Heading on a summer road trip through Texas and looking to explore the Lone Star State? Check out this list of the top summertime sites to visit in Texas.
Texas is a big state — it takes more than 10 hours to drive continuously from one end to the other. But why go nonstop? There is so much to see in a sunny Texas summer, from the San Pedro Springs Park to underground caverns, historical sites, honky-tonk dance halls, and beautiful beaches. Of course, Texas can get hot, too, so plan your road trip so that you keep cool and entertained when you put these Lone Star State stops on your itinerary.
Say Hello to San Antonio
Start your southern driving adventure in San Antonio and experience a great taste of the variety that
Texas has to offer. This city was recently named the third most budget-friendly city in the country, with plenty of free and affordable attractions to experience– especially during the summer. Avoid the lines and admission fees at waterparks and cool off by taking a classic summer dip in San Pedro Springs Park. San Antonio also acts as host to a number of summer festivals, depending on when you visit. Experience a taste of the authentic cuisine and the traditional music of over 40 different cultures at the Texas Folklife Festival in June or dance under the Texas stars at the Balcones Heights Jazz Festival in July. For even more summer San Antonio events, explore Visit San Antonio.
Remember the Alamo
Home of the famous 1836 battle, the Alamo is a 300-year-old mission and a must-see for families interested in the history of Texas. Sign up for an hour-long tour of the spot where the shoot-out took place, and learn about the history of the Texan revolution as well as the missionary times that saw the construction of the stone church, adobe houses, and more. Just because you’ve seen the John Wayne movie doesn’t mean you know the whole story.
Enter the Cave Without a Name
An hour’s drive northwest from San Antonio will take you to a breathtakingly beautiful natural attraction known as the Cave Without a Name. Enjoy the stalactites, stalagmites, soda straws, flowstones, and dams that make up this magical underground structure. Sign up for a guided tour, hike the trails, or linger in one of the six crystalline rooms that offer a very different — and cool — view of the Texas wilderness. This former sinkhole even offers the soundtrack of a gentle subterranean brook. Not enough music? Check the events calendar for concerts with amazing acoustics.
Have Some Two Steppin’ Fun
An hour’s drive west from Boerne, Texas, is Gruene Hall, famous for foot-stomping fun. This dance hall offers plenty of live music, which, of course, veers toward country, folk, Americana, and roots rock. Grab your partner and enjoy the evening. While you’re exploring the town of Gruene, make time for one of the market days, which take place two days each month. Hungry for Tex-Mex? Cantina del Rio, located across the street from the dance hall, can’t be beat.
Cool Off in Austin
If that dancing got you sweaty, then hop in the car for a short 45-minute drive north to McKinney Falls State Park. Located just outside of Austin, this spot on the Onion Creek features limestone ledges and pools for swimming in clear, cool waters. Check river conditions, beware of underwater currents to stay safe, and always supervise children. The nearly 3-mile Onion Creek Hike and Bike Trail provides a hard surface that’s ideal for biking or walking with a stroller, and there are many picnic areas for relaxing afterward. Fishing and camping are also options here, if you want to spend a little more time in nature before heading down the road.
Explore Space Center Houston
You’ll have no problems at Space Center Houston. The interesting exhibits at this museum range from a spacesuit gallery to a massive replica of the shuttle Independence that sits atop an authentic shuttle carrier aircraft that you can enter and explore. Learn about the Mars Mission, and get an inside look at Mission Control. Try planning your visit for a Friday or Saturday when your admission includes a question-and-answer session with an astronaut.
Get a Good Gulf View
Ready for Texas beach fun? Although the state isn’t exactly famous for its sun and sand, you can discover a hidden gem about four hours southwest of Houston in Port Aransas. This city on the northernmost point of Mustang Island is right on the Gulf of Mexico and is peaceful and picturesque. Park your car for free between the jetties and Horace Caldwell Pier, and then soak in the bird’s eye view from the observation tower at Roberts Point Park. You’ll enjoy beautiful bay views, spotting dolphins and maybe even an alligator before completing the road trip circle back to San Antonio.