23 Most amazing family road trip ideas in Texas are right here.
There’s no place like Texas. And there’s no better way to experience it than a road trip with your family. We’ve put together 23 of the most amazing family road trip ideas in Texas so you can get out there and explore this great state with your loved ones. Some may be obvious, and some might not have even crossed your mind. It’s worth a look. I have a 13-year-old grandson that I raise who will get mighty bored if we don’t go anywhere, so I’m off to find fun things for us and you, too!
Whether you’re looking for something that’ll get everyone talking or just looking for an easy ride through some beautiful scenery, we’ve got you covered.
Family Road Trip Ideas In Texas
If you’re planning a kid-friendly trip, these ideas are some of the most common. Considering factors such as length of stay, the age of your children, and if you want to take your pet, you can plan a vacation that your kids and yourself will remember forever.
1. Texas State Parks
Camp out at your nearest state park or another one further down the road. State parks offer kids outdoor activities, like canoeing, hiking, geocaching, swimming, etc. If you’re not a tent camper like me, some state parks have cabins and screened shelters with cots to rent. We like to go geocaching in state parks because they make sure the treasure is usually there, unlike some places we’ve been to where there’s nothing to find when you get there. Be sure you download the geocaching app before you leave home.
I’ll never forget our day trip to Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, TX. Seeing those dinosaur footprints for the first time was a woozer. Besides searching for dinosaur tracks in the cold water, the kids also went geocaching, had a picnic, and hiked as much as possible until we got tired. If you go to this state park, Fossil Rim Wildlife Center is a short drive and close to Dinosaur World. You could probably make a pretty fun weekend right in Glen Rose.
Or how about a hatchery tour at Sea Center Texas? It’s under the umbrella of the Texas State Parks located in Lake Jackson, TX, near Brazosport …and admission is free.
2. Texas Water Parks Trip Ideas In Texas
Water parks in Texas are preparing for their opening day in May, and some offer specials on season passes. Take a look here at the Texas Water Parks Open for 2023.
3. Jellystone Parks In Texas
Why yes, Yogi Bear still exists! Did you know there are five Jellystone Parks in Texas? They are all spread out in the Lone Star State. Earlier this month, my grandson and I enjoyed staying at the North Texas Jellystone Park in Burleson, TX. He had a blast, and I got to act like a kid, too!
The other four are in or near Tyler, Houston, Texas Hill Country, and San Antonio.
And, if you vacation with your grandkids, you may want to read about the best Texas towns to visit with your grandkids. I’ve taken mine to a lot of them.
4. Texas Area Lakes
We have tons of lakes to use. And I’m sure camping spots will fill up quickly in summer and fall. If you’re not a tent camper, this is the year to try it out. Yikes, I can’t believe I said that!! But bring your kayak and stay in the water all day or fish from the bank or a pier. This is probably one of the cheapest vacations you and the kids will enjoy.
5. Stay In A Yurt Or Glamping Tent
Do you know that companies like Hipcamp, Tentrr, and Airbnb have yurts, glamping tents, and camping areas that may be in the next town over from you? Staying in a yurt or glamping tent is an experience; some are on a river, lake, or in the woods. You never know where they might be unless you look. Try looking up the next town from you and seeing what you find.
6. Staycation At A Nearby Hotel or A Resort
Have you noticed some of these new hotels have more amenities than ever? Like live music at night, an outdoor lounge area with yard lights lit up at night, drink specials at the bar for the adults, and more. The ones that come to mind are Texican Court in Las Colinas and Cavalry Court in College Station.
Or what about a resort hotel with many amenities for kids and families? Great Wolf Lodge might not be a bad idea. No spoiling the fun with that indoor pool.
7. Stay At A Guest Ranch
Depending on where you live, you may have a guest ranch near you. But if not, maybe a short road trip might be worth it. Guest Ranches have some activities on the ranch, like horseback riding and perhaps fishing, but indeed, time out in nature, hiking, and good hearty meals. Check it out.
8. Rent An RV
Camping season is upon us, and road-tripping in an RV for the first time might be fun. There are over 18,000 campgrounds in Texas that allow RVs. The pets can come, you make your meals if you want, and some campgrounds have fun weekly activities all lined up. And, best of all, you don’t have to go that far to enjoy an RV camping experience. Ending the day with a homemade meal cooked over the campfire or portable grill would be heaven for this girl. This could very well be an inexpensive road trip you’ve been looking for.
There is even a website where you can actually go to the campsite of your wish and rent an RV that is already hooked up, so all you have to do is make it your home for however long you rented it.
Try GOrving.com for that.
9. Take A Zipline Road Trip
Indeed, there is a zipline course near you. Take the whole family and go ziplining for the day. It’s an adventure and one I must confess that I love. Maybe that’s why I’m mentioning it here. I know not everyone loves the idea of flying through the air attached to a cable, but it sure is fun! My kid loves it, too. In the above photo, we were at the NY Texas Zipline Course in LaRue, TX (East Texas). That’s the city of Tyler behind us.
