Our research is editorially independent but we may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Texas is a big state, and you do not need to cross the state line to enjoy a memorable vacation. These top vacation spots in Texas are just as different as the state itself. From camping spots to urban areas, your Texas vacation will be unforgettable no matter what kind of getaway you choose. Explore the Lone Star State when you book a vacation at one of these fun vacation spots in Texas.
South Padre Island isn’t just a vacation spot for college students on spring break. This Texas coastal city is a perfect getaway for all Texans looking for a beach and a relaxing time. Spend your vacation sunbathing, jet skiing, or fishing. South Padre is also teeming with wildlife, making it a great destination for bird watchers and dolphin lovers. Aside from the miles of sandy shore here, South Padre Island is also home to Beach Park at Isla Blanca waterpark and the Port Isabel Lighthouse State Historic Park and boasts luxury beachfront accommodations.
Texas’ capital city is one of the Lone Star State’s top vacation destinations. Music lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, and foodies alike head to this city to experience its eclectic culture. Known as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” a number of great musical acts head to Austin, especially during the popular music festival Austin City Limits. Even if you aren’t here to see your favorite band, you won’t want to miss hiking the Greenbelt, shopping on South Congress Avenue or bar-hopping along 6th Street.
Many travelers flock to San Antonio to see one of Texas’ most popular historical attractions, the Alamo. However, San Antonio is more than just this iconic historical site. When you’re done exploring the Alamo, make sure to head to the Riverwalk for a boat ride or a gourmet meal. San Antonio has a number of family-friendly attractions too like the San Antonio Zoo and Six Flags Fiesta Texas.
Amarillo may not come to mind as a top vacation destination, however, this north Texas city has plenty to offer travelers. History buffs will enjoy viewing the relics of the old Route 66, which runs through Amarillo. Yet the attractions outside of Amarillo, such as Cadillac Ranch and Palo Duro Canyon State Park, are definitely worth a visit while you’re here too.
Honeymooners, families, and spring breakers alike head to Galveston to enjoy a great vacation in this coastal city. Since Galveston is only an hour’s drive from Houston, this beach town is an accessible vacation destination for Houstonians. Enjoy a day at the beach, take a stroll along the Seawall or ride all the rides at Pleasure Pier. Also home to a Schlitterbahn Waterpark, Moody Gardens, and a number of historical attractions like Bishop’s Palace and Moody Mansion, this Texas city has plenty to offer travelers of all types.
If you’re hoping to find solitude during your next vacation, then head to West Texas to Big Bend National Park. From camping to hiking to rafting, this incredible national park is worth the drive. This desert landscape is best visited during the spring and fall. During your stay here, visit Santa Elena Canyon, hike the South Rim, or simply take an auto tour along Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive.
Corpus Christi is a beautiful coastal city that makes for an unforgettable vacation. North Beach is the sandy shore spot that you’ve been dreaming of all year. When you aren’t relaxing with your toes in the sand, Corpus Christi has other attractions to keep you occupied during your vacation. The Texas State Aquarium is a great way to learn about marine life, while a visit to the USS Lexington offers a look inside a World War II Navy aircraft carrier.
This Hill Country gem has grown in popularity over the past decade and for good reason. Antique shoppers, wine lovers, and wildflower seekers all flock to Fredericksburg for a great time. If you’re visiting during the spring months, drive the Willow City Loop to catch breathtaking views of Texas wildflowers. One of Texas’ most popular state parks is found in Fredericksburg too; Enchanted Rock State Natural Area draws campers, hikers, and climbers year-round. Along with a lively wine scene and downtown shopping area, there’s no denying that Fredericksburg is a top vacation spot in Texas.
Spend some time in a cabin in Garner State Park, one of the best state parks in Texas. The spring-fed Frio River is the park’s main attraction where tubers can cool off during the summer heat. This family-friendly vacation destination is flooded with vacationers every summer. The state park even hosts nightly summer dances so you can get your groove on while meeting other traveling Texans. You’ll leave Garner State Park with a sunburn, new friends, and a yearning to book another Garner trip for next year.
New Braunfels is a popular vacation destination during the summer months, as the city is home to two tubing rivers, the Guadalupe River and the Comal River. Book a riverfront vacation property here so you can enjoy the river even when you aren’t floating in the spring-fed waters. Aside from the rivers, a massive Schlitterbahn Waterpark is also a popular attraction here for vacationers. If you’ve grown tired of water recreation, then take the short drive to Gruene Hall for the evening to enjoy live music and dancing.
