Texas Travel

April Events: The Great Outdoors

By Abi Grise 4.1.19

Wildflowers, partly sunny skies, and tons of family-friendly events around the state can make every April weekend feel like spring break. Chase down these outdoor excursions to make the most of the gorgeous season, from the Bluebonnet Festival to the Wild Wild West Fest in the Panhandle.

Central Texas

Bluebonnet Festival, April 11–14, Burnet
Spring is in full bloom at “the most exciting small-town festival in Texas.” Join thousands of spectators to cheer on participants in the 5K and 10K runs, pet parade, demolition derby, and rubber ducky and wiener dog races. Crafty individuals will enjoy exploring the children’s bicycle-decorating show and arts-vendor booths. Get in touch with nature at the birding and wildflower show. Get in touch with maple syrup with all-you-can-eat pancakes for just $6.

Downtown Swing Music and Culture Fest, April 11–14, San Marcos
Spring don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing! Dance on down to historic downtown San Marcos for a weekend sure to sweep you off your feet. Boogie from the farmers market on Saturday morning to the artist’s market in the afternoon, and on to stages all over the downtown area where you can dance the night away to live music!

North Texas

Cajun Fest, April 13, Celina
It’s OK to get a little “cray” at this massive crawfish boil. Enjoy live music from rocking, high-energy zydeco and Cajun bands such as Grammy award-winner Wayne Toups, Roddie Romero, and the Keith Blair Project. Snap up a good deal from local retail merchants and don’t miss the exhilarating alligator show.

Turtle Creek Arts Festival, April 13–14, Dallas
This biannual event at Reverchon Park offers a delightful day of art, acoustic music, festival foods, and healthy snacks. Come see the creations of more than 125 painters, photographers, sculptors, leather- and metalworkers, glass blowers, and jewelers. Kids get their own play area. Canine friends are welcome too.

South Texas

San Antonio Book Festival, April 6, San Antonio
Bookworms of all ages will enjoy a weekend at the 7th annual San Antonio Book Festival, where renowned authors from across the nation come to delight audiences with readings, signings, and discussions. Children have their own special area to listen to author readings, watch theatrical performances, and create literary crafts, such as “mummy books” and marbled stationary. Teens can meet their favorite authors at “Geektown for Teens” and take photographs with costumed characters.

Japan Festival Houston, April 13–14, Houston
Come to where the East meets the West, for a full immersion into traditional and contemporary Japanese culture through music, dance, aikido, and jujitsu performances. Sample authentic foods and learn about Japanese arts, such as ikebana flower arrangements, tea ceremonies, origami, and bonsai pruning.

East Texas

Dogwood Trails Celebration, March 22–24, 29–31, April 5–7, Palestine
Palestine has perfected the annual Dogwood Trails Celebration to a t(r)ee. There’s something for everyone in the family: guided nature hikes, architecture tours, movies in the park, arts and flower markets, and educational exhibits at the STEAM museum, Curious. You can even enter your little bronco into the kid’s rodeo.

The Grand Kids Festival, April 6, Galveston
The grandest kid’s event of the year is 100 percent free and fun. The Grand 1894 Opera House will host oodles of top-notch children’s acts. Sing along to “The Anaconda La Bamba” with the Singing Zoologist or catch a laugh at the Comedy & Juggling and Stuff show. Kids can also try their hand at arts and crafts activities including screen printing, ceramics, and painting.

West Texas

Wild Wild West Fest, April 19–20, Andrews
Giddyup to Andrews, where you can do-si-do under the stars, learn how to rope a goat, or step back in time watching folkloric dancers and mariachi bands. Catch a ride at the Heart of America Carnival. Watch the parade and antique-tractor show drive by. If you work up an appetite, swing your partner to the steak cook-off.

Lubbock Arts Festival, April 13–14, Lubbock
The largest fine art event in West Texas does not disappoint in size, variety, or splendor. Peruse artworks from more than 150 visual artists, including paintings, jewelry, sculptures, fiber crafts, and pottery. Children can hop between “Kid Stops” to see demonstrations, make crafts, and perform improvisational theater. The brass bands, storytellers, and string quartets will be music to your ears.

Tickets are $4 for adults. Children 12 and under get in free.

Discover more of Texas’ great outdoors in Big Bend National Park.

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