Back to school is upon us, which means not much time is left for family fun. Before you know it, you will be back to packing school lunches, parent teacher conferences, and carpools. If you don’t have much planned to do with your kids before school starts in the next few weeks, I have your back! When I think of a vacation or a trip, I think about going out of town so below I have listed 5 Texas cities (outside of Houston) along with an affordable family activity that could be done in it. Keep in mind that these are all activities that could be done as a day-trip! Affordable AND expeditious what could be better?


Austin (Barton Springs)

Swimming at Barton Springs is one of the most popular summertime activities you hear about in Austin. If you are not familiar with Barton Springs, this is all you need to know about it: It’s a man made swimming pool that is filled by water from the Main Barton Spring (the 4th largest spring in Texas), the water temperature ranges from 68° to 72° in the summer (perfect for the scorching Texas summer days), its kid friendly (no alcohol or smoking is allowed) and best of all, its less than $5 a person to get in! It’s a great cheap place to take your kids and while they wait in line to jump off the diving board, you can lay one the grass and soak up the Texas sun. Doesn’t get much better or perhaps, cheaper than that.

Galveston (Pleasure Pier)

Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier was opened in the summer of 2012 and has become one of Galveston’s biggest family attractions. Originally it was built in 1943 until Hurricane Carla destroyed it in 1961. After that it became a hotel that was also demolished by a hurricane, this time it was Hurricane Ike in 2008.  But enough with the history lesson, Pleasure Pier includes 1 roller coaster, 15 rides, souvenir shops and carnival games. The best deal there is getting an “All Day Ride Pass.” This pass is valid for 16 rides and depending on height, the prices range form $20 to $27 a person. Pleasure Pier is the perfect place to go on a day when the weather isn’t too hot and there is plenty to keep your kids entertained!

Kemah (Kemah Boardwalk)

Kemah Boardwalk is made up of many restaurants, rides, midway games, a charter yacht, a marina and various shops and was opened in 1999. There is actually no charge to walk around the boardwalk. Tickets for rides can be purchased individually or all-day ride passes are available. The best deal there is getting an “All Day Ride Pass.” This pass allows one to ride the rides as many times as they want! Depending on height, the prices range form $18 to $23 a person. Same as Pleasure Pier, the Kemah Boardwalk is the perfect place to take your family on a nice sunny day.

San Antonio (Natural Bridge Taverns)

The Natural Bridge Caverns are the largest known commercial caverns in Texas. Two students from St. Mary’s University discovered them in 1960. The cheapest and most popular tour that the Taverns have to offer is the Discovery Tour.  It’s a half a mile tour of the taverns that take you 180 feel below ground! Ticket prices are $20 for adults (12+) and $12 for children ages 3 to 11. If you’re looking to have more of an educational trip with your family, this is the way to go!

Livingston (Lake Livingston State Park)

Whether you want to go for a swim (in the lake or pool), fish, boat, hike, bird, camp, picnic, mountain bike, ride horses, geocache and study nature. Lake Livingston has activities for the whole family! The entrance fees are $5 per adult and FREE for children under 12 years of age.  If your family is more of the outdoorsy type, this is the perfect trip for you!

So there you have it! Who knew there were so many options when it comes to cheap Texas family trips? I hope this helps you plan a small trip right before your kids go back to school!