A gray exterior of a building with beams above and a warm interior

Cibolo Creek Ranch. Photo by Brandon Jakobeit

Traveling with kids may not be easy, but it is always an adventure. Luckily for parents and grandparents in Texas, the adventures tend to be pretty epic. You can hike mountains towering over deserts teeming with wildlife, zip on a golf cart through miles of beautiful coastland, and visit vibrant cities filled with thought-provoking art and historical attractions. Family travel in our state also yields plenty of friendly conversations with locals and other travelers. (Texans are generally a friendly lot, after all.) Looking for your next family getaway? Grab your bathing suit and hit the road.

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A long hallway with ornate furniture and numerous wood accents including an exposed beam ceiling

Photo by Brandon Jakobei

Cibolo Creek Ranch

MARFA

For families seeking outdoor thrills, Cibolo Creek Ranch showcases prime wide-open spaces in West Texas. Situated on 30,000 acres, this historic ranch offers 37 rooms and views of the Chinati Mountains. Starting in 1857, the ranch’s original founder, Milton Faver, built three forts on the property, which he created to house his livestock and trade operations. You can still explore these preserved adobe structures today.

The lakeside and acequia rooms, the latter arranged around a courtyard with a spring-fed stream running through it, can each sleep up to four guests. Larger suites are also available. Most rooms have fireplaces, and breakfast is included with your stay. Choose from a menu of activities that can be tailored to your family’s wishes, including horseback riding, hunting, and open-air Humvee tours to local sites.

“Getting out to West Texas is an experience that all Texas kids should have,” says Hank Thompson, vice president of JB Poindexter & Co, which owns the resort. “For kids and adults, it’s an opportunity to unplug.” Rooms start at $359/night. 97139 US 67, Marfa.
432-729-6654; cibolocreekranch.com

 

A group of people walk through a glass-ceilinged tunnel with fish swimming in blue water

Photo by Kenny Braun

Moody Gardens

GALVESTON

Families seeking diverse entertainment options will find plenty to explore within the three iconic pyramids greeting visitors driving on Interstate 45 to Galveston Island. The Rainforest Pyramid is kept balmy to mimic each ecosystem of the plants and animals within, with a walkway crossing above a lush treetop canopy teeming with monkeys, sloths, and birds. Visit the Aquarium Pyramid to see jellyfish, nurse sharks, and penguins. (You can even schedule an up-close penguin encounter as an add-on. But beware: They’re surprisingly stinky.) The Discovery Pyramid features rotating interactive exhibits and multisensory theatrical shows.

Stay overnight at the Moody Gardens Hotel, Spa & Convention Center to maximize your time on the island. The hotel houses two restaurants—one casual dining option on the main floor and a steak and seafood restaurant overlooking Galveston Bay. In the summer, kids can sail across a ropes course and zipline and splash around at the small waterpark with its own private beach. There’s also a paddlewheel boat that offers daytime and dinner cruises year-round. Rooms start at $169/night. 1 Hope Blvd., Galveston. 409-744-4673; moodygardens.com

 

Two young people sit backwards on an Adarondak chair -- one holds up a s'more

Photo Courtesy Tapatio

Tapatio Springs Hill Country Resort

BOERNE

Formerly co-owned by George Strait, this resort has undergone several renovations since two fires destroyed parts of the property in 2017 and 2022. It features a family pool with a waterslide and an adult pool, separated by a large event lawn space that includes cornhole, miniature golf, and ladder ball. There are also occasionally petting zoos during special events and holidays.

Double queen rooms are suitable for families, and pets are also welcome for an additional fee.

“One of the things our families love is the ability for parents to relax on the patio and terrace areas when we have live music every weekend, while the kids play on the event lawn just below the terrace,” says Jonathan Falloon, marketing and sales director. And if families want to explore, they can head to Boerne’s Main Street 5 miles away or stretch their legs on the resort’s 2-mile walking trail. Rooms start at $178/night. 1 Resort Way, Boerne. 800-571-8696; tapatiosprings.com

 

A white sailboat floats blue water in front of a large resort under blue sky

Photo courtesy Grapevine CVB

Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center

GRAPEVINE

Kids will find plenty of space to roam at this resort on Lake Grapevine that has its own version of the San Antonio River Walk inside a sun-filled atrium. Stroll along the burbling “river,” meandering over and under bridges, while you seek out the perfect spot for dinner or snacks at four on-site restaurants. Family suites, which can sleep up to six, feature one bedroom with a king-size bed and a queen-size bed in the living area.

The environment of the resort is elevated while still casual and family friendly. Parents will love the spa and fitness center, while little ones can choose from activities that include a scavenger hunt, an escape room, family movies, bingo, and, in the summer, a junior chef’s camp. During warmer months, the on-site Paradise Springs water park opens, offering a 600-foot-long lazy river, a lagoon, a water playhouse, endless waterslides, and private family cabanas to ensure you can always find some shade. Rooms start at $309/night. 1501 Gaylord Trail, Grapevine.
817-778-1000; marriott.com

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