(BPT) - Summer has arrived in Texas, which means it’s time for a vacation. From soaking up the sun on the Texas coast to diving into the cool clear waters of a swimming hole, from outdoor adventures to amusement park thrills, there is no shortage of fun in the Lone Star State. Thanks to recent rain, lakes are full and landscapes are green and lush, perfect for your summer escape.
Looking for an ocean breeze? Head to the Texas Gulf Coast. Take advantage of one of the top kitesurfing spots in Corpus Christi, or charter a fishing expedition in Port Aransas, a coastal hotspot north of Corpus Christi. Also near Corpus and North Padre Island is the Padre Island National Seashore, where visitors can stroll along 70 miles of coastline from Corpus Christi to the Port Mansfield Cut, the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island in the world.
In the coastal town of Galveston, enjoy sunny beaches, exciting rides on the historic Pleasure Pier and explore the Historic Strand District. Further south at South Padre Island, a wide array of activities awaits. Enjoy a variety of accommodations along the beach and Laguna Madre, take a surfing or sandcastle-sculpting lesson, parasail 700 feet above clear blue water or go on a dolphin excursion.
For swimming hole enthusiasts, there has never been a better time to explore Texas’ natural waters, as recent rain has made the swimming holes fuller and more beautiful than ever. The world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool, Balmorhea State Park, is a West Texas paradise with clear waters and warm temperatures year-round. Just southwest of Austin in the small town of Wimberley is Blue Hole Regional Park, a local favorite. Blue Hole is a winding river with a gorgeous hue thanks to the natural springs that provide its water. Another of the most popular swimming holes, Hamilton Pool, lies just west of Austin and its 50-foot waterfall pouring over a fern-cloaked grotto sets the perfect vibe for a summer day.
Located in the heart of downtown Austin is Barton Springs, a popular spring-fed 3-acre swimming hole that locals and tourists enjoy year-round. The pool provides both deep diving and shallow kiddie areas with plenty of grassy hills for sunbathing.
Thrill seekers will also get their fix in the Lone Star State. One of the largest theme parks in the state is Six Flags Over Texas, located in Arlington between Dallas and Fort Worth. Across the street, more than 3 million gallons of water awaits at Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, which boasts a 72-foot free fall slide. Fans of Six Flags will also love Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio, where visitors can experience the newly opened 4D Free Fly Coaster, Batman: The Ride. Another unique aspect of Texas theme parks? Water coasters. At Schlitterbahn Waterparks in New Braunfels, Galveston, Corpus Christi and South Padre Island, visitors will enjoy thrilling water rides, lazy rivers and so much more.
Take a break from the Texas sun and spend some time exploring the DoSeum, the newly opened San Antonio children’s museum. The DoSeum provides limitless opportunities for children to discover, explore, create and learn. Currently, nearly 60 percent of The DoSeum’s exhibits focus on concepts in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), while others emphasize literacy and the creative arts to create a diverse learning experience.
For a different type of adventure, head to one of Texas’ parks for an outdoor escape. Big Bend National Park spans more than 800,000 acres in West Texas and the park’s scale, with its diverse ecosystem ranging from rugged mountains to river cut canyons, leaves visitors and locals speechless in wonder. Up in the Texas Panhandle, Palo Duro Canyon State Park is nicknamed the Grand Canyon of Texas. At roughly 60 miles long and 266 yards deep, it is the second largest canyon in the country. In the heart of the Texas Hill Country, Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is an ancient pink granite dome that has attracted visitors for thousands of years. A variety of outdoor activities are sure to keep visitors busy, including hiking, camping, rock climbing, birding, geocaching and stargazing.
Whether you are looking for relaxation, beautiful surroundings, family fun or hair-raising thrills, the trip of a lifetime awaits you in the Lone Star State. To explore the many great travel experiences in Texas, visit www.traveltex.com and find us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.