Some say an apple a day, we say how about a weekend getaway! A quick trip close to home may be just what the doctor ordered to put some pep back in your step. Take a minute to drool over our top picks for the best weekend getaways in Texas. From small town shopping to lakeside lounging, one of these delicious spots will surely have you packing your trusty weekender.
The Best Weekend Getaways in Texas for Families
The Highland Lakes
The Highland Lakes are a chain of six lakes in central Texas formed by sequential dams along the Colorado River. The largest, Lake Buchanan, is about 80 miles northwest of Austin. The others are Inks Lake, Lake LBJ, Lake Marble Falls, Lake Travis, and Lake Austin.
Pick a spot on any one of these lakes and get busy with a variety of water activities including boating, fishing, water skiing, and swimming. Spring will bring the spectacular vistas of wildflower fields, while summer is going to be the best time to cool off in the water.
Looking to commune with nature? Try the Canyon of the Eagles Resort on Lake Buchanan or camping at Inks Lake State Park. Poolside margarita more your style? Head to Horseshoe Bay Resort on Lake LBJ or Lakeway Resort and Spa on Lake Travis.
See our Top 25 Family Resorts in Texas post for more details on these resorts and more.
Families flock to Galveston, a coastal town about an hour southeast of Houston, in pursuit of an easy weekend getaway in Texas with something for everyone. Relax on the beach, explore the Moody Gardens Aquarium, indulge in cotton candy on Pleasure Pier, and so much more.
Check out our Over 20 Fun Things to Do in Galveston with Kids article for tons of ideas on what to do on your Galveston weekend getaway.
The Woodlands is a large, master planned development nestled in the pine forests of eastern Texas, just under 30 miles north of Houston. Town Center is located right along the edge of Lake Woodlands, with the Woodlands Waterway winding its way through town before connecting with the lake.
Families can shop and dine at Market Street, kayak the Woodlands Waterway, enjoy a delicious meal with a view of Lake Woodlands on Restaurant Row at Hugh’s Landing, or catch a concert at the outdoor music pavilion.
Beyond town center, there are 200+ miles of hike and bike trails to explore, including in The George Mitchell Nature Preserve. Don’t miss an adventure for big kids at Texas Treeventures or a visit to The Woodlands Children’s Museum and the Play Street Museum for families with little ones.
The Fort Davis Mountains
The Fort Davis Mountains jut out of the surrounding desert, providing both a visual respite from the wide open spaces of West Texas and a physical respite from the desert heat. The town of Fort Davis sits right around 5,000 feet, while the highest peak in the range reaches almost 8,500 ft.
The major attraction in the area is the McDonald Observatory, located in certified dark skies and home to some of the largest telescopes in the world. The Observatory offers guided tours and hosts star parties.
Other nearby sights in the area include Fort Davis National Historic Site, Davis Mountains State Park, the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center, and the Museum of the Big Bend.
We didn’t include Big Bend National Park in this list because it’s really hard to conquer that beast in a weekend. However, if you want to dedicate more time to exploring west Texas, including Big Bend, check out our list of the Top 10 Attractions on a West Texas Road Trip.
Port Aransas on Mustang Island in the Gulf of Mexico is probably the most well-loved beach town in Texas. It’s got just the right mix of laid back, beachy vibes and tourist attractions. Make yourself at home in one of the town’s many funky beach houses and enjoy a weekend in the sun, sand, and surf.
See our list of 8 Things to Do in Port Aransas, Texas for details.
Fredericksburg is the tourist hub of the Texas Hill Country. Build an appetite climbing to the top of Enchanted Rock before hitting the shops and eateries on Main Street. Conveniently located in downtown, the National Museum of the Pacific War is well worth a visit.
The Texas Hill Country has so many more scenic vistas and adorable small towns. Intrigued? Consider setting aside more than a weekend to take the Ultimate 5 Day Texas Hill Country Road Trip.
Waco sits right between Austin and Dallas along the I-35 corridor. It still has a small town vibe despite Chip and Joanna Gaines putting it on the national radar with their wildly popular HGTV show, Fixer Upper.
