Warm weather, longer days, barbecues, picnics, lightning bugs, road trips – These are all words that are synonymous with summer, which, let’s face it, is everyone’s favorite time of year. If you’re in search of some exciting summertime activities, we’ve got you covered.
We’ve put together a comprehensive traveler’s guide on the best places to visit in Texas this summer.
Best State Parks in Texas
Big Bend Ranch State Park, Presidio
The Big Bend Ranch is situated in West Texas along the US border with Mexico. The park covers a whopping 300,000+ acres of desert-like terrain, giving adventure-seekers an infinite amount of exploration opportunities.
Some of the most popular activities at the state park include hiking, horse riding, and mountain biking. If you would rather find solitude in nature, this is the best place to do it. We especially like the fact that it is a designated International Dark Sky Park, making it perfect for stargazing after a radiant sunset. The Big Bend also provides a host of camping selections, with the most popular option being the Sauceda Bunkhouse.
If you’re up for fun water-based activities, you can easily access the Rio Grande via the state park. All in all, the massive Big Bend Ranch state park is a definite winner in our books and is certainly worth checking out.
Colorado Bend State Park, Bend
The Colorado Bend state park is another all-time favorite. It’s one of those destinations with so much to offer that you get to pick and choose your own adventure. The park sits on an impressive 5,000 acres, with a 6-mile shoreline of the spectacular Colorado River.
For the hiking lovers in the house, you will enjoy exploring the expansive hiking trails spanning more than 30 miles. Our favorite trail is no doubt the Gorman Falls, which leads you on a scenic explorative journey through the state park, opening up to one of the most breathtaking waterfalls in all of Texas.
While the hiking trail does have some strenuous portions, the 70-foot, spring-fed waterfall is well worth the effort.
Best Golf Courses in Texas
Horseshoe Bay Resort, Horseshoe Bay
If your idea of a fun summer getaway is a golf resort, you will love what the Horseshoe Bay resort brings to the table. Located at the heart of Hill Country, the resort boasts three world-class courses that cater to golfers with different skill levels and one that’s exclusive to members.
Slick Rock Golf Course
First, there’s the Slick Rock golf course that adopts a Robert Trent Jones Sr.-design. It spans 70 acres, boasting some of the most scenic landscapes the Austin area has to offer. One of the features that stood out the most to us is, no doubt, the “Million Dollar Hole.”
The par-4 14th tee gives way to a daunting 35-yard-long shot that goes over a show-stopping waterfall feature. If you do make the shot, you get to enjoy a leisurely cart ride or stroll through the waterfall.
Apple Rock Golf Course
Next is the Apple Rock golf course that also has a Robert Trent Jones design. It sits on some of the highest Hill Country terrains in Austin, starting out on the rocky landscape and finishing off at the magnificent Lake Lyndon B. Jordan (LBJ).
Here’s an insider tip for you: You’ll need to have a keen eye to get through the water hazards brought on by the seven holes and 50 bunkers if you hope to finish with a decent score.
Ram Rock Golf Course
Last but not least is the Ram Rock golf course, which is the toughest of them all. It will put your golfing prowess to the test, so you might want to steer clear of it until you get enough practice to take it on.
The rapid elevation changes, narrow fairways, and 62 deep bunkers are all designed to test your precision and resilience. Nonetheless, despite how difficult it is, you get to enjoy the beautiful views set against the backdrop of dry creeks. Golf Week Magazine ranked Ram Rock among the Top 15 Courses in Texas.
Best Camping in Texas
Guadalupe River State Park, Spring Branch
Less than an hour’s drive north of San Antonio, Guadalupe River State Park features 100+ campsites split between three different camping grounds. The Cedar Sage and Turkey Sink grounds host most of the campsites at the park. They come fully equipped with electric hookups, making them a popular choice for RV campers. We also like the fact they are close to shower facilities and flushing restrooms.
If a “true” camping experience is what you’re after, you might like what the campsites at the Wagon Ford campgrounds bring to the table. They have no electric hookups or showers, but they do offer restroom access. The main benefit you get while camping here is that the Guadalupe River and the Bald Cypress Trail are adjacent to the grounds, so you can get an early start on the trails if you need to.
Best Resorts in Texas
The Woodlands Resort, The Woodlands
The accommodation options available in Texas are second to none. Case in point: The Woodlands Resort and Conference Center. This incredible getaway opens up to the Piney Woods spanning 28,000 acres of Mother Nature in all her glory, giving you access to several hiking and biking trails.
If you enjoy golfing, you’ll be happy to know that the resort boasts two world-class golf courses. It also has a massive tennis center that offers lessons for kids and adults alike. There’s a full-service spa, multiple heated outdoor pools, and a private water park with waterslides and activities to keep the kids occupied.
The accommodations at the Woodlands Resort are nothing short of impressive. You get to enjoy picturesque views of the countryside or poolside views if you want to keep an eye on your kids at the water park from the comfort of your hotel room. There’s also the option to get a club-level room that comes with swanky features like a private lounge.
