Summer is approaching, so it's time to make plans to beat the heat. Don't feel like you have to break the bank to fulfill your summer plans, though. There are plenty of things to do with family and friends around the state of Texas whether you're gearing up for a big family vacation or need a break away from the chaos alone.

1. Water Park - According to the Texas Water Park Association, there are approximately 20 water parks in Texas. Some of the best are Schlitterbahn and Six Flags Hurricane Harbor. Schlitterbahn has locations in both New Braunfels and Galveston.

2. Music Festivals - Coachella may be in the California Desert, but the Lone Star State festivals compete with the best of the best. Texas is best known for its live music scene, with the more popular festivals held throughout the state during the summer being Austin City Limits and the Houston Music & Arts Festival. Don't forget, Cool Canyon Night returns to El Paso McKelligon Canyon Amphitheatre in May. Get ready for the premier free music series of the summer.

3. Visit the State Parks - Texas has many state parks with hiking trails, swimming areas, and camping facilities, such as Palo Duro Canyon and Enchanted Rock. For some local El Paso State Park fun, check out Franklin Mountains State Park. It's the largest urban park in the United States and works for rock climbing and mountain biking... but it also provides enough easy hiking fun if you want to bring your kids along, too.

4. Texas Beaches - Some forget that Texas has some of the absolute best beaches. With a coastline that's 367 miles long, the Lone Star State is home to vacations beaches like South Padre Island, Galveston, and Port Aransas.

5. Rodeos - Texas is known for its cowboy culture, and attending a rodeo is a fun way to experience it. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is one of the largest in the country.

6. Check Out a Baseball Game - Obviously I'm biased being that I live in El Paso, but the El Paso Chihuahuas have the most beautiful minor league stadium in the country. Fight me! It's such a great time in the summer to head to Southwest University Park for a baseball game. Texas is also home to two major league baseball teams: the Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers.

El Paso Chihuahuas
El Paso Chihuahuas

7. Museums - Hopefully the new El Paso Children's Museum opens up its doors soon... but until then, we love taking the kids to the War Eagles Air Museum which is JUST on the other side of the state line. They put up exhibits with aircraft like the P-51 Mustang, F4U Corsair, F6F Hellcat, and T-6 Texan... as well as displays on aviation history, the role of women in aviation, and military aviation technology. Not in the Borderland? Try the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas or the Space Center in Houston.

8. Theme Parks - Texas has a bunch of fun theme parks like Six Flags Over Texas or SeaWorld San Antonio if you really want to cool off.

9. Food Festivals - This is one of my favorite new hobbies that I've taken up in my 30s. Food fests, beer fests, heck even give me a 4/20 fest to try out. I'm here for all the fests! Add these 2 Texas food festivals to your bucket list: Texas Crab Festival in Crystal Beach and the Texas Blueberry Festival in Nacogdoches.

10. ROAD TRIP! - Texas is so big you can literally spend a summer ONLY road trippin' the Lone Star State. Big Bend National Park, anyone?


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