Are you ready to tick off an adventure to the iconic Lone Star state? Texas is huge in size and reputation. If you want to go beyond the usual, weekend getaways in Texas are a fantastic way to connect with this beautiful place on a deeper level. Texas is known for its food scene, southern hospitality, and – of course – that love-it or -hate-it cowboy culture.
Texas has some fabulous cities, including Austin and Dallas, but the state is far from just big cities and desert landscapes. There are many weekend trips up its sleeve, from national parks with hiking trails for nature lovers to small towns with historic places and rural hospitality. So are you ready to explore Texas? Let’s go!
Best Weekend Getaways in Texas
These top 26 weekend getaways in Texas will keep you busy crisscrossing the Lone Star State. Texas is the perfect place for planning a weekend trip. from romantic getaways to outdoor getaways. Whether you are a local or visiting one of the cities in Texas, these getaways have enough oomph to inspire you. From its UNESCO World Heritage Sites to historic districts, this post has it all lined up for you – so buckle up, and let’s get going.
1. Big Bend National Park
When it comes to weekend getaways in Texas, Big Bend National Park is a top contender. This national park spans more than 800,000 acres of canyons, deserts, and mountains, making it a haven for hiking and biking trails. It is the place to go in Texas for a weekend trip full of outdoor adventure and beautiful views.
For nature lovers, and those interested in outdoor sports like horseback riding, hiking, and mountain biking, Big Bend National Park is a dream come true. It is also a top spot for golfing. Lajitas Golf Resort has a world-class golf course that attracts weekenders from around the world.
Big Bend National Park is located in West Texas, right next to the Mexican border. The closest city to Big Bend National Park is San Antonio, which is approximately a 6-hour drive.
There is both camping and accommodation nearby. The only lodging available within Big Bend is Chisos Mountain Lodge.
2. San Antonio
Now that we’ve mentioned the beautiful San Antonio, it is only fitting that we mention it next. The city is one of the most popular getaways in Texas. Undoubtedly, its historic district and San Antonio River Walk are leading attractions that impress even the most sully of weekend visitors.
San Antonio makes for the perfect cultural getaway with historic buildings and live music venue choices. If you’ve yet to visit the city, a Texas weekend trip here should be up your sleeve. For us, its historical background earned it a place in this guide. It is home to San Antonio Mission, after all, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The city is a breeze to reach by air, with regular flights scheduled there internationally and domestically. It is also just a 4-hour drive from Dallas, which is a dream to organize.
3. South Padre Island National Seashore
South Padre Island National Seashore is a dreamy Texas weekend getaway. This beautiful barrier island has sand for days, sea turtles, and sunshine. You can go camping on sandy beaches, and boating on serene lagoons. The island has 66 miles of protected coastline, blessed with many hiking trails to admire the beautiful fauna and enjoy activities such as bird watching and horseback riding. If you want a beach destination with a wow factor, the National Seashore ticks that box.
The turtles are the primary draw of the National Seashore. The barrier island is an important nesting beach for Kemp Ridley turtles, one of the most endangered turtles in the world. While the plight of the Kemp Ridley turtles is heartbreaking, visiting the National Seashore and learning more about their conservation is a worthy way to spend a weekend trip.
4. Dripping Springs
Dripping Springs might not be the first weekend getaway that pops into your mind. However, this beautiful small town makes the perfect Texas weekend getaway for anyone wanting to experience the rural beauty of the Texas Hill Country.
Dripping Springs is surrounded by verdant hills and greenery, cutting a stark contrast to the dusty roads out in West Texas. You’ll be able to spend hours paddling in creeks and visiting breweries and wineries galore. In fact, Dripping Springs is so beautiful that it is known as the Wedding Capital of Texas, with thousands of couples heading to enjoy its small-town charm town welcoming guests to enjoy scenic outdoor ceremonies.
Wedding or not, getting to Dripping Springs is a short 50-minute drive from Austin. It is one of the most accessible weekend getaways in Texas if you want a short drive, not a weekend getaway that demands a flight or road trip. Simple and pretty, it is a great contender and stands out as a symbol of the Texas Hill Country.
