Activities, Family, Family Activities, Travel

Water Trips: Where the Map Turns Blue – Texas Edition

Family trips build many fond memories. For our family, many trips are out to the water; we love the water! Below are some of our favorite watering holes to visit in Texas!


Mustang Island

We have gone to Mustang Island for years! What originally drew us there was our ability to camp on the beach. Nothing like waking up to the sounds of the waves and the best of ocean views! We would wake up early to go search for seashells and sand dollars.

Aside from staying on Mustang Island, is it is a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Padre Island National Seashore! It is the largest stretch of undeveloped barrier island in the world and has so much to offer! Aside from the basics (camping, fishing, and just enjoying the beach) you can canoe or kayak Laguna Madre, go bird watching, and probably the most exciting watch the Kemp’s Ridely Sea Turtle hatchlings make their way back to the water! Want to explore the island? You can drive 60 miles of coastline in a high-clearance, 4-wheel drive vehicle (seriously, lots of people have gotten stuck in the sand and they don’t tow non government vehicles!) Enjoy nature and diving into the past? Why not explore the animals as well as the history and culture of the island!

Funny Family Memories

One time when we (myself, my mom, and Santos) were camping we had a contact with nature that definitely was hilarious for Santos and myself, not so much mom. Mom and I were sitting at the table on our campsite watching the seagulls overhead. Santos thought it would be funny to toss broken cookies our direction, and mom felt something hit her. Thinking it was a cookie, she went to brush it off only to find it was wet and steaming. One of the seagulls dropped a bomb that landed on her head and her pants. My mom, not being one to enjoy nature except from the comfort of modern living, freaked out and was grossed out. Truly a funny moment to look back on!

Port Aransas

Ahhhh Port Aransas… so much to do and see, and so much to love; and I’m not just talking about the laid back island vibe! From fishing at Roberts Point Park (they even have playscapes for the kids!) to the local shops and cuisine there is something for everyone to enjoy! Some of our local favorites are:

Beach and Station Street Grill

Moby Dicks

FINS Grill and Icehouse

Do you like art? Come down to Port Aransas for their annual 3 day Sand Festival! Here you can enjoy food, live music, and shopping while world renowned sand sculptors present their beautiful artwork for all to see!

Avast ye scallywags! Gather ye mateys and join the pirate crew of the Red Dragon! Sail the seas (or at least the Lydia Ann Channel!) and learn how to walk, talk, and act like a real pirate as you enjoy cannon fire, dolphin watching (thar she blows!), sword fighting, treasure hunting, and a whole lot more!

Corpus Christi

One of the more well known of Texas’ beach cities, Corpus Christi holds many fun and famous sites! The statue of Tejana legend Selena in downtown, the USS Lexington, and Corpus Christi’s Texas State Aquarium.

Enjoy a day walking up and down Seawall, grab a bite to eat at Pier 99 and hop over to the USS Lexington and learn about it’s militant history during World War II, maybe even encounter one of the spirits said to still be on board the “Blue Ghost.” Looking for a way to relax? Rent paddle boats to use for a leisurely ride in the bay. Got a little dare devil on your hands? Cole Park Skate Park is great for kids! Are you a beach bum? Head over to the Texas Surf Museum, a museum that gives visitors an inside look to the history of surfing as a whole and the Lone Star state’s unique place in it! Best part is, as it says on its web page “Like the waves, the museum is always free.”


San Marcos River

In beautiful San Marcos, TX (I may be slightly biased as a Texas State Alum, Go Bobcats!) you have the San Marcos River! There is something for everyone here! Grab an inner tube and float down the river! Go for a swim in the water, toss around a ball in Sewell Park, whip out a camera and take some nature photographs. At the head of the river is Spring Lake, this area is the longest continually inhabited site in North America. Why not take a trip to the Meadows Center and explore Spring Lake on the Glass Bottom Boat Tours! There you can see the amazing ecosystem that thrives in its beautiful waters and maybe catch a glimpse of research in action! They even offer Scout Badge Days where your scout gets to explore the unique ecosystem that thrives here because of the San Marcos Spring System!

Frio River

Looking for a way to cool off from the hot summer sun? Look no further! The Frio River literally means “cold” river and with a temperature that stays around 68 degrees it will definitely keep you cool on those blistering summer days! Grab a kayak and paddle down the river or hop on an inner tube and float your cares away! If fishing is your thing, try your hand at some of the honey hole fishing spots along the river!

Barton Springs

With its cool clear water, Barton Springs is a great place to cool off from the heat of summer! This municipal pool is located in Zilker Park (an over 300 acre park) and you get spectacular views of beautiful downtown Austin. Within this park you will find the Zilker Park Botanical Garden and a hop, skip, and a jump away you will find the Umlauf Sculpture garden!


Guadalupe State Park

Guadalupe State Park is secluded and a beautiful place to get back to nature! You can go tubing down the Guadalupe River, take a guided hiking tour along Honey Creek, fishing, or kayak the river. If you want to go “glamping,” about an hour away from the state park is Tipis on the Guadalupe, a resort that is family friendly along the Guadalupe River!

Pedernales State Park

Pedernales State Park is full of beautiful and relaxing scenery. The area is full of rocky terrain and takes some effort to get to the river. However, it is worth the hassle! You can swim out to the large boulders and rock faces and see some truly breathtaking sites! Be sure to bring some good hiking shoes!

As you can see there is much more than just the water to enjoy! Gather up your family and go out and enjoy some fun in the sun out at Texas’ many water ways!

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