Texas is a state with endless possibilities when it comes to day trips.
Whether you want to experience the laid-back charm of small towns….
or enjoy outdoor attractions and activities,
you can find something exciting just around the corner in Texas!
If you are looking for some peace, one of the best places to visit is the Texas Hill Country.
This lush paradise offers serene hiking trails and scenic swimming holes – perfect to escape into nature.
West Texas is home to many stunning landscapes that offer unparalleled views, including Big Bend National Park.
Best Day Trips in Texas
Texas is a large and diverse state, providing visitors with an endless array of options for day trips.
History buffs will enjoy exploring the state’s many battlefields and cultural sites,
….while nature lovers can hike through the woods or paddle down one of the many rivers.
For those who prefer a more urban experience, explore the bustling metropolis of Austin or enjoy the small-town charm of Fredericksburg!
Here are our favorite day trips in Texas to visit this summer.
Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch
This safari-style park is located near San Antonio and is home to diverse animals from all around the world including deer, zebras, ostrich, and llamas.
Visitors can take a tour of the drive-through ranch in their vehicles.
There are also many opportunities to feed and interact with the animals, making it a great place for families.
The adjacent Natural Bridge Caverns is one of the state’s largest cave systems and offers tours for all ages, making it one of the top day trips in Texas.
Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District in Fort Worth is a must-visit for any fan of the Old West.
The area was once a major livestock market and today, visitors can explore cowboy museums, watch a mock gunfight, or see the cattle drive.
There are also plenty of great restaurants and shops to enjoy in the area.
Fort Worth has plenty of other attractions as well, such as the Fort Worth Zoo, Fort Worth Modern Art Museum, and the Kimbell Art Museum.
San Antonio is one of the most popular day trips in Texas and for good reason!
The city is home to The Alamo, the San Antonio River Walk, SeaWorld, and much more.
There are also several great historic sites to explore such as the San Fernando Cathedral and the Missions National Historical Park.
Six Flags Fiesta Texas theme park is also located in San Antonio.
One of our favorite Texas day trips in the Texas Hill Country!
Fredericksburg is a charming German town with plenty of historical sites, quaint shops, and excellent restaurants.
The city is located in the heart of Texas wine country and visitors can enjoy tours at local wineries or take part in their annual wine festival.
The nearby rolling hills, natural areas like Enchanted Rock, and scenic drives make Fredericksburg extremely popular with day-trippers.
Beat the Texas heat by planning a day trip from Houston to Galveston Island beaches.
The island is home to several attractions including Strand Historic District, Moody Gardens, Schlitterbahn, and the Historic Pleasure Pier.
There are also plenty of opportunities for fishing, swimming, kayaking, and bird watching.
Don’t forget to enjoy some of the delicious seafood that the island is known for!
Hamilton Pool Preserve
Hamilton Pool Preserve in Dripping Springs is a popular day trip from Austin.
The stunning crescent-shaped pool features a waterfall and is surrounded by gorgeous limestone cliffs.
Visitors can swim in the refreshing water, go hiking along several trails, or simply enjoy the scenery.
Austin itself makes a great day trip or weekend trip in Texas.
Downtown Austin is a great place to spend a day if you are looking for an urban adventure.
The area is home to many popular attractions including the Texas State Capitol, Lady Bird Lake, and Sixth Street.
Austin is known as the live music capital of the world and hosts plenty of music festivals and concerts.
There are also plenty of excellent restaurants and bars to enjoy in the area.
Inks Lake State Park
Inks Lake is one of the top state parks in the Lone Star State and also one of the top day trips in Texas.
Located near Burnet, Inks Lake is a great destination for hiking, swimming, and fishing.
There are also plenty of picnic areas where visitors can relax and enjoy the stunning natural scenery.
Visitors can camp in the park or mountain bike the trails or jump in the Devils Waterhole, a popular swimming hole.
Waco, located in central Texas, is a great fun day trip option for families.
It has a rich history and many interesting attractions.
Visitors can enjoy walking tours or take a riverboat ride on the Brazos River.
Families can explore the Waco Mammoth National Monument, where the remains of a herd of mammoths have been preserved in the fossil record.
Or tour the Dr Pepper Museum, which chronicles the history of the iconic soft drink.
Magnolia Market at the Silos, a popular shopping and dining destination, is also worth a visit.