5. Hamilton Pool Preserve
If you are heading to the Texas Hill Country, Hamilton Pool Preserve is one of the best weekend getaways. The natural pool is almost entirely encircled by striking cliffs. For those who head down to the water’s edge, you can access a magical limestone grotto.
When you visit Hamilton Pool Preserve, make sure to hike down to the pool to take solace in the grotto’s shade to admire the water and picnic before heading back up. Leave the swimsuit at home though, there is no swimming.
For those wondering what makes Hamilton Pool a standalone destination, there are plenty of things to do. You can stop by Hamilton Pool Vineyards for a wine-tasting experience. There are also tons of places to eat and just soak up the rural nature in the Texan Hills. It is also just a 50-minute drive from Austin.
6. Guadalupe River State Park
You’ve just got to love Guadalupe River State Park. While swimming at Hamilton Pool is a no-go, this state park is a free-for-all. The 4-mile stretch of river is a hot spot for swimmers, fishing, and canoeing. If you want water activities, it is one of the best Texas weekend trips. And if you want a weekend getaway to enjoy river views, it is dreamy for horseback riding, hiking, or mountain biking.
While the river itself stretches for 4 miles, the hiking and biking network is 13 miles. Guadalupe River State Park is an absolute heaven on Earth. On a hot weekend, the shady riverside walks and swimming spots are a total solace.
You can easily reach Guadalupe River State Park from San Antonio in less than 50 minutes by car. Austin is equally good as a starting point for traveling to the state park.
7. Guadalupe Mountains National Park
On the other side of the state in West Texas, Guadalupe Mountains National Park shares part of a name but no other similarities. This national park makes the perfect weekend getaway for anyone wanting a mountainous setting for outdoor activities.
The park straddles the Texan and New Mexico border. It is quite the mission to reach – around 6 hours from San Antonio by car or 5 hours from Albuquerque if you fly and head over from the New Mexico side. So, what exactly makes it worthwhile?
In a word, nature. The mountains have fossilized reef mountains, white sand dunes at Salt Basin, and beautiful summit and canyon hikes. The whole park is breathtaking, and if you want that wow factor, it is definitely worth the extra effort to get there. If you are visiting the Guadalupe Mountains National Park for a weekend, we’d suggest picking one main hike to complete and then one or two other non-time-demanding attractions.
8. El Paso
The historic town of El Paso is for anyone who wants to venture out of central Texas. El Paso is a border town, sitting right on the US border with Mexico. It is one of the best weekend getaways in Texas if you want to embrace the state’s Mexican influence.
From cuisine to culture, you’ll see evidence of El Paso’s Mexican influence all over the town. El Paso has such a strong sense of culture and identity that we just had to add it to this list.
It is actually easier to reach El Paso from Albuquerque than from the main cities in Texas. From San Antonio, El Paso is a 7.5-hour drive away. From Albuquerque, it is just under 4 hours. For this reason, it is easier to fly to Albuquerque and rent a car to drive to El Paso if traveling from East Texas.
It is time for Dallas to inevitably shine. This major Texan city is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in the entire state. It is also one of the best contenders for weekend getaways in Texas.
A weekend is the perfect time to experience a bitesize of Dallas that packs a punch. With a weekend, you can visit the leading museums and art galleries, as well as embrace the local dining scene and lingering cowboy heritage. The mix of art galleries and Texas history, like the Sixth Floor Museum, make it ideal for an action-packed, compact itinerary
Getting to Dallas is easy. There are direct flights from all over the world, including the US and beyond. Furthermore, you can easily drive or catch a shuttle to Dallas from Texas’ major cities.
10. Fort Worth
Fort Worth is Cowboy country. This central Texas city has a wealth of Wild West heritage. If you want a more authentic experience than the sprawling city of Dallas, Fort Worth is a great option.
It is known as the center of the trading of Texas Longhorn cattle, which has long helped maintain its Western culture and heritage. It is less touristy and more laidback – basically just an authentic Wild West getaway. And its Stockyards National Historic District still has a daily cattle drive. Hop between honky tonks and cattle shows, perhaps pausing to buy a cowboy hat or boots.
