85 Summer Road Trippin' Destinations

Cover Story

You must be trippin’ this summer … road trippin’ that is!  Texas is so big that you don’t have to travel far this summer to experience the vacation of a lifetime. Pick one section of the state and get ready for a fun filled road trip. With help from reader feedback, we’ve broken down the 85 best spots to stop while cruising under the big, open Texas sky.

Texas Hill Country & Central Texas: In no particular order, we begin our countdown in the hills lined with blooming bluebonnets and crystal clear water beneath our feet.

1.  Float the Guadalupe River - With nothing to do but float for 6 hours, how can you not ease into summer?

2.  The Grist Mill River Restaurant, New Braunfels - Nestled above the Guadalupe River, this distinctly Texas restaurant is the perfect getaway for a unique casual dining experience.

3.  Gruene Hall, New Braunfels - Visit Texas’ oldest dance hall and catch the guitar strings of Jack Ingram, Stoney LaRue, and Uncle Lucius this summer. 

4.  Son’s Island, Lake Placid - A beautiful, three and a half acre island paradise complete with Hawaiian style cabanas.

5.  Perdernales Falls State Park, Johnson City - Tranquil and a great place to relax, camp, hike, mountain bike, picnic, geocache, bird watch and ride horses.

6.  Becker Vineyards, Fredericksburg - Head on in for a winery tour in Hill Country and sample some of their award-winning vino.

7.  Wildseed Farms, Fredericksburg - This wild seed farm features 200 acres of wildflowers blooming in all different stages of development.

8.  The Christmas Store, Fredericksburg - Niche shopping and uniquely decorated store fronts.

9.  Enchanted Rock, Fredericksburg - This enormous pink granite makes the ideal location for climbing and bouldering enthusiasts or those looking for a thrill!

10.  Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge, Marble Falls - The refuge contains over seven miles of trails and is home to 245 bird species throughout the year.

11.  Hidden Falls Adventure Park, Marble Falls - Take an adrenaline packed guided Jeep tour where you’ll get off the beaten path for about two and a half hours.

12.  Andalusia Whiskey Distillery, Blanco - whiskey tasting in a modern, but cozy atmosphere.

13.  Voodoo Doughnut, Austin - The magic is in the hole! Need I say more? Just look at the picture of Jackson Hymer showing off the Marshall Mathers (Eminem). 

14.  Hamilton Pool, Dripping Springs - A 50-foot waterfall plunges into the head of a steep box canyon for a crystal clear swimming experience like none other!

15.  Taco City, Austin - You can’t leave Austin until you have tried a taco from a corner trailer!

16.  The Alamo Drafthouse, Austin - “Cold beer, hot movies, and delicious snacks and meals; The Alamo Drafthouse is dinner, drinks, movies and events, all under one roof.”

17.  Congress Bridge, Austin - Watch 1.5 million bats soar out into the sky at sunset under this downtown bridge.

18.  San Marcos River, San Marcos - Another fun river full of swimming tubing and neon lighted paddle boards.

19.  The Hitch, San Marcos - Take your lunch pick among several food trucks and be entertained by live music most weekends.

20.  San Antonio Riverwalk, San Antonio - A river village with your choice of restaurants, shopping, entertainment, and hotels. 

21.  The Alamo, San Antonio - This is a classic Texas stop that deserves to be visited and re-visited.

22.  Japanese Tea Gardens, San Antonio - “The restored garden features a lush year-round garden and a floral display with shaded walkways, stone bridges, a 60-foot waterfall and ponds filled with Koi.”

23.  BSR Cable Park, Waco - A surf ranch, cable park, giant waterslide, and a lazy river … what more could your summer want?

24.  Waco Hippodrome, Waco - Don't miss a moment of action at this dine-in theater with live music on the patio!

25.  Magnolia Market - The silos made famous by Chip and Joanna Gaines! You do not want to miss this shopping and retail experience!

26.  Stagecoach Inn, Salado - Built in 1852 as a stagecoach stop along the Chisholm Trail; this is the oldest continuously running hotel in Texas! 

27.  Main Street, Salado - locally, handcrafted art, unique shoppes, and delightful dining! Is a girl trip calling your name?

28.  The Golf Club at Star Ranch, Hutto - An all-inclusive 18 hole golf course “with undulating fairways and greens flanked by pristine white sand bunkers.”

29.  Collin Street Bakery, Corsicana - The ‘original” since 1896. Fresh baked goods and sweets for your summer time appetite!

Texas Coastal Area: Texas truly does have everything to offer: hills, forests, prairie land, lakes and rivers and the Gulf of Mexico! Bring on the beach!

