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13 Best Things To Do with Kids in Texas Hill Country

From natural wonders to kid-friendly attractions, Texas Hill Country is the perfect place to go on an array of family-friendly adventures. One of the state’s most popular regions for families, the Texas Hill Country is home to picturesque landscapes and man-made attractions that appeal to the entire family, where you can combine an itinerary of outdoor recreation with fun-filled museums and educational activities. Whether you want to cool off at a water park or engage with interactive exhibits, here are the best things to do with the kids in the Texas Hill Country.

Hike to the Top of Enchanted Rock State Natural Area Sunrise at Enchanted Rock
Credit: Sunrise at Enchanted Rock by bigstock.com

Hike to the Top of Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

What Is It? A top attraction in Fredericksburg, Enchanted Rock is one of the largest natural rock formations in the United States. 

Why Do It? Truly a sight to be seen, the kids will delight in exploring one of the most iconic natural attractions in Texas. Playing an important part in the lives of Native American tribes, visitors now flock to the area to soak in the majestic views of this enormous piece of pink granite rock.

Good to Know: It’s only a moderate climb to the top, where you’ll be rewarded with beautiful panoramic views of the area from the top of this 45-foot landmark.

Enjoy Outdoor Adventures in Garner State Park Garner State Park
Credit: Garner State Park by Roschetzky Photography/shutterstock.com

Enjoy Outdoor Adventures in Garner State Park

What Is It? One of the most beautiful state parks in Texas, Garner State Park is situated on the southern edges of the Texas Hill Country. 

Why Do It? Covering more than 1,700 acres, this popular state park is known to be one of the most family-friendly areas with plenty of action centered around the crystal clear waters of the Frio River. In addition to the array of outdoor adventures such as tubing, swimming, camping, hiking, fishing and canoeing, visitors will also find its famous 1940s-style jukebox dances it hosts appealing for the kids.

Good to Know: When the weather is ideal, the park is the perfect escape for families, where you can spend your days hiking the 11 miles of scenic trails and camp overnight to gaze at the stars above.

Visit wildlife at Austin Zoo Austin Zoo, Austin
Credit: Austin Zoo, Austin by Austin Zoo

Visit wildlife at Austin Zoo

What Is It? Perfect for a day out with the entire family, the Austin Zoo is where to see over 100 species of animals, from big cats to monkeys. 

Why Do It? A dual-purpose zoo and sanctuary, it’s here that you’ll find the attraction’s unique mission for having public viewing areas in addition to education and rehabilitation. 

Good to Know: Kids of all ages will love getting up close and personal with some of the animals, while train rides and picnic areas offer plenty of places to relax after you explore what the park has to offer.

Take a Dip in the Springs at Zilker Park Above Zilker Park, Austin
Credit: Above Zilker Park, Austin by Bigstock.com

Take a Dip in the Springs at Zilker Park

What Is It? A beautiful metropolitan park with views of Austin’s skyline, Zilker Park is home to 351 acres of lush landscaping that makes it perfect for a day of biking, swimming, and kayaking. 

Why Do It? Great for families who enjoy the outdoors, the park is an excellent combination of land and water. A great escape on a hot summer day, take a swim in Barton Springs Pool or take a walk along Lady Bird Hike and Bike Trail. 

Good to Know: Shaded hills provide a nice place to relax, while the truly adventurous might try their hand at stand-up paddleboarding.

Cool Off at Schlitterbahn New Braunfels Schlitterbahn New Braunfels
Credit: Schlitterbahn New Braunfels by PlayinNewBraunfels.com

Cool Off at Schlitterbahn New Braunfels

What Is It? One of the hottest destinations in the Texas Hill Country for families when the weather heats up, Schlitterbahn New Braunfels is a Bavarian-themed water park in New Braunfels. 

Why Do It? Pack up the essentials for a day of family fun, as it’s impossible to not enjoy the park’s range of attractions that appeal to both thrill-seekers and those looking for a day of lounging. 

Good to Know: Located on the banks of the Comal River, this unique park boasts natural landscapes, where you can get your heart pumping at the tube shoots or relax in the lazy river.

Go Swimming at Blue Hole Regional Park Blue Hole
Credit: Blue Hole by Nan Palmero via Flickr

Go Swimming at Blue Hole Regional Park

What Is It? There’s ton of family-friendly recreation found at Blue Hole Regional Park in Wimberley, offering a chance to enjoy swimming, camping, and wildlife viewing. 

Why Do It? The park is home to three miles of picturesque nature trails, where you can spot wildlife and relax in one of the picnic areas, but after a day of adventure, nothing beats a plunge into its cold spring-fed waters.

Good to Know: Nestled in the heart of Central Texas, this spot has consistently been ranked one of the best swimming holes in the state.

