Summer is approaching fast and you know what that means: It’s time for a Texas road trip! Hop in the car with the windows down, your favorite playlist jamming and a few of your best friends and take a drive down the winding, dirt back roads of our beautiful Lone Star state. There’s no need to break the bank or deal with the hassle of canceled flights and lost luggage. Why not stay in state instead and explore the scenery, history and attractions on your relaxing getaway this summer in Texas? Seriously, our large state is like an entire country.
1. Crystal Beach
Distance: 260 miles southeast of Austin
For those of you who love the beach but hate the crowds (think South Padre or Port Aransas) then Crystal Beach is a perfect getaway. Located on the Bolivar Peninsula in Galveston County, Crystal Beach offers visitors a place to enjoy bonfires, s’mores and camping out all near the calming water. Give yourself ample time to take in this destination, as it is a good five hours from Austin.
2. Canyon Lake
Distance: 70 miles south of Austin
Located 70 miles outside of Austin in between Austin and San Antonio, Canyon Lake is a great location for those looking to go camping. The campsite offers affordable accommodations with water and electricity for $12-24 a night. Tent sites are available with river, electricity and water access. Canyon Lake has an 80-mile shoreline along the Guadalupe River and is known as the “Water Recreation Capital of Texas,” and lives up to its name with hiking trails, fishing, tubing down the river, kayaking and more. For more information: http://canyonlakechamber.com/
3. New Braunfels
Distance: 20 miles south of Austin
- Tubing – This is a perfect place for tubers to go and float down the Guadalupe River on a hot summer day. Tubers will likely link together with a lazy ankle resting on another’s inflated tube and a cold beer in hand while drifting down the river as the current takes you. There are several websites that allow the public to rent tubes for about two hours so do your research on which offers the best deals.
- Schlitterbahn Water Park – Schlitterbahn Water Park offers original water slides and rides, swimming and pools that are fed out of the clear cold water from the Guadalupe River itself. The closest location is in New Braunfels, Texas.
- Gruene Hall – Two-step your night away in New Braunfels’ riverside historic district of Gruene (pronounced “green”) and check out Texas’ oldest dancehall.
4. The Third Coast
Distance: 156 miles southeast of Austin
One of the most practical and scenic routes to visit is along the Gulf Coast. “The Third Coast” is a nickname given to the coastline of Texas that follows along the Gulf of Mexico from north Galveston to east of Brownsville. Expect waves suitable for the most distinguished surfer and leisure marinas for exploration. Explore a battleship in Corpus Christi or a tree some believe to be 2,000 years old right outside of Lamar. All in all, this coastline makes for a great summer hangout.
5. Surfside Beach
Distance: 208 miles southeast of Austin
Surfside Beach has miles of protected shoreline, bays and coastal marshes that offer excellent fishing, bird watching and swimming. Beach access on road 3 and 4, east of the San Luis Pass Bridge, lead to a less-crowded free area of the beach that many don’t know about. The best thing about Surfside Beach is the array of multicolored beach houses that line the shore and make for great Instagram-worthy opportunities.
Sometimes it’s hard to believe there is a world outside of Austin. Our city seems to offer everything from outdoor pastimes to authentic foods, but exploring the rest of the state will make for a great summer. Planning a Texas road trip can be something like planning a road trip across three different states! Yes, we all know Texas is colossal. But, with the help of this guide you should find ease on choosing which destination you and your pals should hit up. Happy planning!