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In the summertime, Texas temperatures are often well into the 90s with plenty of sunshine beating down throughout the day. Regardless of whether you live in Texas or are just visiting for a few days, staying comfortable can be a challenge in the summer months. But fortunately, there are lots of indoor and outdoor activities are perfect for staying cool – the Texas way! Here are our favorite ways to beat the summer heat in Texas.
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Who says you need to hide out in the air conditioning all summer just to stay cool? The Schlitterbahn is an exciting Texas waterpark with four Texas locations: Galveston Island, New Braunfels, South Padre Island, and Corpus Christi. This is an essential part of any South Texas summer with all the tubing rivers, uphill water coasters, surfing rides, and picnic areas you could ever hope for. The New Braunfels location is the original water park resort and spans over 70 acres with more than 50 attractions. You can also make a whole weekend out of this summer getaway by staying at the resort and booking a room or even an entire seven-room vacation home. You can also reserve a private cabana or BBQ palapa here to add a bit of luxury to your waterpark experience. Ticket prices range from $38.99 to $54.99 depending on when you buy and your age.
To cool off in a natural way, head to the beaches at Padre Island National Seashore. This is the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island not just in the U.S., but the entire world. The park area protects approximately 70 miles of coastline, as well as the dunes, tidal flats, and wildlife habitats nearby. It’s incredibly fun to camp right on the beach at Padre Island National Seashore in a tent, but just be prepared for the strong winds that are often in this area. Camping is on a first-come, first-served basis, and while there are no RV hookups here, there is a dump station and water-fill station in the park. In addition to simply lounging on the beach and cooling off in the ocean waves, it’s fun to go kayaking or canoeing along the seashore here.
Snow cones are a staple of the hot summer season in Texas, but there’s a particularly fun snow cone station worth visiting in the town of Argyle. Gnome Cones was established in 2017 as a cute and kitschy way to help Texans cool off in a delicious way. With plenty of gnome puns and gnome-themed décor, this snow cone stand takes pride in its unique flavors and perfect ice consistencies. Come get your very own gnome-shaped snow cone any day between noon and 10pm. There are some nice picnic tables outside the stand where you can relax and chat with fellow snow cone lovers as you admire the quirky gnome statues all around you.
Texas is also a great place to go boating since there are lots of lakes scattered throughout the state. One of our favorite boating spots is Lake Lewisville, which is a large North Texas lake that is 29,000 acres in size and that has 233 miles of shoreline. Boating, fishing, water skiing, and swimming are all popular here. And if the temperatures aren’t too high, it’s also fun to play golf on a nearby course or head to the bike trails in the area too. Party Cove is the place to be on Lake Lewisville if you’re looking to mix and mingle with other people who love to drink, dance, and listen to music. Local companies, including Just for Fun Watercraft Rentals and Big D Watersport, rent out boats for you to use on the lake if you don’t have your own.
Movies are always a fun way to pass the time on a hot day, but LOOK Cinemas isn’t your average movie-going experience. This Dallas theater is an upscale venue with plush accommodations and some great food and drink offerings to go with first-release features. Come here for luxury seating, take-in concessions, in-theater dining, hand-crafted cocktails, and even sofas with ottomans where you can watch your favorite stars on the big screen. Check movie times before your trip to Dallas to see what’s playing.
Another fun way to spend a hot summer day in Texas is to check out an Escape Game location in Dallas, Austin, or Houston. This unique attraction was started by Jonathan Murrell, James Murrell and Mark Flint with a single Nashville location and has since expanded to eight different cities – three in Texas! Each location offers several imaginative and immersive room experiences, such as Prison Break, Gold Rush, Heist, and Playground. You can play with other random participants or book an entire room if you have 8 or 12 people in your group. This is a great summer activity for teens and adults, and the per-person cost is $31.99 plus tax.
Texas also has some excellent resorts with pools that’ll help you stay cool and enjoy the hot weather of the season. For example, the Omni Austin Hotel Downtown has a great rooftop pool where you can enjoy views of the city, and there’s a pool bar and poolside dining available too. Other top-notch resort pools to consider are located at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa and the La Torretta Lake Resort & Spa in Montgomery.
Public pools are also a great option for Texas summers, and we love the Barton Springs Pool in Austin. This pool enjoys average temperatures of 68-70 degrees, which is perfect for year-around swimming. This pool is actually three acres in size and is quite affordable, especially if you’re a resident. It’s just $8 for non-resident adults, $4 for non-resident kids ages 12-17, and $3 for non-resident kids ages 1-11.
You can also head to one of Texas’ many great shopping malls to cool off on a hot day. One shopping destination to check out is the River Oaks Shopping Center, a large and upscale complex in Houston. There are over 70 stores and dining options here, as well as the River Oaks Theater, which was built in 1939 and often shows independent films and art-house movies.