This Texas Family Travel post is courtesy of our travel writer Cheryl of Kids On A Plane…At the beginning of the month, I spent several days exploring America’s second largest state and learned that Texas is more than cowboy culture and barbeque.
If you haven’t visited the Lone Star State yet, here are a few reasons why Texas makes a great family vacation destination.
1. Warm Weather
Being Canadian and spending most of the year in multiple layers and closed toe shoes (I’m probably exaggerating but it always feels this way to me – summer is just too short here!), when I start searching for a new family vacation destination I look for anywhere that is above 15°C and sunny.
Texas definitely meets the warm weather criteria. During my early May visit, temperatures ranged from 20°C to 27°C during the day and then 12°C to 17°C at night. I loved being able to pack enough for a 6 day trip in just a carry-on.
Locals were quick to inform me though that it can get extremely hot (mid-30°C and upwards) at the beginning of June and sometimes lasting through to September. If extreme heat is not your thing, avoid visiting Texas during those months.
2. Amazing Food
If you’re a family of foodies – Texas is a definite must visit.
While Texas prides itself on Tex-Mex and BBQ, there are many restaurants that excel at cuisines from other of the world – Asia, Mexico, South America, Italy, France and Germany to name a few.
Everything I ate during my time in Texas was delicious.
BBQ that you eat off of butcher paper (that’s your plate!) – Where else do you get to do that? Texas!
Frito Pie (a Tex-Mex comfort food staple) – Ohhhh, one of my favourite breakfasts that week although too big for me to finish on my own.
Jalapeño in almost everything (beans, breakfast tacos, cornbread, guacamole) – Yum! If you like heat, you’ll love the food in Texas.
Steakhouses with every cut of meat available, French pastries, gelato, queso, huevos rancheros, pho – if you want it, Texas probably has it.
Whataburger – Texans will tell you this is the place to go to if you’re looking for affordable great tasting fast food. And it is! They do make memorable burgers.
Even the calf fries (bull testicles) were good too. When in Rome…. errr Texas.
3. Family Friendly Attractions, Activities and Resorts
From four Schlitterbahn water park locations in the state, Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, SeaWorld, Six Flags, Legoland Discovery Center and SeaLife Aquarium there’s plenty to keep kids entertained throughout the entire vacation.
Some of the resorts I was able to visit do a great job of catering to families and many offer onsite activities to keep kids entertained and busy.
Zoos, museums and science centers are other options that families will love too – there are plenty to choose from.
4. Arts & Culture Scene
One thing that surprised me about Texas is that there is a huge arts and culture scene in this state.
There’s Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth where families can take in a ballet or an opera performance and the Kimbell Art Museum and Modern Art Museum which house paintings and sculptures from the greats like Michelangelo.
Believe it or not, The Torment of Saint Anthony is Michelangelo’s first painting which he created at the age of 12 or 13.
Dallas Museum of Art has pieces spanning from ancient times to the present and the Nasher Sculpture Center downtown has outdoor exhibits to enjoy year round.
The Mexican Cultural Institute just steps away from the Tower of the Americas in San Antonio features work by artists depicting Mexican culture.
5. Historical Sites
Texans are proud of their heritage and the Lone Star State has many attractions and sites for visitors interested in learning about their history.
The Alamo and San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio draws thousands of visitors every year.
The Grapevine Vintage Railroad takes visitors along the historic Cotton Belt Route between Grapevine and the Fort Worth Stockyards.
6. Outdoor Activities and Adventures
Texas is huge. Because of its size (it’s almost twice the size of Germany or Japan) and its consistently warm weather, there’s tons of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy year round.
Beaches, national parks, golfing, hiking, zip lining and horseback riding are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to outdoor activities you can enjoy in Texas.
Many hotels have onsite activities as well for families to enjoy if they’re not interested in leaving resort grounds.
7. Cowboy Culture
If you’re like me, cowboys and cowgirls are one of the first things you associate with Texas.
Two days in Fort Worth taught me a lot about cowboy and cowgirl culture. If this is something your family would be interested in, they might enjoy visiting the world’s largest Honky Tonk, learning about famous women from the America West at the National Cowgirl Museum, spending some time at the rodeo or watching the daily cattle drives at the Fort Worth Stockyards.
Having never been to a rodeo or this close to cattle outside of a zoo setting, this was one of the most memorable parts of my trip.
Seeing entire families come out on a Friday night to watch the rodeo together and watching the cattle drive with hundreds of other visitors – I can’t wait to experience these things with my family soon.
Texas is a very diverse state – with cities and towns offering their own unique experiences.
There really is something for everyone in Texas and I’ll be sharing more posts about how to plan a family vacation in Texas soon here on Moms & Munchkins.
Have you visited the Lone Star State with your kids? What are some of your favourite things about Texas?
For more info on family-friendly activities in Texas, check out TravelTex.com.