When the scorching Texas heat reaches its peak, Texans like me will tell you that the only way to cool off is to get your feet wet. From stunning beaches to tranquil lakes and winding rivers, Texas offers a diverse array of destinations to cool off. Whether you’re craving a relaxing day lounging by the shore or seeking an adventurous water sports experience, the Lone Star State has something for everyone.
Dive into the crystal-clear waters of South Padre Island, renowned for its pristine beaches and thrilling water activities. For a more serene escape, head to the scenic Caddo Lake or the majestic Guadalupe River, where you can float peacefully while surrounded by nature’s beauty. And if you’re looking for a family-friendly outing, Texas’ water parks provide a splashing good time, with thrilling slides, wave pools and lazy rivers to beat the heat.
Here are the best places in Texas to get your feet wet including some hidden gems that only the locals know!
The Guadalupe River
This is easily the most popular river to float in Texas. Located near San Antonio in the Hill Country, this river has miles of tubing areas so there is enough space for everyone even on the busiest days of the year. This is one of our favorite things to do during the spring and summer months.
There are several places along the river that will rent you a tube to float on and they’ll shuttle you to a spot where you can get into the river. The flow of the river is always changing so it’s good to check the current elevation ahead of time to see the floating conditions.
Caddo Lake is an East Texas treasure, it’s one of the largest water forests in the world! This lake is unlike any other because of the Bald Cypress trees draped with Spanish moss that make traveling down this lake both beautiful and mysterious. In fact, Caddo Lake has been named the land of Bigfoot. There is even a Bigfoot Research Center in nearby Jefferson, TX. We highly recommend booking a boat tour to experience the beauty and wildlife at Caddo Lake.
Hamilton Pool is one of the best swimming holes in Texas. This famous swimming hole is located about 45 minutes from Austin. The historic jade green pool is made from the water coming off a 50-foot waterfall. It’s truly something to see. Reservations are required to enter the Hamilton Pool Preserve during the busy summer months.
SheBuysTravel Tip: Looking to make the most of your summer budget while maximizing the fun? With a wide range of deals on local activities, dining, and experiences, Groupon helps you stretch your budget by offering discounted options near you.
Weather conditions and road construction cause the pool to close from time to time so check the website before visiting. This is a great place to bring family and friends to enjoy an afternoon relaxing, swimming and soaking in the beauty of this natural swimming hole.
Epic Waters – Texas Water Parks
If you’re looking for indoor water parks to escape the hot sun in summer or trying to get out of the house during the winter months–this is the place to go. Epic Waters is known for its giant retractable roof and truly epic water slides. You can relax while floating the lazy river, learn to boogie board on the FlowRider and enjoy other water activities at this 80,000 square-foot facility.
South Padre Island
South Padre Island is a 34-mile long town on a barrier island on the Gulf Coast of Texas. Known for they’re sandy beaches, wonderful local restaurants and a wide variety of activities for the whole family to enjoy. This is one of the best affordable beaches in Texas.
SheBuysTravel Tip: Avoiding planning a visit to South Padre Island during spring break. This is a popular spring break destination for Texas college students.
Schlitterbahn – Water Parks in Texas
Everyone should visit the Schlitterbahn Texas family water park. The Schlitterbahn New Braunfels started as a resort; the rich history and story behind Schlitterbahn are what make it unique. Much more than wave pools, water slides and tube slides, the Schlitterbahn water parks are also home to the Master Blaster (an uphill water coaster) which has been voted the BEST water ride in the WORLD!
Get all the info you need from our complete guide for visiting Schlitterbahn with kids under 10. This is one of the best water parks in Texas!
The beautiful Rockport Beach a small beach with a big story. We feel that it’s only right to add Rockport Beach to this list because this area was hit the hardest during Hurricane Harvey in 2017. The heart of Texas could be found during the relief efforts to help get this community back on its feet.
In addition to being a resilient community, many of the reviews online will rave about how peaceful and clean the beach in Rockport is. Did you know that it’s the first beach in Texas distinguished as a “Blue Wave Beach’? This means it meets environmental standards set by the National Clean Beaches Coalition. It’s a relaxing destination on the eastern coast of Texas.
Read More: 18 Best Texas Beaches for a Family Vacation
Other Places to Get Your Feet Wet in Texas
Here are some additional places to cool off at in Texas:
- Great Wolf Lodge Grapevine – an indoor water park
- Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio
- Six Flags Hurricane Harbor in Arlington
- Schlitterbahn Galveston – an outdoor water park south of Houston
- Seaworld San Antonio
- Galveston Island
- Splashway Waterpark – an outdoor water park
- Hawaiian Falls Waterpark – an outdoor water park
- Aquatica San Antonio – an outdoor water park
- Castaway Cove waterpark in Wichita Falls
- Wet’n’Wild Waterworld
- Typhoon Texas Waterpark
- NRH2O Family Waterpark in North Richland Hills
More Family Vacation Ideas in Texas
Creating ways to bond during each excursion: that’s the family travel style of Breeze Leonard and her three little girls. The piney woods of East Texas is home and thinking outside the box is the way they take off-road adventures and head to the world’s scenic sites. They’ve four-wheeled in the Ozarks, snorkeled in the Gulf of Mexico, hunted shells in the Caribbean and volunteered for community service projects in Missouri. Through multigenerational and blended family travel, each new destination becomes the perfect place for them to reconnect with each other.