Best Places To Visit In Texas With Kids

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A dad and his two kids stand in front of the water at the Barton Springs Pool.
Photo Courtesy: Diane Oliveira

With dynamic attractions, vibrant cities, and natural wonders, these best places in Texas offer endless fun for families with kids! From experiencing the thrill of space exploration at Space Center Houston to immersing yourself in history at The Alamo in San Antonio, this state offers an abundance of educational and entertaining destinations. Explore the underwater world at Moody Gardens in Galveston or embark on a thrilling adventure across Schlitterbahn Waterpark. And if your little ones dream of becoming cowboys or cowgirls, a visit to Fort Worth’s Stockyards National Historic District is a must! On this list, we’ve gathered some of the best places to visit in Texas with kids, from North Texas to the Gulf Coast. We’ve also included things to do, where to stay and more tips for visiting Texas with kids. Keep reading to plan your next adventure to The Lone Star State!

Best Places To Visit In Central Texas With Kids

If you’re planning a family vacation in Texas, be prepared for a treat! Central Texas offers an array of exciting destinations perfect for kids and adults. Keep reading to find more fun places to visit in Texas with kids! 

Austin

A sloth hangs from a tree at the Austin Aquarium while a woman wearing pink looks on.
Photo Courtesy: Austin Aquarium

When exploring the great state of Texas with your kids, Austin should be at the top of your list. Known for its vibrant music scene and thriving food culture, this city offers many family-friendly activities that will keep everyone entertained.

One of the best places to visit in Texas with kids is the Thinkery, where little ones can delve into interactive exhibits and hands-on educational experiences. For some outdoor fun, head over to Zilker Park, a spacious green oasis featuring hiking trails, picnic areas, and even a mini train ride. The park is also home to Barton Springs Pool—a natural swimming hole perfect for cooling off during hot summer days. Another must-visit spot is the Austin Aquarium or the Austin Nature & Science Center where children can get up close and personal with native animals. And let’s not forget about the bats! From March through September every year, the famous Congress Avenue Bridge in downtown Austin plays host to nearly 1.5 million bats, which emerge from beneath each evening during sunset! 

In nearby Georgetown, families can also venture underground to the Inner Space Cavern. 

Where To Stay In Austin With Kids

If you need somewhere to stay in Austin with kids, consider the Four Seasons Hotel Austin. This downtown hotel also offers a saltwater pool, lawn games, and standard rooms or suites, many of which overlook Lady Bird Lake. Then, Hotel Van Zandt is another option for families to consider. Finally, the Embassy Suites Austin Downtown South Congress is centrally located and offers large suites and complimentary breakfast each morning. For something slightly outside of the city center, stay at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa or other options on our list of the best hotels in Austin for families.

San Antonio

A boat moves through the canal in Alamo Plaza in San Antonio at night.
Photo Courtesy: Weston M.

With its charming blend of history, culture, and entertainment options, San Antonio offers a variety of activities suitable for kids of all ages. It’s certainly one of the best places to visit in Texas with kids!

A dad and his son swim with string rays at SeaWorld San Antonio.
Photo Courtesy: SeaWorld San Antonio

The city’s most famous attraction is The Alamo, where families can immerse themselves in the rich Texan heritage and explore this iconic symbol of independence. At nearby River Walk, parents and children can stroll along the picturesque waterway lined with restaurants, shops, and lively street performers. For an educational adventure that combines fun with learning, a visit to the DoSeum—San Antonio’s beloved children’s museum—is a must. You could also visit the San Antonio Zoo or SeaWorld to see some fascinating wildlife. At Natural Bridge Caverns and Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, children can venture into underground caves and meet more wildlife. Or, learn more about San Antonio with a ranger-led tour at San Antonio Missions National Historic Park. There are also plenty of amusement parks for kids, including Six Flags Fiesta Texas and Morgan’s Wonderland. 

Around an hour north of San Antonio, families can also visit Canyon Lake Gorge, a unique limestone gorge that’s over a mile long!

Where To Stay In San Antonio With Kids

Need somewhere to stay in San Antonio with kids? Check out the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa, which is set on a sprawling property with a water park and other amenities for kids. Families also love La Cantera Resort and Spa for its multiple pools and close location to Six Flags or the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort And Spa. 

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

A view of the wildflowers blooming in Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, one of the best places to visit in Texas with kids.
Photo Courtesy: Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is one of the best places to visit in Texas with kids! Located in Fredericksburg, this mesmerizing natural wonder offers a range of activities for families to enjoy together.

One of the most popular activities for families is hiking, and Enchanted Rock boasts some kid-friendly trails that are both fun and accessible. The 1.3-mile Summit Trail, although challenging at times, rewards little explorers with amazing views from the top of the rock formation. For younger children or those seeking a more leisurely hike, the 1.4-mile Short Loop Trail showcases lovely wildflowers and geological features along its path. Kids can also enjoy rock climbing or bouldering at designated areas. Another highlight at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is stargazing in a clear night sky! 

