If you’re looking for ideas for Texas spring trips, enjoy this list of possibilities. Don’t see your favorite spot? Let us know.
15 Texas spring trips
These ideas for Texas spring tips are fantastic for Texas residents looking to road trip in state or for anyone visiting one of the larger Texas cities who wants to explore a little more. This list is small town heavy and intended to help you discover a piece of Texas that’s brand-new to you.
If Fredericksburg Texas rings a bell, it might be because its known as Texas wine country. While that is true and that Fredericksburg is a great place for wine lovers to visit, there’s more in this area than just wine.
Fredericksburg is a great destination for a Texas spring trip if you’re using San Antonio or Austin as your starting point. It’s an easy day trip from either of those cities but you can definitely find ways to keep yourself entertained for several days or even a week.
See the spring wildflowers in bloom at Wildseed Farms, take a hike at Enchanted Rock State Natural explore history at the National Museum of the Pacific War and explore the fun shops in downtown Fredericksburg. Nearby Johnson City offers LBJ State Park and Historic Site plus a really cool science museum.
2. Waco is perfect for a Texas spring trip – but expect crowds
Waco Texas is home to everyone’s favorite DIY couple and all things Magnolia. About 90 miles from Dallas and about 180 miles from both San Antonio and Houston, Waco makes a great day trip from most larger Texas cities. If you are flying, it’s easy enough to do a stand-alone trip to Waco if you rent a car. Tourism in Waco is BOOMING, so plan your trip accordingly. If you are looking to plan a spring trip to Texas, Waco is going to be a popular spot.
I live in San Antonio and I’ve visited roughly once a year for the past four years and I’ve seen a different Waco each time I visit.
Decatur and nearby Bridgeport are about an hour’s drive from Dallas/Fort Worth. It’s an easy day trip from the DFW metro area and can also work as a stand alone destination. There’s plenty in Decatur to keep you busy for a couple of days and the town square is a lot of fun to explore, offering delights such as custom made cowboy hats and a don’t miss retro candy store.
Visitors who have Waco on their radar might consider adding a stop in Decatur or choosing this as a substitute destination. Many of the items you see for sale at the Magnolia Market are made in Decatur. The parent company of DIY Studio Decatur Texas is a supplier to the Magnolia Market, meaning that some of the goodies you see for sale in Waco are made in Decatur.
Nearby Bridgeport is another fun stop for DIY fans. The Hayhurst Brothers, of HGTV’s Texas Flip and Move, have their design studio here. Downtown Bridgeport also has cool street murals to discover. Although currently closed, the C.A.R.E. tiger sanctuary is something to keep on your radar for future visits. This is an entirely different experience than going to a zoo, so make sure you research ahead of time to make sure this is the right activity for your group.
4. Amarillo/Canyon/Palo Duro
Our trip to Canyon Texas early in 2019 tops my all-time list of favorite places for me – and that’s a big list. This area always rises to the top of the list when my family and I talk about Texas road trips.
We went during the shoulder season – this area is most popular and has more activities open during spring and summer but we still had fun.
Palo Duro Canyon is the second largest naturally occurring canyon in the United States – Grand Canyon is the largest, obviously. Part of the canyon is run by Texas Parks and Wildlife and the other part, sometimes known as Elkins Ranch or Palo Duro Creek Ranch, is privately held. You can still tour but there’s a fee and you’ll need to make reservations during peak times. I highly recommend the experience.
We didn’t spend much time in the town of Canyon. It’s a college town, home to West Texas A&M University, so there’s a decent amount of shopping, dining and other attractions.
We did drive out toward Amarillo to see the famous Cadillac Ranch. If you haven’t heard of the Cadillac Ranch, it’s a bunch of vintage caddys planted in the dirt in the middle of a field. They’ve been spray painted many times over and you’re welcome to add your own touches. Just don’t expect your contributions to be permanent.
Bring your own spray paint from home or buy it in a grocery or hardware store. There’s a souvenir shop catty corner from Cadillac Ranch that sells spray paint but it’s marked up a TON. We were told before our visit that there was a pile of “free for all” spray paint at the Cadillac Ranch that people could use. I didn’t see any such pile. Most people use what they take in and discard their empties, so make sure you take paint if you want to paint.
Gonzales is the seat of Texas independence. You probably thought it was the Alamo but spend five minutes in Gonzales and someone will tell you different. An easy drive from Austin, San Antonio, or Houston, Gonzales offers a little bit of everything.
Although the best times to go to Gonzales aren’t during spring – see their city’s calendar for The Come and Take It Festival and Winterfest – you’ll find plenty to do if you do decide to visit in spring. Plus, the weather will be nice.
Gonzales goes all out for their two yearly festivals and it’s a fun time to visit but you can do the various museums, hang out on their cute main street and explore nearby Palmetto State Park any time.
If you like beer (or maybe even if you’ve heard of beer) you probably know what Shiner is. There’s not much to Shiner Texas other than the Brewery, which is a fun place to visit. The brewery is kid-friendly and has lots of outdoor space. More on things to do in/near Shiner here.
6. San Angelo
San Angelo is known as “The Pearl of West Texas.” Located along the heart of the Concho River in the heart of ranching country, San Angelo is a great place to discover western frontier heritage as well as cultural attractions, food, and family friendly activities. To offer a frame of reference, San Angelo is about a three hour drive from San Antonio, slightly longer than that from Austin, and about four hours from Dallas. It’s easy to get to from a lot of places but it sits out on it’s own. It’s a little too far flung to make a great day trip from many places in Texas but it’s got plenty to do for a long weekend.
