The start of the summer travel season is right around the corner with Memorial Day Weekend, and Texas Tourism invites travelers to take a Texas-sized adventure in the Lone Star State. When it comes to family travel, Texas is full of possibilities, boasting more than 600 miles of coastline, scenic mountain ranges, numerous national parks, historic sites and a variety of attractions. Pack your bags and embark on a Texas adventure.
Sink your toes in the sand with a Gulf Coast adventure beginning with Corpus Christi, one of the world’s top kite-boarding destinations. Galveston, a unique 32-mile beach town, offers soft sandy beaches; one of the largest, most historically significant collections of 19th-century buildings; and is home to more than 500 species of birds, making it a top birding destination. Another must-see Texas beach is Padre Island National Seashore, a safe nesting ground for the Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle and a haven for 380 bird species.
Prefer mountains or canyons to waves? West Texas is the place to be. Visitors marvel at the beauty of Big Bend National Park,Davis Mountains State Park in Fort Davis, Franklin Mountains State Park in El Paso, or Palo Duro Canyon State Park in Canyon. In addition to scenic mountain ranges, West Texas is home to many outdoor activities, including horseback riding, white water rafting, kayaking and canoeing. For a different type of terrain, head to Big Thicket National Preserve in East Texas. A convergence of ecosystems, Big Thicket protects the incredible diversity of life found in the multiple habitats. Hiking trails and waterways meander through nine different ecosystems, from longleaf pine forests to cypress-lined bayous.
In addition to Texas’ great outdoors, a variety of adventures and activities can be found in the state’s diverse cities. In Texas’ Capital city, families will enjoy heading to the Thinkery, Austin’s innovative children’s museum where people connect with ideas by doing, creating and experiencing. Another must-see is the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, where visitors can explore the story of Texas. Further south in San Antonio, visitors will enjoy not only the River Walk and the Alamo, but the Spanish Missions – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – and Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, a safari experience right here in Texas. Adventure-seeking visitors can get their fix of thrills at Six Flags Fiesta Texas, which houses pulse-pounding roller coasters and gentler options for the kids.
In Texas’ largest city, Houston, visitors of all ages will delight in the Museum District, made up of 19 cultural institutions including The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. For an out of this world experience, head to Space Center Houston, which features more than 400 space artifacts, attractions, permanent and traveling exhibits and theaters related to the history and future of space exploration. Up north in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, visitors will have no shortage of activities to enjoy. The Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science will have kids of all ages exploring and making discoveries, while the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden allows visitors to soak in the beauty of the outdoors. There’s also plenty of fun to be had in nearby Arlington, at one of the biggest theme parks in the state, Six Flags Over Texas. Its claim to fame is The Texas Giant, while younger patrons will enjoy Bugs Bunny Boomtown. Across the street, more than 3,000,000 gallons of water await at Six Flags Hurricane Harbor.
From sandy beaches, to picturesque mountains, to urban centers, Texas offers a multitude of incredible leisure experiences for visitors of all ages, palates and interests. In fact, these experiences helped generate an estimated $69 billion in spending in the state in 2015, which directly supported 653,000 jobs. Additionally, domestic leisure travel to Texas destinations continued to increase in 2015, accounting for nearly three out of every four travel days across the state and roughly 60 percent of travel spending.
To learn more about Texas travel events and destinations, or to order a free Texas State Travel Guide, please visit www.TravelTexas.com.