall it has everything any family needs for an epic trip, making it among the best family vacation spots in Texas.
2. South Padre Island
South Padre Island is among the cheapest beach vacation spots in the country. Being the barrier island off the coast of Texas, the place is filled with picturesque views and emerald salty waters that all families can enjoy. Bask under the warmth of the sun and go build a sandcastle or enjoy swimming with your little ones. The place literally offers in-depth two-hour sandcastle building lessons for those who are interested!
There are also various water sports and other activities that are suitable for all ages. This includes dolphin-watching cruises that will surely spark the interest of anyone. Who doesn’t love to go up close with the adorable and smart dolphins plus other fascinating sea life? Also, you can take this chance to educate your kids about the importance of every life in the world and bring them to Sea Turtle Inc. In here, they rehabilitated injured turtles until they’re ready to be released back to the vast ocean.
But if you’re not feeling very splashy, you can go bird-watching in SPI Birding and Nature Center. And, of course, what speaks more of the beach than pirate-themed places and activities? Check out the Treasures of the Gulf Museum and let your tiny adventurers dig for the lost treasure! South Padre Island also offers campy, kid-friendly pirate cruises that just hit the spot for your active children. Don’t forget to visit the Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark for some more watery fun.
3. Fort Worth
If you’re traveling to Texas, you shouldn’t miss exploring the Fort Worth area. The city has a wide variety of family-friendly attractions and activities to choose from. First off, you can check out their zoo which houses more than 500 species of animals. This is especially perfect for those with kids who love reptiles. The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History is also a must for those with little travelers. Trust me, it’s totally worth it! This interactive museum is rich in dinosaurs and even has its own planetarium.
And for those adrenaline junkies, the whole family can go up and down and jump all around the Altitude Trampoline Park Fort Worth. For those who are looking for some summer fun, the place also has a Burger’s Lake where older children can slide, swing, and even dive if they can! But if you have younger children, you can opt to go to Hawaiian Falls. Be ready for some splashes, running, and fun as the little ones beat the heat. Your family can spend a good afternoon at the city’s oasis called Fort Worth Water Gardens. Or you can roam around the oldest botanic garden of Texas and even learn how to grow some plants. Don’t miss the city’s hallmark and watch a herd of Texas Longhorns driven right before your eyes.
4. Big Bend National Park
Don’t get intimidated by the long hikes and take the trip to Big Bend National Park with your family now. This place is packed with many interesting trails perfect for all ages. Conquer some of its kid-friendly areas and don’t forget to pack some snacks and meals with you. One of the best areas to hike around with kids is the Santa Elena Canyon. It also has some of the most amazing and breathtaking views. You can also visit the Chisos Basin but be sure to always keep an eye on your kids as the area is known to have bears and mountain lions roaming around.
If you’re up for some relaxing steam, you can also go to the Hot Springs Historic District. Swimming at the Rio Grande River is also encouraged as long as the water is calm. And to make this trip extra educational, visit the Fossil Discovery Exhibit with your kids to learn more about the park’s ancient thriving life. The place also has ranger-led tours and Junior Ranger programs for those who are interested. Overall, it’s a perfect destination for adventurous families, especially those who want to go on an RV trip.
Amarillo, Texas offers a range of places to visit with your kids. To start with, you can take a few hours to walk around the Amarillo Zoo. It features more of High Plains animals like buffalos that you don’t get to see around many other zoos. You can also visit the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum and get to know the fascinating history of the culture in the country. For those who are looking for a more science-y exploration, you can visit Don Harrington Discovery Center for a hands-on kids program.
For those who are up for exciting roller coaster rides and even water rides, bring your little ones to the famous Wonderland Park. This amusement park is actually the third largest theme park in Texas! And if your kids are fans of the movie “Cars”, they’ll surely love the Cadillac Ranch where overturned cars covered in graffiti are lined up. For much relaxing and laid-back travel, you can also have a breath of nature at the Amarillo Botanical Gardens. And to cap it off, visit the enormous Madame Queen, a train engine that will surely drop the jaws of your children!
