Outdoor Fun

From Amarillo to Padre: 24 Top Things to do for Spring Break in Texas

Texas Wildflowers. perfect spring getaway to Garner State Park
Along Texas highways and scenic byways, see wildflowers, including the Texas Bluebonnet. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

The weather is warming, and the wildflowers are putting on a show.  It must be Spring in Texas. That means one thing to families. Spring Break. After raising three kids and traveling tip-to-tip across Texas, I have several recommendations. Texas has big cities and small towns; both can be fun. Families can head to the beach, take a  hike, or go camping. Then there are the wildflowers lining the highways wherever the road  leads.  Here are the top things to do in Texas for Spring Break.

Table of Contents

24 Top Things to Do in Texas for Spring Break

  • Fredericksburg
  • Garner State Park
  • Johnson City 
  • Corpus Christi
  • Port Aransas and Mustang Island
  • Galveston Island
  • Beaumont and the Big Thicket
  • Bastrop
  • Waco
  • Salado
  • Houston 
  • San Antonio
  • Austin 
  • Dallas
  • Big Bend National Park
  • Fort Davis
  • Balmorhea Pool
  • Palo Duro State Park 
  • Top Wildflower Drives Across Texas
  • Go Dinosaur Hunting
  • Best Cave Tours in Texas
  • Go Camping
  • Guide to Swimming Holes in Texas
  • Visit a National Park site 

Top Texas Hill Country Destinations

perfect spring getaway to Garner State Park
The jewel of the western Texas Hill Country, Garner State Park is the most popular state park in Texas. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Fredericksburg

With a state park, bats, museums, wineries, and breweries, it’s a Hill Country getaway that will please everyone. As a spring break bonus, the drive to Fredericksburg is a scenic byway and will be bursting with blooms.

Find lots of lodging options, from camping to glamping to tiny homes and luxury options. Enjoy a German flair and flavor with beer gardens and bakeries along with architectural elements across town.

For the wine and beer drinker, downtown Fredericksburg offers lots of tasting rooms.

Weekend Guide to Fredericksburg 

Garner State Park in the Hill Country

Spend a weekend in the most popular state park in Texas. Garner State Park in Concan, Texas, lies on the western edge of the Texas Hill Country. It’s been a favorite with Texans for generations. So popular, in fact, that some families return for the same weekend year after year.

Campers will find cabins and screen shelters, as well as RV and tent camping. Garner State Park offers lots of activities, like mini golf, tubing the Frio River, and the popular weekend dances under the trees at the historic concession building.

Just remember to snag a reservation early for popular weekends.

Planning Guide for Concan and Garner State Park
LBJ National Historical Park
Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park offers wildflower meadows. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Johnson City 

Located between Austin and Fredericksburg, Johnson City is the home of former President Lyndon B. Johnson. This small town destination is home to two parks dedicated to the life of LBJ, a National Park Service site and a Texas State Park.

In addition to learning about Johnson and touring the Texas White House, travelers will learn about the pioneer days in Texas. For STEM kids, there’s a cool science museum too.

Corpus-Christi-Sunset
Catch a sunset in Corpus Christi. credit: Catherine Parker

Top Texas Beaches and the Gulf Coast

A day at the beach is the best antidote to winter. Texas offers lots of sand to spread out. Texas has about 367 miles of beach. This is one of the top things to do in Texas for Spring Break.

Corpus Christi

For Spring Breakers who want to visit some museums and the beach, Corpus Christi offers both. It is one of the top things in Texas for Spring Break.

There’s lots to do, from an art museum to a natural history museum to the Texas State Aquarium and the USS Lexington. Don’t miss the Laguna Madre and the Padre Island National Seashore, a National Park site.

Top Things to Do in Corpus Christi
Mustang Island
Mustang Island beach. credit: Catherine Parker

Port Aransas and Mustang Island

The beach is a favorite for a reason. Enjoy beachcombing, surfing, sand castle making, and more along Mustang Island’s wheat-colored sand. This is one of the top things to do in Texas for Spring Break.

In addition to the beach, Port Aransas is a top destination for birders, especially in spring (and fall) when the birds are migrating. Just a  few hours south of Austin and San Antonio, it’s a world away.

Port Aransas Planning Guide

Galveston Island

For beach lovers in the Houston area, Galveston Island has been a destination of choice for over 100 years. It offers miles of beaches, resort hotels overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, the Pleasure Pier (rides and arcade games), and the historic Strand District.

In addition to a beach getaway, Galveston is a cruise ship port with several Caribbean cruises departing weekly. Add a day or two to your cruise to extend your vacation.