There are really nice parks, including a state park, a historic landmark dedicated to frontier history, an art museum, a fun downtown area with murals galore and other street art and probably more.
My list of things to do in Alpine and Marfa was curated as the result of poor planning. It’s still a really great list and it’s a beautiful area of Texas that I’m dying to visit again. Let me explain.
I’d reserved a vacation rental for my kids and I in Marfa because it’s a funky, artsy town that I always wanted to visit. My idea was to visit Big Bend National Park and explore Marfa. In two days. If you’re familiar with this area, you know my planning was lacking…well, pretty much everything. While you can use Marfa as a base camp to visit the park, it’s a longish drive back and forth. Two days isn’t really enough time to properly explore Big Bend. Also, Marfa isn’t super great for younger kids. Fortunately, I met a lady at the Alpine Visitor’s Center who told me my plan was dumb – in a nice way – and gave me the alternate selections you see in my blog post.
We do plan to go back and spend a more extended time in Big Bend National Park and the nearby state park. We may venture into Alpine or Marfa but we probably won’t use it as a base camp. All this said, we loved getting to explore these little towns and would absolutely go back to this area.
8. Fort Stockton
If you’re not familiar with Texas, you’re probably saying “What? Where?” and that’s OK. If your spring travel plans involve driving through Texas or if you’re coming from in state and want something a little more “road less traveled” Fort Stockton is definitely one to consider. Unless you’re a die-hard road tripper, this one might not be practical because it’s not really near any major cities or airports.
Located deep in the heart of West Texas, Fort Stockton is a town where you can experience some frontier history. Once upon a time, soldiers of the 1st and 8th Infantries were stationed at this West Texas outpost to protect travelers heading west to Mexico and California from San Antonio. Fort Stockton offers a fun visitor’s center with lots of places to snap pictures. Don’t miss Paesano Pete, the giant road runner statue.
Bastrop Texas is located about 30 miles from Austin. It is technically a part of the Austin Metro Area, although it doesn’t have the Austin vibe. Bastrop can be a great day trip or weekend trip for people living in Texas. If you plan to visit San Antonio or Austin, definitely put Bastrop on your list of day trips or side trips.
Bastrop has a lovely state park, a cute and walkable downtown area (check out the visitor’s center for a free scavenger hunt for kids) plus water activities. There are also multiple places to do adventure-type activities, such as camp, hike, zipline, and horseback ride.
If you’re looking for more of a resort-style atmosphere in this area, check out the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa. Although it’s an easy jump into Bastrop, you’ll probably find you don’t want to leave the resort.
If you’re looking for a Texas city you can fly directly into, check out Houston. Houston has two airports – George Bush International and the smaller Houston Hobby, if you like flying Southwest Airlines. Houston isn’t what I like to call the pretty part of Texas but there is more than enough stuff to keep you busy for more than a week.
Our most recent trip was just for a weekend (easy to do from San Antonio) and we decided to focus on just two activities: The Science Museum and the Space Center. There’s also a zoo, a boardwalk area and a world-class children’s museum, just to name a few things.
Located along the coastal plains of Southeast Texas, Beaumont is a short drive from Houston and an even shorter drive from the Texas-Louisiana border. There are several free or low cost museums in Beaumont, most located in the downtown area.
If you want to explore the great outdoors, 900 acres of scenic wetlands with a boardwalk for viewing and a great visitor’s center make Beaumont’s Cattail Marsh a must-do. This outdoor space offers walking/biking/horse trails, a limited amount of picnic space and lots of opportunities for wildlife watching.
We stopped in Lubbock for two days on our 2018 Southwest road trip you’ve heard me talk about. It was an unplanned stop. We stopped because we’d been going full force for two plus weeks and we found a good deal on a hotel with one of the best pools EVER. It’s the the Fairfield Inn and Suites Southwest, by the way. There are two Fairfield Inns in Lubbock but there’s only one with what I can only describe as a disco pool. You’re welcome.
Lubbock is a fun city to explore. There’s a lot of Buddy Holly history. It’s near the high plains wine country if you’re into winery visits. The highlight of our trip, though, was definitely Prairie Dog Town. We wanted a stop between Carlsbad Caverns and home, so this turned out to be it. Whether this is a pit stop fir you or a standalone trip, you’ll find things to do in Lubbock.
13. El Paso
El Paso, located right on the U.S./Mexico border and also right on the U.S./New Mexico Border offers quite a bit of activities. Springtime will be warm for outdoor activities but not unbearably so. Franklin Mountains State Park offers fun hiking and biking trails at various difficulty levels.
El Paso has a fantastic zoo which focuses heavily on desert animals, although you’ll see some other inhabitants as well. And THIS is the zoo that started letting people name a cockroach after an ex and fed to a meerkat on Valentine’s Day. A lot of zoos have started doing this but it all started here.
If you’re looking for more indoor activities, El Paso has a great museum district in the downtown area.
14. New Braunfels
If you’re starting out in San Antonio or Austin, New Braunfels is an easy driving distance. While this cute German town makes a great day trip from either city, there’s much more than a day’s worth of activities. From one of the best water parks in the state to festivals to floating on the river to a first-class children’s museum, New Braunfels has lots to offer.
15. San Antonio
A trip to San Antonio can involve everything from visiting The Alamo (San Antonio is also known as the Alamo City) to exploring the city’s River Walk dotted lined with cafes and shops. With so much to see and do, this bustling city (that doesn’t have that big city feel) is a can’t miss destination in Texas.
From the Riverwalk to the Mission Trail to off the beaten path museums, San Antonio is a fun destination for a Texas spring trip.