TOP TEXAS WEEKEND ESCAPES
"It’s amazing how just a few days away can feel like a proper vacation. Having regular short getaways to look forward to encourages a good work/life balance, plus you get to discover multiple new destinations, instead of using all your vacation days in one location.
If you’re searching for the best weekend getaways in Texas, look no further. The Lone Star State has it all: historic missions, coastal trails, theme parks, river cruises, cowboy adventures, and even world-class vineyards!
These 15 Texas destinations make for perfect weekend escapes no matter what type of adventures—or relaxation—you’re seeking. And when it comes to booking your accommodation, you’ll find high-quality rental properties in each of these spots. Owners put a lot of thought into their rentals, providing all the things you need to feel perfectly at ease. There are full kitchens for relaxed, private meals, outdoor spaces to enjoy a warm Texas evening, and plenty of extra living space. What’s more, you’re free to run to no one’s schedule but your own!
Read on and find out which destinations made our shortlist of the best weekend getaways in Texas.
In Waco, wildlife-loving weekenders should cruise down the Brazos River to spot heron and turtles, or there’s Cameron Park Zoo, if lions, crocodiles, and orangutans are more your thing. The Magnolia Market at the Silos, owned by Fixer Upper renovating TV hosts Joanna and Chip Gaines, draws lots of visitors on the hunt for home inspiration and baked treats. And no visit to Waco would be complete without a quick stop at the Dr. Pepper Museum.
There are plenty of reasons this Hill Country town is one of the best weekend getaways in Texas. Enjoy regular live music, watch a movie under the stars at The Corral Theatre, see olive oil being produced at the Bella Vista Ranch, or soar over the Wimberley Valley by zipline. It’s an artsy kind of place, so take advantage and watch the glass creations coming to life at the Glassworks, and tour the galleries, such as Art on 12. Another popular attraction is Jacob’s Well Natural Area, where you can swim in the cool spring waters or learn about the plant and animal life with a naturalist guide.
The German roots of New Braunfels are clear in the street signs and frequent nods to German culture, particularly when it comes to food. Be sure to bring your biggest appetite for the best in both Texan and German fare. And if you’re visiting in November, come extra hungry, as the town gears up for ten days of Wurstfest, a celebration of German culture, music, dance, and, of course, sausages. The Natural Bridge Caverns offer an underground wonderland that’s well worth exploring, and if you’re weekending with kids, don’t miss the chutes and slides of the Schlitterbahn Waterpark. For an atmospheric evening, sit back and enjoy some live music at the historic Gruene Hall, the oldest dance hall in the state.
On a Galveston weekend escape, first up should be a tour of its stunning architecture, from the Bishop’s Palace to the Moody Mansion. You can make the most of Galveston Island’s stunning Gulf Coast location with a two-hour surf lesson, or, if you’ve got the budget, you can see both Galveston and Houston on a private limo tour. You’ll find events happening all year round, from beach parties to live music to fishing tournaments—everything to make your weekend special.
This charming little place makes for an ideal weekend getaway in Texas, drawing outdoor types to explore its natural assets—such as Krause Springs, complete with caves, waterfalls, and a swimming hole. One incredible way to take in the scenery is on a night-time ziplining experience through Texas Hill Country with Cypress Canopy Tours, where the trees are festooned with twinkling lights. You can tour the award-winning Spicewood Vineyards or combine a wine tasting with a round of disc golf on a day trip to the Fall Creek Estate in Marble Falls. Poodie’s Hilltop Roadhouse is a top choice for a burger, and it’s Opie’s for barbecue, every time.
SOUTH PADRE ISLAND
This charming barrier island resort is a top pick for a Texas weekend at the beach. It benefits from mild temperatures and vacation vibes all year round. Try an eco boat tour of the area to spot bottlenose dolphins or polish your water sports skills with some paddle boarding, surfing, or sea biking. At the end of the day, there are plenty of welcoming restaurants and bars to make you feel right at home.
Another great Texas weekend trip is Port Aransas on Mustang Island, where you’ll find gorgeous beaches and top-notch fishing spots. Padre Island National Seashore is a good place for spotting birds and turtles, and for canoeing and kayaking adventures. Visit the Port Aransas Art Center to see what local artists have been creating and finish the day in one of the many seafood eateries—or back at your rental with your own hard-won catch.
