“Everything is bigger in Texas.”
True that! My family has lived in Plano, TX for 10 years now and people we meet on travels often ask what’s there to do in Texas, where should they go, and which cities are our favorites.
There are so many places to visit in Texas.
That’s why this Texas Travel Guide really helps families find ideas for things to do in Texas. You’ll see why we say… “It’s BIG in Texas, right?”
This post contains affiliate links.
Places to visit in Texas: Dallas Fort Worth Area
Although there are some great places to visit in Texas, you don’t have to travel that far to enjoy some of the best road trip spots for a family vacation.
Step back in time and go West of Dallas to the sprawling city of Fort Worth, famous for cattle drives, Cowboys, and some of the best rodeos and museums in North Texas. Each afternoon, kids and adults alike love the daily cattle drive in the Stockyards area, but there are so many more things to do in Fort Worth.
Just east of Downtown Dallas, you’ll find a DFW city with some great amusement parks, things to do and restaurants to try in Mesquite, Texas. Here are 5 unique spots we love!
Home to both the infamous Dinosaur footprints, big stones park and Fossil Rim, our local Safari Park where you can see some of the most fun big animals, Giraffes included within a 2 hour distance from Dallas.
You don’t have to go far for a unique staycation place to try and explore new areas around Dallas Fort Worth. These are our favorite local places you can rent and try out.
One of the most popular lakes, within 90 minutes drive (the Northern most part of the lake is about an hour away) is huge and offers some great places to stay. See our review of one place we stayed at recently!
Speaking of lakes, if you head North of DFW and head towards Oklahoma you’ll find some great cabins, camping and home rentals to choose from. These are some of our best picks.
Another way to get around is to rent an RV and stay in a mobile home, when you leave the DFW area.
Looking for a staycation resort that has an indoor or outdoor water park within a short driving distance of Dallas Fort Worth? We have chosen 6 of our favorites.
Although it’s a long drive to the Ocean from North Texas, we are lucky to have some great rivers, many of which are close to Hill Country and the Central Texas region. So grab your tube and jump in!
Places to visit: Paris, Texas
A trip to Paris, TX is an easy day trip from DFW area. Go and see the 65-foot-tall Eiffel Tower replica topped with a big cowboy hat, it is one of those Instagrammable places, so you got to have that perfect shot.
You can also walk around Historic Downtown Paris and the town square where you see the Culbertson Fountain and take a tour of the historic Sam Bell Maxey House.
If you want a trip further north, we’ve found some really fun things to do with kids in Oklahoma City!
Places to visit in Texas: Central Texas
The State Capital, Austin has it all – river boats, history, the State Capitol and some of the best restaurants, nightlife spots and life music venues, as well as great places to stay.
We have some great deals for fun Tours to book ahead and save money in Austin!
Ok, not everything is big in Texas ….Founded in 1832, Bastrop is known as the most historic small town in Texas, in which the earliest known origins were as a meeting ground for the Native American Indians.
Its natural beauty will draw you close to this town, and a walk through the historic downtown is like stepping back in time.
According to Bastrop Economic Development Corporation (EDC), the number of buildings listed in the National Register of Historic Places has earned Bastrop the title “Most Historic Small Town in Texas.”
The Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort is just a few miles away, from Bastrop, which makes it a perfect place to stay while in the area.
However, there are other hotels, vacation rentals, and Bed and breakfast places available in the area.
And if you’re looking for a more rugged experience, why not try one of the many camp sites around the State of Texas. Join Melissa as she shares her top tips and itinerary for a fun weekend hiking and enjoying the Colorado Bend State Park, just north west of Austin.
San Antonio is a must, for a long weekend or a quick getaway. It’s not just the Alamo and the Riverwalk! Get 25 of our best ideas for things to do for family fun.
San Antonio is known to most people as the home of the Alamo, the River Walk, and the San Antonio River. You can explore the rich history of this city from the earliest Spanish explorations to Mexican rule and the Texas Republic.
Moreover, you will be delighted of the Riverwalk, what a fun place to dine, shop, and to just have a good time. This place is sure what makes San Antonio so unique!
If you are looking for some delicious Tex-Mex food, then you are in for a treat because as many say, San Antonio takes Tex-Mex so seriously.
Try out some Tex-Mex street food at the nearby La Gloria which was apparently created to celebrate the rich and delicious street foods from interior Mexico.
It specializes in tacos al pastor, ceviches, and tlayudas, a sort of open-faced taco covered with refried beans, meat, cheese, and more. La Gloria means “the heavens” and they do wish that you experience heaven on earth through their food. Come and take, er, get it.
Waco is known for a few things: the birthplace of Dr Pepper, the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame – but there is so much more to Waco to explore.
