Skip the big cities and check out one of these off-the-beaten path family road trips in Texas!
Everyone in Texas knows we have a great big state. You can drive all day and never make it out of Texas. That’s what makes road tripping in our state so much fun. There are so many off-the-beaten path ideas for families. Since you’ve likely toured the big cities of Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio, here are some of the Best Hidden Family Road Trips in Texas.
:: Dinosaur Valley State Park
Located about an hour and a half southwest of DFW, Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glenrose is famous for having some of the best preserved dinosaur tracks in the world. The park is located right on the Paluxy River and most of the dinosaur footprints are found in and around the riverbed. As such, you’ll need to call to check river conditions before visiting to make sure you can see the tracks.
In addition to the footprints the park has all kinds of other dinosaur-themed things. There are also miles of hiking and biking trails. You can swim and fish in the river, watch for wildlife, go geocaching and even borrow a Junior Ranger Explorer Pack for the kids in your group! The park and setting are gorgeous and well worth the drive. Plus, there are other fun things to do in the area if you want to do an extended trip:
- Fossil Rim Wildlife Center – Where Africa comes to Texas! Take a drive through this research and conservation center with over 1,000 animals from 50 species. You’ll see giraffes, rhinos, zebras and more!
- Dinosaur World – A dino lover’s dream! Wander among hundreds of life-sized dinosaurs in a natural setting and spend time on the Dino-themed playground.
- Acton State Historic Site – See the grave of Elizabeth Crockett, wife of Texas legend Davy Crockett.
- Historic Courthouse Square – Step back in time with this courthouse, built in 1893. The downtown square is the heart and soul of Glen Rose with restaurants, shops and even an historic inn.
:: Cadillac Ranch & Route 66
Amarillo may not seem like an amazing Texas Road Trip but you’ll be surprised at the fun you can have up in the Texas Panhandle! Make a visit to Cadillac Ranch one of our nation’s most iconic public art installations. Visible from the highway, this row of brightly colored Cadillacs is always open to visitors. Bring a can of spray paint make sure you take pictures because whatever you create will likely be covered within a couple of hours.
Once you’ve left your mark on Cadillac Ranch, continue to explore Route 66. There is a 13-block historic district between Georgia and Forrest Aves. just west of downtown Amarillo. This area celebrates the history of Texas’s section of Route 66 and is lined with restaurants, shops and antique stores. For more history, don’t miss the Texas Highway Rest Stop on East Bound I40 at mile marker 129. This Route 66 themed-stop features art-deco architecture, interactive video exhibits, a themed playground and more. This is not your typical rest stop! As long as you are exploring the Texas Panhandle, don’t miss these other fun things to do around Amarillo:
- Palo Duro Canyon – It’s one of the most spectacular natural attractions in Texas. Palo Duro Canyon is the second largest canyon in the country with hiking, biking and equestrian trails through the caprock formations. You can even stay in cabins right on the edge!
- The Big Texan Steak Ranch – Everyone has heard about this Route 66 landmark legend. It’s home to the famous 72oz steak challenge. When in Texas…
- Jack Sisemore’s RV Museum – This fun little museum features a collection of 15 vintage trailers and campers from the 1930s to the 1970s. You’ll even see the bus from the Robin Williams film “RV.”
- Texas Air & Space Museum – This aviation museum houses civilian and military aircraft as well as a wide range of air and space artifacts. Take a tour from a friendly, knowledgable docent and let the kids climb inside some of the aircraft.
:: Corpus Christi
Corpus Christi is the largest coastal city in Texas with miles of beaches and activities for families. Right in the heart of Corpus on North Beach is the USS Lexington. This Essex Class aircraft carrier from World War II is a National Historic Landmark. Visitors can view military artifacts and see more than a dozen aircraft. Explore the ship’s eleven decks on one of the five self-guided tours.
You can also visit the harbor front Texas State Aquarium. This interactive aquarium features has touch pools, an aquatic nursery and a shark exhibit. There are daily dive shows and feedings. The Dolphin Bay exhibit houses two Atlantic bottlenose dolphins and the Eagle Pass exhibit includes a beautiful bald eagle.
No trip to Corpus is complete without a trip to the beach! North Beach is a beautiful, white sandy beach right in the city center. There are picnic spots and cabanas available. It’s the perfect spot for swimming, building sand castles and beach combing. Make the most of your trip to Corpus with some of these other activities in the city:
- Bob Hall Pier – This 1240 foot long pier goes far enough into the ocean to allow fishermen to catch deep sea fish and other varieties you don’t often see closer to shore.
- J.P. Luby Surf Park – Visit this beach on Mustang Island for some of Texas’s best surfing. There’s a consistent offshore wind blows that in from the northwest, making for some killer waves. You can also try your hand at kite boarding or snorkeling.
- The Original Whataburger – Texans sure do love Whataburger so why not take a trip to the original restaurant! It doesn’t actually exist anymore but there’s a replica behind the location at 4126 S. Staples Street. It’s a fun photo opp.
While you’re hitting the road on one of these awesome family road trips in Texas, don’t forget to pack the snacks! Texas is a big state and kids have big appetites! For long car rides moms need an anywhere, anytime, no mess snack full of wholesome ingredients. So I love to pack Tree Top Applesauce Pouches because they come in a variety of great tasting fruit flavors that my kids love. And I love that they are made with nothing artificial, just 100% USA apples from Tree Top growers’ local orchards.
Another reason road tripping moms can love Tree Top Applesauce Pouches is because the no spill squeeze pouch is great for kids. You don’t have to worry about a mess all over the car. And you can toss them in your purse or diaper bag without fear. They are a mom’s favorite packable snack! One of my boys’ favorite ways to eat Tree Top Applesauce Pouches is frozen. I pop them in the freezer or ice chest until they are nearly frozen. The icy cold, slushy apple sauce is a great way to cool off on a hot Texas day. And, it’s a much healthier option than other frozen treats.
For more Family Road Trips in Texas, don’t miss some of our other favorites around the state:
- The Best Day Trips from Austin with Kids
- The Complete Guide to Pick-Your-Own Farms in Central Texas
- Kid Friendly Activities in Houston
And be sure you are following our Travel Board on Pinterest for travel ideas!
The Best Hidden Family Road Trips in Texas is a sponsored conversation written by me for Babbleboxx on behalf of Tree Top. The opinions and text are all mine.