30.  The Historic Strand District, Galveston - #1 on the list: La King’s Confectionary, a throwback to a 1920’s soda fountain and candy store with on the hour taffy pulling. Local dining fare includes fresh seafood situated within the century old buildings of days gone by. 

31.  Fish Tales, Galveston - Count the shells in your pocket while enjoying lunch on the popular beachfront balcony on the Seawall in Galveston.

32.  Ride the Ferry from Bolivar to Galveston - This ferry takes passengers and their vehicles to and from the Bolivar Peninsula to Galveston Island. 

33.  Southern Wave Sailing Charters, South Padre Island - Romantic sunset dinner cruises, kite boarding, jet skis, and boat tours … this spells Summer!

34.  Mustang Island, Port Aransas - A beautiful beach getaway! Lie out on the sands or take a dip in the ocean for a relaxing time in this small coastal town.

35.  Seabrook Waffle Company, Seabrook - Grab a waffle topped with anything you could imagine … from cheese, ham, and bacon, to peanut butter and bananas or a waffle topped with ice cream, strawberries, and dark chocolate.

36.  Kemah Boardwalk, Seabrook - An amusement park with midway games, shopping, and restaurants right on the boardwalk! The fun never ends!

37.  Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark, Houston - 40,000 square feet of concrete paradise, the largest in Texas, for skaters both old and young alike. 

38.  Brenner’s Steakhouse on the Bayou, Houston - Some of the favorites include Crunchy German Potatoes, Homemade Roquefort Salad Dressing, and the incomparable Apple Strudel. The lush gardens in the back are rumored to be reminiscent of Mr. Bruner’s native Germany. 

39.  Houston Museum of Natural Science - A sleepover like “A Night at the Museum? Yes, please!

40.  Escape it Houston - Chose a themed room (like the Titanic or The Great Pyramids of Egypt) and try to escape in 60 minutes or less!

41.  Downtown Aquarium, Houston - Where else can you ride a train while sharks and tropical fish swim overhead?

42.  The Shack Burger Resort, Cypress - Award winning burgers with a play area for the kiddos. What kid doesn't love an old school bus turned into a playground? And don’t forget to try the Bradley Cooper, an adult beverage to compliment your burger.

 43.  Market Street, The Woodlands - Luxury in the Woodlands! Fine dining, shopping, wine walks, and much-needed spa treatments await you at the
town’s epicenter. 

West Texas: West Texas is more than just tumbleweeds and desert; it is big, open sky, friendly folks, and colorful towns.

44.  The Big Texan Steak Ranch, Amarillo - A Route 66 landmark legend and home to the infamous 72-oz. steak challenge!

45.  Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo - Where writing graffiti on these upright Cadillacs is an expression of art!

46.  Monahans Sandhills State Park - These sand hills tower over you in an open desert for miles. Rent a sand toboggan or disk so you can slide or surf all the way down the sand hill. Some are as high as 70 feet!

47.  The Gage Hotel, Marathon - “Built for pioneer Texas rancher, Alfred Gage, the beautifully restored mission-style hotel includes 15 newly remodeled guestrooms, five on the first floor and ten on the second floor.”

48.  White Buffalo Bar, Marathon - “Enjoy bites from the bar menu like the famous White Buffalo Burger, named “Best Burger” by Texas Monthly Magazine.”

49.  Theatre of the Big Bend, Alpine - Experience all kinds of Wild West shows until mid to late July.

50.  Ballroom Marfa - Film, music and visual arts performances in a 1927 dancehall!

51.  The Chianti Foundation, Marfa - A contemporary art museum where the art collections are housed in 15 buildings on 340 acres of land!

52.  Marfa Lights Viewing Center - Spend the evening searching for aliens and UFOs.

53.  El Cosmico, Marfa - The quaint little town where you can book a whimsical, vintage trailer in bright colors, or a teepee to spend the night under the stars.

54.   McDonald Observatory, Fort Davis  – Sky gazers delight in daily tours of the large research telescopes and Star Parties under some of the darkest night skies in the continental United States as well as frequent Special Viewing Nights on some of the largest telescopes in the world.

North Texas: Venturing through North Texas is often like venturing through a concrete jungle. But, no worries! There are plenty of off the beaten paths that don’t require driving through traffic in downtown Dallas; unless you want to of course!

55.  Friday Night Market, Celina - Browse through a variety of products from local farmers, artisans, crafters, ranchers, vineyards, and many more.

56.  Kelly Family Farms, Parker - a burger stand in the middle of a pasture? Well, at least you know the beef is grass-fed!

57.  The Stockyards, Ft. Worth - “From the original brick walkways to the wooden corrals, every inch of the Stockyards tells the true history of Texas’s famous livestock industry.”