Getting to Fort Worth is a breeze from any of the major cities in Texas. From Dallas, it is just 40 minutes by car and also feasible by public transport – a rare thing when it comes to weekend getaways in Texas. You can catch public transport from Dallas to Fort Worth in less than 2 hours.
11. Rio Grande City
As a weekend getaway, how can you not be drawn to this little off-the-beaten-track town packed with culture and sat on the Mexican border? It is one of the oldest settlements in the southern region of Texas and is full of historic buildings and tales.
Rio Grande City was also once a significant trading post between the US and Mexico. With BnBs and picturesque buildings, this small town makes for the perfect romantic weekend getaway. This border town is blessed with traditional architecture, though, plus hiking and biking trails.
To reach this too often overlooked town, it is just under a 4-hour drive from San Antonio. You’ll be cutting through some of Texas’ least touristy towns en route, so it is an excellent drive for anyone wanting an authentic insight into Texas.
Austin is just cool. The capital of Texas, it is ideal for anyone wanting a big city atmosphere and a modern weekend break in Texas. It is widely praised for its live music scene, and it has a glitzy skyline of iconic high-rises that sit along the Lady Bird Lake waterfront. Downtown Austin is beautiful, with 19th-century architecture that includes the Texas State Capitol and many places to drink and dine. Read more: 29 Best Things to Do in Austin, Texas
Austin is also straightforward to reach, with international and domestic flights scheduled all year round. It is one of the most straightforward Texan cities to reach and easy to combine with the nearby San Antonio.
Fredericksburg is top-tier when it comes to romantic getaways in Texas. Why? There are two main reasons: wine and plenty of culture thanks to the city’s German history.
Fredericksburg is the place to go for wine tasting, with tasting rooms for wine lovers galore. You can also add to the wine experience with visits to places like the National Museum of the Pacific War and the Pioneer Museum. Fredericksburg is a gateway to the Texas Hill Country and wineries in Texas.
To get there, it is an easy 1-hour drive from San Antonio. If you are already visiting San Antonio, it is easy to add to Fredericksburg.
Houston is one of the most exciting weekend getaways in Texas and has tons of space attractions. If you want a big city atmosphere or to visit the Space Center Houston, it is one of the best weekend getaway choices. You can learn about NASA’s astronaut training and the history of US space exploration. It is easy to see why Houston tops the list of best places to visit in Texas. There’s just so much to do, and the space history makes it a top trip for anyone interested in space travel and exploration.
Another bonus of choosing Houston as your weekend trip is that it is easy to reach. You can catch shuttle services like FlixBus or Greyhound from major cities like San Antonio in under 3.5 hours.
Gruene is one of the best small-town weekend getaways in Texas and is ideal for music lovers. The town has Gruene Hall – the oldest continually operating dance hall in Texas, built in 1878 and regularly hosting live music events.
Gruene is quite a romantic getaway choice as well, with a strong German influence that leaks into its architecture and a picturesque location along the Guadalupe River. Music, architecture, and hospitality are the three main attractions of Gruene.
To reach this little town, it is just an hour’s drive from Austin or San Antonio. Gruene is super conveniently located, and we love how easy it is to reach and its bold character, not to mention all the music.
Does anyone recognize the song “Is This The Way to Amarillo”? Amarillo has earned itself an almost mythical reputation thanks to its remote location in the far West of Texas.
The desert city is in the Texas Panhandle and along the world-famous Route 66. If you want to get deep into Texas and its most remote regions, a visit to the city of Amarillo should be on your cards. While it is best tackled by road trip (it is Route 66 after all), you can also fly to Amarillo to cut the travel time if you want weekend trips in Texas.
While there, you can visit the Cadillac Ranch – colorful cars dumped higgledy-piggledy nose down in the sand – the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame, and the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum. Amarillo has more than a few blocks to explore and a relatively action-packed center for such a remote city. Amarillo isn’t where to go for beach town vibes, but it is one of the best Texas weekend trips to experience Route 66 country.
17. Palo Duro Canyon State Park
Palo Duro Canyon State Park is a stunning 800-ft ravine with a wow factor in bundles. The red rock and shrubbery attract millions of visitors each year, and Palo Duro Canyon is one of the top weekend getaways in Texas.
