If you’re looking for family weekend getaways from Austin, you’ve come to the right place. Texas is full of family fun, with kid-friendly resorts everywhere from Dallas to Houston.
Whether your family is into boating, paddleboarding, amusement parks, or spelunking, The Lone Star State is full of fun things for the whole family.
Quick Answer Guide to Family & Kid-Friendly Getaways From Austin
Kid-Friendly Day Trips From Austin
- Aspiring geologists - Georgetown, Texas
- Underwater enthusiasts - San Marcos, Texas
- Tubing connoisseurs - New Braunfels, Texas
Family Weekend Getaways From Austin
- Amateur paleontologists - Glen Rose, Texas
- Nature lovers - Fort Worth, Texas
- Water park aficionados - Wichita Falls, Texas
Best Getaways From Austin for Families
- History and jazz lovers - New Orleans, Louisiana
- Family vacation purists - Orlando, Florida
- Beach lovers - San Diego, California
Kid-Friendly Day Trips From Austin
If you and the kiddos need a break from it all but y'all don't have more than a day to spare, these are the kid-friendly getaways from Austin for you. These attractions are just a couple hours from Austin, but they're sure to leave you relaxed and your kids engaged.
Whether you're looking for an educational experience, or just to take the load off, these places have you covered.
1. Georgetown, Texas
- Perfect for: Aspiring geologists
- Highlights of Georgetown:
- Fascinating crystals
- Gemstone panning
- Quaint Texas living
How to Get to Georgetown
Georgetown is about as close to Austin as you can be while still getting into the vacation vibe. Just a quick 30-minute drive up I-35 and you'll be there.
Things to Do in Georgetown
One of the major attractions near Georgetown is Inner Space Cavern. There, you can take the Adventure Tour to see the underground lake dubbed Lake of the Moon along with the Soda Straw Balcony and a flowstone (formed by water flowing down the cavern walls) named the Flowing Stone of Time. More intrepid explorers can tackle the four-hour Wild Cave Tour (for 13 and older only) to go off the trail and see undeveloped parts of the cave, some of which are home to bats.
Georgetown is also home to plenty of other attractions, such as Family Barn Playground and Coffee and the Sweet Eats Fruit Farm. All things considered, Georgetown is a quaint little Texas town full of adventures for you and the kids.
Where to Stay in Georgetown
The San Gabriel House is a historic home turned bed-and-breakfast in Georgetown. It offers beautiful views and is located in the Olive Street National Historic District, a perfect place to take in some local history before heading to the caverns.
This vacation rental on Vrbo is also located in nearby Georgetown and has plenty of room for the whole family. It's very close to Southwestern University, as well as multiple hike and bike trails at San Gabriel Park.
2. San Marcos, Texas
- Perfect for: Underwater enthusiasts
- Highlights of San Marcos:
- Fascinating aquatic life
- Beautiful landscape
How to Get to San Marcos
At about one hour away, the San Marcos River is a piece of cake to get to. Just head south on 130 and you'll be there in a jiff. Plus, if you get hungry on the way, you can stop in Lockhart for some of their famous BBQ.
Things to Do in San Marcos
Nestled between San Antonio and Austin, San Marcos is home to plenty of outdoor adventures. But nothing tops snorkeling in the San Marcos River: Discover red-eared slider turtles, sunfish, blue tilapia, crayfish, and other types of underwater life in the beautiful, spring-fed waters here.
Snorkel TX, a local outdoor adventure company, offers guided tours of the aquatic life in San Marcos. Guests are given a snorkel, mask, fins, and transportation to and from various points on the river. This opportunity is sure to be full of beauty, and the little ones might just learn a thing or two as well.
While you're in town you can also check out Wonder World Cave and Adventure Park. Known as "the first show cave in Texas," it offers fun for the whole family and is sure to keep your children engaged.
Where to Stay in San Marcos
Son's River Ranch is a beautiful and authentically Texan experience. It features luxury cabins, riverside cabanas, tubing, kayaking, and even glamping if you're so inclined.
This vacation home is right on the river, including access to your own private river spot. It's perfect for spending time outside with the family, including a charcoal grill and two patios.
3. New Braunfels, Texas
- Perfect for: Tubing connoisseurs
- Highlights of New Braunfels:
- Schlitterbahn Water Park
- Comal River
- Guadalupe River
How to Get to New Braunfels
Another short drive, New Braunfels is just an hour south on I-35. On the way, you'll pass through San Marcos, as well as some of the beautiful scenery that Southwest Texas has to offer.