10. Find A Haunted Town
There are haunted towns and places in Texas just waiting for you. Most are haunted all year long – HA! Check out the Haunted Towns and Places In Texas that we found. Halloween might be the only time you’ll find a haunted house, but haunted towns are year-round destinations …because they’re haunted!!
11. Trek A National Park In Texas
Big Bend National Park has abundant outdoor adventures and would make a fantastic Texas road trip with the family. Providing you all like the outdoors, this is a great place for a day hike with great views of the mountains and the Rio Grande. It would be an unforgettable family vacation for sure. Bring more water than you think you’ll ever need.
There are entrance fees per vehicle. Last year it was $30. FYI, if you have a Texas State Park pass, you won’t be able to use it here.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park is Texas’ other national park in far West Texas and east of El Paso. You may want to go here if you like hiking ancient fossil reefs. Entrance fees here are $10 a person.
12. South Padre Island
If you don’t like crowds, you may want to go to the beach in the off-season, but the weather is still great. It doesn’t ever get that cold in Padre, so going any time other than summer is good.
13. Port Aransas Beach
Again, going to a beach in the off-season may be a better choice for you and your family. Not only will it be less crowded, but prices may have dropped as it goes into its off-season. I remember a time when my grandson swam at the beach in October. We had no idea that could be possible and didn’t pack his swimsuit. We let him go in – clothes and all.
14. New Braunfels For The Win
There is much to do in the town all year round. The Guadalupe River is fun any time …but the water does get cold. Many restaurants and places to stay are all over town, from cabins on the rivers to hotels and Airbnb.
15. Canoe The Colorado River
Canoeing the Colorado River is a great option for beginners. When I was there many years ago, there weren’t many rapids in the water, so it wasn’t terrifying. But hey, I’m terrified of large white caps!
Here are the towns the river runs through – take your pick.
Marble Falls, Austin, Bastrop, Smithville, La Grange, Columbus, Wharton, and Bay City.
16. Road Trip to Small Towns East of Dallas
My thought is the four towns that make up Washington County – Brenham, Caldwell, Washington, & Burton. There are a lot of historic sites in this part of Texas, especially in Washington, where 59 delegates from all parts of Texas met at Washington, Texas, to formally declare independence from Mexico and to sign the papers. There’s even a tour guide to tell you all about it. I took my grandson when he was in the 5th grade, and he was so interested because he had already studied it in school. Each small town has something they boast about.
17. Fort Worth Stockyards
I highly recommend Cowtown, aka the Fort Worth Stockyards, especially if you’ve never been. You need to go to this place at least once in your life to say you’ve been there. Cattle drives happen every day at 11 am and again at 4 pm. It resembles the legendary Chisholm Trail from the late 1800s when cowboys and wranglers took the cattle down south to Abilene, Kansas.
18. Hike Enchanted Rock
After a long day of hiking Enchanted Rock, go into the town of Fredericksburg, TX, and have a glass of wine. There is a tasting room on just about every corner. You’ll want to make sure to spend some time in the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area for its scenic views of the mountains. Everyone who goes is in awe. Make reservations online before you go; all state parks only allow a certain number of people inside at a time. This park is busy, especially on a Saturday.
19. Palo Duro Canyon – Texas Panhandle
Palo Duro Canyon, a Natural Wonder of Texas, should be on everyone’s travel list soon or later. It’s just as beautiful as the Grand Canyon. And if your family is into ziplining, you can do that over the canyon. You’ll forever want to do it again …but that’s coming from someone who got the ziplining bug after her first trip here.
If road tripping here, stop and see the Cadillacs all lined up in a row at the iconic Cadillac Ranch.
Tip: Bring a can of spray paint for each person and let them make their mark on the cars – yes, it’s allowed.
20. Corpus Christi
Heard of Lively Beach? It’s a resort that caters to Corpus Christi beaches. It’s on Mustang Island, where everything is happening. Look for better deals in the off-season here too.
21. Galveston Island Beach
You can always take a road trip to Galveston. The food is good, and the beaches are okay. The entire family will have fun at Pleasure Pier. Stay until the evening when the party really starts! Moody Gardens would be an excellent place to check out – it’s got something fun for the whole family.
22. Go Tubing Down The Frio River
One of the best road trips I’ve taken with my grandson. We went four years ago and stayed with my uncle and his family. Brody had a blast jumping off the rocks and tubing down the river. Garner State Park is nearby, too, and I hear that this park has remarkable views.
23. San Marcos
San Marcos River in Central Texas, about 30 miles south of Austin right off Interstate 35, is a great place to consider for a family road trip in Texas. Though the river is cold, you’ll get used to it! I’m not really fond of cold water, but the kids love it. Tubing the San Marcos River is pretty cool if you’ve never done it. There are also places to jump off into the water. That’s what I remember when I was there as a kid.
I hope you’ve got something out of these family road trip ideas in Texas and are on your way to somewhere good!