Longhorn Cavern State Park

A parent and child in Longhorn Cavern State Park, one of the best places to visit in Texas with kids.
Photo Courtesy: Longhorn Cavern State Park

When it comes to the best places to visit in Texas with kids, Longhorn Cavern State Park deserves a spot on the list! Located in the heart of Hill Country near Burnet, this park offers an array of family-friendly activities and incredible natural wonders. 

The main attraction here is the limestone cave, which stretches for over two miles beneath the surface. A guided walking tour takes you through narrow passages with unique geological formations and stalactites and stalagmites. Kids will be captivated by stories of outlaws who used this hidden labyrinth as a hideout centuries ago! Another fun activity for kids, which you can combine with your tour, is gem mining. Little ones will learn all about the gemstones they can mine, including arrowhead, crystal, pyrite, and more, and then get to try it out themselves in the indoor mining sluice! To explore the park, you can hike the easy 1.0-mile ​​Longhorn Cavern Nature Trail. 

Best Places To Visit In North Texas With Kids

North Texas is brimming with exciting and educational attractions that will keep your children entertained for days on end. From Dallas to Dinosaur Valley State Park, here are the best places to visit in North Texas with kids, including the best North Texas tourist attractions! 

Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW)

A young boy holds up his arms to see how they compare to a Texas long-horn while visiting the Forth Worth Stockyard.
Photo Courtesy: Kallie Millar

For families searching for the best places to visit in Texas with kids, the Dallas/Fort Worth area promises a memorable adventure for all ages! Known for its sprawling metropolitan area and diverse blend of cultures, this region offers many opportunities for children to learn and explore. 

In Dallas, families can visit the city’s various museums, from the Perot Museum to the Sixth Floor Museum At Dealey Plaza or The Frontiers of Flight Museum. Kids can also tire themselves out by wandering around one of the many gardens in Dallas, such as the Dallas Arboretum And Botanical Garden or the Texas Discovery Gardens. Animal lovers can’t miss The Dallas World Aquarium or the Dallas Zoo, which spans 106 acres! You can also get amazing views of the city from The Geo Deck at Reunion Tower

Meanwhile, kids will also love the Fort Worth Zoo, home to over 7,000 exotic animals and spacious enclosures mimicking natural habitats. Plus, at Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District, children can step back in time and experience the Old West through cattle drives, rodeo shows, and historic reenactments! Or, for a fun break from sightseeing, visit Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington. To meet wildlife, you can also visit the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center.

Where To Stay In Dallas With Kids

If you need somewhere to stay near Dallas with kids, we suggest the Fairmont Dallas, the Omni Dallas Hotel, or the Magnolia Downtown Dallas. All are located within convenient locations and feature family-friendly activities! Families also love the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in Grapevine. Also, check out our list of the Best Hotels In Dallas For Families! 

Make sure to check discounted rates and save on hotel stays through the Families Love Travel booking site! Sign-up is complimentary!

Dinosaur Valley State Park

Two kids stand near an area with fossilized dinosaur prints at Dinosaur Valley State Park in Texas.
Photo Courtesy: Meghan Lutschg

Dinosaur Valley State Park is an excellent destination for a family adventure. Located near Glen Rose, Texas, this gorgeous area is fossilized and rich in natural beauty. Anyone in your family can enjoy this park, even those who aren’t dinosaur enthusiasts! Whether you’re looking for gorgeous trails or to discover some dinosaur footprints, there’s much to do here. 

In fact, there are multiple trails throughout the park where you can uncover some cool dinosaur tracks, like the Limestone Ledge Trail (1.1 miles), the Paluxy River Trail (1.9 miles), or the Discovery Trail (0.1 miles) for smaller kids. Most of the main trails are across the river, so be careful. In the summer, a lot of families use this river to swim, kayak, or canoe. Remember to also take advantage of the park’s Junior Ranger Program for your children to get the most out of their visit! 

Best Places To Visit In West Texas With Kids

Filled with stunning landscapes, historical sites, and an array of national or state parks, West Texas offers endless opportunities for both fun and educational experiences. Here are some of our favorite destinations for families planning a vacation to Texas! 

Big Bend National Park

One of the best places to visit in Texas with kids or teens is Big Bend National Park. Located in the southwestern region of the state, this expansive park offers a ton of activities and opportunities for families to explore together! 