58.  Miss Molly’s Bed & Breakfast, Ft. Worth - Step back in time and spend the night in this 1910 bed & breakfast located in the North end of town.

 59.  Billy Bob’s, Ft. Worth - Catch live entertainment, free line dancing lessons, ride the mechanical bull and karaoke contests at this famous honky tonk!

60.  Downtown Dallas - Stay at the Indigo Hotel and visit the home to famous art museums, performing arts centers, historic sites, and A-list restaurants.

61.  Carlos Bakery, Dallas - Originally from New York City, enjoy delectable delights such as crème filled cannoli’s, “lobster tails” (pastries stuffed with French cream and Bailey’s Irish Cream), and crumb danishes.  This sweet spot has been described by our readers as “A little box of Heaven.”

62.  Top Golf, various locations in the Dallas area - “Premier entertainment and event venue with fun point-scoring golf games for all skill levels, upscale bar food and drinks, great music and more!” Bro-trip time!

63.  Sprinkles Cupcake ATM, Plano - “The world’s first cupcake ATM dispenses freshly baked cupcakes and cookies 24/7.”

64. Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden, Dallas - Designed to connect children with nature; enjoy 8 acres of fun overlooking White Rock Lake.

 65.  Trader’s Village, Grand Prairie  - “Weekend outdoor flea market with shopping, special events, rides, food vendors & more.”

66.  Globe Life Park in Arlington - Here in Texas, we love our Texas Rangers! It’s agreed upon by our readers: hot dogs and sodas are a must!

67.  Grapevine - The Gaylord Texan, The Great Wolf Lodge, Grapevine Mills Mall with Lego Land and the Sea Life Aquarium equal Summer Vacation Hot Spot! 

68.  Buc-Ee’s Convenience Store, Terrell - Fill up your tank at this convenient store that has so much more than clean restrooms!

East Texas: See our neck of the woods with a fresh set of eyes! Friendly people, unique small towns nestled among the pine trees … this is why we love to call East Texas “home”!

69.  Local Splash Pads - Our readers asked for it, and we have found splash pads from small towns such as Mineola, Hawkins, White Oak, Whitehouse, Henderson to the larger cities of Longview and Tyler. 

70.  The Select Theater, Mineola - Opened in 1920, this is one of the oldest continuously ran theaters in Texas. Come see movies, plays, symphonies, or hold your special event in this hidden gem! 

71.  La Waffalata, Mineola - “Offering East Texas' largest gluten-free menu.” The yummy, super fried Monte Cristo dipped in powder sugar, however, is not gluten free.

72.  The Flower Mill, Lindale - This little hot spot is nestled between the gardens of the Lindale Floral Shop. Come paint, listen to live music, or host a party of your own at this unique locale. 

73.  SkyVue Drive In, Tyler - Catch summertime blockbusters while relaxing in your lawn chair. You might even catch a shooting star!

74.  Bergfeld Park, Tyler - Newly renovated, enjoy this all-time local favorite park shaded by a variety of hundred-year-old trees. A true treasure!

75.  Saturday Yoga at True Vine Brewing Company - Yoga and beer … need we say more?

76.  Tyler State Park, Red Springs - Popular bike trails, swimming, fishing, and camping for over seven decades!

77.  New York Zipline Adventures, New York - Six lines zipping you through 30 miles of beautiful East Texas scenery.

78.  East Texas Oil Museum, Kilgore - This fascinating museum houses the authentic re-creation of oil discovery and production in the early 1930s from the largest oil field inside U.S. boundaries.

79.  Kilgore Public Library - A beauty to behold and adventures waiting inside, this library was built in 1930 and styled after Provence, “a region in Southeast France famous in the Middle Ages for its poetry and chivalry.”

80.  Shivers Natural Snow, Longview - A reader favorite, Shivers is more than snowcones; it’s an atmosphere! Bring a picnic blanket and enjoy this one of a kind hot spot!

81.  Longview Swing Dance Association - Keeping swing dance alive in downtown Longview … no partner needed!

82.  Great Texas Balloon Race, Longview - Celebrate the 40th anniversary of this unique sight found only in Longview!

83.  Stay in Jefferson - Spend the weekend in a historic bed & breakfast perfectly suited for girl trips!

84.  Historic Jefferson Ghost Walk - Considered the most haunted small town in Texas, you will find spooks all year round in Jefferson. 

85.  Texas State Railroad, Rusk - Refurbished train cars carry you along a four-hour trip taking you a step back into time.  

Whew! It’s difficult to put an end to this list! Tell us, where is your favorite hot spot while road trippin’? This summer, put the pedal to the metal, send us a postcard, and don't forget to take a trip to one of the many  lakes that surround our big beautiful state! Here’s to you Texas!


Current Issue

Default 3
Default 4