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60 Amazing Things You Absolutely Must Do In Texas This Summer

By James Waterson

The weather’s finally heating up and everyone’s out of school (except you overachievers out there), so it’s about time to start planning your summer. If you’re the type of person who loves rugged hiking adventures, a relaxing time on the beach, or a fine glass of wine, Texas has something for you. Indeed, the sky is the limit here in the Lone Star State. Travel from the piney forests of East Texas to the mountain deserts of West Texas and you’ll pass cities and towns large and small that are full of an infinite number of things to see and do. 

With so many possibilities, where do you start? Worry no more, we’ve got you covered. Read on to see our list of 60 amazing things you’ve absolutely got to do in Texas this summer, many of which can be done for free. We’ve even divided our list up by region, so you’ll have a better idea of what you can do depending on which corner of the state you decide to visit.

Although 60 things to do might seem a lot, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Check out the rest of to see more information on the many destinations, attractions, and events in the Lone Star State.

Big Bend National Park

Big Bend Country

  1. Gaze up at the stars at Big Bend National Park
  2. Drive on Rim Road in the Franklin Mountains to the scenic overlook over El Paso and Juarez
  3. Hike to the 8,751-foot-tall Guadalupe Peak in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, the highest natural point in Texas
  4. Ride the old-fashioned streetcars in historic Downtown El Paso
  5. Snap a selfie with the famous (and enormous!) roadrunner Paisano Pete in Fort Stockton
  6. Go for a dip in the world’s largest spring-fed pool at Balmorhea State Park
  7. Play a round at the spectacular Black Jack’s Crossing Golf Course, one of the best courses in Texas
  8. Discover some of the oldest Native American rock art in North America at Seminole Canyon State Park

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Photo Credit: Vincent Lock/flickr

Padre Island National Seashore

Gulf Coast

  1. See adorable baby turtles scamper to the surf at a hatchling release at Padre Island National Seashore
  2. Enjoy the view from the observation tower at the San Jacinto Monument, where Texas won its independence from Mexico
  3. Get some thrills with your spills at either Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark or Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark on South Padre Island
  4. Go for a swim at Rockport Beach, the first beach in Texas certified as a Blue Wave Beach by the Clean Beaches Coalition
  5. Explore the USS Lexington, a legendary World War II aircraft carrier in Corpus Christi
  6. Buy some fresh seafood right from the Gulf at a fish market in Seabrook
  7. Take the Tram Tour at the Johnson Space Center to get a behind-the-scenes look at space exploration
  8. Hold an alligator at Gator Country Wildlife Adventure Park in Beaumont
  9. Marvel at the historic architecture while you visit the bars and restaurants in Galveston’s The Strand Historic District

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Photo Credit: Terry Ross/flickr

Krause Springs

Hill Country

  1. Beat the summer heat at one of these incredible swimming holes in the Hill Country
  2. Rent a kayak and paddle on the Colorado River in downtown Austin
  3. Take in breathtaking views of Lake Travis while you ride the longest zip line in Texas at Lake Travis Zipline Adventures
  4. Crawl, climb, and discover untouched parts of a vast cave system on the Wild Cave Tour at Inner Space Cavern in Georgetown
  5. Stroll through rows of grape vines at a Texas Hill Country vineyard (Bonus: Go on a winery tour from Fredericksburg)
  6. Sip on a pint of Texas-made craft beer at one of the breweries on the Hill Country Craft Beer Trail
  7. Sink your teeth into a savory brisket or peel-off-the-bone ribs at The Salt Lick BBQ in Spicewood
  8. Go horseback riding and feel like a cowboy when you stay at a dude ranch in Bandera
  9. Hike to the summit of Enchanted Rock and admire the rolling tree-blanketed hills of the Hill Country
  10. Feed zebras and ostriches from your car on a safari through Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch
  11. Swim or inner tube down the Comal or Guadalupe Rivers in New Braunfels
  12. Ride the water slides at New Braunfels’ Schlitterbahn Waterpark & Resort

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Photo Credit: Brian P. Barnes/Wikimedia Commons

Caprock Canyons State Park

Panhandle Plains

  1. See the Official Bison Herd of the State of Texas roam past remarkable rock formations at Caprock Canyons State Park
  2. Relive the story of the Lone Star State at the critically acclaimed TEXAS Outdoor Musical
  3. Take on the 72 oz. Steak Challenge at Amarillo’s Big Texan Steak Ranch
  4. Eat a juicy hamburger, shop for antiques, and savor the nightlife in Amarillo’s Route 66 Historic District
  5. Lather on some sunscreen and hike the trails at Palo Duro Canyon State Park, the second largest canyon in the country
  6. Visit the Buddy Holly Center in Lubbock, a museum dedicated to the music of one of rock and roll’s pioneers
  7. Sample some of the best Texas-made wine at one of Lubbock’s four top-class wineries

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Great Texas Balloon Race

Piney Woods

  1. Watch colorful balloons ascend into the sky at Longview’s Great Texas Balloon Race in July
  2. Hike the Lone Star Hiking Trail, the longest continuous trail in Texas that winds through 129 miles of the Sam Houston National Forest
  3. Dive into the refreshing spring-fed lake in Tyler State Park
  4. Kayak or canoe past the cypress tree-lined Big Cypress Bayou in Caddo Lake State Park
  5. Enjoy a romantic weekend getaway at a cozy (and historic) bed and breakfast in Jefferson
  6. Soar through the dense forest canopy during a guided adventure tour at New York, Texas Zipline Adventures

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Photo Credit: Eaglegrafix/Wikimedia Commons

Six Flags Hurricane Harbor

Prairies and Lakes

  1. Ride the thrilling water slides or float along the lazy river at Six Flags Hurricane Harbor
  2. Search for sauropod and theropod footprints in in Dinosaur Valley State Park near Glen Rose
  3. Savor a scoop of tasty Blue Bell ice cream right from the source in Brenham
  4. Gaze at the Downtown Dallas skyline from the observation room at Reunion Tower
  5. Tour the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, a museum dedicated to the presidency and assassination of John F. Kennedy
  6. Go scuba diving (yes, really) at Athens Scuba Park
  7. Taste locally made wine at one of the wineries in Historic Downtown Grapevine
  8. Borrow a pontoon boat and go for a cruise at picturesque Lake Texoma
  9. Unfold your lawn chair and lounge on the beach at Ray Roberts Lake State Park
  10. Feel like Thor as you sip on a glass of mead crafted with Texas-made honey at La Grange’s Rohan Meadery

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Photo Credit: Arlington Convention & Visitors Bureau 

San Antonio Riverwalk

South Texas Plains

  1. Experience the nightlife on the San Antonio Riverwalk
  2. Kayak from the Riverwalk to the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park on the San Antonio River
  3. Try your luck at the Lucky Eagle Casino Hotel in Eagle Pass, the only casino in the Lone Star State
  4. Check out the Spanish-style architecture in Laredo’s San Agustin Plaza
  5. Shop for Mexican handcrafts in Laredo’s walkable downtown area
  6. Spot tropical birds from across the Americas at the World Birding Center, a series of world-class birding sites in Mission, McAllen, Brownsville, and more
  7. Cast a line at Falcon Lake, one of the top 10 bass fishing lakes in the United States according to the American Sportfishing Association
  8. Relax in the revitalizing waters of San Felipe Springs that flow on the outskirts of Del Rio

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Visit to discover the many great destinations, attractions, and events in Texas.

About the Author: James Waterson is the head writer and content specialist for Tour Texas. When he isn’t writing, kayaking, and hiking, he’s planning his next epic adventure in the Lone Star State.

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