As one of the most beautiful places to go in Texas with kids, Big Bend boasts breathtaking scenery, diverse ecosystems, and also an array of recreational options. Families can hike along trails like the 3.5-mile Upper Burro Mesa Pouroff Trail to appreciate the desert landscapes while learning about local flora and fauna. Keep an eye out for highlights like Santa Elena Canyon or Boquillas Canyon. Another great way to see the park is by taking a guided canoe or rafting trip on the Rio Grande. Or, explore Big Bend by car on a picturesque drive. Dinosaur lovers can’t miss the Fossil Discovery Exhibit. Little ones can check out some fossils and experience the changes to Big Bend’s plants and animals over the millions of years! 

Look for a homestay near Big Bend National Park through VRBO here!

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

A view of the mountains in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, one of the best places to visit in Texas with kids.
Photo Courtesy: Guadalupe Mountains National Park

When it comes to exploring the best places to visit in Texas with kids, Guadalupe Mountains National Park is a hidden gem. Located in West Texas, this national park boasts breathtaking landscapes and offers endless possibilities for adventure and discovery. 

One family-friendly hike is the 2.5-mile Smith Spring and Manzanita Spring Loop, which is also renowned for its picturesque flowers in spring. Kids will also enjoy ranger-led programs, which engage curious minds as they learn about geology, wildlife conservation efforts, and Native American history. For history enthusiasts, exploring the Frijole Ranch Museum lets families experience life on a 19th-century homestead. Kids can learn about ranching techniques and discover artifacts from pioneer days. To combine your visit with a one-of-a-kind experience, arrange a guided tour of Carlsbad Caverns just outside the park in New Mexico! 

Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Palo Duro Canyon State Park is definitely one of the best places to visit in Texas with kids. Located near Amarillo in the Texas Panhandle, this natural wonder boasts the second-largest canyon in the United States. 

A lot of trails in the park are rated as moderate, which is why it’s one of the best places to visit in Texas with teens. One easy hike is the 2-mile Juniper Cliffside Trail and Juniper Riverside Trail Loop, which combines two trails and takes you along a flat trail. For teens or more advanced hikes, the 5.8-mile Lighthouse Trail offers incredible views of one of the park’s most famous rock formations, The Lighthouse. Adventurous families can also go ​​horseback riding through guided tours or rent bikes to navigate the landscapes at their own pace. In the summer, visit the outdoor amphitheater, which stages theatrical productions about the history of Texas during the evenings. 

Best Places To Visit In East Texas With Kids

East Texas is a haven for families seeking thrilling adventures! One major city here, Houston, is a particular family favorite, with its museums and space-themed attractions. Stay tuned to find out more of the best places to visit in Texas with your family! 

Houston

Spaceships and other exhibits inside The Space Center Houston, one of the best places to visit in Texas with kids.
Photo Courtesy: Space Center Houston

As one of the best places to visit in Texas with young kids, Houston has it all, from world-class museums and attractions to great restaurants and shopping. Of course, families can’t miss the chance to sample the delicious Tex-Mex cuisines the city is known for! 

One of the best things to do in Houston with kids is to visit the Museum of Natural Science. This interactive and educational museum features exhibits all about science and nature. Kids will love learning all about space at the Space Center Houston or visiting The Children’s Museum of Houston. Another great option for animal lovers is the Downtown Aquarium or the Houston Zoo. The zoo has a variety of animals, plus a number of educational programs. For families looking for some outdoor fun, Houston also has a number of parks that are perfect for young kids. Hermann Park, for example, has a playground and picnic areas. Memorial Park is another great option and features a playground, walking trails, and a lake where families can go fishing. 

If your kids are into sports, they’ll definitely enjoy visiting Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros baseball team! 

Where To Stay In Houston With Kids

People enjoy the outdoor pool at The Woodlands Resort, Curio Collection by Hilton.
Photo Courtesy: The Woodlands Resort, Curio Collection by Hilton

If you need somewhere to stay in Houston with kids near downtown, consider the Marriott Marquis Houston, Four Seasons Hotel Houston, or the Hilton Americas-Houston. A bit outside of the city, families can also relax at the secluded The Woodlands Resort, Curio Collection By Hilton, which has an on-site water park that kids will love. Check out our list of the Best Hotels In Houston For Families for more options! 

Best Places To Visit On The Gulf Coast Of Texas With Kids

The Gulf Coast of Texas offers many exciting options for families planning a vacation. From sandy beaches to thrilling amusement parks, there is something for everyone on this coastal stretch. Here are some of the best places to visit in Texas with your family!

Galveston

An aerial view of Moody Gardens in Galveston, Texas.
Photo Courtesy: Moody Gardens

Galveston, located on the scenic Gulf Coast of Texas, has established itself as one of the best places to visit in Texas with kids. This charming coastal city offers a variety of family-friendly activities that are sure to create lasting memories for everyone. 

