So, you need a break but you don’t have the time or energy to leave the state. We’ve all been there! Luckily, our very own state has plenty of things to offer a savvy traveler. Whether you’re looking for a long road trip or just a quick day trip, these are some of the best weekend getaways in Texas.

Quick Answer Guide: Best Weekend Getaways in Texas

‌Top Texas Weekend Getaways‌

‌Unique Weekend Trips in Texas‌

‌More Places to Go in Texas‌

  • Best for beach lovers - Galveston
  • Best for mystery fans - Marfa
  • Best for religious historians - El Paso
  • Best for pre-Columbian history fans - Amarillo

Top Texas Weekend Getaways

Texas has many famous places, and these are some of the biggest. If you love the vibrancy and culture of the city, then Houston, Dallas, or San Antonio might be the best Texas getaways for you.

That’s not all our lovely state is famous for, however. If you head out to West Texas, be sure to check out Big Bend National Park, one of two national parks in Texas, which has a lot for the nature lovers among us such as endless earth-bound vistas and amazing stargazing from a deep dark sky. The second national park in Texas is Guadalupe Mountains National Park, which is known for mountains, canyons, desert, and dunes.

1. Houston

  • Perfect for:‌ Astronomers
  • Best Time to Visit:‌ Late March for the Bayou City Art Festival
  • If You Go:‌ Be sure to visit NASA.

Things to Do in Houston

If you’re wondering what to do in Houston, go downtown. The former collection of commercial skyscrapers, empty by 5 pm every day, is now a desirable, attractive, work-and-live neighborhood anchored by Main Street. No matter how long your stay, you won't lack for things to do.

If you have an interest in space, I recommend Tranquility Park. Because Houston and NASA are intrinsically linked, Tranquility Park is named after the Apollo 11 lunar mission. Stroll through shady spaces under mature oaks and bridges over water features adjacent to City Hall and Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. Those who pause to take a closer look at the park’s landscaping may notice a replica of an astronaut’s footprint on the moon, mounds and depressions to represent the moon’s surface, cylindrical features to represent rocket boosters, and more.

For lovers of the theater, Houston's Theater District is a must-visit. Explore the waterfront where Houston was born without venturing far from downtown. At the foot of Main Street, next to the bayou, Allen’s Landing Park has scheduled departures for guided excursions by pontoon boat, including a sunset bat colony tour.

How to Get to Houston

Houston is one of the closer cities to Austin, only about two and a half hours away. Head east on Highway 71, then change over to I-10 in Columbus and you'll be there in no time.

2. Dallas

All Getaways
Danny Lehman/The Image Bank/GettyImages
  • Perfect for:‌ Lake lovers
  • Best Time to Visit:‌ Fall to beat the heat
  • If You Go:‌ Be sure to check out its sister city, Fort Worth.

Things to Do in Dallas

Dallas is full of exciting opportunities, but my personal recommendation is the Dallas Wine Trail. It's made up of four wineries: Calais Winery, Fuqua Winery, Inwood Estates, and Times Ten Cellars. The wineries work together to promote Dallas wine, hosting coordinated events that allow participants to enjoy wine tasting and food at each winery while learning about their respective wines. The wineries are located within just a few miles of one another, so the wine tour can be completed in approximately two to three hours.

For more nature-loving folks, Dallas also has a dazzling array of beautiful lakes to visit. White Rock Lake, a 1,100-acre lake in central Dallas, offers excellent bird-watching without the hassle of a trek into a rural environment. Recognized by the Audubon Society, this park and wetlands reserve has many scenic picnic areas from which to observe the wild parakeets that call the lake home.

If you want to get a bit further out, then Joe Pool Lake might be more your style. The result of a decade of construction and the united efforts of the Army Corps of Engineers, Texas Parks and Wildlife, and the Trinity River Authority, Joe Pool Lake opened in 1989 and established itself a top getaway destination for Dallas residents. It is favored for swimming and kayaking.

How to Get to Dallas

Dallas/Fort Worth is only slightly farther than Houston, about two hours and 45 minutes. It couldn't be a more straightforward journey: just head north on I-35, and take the east fork when it splits.

3. San Antonio

All Getaways
  • Perfect for:‌ Historians
  • Best Time to Visit:‌ Christmas season, for the lights and magic
  • If You Go:‌ Check out the Rainforest Cafe.

Things to Do in San Antonio

When it comes to San Antonio, the Riverwalk is the place to be. I always loved the magical sights and sounds of the Riverwalk at night when I was a kid, and I have a vivid memory of getting a bite to eat at the Häagen-Dazs there.

One of the most popular ways to experience the magic of the Riverwalk is with a boat tour. Many restaurants on the Riverwalk charter dinner cruises down the river, or you can opt for a guided history tour with Go Rio Cruises.