There are also plenty of opportunities for shopping and dining in Waco’s historic downtown district.
Glen Rose – #1 of Day Trips in Texas for kids
Glen Rose is known as the Dinosaur Capital of Texas.
The area is home to Dinosaur Valley State Park, where visitors can see fossilized dinosaur tracks of creatures that roamed the earth millions of years ago.
The tracks are preserved in the Paluxy River bed and can be seen on a wet, fun hike.
For a more hands-on experience, visitors can go fossil digging at Dinosaur World or see the lifesize replicas.
Glen Rose also boasts several other attractions including the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center and the Big Rocks Park.
Also Read: Best weekend trips from Dallas
Caddo Lake State Park
Looking for an East Texas day trip? Caddo Lake is a great option.
The state park is home to many cypress trees and Spanish moss, making it a beautiful place to explore.
There are also plenty of opportunities for fishing, canoeing, and kayaking.
Visitors can camp or hike through the woods to see the wildlife or go birdwatching for a variety of local species.
Granbury is a charming small town in north Texas that makes for a perfect day trip from Fort Worth or Dallas.
The downtown area has many historic buildings, shops, and restaurants to explore.
Explore the charming town square and see popular attractions including the Hood County Courthouse, Granbury Opera House, and Granbury Railroad Depot Museum.
There are also several wineries in the area that offer tours and tastings.
Other must-visit spots include Lake Granbury, which offers excellent water sports and outdoor recreation as well as a sandy beach.
Big Bend National Park
Big Bend National Park is a great day trip destination for those looking to explore the great outdoors.
The park offers hiking, camping, and scenic drives.
There are also plenty of opportunities to see wildlife including bighorn sheep, javelinas, and coyotes.
Big Bend is also home to one of the darkest night skies in the country, making it a great spot for stargazing.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Guadalupe Mountains National Park is another excellent option for outdoor lovers.
This is one of the most remote national parks in Texas and located close to the border with New Mexico.
It makes an excellent West Texas day trip.
Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas, is located here and offers stunning views of the surrounding area.
There are also plenty of hiking trails, some of which lead to waterfalls and other natural features.
The park is home to a variety of plant and animal life, making it a great spot for wildlife watching.
Located in the Piney Woods region of East Texas, Jefferson is amongst our favorite Texas small towns.
The town is known for its history and architecture, with plenty of historic buildings to explore.
Jefferson also has a lively downtown area that hosts events throughout the year.
Visitors can shop at antique stores or enjoy live music at one of the many venues in town.
Palo Duro Canyon State Park
Palo Duro Canyon is the second largest canyon in the country and offers stunning views of the landscape.
Popular activities at the park include hiking, camping, horseback riding, mountain biking, and birding.
See the Texas longhorn herd while you are here!
In the summer, visitors can also enjoy a musical production at the outdoor amphitheater.
Port Aransas is a popular beach town on the Gulf Coast of Texas.
The town is known for fishing, with multiple piers and boat launches available to visitors.
Beach lovers will enjoy the many miles of sandy beach area, and there are also several parks and nature trails in the area.
Beavers Bend State Park
Looking for a great outdoors destination in Oklahoma?
Beavers Bend State Park is a perfect choice.
The park has many miles of hiking trails, as well as opportunities for fishing, canoeing, and kayaking.
Visitors can also enjoy horseback riding or take a scenic drive through the park.
In the fall, the park is a popular spot for leaf-peeping as the leaves change color.
Arlington – One of the best urban day trips in Texas
Arlington is a city in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex that is home to many attractions.
Sports fans can tour AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, or Globe Life Park, home of the Texas Rangers.
Other popular attractions include Six Flags Over Texas – famous for its thrill rides and the Hurricane Harbor water park.
Arlington is also home to many museums, including the Arlington Museum of Art and the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame.
Pedernales Falls State Park
Pedernales Falls State Park is a great spot for nature lovers.
The state park near Austin has many miles of hiking trails through wooded areas and along the Pedernales River.
Visitors can also enjoy swimming, fishing, and camping at the park.
In the fall, it’s a great spot to see the leaves change color.
Padre Island National Seashore
Located on the Gulf Coast, Padre Island National Seashore offers some of the most secluded beaches in Texas.
Visitors can enjoy swimming, surfing, and fishing, or simply relax on the beach and watch for marine life.
