Looking to plan a trip in Texas for next week or month and do not know where to start? Texas is home to farmlands galore, bustling cities, national parks and charming small towns, making plenty of options to explore for that perfect getaway. Here are 5 killer ideas for last minute Texas vacations.
1. Take a trip back in time in San Antonio
San Antonio lies in south-central Texas as one of the major cities and home of famous historical landmarks. The San Antonio River Walk is a sometimes bustling, sometimes quaint place to stroll for shopping, dining and bar hopping or just taking in the scenic view of the San Antonio River banks.
For history buff and sightseers, check out the San Antonio Missions of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Here you'll find the UNESCO World Heritage Site and National Historical Park where four of the five Spanish frontier missions in San Antonio have been preserved. For a little bit of history mixed with photo-worthy Spanish Colonial architecture, you can not go wrong at this site. Important to note: the Alamo is at a location more downtown San Antonio from this site, but still worth a visit if you have time.
Since San Antonio is a major city, finding a last-minute place to stay will be easiest looking up your favorite online hotel finders or chains that you trust.
2. Go on a hiking expedition in Palo Duro Canyon
Visit the country's second largest canyon in this state park for breathtaking views, adventurous hiking expeditions and an optional cabin retreat stay, all collectively doable for a summer weekend getaway.
For a few hours hike of 5.75 miles round-trip, follow the signature landmark Lighthouse Trail where you'll find the rock formation you've probably seen in most photos of Palo Duro Canyon. For a challenge, visit the Civilian Conservation Corps Trail where you'll find the only trail descending to the canyon floor from the park rim.
Try your luck at reserving one of the several cabins available, like the lighthouse cabin for an on-site experience waking up amidst the striking views of the park. On-site camping is also sometimes available in a number of spots or look to the numerous budget hotels close to the park if you're rolling in super last minute.
3. Experience local life in Brenham, Washington County
Brenham is home to the Texas favorite Blue Bell ice cream, historical homes, and immersive farm life retreat stays. Although it may not be on the global map for Texas vacations, this charming scenic area of Washington County will give you a taste of true Texas life as it is now and as it once was.
Stop in to the beloved Blue Bell Creamery for a scoop (or two) of your favorite classic flavor and hug an Alpaca at Peeka Ranch Alpacas. Immerse yourself in historical farm life in the house of the last Texan president at the Barrington Living History Farm, followed by a relaxing wine-tour among one of Washington County's wineries and vineyards.
There are plenty of charming places to stay from farm retreats to bed and breakfasts in historical houses among lush Texan greenery. Call around and look for last-minute rates, as Texas locales are known to be friendly and accommodating.
4. Swim, eat and relax in artsy Austin
Austin is one of the top music destinations in the country, known for its famous world-class music festivals Austin City Limits and South by Southwest. Many know Austin serves as one of the ultimate year-round destinations in Texas, but there's plenty to do in city limits and outside festival limits when exploring last minute Texas vacations.
Swimming holes like Barton Springs and Hamilton Pool are worth checking out for a day trip awing at nature while swimming during hot summer months. Admire the peacocks at Mayfield Park followed by the show of 1.5 million bats that emerge from the Congress Bridge at dusk. Take your pick of the plethora of Tex-Mex favorites and see what's playing at the Alamo Drafthouse, dubbed the best movie theater in the world by Quentin Tarantino.
See if you can find one of the eclectic and artistic style homestays Austin is known for on a trusted site you frequent.
5. Find a place in your heart for Hidden Hill Country
Deep in the heart of Texas and just west from Austin lies hidden hill country where you'll find two-lane roads and small towns of rivers and lakes, scenic highways, cypress trees and really good pie.
Sleep in an herb farm where you'll eat dishes created using the produce and herbs on property for the true farm-to-table experience. Enjoy the windy scenic roads of Highway 16 for road trip lovers and try some homemade apple pie at the Love Creek Apple Store in Medina. Kayak down the Medina River to avoid the crowds at Guadalupe River and discover in the natural magic of the bald cypress trees.
For staying, see if there's room at the luxurious adult getaway Travaasa Resort and Spa for all-inclusive and a la carte packages for the ultimate pampering escape.