However, San Antonio is more than just the Riverwalk. It has all kinds of Texas history in its bones and is perhaps most famous as the site of the Alamo. For those wanting to ensure they get the full San Antonio experience, the best option may be the Hop-on, Hop-off San Antonio Trolley Tour. The trolley loop includes just about everything you might want to see in San Antonio, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

How to Get to San Antonio

San Antonio is the closest big city to Austin, just under 90 minutes away by car. It's a straight shot south on I-35, so getting there will feel like a breeze.

4. Big Bend

All Getaways
Photography by Deb Snelson/Moment/GettyImages
  • Perfect for:‌ Outdoorsy folks
  • Best Time to Visit:‌ Sometime when it's cool out
  • If You Go:‌ Be sure to bring lots of water!

Things to Do in Big Bend

Big Bend isn't home to lush forests or snow-capped mountains, but it runs along roughly one-third of the Rio Grande and contains one of America's great deserts. For outdoorsy folks in search of a different kind of experience, the arid landscape of Big Bend will provide it.

Still, the challenges of desert adventure are intimidating to those who are not familiar with them, making a guided tour a reassuring option for enjoying the wonders of Big Bend.

Big Bend National Park offers free, ranger-led guided hikes every day, although the exact schedule varies through the year and interested parties should consult with the park authorities in advance. Personalized ranger tours are also available to interested groups and individuals, but these are not free and require a four-hour minimum booking.

The state park also offers horseback riding on a trail from the Sauceda Ranch Headquarters led by its own park staff.

How to Get to Big Bend

Big Bend is a bit of a commitment, 7 hours by car, but trust me it is well worth the wait. It's also a fairly simple trip: Head west on US-290, then get on I-10 West, and finally head south on US-385 once you hit the town of Fort Stockton.

Unique Weekend Trips in Texas

If you need to get away from the city in general, these more laid-back options might be more your style. Families can hit the waterpark, couples can take long walks on the sandy beaches of the Gulf Coast, and everyone can enjoy the charming towns of Central Texas.

No matter who you are, you’re sure to find these to be some of the most unique getaways in Texas.

5. New Braunfels

All Getaways
Michael Anthony Mascorro / 500px/500px/GettyImages
  • Perfect for:‌ Families
  • Best Time to Visit:‌ Late spring to beat the crowds
  • If You Go:‌ Take a ride on the Torrent, it's fast and has no lines.

Things to Do in New Braunfels

Texans love the charming, small town of New Braunfels for its German heritage and river-rafting, and the town attracts a lively mix of road-tripping students, vacationing families, and outdoor-focused travelers. However, if the crowds become too much, the nearby state parks can provide welcome respite from the highly commercialized town.

Guadalupe River State Park is best for boaters, rafters, and tubers, while the Hill Country State Natural Area is perfect for campers, hikers, and equestrians.

State parks aren't the only thing New Braunfels has to offer though. Particularly for those with children, Schlitterbahn provides an unforgettable experience. The waterpark will always hold a special place in my heart, as my family and I went there every summer when I was a child. It's a great option for anyone looking to make memories they will cherish forever.

How to Get to New Braunfels

New Braunfels is another quick trip from Austin, only about 45 minutes out. Just head south on I-35 and you'll be there before you know it.

6. Wimberley

All Getaways
Christy Pohler/Moment/GettyImages
  • Perfect for:‌ Art lovers
  • Best Time to Visit:‌ The first Saturday of the month in spring, summer, or fall for the Wimberley Market Day
  • If You Go:‌ Watch some Shakespeare at EmilyAnn Theatre and Gardens.

Things to Do in Wimberley

I cannot recommend Wimberley Glassworks enough. Every Thursday through Sunday, they provide live glassblowing demonstrations, and trust me they are a must-see. Perusing the beautiful glass artifacts lining the shelves of the showroom and then getting to see just how they were made is a truly eye-opening experience.

If you happen to be in town on the first Saturday of the month during the spring, summer, or fall, be sure to check out the Wimberley Market Day. Featuring food, arts, crafts, and live music, it is perhaps the quintessential Wimberley event. The Wimberley Market gives one the feeling of a simpler life in a simpler day and age, without even having to leave the Lone Star State, and its proximity to Austin makes it one of the most affordable getaways in Texas.

How to Get to Wimberley

Wimberley is another of our quick Texas getaways, a lovely 45-minute drive out into the Wine Country. Just head south on I-35 down to Mountain City, then head for the hills on TX-150.

7. Fredericksburg

All Getaways
  • Perfect for:‌ Wine lovers
  • Best Time to Visit:‌ Fall for the weather
  • If You Go:‌ Eat a Fredericksburg peach.

