Texas Summer: Activities + Refreshing Things to Do!

Sure, Texas summers are notoriously hot–but play your cards right, and you’ll find so many fun things to do in the summer that you’ll be (almost, a tiny bit) sad to see the weather cool off eventually.

Looking for some fun Texas summer activities to take advantage of during June, July, and August this year? (And, okay, since this is Texas–we’ll go ahead and throw in May, September, and maybe even October into that summer weather pile as well).

Get ready to hit the road to make the most of summer in Texas!

Kate Storm holding puppy Ranger over her shoulder, sitting in front of Mount Bonnell in Austin Texas

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Fun Things to Do in Texas in Summer

Explore some of the best swimming holes in Texas.

Whether you’re looking for a popular classic like Jacob’s Well or Wimberley’s Blue Hole, or a less-crowded alternative in a quieter corner of the state, there’s no doubt that cooling off in Texas swimming holes is one of the absolute best things to do in Texas during summer.

While the Hill Country is definitely the most popular place to find swimming holes (check out this list for some excellent ones in and near Austin), there are also some stunning ones lurking in far less obvious corners of the Lone Star State.

Check out our guide to stunning swimming holes in Texas!

Kate Storm swinging over the Wimberley Blue Hole

Pick peaches in the Hill Country.

Fredericksburg, Stonewall, and the surrounding areas are home to some fantastic peach orchards!

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While buying some fresh peaches from a roadside stand in the Hill Country is delicious fun, an even better option is to head out for the day to pick your own.

close up of several peaches growing on a tree--picking your own peaches is one of the best fredericksburg texas things to do

Take a Gulf Coast road trip.

You don’t need to leave the Lone Star State to have a classic beach vacation!

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There’s no better time of year to explore Texas beach towns like Galveston, Corpus Christi, South Padre Island, Rockport, and more than during the heat of the summer!

Sure, the temperatures will be a bit sweltering… but that’s what swimming in the Gulf of Mexico is for.

Rockport beach with multiple straw cabanas visible with the water in the background. visiting rockport beach is one of the most fun things to do in rockport tx

… and visit a Texas lighthouse or two!

While you’re on the Gulf Coast, be sure to snap photos of a Texas lighthouse or two!

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If you make it to Port Isabel, just over the Causeway from SPI, you can even climb the lighthouse for beautiful views over Laguna Madre.

White Port Isabel lighthouse at the top of a small hill covered in a green lawn, one of the best things to do in port isabel texas

Go hiking in Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

Contrary to popular belief, not all of Texas is hot and humid during the summer.

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In the stunning beautiful Guadalupe Mountains National Park, you’ll find downright mild temperatures, especially at higher altitudes–perfect for climbing Guadalupe Peak, also known as the highest peak in Texas!

Be sure to hop over the border to New Mexico while you’re there: Carlsbad Caverns National Park lies just across the state line, making this an easy place to hit two national parks at once.

view of el capitan as seen along one of the best hikes in guadalupe mountains national park texas

… and also in the Davis Mountains.

The Guadalupe Mountains aren’t the only mountain range in Texas with cooler-than-expected summer temperatures: the Davis Mountains are also a great place to beat the heat of the major cities while still enjoying the great outdoors during June, July, and August in Texas!

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Nearby towns like Fort Davis and Alpine, while not exactly cool by any non-Texan’s definition of the word, do average temperatures several degrees cooler than the biggest cities in Texas during the summer months.

road through fort davis mountains state park texas with mountains in the background

Go tubing on a Texas river.

Tubing is the ultimate Texas summer activity, and no matter which corner of the state you hail from, there’s a great river to float in Texas (relatively) nearby!

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If you’re new to the tradition of relaxing in an inner tube as you float quietly down a river, check out our guide to the best rivers to float, complete with what you need to know before you go!

view of comal river, a popular place for tubing in texas, aka floating the river texas

Stroll through lavender fields.

Did you know that we have beautiful lavender fields in Texas? 

In fact, we even have lavender festivals–including in Blanco, the self-declared lavender capital of Texas!

To enjoy the fields at their best this summer, check out these Texas lavender farms that welcome visitors.

young girl standing in field of lavender texas with her back to the camera

… and sunflower fields!

When it comes to photogenic floral displays, summer in Texas boasts more than just peaches and lavender.

Sunflower fields pop up across Texas, with different varieties blooming in different months.

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North Texas and North Central Texas have some magnificent fields, and Hillsboro is known for the beautiful views that you can experience right off the highway!

The only catch? Many of Texas’ sunflower fields are private and closed to visitors. These Texas sunflower farms, though, are perfect for visiting (and in some cases, you can even pick your own flowers).

young woman throwing a hat into the air in front of one of the sunflower fields in texas

Explore beneath the surface in a classic Texas limestone cave.

Texas’ many stunning caves don’t care what season it is–they hold their steady, cool temperatures year-round.

If you’re looking to cool off during the heat of summer in Texas, consider heading into some natural air-conditioning in one of the most beautiful caves in Texas!

