The temperatures are sizzling, and the kids are out of school. What are you going to do to make this summer special? Here are 17 top Texas attractions to enjoy with your family this summer.
San Antonio’s Six Flags Fiesta Texas
This massive amusement park contains all the thrill rides any daredevil kid – or adult – could want. This year the new Wonder Woman Golden Lasso Coaster will join the already famous Batman and Superman coasters. Hate lines? Splurge and buy the flash pass.
Schlitterbahn Water Parks
Nothing screams “Summer!” like a waterpark. In Texas, the Schlitterbahn family of waterparks offers you the chance to splash through New Braunfels, South Padre Island, Galveston and Corpus Christi. Visitors can expect uphill water coasters, surfing rides and tubing rivers. One of the big plusses is that you can find lodging onsite, keeping the kiddies entertained for days.
Vanishing Texas River Cruise
Take the Vanishing Texas River Cruise for a more relaxing approach to water. The cruise starts at Lake Buchanan in the Texas Hill Country, then takes an 18-mile journey to the mouth of the Colorado River. If your family loves nature, you’ll enjoy spotting eagles, vultures and Spanish goats from the boat and learning about geology and history from the guide.
Lyndon B. Johnson National Historic Park
Take an educational visit to the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historic Park in Johnson City to learn about our country’s 36th president. The park includes his boyhood home, furnished in 1920s décor, and the ranch he loved so much — and spent so much time at during his presidency – that it was dubbed the Texas White House.
Austin’s outdoor “swimming pool,” Barton Springs, is in Zilker Park. This beloved summer hangout has cooled off Austin dwellers for generations. Fed by underground springs, it averages 68-70 degrees year-round. It’s the federally protected habitat of the endangered Barton Springs salamander.
Spelunking is another reliable way to cool off. Longhorn Caverns State Park, 1.5 hours northwest of Austin, was first developed as a tourist attraction in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Summertime visitors love the constant 68-degree temperature. You can opt for a sedate guided tour over mostly level ground, or the Wild Cave Tour, which involves crawling and wiggling through small openings. Look out for the tiny tri-colored bats that hang from the cave ceiling.
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
Eighteen miles north of Fredericksburg, in Gillespie & Llano Counties, a huge pink granite dome rises over the surrounding area. It’s an easy walk to the top, or you can pack your rock climbing gear and choose a more difficult route. This is a prime area for stargazing. In the rainy season, you can find small pools of tiny, translucent fairy shrimp on top of the dome.
If you like waterfront shopping and dining, the Kemah Boardwalk, 20 miles from downtown Houston, is calling your name. Ride a roller coaster or Ferris wheel, or board the Boardwalk Beast Speedboat for a 25-minute ride on Galveston Bay. If your child has a summer birthday, look into the Boardwalk’s fun party packages.
Concerts at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden
Shade-seeking, music-loving families will find both at the Dallas Arboretum’s concert series. The Cool Thursdays Fall Concert Series runs March 29 to June 28 and September 6 to October 25, 2018. Sorry, even the arboretum can’t guarantee a cool temperature in July and August! This year’s lineup features a lot of tribute bands, including those paying homage to Journey, The Beatles, Johnny Cash, and the whole decade of the ‘80s.
Neon Desert Music Festival
The multi-genre Neon Desert Music Festival brings rock, Latin music, hip-hop and electronica to West Texas. Expect more than 40 performers, including At The Drive In, Lil Wayne, and Sick.Life to fill downtown El Paso with music over Memorial Day weekend.
Trellis Spa at the Houstonian Hotel
At 17,000 square feet, it’s easy to get a little lost inside the Trellis Spa…which means that this place is perfect for leaving your problems at the door and diving into the experience headfirst! Whether you’re in the mood for a massage, a facial, a body rejuvenation treatment, or even professional hairstyling and makeup application, the Trellis offers almost every service under the sun. Guests of the Houstonian Hotel can also enjoy fine dining, walking and jogging trails, private tennis courts, and climate-controlled swimming pools, but it’s the spa that really sells this place. Remember: it’s okay to pamper yourself once in a while!
Siddhayatan Spiritual Retreat
Now, don’t let this organization’s name scare you away; though their founding principles lie in Eastern philosophy and Hindu culture, their programs all emphasize spirituality over religion—and their focus on ideals like non-violence, compassion, and open-mindedness are pretty universal.
Siddhayatan offers an assortment of different retreats that all focus on a unique aspect of mental and emotional health; some programs focus on yoga, stress relief, or spiritual awakening, and others are geared toward helping folks who struggle with addiction, PTSD, or anger management. Each three-day retreat includes ample time for rest, relaxation, and self-reflection, all of which are crucial for a mental “reboot.” You won’t find gyms or saunas at their facilities, but your mind is sure to get quite a workout!
Rancho Cortez Fitness Ranch
Let’s be clear: Rancho Cortez is not a seaweed-wrap-and-poolside-massage kind of resort! This self-proclaimed “cowboy fitness farm” is a working ranch where city-slickers can come to ride horses, sit around a campfire, learn to swing a lasso, and accompany old pros on cattle roundups.
The ranch also hosts a weight-loss camp that includes (but is not limited to) weight training, aerobics, nature hikes, and horseback riding. The ultimate goal is to get folks on the right track to leading a healthier, more active lifestyle. Come to Rancho Cortez with a good attitude and an open mind, and you may be surprised by how satisfying—and invigorating—the whole experience can be!
Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa
Choosing a retreat for a group that includes kids can be a little tricky, as adults and kids often have very different ideas of what constitutes a good time. Fortunately, there are resorts out there that serve all ages, and Lost Pines is one such place. Children can spend the day at Camp Hyatt and do arts and crafts and scavenger hunts, while teens and adults will be intrigued by horseback riding, tennis, and evening campfire opportunities. Families can enjoy time together in their suites or hit the pool area for a refreshing dip. Interestingly enough, the hotel is dog-friendly; pooches that are 50 pounds and under will be provided with “a bowl, bed, and amenity.”
JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa
This resort offers some of the usual amenities for retreats, including restaurants, a 36-hole golf course, a fitness center, a day spa, a boutique, and more than a thousand gorgeous rooms with plenty of space for couples and groups alike. What really sets it apart, though, is its opportunity for aquatic entertainment.
Hill Country Resort & Spa boasts a nine-acre pool area, with swimming spots of various sizes, an assortment of water slides, and an 1100-foot lazy river. Nearly all hotels have a swimming pool somewhere on the property, but how many can honestly say that they have a massive, private waterpark for their guests?
If you like waterfront shopping and dining, the Kemah Boardwalk, 20 miles from downtown Houston, is calling your name. Ride a roller coaster or Ferris wheel, or board the Boardwalk Beast Speedboat for a 25-minute ride on Galveston Bay. This summer, enjoy the Rock the Dock concert series Thursday nights at 7 or come for the fireworks on Friday nights in July.
Austin Bat Fest
Who doesn’t like to watch 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats swoop out from under the Congress Avenue Bridge to start a night of hunting? On August 24, Bat Fest party goers will also enjoy two stages with live music and more than 75 arts and crafts vendors. Wear your best bat costume and you might win a prize.
Group Transportation for Your Trip
Summer fun often means crowds, and crowds result in the frustration that comes with traffic congestion and a lack of parking. But Echo is standing by, ready to safely ferry your group to your chosen summer event. Give us a call to arrange stylish and convenient transportation for your friends and family this summer. We serve all of Texas and beyond.