Camp Overnight in Inks Lake State Park Inks Lake State Park
Credit: Inks Lake State Park by tpwd.texas.gov

Camp Overnight in Inks Lake State Park

What Is It? With its rocky landscape and scenic topography, Inks Lake State Park in Burnet is one of the best places to camp in Texas

Why Do It? Located just an hour northwest of Austin, the park boasts picturesque landscapes throughout the year, where you’ll find a range of sparkling blue waters and colorful rock outcrops that set the scene for a day of hiking, boating, or diving. 

Good to Know: Perfect for an overnight family trip, pack the smores and sleeping bags for a night of adventure, as the park boasts on-site cabins and campsites by the water.

Travel to Africa at Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, San Antonio
Credit: Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, San Antonio by Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch

Travel to Africa at Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch

What Is It? Located in San Antonio, the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch is a great place for kids to feel like their in a real-life African-style safari. 

Why Do It? A beautiful 400-acre ranch, here you’ll find 4 miles of driving trail and the chance to stay in your vehicle while observing and being mesmerized by the 40 species of animals. Take out the camera because you’ll want to capture the moment the kids spot a giraffe, ostrich, zebra, rhino or wildebeest in the lush natural landscapes.

Good to Know: After you complete the tour, you can spend time at the petting zoo to get up close and personal with some of the cuddly creatures.

Get Creative at Thinkery Thinkery, Austin
Credit: Thinkery, Austin by Thinkery

Get Creative at Thinkery

What Is It? A top attraction in Austin for kids, Thinkery is where families can explore the fun side of science with their kids and inspire creativity. 

Why Do It? The philosophy behind the museum is to connect with ideas by doing, making and experiencing, so it’s here that you’ll find interactive exhibits, activities, and programs focused on science, technology, engineering, art, and math. 

Good to Know: Located in a huge 40,000 square foot space north of downtown, young minds can be inspired to learn about anything from fluid dynamics to chemical reactions.

Explore the Hamilton Pool Nature Preserve Hamilton Pool Nature Preserve, Dripping Springs
Credit: Hamilton Pool Nature Preserve, Dripping Springs by Leon Bovenkerk via Flickr

Explore the Hamilton Pool Nature Preserve

What Is It? A natural wonder that was created thousands of years ago, Hamilton Pool Nature Preserve in Dripping Springs first emerged when the surface of an underground river collapsed. 

Why Do It? Giving way to this beautiful attraction, it is now where adventurous families can soak in its natural beauty. Only 23 miles west of Austin, kids of all ages will be mesmerized by the otherworldly emerald green waters and rugged limestone cliffs that surround the area.

Good to Know: Relax in the shade of towering cypress trees and take a refreshing respite from the warm Texas sunshine.

Go Paddle Boating at Landa Park Landa Park, New Braunfels
Credit: Landa Park, New Braunfels by Landa Park

Go Paddle Boating at Landa Park

What Is It? Perfect for a day of lounging in the lush landscaping all year round, Landa Park in New Braunfels boasts 51 acres of land and water recreation. 

Why Do It? An excellent day trip for hiking, sightseeing and relaxing under the shade of ancient oak trees, little kids will enjoy a ride on the miniature train that chugs around the park. Make sure to explore nearby Comal Springs on a paddleboat, where seven large freshwater springs flow into the Comal River. 

Good to Know: If staying dry on land is more your thing, soak in the colorful displays of flora and fauna along the Panther Canyon Nature Trail.

Explore the Caverns of Sonora Caverns of Sonora, Sonora
Credit: Caverns of Sonora, Sonora by TripNotice.com via Flickr

Explore the Caverns of Sonora

What Is It? Boasting thousands of acres of limestone-rich ranch country, the Caverns of Sonora is where the Texas Hill Country meets the Chihuahuan Desert. 

Why Do It? One of the state’s most revered underground treasures, this internationally recognized attraction is fascinating, to say the least. Located 15 miles southwest of Sonora, visitors can explore the caves and get up close and personal with the different sections, intricate tunnels and unique landscapes of the cave system. 

Good to Know: You can go 155 feet underground, where stalactites and stalagmites in varying shades of amber surround you.

Look for Dinosaur Tracks at Austin Nature & Science Center, Austin Austin Nature & Science Center
Credit: Austin Nature & Science Center by Austin Nature & Science Center

Look for Dinosaur Tracks at Austin Nature & Science Center, Austin

What Is It? A combination of museum, zoo, and park, the Austin Nature & Science Center is a must-see attraction for families with kids.

Why Do It? It sits on 80 acres, where educational nature exhibits include anything from replicas of fossils to dinosaur tracks in a Dino Pit exhibition. This center also features native Texas animals such as porcupines and coyotes. 

Good to Know: Go in the science lab to learn about the natural world, or take on the challenge of an interactive “eco-detective trail” adventure.

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