Interior of the Caverns of Sonora, one of the best caves in Texas

Visit Blue Bell Creameries in Brenham.

Nothing says summer quite like ice cream!

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For a taste of the most classic Texas ice cream of them all, head to Blue Bell Creameries in Brenham, TX, where you can observe the bustling factory from the Observation Deck.

While you’re visiting Blue Bell, head to the ice cream parlor for a frozen treat–at $1.00 per frozen treat (I’ve always loved the Mooo Bars, myself) or for a gigantic scoop of ice cream, it’s a fantastic summer bargain that kids and adults alike will love.

two scoops of blue bell ice cream being held up in the sunshine at a tour blue bell brenham

Check out a new-to-you Texas state park.

With over 80 state parks to explore, it’s safe to say that even lifelong Texans will be able to find a new-to-them park to explore this summer!

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Ranging from caves to canyons, from natural swimming pools to mountain ranges, and from the Piney Woods to the Chihuahuan Desert and beyond, there’s no shortage of unique Texas state parks to visit.

Looking for a classic summer park? You can’t beat Garner State Park or Guadalupe River State Park!

view of frio river in garner state park, one of the best places to visit in texas

Hit up a classic Texas drive-in theater.

When’s the last time you spent a summer night at the drive-in theater?

Texas still has plenty to choose from!

Load up the car with snacks and pillows, and head out for a Saturday double-feature this summer.

two women sitting in the back of a car at a drive in theater, one of the classic texas summer activities

Go bat-watching.

From Austin’s South Congress Bridge to Bracken Cave to Old Tunnel State Park and beyond, summer is a prime bat-watching season in Texas (the Mexican free-tailed bats generally call Texas home from March to October each year).

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Rent a boat on the lake for the day.

A speedboat, a lake, and a pair of jet skis or a tube attached to the back: is there any more iconic Texas summer attraction than that?

There are incredible Texas lakes all over the state just waiting to be explored by boat this summer.

4 young people in bathing suits jumping from a boat into the lake

Spend a day at the original Schlitterbahn.

There may be a second Schlitterbahn in Galveston these days, and a couple of other former Schlitterbahn’s across the state, but the beloved Texas waterpark that has been a staple of so many Texas summers got its start in New Braunfels in 1979. 

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Even the park’s name is a nod to New Braunfels’ German heritage: Schlitterbahn translates to “slippery road” in German.

The original waterpark is still there, ready to welcome kids of all ages to enjoy this Texas classic.

young boy splashing water in a water park

Enjoy stargazing underneath giant Texas skies.

Summer days may be blistering in much of Texas, but warm summer nights can still be delightful.

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Whether you want to head out to the famous McDonald Observatory or simply drive out to the countryside to count the stars, be sure to add some stargazing to your Texas summer bucket list!

view of the milky way from caprock canyons state park, one of the best texas stargazing locations

Get creative to find a Texas beach close to home.

Can’t make it all the way down to the Gulf Coast but still want to enjoy beach vibes? No worries!

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Texas’ many lakes and rivers mean that–with a little compromise and creativity–you can find places to put your toes in the sand and soak up a relaxing beach experience in the most unexpected places.

Our guides to beaches in and near Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, and Houston can help you find a place to spend a day on the water near you this summer in Texas.

colorful sand toys on one of the beaches in dallas tx

Tips for Exploring Texas During Summer

Not all Texas summers are created equal.

It’s easy to assume that summer in Texas is blistering hot absolutely everywhere–but that’s not entirely correct.

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The mountain ranges in Texas tend to stay a bit cooler, along with higher-altitude towns near them like Alpine.

Time of year matters, too: on average, for example, Dallas tends to heat up later in the year and cool off faster than Houston!

fort davis drugstore with pickup truck out front, one of the best things to do in fort davis tx

Avoid the heat of midday.

In general, the key to enjoying non-water summer activities in Texas is to prioritize early-morning and evening sightseeing.

Hikers, for example, should plan to set early alarm clocks if they want to make the most of the trails during summer in Texas!

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Keep crowds in mind.

With kids out of school and seasonal summer attractions booming, crowds are a common sight at popular places during the summer, from water parks to museums to swimming holes and beyond.

Plan ahead, get an early start, and have a Plan B when heading out to a popular Texas summer festival or attraction!

kate storm and jeremy storm taking a selfie at the lighthouse in palo duro canyon

Check to see if you need reservations.

This tip goes hand-in-hand with managing the crowds: festivals, swimming holes, museums, and more increasingly operate on a reservation system these days.

Be sure to double-check your plans before heading out for the day to avoid disappointment on the road!

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Bring plenty of water… everywhere.

No matter where we go during summer in Texas, we tend to have a water bottle full of ice water with us–and we’re never sorry!

Headed out on a day trip? Consider packing a cooler with snacks and drinks to keep in the car!

3 photos of texas summer attractions: davis mountains, beach, guadalupe river. black and pink text on a white background reads "19 fun things to do summer in texas"

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