Galveston also offers museums, historic homes and lots of seafood restaurants. There’s even a state park on Galveston Island. This is one of the top things to do in Texas for Spring Break.

Galveston Island Planning Guide 
Big Thicket Texas
Along the Kirby Trail in the Big Thicket National Preserve. credit: Catherine Parker

Beaumont and the Big Thicket

This is an under-the-radar destination for Southeast Texas. Located about an hour east of Houston, Beaumont is a base for outdoor adventure.

Explore the wilds of the Big Thicket National Preserve, a National Park Service site along with a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. As a notable ecosystem, explore the byways and bay galls of the Big Thicket, home to several carnivorous plants, along with hiking and paddling trails. See more wildlife than people in the Big Thicket and consider a guided kayak trip to make the experience more meaningful.

Foodies can enjoy a mix of Cajun and Tex-Mex,

Guide to Beaumont and the Big Thicket

Top Central Texas Destinations

Lake Bastrop LCRA
Rent an airstream trailer at the LCRA Lake Bastrop. credit: Catherine Parker 

Bastrop

This historic small town is packed with outdoor fun. The Colorado River runs through the center of town and offers some easy paddling trails for families.

Paddlers will find an outfitter who will get them geared up and take them upriver. Bastrop State Park, with its grove of pine trees, is in the area.

Lake Bastrop offers two LCRA parks, one on the north and one on the south. Another park site offers a day-use hiking area, zip lines, and more.

Weekend Getaway Guide to Bastrop
Waco Mammoth NPS site. things to do in Waco with kids.
Tour Waco’s National Park Service site. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Waco

Waco offers a great zoo, a museum dedicated to a popular soda, and a museum all about the Texas Rangers (an elite law enforcement group). The National Park Service site is dedicated to the Mammoths of Texas and is a must since visitors can see their bones

The Magnolia Shops aren’t that fun for kids (outside of the bakery). However, families will find lots of burger joints and some BBQ as well. For teens, Waco is the home of Baylor University too.

Waco Planning Guide 

Pace Park Salada. Texas Swimming Holes.
W. A. Pace Park in Salado offers cool and shallow water for splashing. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Salado

About an hour north of Austin, find a quaint art town along the shores of Salado Creek. It’s got a biergarten and a glass-blowing studio, hosting popular blow-your-own events.

About a hundred shops and a hotel with an outlaw and stagecoach heritage are within walking distance. Salado also host community theater in the summer.

Planning Guide to Salado

Best City Destinations for Spring Break in Texas 

Mount Bonnell. Austin Itinerary
Catch the sunset at Mount Bonnell. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Texas offers a lot of outdoor spaces between the parks and the small-town destinations. But that doesn’t mean you can’t spend your Spring Break exploring one of the Texas cities. Each offers lots of activities, like museums and urban parks, along with dining and lodging for every need or desire.

Houston

As the fourth largest city in the U.S., Houston is one of the top destinations in Texas for Spring Breaks, especially for culture hounds. Travelers will find some of the top museums in the state, from art to natural history.

It is also home to a NASA visitor center, used for astronaut training and mission control. Definitely worth a trip for aviation and space enthusiasts.

Top Things to Do in Houston
National Parks of Texas. Alamo
Visit the Alamo along with the other San Antonio Missions. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

San Antonio

This is the most popular destination in Texas. From the iconic River Walk to the theme parks, it is packed with fun things to do with kids.

Northwest of San Antonio, visitors will find theme parks like SeaWorld and Fiesta Texas. Resorts with waterparks are also located in this area.

Downtown, visitors will find the River Walk and The Alamo within walking distance. Several of the museums are located downtown as well. The San Antonio Missions, a National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located south of Downtown.

Top Things to Do in San Antonio 

Austin

Known as the live music capital of Texas, it hosts the wildly popular South X Southwest Music and Media Festival in March. Anchored in the entertainment district of downtown, families can still visit Austin without running into huge crowds. Just skip downtown during Spring Break.

If you have teens, tour the University of Texas. Then take in all the fun in Zilker Park, like the Barton Spring Pool. Then watch the sunset at Mt. Bonnell.

Stroll South Congress for a vibrant food scene, lots of fanciful murals, and unique shopping.

Weekend Itinerary of Austin
Dallas Arboretum,
Stroll the garden room at the Dallas Arboretum. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Dallas

Head to the Big D and enjoy many museums, from art to science and more. Best of all, most of the top museums are free.

Dallas has presidential roots. The 6th Floor Museum details the John F. Kennedy assignation (best for older kids). Then tour the George W. Bush Presidential Library.

In between, find urban parks packed with public art. There’s even a vintage streetcar the kids want to ride.

Best 30 Things to Do in Dallas with Kids

Best Things to Do in West Texas and North Texas

Big Bend National Park 

Located on the bend of the Rio Grande River, this national park is literally at the end of the road. It’s best explored from fall to spring. Spring Break is an excellent time to visit (and popular).

Camping is one of the top things to do in Big Bend National Park. However, river paddle trips are also popular. Several outfitters can arrange them.

This National Park is remote and most visitors like the remoteness of it. Just remember, if you need it, then bring it.

Big Bend National Park Planning Guide
Fort Davis Sunset
A sunset at Davis Mountains State Park is a must your visit. credit: Catherine Parker

Fort Davis in West Texas

With a National Park Service site and a Texas State Park nestled in the mountains of West Texas, it’s a desert getaway. The Star Parties are popular and located on Mt. Locke.

As a gateway to Big Bend National Park, both Balmorhea State Park and Davis Mountains State Park are musts for the Fort Davis area.  Combined with Big Bend National Park, it is best explored over a few days.

Guide to Fort Davis
Balmorhea Pool with kids in West Texas.
The deep end of Balmorhea Pool features 25-foot depths along with fish of all sizes. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Balmorhea State Park in West Texas

As the home to the largest spring-fed swimming pool in the U.S., it’s a must-stop after a hot day of traveling.  Located within a state park, it offers a pool along with camping and lodging.

Conveniently located along Interstate 10 in between Fort Stockton and El Paso, there’s a pool with depths of 25 feet plus lots of space for lounging.  Visitors will find a bathhouse along with a snack bar inside Balmorhea State Park

Balmorhea State Park Guide
Palo Duro Canyon State Park, CCC cabins, Places to camp in Texas, Texas State Park Cabins,
Palo Duro Canyon State Park is east of Canyon, Texas, in the Panhandle south of Amarillo. credit: Catherine Parker

Palo Duro State Park in the Texas Panhandle

Located south of Amarillo, this is another popular Texas State Park. Visitors are mesmerized by the red canyon walls and the historic cabins.

During the summer, it hosts an outdoor musical. Horseback riding and hiking are top things to do in Palo Duro.

Guide to Palo Duro State Park 

Top Things to Do for Spring Break in Texas

Blanco State Park in bloom. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Take a Scenic Wildflower Drive

You don’t have to plan a vacation to enjoy a Spring Break. Driving to see the Texas Wildflowers in the Spring is a family tradition for a lot of people.

Then they stop and take some wildflower photos. For the best wildflower displays, head to Central Texas and the Texas Hill Country.

Top Texas Wildflower Road Trips 

The Dinosaurs of Texas

Yep, dinos lived in Texas and their remains can be found in stone. From protected footprints in parks to museum exhibits in most larger cities, travelers can find dinosaurs all over Texas.

Top 16 Places to Find Dinosaurs in Texas

Tour a Cave in Texas

The weather in Spring is glorious. Then it changes overnight. Followed by another glorious day.

It’s nice to have a backup for a cool and rainy day. Caves tours to the rescue, the weather is always the same in a cave, usually in the 70s.

Top Caves to Tour in Texas

Go Camping in Texas

Not everyone loves to camp though for those who do, or those who want to try it out, Central Texas offers a lot of interesting camping locations. Find a bit of everything from primitive sites to glamping in an Airstream.

Top Central Texas Campgrounds

Top Swimming Holes Across Texas

If the weather is warm and the kids want to swim, then Texas is jammed back with natural swimming holes.

Guide to Texas Swimming Holes

Visit a National Park

Find National Park Service sites across Texas. Explore a bit of everything from the watery byways of Southeast Texas to the desert sage bush out in West Texas. Also, find a few National Trails along with NPS sites dedicated to history and more.

Guide to Texas National Park Sites 

Make it a Spring Break to remember with your kids. Here's a list of the top places to visit in Texas for Spring Break with kids. Find destinations for across the state. Get tips on best beaches in Texas, top small town destinations in Texas, best places to camp and more. What to do in Texas for Spring Texas #SpringBreak #Texas
credit: Catherine Parker

Catherine Parker has a passion for travel and seen all 50 U.S. States. As a former flight attendant with one of the largest airlines, there isn't a North American airport that she hasn't landed in at least once. Since clipping her professional wings after 9/11, she combines her love of the open road with visiting architectural and cultural icons. She is based out of Central Texas dividing her time between writing and restoring a pair of 100-year-old houses. She shares her life with her three kids and her husband.

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