Things to Do in Fredericksburg

Fredericksburg, a quirky town out in the Texas Hill Country, was originally settled by Germans in 1846. World-class wineries and Pioneer Village Museum, an open-air museum dedicated to the town's German roots, serve as cornerstones of the its tourism.

Visitors can also see the wildflower-filled countryside dotted with farms producing aromatic herbs and produce. Fredericksburg accommodates guests with more than 300 bed-and-breakfasts, guesthouses, guest ranches, inns, and more than 20 hotels and motels.

Wine lovers can book a tour with Texas Wine Tours and take advantage of some of the best wineries the Texas Hill Country has to offer. They provide luxury limousine transportation to five area wineries and tasting rooms, and the all-day tours include lunch at local restaurants.

For history lovers, the Pioneer Museum features about 350,000 historic objects, including farm equipment and tools, photographs, documents, furniture, and artwork. The property consists of historic structures, such the White Oak School, the Weber Sunday House, the Volunteer Fire Department, and the Arhelger Bathhouse.

How to Get to Fredericksburg

Fredericksburg is another simple drive, though a bit further than our last two destinations. Head west on US-290, and you'll be there in just about 90 minutes.

8. Corpus Christi

All Getaways
  • Perfect for:‌ Ocean-loving campers
  • Best Time to Visit:‌ Early spring to beat the spring break crowds
  • If You Go:‌ Check out the wildlife.

Things to Do in Corpus Christi

A Texas city known for its Southern charm and beach vacation vibe, Corpus Christi — Latin for "Body of Christ" — is one of the state's premier destinations for Gulf Coast travel. It has some of the best beaches in Texas and is a popular destination for those from all walks of life. Due to its southeastern location near the Mexican border, Corpus Christi tends to run warmer than other Texan cities, even in the winter.

The Padre Island National Seashore, or South Padre Island, is located along the South Texas coast and protects 70 miles of beaches. The area’s visitor center, called the Malaquite Visitor Center, is located in Corpus Christi. It is open all year round and features a small museum and bookstore. Visitors can also look over the grasslands and the Gulf of Mexico from the observation deck.

The Padre Island National Seashore also has a campground located in Corpus Christi called the Malaquite Campground. It is located about 1 mile from the visitor’s center and features 50 semi-private sites. Basic amenities included are toilets, showers, picnic tables, and shade structures.

Those who want to explore the Gulf even further can head up to Mustang Island, the home of Port Aransas. It’s another beach town, perhaps even more classic, and is sure to satisfy the ocean cravings of just about anyone.

How to Get to Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi is a good spot for a weekend getaway, about 3 hours from Austin. Head south on I-35 until you hit San Antonio, then switch over to I-37 South for the rest of your journey.

More Places to Go in Texas

If you’ve been all over Texas and nothing you’ve seen yet strikes your fancy, fear not, traveler. The best of the best weekend getaways in Texas are yet to come.

Many of these destinations may not look like much on the surface, but if you know where to look they can give you some of the best memories of your life. From weird and unexplained lights in Marfa to the sleepy beach towns of Galveston Island, these rustic and romantic getaways are sure to leave you satisfied.

9. Galveston

All Getaways
Eric Overton/iStock/GettyImages
  • Perfect for:‌ Beach lovers
  • Best Time to Visit:‌ Late April or early May to enjoy the spring weather and beat the crowds
  • If You Go:‌ Check out the dog beach!

Things to Do in Galveston

Despite being battered by several major hurricanes over the years, including the Great Storm of 1900 and the more recent Hurricane Ike in 2008, Galveston's historic heart survives.

The ornate Victorian buildings of downtown's Strand area now house restaurants and antique shops, bed-and-breakfasts, and coffee shops. They stand witness to the island's history as a bustling center of commerce as well as to this community's tenacity and resilience through the years.

One of the best ways to tour Galveston Bay is aboard the Seagull II, a tour boat operated by the seaport museum. Private charter companies also operate on the island, offering dinner cruises, charters, and sightseeing tours.

Landlubbers can tour the island aboard one of the trolleys that operate in the historic district, or simply walk the length of the 10-mile-long seawall, built after the devastating 1900 hurricane to keep back the ocean waters.

Galveston is also home to the famous Pleasure Pier, as well as hundreds of beautiful beach rentals to make your stay as lovely as possible.

How to Get to Galveston

Galveston is another three-hour drive out to the coast through the lovely lands of East Texas. Head east on TX-71, then change over to I-10 East in Columbus to complete your journey to the sea.

