New! Updated January 2018 with a bonus destination! See below.
When I first moved to Texas almost 15 years ago, one thing became apparent from the get-go: People in Texas are proud to live in Texas! I frequently heard this: “You weren’t born in Texas, but you got here as fast as you could!” I’ve never lived in a state with so much state pride.
Spring Break in Texas is just around the corner. Whether you live in Texas or just want to visit, here are some Texas Spring Break trip ideas for your family.
The town of Glen Rose is only two hours from the Dallas area and has lots to see. Last year, my family loved seeing fossilized dinosaur footprints at Dinosaur Valley State Park. After hiking there during the day, we returned at night to roast s’mores around the campfire and listen to ghost stories told by the park ranger.
Dinosaur World was also a big hit with my kids, and we spent an afternoon driving around Fossil Rim Wildlife Center. But, sometimes the biggest pleasures come from the simplest things. Hopping around the rocks at Big Rocks Park was the highlight of our trip. (See this post for photos of our trip).
Amarillo is a bit of a drive from the major cities in Texas, but so worth it. Make your mark with spray paint at the famous Cadillac Ranch. Drive to nearby Palo Duro Canyon to see the Grand Canyon of Texas. Also, Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument is not too far from Amarillo.
While in town, you can’t miss having dinner at The Big Texan, which was featured on the show Man vs. Food. Exploring the restaurant’s gift shop is half the fun! Also, check out the Don Herrington Discovery Center to explore science with the entire family.
No offense, Austin, but your traffic sucks. But, if you can put up with the traffic in and around this city, it’s a nice place to explore.
If you drive through Waco on your way to Austin, stop by the Magnolia Market at the Silos from HGTV’s Fixer Upper. You might also enjoy the Dr. Pepper Museum, the Texas Ranger museum and Baylor’s Mayborn Museum.
Austin has plenty of family-friendly sites, like the Thinkery, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and of course the Texas Capitol Building. And, if it doesn’t freak you out too much, check out the largest urban bat colony in North America. Ewwww.
San Antonio is my favorite large city in Texas. In my opinion, it has the best Mexican food!
In addition to SeaWorld and Six Flags Fiesta Texas, San Antonio also has the Tower of Americas and of course the famous Riverwalk. Don’t forget about seeing pieces of Texas history at The Alamo and Missions National Historic Park.
Corpus Christi/Port Aransas
Aside from South Padre Island (which I don’t recommend for families during Texas Spring Break), Corpus Christi and Port Aransas have arguably the best beaches in Texas.
If you head to Houston, you must see the NASA Johnson Space Center. I would consider getting the CityPASS for Houston, which includes the Space Center as well as the Downtown Aquarium, and the option of Kemah Boardwalk, the Houston Zoo or a few museums.
In my experience, it takes a long time to get from one area of Houston to another, so plan accordingly.
Big Bend National Park
I haven’t personally been to Big Bend. It’s at least an 8-hour drive from our house, and we are not a good long road-trip family. However, I have friends who have been there multiple times who rave about it. The park is huge, remote, isolated and beautiful.
North Texas Jellystone Park
Located in Burleson, this campground is a gem for families. If tent or RV camping is not your thing, you can rent a cabin with all the amenities.
Jellystone offers plenty of family activities to keep everyone amused. The campground has fishing, bounce houses, hay rides, fire truck rides, paintball, laser tag, etc. The adjacent water park will be open in the afternoons during Spring Break.
Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa
Not only does the resort offer many family activities, but there is also horseback riding on site and other outdoor adventures offered through the nature park next door. Next time we go, we will try fishing and zip lining.
Oh, and did I mention the resort has a kids club? Parents, enjoy a quiet dinner or a spa treatment while your kids are having a blast in the club. We did!
Last, but not least, is the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Since I live near here, I sometimes forget how fun it can be for visitors!
Check out the Sixth Floor Museum and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science downtown. In the Grapevine area, the Legoland Discovery Center and Sea Life Aquarium are fun for kids. The Grapevine Vintage Railroad will also take you to the Fort Worth Stockyards. Even if the weather is cold, you can enjoy the indoor water park at Epic Waters.
Bonus Destination: Oklahoma City!
Ok, so it’s not in Texas, but it’s pretty close to North Texas and only a 3-hour drive from Dallas. I’ve always wanted to check out Oklahoma City and explore Bricktown. And I’ve been dying to try white water rafting in the Boathouse District at Riversport Adventures, which will be open weekends in March starting March 17.
Using Miles and Points
Don’t forget that you can use points to stay at many hotels in or near these Texas Spring Break locations. If you don’t live in Texas, use your Southwest Rapid Reward points to fly to most major cities in Texas. Also, consider using the Capital One Venture Rewards Card or the Barclaycard Arrival Plus card to offset your travel costs (see Hot Deals page for more info).
Readers, who is ready to explore Texas for Spring Break?
Nancy is a contributing writer for Miles For Family. She enjoys traveling to the beach and is a big fan of Disney. Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids.