Family Vacations in Texas on a Budget
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8 Fun Family Vacations in Texas on a Budget

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This is a list of fun family vacations in Texas on a budget.

Everything might be bigger in Texas but it is also one of the best places for an inexpensive family vacation. From things to do in Houston with kids to things to do in Galveston, here are some amazing family vacations in Texas on a budget.

How to Plan a Vacation on a Budget

As quiet as it’s kept, a family’s travel budget is always the star of any vacation. It can dictate where you go, what you do, how long you stay, and even what you eat. As travel bloggers, we’ve learned a lot about how to plan a family travel budget so here are a few of our top tips:

  • Book Everything Early – Last-minute deals aren’t as common as they used to be. Try to book everything as early as possible to save money.
  • A Kitchen Could Save You Money – No one likes to do chores on vacation but cooking a few of your own meals can really save
  • Use City Passes for Activities – You can usually get 3-4 attractions during your stay for a discounted price.
  • Plan for off-season travels – If you plan a Texas family spring break, the prices are going to be much higher than a vacation in the fall or early winter. 

Family Vacations in Texas on a Budget

One of the best parts of visiting Texas is the diversity of terrain and budget-friendly options. Families on a budget can find a plethora of experiences including outdoor activities, historical attractions, and small-town or big-city thrills. Here are 7 family vacations in Texas on a budget that keep costs low and maximize your Texas fun!

Waco, TX

Waco is quickly becoming one of the most popular cities in Texas but did you know it is also a great spot for family vacations in Texas on a budget? With its many free attractions and inexpensive museums, it’s a wonderful choice for families looking to explore the state without spending too much.

  • Baylor Bears – There aren’t any lions or tigers here but there are definitely bears [oh, my!]. Stop by the Baylor Bear Habitat on the Baylor University campus to check out the adorable school mascots for free.
  • Baylor University – Speaking of the Baylor University campus, a self-guided tour of the campus is a wonderful way to incorporate some educational travel into your budget family vacation in Texas.
  • Magnolia Silos – Visiting the infamous silos, enjoying the green space, and perusing the many shops on site is actually free of charge. And once you’re there, the treats might be a worthwhile splurge.
  • Texas Ranger Hall of Fame – In terms of family vacations in Texas, the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame is of great value. Not only do you learn about the history of Texas Rangers but for a small donation, your kids can even become official Junior Texas Rangers.

If Waco is tickling your fancy, be sure to check out the full list of things to do in Waco with kids to fully plan family vacations in Texas there!

Fort Worth, TX

Fort Worth is where the West begins, and nothing embodies Western heritage better than The Stockyards District. With a twice-daily cattle drive, shops, museums, and activities, there are lots of inexpensive things to do in Fort Worth. Let’s break it down for you.

  • Stockyards District– Get your camera ready and take in one of the daily cattle drives. Each day at 11 AM and 4 PM, there’s a longhorn cattle drive. 
  • Take the Molly Trolly-This free, vintage-style trolly is sure to make your kids smile. It runs routes between the Fort Worth Convention Center and Sundance Square. 
  • Trinity Trails– Open to the public, Trinity Trails offers active families over 40 miles of hiking and biking trails to explore the city. 
  • Amon Carter Museum of American Art: Admission is free! Housed in a beautiful contemporary building, this museum has diverse exhibitions, publications, and programs for families to enjoy. 
  • Cowtown Opry ShowGet your groove on with family-friendly Western swing music and cowboy culture shows. Performed free of charge, these shows are on the Exchange building most Sundays. 
  • Monnig Meteorite Museum– Admission is always free at this meteorite museum. Explore the mysteries of meteorites, create your own terrestrial impact crater, and touch a piece of Mars. 

Dallas, TX

If you prefer a bigger city feel, Dallas is the ultimate family vacation spot in Texas! There’s a little bit of everything here, so it works well with families who like to explore different things. Here’s a breakdown of your vacation.

  • Cedar Ridge Preserve– Step away from the crowds and enjoy this 600-acre paradise. The preserve offers a wide variety of trails, lush terrain, and lots of wildlife.
  • Klyde Warren Park-This isn’t your typical run of the mill park. It’s a 5-acre oasis with a butterfly garden, splash pad, dog playground, and more. 
  • Dallas Museum of Art– Free to get in, The Dallas Museum of Art offers one of the largest and most impressive art collections in the nation. And, there’s a slew of activities for all ages. 
  • Dallas City Pass– The Dallas City Pass gives you admission to 4 Top Dallas attractions for $47 per adult and $31 per kid. Choose between the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Reunion Tower GeO-Deck, The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, Dallas Zoo, and George W. Bush Presidential Library & Museum.

Frisco, TX

A list of family vacations in Texas on a budget wouldn’t be complete without including one of our favorite cities. Frisco, TX is often regarded as just a suburb of Dallas but it really is a fun destination all its own.