Houston is a huge city with a lot to see and do. It is home to the Johnson Space Center that trains NASA astronauts and that you can visit to learn more about space exploration. Another top destination is the Houston Museum of Natural Science, and there are museum and theater districts in the city to satisfy your curiosity about local arts and culture. Catch a baseball game at Minute Maid Park, and consider taking the family to the Museum of Fine Arts, the children’s museum or the zoo to enjoy fun days together.
El Paso is a great Texas destination for people who enjoy the outdoors because of the great hiking opportunities at Franklin Mountains State Park. This is a scenic park that also offers relaxing and scenic drives if you don’t feel like being too active. El Paso also has a nice downtown area to walk around and explore various shops that sell cowboy hats, boots, and western wear clothing. You’ll be right across the border from Mexico here, which means that you can cross over and make your trip an international one if you like.
If you’re looking for quirky, artsy, and a bit off-the-grid, plan a trip to Marfa, Texas. This tiny town is home to the mysterious Marfa lights that are rumored to be due to extraterrestrial activity and last the Chinati Foundation founded by Donald Judd. There are indoor and outdoor art installations here that will spark your curiosity and leave you feeling inspired. You can attend art events in Marfa, grab a beer at a local dive bar, and even set up camp in the area with a tent or RV.
For your next beach vacation, consider planning a trip to Port Aransas, Texas. This is a laid-back and family-friendly vacation spot famous for the sandy areas of Mustang Island and its classic beach town vibe. Trips to Port Aransas often include lots of fresh seafood, driving golf carts to get around, and fishing trips. There are about 18 miles of sandy beaches here, and you can even camp on the beach. Plan to dive into your favorite watersports here, such as surfing, jet skiing, kayaking, kiteboarding, and parasailing. Port Aransas has numerous locally owned businesses and an exciting art scene to check out when you’ve had your fill of the beach.
Dallas is a sprawling city that has grown and changed a lot in recent years. This is a top destination for foodies because of the excellent culinary scene, as well as for art lovers because of the museums and local events. The Texas State Fair takes place in Dallas in the fall, and all throughout the year, you can relax and socialize at the city’s rooftop bars and along Margarita Mile.
Many people have heard of Big Bend National Park, but Guadalupe Mountains National Park is another adventurous getaway spot worth checking out. Hikers love this park because of its natural beauty and unique landscapes, as well as for the various wild animals for viewing opportunities. The park is part of the Chihuahuan Desert and offers everything from quick and easy hikes to all-day excursions for experienced adventurers.
Tyler, Texas is most famous for roses and has been named the Rose Capital of America. This Northeast Texas city is home to the Tyler Rose Garden and the annual Texas Rose Festival. In the spring, you can travel along the Tyler Azalea Trail to see blooming azaleas in the area as well. Beyond just flowers, Tyler has an active arts and cultural scene and outdoor recreation opportunities for fishing, boating, and camping at Lake Palestine and Lake Tyler. Other things to do on a trip to Tyler include playing a game of golf, browsing the specialty stores, and stopping by the local breweries and wineries for a refreshing drink.
Waco is a Texas city between Austin and Dallas that is the home of Dr Pepper soda. There’s a Dr Pepper Museum that you can visit here and also the Magnolia Market at the Silos, which was made famous on the HGTV series, “Fixer Upper.” During a trip to Waco, you can also visit the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame, the local zoo, and Waco Mammoth National Monument to see mammoth bones and fossils. To get outdoors and active, go for a hike or mountain bike ride in Cameron Park. It’s also nice to walk across the historic 1870-built suspension bridge and attend a local festival or event, such as Brazos Nights, Deep in the Heart Film Festival, or the Heart O’ Texas Fair and Rodeo.
Wimberley, Texas used to be an under-the-radar Texas destination, but it has become increasingly popular to visit in recent years. When you plan a trip to Wimberley, you can hike Mount Baldy for scenic views, take a dip in a natural swimming hole to cool off or get your adrenaline pumping with a zipline experience. Jacob’s Well and Blue Hole are popular swimming pools that are lined with cypress trees to offer shade and a relaxing experience. There are lots of local eateries to check out in Wimberley when you’re looking for a good meal, including the Wimberly Café, Leaning Pear, and Longleaf Craft Kitchen and Bar.
Grapevine, Texas was named after Grapevine Lake, but there are some wineries in the area to visit and that offer tastings. This is a lovely city filled with historic buildings, restaurants, art galleries, and shops. There is a nice Main Street to walk along in Grapevine, as well as the Cotton Belt Railroad District with artisan workshops. The Grapevine Vintage Railroad is a historic train that offers rides to the Fort Worth Stockyards, where you can learn about the history and take a step back in time. The Sea Life Grapevine Aquarium, Great Wolf Lodge Waterpark, Grapevine Botanical Gardens, and Palace Arts Center are all great places to add to your travel itinerary here too.