An Adventure Traveler's Guide to Texas

Biker in Palo Duro Canyon © Martin Konopacki
Biker in Palo Duro Canyon © Martin Konopacki
Don’t mess with Texas – but you can mess around in Texas if you’re in need of a quick adrenaline rush. Check out these hair-raising adventures while making your way across the Lone Star State.

North Texas

Bungee jump in Dallas

Take the plunge at Zero Gravity Thrill Park, the only place in Dallas where you can jump seven stories right in the heart of the city. They offer not only affordable jumps at around $30 per person but also a flawless safety record and optional video footage to show off your bravery to your friends who missed out on the experience.

Zero Gravity Thrill Park, 11131 Malibu Dr, Dallas, TX, USA, +1 972 484 8359

Hike, bike, and zipline at Palo Duro Canyon

Palo Duro Canyon is located in the Texas Panhandle near Amarillo and boasts the second largest canyon in the U.S., garnering the nickname “The Grand Canyon of Texas.” It’s a hub for adrenaline junkies in the area, with plenty of trails to mountain bike and hike, as well as rappelling, bouldering, and ziplining.

Palo Duro Canyon, 11450 State Hwy Park Rd 5, Canyon, TX, USA, +1 806 488 2227

Central Texas

Indoor skydive in Austin

If you’re feeling a bit nervous about jumping out of a plane at 30,000 feet (9,144 meters), why don’t you get your feet wet by “skydiving” inside first? iFly in Austin simulates skydiving with an indoor wind tunnel producing a smooth column of air that allows you to get the feeling of free falling. You can wing it or purchase time with one of their coaches to learn the art of “bodyflight.”

iFly, 13265 US-183 A, Austin, TX, USA, +1 512 774 4359

Cliff jump in Wimberley

Jacob’s Well Natural Area in Wimberley includes over 80 acres of preserved land, encompassing the namesake spring. It’s open year-round, though swimming in the constant 68-degree Fahrenheit (20-degree Celsius) water is only permitted from May through October. Cliff jumping is reserved for the brave, though the most serious adventurers around these parts are the cave researchers, the only people allowed to explore Jacob’s Well’s deep cave system.

Jacob’s Well Natural Area, 1699 Mt Sharp Rd, Wimberley, TX, USA, +1 512 847 2140

Wakesurf in Austin

Lake Austin and the Colorado River give visitors the opportunity to not only sunbathe and boat but also to wakesurf. There are numerous wakesurfing schools in the area, permitting the water levels are high enough to venture out.

Wakesurfer © Justin Jenson

West Texas

Raft down the Rio Grande

While you won’t find wild whitewater rafting on the Rio Grande in Texas, you can try an array of more casual escapades. Take the family along for a half-day float, or spend multiple days paddling downstream and camping along the way. There are even gourmet-oriented trips for foodies.

Santa Elena Canyon © David Fulmer / Flickr

Rock climb in Big Bend

Once you’ve made your way downstream via raft, get a different view of Big Bend by rock climbing up and rappelling down. Some of Big Bend can be unstable, so be sure to wear a helmet and grab a climbing guide from the National Park Service. Additionally, no bolting is allowed, so choose your path wisely.

Big Bend National Park, TX, USA, +1 432 477 2251

East Texas / Gulf Coast

Kayak through Buffalo Bayou Park

Houston isn’t all urban jungle – get a different view of the skyline by kayaking through Buffalo Bayou Park. This 160-acre area also offers hiking and biking trails, dog parks, a skatepark, and boat rentals, offering plenty of adventure for multi-day visitors.

Buffalo Bayou Park, 1800 Allen Pkwy & Memorial Drive, Houston, TX, USA, +1 713 752 0314

Go deep sea fishing in Galveston

Bring a unique souvenir home from deep sea fishing escapades in Galveston. There are a range of trips to suit different skill levels, and the price of your trip usually includes equipment and refreshments. Not feeling up to catching your own fish? Spectators are often allowed onboard for half the price.

Galveston Fishing © Sarah Worthy

South Texas

Scuba dive in South Padre Island

American Diving in South Padre Island offers professionally guided snorkeling trips in addition to scuba diving trips and instruction. You can swim to the Mexican border, explore old pirate hideouts, or simply watch for pods of dolphins from the boat.

American Diving, 1 Padre Blvd, South Padre Island, TX, USA, +1 956 761 2030

Bungee jump in South Padre Island

If going deep into the ocean isn’t your thing, you can go high above sea level at Gravity Adventure Park. This park offers not one, but two bungee jumping adventures: the Bungee Grande, the highest bungee jump in Texas, and the Rocket, the tallest reverse bungee jump in the world.

Gravity Adventure Park, 106 W Marlin St, South Padre Island, TX, USA, +1 956 761 8588