Texas Travel Guide

The Lone Star State has enough thrills to last a lifetime. Attend your first rodeo, go cycling in the mountains, or just sit back and listen to the music during Texas family vacations. Whether you spend a few days at the beach, climb the canyons, or sample a variety of barbeque, you will never want your Texas vacation to end!

With 600 miles of coastline, there are many options for Texas beach vacations. Each member of the family will find something to love in Texas from the surf to sand to shopping. Texas is a big state, though, and it’s difficult to know where to begin. This VacationRentals.com travel guide will introduce you to some of the most enticing attractions across Texas, and can provide your dream rental as well!

What to Do in Texas

texas vacations

Ride ‘Em Cowboy

Not all Texas vacations have to take place in the big city. Of course there is a long list of reasons to visit Houston, Austin, and Dallas, but some of the best local culture can be found outside of the city. If you want a taste of the cowboy way of life, plan to visit one of over 70 guest and working ranches. On the ranch you will live a day in the life of a cowboy from tending cattle to the hearty meals they eat to keep up their energy.

After visiting the ranch, take your cowboy experience a step further by attending a rodeo. Guaranteed to be a thrilling moment during Texas family vacations, watch your kids cheer on the cowboys as they take on menacing bulls. After your first visit, you might just be hooked on this exciting spectacle!

Break out of Routine

It doesn’t take Texas beach vacations to truly relax. Break out of your daily routine by exploring the spectacular landscapes of Texas. There are 90 state parks in Texas, so get your hiking boots out of the closet and hit the trails! One of the largest state parks is Palo Duro Canyon State Park. There are over 26,000 acres to explore here, where you can see rock walls plunge over 1,000 feet to the canyon floor. Located in the Texas high plains, many visitors come to see how the Red River carved out fascinating spires and other rock formations in the landscape.

Make your white-water rafting dreams come true on the Rio Grande in Big Bend National Park. With over 800,000 acres to explore there won’t be a dull moment during Texas family vacations. Paddle through canyons, watch local wildlife, take a ranger-guided tour, or hit the trails for an invigorating hike. Your kids will be fascinated to learn that 65 million years ago, dinosaurs roamed this very same land.

From horseback riding to hot air balloon trips, Texas vacations couldn’t possibly be short on adventure. Head for Comanche Trail Park for a day of fishing or go for a swim at one of many lakes including Lake Mineral Wells. From scenic drives near El Paso to picnics in the Davy Crockett National Forest, Texas is full of opportunities to enjoy the landscapes.

texas vacations

Entertainment—Texas Style

Music fans will love every entertaining moment of Texas vacations. Whether you love country and western, blues, jazz, or up-and-coming artists, your trip to Texas will be full of tunes. Texans take pride in their music and see it as a form of daily entertainment, don’t be surprised if some live music accompanies your dinner or even your breakfast!

Austin, Texas is developing quite the reputation as a music town. Nicknamed the "live music capital of the world," you will find performances on every corner. Beginning in the 1970s with artists such as Willie Nelson, Austin began to receive national attention for its music. This tradition has continued with the successful South by Southwest music festival and a focus on frequent live concerts and developing new talent.

Entertainment continues throughout the state, from the nightlife of Houston to the Dallas Art District to the festivals of San Antonio. And don't forget about New Braunfels. From the Schlitterbahn Water Park to the Guadalupe River to the exciting annual events, this small town promises a big vacation.

Beaches Galore

The coastline of the Gulf of Mexico is home to endless opportunities for Texas beach vacations. With 600 miles of coastline to choose from, you will be able to find the perfect vacation rental to suit your family or group. Warm waters, long beaches, and consistent sunshine all lure travelers to this area of Texas year after year.

texas vacationsSome beaches in Texas are more popular than others. Many locals would consider the best beaches to be Galveston Island, Padre Island National Seashore, Mustang Island, Port Aransas, and South Padre Island. No matter what beach you choose, from Padre to Galveston beach house rentals, Texas family vacations will be full of fun, sun, and surf.

The Big City

Dallas

The bustling city of Dallas is known for its shopping, art, and culture. Visit the Latino Cultural Center or the Dallas Arts district to be at the center of the action. Live theater and opera are also popular in Dallas. Taste international cuisine, go for a ride on the Texas Star Ferris wheel, or have a picnic in Fair Park.

Houston

Located in the Gulf Coast region of Texas, Houston is known for professional sports, nightlife, and barbecue. Treat your kids to tickets to a Houston Astros baseball game and a slab of barbecued ribs afterwards. One of the best annual events in Houston happens each April. The Houston International Festival brings together music, dance, arts, and cuisine.

Austin

The "Live Music Capital of the World" has over 200 venues for concerts and performances. Take a stroll along Sixth Street or through the Warehouse district to find some of the city’s top venues. From blues to jazz to Tejano to reggae, the emphasis on music is palpable in Austin’s streets. Texas vacations wouldn’t be complete without a trip to this city that has reinvented itself as a major attraction over the last several decades.

San Antonio

One of the most visited cities in Texas is San Antonio. From a dazzling river walk to theme parks galore, San Antonio packs a bigger punch than you might think. Hop aboard a boat tour, take a seat at an outdoor café, or see what’s hot at the latest galleries and museums. Don’t miss a visit to the Alamo, the number 1 visitor attraction in Texas. The chapel and long barracks are all that remain of the original fort, but this mission dating back to 1718 is a spectacular sight to see.