  • National Videogame Museum – If your kids are anything like mine, nothing more needs to be said here. But seriously, a museum dedicated to video games that’s filled to the brim with video games both old and new? Talk about fun!
  • KidZania – This one-of-a-kind museum could almost be considered an amusement park. Kids act out real-life careers like personal trainers, airline pilots, surgeons, and more in order to earn a salary. At the end of their workday, they can cash in their money for gifts and prizes. Depending on your budget, this one might be a bit of a splurge but it is well worth it!
  • National Soccer Hall of Fame – Whether or not you’d consider yourself a big soccer fan, you’ll definitely want to check out the National Soccer Hall of Fame. From their personalized soccer jerseys to the virtual training booth where you can be instructed by a pro, it is lots of fun for everyone in the family

There’s so much more to Frisco than what’s on this list! Be sure to read up on all the cool things to do in Frisco with kids!

San Antonio, TX

San Antonio feels like a whole different world compared to the rest of Texas. Famous for the Alamo, the combined arts and amazing food make this a truly special Texas destination where families can vacation on a budget. Here’s a breakdown of your vacation:

  • Alamo – You really can’t visit San Antonio with kids and not visit the Alamo. Plus, tickets are free. Remembering the Alamo should be at the top of your list!
  • The River Walk-There’s lots to do on the River Walk, and it’s a time-honored tradition to get lost down the canals and side streets. 
  • The Japanese Tea GardenThis stunning garden is open and free to the public every day. Complete with stone walkways, a Japanese pagoda, a waterfall, a lily pond, and exotic plants, this garden looks like it came straight from a fairytale. 
  • Yanaguana Garden- With multiple art installations, a playground, a splash pad, and over 500 events per year, this garden is the perfect spot for families. 
  • San Antonio Art League and Museum– This museum focuses on Texas artists and has over 600 works of art. The best part is admission is free. 

The Woodlands, TX

The Woodlands is located about 30-minutes north of Houston. With it being so close to Houston, you can totally take advantage of both places if you choose. The Woodlands is a master-planned community that’s sure to give you some interesting experiences. Let’s break down your trip:

  • Town Green Park– With life-sized characters from Aesop’s fables, this is a children’s literary haven featuring an amphitheater & a labyrinth.
  • Waterway Square– Featuring a water fountain with synchronized choreography to music, this is the perfect way to cool off on a hot day. In addition to the splash pad, this public plaza is home to the Waterway Nights concert series. 
  • George Mitchell Nature Preserve– Enjoy 1200 acres of natural beauty at the preserve. With walking and biking trails galore, this preserve is perfect for the active family. 
  • Woodlands Children’s Museum– Although it’s not free, this museum is only $7 a person to visit. Little ones will love the hands-on exhibits that make learning fun. 

Houston, TX

It’s probably not a surprise to anyone that’s had the pleasure of visiting the city, but Houston was named one of the best-value cities to visit in the country. It’s not hard to see why it would be included on this list of family vacations in Texas on a budget!

  • Hermann Park – Not only is the park one of Houston’s oldest parks but it is also one of the largest green spaces in the city. There’s plenty for families to do here like ride the kid-friendly train, check out the Houston Zoo, catch a free show at Miller Outdoor Theater, and more.
  • Houston Museums – Houston is home to some of the most amazing museums in the country. And the kicker? Most of them are free! There are too many to list here but check out this list of free things to do in Houston with kids for all the deets!
  • Space Center Houston – Space Center Houston is a world-class attraction located right outside Houston. While not the cheapest family attraction in the city, it is a great value for what it is and shouldn’t be missed. [Definitely check Groupon for discounts before you purchase your tickets]!

Houston is our hometown so it is one of our top recommended family vacations in Texas! Jump on the bandwagon and check out all the things to do in Houston with kids. If you’re balling on a budget, read up on all the free things to do in Houston with kids too!

Galveston, TX

Did you know Texas has its own Island? Galveston Island is Texas’ tropical Island off the Gulf of Mexico. It feels like an expensive getaway, but it’s actually a perfect budget-friendly vacation destination. The best thing about Galveston is that it’s right on the beach! You could literally spend the whole time playing on the beach. In addition to the beach, here are some of my top budget-friendly picks:

  • Ride the Galveston Ferry–  This free service takes you from Galveston Island to the Bolivar Peninsula and back. While on it you’ll hear the incredible history of the vessels. 
  • Saengerfest Park– Play life-size chess, sit on a large compass, and enjoy a variety of events such as Island festivals, and more. 

And if that isn’t enough, catch up on all things to do in Galveston with kids and free things to do in Galveston with kids!

Have you taken a family vacation to Texas on a budget? If so, I’d love to know what you did and how much it costs in the comments below!

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