6 Inexpensive Summer Day Trips across Texas

Pack some snacks, fill up the gas tank, and grab the kids: it’s time for the summertime staple – the road trip! Whether you choose to cruise down I-30, I -45, I-10, or the smaller highways that crisscross Texas, there’s something exciting about hitting the road and exploring the Lone Star State.

Whether you’re pressed for time or money, we’ve come up with 6 special day trip getaways, each located less than a gas tank away.

From the Dallas-Fort Worth Area:

1) Granbury – Located 65 miles from Dallas, visit this picturesque town filled with Victorian buildings,  antique shops, a lake, and the fully functioning Brazos Drive-In Movie Theater. If you happen to be in town on the first Saturday of the month, watch the Granbury Gunslingers reenact the Old West with a simulated gunfight on the square at 11 AM and 2 PM.

2) Texas Freshwater Fisheries in Athens – Located about 80 miles from Dallas, anyone with an interest in fish, wildlife, or the outdoors will enjoy a visit to the Texas Fresh Water Fisheries.  The Fishery offers over 300,000 gallons of indoor and outdoor aquariums, along with a wetland trail, an interactive dive show, and a tram tour of the freshwater fish production facility. You can even go fishing without a license in their 1.2-acre fish pond.  Public hours are 9 AM to 4 PM, Tuesday through Saturday and 1 PM to 4 PM on Sunday. Admissions is $5.50 per adult, $4.50 for seniors and $3.50 for children 4 through 12.

3) The Center for Animal Rescue and Education (C.A.R.E.) – Visit C.A.R.E. (http://carerescuetexas.com/) and spend several hours visiting snow leopards, mountain lions, African lions, tigers, and leopards.  Located in Bridgeport (approximately 70 miles from Dallas), C.A.R.E. was founded to provide rescue and rehabilitation to big cats. The nonprofit organization continues to evolve and is now dedicated to education, research, rescues, and long-term care of exotic animals.

Tours during the summer are offered at 9 AM Monday through Friday and on the weekends at 9 AM, 11 AM, and 1 PM. A recommended donation of $15 per adult and $10 per child is suggested. Children must be at least 7 years old, unless special arrangements are made prior to the visit.

From Houston:

4) Brenham – Visit the Blue Bell Creameries to learn about how the best ice cream in the country is made. After the 35-minute tour, you will get to eat a complimentary scoop of your favorite flavor. Here’s the scoop: factory tours are offered Monday – Friday from 8:30 AM to 3 p.m. every ten minutes as needed, on a first-come, first-served basis.  Admission is $6 for adults and $4 for seniors and children.

5) Galveston – Only an hour’s drive from Houston, Galveston feels worlds away from busy, congested Houston. Not only will you have a choice of beaches along the Seawall, but you can spend the day at Moody Gardens, playing at the Pleasure Pier, looking at the charming Victorian homes, or checking out the cute shops along the Strand.

6) Kemah Boardwalk – Located just 20 minutes from downtown Houston, the Kemah Boardwalk is a dining, shopping, and entertainment destination for the entire family. Rides from mild to wild are offered for guests of all ages – you can buy an All Day All Ride for $17.99 for those under 48”, $22.98 for those over 48″, or individual tickets for each ride.

You can also dip your hands into the warm waters of the Sting Ray Reef to touch and feed the stingrays for $5.25 to $6.99.  There are also plenty of free summer activities: every Thursday night at 7 PM there is a free concert on the dock, and on Fridays night at 9:30 there is firework show over Galveston Bay.

Wherever you decide to go, don’t forget to document your adventure with pictures, and remember: getting there is half the fun.

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