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What to See in Texas

texas vacationsWhile the Alamo is the number 1 historic attraction in Texas, there’s also plenty of other history to explore. The Excelsior House is a 19th century hotel where historical figures such as Ulysses S. Grant and Oscar Wilde laid their heads. Tours of this property complete with period furnishings are available. Kids will love the Guinness World Records Museum in San Antonio or the Thomas Edison Museum in Beaumont.

Texas family vacations in Houston wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the Downtown Aquarium where kids will encounter marine life and take a train ride through a shark tank. In Clute, don’t miss the Center for Arts & Sciences and in Fort Worth the zoo is home to over 500 species of animals. If you plan to visit any single site during your trip to Texas, it must be the NASA Space Center in Houston. The official visitors center is home to a variety of interactive exhibits and an IMAX theater.

The list of attractions in Texas is practically endless. From the hiking trails of the Government Canyon State Natural Area to the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame, people with every hobby will be entertained during Texas vacations. Take a drive along Route 66, go fishing in Angelina National Forest, or just sip on a glass of lemonade during Texas beach vacations. No matter how much or how little you do, your Texas trip will be full of memories!

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Where to Shop and Eat in Texas

texas vacations

Shopping Is Bigger in Texas

Are you looking for a place to splurge? Texas vacations will be full of opportunities to pull out your credit card for something special! This state is full of options for a little retail therapy from designer clothes to that perfect pair of cowboy boots you’ll wear for years to come.

Looking for a bargain during your trip? Outlet malls are a great place to find designer fashions for a fraction of their original price. Head straight for San Marcos to see what deals you can find. For luxury shopping, Houston’s Galleria is the best spot in the state. If you’re looking for something more one-of-a-kind than designer, try the boutiques in Dallas’ West Village.

texas vacations

Sample Local Flavors

From award-winning barbecue to flavorful Tex-Mex, your taste buds will thank you for planning Texas family vacations! Get ready for big portions, extra sauce, and bold flavors across Texas. If you’re in Houston try Mark’s American Cuisine for a Zagat-rated option or Goode Company for barbecue.

In Austin, try Fonda Miguel for Tex-Mex or Cool River for a tasty steak. If you’re in Dallas, try Bob’s Steak & Chop House and don’t miss the Tex-Mex available at Monica's Aca Y Alla or Cadillac Bar in Deep Ellum, Texas. In San Antonio, sample authentic Mexican flavors at Paloma Blanca and try Acenar, one of the hot eateries along the River Walk. Odds are during Texas vacations you won’t have a bad meal, whether you’re in the big city or out exploring the wilder side to the state!

 

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When to Visit Texas

The massive state of Texas will have regional variations on temperature and weather. Do some research on the individual area of the state you’ve chosen to avoid any surprises during Texas vacations. Generally, the state enjoys mild winters and hot summers, with more than 200 days of sunshine a year. The most popular time for Texas beach vacations is the summer, but be prepared for some serious heat! If you prefer milder temperatures, plan your beach holiday for the spring or autumn. Some travelers plan Texas vacations during the winter to get away from the harsh cold weather of the north. It’s always sunny in Texas, so plan your trip during any time of the year!

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What to Bring to Texas

Bring an open mind to Texas. This state has its own distinct culture, and it’s up to you as the visitor to embrace it. Throw on a cowboy hat, attend a rodeo, and taste some barbecue. Nothing in Texas is too fancy, so leave your formal clothes at home in favor of good old American blue jeans. Sunscreen is essential for visiting Texas, and a hat might help to keep you cool as well. For Texas beach vacations, remember your bathing suit, sunglasses, and a good book for the beach. The kids might want some extra beach toys to keep them occupied.

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Local Services in Texas

Local services will vary throughout Texas. When you are in or near the cities, you will be in close proximity to anything you might need from banks to ATMs to post offices. If you’re planning a wilderness vacation, be prepared in advance. Stock your car with water, snacks, and a first-aid kit. Expect portions to be large, music to be loud, and the people to be welcoming in Texas!

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What to Know About Texas

There are many distinct regions and cultures within Texas. The Lone Star State has many influences, from its Mexican neighbors to its neighbors in the southern United States. One of the most exciting aspects of traveling to Texas is discovering these regional differences. You are sure to return home with a much different perspective on Texas than you started with!

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Getting to Texas

Flying to Texas is easy thanks to a variety of airports. The largest airports include Dallas, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio. If you are planning your trip to Texas as a city break, you won’t need a car to get around. On the other hand, if you’re planning on exploring the wilder side of Texas, you will most likely want the added convenience of a car. Whether you drive from somewhere nearby or pick up a rental car at the airport, you’ll love the freedom of the open road in Texas!

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Why Texas Vacation Rentals?

If you’re looking for a cultural experience, skip the cookie-cutter hotels in favor of vacation rentals. The local experience of renting your own condo in Austin or a mountain lodge for your family reunion will deliver on authenticity. Texas is a state of wide open spaces, so leave hotels behind in favor of a spacious vacation rental!

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