Things to Do in New Braunfels
Get your tube on the water at Landa Park to float more than 2 miles of the Comal River as you twist through a tube chute and tumble through rapids. The Comal connects with the Guadalupe River, which is the state's most popular whitewater tubing river, running from Canyon Lake through town with tube chutes, rapids, and boulder gardens.
If you're looking for more of a thrill, check out Schlitterbahn Water Park. One of the biggest waterparks in the state, Schlitterbahn has tons of rides that are fun for the whole family, as well as plenty of pools and lazy rivers for when you don't feel like waiting in line.
Where to Stay in New Braunfels
The Faust Hotel is located in historic downtown New Braunfels. It's within walking distance to both Schlitterbahn and the Comal River, as well as plenty of other activities within the town.
This cottage is located right on the Guadalupe River. It has beautiful views, outdoor activities, and even a water park for the kids.
Family Weekend Getaways From Austin
So, you're in the market for weekend getaways from Austin for families. If you have the time and the inclination, a longer drive opens up a whole new world of adventure for you and your family, far from the hustle and bustle of downtown Austin.
Once you've decided on one of these weekend getaways, your kids won't be the only ones asking "are we there yet?"
4. Glen Rose, Texas
- Perfect for: Amateur paleontologists
- Highlights of Glen Rose:
- Dinosaur tracks
- Life-size dinosaur models
- Kid-friendly hiking
How to Get to Glen Rose
The journey to Glen Rose is just under three hours, but it's a pretty one. Just head north on US-281 for a beautiful drive through the Texas Hill Country.
Things to Do in Glen Rose
Glen Rose is a beautiful town full of nature. There's plenty to see, but the main attraction is the dinosaurs. Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose has all of the amenities of most other Texas campgrounds, including playgrounds, treed campsites, and interpretative programming with the added excitement of dinosaurs.
Kids can explore dinosaur tracks in the Paluxy River and see life-size models of long-necked and carnivorous dinosaurs. The park has several easy hikes that are appropriate for children.
If the kids decide they want to see some living animals too, then head on over to Fossil Rim Wildlife Center. They offer tours of a wide, natural expanse full of strange and wonderful animals. It's an experience you won't soon forget.
Where to Stay in Glen Rose
Cedars on the Brazos is a beautiful hotel situated on a bluff looking out on the Brazos River. The kids will love wandering through the wooded areas surrounding the hotel and seeing all sorts of new and wonderful animals.
Located right on the River Walk, this cabin is tons of fun for the whole family — and it's just minutes from where dinosaur tracks were discovered in the park.
5. Fort Worth, Texas
- Perfect for: Nature lovers
- Highlights of Fort Worth:
- Tons of wildlife
- Hiking trails
- Educational fun for all ages
- Botanic gardens
How to Get to Fort Worth
A little over three hours away, Fort Worth is an easy place to get to. Head north on I-35 and you'll be there in a flash, passing through the charming town of Waco on your way.
Things to Do in Fort Worth
The lesser-known cousin of Dallas, Fort Worth is nevertheless a fascinating city full of things to do. You can see wonderful plants at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, or hit the slides at NRH20 Family Water Park. However, the main attraction for nature lovers is the Nature Center.
A 3,600-acre preserve less than 30 minutes from downtown Fort Worth, the sprawling Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge offers a chance to see a wide range of wildlife in its natural habitat. It's one of the largest city-owned nature centers in the U.S., with 20 miles of hiking trails for guided or self-guided tours.
Buffalo, alligators, deer, and a large variety of birds call the refuge home. The kids will love learning about so many new types of animals, and you'll get the opportunity to unwind from the hustle and bustle of city life in the beautiful natural expanse.
Where to Stay in Fort Worth
The Old Liberty School House is in Azle, Texas, very close to the nature center. It has beautiful and historic grounds, perfect to teach the kids about what life was like in the olden days.
Located right on Lake Weatherford, this cabin has all the beauty you might expect. It offers plenty of space for the family, with four sleeping areas, outdoor decks, and kayaking on the lake.
6. Wichita Falls, Texas
- Perfect for: Water park aficionados
- Highlights of Wichita Falls:
- Thrilling rides
- Wave pools
How to Get to Wichita Falls
Though it's a bit of a longer drive, Wichita Falls is well worth the wait. It can be reached via a northward drive on I-35, and then a short leg to the northwest on US-287 once you get to Fort Worth.
Things to Do in Wichita Falls
On a toasty North Texas summer day, there's no better place than Castaway Cove to cool off. This fun, all-ages water park and amusement center in Wichita Falls offers thrill rides, water slides, a lazy river, play areas for young children, swimming pools, and volleyball.
Zoom through the looping water slide at Pirate's Plunge, ride the man-made waves at Shipwreck Beach, or accelerate down the open flume slides at Parrot's Perch.