Moody Gardens is a must-see when visiting Galveston with kids. This sprawling complex showcases three captivating pyramids: the Rainforest Pyramid presents a tropical paradise teeming with exotic plants and animals; the Aquarium Pyramid allows kids to marvel at marine life from various regions of the world; and the Discovery Pyramid introduces curious minds to science wonders through interactive exhibits. Then stroll along the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier. It has amusement park rides and classic carnival games overlooking the stunning Gulf Coast. For a beach trip, look no further than Stewart Beach. Plus, nearby you’ll find Schlitterbahn Waterpark with water rides for the whole family! History enthusiasts can also visit The Bryan Museum, Bishop’s Palace, or the Galveston Railroad Museum to see vintage trains. 

Looking for more things to do in Galveston with kids? Outdoorsy families can also go hiking in Galveston Island State Park.  It’s one of the best things to do in Texas with your family!

Padre Island National Seashore

A view of the ocean on Padre Island National Seashore, one of the best places to visit in Texas with kids.
Photo Courtesy: Padre Island National Seashore

When it comes to the best places to visit in Texas with kids, Padre Island National Seashore is a must-see destination. Stretching for approximately 70 miles along the Gulf of Mexico, this national seashore offers endless opportunities for family fun and adventure. 

It’s a paradise for little ones who love sandcastles, seashell hunting, and playing in the gentle waves. Swimming is allowed on North Beach, Malaquite Beach, and South Beach, and in the Laguna Madre at Bird Island Basin. The Malaquite Beach area near the visitor center provides parking, picnic areas, etc. However, be aware that there aren’t any lifeguards on duty; so, you’re swimming at your own risk. From mid-June through August, families can also watch sea turtle hatchling releases on Malaquite Beach. Ranger-led programs, like deck talks or beach walks, are also popular. Plus, with its miles of clear skies and unspoiled nature, it’s also an ideal place to go stargazing. 

On South Padre Island, families can also visit the South Padre Island Dolphin Research & Sea Life Nature Center to see dolphins, birds, butterflies, and other wildlife. 

Best Hotel with Animal Experiences In Texas For Families

There’s nothing like looking out your hotel window and seeing wildlife! Texas is the perfect place to have this kind of animal adventure — especially if you love giraffes. Here are the best hotels with animal experiences in Texas for families!

Long Neck Manor

A giraffe at Long Neck Manor, one of the best places to visit in Texas with kids.
Photo Courtesy: Long Neck Manor

When it comes to the best places in Texas for kids to experience a unique and exciting adventure, Long Neck Manor stands out as an exceptional choice. Located within the vast landscape of a traditional working cattle ranch right outside of Fredericksburg, this Manor offers an unforgettable cowboy experience for families.

One particularly unique aspect of staying here that kids will love is the manor’s Giraffe Suite, which fits a family of four. Overlooking a family giraffe stall, you’ll literally be nose-to-nose with these friendly creatures! Families who book the suite can also take advantage of rhino and giraffe feedings for free. You can also take a 75-minute Animal Encounter Tour, where kids can get up close and personal with the rhinos and giraffes while learning more about how the manor cares for them. 

Best Dude Ranch Experiences In Texas For Families

With their unique blend of outdoor adventure, Western charm, and family-friendly activities, few experiences can match those offered by dude ranches. Here are some of our favorite options!

Wildcatter Ranch Resort and Spa in Texas.
Photo Courtesy: Wildcatter Ranch Resort and Spa
  • Around an hour and a half north of Big Bend, families can visit the historic Prude Ranch in Fort Davis. With rustic cabins, horseback riding, and more fun adventures, it’s the perfect getaway for nature-loving families!
  • For an authentic ranch experience near San Antonio, visit Y.O. Ranch Headquarters, around an hour north of the city. Alongside wildlife viewing, like golden eagles, the ranch also offers stargazing and games such as cornhole or horseshoe.
  • In Graham, Texas, just outside of Dallas, families can stay at the Wildcatter Ranch Resort & Spa. Activities range from horseback riding to archery, Jeep tours, and spear-throwing.

Happy Travels! 

People jumping in a swimming hole in Austin -Families Love Travel

We hope you liked this list of the Best Places To Visit In Texas With Kids! From Western culture in Dallas to the beautiful beaches of the Gulf Coast, there’s so much to experience in The Lone Star State. Enjoy your family vacation to Texas! 

*This post may contain affiliate links that may earn us a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Affiliate links in no way inform the hotels, sights, products, or other recommendations included in our articles. All opinions and recommendations expressed here are compiled from submissions submitted by the generous members of our Families Who Love To Travel community.

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Families Love Travel Team

The Families Love Travel Team has a zest for life and an even bigger passion for globetrotting! Comprised of real-life travel professionals, we work hard behind the scenes to provide dynamic solutions for adventuring with children. Our enthusiastic team understands the challenges that often accompany traveling with kids and is committed to making Families Love Travel an inclusive space to convey these experiences.