10. Marfa

All Getaways
  • Perfect for:‌ Mystery fans
  • Best Time to Visit:‌ Labor Day Weekend for the Marfa Lights Festival
  • If You Go:‌ Try your hand at solving the mystery of the Marfa Lights

Things to Do in Marfa

Dating back to the late 1800s, the strange circular lights that appear in Marfa every night have been attributed to everything from the paranormal to car headlights reflecting off the surrounding mountains. But what they are matter little to the residents of Marfa, who gather every Labor Day Weekend to celebrate this phenomenon at the Marfa Lights Festival. The event includes live music, street dances, food, a parade, arts and crafts booths and, of course, a look at the guest of honor — the Marfa Mystery Lights.

One of my favorite activities in Marfa is, as the locals call it, gliding. The sunny weather and scenic backdrop also add to the attractiveness of the activity. Marfa Gliders offers glider rides and lessons with FAA-certified pilots, a picnic area, and an RV park specifically reserved for soaring aficionados. It's about as close as you can get to flying like a bird without having wings.

A peaceful atmosphere and healing waters give visitors a one-of-a-kind experience at the Chinati Hot Springs. The flowing waters of this oasis rise to about 110°F and are said give people relief from arthritis and skin conditions and rejuvenate the body. Before taking a soak, Chinati Hot Springs also offers biking and hiking trails, as well as bird-watching and geological observations.

How to Get to Marfa

Marfa is another long drive, about 6 1/2 hours away from Austin. To get there, take I-10 West all the way to Fort Stockton, and then US-67 South and US-90 East will take you the rest of the way to this eerily beautiful town.

11. El Paso

All Getaways
John Coletti/Photodisc/GettyImages
  • Perfect for:‌ Religious historians
  • Best Time to Visit:‌ Early spring for the weather
  • If You Go:‌ Look across the border to Mexico.

Things to Do in El Paso

Scenic Drive, a mountainside roadway, was voted best place to show off the city by the "El Paso Times," and with good reason. If you go to the lookout point on a clear day, you can see for miles, straight down the US-Mexico border. At night, you can see the lights of downtown El Paso and its Mexican neighbor city of Juarez.

Scenic Drive isn't just a tourist attraction though, as locals head up there nightly to enjoy the view and relax on warm nights. The drive is accessible via Richmond and Louisville avenues to the east, and East Rim Road and Robinson Avenue to the west.

El Paso is one of those places that's not afraid to look like itself; even though much of the town is built up with strip malls and chain restaurants and retailers, the city retains the feel of a Southwestern border town.

Part of that magic is the preservation of El Paso's Spanish missions and churches. The adobe Mission Ysleta, for example, has been standing since 1692. It is the oldest continuously active parish in Texas, according to the El Paso Mission Trail Association.

How to Get to El Paso

Getting to El Paso is the longest drive yet, clocking in at 8 1/2 hours from Austin. Luckily, the whole drive is on I-10 West, so it couldn't be a simpler trip. For those in more of a time crunch, there's always the option of flying into El Paso's airport instead.

12. Amarillo

All Getaways
  • Perfect for:‌ Pre-Columbian history fans
  • Best Time to Visit:‌ Fall for the weather
  • If You Go:‌ Take a picture at Cadillac Ranch.

Things to Do in Amarillo

The Kwahadi Museum of the American Indian resembles a Native American pueblo and features art by more than 100 artists of the Plains and Southwest. The Kwahadi Dancers, a local youth group, schedule summer performances at the museum and venues throughout Amarillo. The museum hosts Native American dancers from Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado performing in full regalia. The museum's collection includes bronze castings, carvings, rugs, pottery, prints, and paintings.

If you're a history nerd like me, then you're sure to love the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum. It contains more than three million artifacts covering more than a million years of Texas history, art, archeology, transportation, and paleontology.

Just to the west of Amarillo on Interstate 40, you will see a row of Cadillac fins sticking out of a dirt prairie. I highly recommend stopping by the side of the road and taking a look at this living art exhibit. The Ant Farm created the installation in the 1970s as homage to the evolution of the Cadillac. Bring your own can of spray paint along if you want to leave your mark on the cars, and don’t forget your camera.

How to Get to Amarillo

Our final destination is another long haul at just about seven-and-a-half hours by car. Those willing to make the trek can head north on US-183, get onto TX-153 West in Coleman, head over to US-84 North in Sweetwater, and then switch to I-27 North in Slaton for the final leg.

There are also flights available, though many involve landing in Dallas and driving the rest of the way.

Whether you’re a city lover, a small-town enjoyer, or someone who just wants the peace and quiet of nature, I hope that one of these destinations will be your next vacation spot. These are truly some of the best weekend getaways in Texas, and there’s something here for everyone. Until next time, fellow travelers, and may the road keep you safe in all your endeavors.