Texas is the second-largest U.S. state and offers attractions for every type of visitor. The Lone Star State has many natural wonders, beaches, museums, and historic sites. Looking for a family vacation getaway that's affordable and close to home?

Take a short drive across the state line and try one of these Top 10 family-friendly destinations.

1. Galveston Island

Galveston Island has a rich and unique history, from devastating storms to the fall of the Confederate's last hold, marking an end to the Civil War. Before the 1900 storm, Galveston was the second most prosperous city per capita in the U.S. The Strand downtown was known as the “Wall Street of the South.”

History buffs can check out museums and take tours, nature enthusiasts can enjoy Moody Gardens, thrill seekers can head to Pleasure Pier or Schlitterbahn, and those looking to lounge around are sure to find a nice spot to lay out along miles of sandy beaches. There are several things to do and plenty to eat, making for an enjoyable family getaway!

 

2. The Piney Woods Express Steam Train Adventure

This four-hour, round-trip train adventure will take you and your family on the journey of a lifetime. As you travel the Piney Woods of Palestine, Texas, you'll learn about its 135-year history. Enjoy a ride onboard the Piney Woods Express Steam. a vintage locomotive wholly restored from the 1920s.

 

3. Texas Dude Ranches 

Families fit in perfectly at classic Texas dude ranches like Wildcatter Ranch in Graham,
Camp Fimfo Texas Hill Country, Camp Fimfo Waco, Chalk Draw Ranch, or
Chandler Ranch is just a fracture of ranches and resorts found in the Lone Star State. Kids will love horseback riding, jeep tours, and the infinity pool. Parents can enjoy sports clay shooting, archery, and the on-site spa excursions for a vacation to remember.

 

4. Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains National Parks

Tour one of the two National Parks in Texas. For camping, hiking, kayaking, horseback riding, or scenic drives. National parks: Guadalupe Mountains and Big Bend are where you'll find spectacular prairie wildlife, gorgeous colored foliage in the fall, canyons, boating, biking, and public campsites perfect for RVs along the glassy waters of the Rio Grande.

 

5. The Isla Grand Beach Resort

A premier resort along the Texas Gulf Coast on the beachfront, in the southern portion of South Padre Island, and all the top attractions. With 10 acres of tropical foliage and onsite amenities like restaurants, a coffee shop, two swimming pools, hot tubs, kids activities, a gift shop, a nightclub, and more.
From Memorial Day to Labor Day enjoy round-the-clock live entertainment. Families can take advantage of beautiful summer vacations at the only tropical oasis in Texas!

 

6. Corpus Christi Museum of Science & History

Enjoy thousands of artifacts from shipwrecks, fossils, and exhibits from the 1800s, and learn the history of Corpus Christi and the Wild West. The stairs are piano keys that play notes as you walk up and down, making it a perfect family-friendly getaway.

 

7. Natural Bridge Caverns in San Antonio

The Natural Bridge Caverns gets its name from a 60-foot bridge made of natural limestone. The incredible phenomenon formed after a sinkhole collapsed beneath it. The caverns are among the biggest in commercial use in the U.S. and host tours throughout the year.

 

8. Route 66 Historic District in Amarillo

Get your kicks on Route 66! Explore this destination hot spot by driving along the iconic highway. Experience what the American West was like, spend the day with your family at Cadillac Ranch, and have great food at in the historic Route  66 in Amarillo, Texas. Peruse vintage shops, enjoy the Cadillac Ranch, and eat at delicious retro diners and lounges along the way.

 

9. Kemah Boardwalk and Amusement Park

Museum of South Texas History: Edinburg
If a sea dinosaur and a 14-foot mammoth skeleton sound like they'd captivate your kids, the Museum of South Texas History is worth a stop. This museum has artifacts and exhibits that cover prehistoric times all the way up to 20th-century Texas. Learn about the formation of the nearby Rio Grande, industrialization-era locomotives, and a 100-year-old jail that's now part of the museum's structure.

 

10. NASA Space Center Houston

Home to NASA's Historic Mission Control, Houston is one of the only places kids can get hands-on experiences with the astronauts and engineers who spearhead American space exploration. Interactive exhibits, educational in-theater films, and the original Mission Control that monitored Apollo 11's trip to the moon are just the beginning of what families can discover.

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The tell-tale signs of a home in the '90s.

Gallery Credit: Danielle Kootman

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