Given the sheer size of our Lone Star State, we’re guessing that most of you haven’t had the chance to see everything that Texas has to offer. From the coast to the big cities to the mountains and all the beautiful countryside in between, Texas offers amazingly diverse areas to explore. Want to hit the road and have some travel adventures with the kids? Below you’ll find some of our top picks for where to go when you get the chance to buckle up and head out on an old-fashioned family road trip.
Dinosaur Valley State Park
Approximate drive time: 3 hours
Take the kids for a walk in real dino tracks! Famous for having some of the best preserved dinosaur tracks in the world, this park is located in Glen Rose, TX on the Paluxy River where you can see footprints in and around the riverbed. Enjoy plenty of dinosaur-themed things and camp, picnic, hike, mountain bike, swim, fish, go geocaching, and ride horses. Click here for park hours and entrance & camping fees. Take note that dinosaur tracks are in the riverbed and are not always visible due to wet conditions or weather. So you will want to visit the park’s Facebook page or Twitter feed prior to arrival for current trail status and dinosaur track visibility. While you’re in the area, you can also check out Dinosaur World, Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, and the Glen Rose Historic Courthouse Square.
Approximate drive time: 4 hours
Beyond a basic beach vacation, Galveston is rich with history, making a fun and educational destination. Once one of the most bustling ports of entries in the entire nation, the island city was nearly decimated by a hurricane in 1900, which remains the deadliest natural disaster in United States’ history. You can learn about the history of the Port of Galveston at the Texas Seaport Museum & 1877 Tall Ship Elissa. Admire the beautiful centuries-old architecture at The Grand 1894 Opera House or the opulent Hotel Galvez. Galveston is also home to the fantastic Moody Gardens, with aquariums, IMAX theaters, art exhibits, and more. Of course, no visit to Galveston is complete without plenty of fun in the sun on the beach as well as rides and carnival games on Pleasure Pier.
Big Bend National Park
Approximate drive time: 8 hours
Head way out west to one of the most awe-inspiring stretches of landscape in the state at Big Bend National Park. Take in the views of giant canyons, sprawling desert flora, cliffs, peaks, and abundant wildlife. The park features river trips, horseback riding, air tours. Big Bend is also known as one of the best places in all of North America for star gazing – a fact due to it having the least amount of light pollution of any other National Park in the lower 48 states. Read about our visit to Big Bend with the kids…
Approximate drive time: 2 hours, 45 min.
The fourth-largest city in the U.S. also has the one of the tallest skylines in the country. Houston is packed with a wide variety of cuisines, museums and art galleries. Take the kids to the NASA’s Johnson Space Center, the Houston Zoo, or the Children’s Museum of Houston. Or plan a visit in late winter to check out the famous Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo or in the spring for the annual Art Car Parade.
Approximate drive time: 4 hours
Slow down and chill will the fam at “Port A”, where beach life is all about relaxation. Get around on golf carts, hang out on miles of open beach, and enjoy fresh seafood. Spend a few hours at Port Aransas Nature Preserve or do some fishing on the pier. If you’re planning a trip in the spring be sure to get the details of the annual Texas SandFest where you can see giant sand sculptures like no other!
Approximate drive time: 2 hours, 20 min.
Get away from it all and say “howdy” to your inner cowboy in Bandera County. Know as the “Cowboy Capitol of of the World”, this is a great destination to put on your boots and cowboy hat, relax on a ranch, ride horses, and boot-scoot around a dusty dance floor. While the tiny little town area is mostly packed with honky tonk bars, antique shops and Western wear boutiques, the kids can stick to the dude ranches, such as Flying L or Dixie Dude Ranch, where there are plenty of activities to keep the family busy. Enjoy the great outdoors at the Hill Country State Natural Area or along one of the top-rated scenic drives of the Hill Country.
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