“Everything is bigger in Texas.” You’ve heard that before, right? Well, it’s true. Texas is big and so is everything in it. As the second-largest state in the United States, Texas is packed with some pretty amazing weekend trips. And, these best weekend trips in Texas are quite varied so there’s something for everyone. You can go peach picking in the small town of Fredericksburg, explore the hip city of Austin, or escape to nature at Big Bend National Park.
Texas is a state that I’ve explored quite a bit. I lived in Oklahoma for eleven years and I would head down to Texas whenever I needed a weekend getaway. The food, the hospitality, the beauty — Texas always stole my heart.
There’s always a new corner of the Lone Star State to explore and wherever you choose to visit, you won’t be disappointed!
13 Best Weekend Trips in Texas
Within a few hours of anywhere in Texas, you’ll find charming towns, big cities, and natural wonders with so much to offer. In this post, I’ve gathered 13 of the best weekend trips in Texas for you to consider for your next trip.
Fredericksburg is one of the best weekend trips in Texas if you’re looking for a place with a small-town vibe. Simply take your time to savor everything this lovely little town has to offer.
While in Fredericksburg, you can take a leisurely stroll through the town, devour the freshly picked peaches from one of the many vineyards, and admire the blooming flowers at Wildseed Farms. And if you’re a history fan, don’t forget to stop by the National Museum of the Pacific War, the most popular attraction in town.
In my opinion, the best time to visit Fredericksburg is during spring when the wildflower season is at its prime. The ground will be filled with bluebonnets, Mexican Hat, Indian Paintbrushes, Poppies, and more. This is a colorful display that certainly belongs on your Texas bucket list.
2. Big Bend National Park
Despite its breathtaking beauty, Big Bend National Park is surprisingly one of the least visited national parks in the country! But that doesn’t mean this park isn’t worth a visit — instead, it is definitely one of the most underrated destinations in the U.S.
While at Big Bend National Park, there are tons of nature-focused things to do. You can hike the popular Santa Elena Canyon, take a peek at the Mule Ears rock formation, and go for a ride on Maxwell Scenic Drive. And if you’d like to spend as much time as possible at this gorgeous national park, you can actually camp on the premises.
If you’re hoping to head to a big city, Austin is definitely one of the best weekend trips in Texas for you. As the capital city of Texas, Austin has something for everyone in your group to enjoy.
Austin is one of the fastest-growing cities in the States, but it maintains a small-town feel. People are friendly and welcoming and they genuinely have a deep love for Austin. Locals also firmly believe in the “Keep Austin Weird” motto.
History buffs and politics aficionados will enjoy a visit to the Texas State Capital. Nature fans will love Zilker Metropolitan Park and the Austin bats under Congress Bridge. And creative folks will definitely want to pay a visit to the Blanton Museum of Art and Sixth Street, the place to go for the best up-and-coming musical talent in town. If you’re looking for more fun things to do, here’s a mega guide on how to spend a weekend in Austin.
One of my favorite things about Austin is the food scene. From luxurious restaurant experiences to food trucks to the hole in the walls, Austin is a foodie’s heaven. The craft beer scene is equally incredible!
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Houston is proud to hold the title of the biggest city in Texas — where everything is already bigger. So it’s no surprise to find out that this massive city is packed with things to do, making it one of the best weekend trips in Texas.
Many of the most popular attractions in Houston are museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of Natural Science. But you certainly don’t want to spend your entire weekend walking around the quiet exhibits of different museums.
Instead, you can add touring of the miles of underground tunnels below Houston, spending a few hours in Herman Park, or watching the riders at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo to your Houston itinerary as well.
Dallas is a quirky juxtaposition of traditional cowboy and contemporary business. For example, there are the Dallas Cattle Drive sculptures are a great example of this contrast that has melded together. When you visit, you can pretend to be cowboys herding this huge drove of steel cattle, as many visitors like to do.
Besides this work of art, you can stop by the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, test your horseback riding skills at the Texas Horse Park, and check out the Dealey Plaza landmark.
If you’re a margarita lover, you’re in for a real treat! Dallas claims itself as the “Official Home of the Frozen Margarita.” You can download the “Margarita Mile” app on your phone and do a margarita crawl throughout the city.
One of my favorite things about Dallas are the fun and quirky neighborhoods around the city. Each one has its own distinctive vibe and attractions. The most noteworthy ones are Deep Ellum and the Arts District.
6. Fort Worth
Dallas and Fort Worth are often clumped together, even though they have two completely different vibes. Consequently, Fort Worth tends to be overshadowed by the city of Dallas when it really deserves a name of its own.
I don’t mean to be biased, but Fort Worth is my favorite on this list. Perhaps, it’s because I lived here for a while.
While Dallas has a touch of cowboy-inspiration, Fort Worth is packed with cowboy-related things to do – and the Fort Worth Stockyards are at the heart of it. Once a historic cattle district, it is now the main hub for rodeos, shootout shows, and even country music concerts.
If you’d like to take a breather from all of the cowboy-related attractions, you can spend a few hours at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens or wander around Sundance Square.
Just like Austin, Fort Worth has a pretty solid food scene. From Mexican restaurants to BBQ joints, you won’t have a bad meal here. Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken, Heim Barbecue, and Melt Ice Creams are must-tries.
