Okay, so you probably already know: Texas is huge. With over 268,000 square miles, you can find rugged mountains, deserts, marshy wetlands, and rolling hills inside our great state. There’s no end to the opportunities for exploring in our great state. And of course, Texas is home to several of the country’s biggest cities — if urban escapes are more your speed. As you and your family plan your Texas summer checklist, be sure to include some of our Brumbaugh family’s top-rated adventures that are best suited for the long, hot days of summer. (And we apologize in advance if we missed your favorite spot! As we said, there’s too much to cover in our great state. Just think of this as a launching point for your best summer yet).
Head to the Beach
When the temperature rises, nothing sounds better than hanging out beach-side with a good book and a cold drink. Did you know that Texas has over 3,300 miles of coastline? Take advantage of our state’s ocean-front views with a trip to one of these favorite beach towns that offer plenty of entertainment on and off the beach.
Galveston is more than a beach town. It’s a city full of Texas history. Explore the restored Galveston Pleasure Pier, take a ghost tour to learn about Galveston’s most haunted places, or explore all the kid-friendly activities (from an amusement park to ropes courses and zip lines) at Moody Gardens.
Corpus Christi and nearby Padre Island offer endless activities for everyone in the family. The Padre Island National Seashore is a long stretch of protected area with beaches sheltering rare Kemp’s ridley sea turtles. It’s also home to some of the best surf spots in the state, and the Texas State Aquarium.
Take a Bite Out of Summer
Texas is more than BBQ and Tex-Mex (though we love those as much as anyone). Use this summer to discover the best bites and drinks from around the state.
Attend one of the state’s many food festivals: celebrate the sweetest peaches in the state at the Parker County Peach Festival in downtown Weatherford; challenge your taste buds at the Austin Chronicle’s Hot Sauce Festival in Austin, or sample the many restaurants of Dallas at the annual Taste of Dallas event at the Dallas Market Hall.
Red or white? Or how about rosé? Whatever type you prefer, the Texas Wine Trail in the Hill Country has the perfect vintage for you. With over 50 wineries to choose from, you’ll be sure to find your next local favorite.
Don’t forget dessert. Visit The Little Creamery in Brenham, the home of Blue Bell ice cream, where you can get a glimpse into the famous Blue Bell factory, and cool off with a scoop (or two) of your favorite flavors. (Moo-llenium Crunch®, for us.
Explore Texas History
Though school may be out, it doesn’t mean you can’t learn a little something on your adventure. For Texas history buffs, don’t miss out on some of the best “field trip” spots in the state.
f you need a break from the Texas heat, brush up on your history while enjoying a little A/C. Begin by touring the Texas Capitol in downtown Austin and then taking a walk down to the Bullock Texas State History Museum (where you can view artifacts dating all the way back to the prehistoric days.)
The Texas Missions Trail in San Antonio is a UNESCO World Heritage site (joining Venice, The Great Barrier Reef, and The Grand Canyon among others) that every Texan should see. Explore four preserved, colonial Spanish missions by biking or hiking the River Walk’s Mission Reach, an eight-mile trail that offers plenty of shade and picnic areas.
Jump In and Cool Off
You don’t have to drive all the way to the coast to get a break from the August heat. Try one of these great inland destinations.
Why swim when you can float? No need to pack your own inner tubes. Rent some from one of the outfitters in San Marcos to float the crystal clear San Marcos River. Just be sure to pack enough sunscreen.
Summer wouldn’t be summer without hot dogs, flip flops, and of course, a weekend at the lake. Load up the car and visit Possum Kingdom Lake or Lake Texoma in North Texas for an easy weekend of swimming, fishing, and boating.
If you find yourself in the capital city this summer, don’t miss an opportunity to kayak or paddleboard on Lady Bird Lake, a reservoir of the Colorado River in Austin. Plenty of rental options in the city make it easy to go for a quick river adventure before getting back to your day.
What’s on your Texas summer checklist?
So now that you know our favorite spots, what are yours? Share your Texas must-sees below!