Known as the largest water park in the world, this Texan staple is at the heart of New Braunfels. Check out what we thought about it!
Another one of the great places to visit in Texas, Gruene Hall in New Braunfels which opened in 1878, is one of the oldest dance halls in Texas – a real piece of history in the United States.
And if you want some more natural water than a water park provides the Frio River is arguably the most popular river to tube in the Summer. But don’t plan your trip until you read our Top Tips!
It’s like an amusement park inside a hotel but with so much more. The Kalahari Resort is a great addition to the many places to visit in Texas.
While you’re in the area, we’ve picked our favorite AirBnb places you can stay in! Some of these are very unique!
A must-visit city in Texas, I should say! Located in the heart of Texas Hill Country, Fredericksburg is a charming small city that will make you wonder if you are still in Texas. Its German heritage is reflected today in its food, architecture, and traditions.
The vineyards and wineries are abundant in the Texas Hill Country, and each of them offers different unique flavors – from sweet whites to deep reds.
Also, the trip is not complete without checking out the 100+ boutiques and art galleries lining its historic Main Street and beyond.
For the history buffs, visit the National Museum of the Pacific War where you can learn more about the war, and Fleet Admiral Nimitz, who was from the area.
Heading to Central and South Texas?
Save money on access to all these venues with a Pogo Pass
Places to visit in Texas: West Texas, East and South Texas
Are you looking for something different?
Then Marfa is the perfect place for you. In the past years, this small city has been a favorite to many A-listers and celebrities. You may wonder why and so here is the answer.
Well-known as an art hub, Marfa, is the home to the famous Chinati Foundation/La Fundación Chinati contemporary art museum, where art installations are scattered all over this desert town, including the famous Prada Marfa. When artist Donald Judd created this “museum”, he definitely put Marfa on the art world map.
This place is cool, Boho, beautiful, unique and mystical.
If you dared to drive the 8.5 hours from the DFW area, then we suggest you might as well visit the Big Bend National Park, which is about another 1.5 hrs away.
We recommend you consider purchasing a Tadi Brothers Driving Safety Camera before your journey to provide essential cameras to protect your family.
Some of our Best Picks for Experiences in Texas
Big Bend National Park
Nothing fits the bill of “everything is bigger in Texas” more than the Big Bend National Park and boy, it’s big and then some!
This park is a national treasure hidden in the southwest corner of Texas which offers nature lovers, and visitors beautiful scenic vistas, lots of hiking trail options, and the Rio Grande River for all sorts of water activities like float trips, kayaking, canoeing, etc.
Moreover, your night will never be the same again; the park has some of the darkest night sky which is perfect for stargazing.
Although this park is tucked in the far most southwest corner of Texas and quite challenging to get to it is going to be worth your travel time.
Palo Duro Canyon State Park
“Palo Duro Canyon has been described as a 100-mile smile across the Texas Panhandle”. It is the 2nd largest canyon in America and one of America’s most magnificent scenic attractions, located just 30 minutes from downtown Amarillo.
Outdoor enthusiasts should make their way to Palo Duro Canyon State Park. Its stunning trails through million-year-old caprock formations are one of the most beautiful places you see in all of Texas.
Start planning a family weekend of hiking, horseback riding, biking, camping or some relaxing.
If you’re looking for a more strenous challenge, you may want to head to the Guadalupe Mountains National Park to climb the Guadalupe Peak, which is 90 miles east of El Paso in South Texas.
Corpus Christi, located on the Gulf of Mexico, is a beautiful beach destination that is a short drive from the DFW area.
The Padre Island National Seashore is home to migratory birds and endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtles.
It is the largest undeveloped barrier island in the world; the Seashore is more than 130,000 acres of dunes, grasslands, and beaches.
So, if you wanted to get back into nature, this place is waiting for you.
South Padre Island
Are you missing the island life?
Just right off the southern tip of Texas, on the Gulf of Mexico, is a beautiful tropical paradise, South Padre Island.
There is something magical about being by the beach, walking onto the soft white sand, smelling the gentle ocean breeze, hearing the sound of waves, and watching a beautiful sunset. It is pure bliss!
If you head to Port Aransas and a little further east, you’ll find the Mustang Island State Park.
Places to visit in Texas: Lakes, Beaches, Water Parks, State and National Parks
We are blessed to have some great choices of lakes and inland beaches (as well as coastal beaches around the South Coast – Galveston, Port Aransas and close by). We give you 45 different options to inspire your trip.
And if you’re a hiker or a nature lover, we share 32 of our favorite State and National Parks around the State of Texas.
Road trips are popular with families, as they’re a practical and budget-friendly way to show your kids and family members some great spots around the area.
And if being in the water is your thing, we have a huge guide