The holiday season is the perfect time to visit Fort Worth. Grab a hot chocolate and walk around the Stockyards which are decorated beautifully for Christmas. Or, you can see over two million twinkling LED lights at the Gift of Lights at the Texas Motor Speedway. Don’t forget to enjoy some outdoor skating at Panther Island Ice.
With timeworn storefronts, an operation saloon, country music in the air, and cowboy hats on everyone’s heads, Luckenbach looks like it came straight out of an old Western movie.
There are a handful of things that you need to do to experience the one-of-a-kind vibe of Luckenbach. Other than listening to ridiculous amounts of live country music, everything else can be done at Luckenbach Texas General Store, Bar, and Dance Fall. While there, you can grab a beer, do a little dancing, and grab a unique souvenir to remember your time in the equally unique Texan town.
8. San Antonio
The lovely city of San Antonio is primarily known for one thing: the Alamo. This structure became significant during the Battle of the Alamo during the Texas Revolution in 1836. This important battle helped to turn the tide, and, less than a year later, the people of Texas won their independence.
All of that said, San Antonio has much more to offer than the Alamo. You can head to the Cathedral of San Fernando, buy some farm-fresh goodies at the Pearl Farmers Market, spend a few hours at the bustling San Antonio River Walk, and explore the Natural Bridge Caverns.
9. Bastrop State Park
Situated about 45 minutes outside of Austin, Bastrop State Park is a fantastic place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and instead escape to nature.
The primary draw of Bastrop State Park is the Lost Pines. The Lost Pines are loblolly pine woodland trees that are estimated to be about 18,000 years old. These particular trees have had to evolve quite a bit in order to survive in the unfamiliar Texan terrain, which has less water and clay-like sand than they would usually prefer. In other words, the Lost Pines are unlike any other trees on the planet.
There’s no doubt that you can spend hours admiring the Lost Pines, sitting under their shaded branches, and wandering through winding pathways, but there are other things to do in this gorgeous state park. You can also hike one of the many trails, try your hand at fishing in Lake Mina, and spend the night in one of the park’s historic cabins.
10. Blue Hole Regional Park
Just an hour away from Bastrop State Park is Blue Hole Regional Park. This lovely natural landscape is one of the most popular nature spots in Texas. As a matter of fact, it’s so popular that is believed to be one of the best swimming holes in the entire state!
Based on the name of the park, it should come as no surprise that the brilliantly blue swimming hole is the main highlight. But there is so much more to do at Blue Hole Regional Park! While there, you can warm up your rusty sand volleyball skills, tackle one of the many hikes, or play a pick-up game of basketball.
It is important to know that you can only swim at the Blue Hole Regional Park swimming hole during the designated swimming season, which is from May to September.
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11. El Paso
Situated on the westernmost tip of Texas and along the U.S.-Mexico border, El Paso is quite different from the rest of the Lone Star State. This amazing city is a lovely blend of culture, history, and nature.
For nature lovers, there’s Franklin Mountains State Park, which is filled with beautiful scenery, blooming wildflowers, and blood-pumping hikes. For history buffs, there’s the Chamizal National Memorial and the El Paso Mission Trail. And for cultural experts, there’s the El Paso Museum of Art and the Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site.
Thanks to Texas’ position on the Gulf of Mexico, the Lone Star State also has hundreds of miles of beaches! So if you looking for some fun in the sun and some salt in the air, Galveston may be one of the best weekend trips in Texas for you.
First and foremost, when you get to Galveston, you have to enjoy the beaches, including Galveston Beach, Porretto Beach, and Stewart Beach.
Then, you can enjoy the rest of what the city has to offer. You can explore the historic district known as The Strand, take a peek at the castle-like 1892 Bishop’s Palace, and spend an entire day at the Moody Gardens.
13. Palo Duro Canyon State Park
Situated near Amarillo, Palo Duro Canyon State Park is often called the Grand Canyon of Texas. And since Palo Duro Canyon is the second largest canyon in the U.S., the nickname is a perfect fit.
While at this awe-inspiring state park, you can take in the breathtaking views, hike to the rock formation known as the Lighthouse, and drive the Palo Duro Canyon Loop. And if you’re hoping to spend as much time as possible in this natural oasis, you can camp at Palo Duro Canyon State Park as well.
Do you have any destinations to add to this list of the best weekend trips in Texas? Let me know in the comments below!
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Friday 18th of December 2020
This is an awesome list!! I'm planning a trip to Dallas so will definitely check out the arts district and grab a frozen margarita somewhere!!
Sunday 20th of December 2020
Thanks so much, Sarah! Enjoy Dallas!
Thursday 17th of December 2020
Loved the read! I’ve actually been trying to plan a girls trip to Texas recently! Thanks for the info!
Sunday 20th of December 2020
Enjoy your trip to Texas, Laurel!
Wednesday 16th of December 2020
I haven't been to Texas before but these are some great ideas for when I do get to visit. I always heard Austin is good to see and I recently learned about Palo Duro so that is kinda top of my Texas list now
Sunday 20th of December 2020
Thank you for reading, Emma!
Wednesday 16th of December 2020
Hey Disha, I'm a huge fan of Texas! I've been to Dallas, Houston, and so many other cities. So I definitely want to check out some of these places on your list. Also, I'm so sorry to hear that your parents disowned you because you found love with someone of another race. That sounds very narcissistic and I can definitely relate.
Sunday 20th of December 2020
Thank you so much, Jade! I'm sad to hear that you can relate. :(