Everything about this resort is well-thought-out. It is certainly worth checking out next time you’re in The Woodlands.
Best RV Parks in Texas
Grand Texas RV Resort, New Caney
This is by far one of the best RV parks we’ve been to in Texas. For one thing, it is conveniently located right on the highway, less than an hour’s drive from Houston. The resort has loads of high-quality facilities, making it feel like a home away from home. The fact that Grand Texas RV resort is Good Sam Club-affiliated means that the park has some of the best amenities we’ve come across.
For instance, the massive pool and hot tub Jacuzzi are remarkably clean, as are the modern showers and flushing restrooms. There’s even free garbage pickup and lightning-fast Wi-Fi to make your stay at the park as comfortable as possible.
If you have kids with you, they will love the expansive playground where they can climb, run, and play to their hearts’ desire. For pet owners, there’s a fenced dog run, which your furry friends will enjoy.
All in all, if you’re looking for somewhere to park your RV after a long drive across the state, you might want to check out the Grand Texas RV resort first before you go anywhere else.
Best Hiking in Texas
Lighthouse Trail, Canyon
What better way to explore the Texas landscape than through a hiking adventure. Buried at the heart of the Palo Duro Canyon is the popular Lighthouse Trail. It’s located in the Texas Panhandle, close to Amarillo.
It was christened “Lighthouse” due to the natural rock formation along the trail that closely resembles an actual lighthouse. The 3-mile long, one-way trail is filled with breathtaking views of eroded, multicolored cliffs against a scenic backdrop of the magnificent canyon.
Its wide variety of animal and plant species combined with the quiet solitude makes it a top must-visit hiking trail in Texas. Be sure to bring a wide-brimmed hat, sunscreen, and plenty of water with you as it can get quite hot, especially in the summer.
Best Lakes in Texas
Lake Travis, Austin
Everything is bigger in Texas, and the lakes are no exception. Canyon Lake and Lake Travis have shorelines spanning hundreds of miles. The sheer size of these lakes makes them a popular destination for many travelers.
The crown jewel of the Highland Lakes of Central Texas is, no doubt, Lake Travis. This 63-mile long, skinny basin boasts 270+ miles of shoreline and is chock-full of water activities, including fishing, boating, jet-skiing, and diving. There are numerous access points for the public along the shore, in addition to a host of guide shops, boat rentals, and marinas that you might find quite useful.
Several land-based activities occur around the lake, including zip-lining tours, live music concerts, and expansive golf courses. Adjacent to Lake Travis is Windy Point Park, located about 30 minutes away from the city of Austin. The park is home to several picnic sites and campsites and even offers some of the best diving spots in the region.
Best Beach Towns in Texas
While the Lone Star State may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of beach destinations, it does have several places where you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the cool summer breeze by the sea. If you’re looking for a water-centric, sea-adjacent vacation spot in Texas, we recommend going to Rockport.
This quaint little beach town has many unique boutiques and rustic restaurants that make you want to move there permanently. When you’re not lounging on the beach, the Texas Maritime Museum needs to be at the top of your itinerary. You’ll learn about the rich history of the Gulf Coast, including some riveting pirate tales.
The beach has several swimming areas, picnic sites, and public restroom facilities and is even accessible to individuals with decreased mobility. The only downside we found was that Rockport doesn’t allow pets on the beach. Other than that, it’s one of the best beach towns in Texas.
Best Water Parks in Texas
Galveston Island Waterpark, Galveston
If you’re looking for a way to escape the sizzling Texas summer heat, cooling off at a water park is a fun way to do it. Not just any water park, though – The Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark. Located along Lockheed Road in Galveston, the park boasts an impressive 26 acres of thrilling water rides.
It has three main sections, all of which are connected by a one-mile-long river. One section features a host of high-speed waterslides. Another section has a children’s play area in addition to raft rides. The third section is home to a wave pool and the world’s tallest water coaster.
While the park rules don’t prohibit visitors from bringing their own food, the property has several food and beverage outlets and a swim-up bar if you’re looking to imbibe some alcoholic refreshments.
Best Spas in Texas
Loma de Vida Spa & Wellness, San Antonio
After a long day of summer activities, nothing beats a little pampering to melt the stress away. The Loma de Vida Spa & Wellness retreat features 15 treatment rooms and couples’ suits perched against a stunning backdrop of the majestic rolling hills in the heart of Texas Hill Country. The spa boasts private Sky Lofts overlooking the pristine La Cantera Resort golf course.
The spa features Himalayan salt saunas and heated saline pools that you can use before or after your treatment. If you prefer to be outdoors, there’s an immaculate hot tub and infinity pool you can relax in.
Moreover, there’s a fresh juice bar on the premises, and guests can also access the high-tech fitness center. The luxurious body treatments, rejuvenating facials, soothing massages, and fitness options at the spa are designed to leave you feeling relaxed and invigorated.
A Texas Summer Like No Other
There you have it – the best places to visit in Texas. Have you been to any of the places we’ve listed in this guide? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.
In the meantime, check out our blog for the top 10 must-do road trips in Texas.