Things are heating up around Texas! With the kids out of school, summer vacation is the perfect time to explore our great state and get in some much-needed relaxation.
Here are our top picks for fun things to do with the kids, all just a car ride away.
We’d never experienced anything like it! An inflatable obstacle course on water– we were blown away! This is a perfect activity to get the kids outdoors and off their devices. And, for the adult in charge, it’s a great, super fun, workout.
Lake Travis Waterloo Adventures’ (LTWA) Ultimate Lake Experience includes a floating water park and obstacle course, access to a beautifully landscaped private resort-style beach, and a boat ride to and from Adventure Island.
Adults can relax in the shade on a hammock or lounge chair and enjoy one of the most spectacular views of Lake Travis. Adventure Island also offers food and beverages, including wine, beer and frozen drinks.
LTWA’s Adventure Island excursion is $54 per person (we know it’s on the high end when you’re taking a group, but this outing will provide memories for a lifetime!) Reservations are required. Plus, they make it easy: just show up and all your fun is on the island where you can buy your food/drink. So, as long as you wear your swimsuits and bring sunscreen, you’re good to go!
When it’s hot outside and the kids want to be outdoors, we want them in the water. Typhoon Texas, north of Austin, is just the right size for a day of fun. It’s small enough that you can feel comfortable letting the older kids head off by themselves (there are lifeguards everywhere), but big enough that they won’t get bored.
One of our favorite things to do is relax on the lazy river while the kids run themselves ragged. We like to get a table with shade, have a home base for the kiddos and then let everyone go where they please. There are plenty of affordable fresh food options in the park: burgers, chicken, tacos, pizza, fresh fruit plus gluten-free and vegetarian meal options.
Other waterparks are just too big to let your kids explore on their own but Typhoon Texas isn’t overwhelming and it’s easy to keep the group together if needed.
When it is too hot to be outside, the movie theatre is a great option for indoor fun. Flix Brewhouse in Round Rock is revolutionizing the movie-going experience. Let’s be honest, we’re too spoiled to go see a movie anywhere else! You can’t beat the food, drinks and comfy seats. Plus, for the summer, check out the Flix Junior program.
This next-generation theatre is the first to include an in-house brewery (for the adults) with seasonal drafts and special recipes on their food menu. We love their hummus with pita and veggies for a light meal.
Get there a little early (15 minutes before the movie) so you can peruse the menu and order before the trailers start. You can choose from apps, full entrees (like tacos, burgers, sandwiches) and they even have milkshakes (for the kids). There’s almost no better way to spend a few hours inside when the heat is raging outdoors.
For an up-close and personal experience with some of the world’s most majestic animals, check out Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, located outside of San Antonio.
With over 450 acres of natural, protected environment where animal populations thrive, the ranch showcases amazing creatures from all over the world. The safari trek covers miles of the scenic Texas Hill Country, and it takes visitors about an hour and a half to drive through.
The ranch also features a walk-thru area that includes an up-close look at the giraffe environment. This is your classic African safari, but Texas-style. The park is home to many animal species, including southern white rhinos, lemurs from Madagascar, zebras and ostrich.
Texas Live! has kicked off its first summer in Arlington with fun for the whole family. Located between AT&T Stadium and Globe Life Park, Texas Live! has rolled restaurants, entertainment, and accommodations into one destination.
From the debut of its new bowling lanes at Sports & Social, to a special Father’s Day car show, Texas Live! is the place to be with the fam, day and night.
Plus, mom and dad, don’t miss the chance to see some of the hottest acts with the Throwback Concert Series featuring Chris Kirkpatrick of N’SYNC, Aaron Watson and Eli Young.
Visitors can also choose to stay chill indoors at the movies. Get out the calendar and start making plans for all the events on the list all season long.
If you’re looking for a place to cool off from the sun in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, then look no further than Jellystone Park’s Pirates’ Cove. This park features a number of water slides and aquatic attractions that your kids won’t be able to get enough of.
Work is also underway on a unique type of rental unit that families won’t find anywhere else: a fully furnished pirate ship! The ship will be 260 feet long, and it will look like something out of a storybook. Of course, the pirate ship will be outfitted with two cannons with red lights to simulate the firing of cannonballs.
Kick off the official start of summer with the longest pool party ever! To celebrate the Summer Solstice on June 21, Great Wolf Lodge Grapevine will be hosting a “Don’t Let the Sun Set!” special event at its indoor waterpark.
For one special night, families can experience themed entertainment, music, family activities and exclusive after-hours access to all the waterpark slides, pools and attractions for just $35 per person. A portion of proceeds will benefit Great Wolf’s charitable partners, Make-A-Wish and Autism Speaks.
Tickets are limited and must be purchased in advance on Eventbrite here. Admission includes entry into the waterpark, all activities and one specialty s’more per person.
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Marika Flatt is the Travel Editor of Texas Lifestyle Magazine and the voice of the “Weekend Trip Tip” on NPR’s show, Texas Standard. She’s also the founder of the book publicity firm, PR by the Book. Find Marika on Twitter and Instagram. Cullen Parker is an Agricultural Communications and Journalism student at Texas A&M University. He is an agricultural enthusiast, and you can often find him outdoors or playing a concert with his band in Austin or College Station.