The great state of Texas brings Southern charm to the forefront while offering sunny beaches and historic points of interest. Enjoy the nightlife of Sixth Street in Austin, or wind down with a scenic hike through El Paso’s state parks. Partake in water sports in Houston, or embark on a walking tour along the San Antonio Riverwalk. Stay at one of many Texas vacation rentals if you want to be situated in the midst of all the action. Consider one of these lively cities in Texas for your next weekend getaway.

1. Austin

Austin city skyline
Source: Flickr/Stuart Seeger

The state capital of Texas comes alive year-round with street festivals, unique specialty shops, and flowing craft beer. Start with a stroll down 6th Street to shop the antiques and souvenirs at Fortney’s West End or 6th Street Trading Company before feasting on treats from Sweetish Hill Bakery. Austin is also abundant with water activities with nearby Lakes Travis and Austin. Water outfitters such as Austin Boat Tours and Wave in Water offer boat tours, fishing excursions, and kayak rentals for your wet-and-wild adventures. You can also tour the city on bike with the Austin in a Nutshell Bike Tour, or delight the kids with a day at the Thinkery Children’s Museum.

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2. Galveston

Seawall along the ocean
Source: Flickr/J.R.Ramos

Explore the sandy beaches and coastline of Texas with a vacation rental in Galveston, known as the ‘Playground of the South.’ Excite the thrill-seekers on the roller coasters at Pleasure Pier, or attend one of the annual festivals on The Strand, the historical district in downtown. The Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark is open year-round for family-friendly fun, and outfitters such as Galveston Water Adventures offer boat tours so you can see the beauty of the city from the water. When you need to wind down, tour the Galveston Railroad Museum or Moody Mansion to see history come to life.

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3. Dallas

Entrance to the historic West End area
Source: Flickr/traveljunction

Foodies flock to the Dallas/Fort Worth area for authentic Texas cuisine, but you’re in for a treat when signing up for the Dallas Uptown Food Tour or West Village Food Tour, both offering cocktails and bites on these sight-seeing adventures. Vacation rentals in Dallas provide access to the colorful Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens or Dallas Museum of Art. Tap into your love of Texas history when browsing through the artifacts and exhibits at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, or add a little culture to your weekend getaway when attending a performance at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center.

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4. El Paso

Ariel view of El Paso Texas
Source: Flickr/Barbara Ann Spengler

Treat your family to a vacation in the Old Southwest with a trip to El Paso, located near the Mexico/United States border. See rugged mountains in the distance when hiking Franklin Mountains State Park, or rock climb Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site for a more adventurous time. For a spectacular view, ride the Wyler Aerial Tramway to see the natural landscape of this Texas city. History buffs enjoy the interactive exhibits along the El Paso Mission Trail that displays 300 years of historical facts. Time your vacation to coincide with the Hueco Rock Rodeo festival to see the old Southwest in action, or take in a game at the Sun Bowl. Delight the kids with a day at Western Playland, a local amusement park featuring 30 acres of entertainment.

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5. San Antonio

Riverwalk in San Antonio
Source: Flickr/Prayitno

Find a unique blend of landscape, history, and fun-filled attractions when making San Antonio your weekend vacation destination. Start your day with a tour of the Alamo before satisfying your cravings for Texas cuisine on the Riverwalk at the Lone Star Cafe. The Riverwalk also features hot spots for evening cocktails, such as Boudro’s. Explore the caves with the kids at Natural Bridge Caverns, or get in some amusement at Six Flags Fiesta Texas that includes hundreds of rides and an expansive water park.

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6. Amarillo

Camping tents in the sand
Source: Flickr/Leonora (Ellie) Enking

Located along the famous Route 66, Amarillo is a popular vacation destination for those wanting to see Old West traditions that have merged with modern attractions. Begin your weekend activities by viewing the painted Cadillacs along Route 66 in this Texas city before exploring the Amarillo Zoo and Botanical Gardens. Amarillo is also home to the American Quarter Horse Heritage Center and Museum, offering educational and informative activities. The outdoor enthusiasts in your crew can see the best landscapes Texas has to offer with a hike through Palo Duro Canyon State Park.

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7. Houston

colorful flowerbed in a park
Source: Flickr/brando

Enjoy the big city when venturing to Houston for a weekend getaway, and explore the Space Center. Offering an out-of-this-world experience, the Space Center is home to exhibits, artifacts, and interactive events to teach the entire family about the U.S. Space Program. Houston is also a hub for nature enthusiasts with the Houston Zoo and Downtown Aquarium. See the city up close and personal when boarding the double-decker bus of the Houston Hop-On Hop-Off Tour, or explore the hidden spots of Texas with the Houston Underground Tunnel Tour.

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8. Corpus Christi

Seagull on a sandy beach
Source: Flickr/Corey Leopold

Sink your toes into the sand with a beachfront vacation rental in Corpus Christi, known as the best seaside place to visit in the state. Explore the 75 miles of shoreline that merges with the Padre Island National Seashore, or make a splash in the water after a boat tour with the Yachting Center of Corpus Christi. Fish for the day with an excursion sponsored by Saltwater Keith’s Guide Service, or get in a game of golf with spectacular views from the greens of the Oso Beach Municipal Golf Course. When you want to satisfy your artistic yearnings, take a drive around Mustang Island to Rockport-Fulton, an artists’ colony full of galleries to tour.

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