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Our Favorite Road Trips From Houston

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It’s summertime in Texas! School is out and it’s time for a family vacation, and Stuff to Do in Houston is here to help you plan the ultimate Summer Road Trip.  Road trips are a great way to bond and spend time with the family, not to mention you get to visit some really awesome places along the way to your destination!  Here are some of our favorite Summer Road Trips from Houston, will any of them make your list?

📷 Basecamp Terlingua

West Texas Tour

Many people think of west Texas as nothing more than dirt, tumbleweeds, and pumpjacks, but we are here to tell you that west Texas offers some of the most beautiful scenery in Texas!  With places like Terlingua, Marfa, and Big Bend you’ll have plenty to do on your expedition out west!   Oh, and be sure to bring your camera!

Marfa: Marfa is such a cool little town that was underappreciated for the longest time. Photographers and oil field workers like my dad have always known the beauty of Marfa, but with photo-sharing apps like Instagram, it has become popular with influencers and the like.  Take some time to visit Prada Marfa and the other quirky and beautiful art installations as well as see the Marfa Lights, you won’t be disappointed!

Terlingua: A little historic ghost town in west Texas with a lot of super cool places to camp and glamp!  Terlingua is home to some beautiful starry skies and of course those picturesque west Texas sunsets. Set some time aside to tour the ghost town of Terlingua, an old mining town full of history, during the day before heading out on the town for the evening. Visit the Starlight Theater for music and dancing, before closing out your night at one of  Basecamp Terlingua or Tin Valley’s ultra-cool glamp sites like the Land Yacht or Bubbles.  (These campsites are out of this world, be sure to check them out!) 

Marathon: If you’re into stargazing, this historic ranching town is your spot.  Marathon, Texas is home to the darkest (a Class 1 Dark Sky at that) and more star-filled skies in the Lone Star State. Geology enthusiasts will also find Marathon appealing as it has some phenomenal geological features like the Northern Glass Mountains and of course awesome fossils from when an ancient ocean covered the entire area. Did we mention the cute places to stay?  Check out the historic Gage Hotel for a more luxurious stay or the La Loma del Chivo Hostel for those with a more eclectic taste. 

All of these places are within 100 miles of Big Bend National Park!  If you’re looking for the ultimate west Texas road trip with the family, be sure to make time for some hiking, too. 

Laissez le bon temps rouler! We LOVE New Orleans! New Orleans has something for everyone, there’s history, shopping, amazing food, spooky vibes, and of course places to party.  New Orleans is of course known for Mardi Gras, Beignets, and Bourbon Street, but there is so much more to do. 

For some New Orleans history be sure to stop by The Historic New Orleans Collective or take one of the many tours available. You can take history tours through the French Quarter and Garden District that teach the rich history of the neighborhoods and the city.  Cemetery tours are another popular attraction for visitors.  Walk through the beautiful cemeteries and learn about the individuals that are so important to New Orleans’ history that is entombed there.  

For those who love a good cocktail, you have got to try the hand-shaken Pina Coladas at Carousel Lounge located at Hotel Monteleone. This is such a unique cocktail experience, the bar is a beautifully crafted Carousel that rotates while you enjoy your libations. Be sure to arrive early, as this bar only seats 25 and will fill up extremely fast.  Another fun lounge is the Vampire Speakeasy! You will really have to want to find this spot!  Head to the Vampire Cafe’ or gift shop and ask how, if you dare!

Did we mention that this city is full of Art?  Stop by some of the many galleries that can be found on Magazine Street, or peruse artist’s work around the French Quarter.  You will find a piece… ok, lots of them, that you can’t live without!

📷 Trey Perry

Texas Hill Country

The Texas Hill Country encompasses most of Central Texas, so you know you’re going to find a ton of great places to visit and stuff to do.  Be weird in Austin, fiesta in San Antonio, or be a river rat at one of the many rivers. There are also a ton of places to hike in this area like, Lost Maples State Park, to the dinosaur footprints at Government Canyon State Natural Area, and of course to Hamilton Pool.   

Austin: Austin is such a fun city!  It’s filled with live music, art, great food, and history.  For these reasons, the  Texas Captial and one of the most unique Texas cities is definitely on our list of the best summer roadtrips.  We love the Instaworthy murals and restaurants as well as their beautiful parks that offer things like paddle boarding and kayaking. Rainey Street is THE spot for those who love funky-themed bars and creative cocktails.  

Did we mention that Austin is also extremely Dog Friendly?  Be sure to bring your furry pal along for the ride, they will have a blast. 

San Antonio: San Antonio is another great city to visit in the Texas Hill country.  This city is full of culture, great food, history and of course fun Stuff to Do!  Get an adrenaline rush on the Iron Rattler at Six Flags Fiesta Texas, or take a relaxing riverboat cruise on the historic River Walk.   Of course, you can’t forget to Remember the Alamo before stopping into the Menger Bar to hang out with some friendly ghosts.  Do you love Mangonandas and shopping?  Spend a day at Historic Market Square!

For more Stuff to Do in Austin and San Antonio, be sure to check out their City Guides!

📷 Knowsphotos

Frio River

It’s many Texan’s favorite place to visit in the summertime… the Frio River!  There is not much more relaxing than floating down a chilly river, drink in hand under a blue sky.  We absolutely love the crystal clear water and dreamy landscapes that surround the Frio.  

If your goal is to float, you’re going to want a place to rent tubes, park, and of course a shuttle service.  Some of our favorites are Happy Hollow and Josh’s Frio Outfitters.  If you don’t feel like floating for hours there are a ton of places to swim, like Mager’s Crossing, the Concan Swimming Hole, and the Gravel Bar.  Set up a chair in the water and watch the tubes drift by.  

For a day off the river, take some time and explore the shops in Leakey and Concan!  There are some cute boutiques, and antique shops as well as nurseries.  When the sun sets you can always head out to House Pasture for some dinner, live music, and a little dancing.  You can find their live music schedule here!

Looking for a fun spot to stay?  Check out  The Inn Between, or get a campsite at Garner State Park!

📸 Briaande

Dallas–Fort Worth

The Dallas – Fort Worth area has SO much to offer, and that is why it’s last, but certainly not least on our list of Summer Road Trips From Houston. Cowboy up at the Fort Worth Stockyards, catch a foul ball at the Ranger’s game or explore Deep Ellum, you can’t go wrong with any of them!

Dallas–Fort Worth has something for everyone in the fam. Six Flags Over Texas and the Dallas Zoo for the kiddos, the Galleria, and Downtown is great for the shoppers in your life, Deep Ellum for the social media-obsessed, and of course tours of the Texas Rangers & Dallas Cowboys stadiums for the sports fan. 

For even more Stuff to Do in Dallas, check out the Dallas‘ City Guide! 

Looking for More Stuff to Do? Check out UNATION’s Stuff to Do in Houston City Guide for all of the best restaurants, activities, and more.  Stay in the loop of What’s New in HOU each and every Friday, and plan your weekend with our Weekend Guide!

Whitney Ellis

Whitney Ellis

Whitney is a City Manager for UNATION and author of the Stuff to Do in San Antonio City Guide. For more insight on the best events and things to do in the San Antonio area, download the UNATION app and follow @StufftoDoinSanAntonio on Instagramand Facebook.

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