Even if your family doesn’t care one bit about interior design, Waco is a great weekend getaway in Texas thanks to a few key attractions beyond the Magnolia Silos. Spend the day at the Cameron Park Zoo, the Homestead Craft Village, Cameron Park, the Waco Mammoth National Monument, or Lake Waco.
Check out 12 Terrific Things to Do in Waco with Kids for more!
South Padre Island
South Padre Island is the vacation town on the southern tip of Padre Island. It’s a haven for college spring breakers in March, but a great beach getaway for families the rest of the year due to great temperatures year round, the clearest water in Texas, and plenty of opportunities for family fun.
Go horseback riding on the beach, visit Beach Park at Island Blanca for some amazing waterslides, jet ski in Dolphin Cove, or head to a sea turtle hospital and witness these incredible creatures being rehabilitated. Read our 10 Fun Things to Do in South Padre Island for details.
Almost two hours east of Dallas, Tyler is the glistening gem of east Texas. The azalea and dogwood blooms of spring and the rose blooms of the fall perfectly bookend a good ‘ole Texas summer in the woods or on the lake.
Families with young children will love Discovery Science Place, the Caldwell Zoo, and Waterpark of the Villages. Families with older children may want to focus on hiking through the pines at Tyler State Park, a round of golf at Lunar Mini Golf of Tyler, and a show at the Hudnall Planetarium. Of course, don’t forget to stop and smell the roses at the Tyler Rose Garden.
If staying right in town doesn’t appeal to your family, consider the Jellystone Park at Whispering Pines. It’s just on the other side of Tyler State Park from town. Be warned though, there’s so much to do on the park grounds, you may never actually make it into town.
Tyler is also on our list of the 10 Best Day Trips from Dallas.
Shopping, shows, and train rides, oh my!
Grapevine is a half hour northwest of Dallas. It became a settlement in 1844 after General Sam Houston negotiated a treaty with the local Native American tribes to allow settlers to homestead in the area. Historic downtown showcases much of the local history, where homages to the past mingle with contemporary galleries, shops, and restaurants.
Take a ride on the Grapevine Vintage Railroad, and don’t miss the live action story of the “Would-Be Train Robbers” at the Glockenspiel Clock Tower. Learn even more by visiting the Settlement to City Museums and Nash Farm, or strolling the Public Art Trail. To wrap up the day, The Texas Star Dinner Theater features a comedic murder mystery set in the Wild West.
When you are done with small town life, take a refreshing swim in Lake Grapevine. There are multiple parks with fishing, hiking trails, swimming beaches, and boat rentals on the lake.
We especially recommend visiting Grapevine during the holiday season. Discover why Grapevine is the Christmas Capital of Texas.
Garner State Park
Garner State Park offers families a chance to enjoy what most epitomizes the outdoors in Texas – spending the day in the river.
Frolic in the Frio River all day and tell stories around the campfire all evening. The scenery in the green river valley is spectacular, especially the Cypress trees along the water’s edge. The park offers screened shelters, tent sites, and cabins for accommodations.
Palo Duro Canyon
Lots of people don’t know that the second largest canyon in the country is in Texas, about 30 minutes south of Amarillo. Head to the canyon to unplug and spend your days hiking this unique landscape of rugged red cliffs and rocky outcroppings. Don’t miss the trek to Lighthouse Rock for incredible views of the red canyon below.
Both Palo Duro Canyon State Park and Garner State Park (above) are included in our roundup of the 17 Best State Parks in Texas. If state parks are your jam, be sure to check that out!
Frisco aka Sports City USA
Listen up sporty families (including those that consider video games a sport), this is your dream weekend getaway in Texas! A weekend in Frisco would be the perfect treat for dad on Father’s Day weekend, his birthday, or a father and son getaway.
Frisco is home to the FC Dallas soccer team, the NBA G League Texas Legends, the MiLB Frisco Rough Riders, and the practice facility for the NFL Dallas Cowboys and the NHL Dallas Stars.
This pretty much guarantees you can watch a great game and see some impressive facilities no matter what time of year you visit. Additionally, the National Video Game Museum and the National Soccer Hall of Fame are in Frisco and well worth a visit.
As if that wasn’t enough, Frisco has a cute downtown lined with shops and restaurants and is a stone’s throw from Dallas if your family is looking for even bigger adventures.