Austin is known as one of the best vacation spots in Texas for the family, and for all the right reasons. The place is filled with both natural and man-made attractions that you can choose from. Are you ready for some awesome adventures? Bring your kids to the Inner Space Cavern where you’ll see interesting rock formations you won’t find elsewhere. Also, let your children develop a love for nature and gardening, and take them to Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farms. But if you’re feeling more old-fashioned, take them to Chaparral Ice to enjoy free skating and ice skating.
Austin also has a lot of parks to choose from for your kids to run free and explore. Among the list are Laguna Gloria and Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve, Patterson Park, Pease District Park, Zilker Metropolitan Park, McKinney Falls State Park, and Dinosaur Park. Depending on your needs or preferences, you can choose among these and let your children have some fun! Austin also offers indoor adventures like seeing the vast marine life as well as interacting with animals like sloths and femurs at the Austin Aquarium. But nothing beats the Texas Toy Museum filled with action figures your little ones will definitely appreciate.
7. San Antonio
San Antonio is a place your whole family will surely enjoy visiting. Of course, by now you should’ve noticed that Texas is filled with zoos, and San Antonio is no exception. The place boasts its behind-the-scenes where guests can get a glimpse of the life of animals including hippos, rhinos, and tortoises. And for the love of marine life, they have the San Antonio Aquarium, Aquatica, and SeaWorld San Antonio.
Amazing parks like Six Flags Fiesta Texas, Splashtown San Antonio, Morgan’s Wonderland are also a sure hit for the kids and kids at heart. The place also offers tons of trampoline adventures at the Urban Air Trampoline and Altitude Trampoline Park. But to take things to another level, why don’t you try flying? Let your kid experience the excitement of being up in the air at the iFly San Antonio. Trust me, they’ll love you for it!
Houston is so packed with tons of interesting activities for families that I can probably list a hundred of them! The area is much more sleek and sophisticated than others with its renowned opera houses. In fact, it’s among the busiest metropolitan cities of the country and is a major tourist spot. Enjoy stimulating and entertaining performances at the Express Children’s Theater and Main Street Theater or enjoy the lovely interactive Children’s Museum of Houston.
Among the popular destinations in the area is the Space Center Houston where you can get a tour at the NASA Johnson Space Center. Don’t forget to satisfy your child’s sweet tooth and go to The Chocolate Bar. Another interesting place is The Mad Potter where the little ones can learn to paint on potteries and bring them home. And, as usual, you can visit the city’s zoo to observe animals. There are definitely tons of amazing places to explore in this bustling city. So, it’s best to spend more days in this place if you want to see them all.
When planning to go to Waco, you’ve probably already heard of its most notable landmark, the Magnolia Market at the Silos. Here, you can shop a wide range of wares while the little ones run around the wide green lawn. Another place worth visiting is, of course, the Dr. Pepper Museum where you’ll learn the deep history of this homegrown drink.
For those who have kids who aspire to be part of the law enforcement, it’s time to give them a treat at the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum. You can even sign them up for the program! You can also check out the Waco National Mammoth Monument and see the unbelievable fossils of mammoths that once lived in the area. And to beat the heat, enjoy swimming around the Hawaiian Falls Water Park.
This city is often overlooked when thinking of Texas. But it’s actually the Christmas Capital of Texas, making it a great holiday vacation spot for families. To start, you can explore the Grapevine Mills which is a mall that houses LEGOLAND Discovery Center and SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium that your kids will surely love. Whether your little one’s into these toys or would love to have a close-up look at different sea creatures, you can do either or both in one area!
Also, the Grapevine Vintage Railroad permits guests to ride on these vintage trains with a special appearance of Santa during the Christmas season. Resorts like the Great Wolf Lodge are also specially designed with families and children in mind. So, if you’re looking for your next holiday family getaway, this could be just the spot for you!
And there you have it- the 10 best family vacation spots in Texas you can enjoy. Don’t forget to prepare for the heat especially during summer and pack accordingly. We hope this list has helped you plan your next visit and get the most of your time when exploring the area.