You can soak up the views from the network of multi-use trails. Or, for something slightly different, head out to watch a musical production in a massive outdoor amphitheater. If you want red rock aesthetics and dramatic ravine scenery, Palo Duro Canyon State Park is ideal.
Palo Duro Canyon State Park is easiest to reach from Amarillo in just a 40-minute drive or by driving 5.5 hours from Fort Worth. The state park is in the far West of Texas, near the Route 66 and New Mexico border.
18. Big Spring State Park
Big Spring State Park is a 382-acre beast of a recreation park, looped by a 3-mile track featuring picnic tables and scenic overlooks. If you want an easy-to-tackle hike, staying near Big Spring State Park is a fantastic idea. You can spot the cacti and enjoy beautiful lookouts, all within the confines of a single park.
Big Spring State Park is in the western Texas town of Big Spring, full of amenities and things to do. It is an excellent compromise for an urban base with access to beautiful spaces of natural beauty.
To get to Big Spring State Park, it is a 4.5-hour drive from San Antonio. Therefore, it is a great weekend trip if you leave as early as possible on Friday. It is a scenic and adventurous drive, too, cutting through central Texas.
19. Aransas National Wildlife Refuge
Aransas National Wildlife Refuge covers a humongous area of over 70,000 acres. It is essentially a wetland oasis – making it a hot spot for bird watching, especially spotting cranes. You can explore this wildlife refuge via a network of wooden boardwalks, and you can peer down to try to spot gators as you walk. The Heron Flats Trail is the most popular and should be at the top of your itinerary.
To get to Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, it is easiest to reach Corpus Christi, taking just an hour and 40 minutes by car. Drop into the Claude F. Lard Visitor Center on your way.
Galveston is a gulf coast town on its own barrier island, right next to the stunning Galveston Island State Park. It is ideally located to enjoy a city break with proximity to beaches and state park greenery with wetlands. Its tourist section in the city center is also walkable – making it a dream for weekend getaways in Texas.
If you fancy a beach break, Galveston has the beaches with all the excitement of a city break. You can enjoy the cheesiness of the Pleasure Pier before heading to enjoy the nightlife.
To reach Galveston, it is a 50-minute drive from Houston, which is breezy to organize over a weekend. It is one of the shortest driving distances if you are already staying in Houston and looking for a quick detour. From further inland cities like Dallas, it is a 4.5-hour drive but still absolutely feasible for a coastal weekend break.
Where to Stay: Grand Galvez Where to Eat: Tito’s Chow Down
21. Corpus Christi
Corpus Christi is one of the best weekend getaways in Texas if you want big-city vibes in a coastal setting. It is the biggest city in east Texas. It is scenically set along the Corpus Christi Bay inlet, meaning visitors are treated to gorgeous waterfront views.
From Corpus Christi, you can also spend a day at Padre Island, a great base to detour further. You could spend one day in the city center and one day on the beach on one of the barrier islands. Museums like the Selena Museum and Art Center are the ideal counterpart to a beach day.
The city is just a 2-hour drive from San Antonio, so it’s straightforward to squeeze into a weekend. You can also fly there directly.
22. Glen Rose
Glen Rose is a town in central Texas that might have skipped your radar. If so, don’t worry, we are here to introduce it to you. The little town is beautifully located in a green area and split in half by a popular river for local fishermen.
It is mainly known for its parks and green space. However, it was also a prime moonshine area in Prohibition, and it gained the nickname of the Texas ‘whiskey woods capital’.
Glen Rose is also located near many dinosaur fossils, including Dinosaur Valley State Pakr, which also earned a spot in this guide. The two are close enough to combine in a single trip, but they both justify a weekend’s visit in their own right. We’ll leave it up to you to decide whether you combine them or not.
To reach Glen Rose, it is an hour’s drive from Fort Worth. Consider detouring to Cleburne State Park along the way.
23. Pedernales Falls State Park
Pedernales Falls State Park is one of the most stunning weekend getaways in Texas. This 5,200-acre state park is so lush and green that it almost feels unexpected that you would find it in Texas.
