Here are the best weekend getaways from Houston for families that are just a short drive away. Get your bags packed and take the family on a quick weekend road trip to one (or more) of the many kid-friendly destinations on this list.

    New Orleans, Louisiana

     (1074.5 mi)

    Stephanie W.:  New Orleans is a beautiful city rich with history, delicious food, and fun celebrations! It's not too far from the Houston area, making it a perfect spot for a family weekend getaway. Though it's typically known as a city with great nightlife for adults, there are tons of fun things for the kids to do as well! Take a ride on a ferry or a streetcar through the French Quarter, see gators on a swamp tour, or visit the zoo at Audubon Nature Institute!

    Galveston Island, Texas

     (1375.0 mi)

    Stephanie W.:  Galveston, while most known for its beaches (and a popular spot to begin a cruise!), has so much more to enjoy! From restaurants with food from all over the world, to great shopping, and beach parks to explore, you and your family will never run out of things to do. And of course, don't forget the ocean- Stewart Beach is recommended, as there are lifeguards on duty and rentable chairs and umbrellas, and this beach is alcohol free!

    Kemah Boardwalk

     (1380.4 mi)

    Stephanie W.:  Kemah Boardwalk is an awesome amusement park not far from Houston! Waterfront restaurants, rides, shopping, and live entertainment await you at this perfect spot for a family trip. They've got rollercoasters, a giant Ferris Wheel, and more rides, plus a rainforest exhibit where your kids can feed and touch stingrays! A trip to the boardwalk is such a fun and unique experience, and this is one you don't want to miss out on!

    Brazos Bend State Park

     (1424.0 mi)

    Stephanie W.:  With 37 miles of nature trails for horseback riding, biking, or hiking, this park is every nature-loving family's dream! You can also check out the George Observatory which is part of the Houston Museum of Natural Science and view the stars, or catch a glimpse of an alligator, who are known to be seen in some areas of the park!

    Lone Star Jellystone Park

     (1424.9 mi)

    Stephanie W.:  Join Yogi Bear and his friends at this awesome waterpark and camping resort, located not too far from Houston! They have water slides, a lazy river, and a splash pad for the young ones. You'll also find a mini golf course, basketball and volleyball courts, and a lake stocked with fish, the perfect spot to teach your kids how to fish. Spend the night in cabins that range from 4 sleepers to 28!

    Waco, Texas

     (1455.6 mi)

    Hannah Scott:  Waco, TX -- best known as the home of Baylor University and the location of the popular HGTV show Fixer Upper. But did you know that Waco is also the home of Dr. Pepper, with a museum you can visit? Or that it has a zoo located inside the urban Cameron Park? Other pit stops include Kitok's for Korean/American food (the burgers and fries are amazing!) and Common Grounds for a stellar cup of coffee. And it's pretty much a given that you should check out Chip and Joanna Gaines' Magnolia Market at the Silos while you're there!

    Bastrop State Park

     (1502.5 mi)

    Stephanie W.:  Bastrop State Park is full of new life! Check out the beautiful Lost Pines, a swimming pool open Memorial Day to Labor Day, hike, fish and camp in this beautiful park. You and your family can stay overnight at a campsite or historic cabin. There is plenty to explore!

    Austin, Texas

     (1527.9 mi)

    Stephanie W.:  Austin is known for being "weird," which means it has plenty of fun and unique things for your family to do! Live music makes this city a great spot for concerts, one-of-a-kind museums like the Cathedral of Junk are fun to explore and make for great photo ops, and South Congress Ave has great candy and ice cream shops, plus so much more! Want an especially unique experience? Check out Austin's Mexican free-tailed bats- of which there are over 1.5 million- who live under the Congress Avenue Bridge!

    Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch

     (1581.5 mi)

    Stephanie W.:  It's time to go on a safari! This ranch has taken care of animals from all over the world for over 30 years. Drive through miles of scenic Texas Hill Country in your own car and see zebras, lemurs, rhinos, and ostriches- 500 animals from 40 different species! Their giraffe conservation is near and dear to their hearts, and their aim is to protect these special animals in their natural habitat.

    Corpus Christi, Texas

     (1582.5 mi)

    Stephanie W.:  Corpus Christi is bursting with family-fun activities. So many gorgeous beaches to build sand castles, surf, even go horseback riding! The South Texas Botanical Gardens are a beautiful place to explore, and if you're looking for a more adventurous time, Schlitterbahn Riverpark and Resort is the place to stay- which is complete with a water park, a dive-in movie theater, tasty food, and so much more!

    San Antonio, Texas

     (1598.9 mi)

    Stephanie W.:  San Antonio is chalk full of fun activities and historic sites! The Alamo, plus four other beautiful missions located in the city, are must sees, especially for history buffs. The River Walk is a beautiful place to spend an afternoon or evening, shopping or dining at one of the many restaurants along the river, or take a guided tour on a river barge! And if you're looking for a hotel experience like none other, the kids suites at the Omni San Antonio at the Colonnade Aquatica are incredible. Check out the Discovery Suite or the Aquatic Suite for quite the treat!

    Mayan Dude Ranch

     (1628.6 mi)

    Stephanie W.:  "Mosey on down to the corral" to find a horse for a trail ride at this authentic dude ranch! You'll find beautiful trails along the Medina River in the heart of Texas Hill Country, and as a guest you'll get two rides a day (for ages 6 and up). Delicious steaks, barbequed brisket, and many more delicious Western-style foods are served daily, there are live music, shows, and line-dancing daily, and you can take a hayride around the ranch to places like Hicksville, their little Western town. Plus, a huge swimming pool, fishing, and basketball, volleyball and tennis courts!

    South Padre Island

     (1630.8 mi)

    Stephanie W.:  Beaches, deep sea fishing, windsurfing - South Padre Island is the perfect beach weekend getaway for Houston families! Your animal-loving kids will enjoy the Laguna Atascosa Wildlife Refuge, with tons of exotic wildlife spread over 100,000 acres. You can go on a dolphin watch, and stay at one of the island's many beach-side resorts!

Primary photo:   Bonnie Kittle on Unsplash

Upparent collects community-submitted recommendations and reviews, and any ideas that are shared reflect the opinions of individual contributors.

View Map
13 places in this list