Texas Travel

Adventures Off the Beaten Trail

By Michelle Reneau 4.28.15

 You’ve done the staples: Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels, rodeo in Fort Worth … even Fiesta in San Antonio. But here are four family adventures that may not be on your radar.

Take a Dip in the Hamilton Pool Preserve

This historic swimming hole’s water comes from Hamilton Creek — and is delivered via a 50-foot limestone waterfall into a jade green pool. The collapsed grotto was formed after thousands of years of erosion and is home to a variety of rare plants and birds. Be warned, when the weather is warm, the pool’s capacity maxes out fast. A waiting line does, however, let in visitors as others leave. Contact Travis County Parks for weather-related closings and information about tours.

Pick Your Own

Want to teach your kids about what grows in Texas? Or just stock up on produce for canning? There are plenty of places to pick your own produce — from peaches and plums to pears and pumpkins — depending on where you live in the state. Strawberry picking usually starts the season in late February or early March while May is when peaches begin to ripen.

Go to a Star Party in Big Bend

View constellations and celestial objects through McDonald Observatory’s many telescopes. During a two-hour Star Party, guides point out practical uses of the stars, mythology, and what scientists have grown to understand. And just like the night sky changes through the seasons, so do the tours. You can buy tickets here.

Kayak Medina River

A much-less crowded alternative to the Guadalupe, the Medina River is one of the best-kept secrets in the Hill Country. And its scenic 19.5-mile stretch from just below Medina to Bandera’s city park is perfect for water recreation. This part of the river is canopied by bald cypress trees and prime for fishing. It’s Class I rapids, but windy parts and waterfalls will keep paddlers on their toes. You can rent from one of the local kayak shops, and be sure to abide by the Texas Parks and Wildlife’s river access laws.