The whole park is situated around the river, with designated swimming areas and sections of white beach. If you want greenery, Pedernales Falls State Park is your spot. You can enjoy everything from hiking to horseback riding, but we’d definitely bring cameras and bathing suits. You can stay nearby for a weekend and then venture into the park both days.
To get to Pedernales Falls State Park, drive from Austin in just an hour. It is a super convenient detour from Austin and an excellent choice for a weekend trip if you are staying in the east of Texas.
Odessa is a strange little town to add to your weekend getaways on a Texas bucket list. The town is located in the far West of Texas and is mainly known for its oil rigs and cowboys. If you want a head-dunk-under-the-water style of immersion in Texan culture, Odessa is perfect.
It is off the standard tourist trail, but it has plenty of attractions, including a long list of galleries and music venues. It is a diamond in the rough and ideal for any seasoned Texas tourists looking to add a more unconventional stop on their list.
The only way to reach Odessa is by car, and it is approximately 5 hours by car from San Antonio. As far as Texan driving distances go, it is a feasible trip for a weekend. However, you should organize an early departure on Friday and insure a couple of people on the vehicle to split driving time up.
25. Dinosaur Valley State Park
Dinosaur Valley State Park is a beautiful state park that covers over 1,500 acres in a scenic riverside setting. You can enjoy miles of hiking trails, and spot two life-sized dinosaur models, plus the fossilized dinosaur footprints that give the park its name. Dinosaur Valley Park is ideal for families wanting a fun weekend break in Texas. There are kids’ play areas dotted around the park, too, which is an extra bit of family-friendly fun.
Dinosaur Valley State Park is just 1.5 hours away from Dallas by car, making it an easy detour if you are staying in Dallas already. The park is super central and really easy to access from any of the major cities in the east of Texas.
26. Mustang Island State Park
Mustang Island State Park is a nearly 4,000-acre preserve on a barrier island in the east of Texas. If you want a coastal escape from Texas’ manic cities, the state park is one of the leading weekend getaways in Texas.
You can spot turtles, if you are lucky, which nest up on the sands. You can also enjoy fishing, sunbathing, and scenic hiking trails. To really immerse yourself in the remote beauty of the state park, it’s best to opt for a camping experience. There are campsites throughout the state park, so you will be able to find beautiful spots.
The state park is most straightforward to reach from Corpus Christi, taking just 30 minutes by car. It is one of the best weekend getaways if you are already on the Texan coastline.
Weekend Getaways in Texas: FAQs
Feeling inspired and ready to pick your ‘winner’ from these top weekend getaways in Texas? Great stuff. Before you hurry up with a suitcase in hand, though, remember to check the basics. These common FAQs might seem short and snappy, but they can make or break your trip. Take 30 seconds to scan this section for the essentials.
Where is best to go for a weekend break?
Texas has brilliant city break destinations, including Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin. If you want art galleries, history, and rodeos galore, these cities are top contenders for weekend breaks in Texas.
How do I plan a weekend trip on a budget?
Look at budget accommodations like hostels and consider traveling in the off-season to lock in lower room rates. Similarly, weigh up your transport options. It may be cheaper to get an overnight Greyhound bus one-way. You should also check out free things to do in the destination of your choice.
How do I plan a weekend getaway alone?
Weekend getaways in Texas alone are so fun. You should plan to arrive in new places in daylight hours and research the area of your accommodation and its ratings beforehand. Consider guided tours or hostel accommodation so you can meet new people.
What is close to Texas?
There is so much close to Texas, including within the state itself. You could head to the east of Texas for a beautiful coastline, or you could head West for Route 66 and cowboy culture. You could also travel to the neighboring states of New Mexico, Louisiana, or Oklahoma
As you can see, weekend getaways in Texas are pretty special. There is so much variety for weekend trips across the state, and you should at least pick a few – if not, try to complete this entire list. We love Texas’ strong sense of individuality, but also just how much you can experience in different corners of the state. From West Texas to the east of Texas, you have hundreds of weekend trips to consider; these are just the top 26.
With that in mind, remember to check out these top beaches in Texas. A Texas beach day is always brilliant. You’ll really appreciate that famous Texan sunshine while soaking up vitamin D on white sands. Have a wonderful time on your Texas trip of choice.