Note: Port Aransas was hit by Hurricane Harvey in 2017, but the area is rebuilding and recovering well. According to Travel + Leisure, 70% of restaurants have reopened, with hotels running at 80% capacity and many vacation homes available for bookings. Please refer to Port Aransas local government and tourism sites for updates and further information.
Called the Cowboy Capital of the World—named for the cattle drives held here in the 1800s—Bandera is a great place to catch a rodeo, learn to horse ride, and soak up some pioneer history. Get the Old West lowdown at the Frontier Times Museum, and if you’re a bike enthusiast, absolutely don’t miss the Lone Star Motorcycle Museum. For a taste of Bandera County, stop by for a sampling at the Lost Maples Winery or enjoy a local ale at the Bandera Brewery.
Carriage rides, golfing, spa treatments, hiking, gallery hopping… all with a German flavor. That’s what’s special about Fredericksburg and makes it the perfect Texas weekend getaway, no matter what your travel interests are. Learn about the city’s past at the Pioneer Museum and the Sauer Beckmann Living History Farm, then try the tasty German fare this town does so well. Don’t forget, this is wine country, so be sure to book your winery tour and tasting before you travel.
One can’t-miss Fort Worth sight is the twice-daily cattle drive of Texas longhorns down Exchange Avenue in the Stockyards National Historic District. That’s not something most other cities can deliver, and it’s well worth a look! You can see more creatures at Fort Worth Zoo, sign up for indoor skydiving at iFly, or follow the Fort Worth Ale Trail. For a look at local art, history, and architecture, book your place on a walking tour of the city’s fascinating Cultural District.
The compelling, energetic city of San Antonio is another fantastic choice for a Texas weekend getaway. There are many wonderful attractions to tick off your list here, and the San Antonio River Walk leads you to many of them. If you’d rather not follow it on foot, you can combine water and road travel on a river cruise and bus tour, which includes key sights like the Alamo, Market Square, and the San Antonio Museum of Art. San Antonio is a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy, so you’ve got a thoroughly enjoyable weekend of taste-testing to do while you’re here, too.
Rockport Beach is the place to go in this Gulf resort getaway for quiet pier fishing and bird spotting. The Fulton Mansion, built in 1877, is one of the area’s most imposing and famous landmarks, and is partly viewable now after hurricane damage sustained in 2017. You can currently tour sections of the home, the gardens, and the Education and History Center just behind. Fall and winter are generally good seasons for spying the rare whooping crane in the protected marshland of Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. If it’s a relaxing weekend getaway in Texas you’re looking for, Rockport won’t disappoint.
For a Texas weekend trip with a touch of time travel involved, try Fredericksburg’s neighbor, Luckenbach. Its dance hall and general store are wonderful relics of Luckenbach’s past, and still thriving. There’s always live country music playing here, and it’s host to several quality festivals throughout the year. Lyndon B. Johnson State Park is just a quarter of an hour’s drive away. If laidback Luckenbach sounds like your idea of weekending heaven, simply choose your cabin or cottage and discover it for yourself.
Arlington is definitely one for the sports fans and thrill seekers. Perhaps its biggest draw is AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, where you can catch a game or take a stadium tour for your chance to throw a ball in this ultra-modern venue. The International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame provides plenty of history and interesting exhibits about the sport, whereas Six Flags Over Texas and Six Flags Hurricane Harbor are the places for fast-paced amusement park fun. For something a little more sedate, hit the shops at the Arlington Highlands then the Sanford Spa for a relaxing treatment.
Arguably the most popular weekend getaway in Texas is the bustling metropolis of Houston. It’s well worth picking up a Houston CityPass, which grants you access to several key sites, including Space Center Houston and the Houston Museum of Natural Science. If BBQ is your thing, try Gatlin’s, Byron’s Gourmet BBQ, or Gyu-Kaku’s Japanese version, where the grilling is done right in front of you. Don’t leave town without grabbing a drink at the Nouveau Antique Art Bar, lit with dozens of Tiffany lamps."
-Trip Advisor Content
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