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Family Weekenders: Kid-Friendly Vacation Spots Close By


Looking for somewhere to take the family that's close, affordable, and fun for everyone? Here's our list of the best "quick trip" locations in Texas.

KATY MAGAZINE | March 2018

By Ashley Lancaster

Camping/Outdoors

Jellystone Park & Campgrounds

Inspired by the beloved Hanna-Barbera cartoon character, Yogi Bear, this camping ground caters to families and kids. With indoor and outdoor swimming and waterplay areas, laser tag, jumping areas, pedal cart racing, and even a bark park, everyone will find something fun to do. Rent a cabin, throw up a tent, or unhook your RV and settle in. There are locations in Waller and Canyon Lake.

Garner State Park A Texas traveling tradition just under 4 hours away in Concan, Garner State Park attracts thousands of visitors every year with its natural beauty and pristine camping facilities situated on the rippling waters of the Frio. Up to 8 people can stay at a campsite, and "quiet time" starts at 10 p.m.

Inks Lake State Park This sparkling blue lake's water levels stay the same nearly year-round, which makes it a safe bet for a family weekend on the water. Take a daring jump off the cliffs at the Devils Waterhole, and set up camp in a comfortable cabin or one of their 200+ campsites. Some area attractions include Longhorn Caverns and the Vanishing Texas River Cruise.

Mustang Island State Park

Venture away from hills and trees and relax on pristine beaches at Mustang Island. Secluded on Corpus Christi's coast, the park is kid and pet friendly, allows you to operate motor vehicles, and is a great place for hiking, water sports, or just hanging out with your loved ones. Opt for a primitive camping experience or rent a campsite with water and electricity.

Big Bend National Park

A bit of a hike (roughly 8.5 hours from Katy), but it's worth every. single. second. Big Bend National Park epitomizes the diverse, rugged beauty of Texas wildlife in all it's splendor. They offer reservable campsites, but are extremely busy on weekends and during Spring Break, and fill up very fast. They also have rooms at the Chisos Mountain Lodge, complete with a hotel restaurant. Explore the park on a desert, river, or mountain day hike, take a scenic drive, or even traverse the Rio Grande in a canoe.

Water Parks & Amusement Parks

Great Wolf Lodge An indoor family wonderland complete with a towering water park, ropes courses, fitness center and spa, arcade, and tons more. You can choose to stay in a themed suite or clean and spacious standard room.

Schlitterbahn Water Park & Resort The very first and arguably the most popular family water park the world over - now in three locations in Texas : New Braunfels, Galveston, and South Padre Island. Float the Torrent River on an inner tube or catapult down one of their famous water slides while the little ones play in lifeguard-supervised splash area.

Natural Bridge Caverns

Good, old-fashioned fun created by Mother Nature herself. The Discovery Tour is a half-mile trek through underground stalactites and stalagmites formed over thousands of years. Or how about the Lantern Tour? A lamplit, early morning exploration of stunning caverns 180 feet under the earth. Don't worry, there's plenty to do above ground too, like gem-mining, a ropes canopy challenge, and a stunning spectacle of bats taking flight at sunset.

Flying L Guest Ranch Get outta Dodge and head to Bandera for some true Texan fun. Flying L offers horseback riding, fishing, hayrides, a championship golf course, and more. For the kids? A three-acre water park, petting zoo, and nightly campfire and s'mores.

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