The Best Vacation Spots in Texas for Families

Alex Mellon /
Alex Mellon / | © Culture Trip
Sarah Karney

Planning a trip for the whole family? Texas, with its vast landscapes and diverse attractions, offers a treasure of destinations perfectly tailored for families in search of fun, relaxation, and lasting memories. These Texas vacation spots offer fun for all ages, wherever you go in the Lone Star State.
Did you know – Culture Trip now does bookable, small-group trips? Pick from authentic, immersive Epic Trips, compact and action-packed Mini Trips and sparkling, expansive Sailing Trips.

South Padre Island

Take a relaxing beach trip to South Padre Island. There are tons of hotels and large condos for families of all sizes to stay in, many within walking distance to the white-sandy beaches. The ocean brings with it a range of activities, including jet skiing, fishing, surfing and dolphin watching. For a more high-energy activity, check out the Schlitterbahn, a huge water and amusement park with slides, rides, on-site lodging and eateries.

A view above the bird blinds at South Padre Island, Texas

Dallas

Downtown Dallas from the air

San Antonio, Texas

Take a leisurely trip downstream on one of the boats on the San Antonio Riverwalk, then stop by one of the bordering restaurants for an authentic Tex-Mex meal. Catch a Spurs basketball game at the AT&T Center, or visit the DoSeum, an interactive kid’s museum. The Alamo is a great place to explore and learn about Texas history. San Antonio also has quite a few unique attractions: families can go on a 400-acre safari at the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch as well as dine and get 360-degree views of the city from 750 feet up at the Tower of the Americas.

Part of the San Antonio riverwalk with buildings and restaurants lining the river

Houston

Houston boasts some of Texas’s best family-friendly attractions. Stop by the Space Center to meet an astronaut, see real space gear, and visit Mission Control. The Downtown Aquarium doubles as an amusement park and also features a restaurant surrounded by a 150,000-gallon aquarium. The Houston Museum of Natural Science is also great for kids, and its butterfly center in a simulated rainforest is a must-see for all ages.

Houston’s skyline seen from Buffalo Bayou Park

Marfa, Texas

Leave behind the bustling city life and take a vacation in Marfa. An adventure in Big Bend National Park alone could occupy you for weeks, with horseback riding, bird watching, hiking, rafting and camping. At night, keep an eye out for the Marfa lights, mysterious orbs that occasionally light up the night sky. Scientists are yet to provide conclusive answers on this strange phenomenon. If your family finds camping is a bit too primitive and prefers a hotel, stay at the luxurious and historic Hotel Paisano.

Downtown Marfa, West Texas

Fort Worth

Fort Worth, Texas, cattle drive

Though it is located close to Dallas, Fort Worth is a town all of its own and one of the most family-friendly Texas vacation spots. The Fort Worth Stockyards features a taste of old Texas with two daily cattle walks led by real cowboys, along with shops, rodeos and restaurants. The Fort Worth Zoo is one of the best in the state, hosting close to 7,000 exotic animals. The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History is also worth a visit for all ages, with an IMAX dome, planetarium, and a variety of exhibits inside.

Fort Worth skyline and buildings at dusk

Grapevine, Texas

Grapevine is not, as some may think, just an extension of Dallas and Fort Worth, and it has its own unique attractions, like LEGOLAND Discovery Center, which features rides and playscapes. The Parr Park Sprayground is a 31-acre park with plenty of dry and water-based playgrounds and picnic areas. Hop aboard the Grapevine Vintage Railroad for a one-of-a-kind adventure in a 1920s train that travels from Grapevine to Fort Worth.

Railway Station, Grapevine, Texas

Galveston

Looking over Galveston, Texas, from above

Just off the Gulf Coast near Houston is Galveston. Have a retro day at the Galveston Island Pleasure Pier with rides, games and a variety of restaurants to choose from. Learn about the history of railway transportation at the Galveston Railroad Museum, which hosts different events and exhibitions throughout the year. View some sea life at the Rainforest Pyramid, a glass pyramid with a 1.5-million-gallon aquarium, or in the wild at East Beach.

Galveston Island, Texas

Austin

Looking down Lady Bird Lake to the west, with the view of the Austin Skyline and Congress Bridge on the horizon

Austin is great for introducing the little ones to live music, but there’s so much more to do here. If the weather is nice, which it is for most of the year, swim at Deep Eddy Pool, Barton Springs Pool, or find a personal oasis along the Greenbelt. A kid’s train runs around Zilker Park, and food trucks throughout the city please every palate. There’s always something fun going on in Austin, whether it’s Eeyore’s Birthday Party, the annual Kite Festival, or the family-friendly Austin City Limits Festival.

People swim in the outdoor swimming pool at Barton Springs Pool in Austin, Texas

Amarillo

For a true Texas vacation, visit the historic Route 66 on the way to Amarillo in North Texas. Cadillac Ranch, an art installation that welcomes graffiti from visitors, is one of North Texas’s strangest and most iconic sites. Visit Bill’s Backyard Classics to see old cars, including collectable hot rods. Then take a journey to the Palo Duro Canyon, also known as the ‘Grand Canyon of Texas,’ with huge cliffs and 60-foot ravines you can explore on foot or by horseback, bike or car.

World-famous Cadillacs stand guard just west of Amarillo, Texas. This roadside attraction is a recognized Pop art treasure

Texas Hill Country

Part road trip, part journey back through time, the Texas Hill Country is a beautiful oasis of greenery and rolling hills in Central Texas. There are multiple wineries for the adults throughout, but Fredericksburg is a great pit stop for the whole family, with homey B&Bs, racing and live music. Swimming, fishing and boating are also plentiful in the area at places such as Lake Whitney and Aquilla Lake.

Twin white horses grazing in a field filled with lavender and purple flowers during springtime in the Texas Hill Country

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

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