The park is also a popular spot for birding and visitors can see many different types of migratory birds throughout the year.
Davy Crockett National Forest
Davy Crockett National Forest is a U.S. National Forest located in East Texas.
The forest is a great destination for hikers, with miles of best Texas trails to explore.
Other recreation opportunities in the forest include camping, fishing, swimming, biking, picnicking, and bird watching.
The forest is home to several species of animals and birds, including white-tailed deer, bobcat, coyote, opossum, armadillo, mockingbird, and woodpeckers.
It’s also ideal for hunters, as the forest is home to many different types of game.
In the fall months, it’s a popular spot for leaf-peeping as the leaves change color.
Balmorhea State Park
Balmorhea State Park is located in the West Texas desert.
The park is home to the world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool.
Visitors can also enjoy hiking, camping, and picnicking at the park.
Rockport is a seaside town on the Gulf Coast of Texas.
The town is known for its stunning natural beauty, with many beaches and parks along the coast.
Fishermen will love Rockport’s many fishing piers and boat launches, while beach lovers can enjoy miles of sandy shoreline.
Other popular activities in Rockport include bird watching and shopping.
Texas State Railroad, Palestine
The Texas State Railroad is a popular attraction for visitors to Palestine in East Texas.
This historic railway runs through the beautiful countryside of the region, offering scenic views and plenty of opportunities for hiking, biking, and wildlife viewing.
Visitors can enjoy a day trip train excursion in spring to see the dogwoods and in fall to see the foliage.
In winter, the railroad hosts the popular Polar Express train excursion where kids can meet Santa Claus.
Lake Texoma is a popular North Texas day trip from Dallas for families.
Located along the border between Texas and Oklahoma, Lake Texoma is one of the largest lakes in the United States.
It is known for its diverse ecosystem and abundant wildlife.
This beautiful lake attracts visitors from all over the region with its serene, clear waters and scenic surroundings.
The clear waters are teeming with fish, including bass, crappie, and catfish.
Canyon Lake is a popular destination for water sports enthusiasts in Central Texas.
Visitors can enjoy swimming, boating, sailing, water skiing, and hiking at Canyon Lake.
Guadalupe River State Park located nearby is popular for river-tubing.
In addition to the water recreation, Canyon Lake is also a great spot for camping and wildlife viewing.
Our favorite Texas day trip during the holiday season!
Grapevine, located just outside of Dallas, is the Christmas Capital of Texas.
During the season, visitors can enjoy a variety of holiday festivals, including an annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
The town also boasts charming shops and restaurants, as well as a historic downtown area.
Grapevine is undoubtedly one of the best places to spend Christmas in Texas.
Take a road trip along Route 66 in the Texas panhandle to Adrian, Texas!
Adrian is the mid-point of Route 66 and is home to the iconic Midpoint Cafe.
Along the way, visit Cadillac Ranch on a short day trip from downtown Amarillo.
This quirky public art installation features ten Cadillacs buried nose-down in the ground.
Corpus Christi is another excellent Gulf Coast option for a day trip.
The city offers plenty of opportunities for fishing, swimming, and boating.
Visitors can also explore the USS Lexington Museum, the Texas State Aquarium, or the South Texas Botanical Gardens and Nature Center.
You will also find several amazing beaches in Corpus Christi.
Our favorite day trip from Austin is to Wimberley, a charming town in the Texas Hill Country.
This quaint town has art galleries, antique shops, charming bed and breakfasts, and plenty of restaurants.
Outdoor enthusiasts can visit Blue Hole Regional Park for hiking, swimming, and cliff-diving.
Canton, Texas is amongst best day trips in Texas for shopping and antique lovers.
The town is home to the First Monday Trade Days, the largest flea market in the United States.
Held on the first Monday of every month, this massive market features thousands of vendors selling everything from clothes to furniture to handmade goods.
Monahans Sandhills State Park
Monahans Sandhills State Park is a must-visit for anyone spending time in West Texas.
This unique state park is home to miles of sand dunes that are perfect for hiking, picnicking, and camping.
Visitors can also enjoy sandboarding and off-road vehicle driving in the park.
Texas is a large state with a diverse range of landscapes and activities to enjoy.
No matter what your interests are, you’ll find plenty of options for day trips in Texas.
So pack your car and a sense of adventure, and get ready to explore all that the Lone Star State has to offer!