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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.
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Located just north of Fredericksburg, Enchanted Rock is one of the largest natural rock formations in the United States. 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. 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.
Located in Concan, Garner State Park is situated on the southern edges of the Texas Hill Country. 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. 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.
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. 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. Kids of all ages can revel in the chance to get up close and personal with some of the animals, while train rides and picnic areas offer plenty of respite after you explore what the park has to offer.
A beautiful metropolitan park with views of Austin’s skyline, Zilker Park is home to 351 acres of lush landscaping that make it perfect for a day of biking, swimming, and kayaking. 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. Shaded hills provide a nice place to relax, while the truly adventurous might try their hand at stand-up paddle boarding.
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. 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. 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.
You simply can’t beat the family-friendly recreation found at Blue Hole Regional Park in Wimberley, where you can fill your itinerary with swimming, camping and wildlife viewing. Nestled in the heart of Central Texas, this spot has consistently been ranked one of the best swimming holes in the state. 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.
With its rocky landscape and scenic topography, Inks Lake State Park in Burnet is just begging to be explored. 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. 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.
Located in San Antonio, the National Bridge Wildlife Ranch is a great place for kids to feel like their in a real life African-style safari. 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. 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.
A children’s museum that inspires creativity, Thinkery in Austin is where families can explore the fun side of science with their kids. The philosophy behind the museum is to connect with ideas by doing, making and experiencing, so its here that you’ll find interactive exhibits, activities, and programs focused on science, technology, engineering, art, and math. 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.
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. 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. Relax in the shade of towering cypress trees and take a refreshing respite from the warm Texas sunshine.
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. 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 paddle boat, where seven large freshwater springs flow into the Comal River. If staying dry on land is more your thing, soak in the colorful displays of flora and fauna along the Panther Canyon Nature Trail.
Boasting thousands of acres of limestone-rich ranch country, the Caverns of Sonora is where the Texas Hill Country meets the Chihuahuan Desert. 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. You can go 155 feet underground, where stalactites and stalagmites in varying shades of amber surround you.
The perfect combination of museum, zoo, and park, the Austin Nature & Science Center sits on 80 acres, where educational nature exhibits include anything from replicas of fossils to dinosaur tracks in a Dino Pit exhibition. A must-see attraction for families with kids, this center also features native Texas animals such as porcupines and coyotes. Go in the science lab to learn about the natural world, or take on the challenge of an interactive “eco-detective trail” adventure.