Where to Stay in Wichita Falls
Jellystone Park is a resort in Wichita Falls that's like its own vacation all by itself. The on-site cabins are a wonderful place to stay, and children can take part in planned activities such as arts and craft sessions and hayrides.
This cottage offers plenty of space for the family and is pet-friendly as well. It comes with the usual vacation home amenities, as well as two harps, two pianos, and a wood-burning stove.
Best Getaways From Austin for Families
If you really need to get away from it all, these destinations will take you away from Texas altogether. Your kids will see sights they've never seen before in far-away lands, and all less than a three-hour flight away.
Explore beyond the borders of the Lone Star State with these weekend getaways.
7. New Orleans, Louisiana
- Perfect for: History and jazz lovers
- Highlights of New Orleans:
- French Quarter
- Cemetery tours
- Brass bands and other live music
How to Get to New Orleans
New Orleans is closer than you think, only a 90-minute flight away. You'll land at Louis Armstrong International Airport out in the northwest corner of the city, and you'll likely catch a glimpse of Lake Pontchartrain as the plane circles in towards the city.
Things to Do in New Orleans
New Orleans might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think "kid friendly," but the city isn't all partying and bars.
New Orleans has a rich history, from the French Quarter to the many beautiful and fascinating cemeteries of the city. The kids will also love the animals at the Audubon Zoo and the Aquarium of the Americas.
Where to Stay in New Orleans
At the quieter end of the French Quarter near Rampart Street, the Dauphine Orleans Hotel was created by joining a series of 18th and early 19th-century cottages and townhouses. Stay in a former bordello or the cottage where John James Audubon painted his famed "Birds of America" series. The Dauphine Orleans also features one of the French Quarter's only saltwater swimming pools.
Only a couple minutes' walk from the French Quarter, this boutique apartment is right near the action. With this as a home base, the rich history of New Orleans is at your family's fingertips.
8. Orlando, Florida
- Perfect for: Family vacation purists
- Highlights of Orlando:
How to Get to Orlando
Orlando is a bit further away, about two and a half hours by plane. You'll fly in to Orlando International Airport in the southeastern corner of the city, catching a glimpse of the beautiful lakes dotting the cityscape on your way in.
Things to Do in Orlando
Orlando is a city which needs no introduction. It's the pinnacle of family vacations. Everyone knows about Disney World, with its world-famous attractions and unforgettable moments, but Universal Orlando Resort is another attraction you and the kids won't want to miss.
Universal Orlando Resort is just one of the big attractions that make Orlando the leading tourist destination in the United States. The resort consists of three theme parks (Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and the water park Universal’s Volcano Bay), an entertainment, dining, and shopping complex called Universal CityWalk, and six hotels.
Pick yourself up a CityPass for Orlando for deals and discounts on top attractions like the Disney parks, Universal, Sea World, and more.
Where to Stay in Orlando
At the Waldorf Astoria Orlando, even children have their own concierge. The Waldorf, which became Orlando's newest luxury hotel when it opened in 2010, immediately created a Children's Concierge program for kids vacationing with their parents. The service emphasizes adventure and learning with organized water sports, arts and crafts, tours, clinics on the golf course, and movies.
This condo is quite close to Universal Orlando Resort. In addition, it has an outdoor pool, hot tub, grills, and even a fireplace.
9. San Diego, California
- Perfect for: Beach lovers
- Highlights of San Diego:
- San Diego Zoo
- Tons of beaches
- Kid-friendly parks
How to Get to San Diego
The furthest of our destinations, San Diego is a three-hour flight from Austin. Flying in to San Diego International Airport is a magical experience, and your kids are sure to be amazed by the sight of the San Diego Bay as the plane comes in for a landing.
Things to Do in San Diego
San Diego is full of fun for the whole family, and not just the famous San Diego Zoo. Children can soak in San Diego’s rich history at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, visit the museums at Balboa Park, or enjoy the water at Mission Bay Park.
San Diego’s many beaches are also free to the public and provide fun and recreation for both children and adults.
Where to Stay in San Diego
The Glorietta Bay Inn, originally built as a home for San Diego booster John Dietrich Spreckels, offers a number of suite options, and is only a block from the beach. It offers a stay full of history and beauty in addition to its great location.
This beautiful condo is right on the ocean. It is truly family-oriented, so there's no need to worry about the partying crowd you sometimes get in San Diego.
Now that you've read over this list of family friendly getaways from Austin, hopefully you have a better idea of some of the fun places you can travel from your home base in Central Texas. Rest assured that all of these places are full of family fun, and none are adults-only.