While every state in the US has its own flair, there’s something special about family activities in Texas. With its unique history, distinctive accent and strong culture, the Lone Star State stands out among the rest. Planning a vacation to the biggest state in the nation? Yeehaw! You’re all going to have a great time. There’s just so much to do.
In fact, because it’s such a big state, one might actually say that there’s too much to do. If you show up without a plan, you’re going to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of options. To help make your planning a bit easier, we’ve put together a list of our favorite family activities in Texas.
Visiting a dude ranch
When most people think of Texas, the first thing that comes to mind is cowboys. But not just the Dallas Cowboys. We’re talking about real cowboys. You know, the type of horse-riding, jeans-wearing, bean-eating cowboys you see in country western movies.
These days, cowboy culture is nowhere near what it was in the past, but it’s still alive and well, and dude ranches are the best place to experience it. This is a great activity that will allow you and your family to connect with Texas’ deep history and cultural roots.
Ranches are found all across the state, so no matter where you’re staying, you should be able to find one. While you’re there, you can ride horses and learn about how the ranch works. A lot of ranches allow people to camp, too, so it might be a fun opportunity to sleep out under the stars.
Touring the Alamo
Located in San Antonio, the Alamo is perhaps one of Texas’ most famous historical landmarks. It’s one of our favorite family activities because it gives the kids a chance to learn about the past.
In comparison to other landmark sites, the Alamo is exceptionally preserved for historical accuracy. This gives you the truest glimpse into how the fort appeared during the infamous battle back in the 1800s. Plus, there are several ways for you and your family to interact with the site as you get to know a bit more about the roots of today’s America.
For example, you can take a guided audio tour or listen in on talks from local historians. Or, you can watch reenactments and view exhibitions that help bring the history of the place alive.
To get the kids excited about your visit, consider watching the film Davy Crockett: King of the Wild Frontier with Fes Parker. It’s sure to bring the Alamo to life and get them that much more excited about visiting.
Strolling along the San Antonio Riverwalk
If you end up in San Antonio to visit the Alamo, then you must spend some time strolling on the boardwalk.
Running along the banks of the San Antonio River, the green, shaded Riverwalk is a great way to get out of the hot Texas sun. From boat tours and parks to restaurants and toy shops, there are plenty of activities to keep your family entertained.
Consider packing a picnic and setting up on the grass next to the river to enjoy the early evening before the sun sets. If you go during a holiday or other special event, there’s likely to be music and entertainment for you to enjoy while you relax.
Exploring the Johnson Space Center
“Houston. We have a problem.”
Perhaps one of the most famous lines in Hollywood movie history, it serves as a reminder of the pivotal role Texas has played in space exploration.
Located in Houston, the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center is one of our favorite family activities in Texas. It helps inspire kids’ imagination and gives them a wonderful experience that they’ll remember for their entire lives.
Don’t confuse a trip to the Space Center for a trip to the science museum. There are lots of things other things to do there to get the kids involved and excited about this crucial part of America’s past.
They can try on an astronaut’s suit, spend time in a flight simulator, and look at real moon rocks. You could easily spend a whole day wandering around and learning about the space program. Who knows, this might inspire your little ones to become astronauts themselves!
Going to an amusement park
Looking for a bit more of an adrenaline rush during your visit? You’re in luck. There are quite a few amusement parks scattered across the state, and each one of them is a blast.
Six Flags Fiesta in San Antonio and Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington both offer plenty of excitement and adventure. You can ride roller coasters and thrill rides until the cows come home.
If you’re looking for something more relaxed, consider visiting the Kemah Boardwalk on the coast near Houston. A classic American boardwalk, this destination has rides and games, but is also a pleasant place to just stroll and enjoy the seaside. It’s perfect for families with little ones who might not yet be ready for the big rides.
That’s not all, though. There are many, many more amusement and water parks scattered throughout Texas. This state seems to love its roller coasters! So if that’s your idea of a good time, search for theme parks in your area. There’s sure to be at least one.
Hiking in state and national parks
As one of the largest states in the US, Texas has plenty to offer in terms of natural beauty. What could be better than spending the day with your family on a hike through one of the state’s many gorgeous parks?
For those looking for a high-intensity hike, Big Bend National Park or Guadalupe Mountains National Park could be the spot for you. But there are plenty of other options for the mellow hikers among us.
For example, Longhorn Caverns State Park has a whole network of caves that you can explore to escape the Texas heat. Another fun option is Dinosaur Valley State Park. There, you’ll find fossils and other remnants of our prehistoric ancestors.
Staying by the coast? Check out Padre Island National Seashore, a stunning beach where you can lounge in between dips into the Gulf of Mexico.
Texas has a reputation for being an endless expanse of desert filled with nothing but cacti and tumbleweeds. We’re here to tell you that’s simply not the case.
There are plenty of fun family activities in Texas. From amusement parks and historical sites to beaches and national parks, the only problem you’ll have is figuring out how to fit it all in.